Saturday, June 30, 2007

Gaming With Grandma - 24

Another Saturday morning gaming with my Mum (Grandma to our kids). Deb was helping Maddie clean her room so that gave me a chance to play a game of Scrabble with Mum.

I went first after drawing a G to Mum's H.

Turn 1 [Me] DIVE 16, [Mum] BOL(D) 14
Turn 2 [Me] T(O)Y 14, [Mum] (I)mP 10
Turn 3 [Me] (BEA(T)/A(B) 16, [Mum] HIR(E) 11
Turn 4 [Me] O(V)A/(M)A 10, [Mum] (H)OT 6
Turn 5 [Me] (MA)G/(E)GG 8, [Mum] (G)IN 6
Turn 6 [Me] (HOT)eL 21, [Mum] (HOTeL)S 8
Turn 7 [Me] PA(R)/A(B) 18, [Mum] (S)UN 4
Turn 8 [Me] (ImP)I 5, [Mum] TA(P) 10
Turn 9 [Me] I(T) 6, [Mum] (U)RN 5
Turn 10 [Me] (N)AIL 4, [Mum] VA(I)L 11
Turn 11 [Me] Z(I)N 24, [Mum] (V)ETS 21
Turn 12 [Me] (NAIL)ED 9, [Mum] HO(T) 14
Turn 13 [Me] (N)O/OUNCE 16, [Mum] (D)IRT 6
Turn 14 [Me] (Z)AG 13, [Mum] FE(E) 18
Turn 15 [Me] JOIN(T) 24, [Mum] W(I)RE 7
Turn 16 [Me] QU(E)ER 45, [Mum] (FEE)S 8
Turn 17 [Me] (T)O 4, [Mum] (TO)N 3
Turn 18 [Me] (AB)A 5, [Mum] (ZAG)S/S(HOT) 21
Turn 19 [Me] LE(A) 3, [Mum] (L)YRE 21
Turn 20 [Me] (E)XAM 16, [Mum] F(A)D 13
Turn 21 [Me] (M)E/(D)EW 11, [Mum] pass
Turn 22 [Me] (H)I 5 [Mum] (ME)D 6
Turn 23 [Me] pass [Mum] pass

I was left with a C for minus 3 points and Mum was left with an M, K & U for minus 9 points. It was a strange game with my early to mid-game being deluged with vowels and from the mid to end game being constrained by places to put down words. Final scores were [Me] 290 and [Mum] 214. I averaged 12.61 points per turn.

Probably the most obscure words I played were IMPI (a group of warriors - ie Zulus), AB (abdomen), ZIN (a dry red wine), ABA (a sleeveless Arab garment), LEA (a meadow), and OVA (plural of ovum).

Maddie then joined Grandma and I for a game of The Simpsons Slam Dunk Card Game. I picked this up at Toyworld in the Myer Centre in Brisbane for only $2.50. Even more surprisingly is it's designed by the famous Reiner Knizia (previously published as It's Mine!).

Slam Dunk is simple - watch the cards the dealer lays down. When you like what you see, hit the "Slam Dunk!" board and grab them all. The catch? Somebody else may want the same cards you do. The first one to slam the board claims the cards. Most cards are good, but some aren't. "Double or Nothing" cards only count if you claim a pair of them. "Toast or Most" cards only score if you have the most of them, and "Jackpot" cards score jackpot points depending on how many you get.

We played one hand with me 1st on 47 points, Maddie 2nd on 40 points and Grandma 3rd on 37 points.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Gaming With Grandma - 23

On Saturday my Mum (Grandma to our kids), Maddie (my daughter who has just turned 6) and myself got together for our weekly gaming session.

First up was Piranha which Maddie selected. Another gorgeous Ravensburger game with all the quality components for which they are well known. It's a dexterity game where you try and hang your piranhas off either the hat or other piranhas. The trick is that there can only be one of each colour piranha hanging off the hat and you can never have a piranha hanging from a piranha of the same colour. It's a fun game which is made even harder when the hat starts to spin. If any piranhas fall into the water on your turn you take them. The person who successfully places their last piranha wins.

It was a close game with Grandma and I neck and neck for most of the time. She ended up winning with me left with only one piranha and Maddie left with, well, the rest of them...

Maddie attempts to place her piranha...

Our next game was also picked by Maddie - Bratz Passion for Fashion. Can you hear the sound of my teeth gritting together? I was Yasmin. 'Nuff said the better. Oh yeah, I won! Take that Cloe and Sasha! Go girl!

Maddie turns the circular wardrobe. Will she find those stylish boots to wear to the party?

Last but not least was my choice - No Thanks! (AKA Geschenkt). This was the first time Grandma or Maddie had played it and I wasn't sure if Maddie would understand the play. No Thanks! is rated for ages 8 and up and Maddie's just turned 6.

In this game each player has 11 chips. There is a deck cards valued in ascending order from 3 to 35. 9 cards are randomly removed (without looking at them) after shuffling so none of the players know for sure what cards the deck holds. On a turn the top card is turned over and players make a choice either to take the card or pass by placing a chip next to the card. The person who takes the card also takes any chips sitting with it. The aim of the game is to have the lowest score when all cards have been taken. Cards are scored at their face value. The trick is that runs of consecutive cards are only scored as the lowest valued card. For example if I had the 23, 24 & 25 I only score the lowest of the run which would be 23 points. Any chips a player has left at the end of the game take a further 1 point each off their final score.

Maddie didn't really understand and she ended up just taking a lot of cards without really knowing what she was doing. Grandma got it pretty quickly and enjoyed it. Three players doesn't really do the game justice though. I ended up winning with 8 points, Grandma came 2nd with 48 points and Maddie came a distant 3rd with, well, lots and lots of points.

The Z-Man Games version of No Thanks!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Service From Mayfair Games

You may remember last month I bought The Downfall of Pompeii by Mayfair Games. It's a great game and I'm very happy with it. Unfortunately, it was missing one yellow playing piece.

I sent an email to Mayfair Games explaining the problem on 19 May 2007. Within an hour an a half I had a standard response back from their customer service. This is what it said:

Thank you for contacting Mayfair Games customer service. You will receive an e mail when your request is being processed. We look forward to serving you, thank you for your patience while we process your request. Requests are processed in the order they were received.

I then heard nothing until I received the solitary missing piece in the mail yesterday on 18 June 2007. While I would have appreciated a quick email as they'd promised to let me know when my request was processed I was happy to receive the missing piece. I guess a month is not too bad considering I'm in Australia.

So a thumbs up to Mayfair Games for replacing the missing piece.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Gaming With Grandma - 22

My Mum (Grandma) changed her visiting day to Sunday due to Maddie having a birthday party with some school friends at a local rollerskating rink on Saturday. One of Maddie's friends gave her the board game Fairyland Adventure as a present and Maddie was eager to try it out this morning.

Fairyland Adventure is a children's roll and move game where the players (fairies) are searching for items in the forest to enable them to gain a magical ring which will then allow them to travel to the Castle Clouds to locate an invitation into Fairyland. I must admit that while I found the game play boring the board and bits were beautiful. The game is based on based on Shirley Barber's Fairies books.

Some of the beautiful artwork on the board with coloured plastic gem playing pieces

Maddie displaying one of the magic rings players may wear

I was the first fairy to enter Fairyland with Maddie and Grandma coming 2nd and 3rd respectively.

I chose the next game. Coloretto was part of a recent gaming purchase and this was my first opportunity to get it on the table. I've played Coloretto once before and my records indicate that was back on 22 February 2006.

It's a quick fun game where the choice is either to play a card from the face down deck and play it to a row of cards on the table or take a row of cards that is already on the table. It's a set collection game where you try and score points in three colours only because cards of other colours will score against you.

I quite enjoyed this game. I was 1st on 49, Maddie was 2nd on 41 and Grandma was 3rd on 37.

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.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Another Parcel Arrives

A parcel arrived for me today. It was the final part of the games order I'd placed last month. There were three card games and an expansion.

No Thanks! - AKA Geschenkt is a simple yet fun card game.

Coloretto - Another fun, quick card game.

Loco! - AKA Flinke Pinke this simple card game is by Reiner Knizia.

BattleLore: Call to Arms - An expansion for BattleLore which allows personalised deployment of troops.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Gaming With Grandma - 20

My Mum (Grandma to our kids) came over for a visit this morning. First game we played today was The Downfall of Pompeii. Maddie (5 yrs old) really wanted to try it so we made it a 3-player game. This was only my 2nd game of Pompeii and my first 3-player game.

During the first half of the game we placed our playing pieces (people) throughout the city of Pompeii. I played black, Grandma red and Maddie was yellow. Both Grandma and myself showed Maddie how to place her people and also explained the relative rule which comes into effect when Vesuvius starts to seethe. Maddie picked it up pretty quick.

By the time the second Vesuvius card had been drawn both Maddie and Grandma had 18 people in the city and I had 17. Then came the fun part of the game when the lava starts to flow. Looking back on the game I realise we forgot the rule to only start moving people when the 6th lava tile was down. As we started moving people immediately the first lava tile hit the city I guess that meant more people escaped than should have.

It was still fun. The final score was Maddie and I tied for 1st with 12 people (we also tied on the count back of people in the volcano) and Grandma 2nd with 9 people. I would have won the game when Maddie had only 9 people out as I had the opportunity near the end to block the only means of escape for her last 3 people but relented when I saw the effect it would have had on her (ie, potential waterworks).

Maddie then went off for a little while. That left my Mum and I. Mum suggested we play Pass the Pigs. The first game I won 100 to nil. The second game Mum won 100 to nil. We decided to make it the best of three and were both more cautious with banking our points. Mum won 100 to 61.

After that we played the Labyrinth Card Game. My wife, Deb, joined in and co-played with Maddie. Final scores were me 1st on 8, Deb/Maddie 2nd on 6 and Grandma 3rd on 1.