Friday, March 31, 2006

Games Played March 25, 2006


One key to happiness – GAMES


Another great day of family gaming – well, except for one thing: I NOW HAVE THE DUBIOUS HONOR OF OWNING THE LONGEST LOSING STREAK FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY, SINCE WE STARTED KEEPING RECORDS OVER FIVE YEARS AGO!! Ahhh --- got that out of my system.

The good news is that we did play a new game – Alhambra. It went over very well; everyone seemed to enjoy it. I think it will see more playing time this year. I consider it a simpler version of Princes of Florence. When I mentioned that, Katrina suggested we should play PoF again. I know she won PoF the second time we played it (Sue won the only other time we played), but I didn’t realize she actually liked it that much. So, maybe I’ll pull out PoF soon. Back to Alhambra – we had no problems with the rules (assuming we didn’t misunderstand anything). We did have to remind ourselves at the end of the game that each player got points for his/her longest stretch of castle wall, rather than only one person getting the points, as in Ticket to Ride’s longest stretch of track. I’m glad everyone liked it; I think it will be a good game for the family. Results: Mason first place with 81 points; Katrina second; me third; Sue fourth; Joel fifth; Dan last. Dan usually either wins a new game the first time we play, or is in last place – one extreme or the other. If he doesn’t win it the first time out, he probably will soon be the winner. He has a good sense of game strategy. At the same time, Mason is just really difficult to beat at any game, and he often does well on the first time for a new game. He continues to have a big lead in overall victories in our family gaming records.

All seven of us played Bohnanza, with the usual fun time. Natalia finally won a 7-player game of this. She always does well, but has never been the winner before, so it was a neat victory for her. Results: Natalia first; Joel second; Katrina third; Mason, Dan, Sue, and me (tied) fourth. It was a very interesting finish. The two youngest players finished first and second, with Katrina right behind them, and with the rest of us tied for fourth.

Carcassonne remains a family favorite, with frequent plays. This time, it was a female game, with Katrina and Sue leading the way. The usual winners are Mason and Dan, but the women are gaining on them. Results: Katrina first; Sue second; me third; Dan fourth; Mason fifth. Mason very rarely finishes last in any game, so this was quite a surprise. What happened to the usual winners? Well, they each started building a city, and the cities were very near each other. Soon, they were connected, and the fellows figured they would build a huge metropolis and score bigtime. Unfortunately for them, their city was built around an empty space that needed to be filled in order to complete it. Guess which two players could never draw the right tile, while the rest of us drew those tiles often. Naturally, none of us gave any serious thought to finishing it for them. Because the city contained a cathedral (playing with the Inns and Cathedrals expansion, as we always do), the incomplete city garnered absolutely no points for them, and tied up meeples for both of them. Lesson learned, -- maybe…

An offer to play Nertz (the game we call Hell, because that’s the title we learned when we were taught this game) brought Natalia to the table again. This is one of her favorite games. Although she usually does well, she had never won a 7-player game of this. Ah, but it was her game this time. Results: Natalia first; Joel second; Katrina third; Mason and Sue tied fourth; me sixth; Dan last. Another challenging game with the two youngest players in first and second, and their mother third. Hmmmmmmm – what are the odds?

It seems we can rarely have a game day without Settlers of Catan, and this was no exception. Mason and Dan “own” this game – they each have won it 16 times; Katrina was in third place for victories with 6, while Sue and I have 5 each, and Joel has 2. I’m fairly certain this is Mason’s favorite game, and he really wants to pull ahead of Dan again in victories. So, he always wants to play Settlers. But, this was Katrina’s day to win. I was surprised to find I was in second place when it was all over; I didn’t think I was doing that well. Results: Katrina first; me second; Mason, Sue, Dan tied third; Joel last. Joel has won this game twice, playing against the adults, but it has been a while since he last won. He does enjoy the game, though.

I sort of forced everyone to play Tongiaki again. I like this game, although I haven’t studied it enough to know how to play it well. The first time we played (in February), Joel and Katrina tied for first. This time, Katrina finished last ------- but Joel won it again. Unfortunately, Katrina says she doesn’t really like this game, so it may not be on the “often-played” list for us. Oh well… Results: Joel first; Sue second; Dan and me (tied) third; Mason fifth; Katrina last.

The finishes were interesting. Mason won one game, which was unusual only in that he usually wins more than one. Natalia won two, Katrina won two, and Joel won one. Sue, Dan, and I could finish no better than second place in any game. The amazing news for Natalia was winning two games she had not won in the past -- great day for her. Unfortunately for me, I haven’t yet won a family game that counts in the records in 2006. Surely, surely this losing streak must end!

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

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