Sunday, March 05, 2006

Games Played March 4, 2006


One key to happiness – GAMES


On Saturday, we were celebrating three family birthdays from the past week – Sue, Mason, and Dan. We went out for a delicious Chinese meal (P.F. Chang’s) and returned to the house for gifts and games.

My win streak for 2006 remains unmarred – ZERO wins! In fact, I finished dead last in the first three games we played yesterday. Either the competition in this family is getting tougher, or I’m just losing it.

We decided to let the birthday celebrants select the first three games. Dan chose Through the Desert, having just won online, for the first time, against three other players. Today’s game was very close, except for my finish. I got sidetracked early in the game, trying to create the longest purple caravan and enclose a nice area. I ended up with absolutely no territory enclosed and lost the purple caravan to Mason. It appears I played the game with tunnel vision, and my score reflected my poor play. Results: Mason, Dan, Katrina tied with 53; Sue – 50; me – 34. I suspect my score will forever be the record low in our five-player games. Terrible start for the day – but it didn’t get much better.

Sue chose Ticket to Ride for the second game. I still hold the record high score in this game for our family, but this was not my day to lay track. My initial tickets were for values of 4, 7, and 8 points – not a good omen. By the time I drew tickets later in the game, two of them were impossible for me to complete, and the third one was another short north-south line. I did complete all my tickets, and I ended the game by using all my trains, but almost all my lines were short ones, and the ticket values were very little help. Results: Sue – 128; Mason – 122; Dan – 114; Katrina – 106; me – 91. I didn’t even make it all the way around the scoring track!

Mason chose the third game, which was no surprise – Settlers of Catan. Mason and Dan have a real competition going in this game, and with Mason’s win, they both have 16 victories. Katrina has 6, while Sue and I have 5 each. On the last round of the game, Mason had something like 19 resource cards in his hand. Even if he rolled a seven on his turn, he still would have had enough resources to win the game. Dan was the next player in line after Mason, and he was ready to add The Largest Army to his Longest Road points and win the game on his turn. Results: Mason – 10; Dan – 8; Joel – 6; Sue, Katrina, and me – 5. Joel had a development card VP, which put him in third place. That’s better than his finishes the last two times; he may be coming back from a slump.

Natalia then joined us for a game of Nertz. I have played Nertz since I was in high school, but I have really lost interest in it in recent years. I generally will play, because it’s one of the few games all seven of us play together. I just didn’t have any interest in it yesterday, so I took some photos of the gameplay, while the six of them played. They didn’t keep score – just played several rounds for the fun of it. As I recall, Joel won the last three hands.

We had time for a short game of something to finish the day, and I mentioned that we hadn’t played any regular five–player card games in a while. We finally settled on Hearts. Because of the fairly short time limit, we decided that 75 would be the losing score. About mid-way through the game, I had a chance to run the hearts, so I gave it a try. On the last trick, my 9 of Spades was caught by the 10 of Spades, and someone else had saved a heart to put on the trick. I got 25, and someone else got 1. Later in the game, I had another chance for a run and took it. On the last trick, my 8 of Clubs was caught by the Jack of Clubs, again with one heart on the trick. On the very next hand, I once again had a chance, took it, and managed to run the hearts. By giving everyone else 26 points, that ended the game. I had not checked the scores beforehand, so I was surprised to find that Sue won the game by 4 points, even after adding the 26 to her score. She usually beats me at card games, and did so again. At least, I didn’t finish last in every game for the day!

We didn’t try any new games this time, giving everyone a rest from the pressure of learning a new set of rules. I may bring out one of the remaining un-played games next weekend. I am looking forward to all of them. Maybe I’ll get lucky and win my first game of the year; hope springs eternal…

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

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