Saturday, February 11, 2006

Games Played February 11, 2006


One key to happiness – GAMES


This was another fun day of family gaming. Our son Mason was out of town for a ski hut trip, so the games won’t count in our annual statistics. Our grandson Joel knew Uncle Mason would not be here, so he asked to play Boomtown, Ticket to Ride, and For Sale. Ticket to Ride is limited to five players, so Joel only gets to play when someone is not here; we have all six played For Sale in the past, and it plays equally well with five; and I’m thinking Boomtown might be playable by six, but haven’t seriously looked into what would have to be modified (e.g., number of cards in the deck). Our granddaughter Natalia joined us for a three-team game of Sequence, and then Joel read some of his book, while the other five of us played Scattergories.

Joel (2nd grade) had not played Boomtown, but had watched the five adults play twice, and he already knew how to play. Yes, he definitely knew how, because he won by a large margin: Joel – 81, Dan – 71, Sue – 67, Katrina – 60, and me (last) – 52. One saloon card came up about mid-game, and allowed Katrina some gold, but the other came up very late. Dan chose it, and Joel eliminated it on the next round with dynamite. Joel did not end up with a Mayor, but had collected so much gold on production rolls (he had a 7 card with a New Vein card on it, so on a 7 roll, he collected 9 gold, three times). Katrina grabbed the Governor early, which really paid off for her. Joel selected both Holdup cards, but collected zero gold on one and four on the other. Katrina held the Telegraph until the final round and helped herself a lot. I played both the Card Shark and the Stagecoach Robbery, but they weren’t enough to help me catch up. I also had the Mustang card, but did not use it wisely. Should have held it longer. This is a neat game that I believe we will play frequently.

This was Joel’s second time to play Ticket to Ride, and, as usual, he came out well – second place, just two ahead of Katrina. Sue won big, and I trailed far behind. I had the Seattle – New York ticket and almost finished it, but Sue ended the game while I needed one card to complete the last link. That negative score really set me back, especially since I had only two other tickets, both short north-south runs. It’s a fun game that we all enjoy.

Katrina won both games of For Sale; we’ve only played four times. It plays so quickly that we want to play two games each time. The scores of the first game were: Katrina – 67, Sue – 53, me – 48, Joel – 43, and Dan 41; second game: Katrina – 54, me – 53, Sue and Dan – 51, and Joel 43. It is so easy to play and very light. At the same time, there are the decisions about when to bid and how much, or when to take the low value property and save the money. The two different types of auction mechanics in the same game make it interesting. We probably will play it several times during the year.

Natalia had not played Scattergories before, but wanted to learn it, so we introduced her to it. After playing one game of three rounds, we decided to play another, with a different set of categories. I suggested that Natalia (4th grade) be allowed to write answers with either of two letters, the letter rolled on the die and either the letter of the alphabet before or after that letter, so she had more opportunity to think of something to fit the categories. That handicapping helped her and allowed her to enjoy the game more. It’s a little difficult to play that game with a mix of adults and children, but the handicap helped.

The Sequence game involved three teams: Dan and Joel, Natalia and Katrina, and Sue and me. It was a fairly close game, with Joel playing a Two-Eyed Jack to win the game for his team. There is no game that he does not do well at!

The four adults also played a couple of hands of The Last Card. This is a little-known card game (as of last week, there were only two people who claimed owning this game on BGG). The other owner of the game had written an excellent review of it on BGG, which got my attention. Our family had not really enjoyed the game, and I rated it very low. However, after reading the review, we found that we had interpreted a rule differently than the reviewer, so we decided to give his interpretation a try. We think it works better than our interpretation, so we will give it a try with Mason and see whether the game makes it back to our table some more. If we do indeed like it better, I will update my rating of it.

No new games made it out this weekend, because we almost never open a new one when one of the adults is absent – don’t want to give one person a big disadvantage, since we count wins and finishes. I was hoping we might go with Tongiaki again, with five of us, but the group decided to go with the lighter Scattergories and Sequence, especially to get Natalia more involved. I’m still looking forward to our remaining unplayed games – Cartagena, Station Master, Alhambra, Hacienda, and Australia.


--- Gerald … near Denver, Colorado; February 2006
aka gamesgrandpa -- A grandpa who is a mile high on gaming

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