Saturday, January 07, 2006

Gaming in 2005

Ah the New Year and my first blog. Firstly, my thanks go to the team for the invitation to join them. Since it is the start of 2006, I thought I would talk about what games I played in 2005 and who I played them with. (Note that Melissa calls Daughter the Elder "Biggie" and Daughter the Younger "Otto")

In 2005, I logged 725 plays of 123 distinct games. 88 of those games had not been played by me in 2004 and thus could classify as new games.

In 2004, I logged 302 plays of 66 distinct games. 31 of those games did not get a repeat play in 2005, although it is fair to mention that they only accounted for 20% of the total number of plays.

What didn't get a repeat play in 2005 and why?
  • They were owned by someone else:
    Loco!, Barabarossa, Doom, Goldbrau, Honor of the Samurai, Master Labyrinth, Odin's Ravens, Oh Pharoah, Pizarro & Co, San Juan and Wings of War - Famous Aces
  • I didn't want too or I really, really, really didn't want to:
    Set, Basari, Spell Maker, Mouse Trap
  • Destroyed by Daughter the Younger:
    My First Uno
  • Couldn't find the right people or just couldn't convince anyone to play:
    Ninja Burger, Alan Jones Formula 1 Grand Prix Racing Game, Squatter
Full details of what I played and how often can be found in my GeekList Fraser's Games played in 2005 - an Annotated List.

Looking through who I played games with there are really a number of different groups.

Daughter the Elder
She turned seven this year. She and I play two-player games together most weekends. Some of the more blatant children's games like Snakes & Ladders, Ludo etc have dropped off or are in the process of dropping off our playlist. We still play Balloon Cup and now play Carcassonne Hunters & Gatherers with the full set of rules. We also notched up a few games of Lost Cities, initially playing open hands with some discussion but soon graduating to normal play. She's not winning yet, but is getting close. She began playing Connect Four at school this year and received a copy of her own for Christmas. I managed to chalk up ten plays with her between Christmas and New Year and we are running about even in our win/loss tally.

Daughter the Elder and Melissa and sometimes others
Mainly three player games. Daughter the Elder is a huge fan of Settlers of Catan, Melissa less so, thus it is Melissa who needs to be convinced to get it to the table. We have kept a record of each die roll in each of our three player games and the results are surprisingly good bell curves given the distribution sample for each game – even the one where my 8s never came up!

We have also played Carcassonne and Perpetual Commotion. Zendo is a recent acquisition in our house and a big hit with Daughter the Elder, which leads me to think we should bring out Cluedo for her to try. She has also played Pirate's Cove, Around the World in 80 Days, Circus Flohcati and Ticket to Ride with us and gamer friends and played very well indeed.

Halli Galli has been very popular with Daughter the Elder and her school friends. Hopefully it will become more obtainable in Australia soon.

Occasionally she makes wistful comments about Puerto Rico and Tigris & Euphrates. Whilst it would be good to have a ready-made third player at home for these, we think we have a fair few other games in our collection to work through with her first.

See also my GeekList of Games that Daughter the Elder trades bedtime books to play.

Lunch time games at work
Our lunch-time gaming group started off with two or three regulars at the start of the year and we now generally have five. The games played have to be an hour or less, and are usually card games. We started the year with Mag-Blast and graduated to Mag-Blast Second Edition when one of the group bought it when looking for Mag-Blast. In two player, we can knock over six games over lunch; with four players, that drops to one or two. Gang of Four took over as our flagship game in the middle of the year. We play with the Game Dealers edition because it is a quarter the price of the Days of Wonder edition. We are onto our second pack due to wear and tear and have developed a system of play for five players and a weird three player variant for when we are bored.

Other games with this group include High Society, Tower of Babel, TransAmerica, Bang!, Guillotine and Ra.

Friday night games
We have games at home every second Friday, alternating with another two daughter family each week. We usually have four or five players and occasionally more. This is pretty much a gamers' night, with game complexity up to things like Puerto Rico, Power Grid, Tigris & Euphrates and Louis XIV and varying to much lighter fare if it has been a long week at work and we are tired.

These Friday night sessions rarely go more than two to three hours, therefore we usually only play one game or a couple of shorter ones.

In late 2004, dacoutts , REGGY and I founded Gamers@Dockers , which ran every 2nd and 4th Thursday at our work. In late 2005, it went to every Thursday. We usually have had between ten and twenty people show up to each session. I find it to be a great place to look through the pile of games that people have brought and just ask "who can teach me this one?" as a way of working through my unplayed games and trying out new ones. Just this week, we got to play our first game of Wallenstein because someone had brought it along.

The Gamers@Dockers sessions generally run five or so hours, so it is quite possible to fit in a fairly long game or a couple of normal length games.

Melissa would love to be able to come to Gamers@Dockers regularly but the practicalities of childcare and after-school activities don't usually allow us both to attend.

A lot of our friends are gamers and/or old roleplayers and quite a few of them have small children now. Kiddiecon is not a real convention, more an in-joke since we used to run a large RPG convention in the pre-Daughter the Elder days. We hire Daughter the Younger's child-care centre for a day on the weekend and play games, letting the children play in the purpose-built environment. It generally ends up costing us about $10 per adult. These sessions are pretty much like Gamers@Dockers in that there is usually a wide selection of games to be played or tried out. It is worth noting that we also get a few childless gamer friends who come along too – just for the games, or is that the pleasure of our company, nah probably just the games.

Inviting people over for games
With two young children needing our attention, it is difficult for both of us to get out for a games day or evening, so we often invite people over to our house to play. This is both casual gaming friends with or without children and the more serious gamer friends (who are generally without children at the moment).

We are very grateful to these people for making the effort of coming to us to play. Over recent months, this has meant that Melissa and I have played games such as Die Macher, Caylus and Das Zepter von Zavandor. Without these travelling gamers, this would not have been the case.

We are now just a week into 2006 and I have already experienced games with a number of the groups above. Next week we start our beach holiday and Melissa and I are looking forward to the Puerto Rico grudgefest as well as a bunch of other games.

Mmm meeples.



gamesgrandpa said...

I am enjoying your GeekList. That took a lot of work, and you did a great job.

KiddieCon -- what a great idea! That is an excellent solution to making it a fun day for the children, as well as the adults, and you can't beat the cost for that much entertainment.

You and Melissa (and Daughter the Elder) certainly get in a lot of gaming. That is cool!

GROGnads said...

YAY! for "Otto"! I hold out HOPE for her then, if she's "disabling" the 'tasty' GAMEs!
''you 'GO!' girl!''
Next up, "front-gumming" upon the "Backgammon"!