So Trashfest Northeast 2015 has come and gone. This is my second time experiencing this annual shindig and I’d like to share some of my experiences with the rest of you. Rather than give you a blow by blow description of all the games I played, I’m just going to provide some overall highlights. I’d like to try and give you an idea of what it’s like to experience Trashfest.
Let me paint this picture for you. It’s autumn in New England. The air is crisp, the trees are a firework display of red/orange foliage, and folks are consuming pumpkin flavored everything. In the middle of Connecticut lies a sleepy little hamlet that is about to be invaded for a few days of unbridled fun. Men and women of all ages from the surrounding states (and much further) will make the pilgrimage to this unassuming town. They aren’t heading to Trashfest for games. They’re heading to Trashfest to make memories, share laughs with great people, and have fun. The whole event has a "we're all family" vibe that is warm and welcoming. New people show up and are greeted like old friends. Oh sure, games are being played, but it’s just as common to see a couple of people catching up or sharing a laugh. Conversations about movies, comics, life, and lord knows what else will echo throughout the hall. Honestly, one of my favorite parts of Trashfest is learning about awesome stuff I wasn't aware of. I walked away with some great recommendations for comics, TV shows, and music.
Here are a few highlights from the weekend:
Games for sale: People were looking to unload games and many were available for crazy prices. Flim Flam had a bunch of newer games for sale. He sold them with reckless abandon...like a scorned lover discarding their ex’s belonging out of a second story window. This set the tone and you could tell people just wanted to make sure their games were going to go to someone who would enjoy them. I myself walked away with Thunder Road ($40), Kaosball ($25), Omen: Reign of War (free from Josh Look), and BEARanoia (free from Pimp Daddy Matt Loter). It was great seeing games find new owners and lots of people seemed to walk away with new stuff to play.
Repoman's BEAUTIFUL custom board for Ascending Empires. So swanky.
The GAMES: In between games I would take a cursory glance at the room and see what was being played. Old games were being played, new games were being played, proto-types were being played…everything you could want and more! I saw Fury of Dracula 3rd Edition, 1775: Rebellion, Star Wars Risk, Cthulhu Wars, Camp Grizzly, Flick Em Up, Space Cadets: Dice Duel, Dark Moon, Tokaido, Junta: Viva Presidente, Forbidden Stars, Thunder Alley, Thunder Road, and more. Whatever you were in the mood for, Trashfest had you covered.
Playing The Grizzled with Engineer Al and Dutch.
My favorite non-gaming moment of the weekend: I was sipping some coffee and chatting with Engineer Al on his front porch Sunday morning. We were waxing poetically about the awesome group of people Trashfest attracts as we slowly recovered from a late night. Ok maybe we weren't waxing poetically. Al was just telling me how much La Havre sucks and how it sucking was the catalyst of F:AT Thursdays. Soon after that, Al went inside. Before following him I happened to look across the street were I caught a glimpse of a hawk taking flight and perching on a large branch. Then in the distance beyond that branch I could see Matt Loter’s spray painted van adding JUST the right amount of absurd juxtaposition to the seemingly peaceful scene.
My favorite gaming moment: Playing Cosmic Encounter and getting a solo win. My alien power was The Chosen, which let me draw three cards from the deck during an encounter. I had just screwed over Josh Look (lying about a potential negotiation) to gain my fourth colony. I then I had to defeat the King of the North, Billy Zavos, and his mighty Macron. He had some defensive allies trying to stop me. I went in solo. We chose our attack cards and then revealed. He was winning handily, so I needed to pray for a Hail Mary. C’mon, alien power, don’t fail me now. I flip over the three cards from the top of the deck. The first is an artifact (useless), then a flare (damn), and then ATTACK 40! Boom, game over. Many expletives ensued.
Josh Look trying to negotiate with Billy Z. "Just one for one Billy. Lemme wet my beak. Lemme get one pepperon."
Honorable mention: Getting to ham it up as Desoto in Space Cadets: Away Missions. I love this trigger happy lug-head. Naturally, I brought nothing but weapons and some food into the mission. I had a blast even though I couldn’t roll an overkill to save anyone’s life. Playing with the painted minis was such a treat.
End of the scenario...we didn't make it. Painted minis are amazing though!
Best house rule: Josh Look stating that when playing a flare card in Cosmic Encounter, you have to say, “Wooooooooo” like Rick Flair. I giggled like an idiot every time it happened.
Best new game that I never played before: Well, Josh was right…again. Hyperborea. I walked away thinking it was weird. In fact, I wasn’t sure I even liked it. Josh tells me to sleep on it. Monday, while I’m at work, it hits me. I’m thinking of how I could have played differently. How I could have set up my bag o cubes for a deadly combination. Damn, Hyperborea is amazing. It’s more of a Euro engine building game…but it has area control and conflict. This is a hybrid that scales way towards the Euro side, but it’s pretty awesome. I really can’t think of anything like it. It’s still weird, but I’m dying to play it again.
Rookie of the Year: Bookseller. This fella made the trek up from NEW JERSEY to play games with a bunch of foul mouthed strangers. He fit right in and I had a great time meeting him. I hope he makes this a yearly tradition.
Getting ready to tear it up as Desoto in Space Cadets: AM. My fellow Rocketeers are unaware of how futile my strafing will be! Gracie (SpawnPut), Engineer Al, Bookseller.
The weekend flew by and I had a great time. I wish it was happening again this Friday through Sunday. A huge thank you to Uba, Al and Repoman who pretty much made it all possible. You won’t find more generous or hospitable people anywhere. Thanks again!
Engineer Al and Jay plotting to take over the Universe.
I’ll leave you all with this - If you’ve ever thought about going to Trashfest and you live within driving distance, just do it. Whether you’re a regular poster, or a lurker who has never made an account, I implore you to go to Trashfest NE. You’ll get to meet some wonderful people who just happen to be into boardgames too. There is plenty of good natured ribbing, bourbon, hooting n’ hollering, but most importantly everyone goes out of their way to make it a good time. I can’t fully express just how awesome it really is. Come next year and see for yourself.