Saturday, June 09, 2007

Gaming With Grandma - 21

My Mum (Grandma), my daughter (Maddie), and I sat down to our weekly Saturday morning gaming session. We chose to sit inside at the dining room table as the first really chilly day of winter has arrived and it was too cold and windy on the deck.

Our first game was Loco! by Reiner Knizia. This was one of the new games that arrived yesterday as the final part of my recent game order. Loco! is amazingly simple; play a card and then take a chip. This would be an ideal game to play with people who are new to games.

The coloured chips are placed in piles in the middle of the table. There are five matching coloured suits of six cards ranging in value from 0 (Loco!) to 5. As there were three players we discarded three cards face down. Not knowing which cards are missing adds a bit of unknown to the game. The remaining cards were dealt evenly between the three of us.

On your turn you place a card in front of the matching pile of coloured chips. You then take a chip from any pile. Play passes to the left with the next player placing a card in front of a matching pile of coloured chips and then taking a chip from any pile. Cards are added on top of any matching coloured cards already on the table so that you can see what values have previously been played. As soon as six cards of any colour are laid down the game ends.

Scoring is based on the values of the colours of the chips you've taken. The value of a coloured chip is determined by the value of the uppermost matching coloured card. So for example, if you have two red chips and the top red card is a 3 then you've scored 6 points for your two red chips.

There is a tension as you can see the end of the game approaching and you're waiting to lay your value 5 card on the colour that you've got the most chips of. There is also the fun of throwing a Loco! (0 point) card on the colour that your opponents have the most chips of just before the end. We found Loco! to be lots of fun.

We decided to play three games and the person who had the most points at the end was the overall winner.

Game 1: 1st Me 26, 2nd Grandma 24, 3rd Maddie 20
Game 2: 1st Maddie 29, 2nd Grandma and Me 28 each
Game 3: 1st Me 38, 2nd Grandma 37, 3rd Maddie 30

So the overall winner was me on 92 points, Grandma 2nd on 89 points and Maddie 3rd on 79 points.

Maddie then chose Elefant Hunt as our next game. This is an insert game from a Dragon Magazine I'd purchased back in August 1984 when I was into Dungeons & Dragons. Elefant Hunt is a roll and move game where you organise a group of hunters to go on safari to capture animals. As you move around the board you land on Elefant squares which determine the number of animal chits you may draw from a cup. You then use the value of your hunters along with the roll of a 6-sided die to try to equal or exceed the value of the specific animal you are attempting to capture. You then sell the captured animals at the ports getting their value as points. First person to 100 points wins.

This is a game all about managing resources. You randomly select a team of hunters of varying skills and then must gather enough supplies to last until you return to either port city. As movement is only in one direction you must ensure you have enough supplies otherwise your hunters will leave. Along the way you also encounter rivers, swamps, quicksand, lost cities, and elefant graveyards which can all affect your resources in one way or another. There is also a huge element of luck involved.

My initial strategy was to load up on supplies and hunters before leaving the port. Grandma and Maddie left port before me on their safaris but soon found they were running short on supplies. Maddie experienced a lot of bad rolls in this game. She handled her bad luck quite well which is a sign she's maturing as a gamer. Maddie will be six years old in a couple of weeks and her reading skills are improving daily. When she is able to read it will open up a whole lot of new games for us to play.

Final scores were me 1st on 100, Grandma 2nd on 63 and Maddie 3rd on 8.

1 comment:

Fraser Anderson said...

I loved Elefant Hunt, I had a subscription to Dragon for years and I used to play all the great stuff they had in there.

King of the Tabletop
Kings table
The Awful Green Things from Outer Space
Baton Races of Yaz

I am forgetting sooo many, but most of the ones done by Tom Wham were good fun.