Monday, April 11, 2016

Our experience at the Capital Gaming Expo

This past week-end we visited our local sports center but a totally different reason that you might think of.  Our kids are not doing hockey or figure skating and besides our swimming lessons are usually on Wednesday afternoon.  No.  The main reason why we headed toward the Nepean Sportsplex was that the Geek Market and the Capital Gaming Expo was happening this week-end.  Here’s a bit more about our experience with the Capital Gaming Expo.


FRIDAY – April 8

The Capital Gaming Expo was opening on Friday.  So we decided to go at 4pm to get our bracelet and so on.   We find it was a bit disorganized at the tables.  First of all there was two entrance for the events – one for the Geek Market and one for the Capital Gaming Expo.   We had won tickets for the Capital Gaming Expo but not knowing where to go at first, we initially entered the Geek Market area first.  There they gave us the wrong bracelets even though our ticket was the Capital Gaming Expo.   So when we tried to go to the other area, we were stopped due to the wrong bracelet identification.  After some clarifying, we finally got the right bracelets for the week-end.   I also experience a bit of an issue for my media pass but in the end it got resolved after I was brought to the proper table.  By the way the kids ages 12 and under were free so that was bonus for us.  

Nevertheless, we checked out the Geek Market a bit and immediately the table that grabbed my kids attention was the one with numerous Lego display.   It was very interesting to see the creativity of adults who enjoys Lego.


Next, we finally entered the Capital Gaming Expo.   Our goal for our first time participating such an event was to learn more games by playing them.  It was under our understanding that there would be demos and such during the week-end.  Well after talking to someone at the game libraryimage where you can borrow a game to play on one of the table, we discovered that some of the guys there can show us how to play by giving us a quick lesson of the rules.   Okay.   So bottom line, someone was there to help if needed and you could read the rules to learn the game.  It wasn’t really what we had in mind but we could manage.  However, the person who was assigned to explain the game of Small World to us had not played it in ages apparently and didn’t seem very confident in explaining it to us.   So after checking the time – by then it was supper time for us – we decided to go back home to eat and come back the next morning for the opening.  It made more sense to us to take the time to learn it with videos from YouTube before taking the game and playing with it.   That’s what we did.

SATURDAY – April 9

IMG_1310After some food and a good study on how to play Small  World by Days of Wonders, we were ready for some good time with the family at the Capital Gaming Expo. 

In Small World, players vie for conquest and control of a world that is simply too small to accommodate them all.  The game is designed by Philippe Keyaerts.  Small World is inhabited by a zany cast of characters such as dwarves, wizards, amazons, giants, orcs and even humans; who use their troops to occupy territory and conquer adjacent lands in order to push the other races off the face of the earth.

It took us a bit of time to set up the game.   Usually the game is for 2-5 players and depending of the number of players you have you will have to select a different map which is included in the box.    The fact that we were six people around the table didn’t stopped us.  We decided to use the 4 players map and the 2 players map side by side and adapt the game a bit.   Mind you there is a map for 5-6 players that exists but you have to purchase it separately.  Besides the game library did not had it for loan. 

We had a great time discovering this game.  The art is fabulous, the characters and their powers are fun to play with and you can decide to put your troops out to pick another one.   Someone had mentioned to us that is was an easier version of Risk.  At first my husband was disappointed with this comment but after watching some videos on how to play the game he respectfully disagreed with the person who had told us that the previous evening.  The game has the idea of Risk when you need to conquer land but there are more strategy and twists in this game because of the powers that would change every time you play, the fact that you can put your race in a disappearing more and much more.

Everyone in our family from the youngest to the oldest enjoyed the game.   The game has taken a predominant place in our list of games to get. 


After playing this game, we needed to get out because we had some errands to do.  But before leaving, we checked out the various games we could play the next days and decided we would try the 7 Wonders game by

SUNDAY – April 10

Last day for the Capital Gaming Expo – our most busiest one at this.   Why?  WellIMG_1314 first we needed to check out how the game would play.  Thanks to YouTube we quickly learned this game.  Then it was time to go to church.  After we left church we immediately ate our lunch a bit in advance and drove to the Nepean Sportsplex in the hopes we would be able to play with 7 Wonders.  The game was available.

The game is divided in 3 ages. During each ages, you will have the opportunity to play 6 cards to develop the city you have been assigned and build your wonder.   If you need to purchase something you can only do it with your immediate neighbors.  At the end of each age, players compare their military strength with their neighbors on the left and right.   At the end of the third age, you score the points and the military conflicts in order to discover who won.

Our learning the game was moving along nicely thanks to the presence of a seven player – a young man who was nice to guide us in our discovery of this game.  



We all enjoyed the game pretty much.  As we were playing someone came to our table and asked if we would register to the 7 Wonders tournament which would start an hour later.  We were taken aback as we didn’t expected that.   After all this was our first game playing 7 Wonders.  Can we manage to play during the tournament?  Would it be friendly enough for the kids?   So we

Honestly before we signed up for the 7 Wonders tournament, there was only 6 people on the list. When I signed up our family then we were 12 people interested in playing.  Only eleven showed up for the tournament.   Considering the fact that we played the game only once before the tournament, I was a bit worry some about how the other players would be. But each players were very nice and took the time to encourage each member of the family in playing.   The tournament was quite simple, we played two games of 7 Wonders and the six stronger scores would move to another game of 7 Wonders with the 7 Wonders Leaders expansion.   This was the kids first time in participating to a tournament and it was a good experience for all of us.   The best part is that the kids were able to play with other people than us parents.   


After calculating the results of everyone, my husband discovered that he made it to the finals of the tournament.   So while dad was in the final of the tournament, the kids played with fun little video games nearby.


In the end my husband arrived fourth – tied with someone else – but he enjoyed being part of the finals.  We didn’t win anything but it was okay.  Well it’s not true.  During the first two games, one of our kids got the worse scoring point of all the players and for this they gave us a 5$ rebate when you order online at their store.  Okay.   And to top it all one of the guys approached us and invited us to a regular game night at Wizard Towers in our area.   On Tuesday nights he teaches about a game and have people playing it afterwards.   Looks really fun and we plan to swing by to check it out.

In retrospect, even if our Friday visit had a few loopholes, we had a great time at the Capital Gaming Expo.  We played two fabulous games which are now on our wish list, experience our first ever tournament (even though we were beginners) and made connections with people who enjoy board games.  This is something we would definitively enjoy doing again in the future if we can.

However, I would like to suggest a different type of pricing for the event.   As I mentioned, we are a family of six people – 2 adults, one age thirteen, one age twelve, one age ten and one age 8.   This time around three of our kids could go in for free.  But next year it would be a different story as we would have to pay for four.  The week-end price was 35$ per person in advance – 45$ at the door.   Do the math quickly with me…. that is 140$.   For that price we could easily get a few games from the online store where we usually order and get free shipping (when the order hit 150$).   So we could do more research on the games in order to determine if it would be a good fit for our family.   It could be a hit and miss too but we could always resale the game that we didn’t like.   Considering the price tag attached for a family of six people (because like it or not eventually the kids that are free now will grow up…) the cost to attend such an event for our family would eventually come to the whooping price of 210$.  Yikes!   So I would like to suggest to the organizers to have a family price for everyone in your family age 13 and older.  That way it would make it more affordable for bigger families who would like to spend time together to an even like the Capital Gaming Expo.   Not only you would help such families to save a bit of money but it could bring up some costumers as well who would visit the Geek Market and find a special item that they would like to obtain.

Having said that… we are looking forward for the next Geek and Gaming Garage Sales. 

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