A Real Nail Biter at UBCON

Jill Meyer, a Buffalo State psychology major, expresses relief as Rod Pierce’s roll failed to capture her king in a sudden death MetaCheckers playoff at UBCON.

Jill Meyer covered her eyes. A knight could kill her.

Rod Pierce rolled the dice.

Pawn. The room gasped and laughed.

They had each won more games of MetaCheckers in one weekend than any one had before. Tied at 12 games a piece, they faced off against each other in a sudden death game. Jill won a coin toss and chose the format: Standard Chess layout MetaCheckers with the Kangaroo Die. The Kangaroo Die adds six special moves to the game.

Late in the game, Rod had backed Jill’s king into a corner. Move after move, she was forced to calculate the position with the most survivability. Even though Rod had the advantage, in MetaCheckers you never know who will win until the final roll of the dice.

A few moves after Jill was spared from the knight attack, she rolled a 6, which allowed her to bring in the Kangaroo Die.

She rolled Turncoat. This flipped one of Rod’s pieces to her side. A 2-2 parity switched to a 3 on 1 attack and Jill quickly won.

Jill with the 32-piece set of MetaCheckers and Kangaroo Die she won.

Jill’s win capped a weekend of MetaCheckers at UBCON at the University at Buffalo. For this convention, MetaCheckers was placed in a classroom with a Spanish lesson written on the chalkboard.

We had arrived late on Friday, and I found myself standing in front of rows of desks explaining the origins of MetaCheckers to a group of bored-looking people. This triggered uncomfortable memories of my previous career as a college professor. Not what I wanted.

But within minutes, the chess boards were set up and the organizers set up an extra table. We converted the space from a classroom to a place for fun. Although we were far from the main board game room for the convention, the extra space allowed us to set up 6 boards and demonstrate most of the variations of the game. Plenty of people came looking for us, curious about this combination of chess, checkers and dice.

Jack and another gamer even used the professor’s desk to develop a new variant by overlapping two boards.

I will remember UBCON for the armies of cosplayers and the Cosplay Chess in the courtyard across the street from us, Quidditch, Jack playing Dungeons and Dragons, and the Nerfgun wars that raged through the buildings. Dan Hundycz of DPH Games taught me the value of scouting hallways and corners for Nerfgun fighters.

Here’s some of my favorite pics:

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#boardgames #games #toys


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