Sunday, September 24, 2006

Games Played September 23, 2006


One key to happiness – GAMES


Mason was out of town this weekend, so our gaming didn’t count in our family records. However, the rest of us had a lot of fun, playing a lot of quick games. We managed to play seven games of 5 or 6 players on Saturday afternoon. We usually get in maybe four, at most, but those are more complicated games that take longer to play. Alphabetically, these are the games we played.

All six of us played Bohnanza. Sue was one of the first of us to score gold, and she harvested enough beans for 8 gold in one turn! Wow! She won with a score of 13, while Katrina was last with 3. I do not recall a wider score spread in this game for us. Results: Sue first; Dan second; Natalia third; me fourth; Joel fifth; Katrina last.

Flea Circus is a very quick-playing game, and this was no exception. I usually do okay in this game, but really couldn’t get going this time. Results: Katrina first; Joel second; Dan third; Sue and me (tied) last.

We hadn’t played Hunters & Gatherers for a while, and Joel asked for it. He really likes this game and plays it very well; in fact, he ran away with it. On one of the very last turns, he managed to connect a valley where he had placed the “stonehenge” piece to a large valley where I had managed to outnumber Dan, when I had connected two of my valleys. Joel stole the huge valley from me, after I had stolen it from Dan. That pretty well eliminated me from being competitive in this game. Results: Joel first; Katrina second; Sue third; Dan fourth; me last.

We were trying to think of games we had not played for some time and games that did not take long to play. One of those was Pick Picknic, an extremely light and fast game. I have always enjoyed this game. It looked like Sue had wrapped up the scoring, until the last round. I managed to play a fox of the same color that Dan, Joel, and Katrina had played birds, so I collected the value of their cards, and barely won the game. Results: Me first; Sue second; Dan third; Katrina fourth; Joel last.

Joel really enjoys Ticket to Ride, but doesn’t usually get to play, since it allows only five players. Whenever one of us is not at gameday, he asks for TtR. This game played fairly quickly, and Katrina just whipped us all badly, with the longest train and a handful of completed tickets. Results: Katrina (high score of 143); Sue second (score of 113); Joel third; Dan fourth; me last (score of 84). Oh, that hurt! Also, in the family gaming records of games that count, I hold the high score of 142, and Katrina topped that (too bad it doesn’t count – whew!).

Trumpet is another reasonably quick game, especially with six or seven players. Natalia decided to join us, so we had six this time. This is a fun game, and I was very fortunate to be dealt Trumpet cards often and at the right time. On the last hand, Sue was three spaces from winning, and I was one behind her. On one of the first tricks, Dan played a Trumpet card to take a trick. I was sitting like the cat that ate the canary with two Trumpet cards in my hand and a couple of good trumps. I used a Trumpet card to leap over Sue, after having to follow suit and losing two tricks, leaving me with some good trumps and another Trumpet. I won the next trick with a high trump, and then led the last Trumpet to the final trick, to win the game. I had a good lead late in the game, but couldn’t draw a decent hand for several rounds. Sue passed me, and Dan and Katrina were gaining rapidly, before I got a couple of good hands. It was a tight finish. Results: Me first; Sue second; Dan third; Katrina fourth; Natalia fifth; and Joel last.

Another game we had not played in a long time was Vampire, the Kinizia card game. I have mixed emotions about this game, but I will play it when someone wants to. I really prefer it as a 3- or 4-hand game. Maybe it was a “senior moment,” but I totally forgot how to play this game, and had to be reminded of the rules. My play reflected my memory loss, too. Results: Joel first; Sue second; Dan third; Katrina and me (tied) last.

It was a fun day of family gaming, once again. Late in the afternoon, Katrina and Sue took Natalia to a friend’s birthday party and sleep-over, and then the two of them went shopping. That gave Joel, Dan, and me a chance to play Memoir ’44 for the first time. I purchased the game earlier this month and managed to play two times, solitaire. That’s not really too hard for me, with my poor memory. I can repeatedly switch sides of the table, easily forgetting the cards on the other side each time. I found the game to have lots of possibilities and looked forward to playing against an opponent. Dan and Joel are big fans of HeroScape, and I used to play wargames many years ago. The Memoir ’44 rules were easy for all of us to grasp quickly. Joel and I set up as the Axis, with Dan as the Allies side. After we set up the first scenario (Pegasus Bridge), I went through the rules at a fast pace. Both Dan and Joel frequently commented that many of the rules were very similar to HeroScape. I expected Dan to win the game, but thought it would be a good learning experience for Joel, with me to point out things on the cards as we went. Joel caught on to everything extremely quickly, based on his highly successful play of HeroScape. Very soon, he was suggesting which card we should play and how we should order the units, and I could seldom recommend anything I thought was better than his ideas. Fortunately, I left the dice-rolling up to Joel, and he has amazing luck with dice. It was not long before we won the game, much to my surprise, and primarily due to the dice rolls. Dan made no mistakes that I was aware of, but couldn’t get the dice rolls that Joel could.

We decided to play the same scenario, with the same sides, a second time. This time, Dan won, but (just for fun, of course) Joel rolled the dice that we had planned, based on the card we were going to play. His roll would have won the game for us, if Dan had not barely beat us.

Dan emailed me today that he and Joel played four more times today, using three other different scenarios, and Joel won three of the four, again with his dice rolls. I believe he understands the game well. We hope to introduce Mason to Memoir ’44 this year and play with two teams. I’m looking forward to it.

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

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