Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving Holiday Gaming


One key to happiness – GAMES


We had the entire family at our house for Thanksgiving Day and for the Saturday after Thanksgiving, plus my wife’s mother was with us. Some years, we have convinced her to play some games with us, but she is 98 years old now, and she said she would prefer to watch. She is a very active, healthy, and sharp lady, and although she did not want to play our games, she did watch, ask questions, and even gave some advice now and then. We decided to play games that she knew or would enjoy watching, so our lineup included simpler card games, except we did play Settlers of Catan once.

Thanksgiving Day
We started with several wild games of Nertz. With 8 players, the large dining table is the center of a madhouse, with cards flying through the air in a frenzy. I was always at one end of the table, and it was virtually impossible to play on card stacks at the other end. It was not unusual to have as many as three players trying to play the same card on the same stack at the same time, which always brought howls of laughter and/or pain. With 8 players, the game is so chaotic that we choose not to count the scores in our records. It is simply a crazy, fun time that we all enjoy. Sue’s mother taught her this game when she was a young girl. Her mother (and we) later taught our kids (Katrina and Mason), and more recently, she (and all of us) taught our grandchildren how to play. I also learned the game when I was a teenager, so it is one that has a lot of family history for us, with Sue’s mother involved in passing it along to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. As we were playing today, she was sitting by me, and she occasionally pointed out to me that I had missed a play. Quite amazing for a 98-year-old!

We played two games of Frank’s Zoo. We do not play with the “lion” rules, but only with the basic rules. With 7 players, we have only a few cards in hand, and it is not uncommon to have singles only. However, Dan was the first player in the first game, and he had four elephants and three of something else. By playing those sets first, he was out (winning the game) very quickly. The second game was closer, with no more than two of a kind played at any time. Results of Game One: Dan first; Joel second; me third; Kassi fourth (her first time to play, and we didn’t even do a good job of explaining the game in advance – she is an excellent game player); Mason fifth; Sue sixth; Katrina last. Results of Game Two: Kassi first (she certainly learned this game quickly); Katrina second; Mason third; Joel fourth; Sue fifth; Dan sixth; me last (couldn’t get rid of a mouse).

The only other game we had time for was Bohnanza. Natalia chose not to join us, even for Bohnanza, which was a little surprising. Results: Joel first; Dan, Katrina, and Kassi (tied) second; me fifth; Mason sixth; Sue last.

It wasn’t our usual day of gaming, but it still was fun.

Saturday
We had a little more time for games today. We even went outside for a game of Bocce, before starting inside games. We again played Bohnanza, and again Natalia chose not to play. Results: Dan first; Mason and me (tied) second; Joel, Katrina, and Sue (tied) fourth; Kassi last.

We played three games of Circus Flohcati, counting the combined scores as one game for our records. Natalia did join us for this one, but she really wasn’t in a good mood for games. Results: Sue first; Kassi second (her first time at this game); me third; Joel fourth; Mason fifth; Dan sixth; Katrina seventh; Natalia last.

Settlers of Catan was our final game of the day, and we were testing our new revised rules, to allow for 7 players. The modifications worked well (at least I thought so, since I won). Results: Me first; Joel, Dan, and Mason (tied) second; Sue and Kassi (tied) fifth; Katrina last. Our rules changes for 7 players will be described in a future article here.

We are expecting to get back to our normal game day agenda next Saturday, and 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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