We’ve been going to Albury over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend every year since 2006. At first, it was for the Australian Games Expo, which later moved to be held in Canberra over the Australia Day weekend in January. Since 2009, though, it’s been for Bordercon – an annual get-together of gamers from all around the country – at least from South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
It gets better every year.
Highlights – as those who follow my Twitter feed will know – were, as always, catching up with friends. From a games perspective, the highlights for me were:
- Mare Balticum – a 30 minute filler game with stunning artwork created first as a 3D model and then photographed. This will be a great family game for our family. There’s an advanced version which I’ve not yet tried – but after learning the basic game on Saturday morning I taught (and played) it five or six times over the rest of the con. Bought a copy.
- Lords of Waterdeep – it’s sort of D&D-themed Caylus. Which already sounds awesome. I only played this on Sunday night because some friends like it and really wanted to play it, and I didn’t expect much. But then I taught it (and played it again) on Monday, and then I bought a copy after we came home. Again, a nice family game, although I don’t think Otto is quite up to the nasty bits. Bigster should like it, though.
- Big Points – this is one that we’ve been playing a lot. We had a rule wrong, and it is SO MUCH TOUGHER when you play it properly. A game that works well with kids as well as with adults.
- Tiaras! We dressed for dinner on Saturday night, and then played
BurgenBurgenBurgenBurgenBurgen Burgen^5Castles of Burgundy in appropriately dressy clothing. With tiaras and glitter hats that made Terry’s face sparkle. And a lace table runner.
- Time’s Up on Saturday night. After Burgen^5. Note to friends: Queen – of which Freddy Mercury was the lead singer – sang a song called “Fat Bottomed Girls”. You all have filthy minds.
Other things that were awesome: The record raffle takings. Over $2000 raised to support Border Cystic Fibrosis – an organisation that supports families caring for a child or children with CF. (Albury has regional Victoria’s highest rates of CF).
The lowlight, by a country mile, was the Sunday night dinner at Hog’s Breath (a steak/ribs chain restaurant) in Albury. We’ve eaten at Hog’s Breath every year and the service has got worse each time. This year, they have done their dash. The rest of my family arrived at 6:20; I followed to arrive at 6:30 (booked time). Our orders weren’t taken until about 7 and at 7:30 we still had no drinks. A beer arrived for Fraser at 7:45 (after we had TWICE asked to speak to the manager and been told he would be there soon) but we don’t think it was really his, as all our drinks appeared at 8. By now, Otto was in tears, having waited over 90 minutes for her dinner already. (It didn’t help that we’d refused a 5pm snack as we were headed out for Big Dinner). Our meals finally arrived after 8:30. We had been ready to leave, but were concerned that the rest of the group would be charged for them even though we hadn’t eaten them. The couple with the baby left though. We didn’t bother to stay for dessert, and went to Cold Rock for ice creams instead. And didn’t leave a tip either. They really cost themselves a lot of money over that night.
The other low point was playing a truly dreadful game. About alcoholic clowns in a circus. Of which more tomorrow. Because others should share my pain.