Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thanksgiving Weekend

Our Thanksgiving day was a little different this year because both of my kids spent the day with the families of the people they’re dating. Instead, my husband invited a co-worker and his wife, who were going to be alone for the holiday. Bo and Kathy are not gamers but they enjoy playing games so, of course, in the back of my mind were plans to introduce them to something more enjoyable than Bunco.

Luckily, the day was nice so while the men were keeping a wary eye on the turkey deep-frying in the driveway, I asked Kathy if she likes card games. When she said she did, I brought out Lost Cities.

I’m the first to admit that I’m not the greatest rules explainer; I almost always forget something until an instance comes up to prompt that memory cell in my brain. For this first-time gamer, I wanted to get it right so I kept to the theme—exploration expeditions. From experience, I also know that some rules don’t make it past the listener’s ears until they can see how they work while playing the game so I often point out options or how certain rules work during the first game. This worked very well and I’m pleased to say I didn’t mess up the rules at all. Kathy liked the game well enough that I’m adding a copy to my next game order for her.

After our turkey feast I set up Around the World in 80 Days, another very thematic game which is easy to play but seems to have a lot of rules to explain to a pair of brand new gamers. I was a little leery of starting them with this one but the truth is I’d rather take a chance on this than play the easier-to-explain Ticket to Ride.

Again, keeping to the theme and reinforcing rules as we took our first couple of turns worked very well. These are the first people I’ve introduced to strategy games that actually were impressed and a little surprised that there are games that let you make decisions. We had a lot of fun playing—imagine 2 long-married couples that know how to tease each other and laugh about it. Kathy would have liked to play again but she had to be to work at 4:30 for the After Thanksgiving Day Sale.

Just as they were leaving, another truck pulled into the driveway—our old friends from Omaha whom we hadn’t seen in about 7 years, Wade and Rosa with their 5-year-old, Leah. They were going to stay until Sunday and after 2 days of catching up and telling enough airplane and motorcycle stories to bore 2 wives to tears, I decided to show off my obsession on Saturday evening.

I again chose Around the World in 80 Days since it had had such a good reception on Thursday. The rules explanation went smoothly and they picked it up in no time although Wade is like me in that it doesn’t quite make sense until you’ve seen it through the first time. He was first to London but it took it him ~97 days. Rosa did well, arriving in 81 days with me right behind at 79 days. Poor Richard got shut out but would have reached London the next turn in 82 days.

We took a pie break (coconut cream, mmmm) and played a second time. This time Wade was a lot more careful but it still took him one more day than the next player, Rosa, who had 81 again. I took 78 days but the winner was decided 2 turns earlier when Richard reached London in 67 days!

The next morning before they left, Rosa asked where I got my games. I wrote down a couple of online addresses and included the BGG site, of course.

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend even if we hadn’t gotten to play any games but the success of AtWi80D was just whipped cream on the pumpkin pie.


Gerald McD said...

How neat! Sounds like you are a successful proselytizer (had to look up the spelling). What a nice gift to give your friends -- a new view of games.

I'm glad to hear that Around the World in 80 Days worked well with first-timers. I agree that it's more fun than Ticket to Ride, by a long ways.

Fraser said...

67 days! I don't think we have been near that.

Gerald McD said...

Our record score is 69 days, by our daughter. Your 67 was amazing.