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Circle DC '24 (Circle Con)

Updated: 15 hours ago

This year Circle DC was at the Planet Word Museum which is housed in the Franklin School - a historic building in downtown Washington D.C.

We were pretty limited on time this year. We got in late Thursday night, and headed home early Sunday morning after a 2 hour play test of Tim's True Command with David Thompson. On a related note, driving and sitting in the back of a pickup truck for 10 hours each way isn't as easy on my back as it used to be.

The space was picked by Kevin Bertram of Fort Circle game because it was in central D.C. and the suburbs. Part of his goal in hosting in D.C. is to retain the intimate atmosphere and showcase the strength, breadth, and uniqueness of D.C.'s home talent. What other city in the U.S. can do what D.C. does in the same way? By implication of course, what other publisher can do what Fort Circle is doing for modern historical games. It was hard to disagree given the concentration of innovative historical gaming going on in this one spot. No big convention does what Kevin did in this space for this particular weekend.

The downsides to being in such a unique and special location were the loud ceiling floor combination and the lighting. The lighting was curated to be an event space for things like weddings and different Kelvin temperatures were used for the bulbs; suffice it to say that the mixed lighting made it hard for everyone to see well unless the sunlight was peaking through at odd times of the day.

This year, I got a little more involved in teaching games. First up, I was able to play 2 games of Weimar: The Fight for Democracy. Why 2 games? Well, it was supposed to be 1 and then the government collapsed quite quickly because one of the coalition government factions was too focused on its own power. The economy fell apart in shambles.

We immediately jumped back into a second game where everyone had a much better understanding of the game. Things were messier politically, but the country didn't collapse. If it isn't clear - selfishness isn't rewarding for those who should be holding extremism at bay in this game. I can't wait to play again.

There were a number of designers and developers from GMT Games this year, at least 15 when I counted. Jason Carr (Lead Developer for GMT) was simultaneously showing off his new game, his co-design for the Twilight Struggle series with Jason Matthews, and A Gest of Robinhood. Joe Dewhurst was also around and playing a lot.

It was still good to see representation from a diverse crowd at Circle Con for another year running. There were both board game content creators and designers from under represented communities at the convention. Designers like Liz Davidson, Talia Rosen, and Tory Brown were all present and representing Fort Circle Games with their designs. No one can claim Kevin doesn't support a diversity of designers in the historical space. Someday I won't have to write about the need for more and diverse gamers and designers, but until that day comes I will happily laud a convention like this.

It was good to see Volk Ruhnke running his The Hunt for Blackbeard game too.

Of course, I forgot to get a picture of him running Blackbeard but here he is with Coast Watchers which will be coming out from GMT.

I also got the pleasure of spending a little bit of time with Sebastian Bae and Non Breaking Space. It's always a good time connecting with both of these designers.

Meeple Lady was a pleasure to talk to this year. I spent some time trying out Yoni Goldstein's Chicago '68 and she got to play a whole game of it. The game pits the Establishment of the mayor and police against the Demonstrators of yippies and National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE). It's a good game and I'm looking forward to seeing the topic covered by this game.

A new and upcoming designer I met and spent some time chatting with was Mar. Their design, The Devils Advocates, is about the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and the common misdirection of the culture wars from truly insidious behavior towards things which from fantasy literature. You will probably be hearing more about this game as it is submitted to the Zenobia Awards.

A new to me game was Bosses of the Senate by the guys from Chonkyfire Games. This game employs teams to pass your legislative goals. It was a prototype, but a very nice looking one.

Both Wehrle brothers were in attendance this year too. Cole was teaching a lot of Arcs and they also had the latest iteration of Molly House with them. Both games are looking quite good. I'm not sure when I'm going to get to play Arcs, but the pull is becoming stronger for me to take some time on it when it comes out.

A lot of my time on Saturday was spent teaching the beginning of our iteration of Stonewall Uprising: Revised Edition. I taught the game to several people including Philip Millman and Joe from What Does that Piece Do? Overall, the game is heading in a good direction as we get ready to switch to traditional printing.

In my downtime, I did get to eat at Immigrants- the restaurant on the first floor of the museum. It was good food, I'm always up for fried polenta. Brant could attest to that at Expo as I got polenta tacos twice. As always, it was good to work with my business partner, Tim Densham, from Catastrophe Games in person instead of remotely. We got to share Tim's game True Command with a few people, and also encouraged one of designers - John Lapham- with his game A More Perfect Union. John got some good playlists in and we did too with the near final Arabian Struggle.

As always, Kevin is the consummate host with a choice spot for the venue, great guests and events, and welcoming atmosphere to his con. He also does a fine job curating some excellent giveaways each day of games for the raffle.

I am looking forward to another amazing Circle Con next year!

Finally, here are some random scenery pics from the trip.


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