Saturday, May 03, 2008

Gaming With Grandma - 62

Another Saturday morning gaming session with my mother (AKA Grandma) and 6 year old daughter (AKA Maddie). After a week or so of feeling ill I actually felt a bit better this morning. I'm still not 100% but I'm over the worst of it.

It was just Grandma and myself for the first game. As it had only arrived yesterday, Cartagena II was given the honour of our first game of the morning. Grandma took yellow and I took green.

So, after escaping from the prison in the original Cartagena, our intrepid pirates are trying to make their way to their hidden pirate island town - the Pirate's Nest. To do so they must make their way through the jungle of the small first island to a waiting boat. They then must row across to the larger second island and traverse more jungle before they can enter the safety of Pirate's Nest. The first player to have all their pirates enter the town and raise the Jolly Roger wins the game. It sort of feels like an episode of Survivor.

The first island - everyone make your way to the boat!

For those that have played the original Cartagena there is a familiar feeling. The wooden playing pieces and the boat tile are exactly the same as in the original. Also like the original there is a deck of 105 cards made up 7 suits of 15 cards each. Instead of making your way through a tunnel, in this game you are making your way along jungle paths littered with symbols matching those on the cards. Like in the original you play a card to move one of your pirates to the next unoccupied matching symbol space on the board. However, it's here where the similarities end.

In the original game to gain more movement cards you had to move one of your own pirates back to the previous occupied space and you would gain a card for each pirate on that space (either 1 or 2 cards). In Cartagena II the way you gain more movement cards is by moving your opponent's pirates forward to the next occupied space and gaining a card for each pirate on that space (either 1 or 2 cards). This is an interesting mechanism because it forces you to assist your opponents. The trick is to try not to help your opponents too much.

The boat docks at the larger second island. The Pirate's Nest is at the far end of the island.

Some more interesting things include the boat between the islands, the gold-bordered cards which, when played, force those with over 7 cards in their hand to discard down to 7, and the raising of the Jolly Roger to win the game.

Our game was very close due to having to assist each other to gain movement cards and I guess our unfamiliarity with the strategy. Grandma actually got all of her pirates to the Pirate's Nest first. Unfortunately for her, however, she had no action left over to hoist the Jolly Roger. On my turn I used my first 2 actions to move my last two pirates into the Pirate's nest and then raised the Jolly Roger with my last action to win the game. Overall, this was an exciting game which I rate as high as the original Cartagena and I'm looking forward to more plays to explore the strategy further.

Our second game was a two-player game of The Downfall of Pompeii. By the time the second AD79 card had been drawn I'd had 4 Omen cards drawn to Grandma's 2. I also had more people in the city with 27 compared to Grandma's 24. I ended up winning with 17 people escaped to Grandma's 14. The final tally of people in the volcano was me 12 and Grandma 14. This was the 5th time we've played this game and it's becoming a firm favourite.

The final result - I was black and Grandma was red.

Maddie joined us for our final game of the morning - the cool little Da Vinci Code - The Game (AKA Coda). We decided to play three games with each of us taking it in turn to go first. Maddie actually won our first game! I think Grandma and I were too busy concentrating on guessing each other's tiles that we ignored Maddie (too our detriment). I won the second game and then came from behind to win the last as well.

Box and contents

Another satisfying gaming session with three generations of our family.

No comments: