Tennessee Game Days 4 - June 5-7, 2009

This years event was again held at the Donelson Christian Church and was another solid, fun event. This year's look back comes from a conference newcomer and first time TGD attendee so it promises a different take on the recap.

Friday A.M saw the beginning of the conference with a decidedly laid back tone, old friends were reacquainted and new friends made as games like San Juan, For Sale, Reiner Knizia's Gem Dealer and Modern Art were all on offer through out the AM hours. As this was my first attendance to such an event, I was both nervous and excited for the chance to play so many new boardgames and make new friends. There was no disappointment in this regard, games were plentiful and very easy to get into, and there was no shortage of players willing to teach games to new players. There was a constant buzz of activity in the room with all attendees playing or picking games from the library in order to play.

After lunch the serious business of gaming got into full swing. Games like La Citta, Wings of War, and learn and win entries (games that if you played you had a chance to win), like Agricola, Galaxy's Edge and Conquest of the Fallen Lands, were brought out and people continued to join in as the attendees grew in number. A solid and recurring theme on this weekend was one of laid back friendly competition, as most players were very eager to meet new people and play games they had never experienced before. Those familiar with the area did a good job of “hosting” questions on where to eat, how to get around and general information on the area. This was a very accommodating atmosphere and genuinely some of the nicest people you would want to spend time with -- it bears saying, because there was a lot of playing ahead.

Dancing EggsSaturday in the A.M witnessed the heaviest games yet coming off the shelves, and the largest early day attendance so far this year. An epic session of Die Macher with full players was held, BattleStar Galactica also made an appearance, Arkham Horror began stirring for a later afternoon start, and Gangs of New York was seen laying about on the tables. All in all,this day had the most action, the most varied games and some great game giveaways in the evening. Games from the gracious supporters of TGD were all on the table to be given away to the participants who played and learned those games and then signed up. These prizes included Delta V, 10 Days in Asia, Gem Dealer, Battue: Storm of the Horse Lords, Agricola and many more. Games of Battue, Leonardo Da Vinci, Catan Dice, Wasabi, and Starfarers of Catan were going on late in the evening and lasted well in to the AM hours as late gaming garnered enough supporters to run until 3 a.m. Sunday morning!

I should also mention that Saturday was also host to the Flea Market, a good place to find a deal on out of print, rare, popular, and gently played games that you may have been looking for but could not find, all on offer from the attendees. It is one of the more popular events at TGD and helped to give the entire conference, in this new attendee's viewpoint, a very comfortable feel. Browsing the tables of games and getting a chance to talk to gamers you may not have met yet as they extol the virtues of their games, one gets a sense that every offering is unique and has special meaning to the owner. These interactions also serve to develop yet another connection between those in attendance, and brings the familiarity that events of this type should thrive on -- I am not sure of others as yet, but TGD has it in spades.

Sunday brought another fun event -- the mass game of the aptly named Take it Easy with some 23 playing all at the same time. This year's game helped to usher in an easy day of gaming and good byes until next year. After the winners were declared and the prizes of Through the Ages, Age of Steam and Ice Flow were awarded, players played additional games of the always present Small World, along with Snow Tails and other lighter fare. One heavyweight made an appearance as Roads and Boats made it off the shelf and on to the table. Many out of towners said their goodbyes and headed home filled with gaming goodness to last for days -- in the early evening, the tables were struck, chairs stacked, and lights turned off on another year for Tennessee Game Days, but it was time well spent and filled with new friends who will be missed and eagerly anticipated at next years event. See you there!

Larry Neal (Bigtop305 on Boardgamegeek.com)

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