Saturday, May 05, 2007

Gaming With Grandma - 17

My Mum (Grandma to our kids) came around today for her regular Saturday morning visit. As it was such a beautiful Autumn day (that's right folks - I live in the southern hemisphere of our world) Maddie (5 years old), Grandma and I decided to play some games at the table on our back deck.

Maddie asked to choose our first game. After rummaging around in our dining room game cabinet she came out with the Kidz Cards tin I'd bought her when she was about 4 years old. The tin contains four simple kid's games with jumbo-sized cards.

We played Crazy Eights first. In this game everyone starts with 5 cards and on your turn you play a card to the central pile. You can only play a card if it matches either the number or suit of the topmost card on the pile. 8's are wild. If you can't play a card you must take a card from the draw deck. The winner is the first person to get rid of all their cards. This is a great game to teach young children how to recognise matching cards and suits. I won the game.

Next was Go Fish. I find this an extremely boring game but it teaches kids set collection and memory so it was a good experience for Maddie. It was great that Maddie won this game.

The final game from the Kidz Cardz tin we played today was Old Maid. This is another game that is good to play with little kids. In this game there is no winner; rather there is only a loser. This morning Grandma was the loser having got stuck with the Old Maid card in her hand.

Having seen Maddie's enthusiasm today for card games I decided to try her on UNO. I haven't played UNO with her before as I thought it may be too complicated as it has words on the cards. Maddie is in grade 1 at primary school and is currently learning to read. She quickly memorised the Skip, Draw 2, Reverse, Wild and Wild Draw 4 cards and what they did. She'd gone quite well with Crazy Eights earlier, which is sort of like a basic version of UNO. I was very impressed with Maddie's play and she needed very little reminding of how to play the game. We ended up playing 3 rounds of UNO with Grandma winning.

While we were playing there were some distractions. First we had 15 month-old Georgia playing peek-a-boo from her play house on the deck...

...and then one of our two cats, Saxon, decided to invade our table top.

Next up was Diamant. This game was difficult to get in Australia so I made a demo-copy for myself. It really is a great game, especially for larger groups. It has now been re-released as Incan Gold.

Maddie reveals her pawn which means she leaves and takes the 3 rubies with her back to camp

In this game players are adventurers exploring 5 caves for treasure. Each round you explore a cave but each player must make the decision each turn whether to continue on or return with their collected treasure to camp. It's really a push-your-luck style of game. Each turn a card is revealed which either has a number value or a warning (on my cards the warnings are exclamation marks of different colours). Rubies (1 point) and diamonds (5 points) to the value of the card are divided evenly amongst the players with any gems left over remaining on the card. If a second warning card of the same type is turned over then all players must flee the cave losing any collected gems from that round. The trick is determining when to leave thus securing the gems you've collected on that round and taking any remaining gems in the cave on the way out.

Maddie with the coloured glass stones we use to represent the rubies and diamonds
Grandma came 1st with 35 points, Maddie came 2nd with 32 points and me (Mr Push-His-Luck-Too-Far) came 3rd with 29 points.
Our last game of the morning was Reiner Knizia's Amazing Flea Circus. This game is all about playing cards (attractions) in your flea circus to attract the most cats and dogs. The card you play to the top of your 'show' pile determines how many points of animals you may take from the pool in the middle of the table. Cats are worth 1 point and dogs are worth 2 points. There are some special cards that perform certain advantageous actions for the player. There is some 'take that' with players being able to steal cats and dogs from opposing players. It has the elegance Reiner Knizia is known for and we found that it was a very close game. I won on 22 points, Grandma came 2nd on 20 points and Maddie came 3rd on 18 points.

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