Monday, January 15, 2007

Catching Up - January 15, 2007

One key to happiness – GAMES

So far in 2007, we have played 10 games that counted on our family records, but I did not post here the results of January 6, so this will only cover the games we played on January 13, in alphabetical order. Mason is off to a fast start, winning half the games we have played.

We played our usual 8-player game of Bohnanza. We have played this game twice this year, and Joel has won both times. There was a lot of trading in this game, perhaps more than in most of our other games, for some reason. Poor Natalia could not get anything going and didn’t have good beans to trade at the right time, so she had a terrible game. I don’t think most of us had any idea that Joel had as much gold as he did, and we were surprised that he won the game. Results: Joel first; Sue second; Katrina and Kassi (tied) third; me fifth; Dan and Mason (tied) sixth; Natalia last.

We played Pickomino for the fourth time, and Kassi won this one. With 8 players, it seems normal for several players to finish with no worms (zero score), and this was no exception. Kassi won with 6 worms, and Sue, Joel, and I finished with zero. Results: Kassi first; Dan second; Mason third; Katrina fourth; Natalia fifth; Sue, Joel, me (tied) last.

It had been a long time since we played Pick Picknic, and had never played with 8 players. It was a wild game, and we learned that we needed to deal only four cards to each player, rather than five or six. We began the game with five cards each, but had to switch to four during the rounds. As foxes captured bird cards, the draw stack got very small before the end of the game, with a high percentage of them being foxes. Next time, we’ll start and play with only four per player each round. Results: Dan first; Kassi and Mason (tied) second; Joel fourth; me fifth; Katrina sixth; Natalia seventh; Sue last.

Settlers of Catan is still a favorite at our table. Surprisingly, Joel opted out this time, to play some computer games, so we played with six players and the regular rules. After the first two rounds (two turns for everyone at the table), I had not received any resource cards from the dice rolls. However, I did manage to do some trading and buy a development card. It was a Year of Plenty. I also rolled a seven, so I got to steal a card, and with that I bought another development card, which was also a Year of Plenty. In the meantime, almost everyone else was building roads and settlements, and I was feeling pretty lousy about the state of affairs. One of my problems was that I had ended up with settlements on two #4 Ore hexes. Suddenly, 4 began coming up on the dice rolls, and I gradually made some progress. I had a settlement on an 8 and on a 6, and it was about three rounds into the game before either was rolled. I managed to make some decent trades and continued to buy development cards. Throughout the game, I purchased seven development cards and received this amazing combination: 2 VPs, 2 Year of Plenty, 1 Road Building, 1 Monopoly, and 1 Soldier. That was what kept me in the game. Near the end, it was obvious that Mason, Katrina, and Dan all had 9 points; most of the players did not realize that I had 2 VP cards and was at 7. During the last round, it seemed certain that Dan would win, but he was low on resource cards, did not get a lucky roll, and no one would trade with him. On my previous turn, I had bought a Monopoly card and was watching the resource rolls closely. On my turn, I rolled a 4 (I was holding 10 Ore cards at the time and was scared I would roll a 7), which gave me four more Ore, and Katrina received two, in addition to those she already held. I knew some other players had Ore, so I played the Monopoly card. I ended that play with every Ore card in the game in my hand (none left in the draw stack), a first in any of our games, I believe. With some trades, I managed to build two roads, a settlement, and upgrade a settlement to a city. That gave me 9 points. I was holding three Ore cards and doing my best to trade, so I could buy another development card (at the end of the game, we discovered that the next development card was a VP, so I would have won the game with that purchase). But, I couldn’t get the win. Katrina was the next player, and she was really whining about my Monopoly card play, because she was holding the winning resources, until I stole all her Ore. She was not able to pull out the win on her turn. By the time the dice got back to Mason, I had managed to do another upgrade and had reached 10 points, but there were still Mason, Sue, and Dan to play before me. I thought I had a possible win, but Mason had a perfect dice roll for himself and won the game. Everyone was very surprised to learn that I had 10 points, which put me in second place. Results: Mason first; me second; Dan and Katrina (tied) third; Kassi fifth; Sue last.

Another game we had not played for a long time was Take It Easy. Kassi had not played, so it was new to her, and everyone decided to play. Results: Katrina first; Joel second; Kassi third; Dan and Sue (tied) fourth; me sixth; Mason seventh; Natalia last.

At one point of the day, Katrina decide to pass on playing the next game, so we got out Hare and Tortoise and taught Kassi the game. It was a close finish, with Mason winning just before Dan, followed by Sue, me, then Kassi. I like that game, but Katrina doesn’t, so it seldom gets to the table.

We are off to a fast start on games in 2007, with five games played and counted on each of the first two game days. Now, I’m looking forward to bringing out one of our new games – which one to do first? My choices are Ave Caesar, Silk Road, Drakon, Loot, or Top Dogs. Also, I want to play Dragon’s Gold again soon. I’m leaning toward Drakon next time we play. Unfortunately, next weekend is busy for everyone on other activities, so no game day for us. So many games, so little time – what a nice dilemma.

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


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