Monday, January 29, 2007

Games Played January 27, 2007

One key to happiness – GAMES

We had a limited time for games on Saturday afternoon, but enjoyed what we did play.

We first played Elfenland, which I have extended with additional player pieces to accommodate 7 players, but Joel elected not to play, so we had the regular 6 players. It was a fairly tight game, and I thought I had a chance to tie for first or at least finish second, but Dan and Katrina came on strong in the last round to pass me. Results: Dan first; Katrina second; me third; Kassi fourth (first time to play this); Sue and Mason (tied) last. We all enjoyed it, and I believe we will see it played more this year.

Next up was a new game – Loot. Katrina was driving Natalia to a friend’s house at this time, and Dan and I played a couple of 2-hand games of Loot, while the rest of the group was bowling on the Wii. I had played Loot with a friend and won both 2-player games. I later took the game to a local game group night, played it 4-handed, and lost terribly. I beat Dan in both of our 2-player games today, but did not do well in the six-player game. I guess I should only play this one with a single opponent. Results: Kassi first; Dan second; Sue third; Mason fourth; me fifth; Katrina last.

We finished the afternoon with a game of Hunters & Gatherers, with 7 players. This was Dan’s day for gaming, and he pretty well left the rest of us in the dust on this one. Results: Dan first; Mason second; Sue third; Katrina fourth; me fifth; Joel sixth; Kassi last.

Dan won two of the games we played and finished second in the other one. A great day for him.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to play and count family games for the next two weekends, and I’m looking forward to trying more of our new, un-played games. Guess I’ll have to wait a while…

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

Monday, January 15, 2007

Summary of Family Gaming for 2006

One key to happiness – GAMES

During 2006, our family gaming group of 8 players played 31 different games a total of 136 times. We only count the games that all 6 adults play (5 adults early in 2006, before Kassi joined us). There were other games played, but not counted, when one or more adults were not present. Here is a summary of our year.

32 plays: Bohnanza
25 plays: Settlers of Catan
9 plays: Carcassonne
7 plays: Around the World in 80 Days
5 plays: Flea Circus; Through the Desert
4 plays: Alhambra; Boomtown; Hunters & Gatherers; Nertz; Ticket to Ride; Trumpet
3 plays: Royal Turf; Station Master
2 plays: Cartagena; For Sale; Frank’s Zoo; Marco Polo Expedition; Pickomino; Tongiaki
1 play: Australia; Canyon; Catego; Dragon’s Gold; Elfenland; Fill or Bust; Hacienda; Hearts; Hoity Toity; Mississippi Queen; Oh Hell

Game wins, including ties:
Mason ------ 32
Katrina ----- 27
Dan -------- 26
Sue --------- 24
Joel --------- 23
Gerald ------ 14
Natalia ------ 7 (Natalia played only a small number of games)
Kassi -------- 5 (Kassi joined us in September)

Points for game finishes, as a percentage of games played
Joel -------- 20.8%
Mason ------ 18.3%
Katrina ----- 17.4%
Natalia ----- 16.9%
Dan --------- 16.6%
Kassi -------- 15.2%
Sue --------- 14.3%
Gerald ------ 11.9%

This indicates that although Joel won only 23 games, compared to 32 for Mason, he finished better in a higher percentage of the games he did not win than did anyone who had more victories than he did. It could be argued that he was the most successful game player in the group, although he did not play as many games as the adults. The same reasoning shows Natalia as more successful than Dan, Kassi, Sue, or Gerald, for the number of games she played.

Notes (wins included ties for a win):
Dan was the only winner of Catego and Fill or Bust. He shared with most wins in Alhambra; Frank’s Zoo; Hunters & Gatherers; and Royal Turf.

Gerald was the only winner of Canyon and Dragon’s Gold. He shared with most wins in Elfenland.

Joel had the most wins in Bohnanza; Carcassone; For Sale; Tongiaki; and Trumpet. He shared with most wins in Hunters & Gatherers and Pickomino.

Kassi shared with most wins in Frank’s Zoo and Hunters & Gatherers.

Katrina had the most wins in Around the World in 80 Days; Station Master; and Through the Desert. She shared with most wins in Elfenland; Flea Circus; Hunters & Gatherers; Royal Turf; and Settlers of Catan.

Mason was the only winner of Australia; Oh Hell; Cartagena (2 times); Hoity Toity; Marco Polo Expedition (2 times); and Mississippi Queen. He shared with most wins in Alhambra; Pickomino; Royal Turf; and Settlers of Catan.

Natalia had the most wins of Nertz.

Sue was the only winner of Hearts. She had the most wins in Boomtown; Hacienda; and Ticket to Ride. She shared with most wins in Elfenland; Flea Circus; and Royal Turf.

Two games had a 4-way tie for most wins: Hunters & Gatherers (1 game each) and Royal Turf (1 game each). The only time we played Elfenland, it ended in a 3-way tie. Katrina and Mason both won Settlers of Catan 6 times. Joel had the highest number of wins in one game, with 9 victories in Bohnanza. We counted Nertz 4 times, and Natalia won 2 of them.

It was a great year of games, and we are certainly looking forward to at least as much fun in 2007.

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

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

Monday, January 01, 2007

Games Played December 30, 2006

One key to happiness – GAMES

We had a fun final day of gaming for 2006, playing six games (five different ones). Mason finished the year with a bang, winning three of the six games. Dan had hoped to catch Mason in total year wins, behind by only four at the beginning of the day, and tied with Katrina. But, Mason’s three wins sealed the title for him, and Katrina won a game (while Dan didn’t), so she finished second in number of wins for the year. And Kassi topped off the day with her fifth win since joining our family gaming group in the fall. It was a really neat day.

Here are our games played, alphabetically:

All 8 of us played Bohnanza, as we frequently do. We have played more games of Bohnanza than any other during the year, which reflects its popularity with us, as well as the fact that it plays great with 8 people. It looked like a fairly close game, until the very end, when Katrina pulled away from the group by a good margin. Results: Katrina first; Joel second; me third; Dan and Sue (tied) fourth; Mason sixth; Natalia seventh; Kassi last.

Carcassonne came out and was enjoyed much this year. Dan got on two large cities very early, but had terrible luck with them. One of them acquired two cathedrals and was connected to by Kassi and me, but we were unable to complete the city and got no points for it, while we each had two meeples tied up for much of the game. Dan’s other city was stolen by Joel, leaving Dan with almost no points for all that work. We played with The River II expansion, an item I received for Christmas, and enjoyed the additional small touches it added. I drew the river tile with pigs in the field and decided to take a chance on reaping some points with it. So, I placed a farmer on it immediately, a risky approach. Later, I added my own pig to the same field, and it was looking good, until Mason managed to connect a field he was on to it, and he had his monster meeple on his field, late in the game. I kept trying to connect two other fields, each with a meeple of mine, but could not get the final connecting tile before the end of the game. So, I had three farmers tied up for very little payoff. I didn’t do well, but Dan set a new low score record of 33. Oooh, bad day at Carcassonne! Results: Mason first; Katrina second; Joel third; Sue fourth; Kassi fifth; me sixth; Dan last.

A new game I received for Christmas was Pickomino. This game has been around for a while, but didn’t attract my interest until this year, when several people mentioned it as a good game for 7 players. It was fun! It played quickly, so we played it twice. Later, Natalia played it with Dan, Katrina, and Joel at their house, and she liked it, so we may be playing it with 8 players in the future. Game One Results: Mason first; Kassi and me (tied) second; Dan and Katrina (tied) fourth; Sue and Joel (tied) last. Game Two Results: Joel first (8 worms); Dan second; me third; Mason and Sue (tied) fourth; Katrina and Kassi (tied) last – with zero worms.

Royal Turf has long been a favorite of ours, and it was Kassi’s first time to play it. We play two races and total the money to determine the winner of a single game. Results: Mason first; me second; Katrina third; Sue, Dan, Joel (tied) fourth; Kassi last.

We finished the day and the year with our second most-popular game – Settlers of Catan. I finally got around to painting Kassi’s playing pieces purple, one of her favorite colors. The natural wood I had left them as originally looked very much like the white road pieces that Mason always uses, and it was a little confusing when their roads connected. I guess the paint job passed along some luck to Kassi. She managed to get the Longest Road fairly early, and no one got the Largest Army. With our special 7-player rules, we play to only a score of 7, so the game is fairly quick. I stole the Longest Road from Kassi, when her score was standing at 6, but she managed a great die roll on her next turn, re-took the Longest Road and placed another settlement, winning the game! Results: Kassi first; Dan second; Mason and Katrina (tied) third; Joel, Sue, and me (tied) last.

We had a great year of gaming. We modified a number of excellent games, to allow for 7-8 players, and we enjoy getting together almost every Saturday for lunch and games. What could be a more fun family tradition?

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