Monday, March 19, 2007

Gaming With Grandma - 10

My mum dropped by on Saturday morning for her weekly visit. As ever, Maddie was eager to play some games with her Dad and Grandma. We chose to play on the back deck as it was cooler than inside.

Our first game was Money Money Money. I bought this game at a garage sale a year or two ago. It was produced in 1987 by Action Games and Toys Ltd and made in Australia and Hong Kong by Crown & Andrews Pty Ltd Sydney NSW Australia under license from A. Eddy Gold Farb & Associates. It hadn't hit the gaming table before because initially it didn't look very interesting. However, I'm trying to reduce my unplayed games so today was the day to give it a go. I was the one who uploaded Money Money Money to the BoardGameGeek database and I appear to be the only user to own a copy.

In Money Money Money, players are attempting to win by achieving the highest stack of coins. There is a surprisingly sturdy canvas bag that holds stackable plastic coins of 5 colours. There are 16 red, green, yellow and blue coins with values ranging from $1 to $16. There are also several white coins which have special functions such as acting as a 'wild' coin, causing the player to miss a turn, or allowing the player to exchange a coin with another player, or take an extra coin or two on their turn.

On your turn you take a coin from the bag. However, before you do this you must first state whether you think the coin you draw will be 'higher' or 'lower'. Whether it is higher or lower depends on the colour of the coin you draw from the bag compared to the colour of the topmost coin of the same colour stack you may already have in front of you. If you guessed correctly you add the coin to the same coloured stack in front of you and draw again. If you guessed incorrectly you put the coin back in the bag and play passes to your left. If you don't already have any coins of the colour you just drew then the coin goes on the table in front of you to start a new stack and you draw again.

Money Money Money is a very simple game of determining probabilities. As there is little reading it is a perfect game for teaching probability to children. Maddie is 5 years old and at first didn't know what Daddy meant when he started talking about 'probabilities' and 'odds'. However, within a few turns she started to grasp the concept and soon shot to the lead. What a wonderful learning tool games are for children! Maddie got so excited each time she drew a coin and realised she'd guessed correctly.

Each time you draw a coin from the bag you must recalculate the probabilities. To help you to do this you can see the number of different coloured coins already drawn and stacked in front of yourself and the other players. Although you can only see the value of the top coin in each stack, if you have a good memory you can try and memorise what coins have already been drawn (which is a beyond me).

I was very pleasantly surprised by this game. Both Maddie and Grandma enjoyed it so I'm sure it will become a regular game for our future sessions. Grandma ended up coming 1st, with Maddie 2nd and me 3rd.

Next up was another game we hadn't played before. You may remember a recent blog entry where I purchased Pounce. Well, today it also hit the table. It was funny because after finishing Money Money Money Maddie exclaimed "It's my turn to pick a game!" and off she ran to the game cabinet. I tried not to groan out loud as a vision of her returning with Bratz Passion for Fashion flashed into my head. However, my daughter surprised me by returning with Pounce.

In this game players are attempting to be the Cat (the player attempting to catch the mice) for a certain number of times. We chose 5 times as the victory condition. This is a game all about reflexes and I have to say in the first game I totally outclassed my two opponents. In the second game I tried to handicap myself by using my off-hand and resting the cat on the table (rather than holding it right above the mice). I still won the second game but Grandma and Maddie were both close to winning also. This is a game that would improve with more players. It would be a cool game for adults to play with a couple of drinks as well.

Maddie also picked the next game; my home-made copy of Diamant. I bought lovely (cheap) glass beads to represent the diamonds and rubies. I also made the cards myself. My danger cards are simply different coloured exclamation marks (as seen in the image below). Diamant is always a fun game although I prefer it with more players. Maddie was the winner on 41 points with Grandma 2nd on 33 points and me a distant 3rd on 12 points.

We were joined by my wife for the final game of the morning, For Sale. Maddie normally does quite well at this game but I think she was getting a bit tired by this time and also a little distracted by having Mummy game with us. I explained the rules to my wife who had not played For Sale before. The game flowed fast until a single $1000 cardboard coin rolled off the table, across the deck and down into the back yard. It took me about 5 minutes to locate it in the grass. Surprisingly, my wife went on to win the game with $75K, me 2nd on $70K, Grandma 3rd on $63K and Maddie 4th on $44K.

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