Sunday, December 17, 2006

Catching Up


One key to happiness – GAMES


We have been so busy since Thanksgiving that I haven’t had time to record our games. Well, maybe I’ve grown a little lazy, too. And, my memory isn’t what it used to be, so I’m not sure how many details from the last two weeks of gaming I can even recall. Perhaps I’m getting too old for this!

December 2, 2006

I’ll list the games we played, alphabetically, since I can’t recall the actual order in which they were played. Around the World in 80 Days is still one of my favorite games, and it is a lot of fun with 7 players. I do recall that it was an interesting finish. Sue had reached London just before me, with a total trip of 78 days. She, and almost everyone else assumed she had won, since everyone else had taken more than 80 days, and I was the last one coming in. I thought I might actually win, but too many Delay and Storm cards ate up my nice timetable. However, I managed to finish in 80 days, so I got second place, surprising everyone. Results: Sue first; me second; Katrina third; Kassi fourth; Dan fifth; Joel sixth; Mason last.

Seven-player Bohnanza is always a winner at our table. Results: Dan first; Joel, Sue, Kassi (tied) second; me fifth; Katrina sixth; Mason last.

We tried a new game -- Reiner Knizia’s game Catego just came to my attention, thanks to Mary (sodaklady on BGG). It’s a very simple dice game, and we gave it a try. It’s designed for 4 players, but (naturally) we tried it with 7. It needs a little tweaking for that many players. Mary had suggested playing with three dice, rather than two, and we believe that is a good idea. Next time we play this, we’ll use three dice and see how it works. In our first 7-player game, with two dice, the results were: Dan first (a runaway win); Mason second; me third; Joel, Katrina, Kassi, Sue (tied – no points) last.

We introduced Hunters & Gatherers to Kassi. It is a fairly quick game with 7 players, and we all enjoy it. Joel has always liked this game, and the results showed that. Results: Joel first; Katrina second; Sue and Dan (tied) third; me fifth; Mason sixth; Kassi last.

We got in a lot of games this day. Settlers of Catan was the other one. Dan and Mason continue their competition for the most wins of this game; today, Dan pulled ahead by one victory. Our modification of the rules and the addition of some components, to accommodate 7 players, is working well. Results: Dan first; Sue and me (tied) second; Joel, Mason, Katrina, Kassi (tied) last.

Wow, three last places for Mason – not his usual game day, although he did well in Catego.

December 9, 2006

Kassi’s daughter joined us today for one game, before going to her aunt’s house to help bake Christmas cookies. Andra is a delightful fifteen-year-old who fit right in with the group. Like her mother, she is a good card and game player. Of course, she was at a definite disadvantage, with 9 of us playing Trumpet, and this being her first time to play and to meet all of us. Trumpet is a good game for 2-9 players, and I think would be fine with 10. Results: Sue first; Kassi second; Dan third; Mason fourth; Katrina fifth; Natalia sixth; me seventh; Andra eighth; Joel last. It was a very tough game for Joel – the luck of the cards. He tied Dan’s record low score of being on the fourth space when the game ended. Of course, Dan is happy to have someone sharing his misery with that dubious honor.

After Andra left, we introduced Kassi to Carcassonne, a game we all enjoy. Results: Dan first (106 points); Katrina second (105); Mason third (88); Sue fourth (87); Kassi and me (tied) fifth (75); Joel last (73). It was a very tight finish, with Dan winning by one point; Mason and Sue were separated by only two points; and Joel just missed tying Kassi and me for fifth place.

We finished the day with Bohnanza. Results: Kassi first; Joel and Dan (tied) second; Mason and me (tied) fourth; Katrina fifth; Sue last.

December 16, 2006

We had time for only one group game today. We had a birthday party for Natalia and Joel at our house, following lunch. Joel turned 9 years old last week, and Natalia will be 11 next week. We brought out Hunters & Gatherers again. I think Kassi was interested in trying to improve her last-place finish in her first game of this, two weeks ago. Boy, did she ever! Results: Kassi first; Mason second; Dan third; me fourth; Sue fifth; Katrina sixth; Joel last.

After Mason and Kassi had to leave early, Dan, Katrina, Joel, and I played Scavenger Hunt for the first time. It is a funny game, with many similarities to Magic: The Gathering in play. But, the theme (scavengers fighting over animal carcasses) is quite unique. The mechanics work great with the theme, and I’m sure we’ll play this some more. It is designed for six players, but Sue has no interest in it, primarily because the theme turns her off. I could easily extend the game for 7 players, but I don’t believe there will be a need to do so. I think Mason would enjoy it, and maybe Kassi, too. We’ll find out some day. Unfortunately, I did not write down the order of finishing in this game, but I know Katrina won. Near the end, it appeared I might win, but Dan stole one of my carcasses, reducing my score. Then, it looked like Joel might win, and then Katrina. On the last round, Katrina grabbed a carcass and indicated she had won, but I interrupted her and played a Skullduggery card that made her return the carcass to the savannah, and we thought the game would continue. Then, Katrina played a Skullduggery card that allowed her to ignore my card, and she won the game! Quite a finish.

Finally, we opened Top Dog and tried it. After Dan, Katrina, Joel, and I played a game, Sue and Natalia joined us for another. As soon as I read the rules to this game, I immediately said to myself that it is very much like For Sale. Joel noticed the same thing as soon as we began playing. It is a fun, quick game, and I think we will play it as a filler, like we do For Sale. I will need to create another two decks of cards, to allow for 8 players, when I get time. Again, I didn’t keep a record of who won the games (I just know that I did not win either of them).

We acquired Scavenger Hunt and Top Dog (and Loot, which we have not played, yet) when Jason Little, of St. Louis, sold me his extra copy of BattleLore. I could not believe he was so generous as to include in the shipping box these three card games as gifts for us. What a fantastic surprise. And to top it off, he included the DVD movie Elf, one I had been considering purchasing. I think Jason is Santa Claus’s disguise in real life, but I don’t know how Santa had time to pretend to be Jason at this time of year. If you are reading this, Jason, we again thank you very, very much. We expect to get much enjoyment out of the card games and the movie, and Dan and Joel are certainly looking forward to opening BattleLore soon.

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

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