Saturday, December 29, 2007

Gaming With Grandma - 45

My mother (Grandma to our kids) came over this morning for her weekly chat and gaming session. The rest of the family were out this morning which gave us the opportunity for some two player games. Young Georgia toddled between watching us play and watching Maisy the Mouse on DVD.

First up was a favourite of ours - Cartagena. We decided to play the Tortuga version which means all cards are face up on the table and there is a line of 12 face up cards from which you refill your hand. This is an interesting version because not only can you see what cards your opponent holds, you can also see in what order you will get cards when you choose to move your pirates backwards. This is much more of a thinking game than the normal version where all cards are hidden.

In this game I played green and mum played yellow. I ended up winning convincingly 6 to 1.

The pirates about to escape the prison in their boat. Yellow is feeling a little outnumbered.

Next up was another firm favourite of ours - Battle Line. This is a tense game of tough choices where you are constantly weighing up the odds of card combinations to either claim 3 adjacent flags for a breakthrough or 5 flags in total for an encirclement. Last time we played Mum beat me. I was eager to gain supremacy over her in this game but it was not to be. She won the battle with a breakthrough of 3 adjacent flags claiming victory with 4 flags to my 2 flags and 3 undecided.

The view from my side - another crushing defeat for my army...

After that I pulled out a game we hadn't played in a while - The Labyrinth Card Game. This is a cool little compact game that is ideal to take travelling. Essentially all you need is a small flat surface and the cards. An initial maze of four cards is laid and both players are dealt two cards. Each player takes it in turn to lay a card from their hand on to the maze so that the edge of the card laid matches the edge of the card next to which it is laid. On each card are two items. If you can draw an unbroken line along a passage from an item on the card you just laid to a matching item on a card in the maze you can take that card as a point. The only restriction is you can't take a card from the maze if it means that by doing so you will leave part of the maze disconnected from the rest of the maze. This is sort of like the 'one-hive' rule from Hive.

The ever-shifting card maze...

They say men are better on average at spatial visualisation than women so maybe it was this innate skill which allowed me to end up trouncing Mum 16 to 5. Then again, maybe the cards fell my way ;).

The rest of the family arrived home at about this time and Maddie wanted to join us for the next game. We chose another favourite - For Sale. This is a short card game where players bid on properties and then attempt to sell them for the highest price. Maddie enjoys it and she has even won on occasions.

Ewww! Who got lumbered with the outhouse?

Although the game only lasts about 15 minutes it's always fun. Final scores were me on $88K, Grandma on $64K and Maddie on $57K.

Maddie wanted to choose the final game of the morning. As she came back from the games cabinet I was pleasantly surprised with her choice - Ingenious. This is a really cool looking and fun abstract game. It's all about matching coloured symbols to gain the most points in six different colours. The trick though, as in several other Knizia-designed games, is that your final score is the lowest score in all of the six colours. So it's all about ensuring you are always trying to get points in your lowest scoring colour.

Lots of fun and pretty to look at as well!

At first it seems that there is plenty of room to lay your tiles. However, every time I play this game, I'm always aware of a specific point in the game when I come to the sudden realisation that (oh crap!) the space is fast running out. Once again, like other Knizia-designed games there are tough choices to make - do I make a grab for several points in a certain colour or do I try to block that colour from another player? It was a close game with Grandma winning with 9 (on a tie break) with me also on 9 and Maddie on 5.

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