Saturday, January 27, 2007

14 days at the beach, 2 children, no television, 10 kid’s books, 53 plays of 16 games, 2 rainy days, 13 books read and a working washing machine.

We just got back from a fortnight (fourteen days or two weeks) at Lorne. The weather was OK, we visited the beach most days, but there were no, what we would call, hot days (35 C or more).

In retrospect we took way too many games (now there’s three words in a row that you will rarely see me use), we only played about half of those that we took with us. Daughter the Elder, eight and half, and Daughter the Younger, almost four, are both avid game players. Both of them wanted to play games and they would demand games often, when they were not demanding trips to the beach or trampolines that is.


In order of appearance the games we played were:

Gulo Gulo
Daughter the Younger is a big fan of this and is very blasé about the way she just grabs eggs from bowl. Her main strategy, which seems to be common amongst three year olds that I know who play this game, is to flip the next tile. Due to her small fingers she can and does win this game against competitive adults. Six plays.

This is one that Daughter the Younger learnt by osmosis, she is now fully conversant about how to play and will actually choose the red market tiles because they are generally worth more instead of the colour that she likes at the moment. She also understands the how all the tiles work. It’s a game that she and Daughter the Elder can play with one or two adults and no handicapping is required. Four plays.

Daughter the Elder plays this very fast, if Daughter the Younger is playing we need to play slower or give her less cards. She knows what she is doing, but just doesn’t have the speed of the other family members. Four plays.

We introduced Daughter the Elder to this a few days before we went down to Lorne. She liked it a lot. Initially we introduced a handicap where Melissa and I would wait two turns after we had deduced the answer before making our accusation. After giving her a few tips on what sort of information she would probably want to make detective notes on we have reduced that handicap to one turn and it will probably get dropped entirely in the near future. Daughter the Younger also likes “playing” this. She has her own piece, take her turn and rolls the dice and moves it around the rooms and puts weapons in the room just like the rest of us. It is good, she is pleasantly occupied and involved and the rest of us can play the game. Six plays.

Part of Melissa’s Christmas loot, this is the only game that we actually played without children. I quite like it, although my results seem to be progressively deteriorating. Three plays.

Gopher It!
A game that Daughter the Younger will request. She seems to have better luck in the push your luck aspect than adults do, but I am sure this claim would not stand up to scientific investigation. Two plays.

San Juan
Quite often played with Daughter the Elder as a two player before bed game. She is currently favouring the Chapel and does quite well with it too. Four plays.

Connect 4
We had a little travel edition with us this year as Daughter the Younger managed to break Daughter the Elder’s set early last year. The travel set is only five by six instead of seven by six and this seems to have thrown a spanner into Daughter the Elder’s set plays as I managed to beat her three games in a row which is something I have never done with the proper set! Three plays.

Puerto Rico
Daughter the Elder has been bugging us for a long time to let her play this, especially every time she looks at the back of the San Juan box. We relented at Lorne. She has watched us play before and her background in San Juan made her familiar with role selection and the idea of the buildings giving benefits for particular roles. I wouldn’t recommend San Juan as a pre-requisite for Puerto Rico for an adult gamer, but I must admit it was worthwhile for Daughter the Elder. In the first game Melissa and I gave her a lot of tips and general advice and picked on each other instead of her, but the requirement to do this quickly dropped off. She is favouring a colonist strategy with the Hospice and University, which paid off for her in the second game, which she won. We are trying to educate her to the idea that different strategies are sometimes required depending on the situation and also what works one game may not work the next as the other players try something different. For example in our most recent game Melissa and I both went for a shipping strategy. We noticed that three player Puerto Rico is much less cutthroat than four or five players. Neither of us had actually played three player before, we usually play two or five player. In fact two player Puerto Rico is usually our standard two player game down at Lorne, but we didn’t manage a single two player play this year. Four plays.

Frank’s Zoo
For some reason we only seem to play this down at Lorne, we all like it, so should try and get it out at home more often. A full three player game does take over an hour, so possibly that is what is keeping it off the table. Daughter the Elder’s card play strategy is not quite up to that of ours, so we allow her to go out when she has one card left. One play.

Settlers of Catan
We hadn’t played this for about six months, early in the first game Melissa and I were both of the opinion that Daughter the Elder had the game sewn up, she had two cities on good numbers and was rolling in resources. However as the game progressed she concentrated on getting development cards and didn’t build any more settlements for a long time and thus didn’t manage the expected win. So as an educational and intellectual exercise we played twice more using exactly the same board layout and starting positions as the first game. The first game lasted for 89 rolls, the second abnormally short at 45 rolls and the third a more usual 77 rolls. In game three where she did not concentrate on development cards so much, she did achieve a higher score. She still favours ports and cities though. Three plays.

Flix Mix
Daughter the Elder likes this and we sometimes get Melissa to play too. This game seems to be very hard to obtain outside Germany which is a pity, it’s a good family game and more families should be able to easily be exposed to it. Five plays.

Daughter the Elder is good at this. We usually have to play the full eight rounds to determine the winner. She had the better of me again. One play.

Balloon Cup
Daughter the Elder is an old hand at this, given that she has been playing it since she was five. Another one that I lost :-) One play.

Go Fish
What’s a holiday house without a deck of cards? I don’t think Daughter the Elder and I have played Go Fish since we were down at Lorne last year. Five plays.

Catch the Match
Daughter the Younger still likes this a lot. Simple pattern matching. Two plays.

Read aloud, many, many times, to Daughter the Younger (with BGG style ratings):
Albert Le Blanc – Mark Butterworth (6)
Billy Tibbles Moves Out – Jean Fearnley (7)
Fix It Duck – Jez Alborough (3) [Good cadence, but I dislike the main character immensely]
Oww! – Michael Rosen & Jonathan Langley (7)
Badness for Beginners – Ian Whybrow & Tony Ross (7)
I Want to Be – Tony Ross (8)
If you going walking in Tiger Wood – Alan Durant & Debbie Boon (7)
Zigby Dives In – Brian Peterson (6)
Wilfred to the Rescue – Alan MacDonald (8)
The Hedgehog’s Balloon – Nick Butterworth (7)

Read, not aloud - mostly science fiction or things found at the beach house:
Stiff– Shane Maloney (9)
Trouble with Lichen – John Wyndham (6)
Our Children’s Children – Clifford D Simak (5)
The Autumn Land and other Stories – Clifford D Simak (6)
The Seeds of Time – John Wyndham (7)
The Gray Ghosts of Taylor Ridge – Mary Francis Shura (7)
King Solomon’s Mines (1907 edition)– H Rider Haggard (6)
Nebula Award Stories 9 – Kate Wilhelm ed (8)
Science Fiction: The Great Years – Carol and Frederik Pohl eds (7)
Legacy of Heorot – Niven, Pournelle & Barnes (6)
Radio City the first 30 years of 3RRR– Mark Philips (9)
The Salzburg Connection – Helen MacInnes (6)
Consider Her Ways and Others – John Wyndham (6)

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Dude! You really didn't read Quinton kicks off! by Michael Poole (author of "Grimshaw of St.Kit's" "Dick Never-Say-Die" etc.)

You missed out.