Saturday, February 23, 2008

Gaming With Grandma - 52

Another Saturday morning visit from my mother (AKA Grandma to our kids). They had predicted it was going to be a hot* day today so I'd reminded her to bring her togs. On a side note, togs are what we colloquially refer to swimwear or swimming costumes here in the state of Queensland. Interestingly enough, swimwear is called by different names in the other states of Australia. I did a quick search on the Internet for the word 'togs' and it appears to come from an 18th century English term for a coat and especially in reference to clothing as in "a set of clothes and accessories for a specified use" (i.e. riding togs). So it's not hard to imagine someone in the early days saying 'swimming togs' to refer to swimwear.

Anyway, my wife was working this morning so it was just Grandma, Maddie (6), Georgia (2) and myself. As it was already heating up we decided to all go for a swim in the pool at 9.30. This is only Georgia's second season of being in the pool and it's great to see her confidence growing. Maddie has now mastered opening her eyes underwater and can swim to the bottom of the pool with ease. After splashing about for about an hour or so we decided to head back upstairs before the sun became too hot.

After a short morning tea, Maddie and Grandma played Guess Who while I tried to put Georgia down for a nap. When Georgia finally fell asleep I went in search of a game to play. I'd been wanting to get Loopin' Louie on the table for a long time. In Loopin' Louie
a battery-powered motor is placed in the centre of the table and this rotates a boom with a little plastic plane (Loopin' Louie). Four radial arms lead out to the players' barns on top of which are the chicken tokens they're trying to protect. Each player's barn has a little lever, which is used to knock the rotating plane away from your chicken tokens and hopefully into someone else's. When only one player has chicken tokens remaining on their barn they win the game.

Over the last couple of years I've been able to pick up two copies of the 1992 version fairly cheap at garage sales. One of them had had a battery left in it and the unit was all corroded. There were missing parts in both copies but between the two of them I was able to cobble together a complete game. Unfortunately, I'm still missing 1 chicken token which makes 4 player games difficult.

The original version of Loopin' Louie

Last year I noticed on the shelves of local stores that Hasbro had re-released the game. This was the 2005 edition which was slightly smaller in size than the original edition. I decided to buy it because at only $17 I thought it would be worth it. So today I finally got it to the table.

Three players doesn't do this game justice. I believe that this game shines when all four players are playing. There is certainly an art to this dexterity game. Knowing when to hit your lever as Louie flies around is vitally important. The other thing is getting a feel for how much force to apply to the lever. Hit too hard and you may dislodge one of your own chickens, hit too soft and you may not push Louie high enough to clear your chickens.

We played a couple of games of the new version and it was OK. However I seemed to remember having more fun with the original version when I'd demoed it to my wife a few years back. So I broke out the original version and we played another eight games of that. I felt the larger size, with the larger levers and the increased counterweight on the Loopin' Louie stand, as well as the increased speed with the larger battery, made the game much more fun. Grandma and Maddie also agreed that the older version was more fun.

* Oh, by the way, it did turn out to be a hot day. Brisbane reached 40 degrees Celsius (that's 104 degrees Farenheit), which was 10 above average, our hottest day in 4 years and our 15th hottest day in 105 years of records.

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