Saturday, January 20, 2007

Gaming With Grandma - 4

My mum, Grandma to our kids, arrived this morning for what is now becoming a regular weekly gaming session. Playing games together is also a great opportunity for Grandma to bond with her 5-year-old granddaughter.

Our first game was chosen by my elder daughter. We started playing games with her at around age 3 and now that she is 5 she always wants to be involved if there is a game to be played. Yep, it was the 'house game' first up.

For Sale is a quick card game of bidding on houses and then trying to sell them for the most cash. Once again my daughter did a lot of passing on her first or second turn. She didn't seem to really want to spend a lot of her money (I hope that lasts for when she's a teenager!) so she got a lot of low to mid-range valued properties.

Grandma and I attempted to outbid each other for the high value cards and ended up spending most of our starting money. Guess what the final scores were? Grandma first on $73K, my daughter second on $69K and me last on $65K! I think $11K of my daughter's final score was part of her initial cash allocation. I mentioned in a previous blog entry that I'd have to watch my daughter. Well, I was right!

Our second game was my choice. I pulled out Reiner Knizia's Ingenious from our game cabinet. I really like this game. There is no reading involved so it is a perfect game to play with children. As we started to play I reminded Grandma and my daughter to concentrate on the colours they had the least number of points in. At one point my daughter was actually winning. I noticed that her lowest scoring colour was purple so I went out of my way to cut her off from the only available purple tiles. As soon as I'd placed the tile which cut her off, she looked up at me with a squinty-eyed, scrunched-up-nose look of indignation. "You stopped me getting purple!" she exclaimed. "That's right, honey" I said with an evil grin, "Daddy wants to win". She took it pretty well as I knew she would. What impressed me the most was that she had been formulating a plan to score more purple points and immediately recognised I'd foiled her plan. I was so proud. I did go on to win with 13 points, my daughter second with 10 points and Grandma third on 8 points.

My daughter chose the next game. It was Enchanted Forest. As she was taking it from our game cabinet she said "I like this game because it is about princesses and fairy tales". Ah, I thought to myself, so theme is an important game criterion for her. Enchanted Forest is a roll and move memory game. The aging king of the land will hand over the key to his kingdom to the first person to correctly identify the location of three special items. The top card of a deck of cards located at the castle space determines which item everyone is looking for. So this game is all about moving around the game board memorising what items are located under which trees and then making your way to the castle to claim them. This can be a longish game and my daugher lost interest about half-way through. So Grandma and I were left to fight it out for control of the kingdom. I ended up winning with three items to Grandma's two.

After that Grandma and I sat down to a game of Scrabble. I haven't played Scrabble since I was a kid and my memory of it was that it was a pretty boring game. I wanted to try it now as an adult so that I could at least give it a fair chance. I was lucky to pick up the two blank tiles early on and for most of the game I led Grandma by at least 10-20 points. In one of the last turns Grandma dumped a couple of difficult letters, one of which, X, I ended up getting stuck with. It was on the third last turn that Grandma actually passed my score. I was sitting on 192 and she was on 194.

It was at this stage that Grandma pointed out the part of the rules which stated that you deduct the total of your remaining letters from your score. D'oh! I sat there and looked at that X. It was worth 8 points! I stared at the board and then a lightbulb went off in my head. I looked at the lower right corner of the board. I picked up an H tile, an E tile and the dreaded X tile and placed them so as not only to score the word HEX, but also to pick up points from turning EAR into HEAR and PAIN into PAINED (click on the image above for a closer view). I didn't place my three tiles on any bonus squares but those three words scored me 22 points just when I needed it the most! Grandma then used 2 of her remaining four letters to grab another 7 points before she could place no more. She had two tiles left.

I sat and stared at what I had left - V, O, J, O, P. Looking at the letters on the board that I had to work off, I realised I was left with a poor selection of letters. In other words - utter crap. Crap! Crap! Crap! Then it came to me - POO! I grabbed the three tiles which spelt POO and slid them up against the R in BARD in the top left corner of the board to make the word POOR. Poor (hah!) selection of letters indeed! Woohoo! 12 points on my last turn thanks to a double-word score!

Mum was left with a Q and a T which took off 11 points from her score leaving her with a final total of 190 points. I was left with a V and a J which took off 12 points from my score leaving me as the winner with 214 points! Looking back on today's gaming session as I type this entry, I realise that Scrabble, which has been much-maligned in my mind for years, was actually the game I enjoyed the most. Mum and I appeared to be fairly evenly matched as well, so we may make Scrabble a regular in our future gaming sessions.

No comments: