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The Plan

Sometimes, as a gamer, life comes along and hands you a golden opportunity – a free game, a chance meeting with your favorite designer or reviewer, paid tickets to Gen Con, etc. For me, my opportunity came in the form of a 3-day weekend and an amazing wife who suggested we have our own little Uwe Rosenberg festival. And so, RosenbergFest (the first of many, I hope) was born. Our goal: play all 17 of the distinct Rosenberg titles that we owned. Ambitious? Maybe. But, theoretically, it seemed possible.

So, I sat down and made a list of all of the titles that we owned:

  • A Feast For Odin
  • Agricola
  • Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
  • At the Gates of Loyang
  • Babel
  • Caverna
  • Caverna: Cave vs. Cave
  • Cottage Garden
  • Fields of Arle
  • Glass Road
  • Hengist
  • Le Havre
  • Le Havre: the Inland Ports
  • Nottingham
  • Ora et Labora
  • Patchwork
  • Sole Mio

Once I had the list, the rest was easy. I headed over to random.org, dropped my list in there, and hit the random button. We had our play order and from there, it was just a simple matter of splitting the games up into three roughly equal sized blocks to be played over the course of three days. Armed with our gaming strategy, we eagerly awaited the arrival of the weekend.

The Rosenbergfest challenge table

Unfortunately,  our plan ran into some snags almost immediately. It started on the Friday before RosenbergFest was due to kick off when my mom informed us that she would be in town and wanted to spend some time with us on Sunday to play some games. This meant that strictly two player games were off the table, but now Nottingham (which is a 3 player minimum) would be able to enter the rotation. Also, my mom doesn’t do a lot of boardgaming, so the heavier fare like Caverna and Ora et Labora had to be  pushed to Monday’s schedule, swapping them for Cottage Garden and Sole Mio instead.

I took the remaining games, sorted them by strictly 2 players and everything else and randomized those two lists. Then I interspersed a 2 player game between each of the larger games and divided those between Saturday and Monday. We also anticipated that we might have some time on Sunday night, after my mom left, to break out some heavier games, so Caverna got added in there along with At the Gates of Loyang.

RosenbergFest Day One

After  an interminably long week, Saturday finally arrived. After breakfast, we began RosenbergFest in earnest. Here’s what the docket looked like:

  • Hengist
  • Le Havre
  • Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
  • Glass Road
  • Le Havre: the Inland Ports

Le Havre

Glass Road

First up was Hengist. I’d won this game in a Minecraft contest, but  never had the opportunity to get it to the table. So it was with eager anticipation that I set into it. It was with utter disappointment and a sense of feeling betrayed by my hero that I left it. Hengist, using the rules provided in the box, is a fundamentally broken game that is very heavily reliant on card drawing luck and does not provide any method at all to mitigate it. After the game was over, I looked online to see if my impressions of the game matched up with general consensus and found out that there’s a new version of the rulebook that allows you to trade cards at a 3:1 ratio.  I’d definitely give Hengist another shot with the revised rules.

After Hengist, we quickly burned through Le Havre. We were rolling up our sleeves to dig into Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small when the second snag appeared. My mom, my sister and her family, and some other extended family members were meeting up and wanted us to join them for lunch. I will admit that my desire to see RosenbergFest succeed almost trumped my familial responsibilities, but my wife’s cooler head prevailed. So, we put the games away and headed out. While I enjoyed sharing a meal with my family, RosenbergFest suffered as a result. By the time we got home, we only had enough time to knock out Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small and Glass Road. Le Havre: the Inland Ports was just going to have to wait. It was getting rather late and it was time for bed.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small

Le Havre: Inland Ports

RosenbergFest Day Two

After a mostly successful Day One, we ate some breakfast and prepared to dig into Day Two. There was a little bit of cleaning to do before my mom came over, so we set to it hoping that maybe, time permitting, we might be able to squeeze in Le Havre: the Inland Ports before she arrived, and we’d be back on schedule. That didn’t happen, though. Time got away from us, so we had to move on with what was planned for Sunday:

  • Sole Mio
  • Nottingham
  • Cottage Garden
  • Caverna
  • At the Gates of Loyang

My mom arrived around 10:30 just as we finished straightening everything. The plan was to get through the first three games at least and then maybe break out Dice City (since my mom enjoys it) before she needed to head out. We played 2 games of Sole Mio and a game of Nottingham and that’s when wrinkle #3 appeared. My sister called and really wanted to come over with her family to spend some more time with us. It was decided there would be the grilling of various types of meats, which was fine, but would surely hamper our  RosenbergFest momentum. We were just able to finish Cottage Garden when my sister arrived.

Nottingham

By the time everyone left, it was around 8 P.M. My wife had some school work that she needed to finish up before we could play anything else. While she worked on that, I got Caverna all set up and ready to go. But by the time she got her work  all wrapped up, it was far too late to get started with a long game. And so it was that RosenbergFest Day Two came to an end. For those of you keeping count, we were now 3 games behind schedule.

Cottage Garden

RosenbergFest Day Three

When we’d originally planned for Day Three, we knew that we’d have an entire day of uninterrupted time, so we’d packed a lot of games into it. Here’s what we’d originally planned on:

  • Fields of Arle
  • Ora et Labora
  • Patchwork
  • Agricola
  • Babel
  • A Feast For Odin
  • Caverna: Cave vs. Cave

Patchwork

However, come Monday morning, being 3 games behind, we needed to get those knocked out first. Then a fourth snag reared its head. We were in the middle of playing Caverna when we received a phone call from our landlord. He was in town and wanted to bring some stuff to the house to put into the storage sheds. If our Monday was a pristine lake surface, his arrival was a massive rock thrown into it. Caverna took much longer than it should have and that caused everything else to get log jammed behind it. By the time we caught up on our backlog and finished the first official Day Three game, Fields of Arle, it was already 11 P.M. Wanting to get at least one final game in, we decided on Caverna: Cave vs. Cave, and thus RosenbergFest came to an end.

Caverna: Cave vs Cave

Was It a Success?

If success is defined as “everything went according to plan and was executed flawlessly” then, no, RosenbergFest was a failure, albeit not an abysmal one. Twelve out of seventeen games isn’t too shabby considering everything else that was going on. Not bad, but not perfect either. However, I don’t judge success this way. Thinking about success in terms of what you didn’t succeed at is a rather negative way of viewing things. I like to focus on the positives.

RosenbergFest served as a poignant reminder of why I love Uwe Rosenberg’s games so much. It’s been a long time since I’ve played several of these games and getting them to the table was like reuniting with good friends that I haven’t seen in a long while. With the exception of Hengist, it was very therapeutic.

Agricola

At the Gates of Loyang

RosenbergFest enabled me to spend some quality time with my wife doing something that we both love. Even though I only won a small handful of the games that we played, it was time well spent. I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d rather have spent that time with and I am keenly aware that our failure to play all 17 games is a failure shared by us both. That helps take some of the sting off. And the best thing about RosenbergFest?

RosenbergFest got my mom playing board games with me. It’s something that doesn’t happen very often and it was a real joy getting to spend time with her. You never know what’s just around the bend, so it’s important that we embrace the time together that we have and make the most of it. Hearing my mom getting excited about games, listening to her laughter, watching her get excited… all of that made the entire weekend worth it even if we didn’t make it through all of the games. I just view that as an impetus to try again… and try again I shall.

 

I’m looking at you RosenbergFest 2!

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David McMillan

David McMillan

IT support specialist by day, Minecrafter by night; I always find time for board gaming. When it comes to games, I prefer the heavier euro-game fare. Uwe Rosenberg is my personal hero with Stefan Feld coming in as a close second.

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