Saturday, June 14, 2008

Gaming With Grandma - 67

Another Saturday morning gaming session with my mother (AKA Grandma) and 6 (almost 7) year old daughter (AKA Maddie). We missed our normal session last Saturday due to me being ill with a bad cold. It's almost a week and a half later and I'm still feeling the lingering effects of the cold but I didn't want to go another weekend without playing any games!

We let Maddie choose the first game. No surprise that it was Bratz Passion For Fashion (groan!). This is a roll-and-move game with a memory element. Each player plays one of the Bratz girls trying to be the first to complete her outfit. The only problem is that the various clothes and accessories are hidden throughout four revolving wardrobes. I was pleased to see Maddie win with all 4 fashion items, myself 2nd with 3 and Grandma 3rd with 2.

I was Yasmin and I have a passion for fashion! (Which one of you biatches has my top?)

Next up was another game Maddie enjoys (and I suffer in silence) - G.I. Joe - Live The Adventure. This is a basic roll-and-move game where each player takes it in turn to roll a die and move the single G.I. Joe counter around a circular track fighting the evil C.O.B.R.A soldiers. The aim of the game is to be the first to win six medals. You win a medal for every time you defeat an enemy in combat. Combat is simply a choice of 'aim high' or 'aim low' cards for the attacker and 'hit the dirt' or 'jump up' cards for the defender. If you hit you defeat the enemy and gain a medal and if you miss you lose one of your three initial energy points. Run out of energy points and you are no longer able to fight and must try to land on an energy space to heal back all your points. The luck was with Grandma this game with her winning with 6 medals, Maddie 2nd with 1 and myself 3rd with 0.

When in doubt, empty the magazine! Hooah!

Although I'm not too fond of the previous two games I do enjoy playing with them with my daughter. I figure the time I put in now means that when she's older she'll want to play games with me. The other advantage is that now Maddie can read quite well she'll be able to teach and play these kids games with her younger sister when she's a bit older.

I was pleased when Maddie chose our third game of the morning - For Sale. This is a great little auction game that we've played quite a few times over the last couple of years. In this I game thought I played really well. I knew I was ahead of Grandma because she'd been stuck with a void cheque two turns in a row. I felt certain that I'd outplayed Maddie on most turns as well. However, when we added up the points we found Maddie had come 1st with 85K, myself 2nd with 75K and Grandma 3rd with 54k. I was so surprised at the result that I thought I'd made a mistake in my addition. After checking the scores twice more (just to be sure!) Maddie was declared the winner. Naturally she was very happy (and rightly so). I was proud of her.

Did I increase the bid to 4 or just take the motorhome for free?

Maddie decided to go do something else at that point so Grandma and I were left looking for a 2-player game. I chose one of the games I'd recently picked up in a math trade - San Juan. I'd only played San Juan twice before and that was back in February and April of 2006. Both of those were 4-player games and I remember not being overly impressed with San Juan on both occasions. However, I am aware that this game has been in the top 50 games on BoardGameGeek for a few years now so I suspected there may have been more to it then I'd had the opportunity to discover in those two plays. I felt that with a better understanding of the rules and a better knowledge of the abilities of the cards I'd probably enjoy the game. So when I saw San Juan up for grabs in the recent math trade I decided to offer up a copy of HeroQuest (which I'd picked up for about $5 at a garage sale) for it.

So Mum and I sat down to a game of San Juan. I'd read the rules and felt I had a better understanding of the game play. What I didn't have was an understanding of the strategy of building combinations and role selection. That's fine because trying different strategies is half the fun of learning a new game.

What to role to select? What building to build? Nail-biting choices!

I started producing a little earlier than Mum. I was able to build a Sugar Mill and Tobacco Storage fairly early. A Smithy also went down early which helped me build more production buildings in the later part of the game. I also had a Chapel under which I was able to slip three cards before the end of the game. Then came a Silver Smelter to try and produce a better quality of goods. I also built a Prefecture mid-game which assisted me in keeping more cards during the Councilor phase. I think my 8th or 9th building was a Guild Hall which allowed me to get 2 victory points for every production building I had (which was 5 at that point). Mum overtook me in buildings at some point. When I had 10 buildings she had 11 (the game ends after the building phase in which one player builds their 12th building).

I think Mum's 11th building had been a Triumphal Arch which gives victory points based on the number of monuments one had. She laid down her 12th building (a Palace) to end the game with me only having built 11 buildings. Unfortunately for Mum, she had no monuments so the Triumphal arch was wasted (she'd mistaken her Tower and Triumphal Arch cards as monuments). She scored 20 points but it wasn't enough to stop me winning with 34 points (12 of those points were from my Guild Hall with six production buildings).

I really enjoyed San Juan as a 2-player game and am curious to play it again with more players. Mum also commented on how much she enjoyed it. I'd spotted several different strategies I'd like to try so I'll see if we can play it again the next time she visits.


Friendless said...

You have the most plays recorded on BGG for both Bratz and G.I. Joe. You should be proud! When you come round to my place to play San Juan, don't bring them.

Fraser Anderson said...

My Mum gave me San Juan for Christmas. I have played with four players a few times and it scales very well.

Ozvortex said...

Friendless - Yeah, thanks for pointing that out ;)

Fraser - Your Mum has good taste in board games!