Saturday, August 12, 2006

Games Played August 12, 2006


One key to happiness – GAMES


This was a very relaxed day for us. Dan offered to grill his delicious, famous teriyaki burgers, while Katrina fixed two great salads, baked beans, and a fresh fruit/cookie pizza for dessert. After the lunch, we played a little ping-pong in their basement and then went outside for a game of bocce. Dan won the bocce game, barely beating Sue, and we went inside for some boardgames. First up was Ticket to Ride. I thought I was doing pretty well, but did not draw enough tickets to gain enough points; I had only three tickets at the end of the game. Dan drew tickets for the great east-west connections along the Canadian border, and no one contested him for the routes. I had a ticket for San Francisco to Atlanta, which I completed, but my other two tickets were for shorter north-south runs. Katrina had a long southern route. Mason was thwarted at several connections. He drew quite a few tickets, but was not able to complete two of them, for a minus 19 points. Dan easily had the longest train. Results: Dan first (133 points); Katrina second (98); Sue third (95); me fourth (93); Mason last (77). Mason has won this game four times, but also holds the record low score of 25. This was the first time Dan has ever won this game, which we began playing over a year ago. His score of 133 was very close to my record high of 142. It was a fast game today.

We have played Canyon three times as a group, with Katrina, Mason, and me the winners of those games. It’s been over a year since we all last played this together, and I brought it out today. We have modified the scoring of this game to a considerable degree. We firmly believe that trick-taking games like this one should offer people the same opportunity to score well, regardless whether they are dealt high or low cards. The important challenge is to be able to evaluate your hand and accurately predict how many tricks you will catch. We agree that if you bid zero tricks and catch no tricks, you are as successful as someone who bids four and catches them. Therefore, we do not believe that bidding and catching more tricks should allow you to move further down the river than if you bid low and catch the correct number. We allow each player to move his canoe four spaces, if he catches the number of tricks he bid. If he is off by one trick, he moves two spaces, and if off by more than one, he moves one space (essentially drifting with the current). Naturally, we also modified the movement within the rapids area. An accurate bid gives a player two spaces; otherwise, the canoe drifts one space, as indicated on the board. This has worked very well for us. Today’s game had a tight finish. Mason and I both were in a position to win the game on the last hand, but I got my bid and Mason didn’t get his. So, I pulled it out. Results: Me first; Katrina and Mason (tied) second; Sue fourth; Dan fifth; Joel last.

The next game was Bohnanza. This was one of our closer finishes in this game. With seven players, only three gold separated the winner from last place. Results: Natalia first (11 gold); Katrina and me (tied) second (10); Mason, Sue, Dan (tied) fourth (9); Joel last (8). This is now the most-played game in our collection, over the past five years, with 95 counted games.

Mason had to leave after Bohnanza, and Natalia wanted to play Inklings with us. Joel opted out, and we tried to select cards that had answers we believed Natalia would have a good chance of identifying. Results: Sue first (108); Katrina second (107); me third (97); Dan fourth (95); Natalia last (69). The game is fun, but it’s really not fair for a ten-year-old to try to compete with adults in this game. Natalia did a good job of writing her clues, but it’s hard for her to grasp some of our clues. Still, we all enjoyed it. I expect she will get better and better at such games as this, as she completes each grade in school. She certainly enjoys the challenge of word games, which is neat to see.

We plan to be at our house next weekend. We have not been able to have the family here for lunch for quite a while, because of all the work being done on our home. The last major contractor has finished, and Sue and I hope to have the furniture and everything back in place in all the rooms before next weekend. That will be very nice. Now, we have to decide what to have for lunch, and I have to see whether I have time this week to prepare to teach Australia to the group by next Saturday. (Here’s hoping.)

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

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