(or “What I Did For My Winter
I mentioned in Game
that starting on Monday, 22 December 2014 we were going to
play one new game every day until the new year. I decided shortly thereafter
that we should extend that right up to The Boy’s birthday – which was today (well... yesterday now...) –
Monday, 5 January 2015…
So here is what we’ve been
playing over the last two weeks….
(Remember: click on the pictures
for a bigger version)
This is one that falls under the
category of “played-it-lots-back-in-the-day-but-not-in-the-last-8-years”
category. I played a LOT of Roborally back in the day. I don’t know how it got
shelved and left for so long. I was a bit worried that the kids wouldn’t catch
on - but they totally did. I was especially pleased when The Boy – after
accidentally driving his robot off the edge of the board and having to start
over again – just carried on. I’d half expected tears of rage and frustration –
but apparently he had so much fun (even though he was dead last) that he
hounded to play it again all week.
We played an EPIC - FOUR AND A HALF HOUR - game of Age of
Mythology: The Board Game (Now that we know what's going on I really hope it
take less time next time we play!).
I'm going to go ahead and brag a bit here.... I have
seriously awesome kids. How many other 8-10 year olds can sit and play a board
game for 4.5 hours and remain totally focused on the game for the whole time -
paying attention to what others are doing on their turns, and planning their
turns in advance!?
I was pleasantly surprised by the game - I had originally
picked it up super cheap from distributor that was going out business and
dumping all their stock on ebay. When I got it and had a look at it I didn't
think too much of it - I it looked a little simplistic - but the kids were
excited about it - likely because of all the little toys that come with it.
They've been bugging me about busting it open and trying it out for ages so I
told them we'd try it out when they finished their school-y stuff for the year.
The first time we sat down to try and play it we ended up just spending two
hours simply cutting all the little toys off the sprues and trying to wrap our
heads around the rules. When we finally sat down to play it - it turned out to
be far from simplistic, but instead there were a few different routes to
victory and a number of different ways to go about either of them - I think the
game really rewards having a good strategic plan from the get-go and sticking
The Boy won this first game with 10 victory points - I was
just a hair behind with 9. The Girl only got 2 victory points - BUT - she was
so very, VERY close to building The Wonder - which would have scored her another
8 - tying with Finnegan.
Finnegan tried a martial approach - building up his army -
he found, however, that actually using the army for combat wasn't really that
advantageous as, in his own words, "combat is the most unpredictable part
of the game". (The points he got were simply from having the largest army
at the end of the game)
I'm curious to see how it turns out next time we play - now
that we have a better idea of how the mechanics work.
In the evening when Amanda got
home we got her to play a game of Olympus with us. I’d played it the previous
week with the kids and they had been telling her how much fin it was ever since
so she was curious to have a go.
Wednesday 24 December 2014 –
In the afternoon I played a game
of O Zoo Le Mio with the kids. This, as with Age of Mythology above, was
another of the games I originally picked it up super cheap from a distributor
that was going out business and dumping all their stock on ebay a few years
back. This is a clever little game where we played Zoo Directors trying to
build the most impressive zoo to attract the most customers - involving bidding
and tile laying.
We also played a quick game of Breakaway
- a bicycle racing card game. Simple – but really brings out
the feel of a bicycle road race. We’d figured out how to play this the previous
week – so it didn’t count towards the “New Games Played”
In the evening we wandered over to
my folks place for our Family Xmas get-together – as has been our tradition
This was the Year of the
Boardgames for Xmas gifts… so we opened up a few and played a few…
My folks got this one for The
Boy. Amanda is gloating just a bit. It was rather infuriating because The Boy
and I spent so much time figuring out where the monster would be heading on the
next turn – but were always confounded by Amanda and The Girl’s inexplicable
and random movements – they would almost every turn unwittingly draw the
Monster’s attention and having it raging off in a completely different
direction than we had foreseen.
After that we broke out
Ingenious (a game my folks got for me). I think The Boy won this one…? it was
Thursday 25 December 2014
As I mentioned this was the Year
of the Boardgames for Xmas gifts… by the time the dust settled on Xmas morning
we were left with this stack:
So… we started cracking them and
The Boy got this game in his
stocking (another game I picked up at the FFG sale). Everyone’s doing their
best Orc or Goblin impression.
Amanda taking it rather well
that she’d just lost ANOTHER battle line of her own sue to rolling the Mark of
Chaos after completing it and attempting to attack someone else’s uncompleted
battle line (1 in 6 chance). I think this was the third such line to be lost in
this way. We were all laughing at the utter ridiculousness of it!?
I think the box said it was
supposed to be
played in 30
minutes, but it took us about TWO HOURS!? The Boy utterly defeated us scoring
nearly as many points as the rest of us together!
After that (and after a very
late lunch) we played one of The Girl’s games: Small World Underground. The
Girl completely destroyed us all. She only played two races in the whole game
but there were turns where she was scoring 20 VP!? The last few turns the
Spiderines just sat on what they had and sacrificed her in decline Krakens to
the Well of Souls...
I totally won this one - but only because I could sing more
Monty Python Songs than anyone else - there was a New Rule card that allows you
to draw another card if you can sing a few bars (or lines?) of any Monty Python
song and an additional extra card if you can sing one that no one else has sung
before in the game. So I was drawing two additional cards every round (and
conveniently was holding the "Stop It! No Singing!" card that
specifically cancelled the New Rule)...
I’d hoped to get in another game
(one of each of our games) in the evening but everyone wanted to watch
Guardians of the Galaxy. So…
Friday 26 December 2014 – Boxing
The kids and I rode over to the
for their Boxing Day Sale! We arrived shortly after 10 when they opened but
there was already people streaming out with piles of boxed games under their
arms! When we got in the store it was like being in a Rubik’s Cube and there
was a line to get to the till that warped around the store.
I bought a LOT of games. I’m
embarrassed to list them here. Sadly, the one game I was sure I’d be able to
get – because there was a stack of SIX copies the previous Sunday when I’d been
in scouting things out – were all sold out!? Ah well…
The Boy spent most of the rest
of the day reading his Order
of the Stick
books he picked up. I did convince him to put them aside
to come out and play ONE game…
One of the games I picked up on
Boxing Day at the
. In the end it was The Boy who won the affections of the
Princess (though it was a very close game – both the Girl and I were only one
Saturday 27 December 2014
In the evening we played 7 Wonders - another gift for me
from my folks. Amanda - the Military Dictator of Rhodes - crushed us all - and
yet, there were still smiles all around. I can see why this game is so popular.
On Sunday we tried out Shadows
Over Camelot – we lost. Fun, but damn is it hard! Hopefully we’ll get to have
another go at this again soon
We finally busted out Arkham
Horror. We didn’t really get started until after supper (a late supper at
that!) and by the time we had gone through the rules (mostly) it was already
well past the kids regular bed time. We played a few rounds just to see how it
plays (so hopefully we’d REMEMBER some of the rules the next time we had a
chance to sit down and play it) – though we didn’t finish I’m still counting it
as a play!
Amanda’s gift from my folks.
I had The Researcher, Keria had The Scientist, Amanda was
the Quarantine Specialist, and Finnegan played the Contingency Planner.
started off looking not great with three blue cubes on both New York and San
Fransico, and two on Washington. As it turned out it was pretty easy to deal
with (us all starting in Atlanta and all) and by the third or fourth turn Blue
was eradicated (Woo-Hoo!). We were one player turn away from curing red and a
second player turn from eradicating it when I drew TWO yellow on cities where
there was three starting a chain reaction of outbreaks which lost us the game (due to running out of yellow markers).
The kids took the loss pretty hard. Amanda and I thought it
was a LOT of fun – fast playing – a real nail-biter!
The Boy finally hounded me
enough so I broke out Roborally
This time it wasn’t such a
cakewalk for me! We played with options this time and The Boy had a double
laser – on the register that I actually landed on the first checkpoint he dealt
me a ninth point of damage – as laser fire is resolved before checkpoints are
tagged I had so start at the very beginning with my archive copy…
It was a SUPER close race in the
end! I ended up one square away on the register The Boy tagged the final
Some of Amanda’s friends were
over in the evening and she roped them into playing another game of pandemic.
Once again we were super close to finding a cure and eradicating
a second disease when everything when to crap with a couple of unfortunate
draws of cards which say chain reaction outbreaks...
So close that Amanda was so determined to beat the game she
tried to convince me and the kids to try a third game of it after they left.
Instead we ended up playing Ingenious again. Super
high-scoring, super close game – but despite scoring 18 in all colours but one…
I was still dead last!?
Wednesday 31 December 2014
- New Year's Eve
We bought a copy of Star Trek
Catan for my Dad for Xmas. The kids go over there often so we thought we’d buy
it so there’d be a game they could play with my Dad from time to time.
I have to admit I had never
played any of the Catan games – none of us had had ever played any of the Catan
games (oh, except Kids
- but that doesn’t really count). The game took us a lot
longer than the 75 minutes it says it’s supposed to take on the box… it was
closer to 3.5 hours!
The Girl - pretty excited about her victory.
The Game fest raged on into the
We kicked off the New year with
a game of Small World. We have played a LOT of Small World since we picked it
up last spring – what was new was the Spider’s
expansion that I picked up on Boxing Day and the Tales
deck that my Folks got for me. The Spider’s Web stuff was
so-so, but the Tales and Legends Deck added an interesting element to the game.
I don’t know that we’ll ALWAYS play with it… but I would definitely like to
play with it more.
I didn’t get a picture of this
one. Another game I picked up in the FFG sale that The Girl found in her
stocking Xmas morning. Fun, quick, trick-taking card game. Reminded me a bit of
Game #1 - Keira played Smaug - Good Guys won.
Game #2 - I played Smaug - I rained down death and
destruction across Middle Earth killing all in my path! MWA-HA-HA-Ha-Ha-
ha-ha-haaaaaa...! (I won).
Game #3 - Amanda played Smaug - Good Guys won.
We had a busy day on the 3rd
I don’t even remember what happened in the morning… In the afternoon Amanda and
I did a belaying course at a local climbing gym (and the kids hung out at my
folks) then we picked them up and headed home for a quick supper and a game
before taking them back to my folks for the evening while we went out to The
Interview… The game was…
Well… the card game part
(there’s three different games in that tiny little box!?
This time we played a full game
to the finish.
I played Joe Diamond, Private
The Girl played Amanda Sharpe,
Amanda played Mandy Thompson,
The Boy played “Ashcan” Pete,
It took us four hours – but we
actually WON!? I think it was more blind, dumb luck that skill or mastery of
the game. We did in the early part of the game – perhaps in the first six turns
or so – manage to seal three gates. Foe many of the following turns when we
drew Mythos cards we kept drawing THOSE same locations – so instead of a new
gate opening up or another monster surge… nothing happened… We also had a lot
of mythos cards that took monsters away… as we neared the end we found
ourselves on a few turns wondering what to do – there were no monsters to chase
down… and maybe one gate open – but we didn’t have clue tokens to seal it and
there were none on the board.
It was long and pretty fun. I
could see it really going badly if one WEREN’T so lucky with the cards. I could
also see this being a LOT harder with fewer players. Unlike Pandemic where new
bad cards are drawn EVERY Player turn, with Arkham Horror Mythos cards are
drawn after everyone’s had a chance to do something. So if there are more
players there are more opportunities to DO things before the next batch of
Of course I could also see games
with a lot of people taking a LONG time to play… maybe if you had a lot of
people that all knew and loved the game it could go a bit quicker and people
wouldn’t get bored along the way.
I am definitely stoked to try it
again – but it probably won’t be a “regular” simply because it potentially
could take too long to play.
Because the trick taking element
Hobbit Card Game
reminded me of Kaiser – a game I played a LOT of
back in the day… I decided to teach the kids how to play. WE didn’t get to play
a full game, but we played a few hands together (with open hands) and then
played four rounds with Amanda – so they could get a sense of the game.
The BIG DAY – The Boy’s Birthday
– we called it FinnCon1 (hopefully to become an annual day of gaming and cake)
We started the day with opening
Among the presents was a suave new housecoat and a copy of
(we did crack it open and have a look, but didn’t get to
assembling the toys or playing the game… perhaps tomorrow…). We had also
planned to head out to the
- because he Nana got him a gift certificate – but we
got up a little late and friends were coming after lunch and I hadn’t finished
the cake(s) yet (and it was -41°C with the windchill!!!), so we decided to go
on Wednesday after our violin lesson (as the Den is not far from our
Then, after lunch, friends came by to start our DAY OF
This was pretty fun… There were some interesting new
combinations (well they’re all new and interesting as we have only really
played this once before…)
I think this is the first time
we tried playing with this many people - we had to use Tokyo Bay! I tried to sit in Tokyo and just deal
damage to everyone and win by eliminating them all, but stayed a little too long and ended up dying and getting
kicked out of the game first (probably because I was playing the Kraken and not
my traditional Cyber-Bunny…).
After our friends left I
hurriedly finished of The Cake:
Did I mention earlier that
The Boy has recently discovered Order
of the Stick
…? Yeah, he's pretty excited about it and requested that I make him a Vaarsuvius cake. (I know, I know... head's too small/body too big... Everyone that mattered got it and it was all eaten an hour later anyway...)
Other friends came over after
supper to have some cake and ice cream - and play more games!
We had a pretty big, six-player
game of Roborally – with two completely new-to-the-game players. It went well
enough, but our friends had to leave around 8pm bfore the game was finished.
We tried to play a bit longer
and finish the game
But around the time we all
finally got to the irst checkpoint it became evident that the kids were getting
a bit tired and were having not-so-much fun so we decided to pack it in and
call it a day.
We finished off the day reading
a bit of Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett – which we’d started reading
together a couple of weeks ago… but them got busy doing other stuff with the
So... what next…!? Though I have a
few more board games lined up to play in the near future – I think it’s time I
got back to some miniature gaming… My (gaming) priorities for the coming weeks
(in roughly order of priority) are:
Make a Kraken and a Vauban-style
fort/shore battery for Galleys and Galleons
PLAY some games of Galleys and
(Some of this may be held up by
the more pressing concern of finishing the bookshelves in the kids rooms and
the return to regularly scheduled activities and schooly work)