Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I hope you’re all having as nice a holiday season as I am. Whether it’s the fact that all of our favorite tv shows are reruns or my family is just feeling sorry for me, I don’t know but I’ve gotten to play more games in the last 2 weeks than I have in a long time.

My daughter and husband and I played Carcassonne one night, an oldie but a goodie, and I got my little Meeple butt handed to me in a dust pan. I didn’t even get around the track and my husband was 1 point away from lapping me. I must be the worst Carc player in the whole Carc-playing world! I’m not kidding. A blind, 3-legged Chihuahua with diabetes and arthritis could show me a thing or two.

My husband and I played one adventure of BattleLore, the second one, which has no Lore extras in it, just so we could get used to the small changes that it has from Memoir ’44 and C & C: Ancients. The basic rules fall somewhere between the other two games and my initial impression of the non-lore game, it that I’d rather be playing Ancients. I miss the extra types of units, the commander capabilities and the ability to evade. Hopefully the Lore portion of the game will make up for the loss of the other ingredients.

My BGG Secret Santa was a right jolly old elf, sending me Yspahan, Gheos, Hey! That’s My Fish and No Thanks, the first three of which I was able to play in the last 2 weeks. Richard and I played Yspahan 3 times before the official 2-player variant was posted and so worked to find our own way to make the game tighter. What we came up with is close to the official variant but without the building rule which makes building one of your dice actions rather than an additional action. This makes it harder to build and keeps the buildings from being too strong. In our variation, we also found a way that could make it harder to build but using a different trick. The active player chooses their set of dice, then removes a set from play before the second player chooses. This simulates a 3rd person and keeps your opponent from taking the most obvious remaining action. I really liked the game but it’s too soon to say if it has staying power.

I also played Hey! That’s My Fish with 2 players and with 4. It’s a quick, fun, filler type game that I think will get played often. It requires enough thought to keep it from being a silly kid’s game and yet is easy enough for children to enjoy, or so I’ve read, since I don’t have any children to play with. Maybe I could rent one.

Gheos has had only one play—a 2-player game with Richard. I think I’m really going to like this one once the War and Migration mechanics become more familiar to me. Right now my brain has to take it step-by-step through the consequences of replacing a tile.

My daughter’s boyfriend came over on Christmas Eve and brought one of his games with him. Munchkin. Cori told me I’d played it before when one of her past boyfriends had brought it over but I didn’t remember it, my mind having wiped it from my memory in a protective act of self-preservation. Once I saw the cards and read a bit of the rules, it came back to me but we played it anyway. See what a kind and thoughtful person I am? We did manage to have fun with it, laughing and picking on each other, but I kept hoping someone would hurry up and win already. I finally won but anyone who’s played it knows that it was purely luck, no thinking required. I’d play it again but only if Cori’s NEXT boyfriend brings it over.

Christmas day, after opening gifts, eating, and playing Guitar Hero for a while, I managed to work “game” into the conversation as in, “Can we play a game now?” The enthusiasm was underwhelming. I asked my son, Chris, if there was something he’d played before that he’d like to try again and when he had no suggestions, he girlfriend, Lindsey, mentioned the game where you set sail. Ahhh, Corsari. No problem. We played twice, my husband winning the first game in 3 quick hands with no opposition, the poop.

I then took my courage in hand and suggested I teach them Ra. It went over very well; Lindsey had a great time and was smiling enthusiastically when I asked her if she liked it, and Chris seemed to like it (though he’s one of those hard-to-read people). Chris grumbles after every game because he wants to totally understand it right from the start and that’s not what many of the great games are about. I just tell him he should come over more often and play!

There are still a few more days left in the year and I hope we all get in a few more games before it ends. Remember, drinking and serious gaming do not go together so have a safe New Year’s Eve.

And a reminder to all you lovely, devoted readers to make your nominations for the BGIA awards. Just click the link above the award icon on the left.



Gerald McD said...

Glad to hear you've been having some fun game times. I've got a stack just waiting to be discovered. Now, I just have to talk the family into trying them.

Have a great New Year's holiday and a great 2007! I've really enjoyed reading your posts this year.

huzonfirst said...

Glad to hear you're having such a great holiday, Mary. Mine has been game-free so far, but I'm hoping that may change soon. My wife, who is starting to turn into a gamer, bought herself Ra as a Christmas gift and her Secret Santa delighted her (and me!) with Reef Encounter and Snatch (a speed-based word game). We just went over the rules to Ra tonight and will tackle RE tomorrow. Ra has never been one of my favorites, but I'd like to give it another shot and I was pleased to find a two-player variant on the Geek which seems very popular. So hopefully we'll be able to get one or more of these games in during the next few days. Anyway, Happy New Year to you and your clan and I hope you get lots of good gaming in during the coming year.

Fraser said...

So if Cori's suitors bring over Munchkin they don't stand much of a long term chance then :-)

Coldfoot said...

Well, let's just say it's a slippery slope. :)