Saturday, April 26, 2008

Gaming With Grandma - 61

Another Saturday morning gaming session with my mother (AKA Grandma) and my 6 year old daughter (AKA Maddie).

Our first game was Nobody But Us Chickens. I normally do quite well at this game but this time I was soundly thrashed by both Grandma and Maddie*. As there were three of us we played with the three rounds of nights.

Night 1 - Grandma 15, Me 0, Maddie 9
Night 2 - Grandma 8, Me 4, Maddie 0
Night 3 - Grandma 12, Me 1, Maddie 11

Final scores were Grandma 1st with 35 points, Maddie 2nd with 20 points and myself a distant 3rd with a measly 5 points.

* I must point out that halfway through Night 1 the phone rang. It was one of Maddie's girlfriends from school. We have a walkabout phone so Maddie sat at the table talking to her friend while she played her cards. Now normally I would've had Maddie call her friend back after we'd finished playing, but in this case the game was going to be over fairly quickly and I suspected that Maddie would then be chatting for a while which would mean I'd be able to play a deeper 2-player game with Grandma.

As we finished the Night 1 round Maddie stated that she had to go to the toilet. She then asked if she could take the phone with her so she could continue chatting to her friend. I said no, but she pleaded with me, so I relented, not wanting to cause a drama while her little friend was hanging on the line. Maddie wandered off as Grandma and I got ready for the next round.

Which to choose? Why can't I think straight?

About two minutes later I heard Maddie shouting from the end of the hall "Daddy! Come quick! It's an emergency!" I immediately jumped from my seat and called out to her asking what was the matter.

"I dropped the phone in the toilet!" she cried.

Oh great! I thought, praying that she'd only gone for a wee. I immediately picked up my camera because I wanted to get a photo of the phone in the toilet bowel. That's an image you don't see every day.

I arrived to find Maddie holding the dripping phone in her hand. Scratch one phone, I thought. I gingerly plucked it from her grasp and told her to wash her hands. I pressed the button - nothing. I then gave the phone a quick rinse in the sink and followed up by giving it a rub with a disinfectant wipe. I pressed the button again. Sure enough, it wasn't working. I took the batteries out after giving it a good shake and a wipe dry. I left it to dry out on the table on the outside deck.

I'm sure it wasn't a ploy at metagaming on her part, but for the rest of Nobody But Us Chickens I couldn't think straight and my mind kept returning to an image of our phone in the toilet and the fact that it now wasn't working.

Maddie then went to draw in her room so that left Grandma and I looking for a 2-player game. I chose The Downfall of Pompeii. I really like this game and it's great with two players. Grandma took red and I took black.

In the first part of the game as we were adding followers to the city Grandma drew 5 Omen cards to my 2 which meant by the time we started the second part of the game I had 5 followers in the volcano to her 2.

This was a different session to others I'd played in that it ended up that I ran out of followers to add to the city before the second AD79 card was drawn. In fact, the second AD79 ended up being the last card drawn! At that point in the game I had managed to get 31 followers into the city whereas Grandma had only 29.

The second part of this game was very interesting. Grandma went for the quick scoring by exiting her followers close to the gates so she soon shot to an early lead. I spent my time assessing the chances of potential deaths to my followers based on the draw of the lava tiles and their placement in the vicinity of my followers. I tried to move my followers that were most in danger. This certainly paid off in the end. Grandma could have played a little more cut-throat and I pointed this out to her at a few points in the game.

Nearing the end of the game and Grandma has exited all her red followers while my black followers take a leisurely stroll through the western gates as Vesuvius emits some last, pathetic gasps.

By the time Grandma had exited all her followers I had 15 of mine still within the city walls. However, I'd had a little luck with my drawing of tiles and I'd been able to direct the lava flow away from the gates I was heading for. By that time there was only a handful of lava tiles left in the bag and none could seriously threaten the bulk of my followers in the west of the city.

Final scores were me on 23 (with 13 in the volcano) and Grandma on 19 (with 12 in the volcano). This is a great little game and since I've had it I've raised my BGG rating from an initial 8, to an 8.5, and now a 9.

UPDATE: Days later as I was reading the rules I realised that I'd ended the game prematurely when there were only 3 or so lava tiles left, assuming that as I was the only one with people left in the city they would just make it out alive. Not so, after the last lava tile is drawn anyone left in the city dies. Grandma should have won... I'm sure we played the rule correctly in previous games. I have no idea why I forgot that rule this time (maybe it was because I was still thinking about the phone!).

Our final game of the morning was Battleline. This was our first play of 2008 but the wait was worth it. This is a great game full of tension and it really evokes the feel of an ancient battle line for me. Although some may say it's a dry game of simply playing coloured cards numbered 1 to 10 along a line of nine wooden tokens, for me I can see two lines of ancient armies clashing on the field of battle. It makes me feel like a general, assessing where my army is doing well and where it is faltering, and making the agonising decisions on where to commit my troops.

A green 5 and green 6 to play on the green 4 in the center of the battle field

Grandma is a worthy opponent at this game, however today victory was mine and I ended up achieving a breakthrough in the center to win 3 flags to 1.

UPDATE: I checked the phone the next morning and it wasn't working :(
UPDATE (1 week later): Yep, the phone's definitely cactus...


Anonymous said...

I look forward to my Saturday morning read of your blog but today was especially entertaining with the phone in the toilet incident. :) Did it finally start working once it totally dried out?

Ozvortex said...

Sadly no :(

I can see the funny side though.

I noted that when Mummy arrived home that morning, and Maddie was telling her about the accident, Maddie did comment to Mummy that Daddy didn't get mad at her (she must have felt bad about it).

Mind you, had she dropped one of my favourite games in the toilet it would have been a different story! :)

Melissa said...


I hope you got Maddie to help choose a replacement phone.

Joe said...

"help choose a replacement"!?!?

Are you INSANE!? So she gets the joy of experimenting with the mix of electronics and toilet water AND control over decor and appliance selection for the house? No way!

(btw did you find out just *how* the phone ended up in the toilet?)

Tao said...

Found this post via BGG - very nice. I hear very good things about battle line and will have to look into getting that game for myself. Always on the lookout for good two player games.