Archive for December, 2014

Ten by ten in fifteen

December 29, 2014 Comments off

Each year there is a challenge on BoardGameGeek to play at least ten games at least ten times each throughout the year. There are two variations of the challenge: the “normal” one is just play some games, while the “hardcore” version requires you to declare which games you will play in advance (plus an additional game which allows you a little wiggle room). Obviously which games you choose will affect how difficult the challenge is: it would be easy to play 10 games of Coup through a year, but Twilight Imperium 3? Not so much.

Our  hardcore challenge selections for 2015. Photography and composition by Miss B.

Our hardcore challenge selections for 2015. Photography and composition by Miss B.

Anyway, Miss B and I have decided to enter the 2015 challenge as a team, using the hardcore rules, and we have chosen the games that we intend to play. Most of these are fairly quick games to play, but it will still take some organising to get through them, particularly as some of the games either require, or are best with more than two players.

And so, without much more ado, I give you our list of 11 games, in no particular order other than this is the order Miss B wrote them down…

  1. Dobble
  2. Plyt
  3. Love Letter
  4. Empire Express
  5. Apples to Apples
  6. A Piece of Cake
  7. Gubs
  8. Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck
  9. Dungeon Roll
  10. Timeline
  11. Backgammon

If we manage to play ten of those eleven games at least ten times, we will have succeeded!

I’ll report on our progress as part of our monthly updates. This will, of course, skew our statistics somewhat, but it’s not like we’re doing any scientific experiments here, is it?

Categories: Musings Tags:

Twenty four maids a milking?!

December 17, 2014 Comments off

My rate of posting has been terrible lately, but I figured we would try to get things moving again with a seasonally themed game. So, we present to you The 12 Days of Christmas.

Miss B's drummers are not as fine a gift as my partridge.

Miss B’s drummers are not as fine a gift as my partridge.

The version that we have is a free print & play game, available from the Cheapass Games website, but it is also available as a rather spiffy commercially published version (with even nicer artwork) called, simply, 12 Days and which is, sadly, a little tricky to find in this country. That said, it was a lot of fun working with Miss B to assemble the game as I cut out cards and she stuffed them into sleeves to protect them and make them look and feel a lot nicer.  It turns out that she is quite good at that task.

Anyway, the game is quite neat. It is partly a trick-taking game, where you all simultaneously play cards, and whoever plays the lowest value card that isn’t matched by anyone else wins a prize, and partly a set-collection game, where whoever has the most of each type of card scores points. The cards, of course, represent the gifts in the song, so there is one partridge in a pear tree card, two turtle dove cards, right up to twelve drummers drumming. To mix things up as well there are also Santa and Mrs Claus cards, which act as trumps but cancel each other and are worthless at the end of the game. Oh, and I mustn’t forget that each turn everyone passes a card (a present) to the left as well.

It really doesn’t take much time to learn the game and it is very quick and easy to play, though getting the balance between building a good hand for the end game scoring and picking up points along the way is a bit of a challenge. This probably isn’t a game to think about too much, though, you can just go with the flow and enjoy playing. There is a lot to be said for singing along as you play: “On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me… What? More French hens?”

We had fun playing, with plenty of laughs, though Miss B wasn’t so sure about it when we got to the end. We may not end up playing The 12 Days of Christmas with her again, but I’m sure we’ll play it more with other people.

The game: The 12 Days of Christmas (Cheapass Games), 3 to 5 players aged 8+.

The verdict from Miss B (aged nearly 8): Actually, Miss B says she doesn’t have a verdict; she says she’d play the game again if she must, but I guess we have enough games that she actively likes that we’ll play those instead.

Guest Post: The Brothers Trouble

December 4, 2014 4 comments

I am delighted to present our first ever guest post. You may have seen the short video review of Tsuro I made a few weeks ago. Well, the guy whose channel I was imposing myself on, Edo Baraf, has agreed to write a guest post here on his experiences as a gamer dad. If you haven’t done so already, please do take a look at his videos on YouTube, which are a great starting point for finding out about some highly recommended games.

After Rob did his Tsuro guest review on my YouTube channel (here), he asked me if I wanted to contribute to this blog. Of course, I did! First, because I’ll always return a favor, but more importantly because I love the idea of this blog and I am actively training two lil’ gamers myself:

Ethan Danger and Evan Adventure – The Brothers Trouble

Since this is a guest post, I decided that rather than doing a run through of a specific game with these boys, I’d give a few of my key pointers on Training a Gamer and some game recommendations. I hope this is helpful!

They are never too young
Kids are curious, kids play, kids are born gamers. Neil deGrasse Tyson nails it in this 2 minute video.
Build on their natural curiosity and play by adding simple rules, and dynamics to the world. Turn what they are doing from playing, to gaming with a rule or two then join in!Edo_2

Always be inclusive
If Training a Gamer is important to you, never turn them away from the table. Even if they can’t play, they can watch, they can play with the pieces in front of you, they can hold your cards. If you want to have serious, adult only gaming, do it, but give them something fun to do – don’t push them away. With both Ethan and Evan we let them sit on laps and co-play as often as we could. When they are young, let them use games as toy and story sets.

Don’t get frustrated
Doing the above, or playing games with kids in general can be AMAZINGLY frustrating Whether it be them playing wrong, bending cards, not listening, or simply taking too long. Your top priority should be letting them have fun when they are young. When you start playing, assume it is going to be slow or not even finish at all. Engage with them how they are engaging. Let the other players at the table know what to expect.Edo_3

Let them leave
This one was hard for me (well as was not getting frustrating). Often times, kids can actually play a longer or harder game conceptually, but simply don’t have the stamina to stick with it (Ticket to Ride for example). Don’t force a kid to play. You can try to keep them engaged and at it, but if they are done they are likely done. Remove them from the game, finish up the road for them, whatever. It isn’t a big deal. Thank them for playing!

Let them win, gracefully
Many may disagree, but I think there is nothing wrong with letting your kids win, especially when they are learning a game or leveling up to new challenges. There will be plenty of time and games to crush your kids in, but while they are learning to love gaming, letting them enjoy the sensation of a close victory (even if manufactured) is huge. More important is teaching them how to win when they win and how to lose when they lose. Be inclusive and positive.Edo_4

There are many more things to consider of course, but these were the ones that stuck out to me the most. On the gaming side, there are a ton of early games to consider, but once they hit the 4-6 range here are the games I’ve enjoyed recently (many of which I’ve reviewed on my site 🙂 ).

  • Guess Who
  • Spot It!
  • Color Sticks
  • Uno
  • Checkers
  • Skippity
  • Qwirkle
  • Chess
  • Walk The Plank
  • Seven Dragons
  • King of Tokyo
  • Chopstick Dexterity Deathmatch 3000
  • Ticket To Ride
  • Garden Dice
  • Takenoko
  • Lift Off! Get me off this Planet!
  • Ricochet Robot

Go Train a Gamer!

Categories: Guest Posts Tags:

Gaming in November

December 3, 2014 Comments off

Our play over the last month has dropped down a little, but we still did pretty well, with 18 plays of 12 distinct games. The multiple plays this time came from one of Miss B’s current favourite games, Coup, with four plays, plus Dobble (we’ve been playing the “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” rules lately), Family Fluxx, and the long-ignored Sleeping Queens, each with two plays.

Our multi-play games for November. Composition and photography by Miss B.

Our multi-play games for November. Composition and photography by Miss B.

So, for the year we still have no clear leader, though Coup has suddenly moved from absolutely nowhere to being in real contention. Dobble, Love Letter and Plyt have each had eight plays this year, and Apples to Apples and Coup have had seven.

Anything could happen now. At the current rate, Coup could easily take the 2014 crown by being one of the few short games that has really caught Miss B’s imagination this year. I would be very surprised if we didn’t get a couple of games of Apples to Apples in over the holidays, which probably won’t be enough to come in at the front, but given that it is a game that only really gets played when there are four or more people around and that doesn’t happen too often, it is impressive that it has scored so well. Plyt is almost certain to have at least one more play, and the others, well, who knows?

Categories: Monthly Gaming Tags: