Saturday, April 05, 2008

Gaming With Grandma - 58

Another Saturday morning of gaming with my 6 year old daughter (AKA Maddie) and mother (AKA Grandma). Today we were able to get onto the table two games which had not been played as yet in 2008.

First up was Carcassonne. Maddie chose red, Grandma yellow and myself green. We played with the Inns & Cathedrals expansion and (for the first time) the River expansion. Rather than tempt boredom in Maddie I chose to teach her as we went rather than explaining the rules to her before we played. As she drew a tile I explained what it was, what meeple placement options she had, and what tile placement options she had.

Maddie pulled the majority of the cloister tiles and was able to either place them in good positions or have them surrounded by other tiles as the game progressed. She also delighted in laying down a cathedral on a city I was building and then later screwing me by expanding it to a point where it was almost impossible to complete.

The final board layout at the point where we are about to score the farms

Grandma placed a couple of farmers fairly early in prime locations and it looked like she would have a monopoly on the majority of cities. I was desperately trying to find a link to a lot of small cities in the middle of the board and it was only late in the game I was able to lay a tile which connected one of my farmers who had previously been in a disconnected outer province.

When we added up the points at the end Maddie was already in a commanding lead. With the scoring of her uncompleted cloisters she shot to an even bigger lead. Grandma and I slowly reduced the gap as we scored uncompleted cities and roads. When it came down to scoring the farms it worked out that Grandma and I shared supply to the bulk of the cities. We slowly inched closer to Maddie's score of 107 by 4 points for each city, with me being only 1 point in front of Grandma. I was lucky at the end, only just taking the win with 114 points, with Maddie 2nd on 107 and Grandma a close 3rd with 105 points.

Maddie chose to sit out the next game we played which was Ingenious. It would be a two-player game between Grandma and I. We'd last played this game on 29 December 2007 so the rules were still fairly fresh in Grandma's memory.

My normal strategy in Ingenious was always to try to maximise my points in my lowest scoring colour without paying too much attention to the other players. However, in this game I made a definite decision to always watch Grandma's lowest colours and looking for ways to block off her access to those colours.

Ingenious - such a cool game

This strategy meant I didn't always maximise my points but as long as my lowest score in a certain colour stayed a point or two in front of her lowest score in that colour then I would win. I noticed that I was able to block her off from orange at a point about two-thirds of the way through the game. I could see I had a higher score in orange than her and that the only way she could win was for her to start laying down orange tiles (which I would then try and further block). She didn't pick up on this until it was too late and I'd won 11 to 9.

I offered Grandma a rematch. In our second game she was wary of being blocked off and the game was more challenging. I was still able to keep her to a lower score than me but it was more difficult. I ended up winning 9 to 7.

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