It was another busy but exciting weekend, as Bill and I traveled to Kingston for the North American Youth Chess Championships, hosted by the Chess ‘n Math Association.
Organizers Francis and Larry invited us to set up a table at the tournament to demonstrate our math and strategy games, which were Mathemagician’s Duel and Sinoda. We found a table in the room beside the main entrance of Ban Righ Hall at Queen’s University and set up our stuff.
We had some interest right away from a few curious parents, after the initial frenzy of getting their kids into the hall and to the right board for the first round of the chess tournament. We even met Angela from Tradewind Toys and Gifts in Lindsay there, and she gave Mathemagician’s Duel a try. When the round was over, many kids came over to see what we were doing. We played Mathemagician’s Duel and Sinoda all day long, and had many of the kids returning to challenge each other.
It was interesting to see how quickly many of them picked up the strategies in Sinoda. It’s similar to chess in that you are trying to capture your opponent’s pieces, and that the strategy involves protecting your pieces with other pieces and offering sacrifices to bait your opponent into taking a lower-point piece so that you can capture their higher-point piece. Once we explained the rules, they figured out the strategies on their own. It was a fun and busy Friday!
On Saturday, we moved downstairs to the parents’ room, which was much bigger than the room we were in on Friday. And once again, we had interested kids and parents asking what we were all about.
During the day, Bill went out to visit some local game stores, since we were in the area. He told me about the cool places he went to, especially Kingston Gaming Nexus. He said it was a nice store, and he had a great chat with Michael there. Now it looks like people in and near Kingston will have a place to by their own Mathemagician’s Duel when it is officially released!
That evening we were looking for a place to eat where we could also play games, and found The Alibi, which had been suggested to Bill earlier in the day. What a cool place! The staff were amazing, friendly, and helpful, the atmosphere was great, and the nachos options were awesome. They did have a shelf of games with some modern staples and classics. We talked to the owner, Bruce, who admitted that it could use some sprucing up, but it’s still good for a fun evening with friends. Bill and I chose to play Sinoda.
After this game, we noticed that a table near us was playing Boggle. You don’t normally think of Boggle as a loud game, but you do need to shake the container with the cubes. After surprising everyone in the room with letters been shaken, they were open to a conversation, and they invited us to join them to demonstrate “Say What, Now?”. We had fun with that, and suspiciously, I won by a lot (does it look bad when the designer wins the game?). But winning isn’t the point of “Say What, Now?”, it’s the fun and silliness. Unfortunately, I got so caught up in the game that I forgot to take pictures of the funny phrases and sentences that we created.
On Sunday, Bill continued on to his family vacation, and I stayed at the tournament for one more half day to play some more games before taking the bus back to Toronto.
We’d like to thank Francis and Larry of the Chess ‘n math Association for inviting us, and we hope to join them for another event.
We also want to mention Kavin, a fun and creative young man who, after playing Mathemagician’s Duel, decided he wanted to make his own version and then did! That night, he used his computer to draw up a set of cards like ours, but with a Transformers theme.
And finally, a shout out goes to the team from the Bahamas, who were all great kids. I enjoyed speaking and playing with them all, and their coaches and chaperones.
There you have it. I spent a weekend at a chess tournament and didn’t play a single game of chess. So there was some embarrassment that I was spared.
Keep playing and learning, and don’t forget, if you have played Mathemagician’s Duel, you can now rate and review it on BoardGameGeek.com!
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