I’ve been going to gaming conventions for almost 15 years. This year I almost skipped out on going to any conventions since moving to Florida back in October of 2015.

Things changed when I received an email letting me know that tickets were available for Dice Tower Con in Orlando. I decided that since I wasn’t going to Origins Game Fair or Buckeye Game Fest this year that I would head a few hours north east to Orlando to check out Dice Tower Con.

I packed a game bag, my Quiver game case, a duffel & head to Orlando. My parents, being mostly retired, came with me for a Disney vacation while I enjoyed myself at the convention.

We arrived at the Caribe Royale hotel the first day of the convention. The Caribe Royale is a beautiful hotel with lots to do if you are just vacationing with a free bus ride to the Disney parks.

This was the view from my floor.

CR view

After arriving at the hotel, we unloaded our bags & headed for a quick lunch at the Tropicale restaurant in the main building of the Caribe. At the Tropicale we met a very awesome server named Ian.

After lunch I headed to the convention center where there was absolutely no waiting to get registered. This is good news because I really dislike waiting in registration lines. I picked up my badge, free Dice Tower canvas bag, & free game.

Then I went exploring. There were a handful of rooms setup for companies like AEG, HABA, Gigamic Games, & Indie Game Alliance. Some of these rooms were also used for the kid friendly zone, war gaming, & painting.

I walked through some of the other larger ballrooms where events were to be held. Some of these rooms were used for the flea market on Saturday morning, the Mega Games, meet & greets for the special guests, & the Dice Tower Game Show held by Tom Vasel.

And then I hit the opening gaming room. When I got there, only about half of the tables were full this early in the con. There was a line for the Cool Stuff Inc. dent & ding booth, & the vendors area was just starting to open.

I walked around watching folks play games just to see what everyone was playing. I saw some interesting prototypes, some awesome looking hot games, & of course some of the best current games out.

I did decide to hit the vendors area early. I was able to pick up a handful of Dice Masters boosters from Chris Savoie who runs House Rules Gaming in Kissimmee, Florida. He had a wonderful selection of Dice Masters, Star Wars Destiny, board games, & heroclix. I would visit the House Rules Gaming booth several times.

I also ran into Rick Schrand of Tasty Minstrel Games. Rick is one of my favorites to run into at a gaming convention. He is very straightforward & knows what he is talking about.

On my first day at the convention I just really sat & talked with a bunch of people. It is a misconception that us gamers only play games. We are very sociable & very intellectual. We sit around & talk about our lives from favorite games to the people in our families.

That night I learned how to play Fields of Green at the Stronghold booth. Fields of Green was fun to learn & play. As the game wound down the vendors area was closing. This pushed me out to the opening gaming room where I ended up learning how to play Star Wars Destiny. I had actually just purchased the two starters that I needed at the House Rules Gaming booth.

Star Wars Destiny is one of those games that I wanted to get this past winter. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a hold of the starters or even boosters until now. I am glad I ran into the guy that taught me how to play. I ended my night early when I found out that the lock to my hotel room was sticking & not allowing the door to close fully so I went to take care of it.

On Thursday I woke early & headed to the convention. When I walked into the opening gaming room I ran into Brent Spivey, designer of Techno Bowl. We broke out his copy of the game & dove into a teaching game. I had a great time learning how to play. It was like playing a pro game of football without actually hitting the field.

After learning & playing Techno Bowl I made my way to the Cool Stuff Booth to see what they had in the dent & ding section. I did grab a few games & head over to the Mayday booth where I picked up a copy of Garbage Day for $5. Not a bad deal for a simple dexterity game.

I left the con & hit Cafe24 at the hotel & grabbed a ham & cheese pizza to share with the folks & a salad. the salad was very refreshing & the pizza was very tasty.  After eating I headed back to the con to grab a prototype of a game I will be reviewing soon. Then went back to gaming.

I headed over to the Calliope tables & met with Bill Fogarty who was running the demo tables for Calliope Games. I enjoyed learning all about Ancestree coming out in September. I also enjoyed playing Menu Masters which is out right now.

After playing I ended up playing Gravity Warfare. Gravity Warfare is a dexterity game where perfect balance is the key. I believe I was told that Gravity Warfare would be hitting Kickstarter either at the end of July or early August. Hoping to do a review on it. After about an hour of that I decided to head back to the room to get ready for a night at Disney Springs.

Since I was in Orlando I thought it gave me a chance to do something at one of the Disney areas. The best part was is that the Caribe Royale hotel has a bus that picks you up for free & drops you off right at Disney Springs.

This was my first time there. I really enjoyed myself. I ended up visiting almost all of the stores there. I’m a huge Star Wars fan so I decided to pick up a Mandalorian  baseball cap at the Star Wars Outpost.

SWO

The Harley-Davidson store was pretty cool. Even got my father to get on one of the motorcycle models they have in the store.

Dad-motorcycle

 

Of course the Lego store was full of fun. Loved the Lego statues around the outside of the store.

After a fun night at Disney Springs I headed back to the hotel to get some rest.

On Friday I headed to the convention center & join a few guys in a game of A Feast For Odin. What a fantastic worker placement game. One I will be sure to pick up in the future. It was a learning game for me but the two plus hours I spent playing went by super fast.

Next I headed back over to the Calliope Games table where I played another game of Ancestree with Bill Fogarty.

Ancestree-2

After playing Ancestree I hit up the R&R Games booth where I played Pyramid Poker. I ended up buying a copy to play with my father who loves the game of Poker.

I left the R&R booth & headed back over to the “Hot” games area to play a few games of Santorini.

After the few games of Santorini I landed at a table with Eli, Al, & Scott. We played Stone Age, which is another wonderful worker placement game. We discussed their plans of opening a board game cafe sometime in the future. Then we were joined by a few others for a game of Celestia. Which I ended up winning, not bad for a first time player of the game. I love the little airship included with the game.

After saying my farewells I ended up having dinner back at the hotel. After dinner I went to lounge around in my hotel room for about an hour & headed back over to the convention where I ended up playing a game of The Dice Must Flow with another guy named Chris.

DMF

That was the end of my Friday night. Since it was after midnight at that point I headed back to my hotel room to get some much needed sleep.

On Saturday morning I packed up knowing that I was checking out in the afternoon. After putting things in the car I headed back to the convention to line up for the Flea Market. The wait was only about ninety minutes so that wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t looking for a whole lot at the market. I know I was looking for some retro games. I hit the jackpot with G.I. Joe Commando Attack game. It was in near mint condition & only cost me $5. Bargain!

I left the flea market feeling pretty good. I headed back over to wait in the line at the dent & ding booth. It was my fifth time in the line. Grabbed a handful of games each time I went through.

Here is my haul from the convention. This is not including all the promos I picked up along with all the booster packs & other smaller items I purchased.

haul

The Caribe Royale Hotel was definitely a nice venue for a gaming convention. Everyone at the convention was really friendly. Everyone was willing to play a game & to invite anyone in that wanted to play a game.

I did skip out out the panels, meet & greets, & most of the special events. I just wanted to get in as much gaming as possible. Plus I rather enjoyed meeting up with all the gamers from around the world that attended.

I will definitely be traveling back to Orlando next year for the next Dice Tower Con. Here is to another great gaming convention. Hope to see you there next year.

-Christopher Richter

Twitter: @Boardgaming_FTW

Facebook: Board Gaming For the Win

 

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