Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Christmas Carol for Gamers

It’s almost Thanksgiving here in America, which marks the beginning of Christmas carol season in my house. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, I’m allowed to play Christmas music to my heart’s content, then back on the shelf they go. So in keeping with the season, I’ve come up with a gamer’s version of The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire).

M’nop’ly roasting on an open fire,
Choices nipping at your mind,
Many friends and comfortable attire.
Here’s Christmas of a gamer’s kind.

Everybody knows some meeples and some wooden bits
Help to make the season bright.
Grown up tots with their eyes all aglow
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.

They know that Santa’s on his way,
He’s loaded lots of card- and board games on his sleigh.
And every Euro-geek is gonna smile
Because he has enough games now for awhile.

And so I’m offering you this simple phrase
To gamers from 1 to 92.
Although it’s been said in many languages and ways:
Happy Gaming to you.
- - - - - - -
Since I’m thinking about Christmas music, I’d like to recommend the Trans-Siberian Orchestra to anyone who hasn’t already discovered this amazing group. Each album tells a story through the songs which are a mixture of traditional and original compositions with some wonderful arrangements. My favorite is Christmas Eve and Other Stories which tells the story of an angel who is sent to Earth by God to bring back “the one thing that best represents everything good that has been done in the name of this day.”


I’m in the middle of my second game of Amun-Re online at Spielbyweb. I’ve never played before and I’m completely smitten with this game. (Yes, Kane, I should have listened to you long ago!)

For someone who keeps insisting that she doesn’t like auction/bidding games, I keep running into games that have something unique in them that makes the auction/bidding not only acceptable but fun. Now I have to modify my statement to read “I don’t like once-around bidding games.” Unless I’m the last to bid, I find I’m either being outbid or I bid some ridiculous amount just to finally acquire something. I need to work my way up to the point where I have to decide if $X is too much or does Freddie want this enough to bid even more; I can’t determine how much something is worth with any reliability in just one bid.

Amun-Re’s bidding system is very interesting and also allows for some bluff, if you’re willing to take a chance. Besides that, you’re also faced with some information to help you judge the worth of a province to you and to your opponents, so you’re not just taking a blind stab. Now I can ask myself “how much can you afford to bid and still have enough money to build your province into a money-making point-getter?” “Do you have a card that would make a province worth the extra cost to acquire?” “Are your opponents in the same quandary or are they just being belligerent?”

Yes, this game is tough, interesting and fun and I’m very glad I had the chance to try it out online or I most likely would never buy it. Now it’s very high on my want list and I can’t wait to play it face to face.
Until next time, safe sailing on whichever sea you find yourself.



gamesgrandpa said...

We do the same with Christmas music. We usually decorate the tree on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and listen to Christmas music all day.

Now, about Amun-Re. As you know, we are in the same "first-time" game together. The difference is that you are doing well, while I'm totally embarrassing myself. I probably am setting a record for the worst first playing ever. Boy, would I like to start over.... But, like you, I also find this game fascinating and will definitely play again (better, hopefully). Some games I catch onto, and some I don't.

gamesgrandpa said...

I forgot to compliment you on the song lyrics. Nice job!

Rick said...

Now I hope it is clear that Gola's advice be followed: Crap in they neighbor's weaving hut, before he craps in yours.

See you along the Nile!