Saturday, December 15, 2007

Gaming With Grandma - 44

My mother (AKA Grandma), my daughter Maddie (aged 6.5) and myself got together for our weekly gaming session. Also in attendance for most of the morning (at least until she went down for a nap) was Georgia (aged almost 2). My wife was at work.

First up was a game of Battle Line between myself and my mum. This game replicates an ancient battle fought in a line along which are nine key points represented by flags (red wooden tokens). Players play cards one at a time along this line at the flag points to try and achieve combinations (similar to poker) to beat the opposing card combination. If a player wins 3 adjacent flags or 5 flags in total they win the game.

The battlefield viewed from my side

Battle Line is always a tense and exciting game for me. Although I go into these games feeling confident that I can beat my mum, she is no pushover. Like she demonstrated today. I was trying to achieve a breakthrough (3 adjacent flags) but she thwarted my attack at a key point which meant that it then looked like either of us needed 5 flags in total for the win. It came down to the last 2 flags with her eventually winning 5 to my 3 with 1 flag left undecided. A great game!

Maddie joined us for the next game and chose The Simpsons Slam Dunk Card Game. In this game one player lays down cards one at a time while the other players wait until there are enough cards that they want to take. At that point the first player to hit the slam dunk pad and shout "Slam dunk!" takes the cards. That player then places the stack of cards face down in front of them and becomes the dealer. In a three-player game players are only allowed a total of four stacks. When all the cards have been dealt the cards are scored on their points and combinations. Highest points wins the hand. Victory goes to the player who is the first to win two hands.


This is another Reiner Knizia game and, similar to Ra and Razzia, there is an initial learning curve on what are valuable cards and at which point it is worth taking them. However, unlike Ra and Razzia, there is no auction involved which makes this game a little more quick and easier (and fun!) for children. Having a Simpsons-theme just tops it off for me and at only $2.95 new on clearance at Mr Toys Toyworld it was a real bargain.

Maddie and I tied for points on the first hand on 32 each with Grandma on 27. The second hand was won by Grandma on 46, myself then on 11 and Maddie on 25. That meant any of us could win the game by winning the third and final hand. Grandma slam dunked her way to the win of a close fought hand with 33, leaving myself on 28 and Maddie on 20. A great final victory to Grandma winning two hands and myself and Maddie winning one hand each. I enjoyed the game that much that I decided to raise it from 6.5 to 7 on my BGG ratings.

Last game of the morning was Jenga. We'd picked this up at a garage sale for only $4 several years ago. This is a classic dexterity game and one which I was surprised to find my mum had never before played. Straight out of the box the tower comprises 18 levels of 3 wooden blocks on each level. Each turn a player carefully removes one of the blocks from a level below the topmost level and then places it on the top level. As the game progresses the tower increases in height but also increases in instability. We ended up getting the tower to 29 levels before I made it topple, giving the much-deserved win to my exultant daughter Maddie. And so she should be proud of that victory because I was playing to win.

An early photo of the teetering tower of our game of Jenga

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