Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Lesson From Bess

The house was quiet, all the lights turned off except the one I was reading by, four cats quietly snoozing in various areas of the house when all of a sudden schwoongngngng. (O.k., onomatopoeia is not my strong suit.) Bess had decided she wanted to play with the donut. This is a simple but brilliant cat toy consisting of a plastic ball trapped inside a plastic ring in such a way that the cat can smack the ball around the ring but can’t remove it.

When my heart had returned to its normal pace, I was struck by a thought (as I am wont to do in the rare moments of quietude): cats do not require someone to play with them. She was quite happy and entertained to sit there swatting that ball around and watching it until it taunted her enough to swat it again.

Could I get to that place with my board games? Did I even want to try? Maybe the lesson is that we should take quiet moments to enjoy the simple things around us.
What Are The Odds?

We were six on our last game day, one relatively new to strategy games (Melissa) and one new to the group whose experience and expertise was yet to be determined (Jeremy), so I pulled out Shadows Over Camelot. Mike and I decided to throw in the Traitor since we hadn’t played with it in the previous game we’d played.

The new players seemed to get the hang of it with the exception that Jeremy kept choosing to draw a black card or place a siege engine when he could have taken a relatively painless life hit since he was playing Sir Palamedes and would receive an additional life point when he helped complete a quest. We reminded him a couple of times but didn’t really think too much of it when he chose to ignore our helpful suggestion. I know, we should have been more suspicious but we had no previous games with which to judge his mind-set. Maybe he loathed the idea of being down to 1 or 2 life points and living on the edge, as it were. Anyway, I’m sure you’ve guessed that he was, in fact, the Traitor. We would be more aware of the brute now.

We all had such a fun time that we decided to play again. The cards were all well-shuffled and we were off to be heroic deed-doers again. This time we were a little more wary of our fellow knights. Melissa made a suspicious choice of using an extra action, which cost her a life point, to turn in 3 identical cards and receive a life point. Hmmmm. We tried to explain the waste of a move to her but she insisted. Ah-ha! Traitor, cried Mike. But we were wrong. On we pushed with the thought that maybe we were free of a traitor this time.

We were very close to winning the last quest we would need to win the game but also very close to losing one that would put the last siege engine around our castle. We thought we had a plausible, cooperative plan that would see us through to win the day but then Jeremy took a siege engine from supply and plunked it down on the board. Hey! If you do that, we lose—game over; you know that, right? A smile crossed his face. Yeah, he knew.

So what are the odds that the same person would be the Traitor in two successive games? I don’t know but we laughed about it the rest of the night. I guess we now have an idea of Jeremy’s expertise in the game arena. We also know that Mike can’t shuffle 8 cards worth a darn!
Until next time, may all of your expeditions be profitable.



Shannon Appelcline said...


It's the odds that there was a traitor in the first game times the odds that the same person is the traitor in the second game.

For a six-player game that's:
6/8 * 1/8 = .09375

GROGnads said...

Yes, I also agree with "Shannon", upon that 'cat' being a "Traitor"! It should have required YOUR participation within its 'playings', and going "solitaire" was too extreme. Damm them "felicitous felines" and their "PLAY at all 'costs'!" attitudes! Have they NO "f2f" manners or considerations upon their decision making? I think NOT!

gamesgrandpa said...

Wasn't that a rhetorical question?

Oh, well -- regardless of the real odds, it must have seemed amazing at the time.

Our daughter's family has one of those cat toys. Cats can appear to be easily amused, but they are so smart that I have to wonder whether there is more to that toy than we understand. Hmmmmmmm.

Coldfoot said...

Thanks, Shannon. Pretty slim odds, then, but not ridiculously so. I'm just glad we didn't decide to play a 3rd game!

As to 'grognads', I enjoy the watchings of such and would not presume to "interfere" in that. ;)

Alfred said...

The point about the odds is that, in the second game, Jeremy had just as much of a chance of being the traitor as anyone else...if there were a third game, there'd be a 1/8 shot, again, that Jeremy would be the traitor--and a 1/8 chance that you would be the traitor, etc.