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Twenty four maids a milking?!

December 17, 2014

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.

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