Friday, March 24, 2006

Games Played March 17-20, 2006

One key to happiness – GAMES

Our family (except for Mason) went to Estes Park, Colorado, for the weekend, with the beginning of school spring break for Dan, Katrina, Natalia, and Joel. We stayed in a really neat cabin and had a great time, including playing a number of games. I managed to win two games, but they won’t count on our family statistics, since Mason wasn’t there. Oh, well…

Natalia is not our big game-enthusiast, but she did play For Sale (three times), Bohnanza, and Fill or Bust with us. Friday night was Natalia’s first time to play For Sale, and she had “beginner’s luck.” In the first game, she and Dan tied for first, Joel and Sue tied for third, Katrina was fourth, and I was last (not a good start for me for the weekend). The second game of For Sale resulted in Natalia winning outright, with Dan second, Joel and Sue tied (again) for third, Katrina was fourth, and guess who was last (again). We played the third game of For Sale two days later, and the outcome was quite different. Sue was first, Katrina and I tied for second, Natalia was fourth, and Dan was last (Joel didn’t play that time). I think Natalia will be willing to play this game whenever we are playing it. Too bad we can’t play with seven players, although I suppose we could take out a few property and check cards and make it work (I’ll have to think about that). We do find that many games designed for a maximum of five players can be fun with six or even seven, and we like to include everyone who is interested in playing.

Saturday afternoon, Dan, Joel, and I decided to take on Lord of the Rings Risk. Now, I am definitely not a fan of regular Risk, and I’ve not had an opportunity to play any other Risk variation, but I do find LotR Risk an okay game. Well, of course I like it – I won the game, with Joel second and Dan last. We played with the Ring moving to Mount Doom and ending the game when it reached there. Several times during the game, the Ring only moves if a die roll is 3 or higher. The Ring progressed steadily until it was ready to be destroyed at the end. Joel rolled the die each time for the Ring movement, and unbelievably he rolled a 2 three times in a row with the game ready to end, so we played three more rounds than we expected to. A lot of desperate battles took place in those three rounds, and I was lucky enough to be the last player of the rounds, so when Joel finally rolled something higher than a 3, I managed to win. By that time, we were all ready for it to be over!

We were expecting and got about 4 or 5 inches of snow Saturday night and Sunday, so we had planned to spend most of the day in the cabin. We did go outside, built a snowman, had a long snowball fight, walked along the river for a ways, and then returned to game playing. However, before we ventured out, Dan, Katrina, and Joel played Through the Desert. Results: Dan, Katrina, Joel. Joel has really gotten interested in TtD, although he has only played a couple of times. So, he and Dan played a game later, and Joel won 114-100. He is really some game-player!

After having fun in the snow, we played Ticket to Ride. I drew some lucky tickets, for a change, and managed to have almost no competition in the west. Dan and Katrina seemed to be constantly blocking each other in their efforts to complete tickets. Poor Joel had all kinds of problems making the connections he needed, and ended with a couple of tickets not completed, which really hurt his score. Results: I was first, Sue was second, Katrina was third, Dan was fourth, and Joel was last, and none of our scores were close; we were really spread out on the scoring track. Usually, we have much closer scores; you just never know how these games are going to end up, which keeps them interesting to us.

Natalia joined us for a 6-player game of Bohnanza. As usual, it was a wild game, with lots of constant trading going on. Talk about a tight game – Sue, Natalia, and Katrina tied for first, I was fourth, Joel was fifth, and Dan was last. What is this – a females’ game? It certainly was that time, anyway.

We’ve taken a liking to Boomtown (well, Katrina says she doesn’t like it that much, but she usually wins or finishes highly). Joel really enjoys it, and the results reflected that. Joel was first, Katrina was second, Dan was third, I was fourth, and Sue was last.

We decided to try Fill or Bust. It had been a long time since we last played it. Joel hit a 1-2-3-4-5-6 straight to end the game, although I almost managed to beat him on my last turn, before busting. Result: Joel was first, I was second, Natalia was third, Sue was fourth, Katrina was fifth, and Dan was last.

The last game I recall being played was a 2-player game of Carcassonne: The City, between Dan and Katrina. They both enjoy that game and play it from time to time. In this one, Katrina was the winner.

We didn’t all play the same number of games, and it was certainly not a sweep of victories for anyone. During the weekend, these were our finishes:

Joel – 3 firsts, 1 second, 3 thirds, 2 fifths
Natalia – 3 firsts, 1 third, 1 fourth
Katrina – 2 firsts, 3 seconds, 1 third, 3 fifths
Dan – 2 firsts, 3 seconds, 2 thirds, 1 fourth, 1 fifth, 1 sixth
Sue – 2 firsts, 1 second, 2 thirds, 1 fourth, 1 fifth
Me – 2 firsts, 2 seconds, 2 fourths, 2 sixths

Everyone won at least 2 games, which was really neat. We are very evenly balanced in our game-playing, which makes our three-generation games lots of fun.

So, it was a great weekend, with good home-cooked food, fun in the snow, and lots of time spent reading and playing games. The last time we did this, most of us were sick for most of the weekend, so we were very happy that we all stayed healthy this time.

Okay, I need to get into the right frame of mind for tomorrow’s family gaming. If I don’t win a game tomorrow, I will own the worst losing streak in our family gaming history! I’ve been thinking about what game to suggest, to end my losing streak. The game I hardly ever lose is Hugger-Mugger, but there’s no chance of that one making the table tomorrow, since Mason is not a fan of it, and I don’t think Sue and Katrina really care too much for it. Oh, well, maybe luck will come my way in some other game…

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


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