Saturday, May 20, 2006

Games Played May 20, 2006


One key to happiness – GAMES


Another fun family game day.

I convinced everyone to try Cartagena, for the first time. Well, Joel and I had played several 2-player games of this, and Dan and I had played a couple of times online, so only Sue, Katrina, and Mason were new to the game. It seemed to me that this could be a 6-player game, so I included some black dice as pirates for the sixth player. Of course, it took only a minute to explain the rules, and we were off to the races. I suggested that we play with only 4 pirates, each, since there were 6 players, and that worked out okay. It might even be better with 3, each, but we’ll see about that another time. With six players and 4 pirates, each, there were 24 markers on the board at the same time, at least for a short time. It was relatively easy for several or all players to get the first pirates to the boat, because of all the occupied spaces. As pirates made it to the boat, it became more difficult for the remaining markers, of course. I had some good cards and quickly got three of my four pirates to the boat, but I had trouble getting the right cards for the fourth pirate, and Mason just edged out the win. We decided it was best to continue playing until all but one pirate was in the boat, to determine the remaining places. However, we made that decision only after all of us had discarded our cards, so we just drew new cards in the same amount as we had been holding. Only Dan was hurt by this, as he drew worse cards than at least some of the ones he had been holding, which did not work well for him. Results: Mason first; me second; Joel third; Sue fourth; Katrina fifth, Dan last.

Since the game played so quickly, we decided to play another, before putting it away. Results: Mason first (I think he has a good grasp of this game, in only his first two times playing it); Katrina second; Joel third (again); Sue fourth (again); me fifth; Dan last (again). No one said too much about the game, either positive or negative. I’m sure we’ll play it again, especially when we need something quick to finish a day of gaming.

Naturally, we had to play Settlers of Catan, which seems to be a requirement of every game day. Surprisingly, Joel opted out, saying he was getting a little bored with this game. It was a very slow start for me, although I began on the numbers 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 11. You would think that was a good spread, but 2’s, 9’s, and 12’s came up fairly often, early in the game. After a couple of rounds, I was the only player who had not managed to build a single road. Most of the rest of the group had several roads, at least one additional settlement, and I think at least one city was on the board, before I built a road. How depressing! Eventually, I got rolling, collecting a VP card and even the Largest Army. On my last turn, I grabbed the Largest Army points and placed another settlement, which left me in third place, as Katrina won the game. Results: Katrina first; Mason second; me third; Dan fourth; Sue last.

Next, I pulled out Around the World in 80 Days. I really enjoy playing this game. It is an excellent game for 6 players. I started a little slowly, but accumulated some good cards. Eventually, I got rolling well, and was using fewer days than the rest of the group. However, people kept drawing the Delay and Storm cards, which moved us all along the “days” track more quickly than in any previous game we’ve played. I made it to San Francisco in reasonably good condition, and had nice matching train cards to get to New York, but things fell apart after that. I could not manage to get a second ship card with a small number that I needed, to finish under 80 days. Sue beat us all to London, followed by everyone else, except Dan and me. Neither of us could get ship cards, and kept losing days while cooling our heels in New York. I finally managed to move to London, but everyone went over 80 days, so Sue won the game. Results: Sue first (her first time to win this game); Mason second (notice a pattern here? first or second all day long); Katrina third; Joel fourth; me fifth; Dan last.

We finished with a 7-player game of Bohnanza. Once again, our son was at the top of the heap – unbelievable. Results: Mason first; Joel second; Katrina third; Dan fourth; Sue and me (tied) fifth; Natalia last (her luck has not been good, the last two times we’ve played this).

We have only one game remaining in our collection that we have never played – Australia. Unfortunately, it will be four weeks before we can get together again, and we probably won’t try that game until at least the end of June. By then, I will have a new game order in mind – wouldn’t want to run out of new challenges.

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

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