September wasn’t a bad month for gaming, with a respectable 24 plays of 14 different games. The highlight of the month was the games afternoon we hosted. We didn’t have quite as many people as last time, but we had a nice houseful, with two tables of games running for a fair bit of the afternoon. Thanks to everyone who came, played, shared food, and took photos!
The games that we played multiple times were led by traditional counter-flipping game, Tiddlywinks, and house favourite (though not played so much this year), Dobble, each with three plays a piece. We also played Array, Codenames Pictures, Magic: The Gathering, Push It, Spyfall, and Yardmaster Express twice each.
Array was a gift brought back by S on a recent trip to the USA which, unfortunately, we found unenjoyable using its intended rules (“We don’t have to review this one, do we?” asked Miss B — no, we don’t), but we gave it a second play with some alternate (speed play) rules that we made up on the spot and had a fun time. Codenames Pictures was also a gift, this time from some of our visitors at the games afternoon, and I think we actually prefer it to the original Codenames, which is great in its own right (and won this year’s prestigious Spiel des Jahres prize).
Which brings us to the running totals for the year… Well, Push It has pushed its way into the lead with 12 plays, nudging ahead of BraveRats, still on 11. In a Bind is still on 9 plays (though Miss B has played a few more times without me), alongside 6. Then there is a gap before we hit Dobble on 6 plays and a whole heap of games with 5 plays.
So we are now three quarters of the way through the year. We’ve played a fair bit less than last year, and it has been a bit patchy, but that is fine. You know that whole “training a gamer” thing? Well, I think I am finally getting trained properly. Sometimes I’ll suggest playing a game, and sometimes the idea is accepted, but increasingly we get situations when Miss B comes in and points out a game that we haven’t played for a while and fancies having a go at.
Patience is rewarded.
So today we had the latest in our series of occasional house gaming afternoons, inviting friends around with the intention of getting through a good selection of board games and making it much more of a social experience than we usually manage. This time we got up to eight of us: five adults and three children, which made things rather different to previous times when Miss B had been the only junior gamer there.
On the arrival of our first group of guests, the two visiting children, T and R spotted Castle Panic in the games stack and wanted to play it as they had played it with someone else they know. Excellent choice. So we got through a five player game which started rather gently but then got into full panic mode once the youngest player managed to pull a chain of monster chits that provided about six or seven new foes for us to battle. We finally managed to survive with only one of our towers left standing. Now that is a great result for a cooperative game: a victory for the team, but only by the skin of the teeth. Lots of fun.
By this time we had a couple more arrivals, so we had a slight change of personnel at the table for a game of Giro Galoppo, which is one of the most chaotically pleasing race games I’ve come across. This was followed (with our final arrival) by one of my all-time personal favourites, Ave Caesar, just for a single race as to do the full four race series that the game suggests would be just too much for the kids. Both of the race games went down well and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Most people can get behind a race game as a concept, and both of these are beautifully executed examples and really show how much things have developed from the old “roll a die, move a dobber” mechanism. One of the guests, who hasn’t played these sort of games much, was somewhat surprised at the lack of randomness in Giro Galoppo (there isn’t actually any at all) but was very taken by the game once it had got going.
After losing the other family, we got out Forbidden Island, although once we had set up Miss B said that she wasn’t interested in it. The day was getting on a lot and she was getting tired, so she decided to sit on my lap while the rest of us played. Despite that, towards the end once it started seeming like we may possibly win (after it looking quite ropey for a while), Miss B started engaging with the game and helping out. Again a narrow victory for the team.
Finally Miss B got out Vanished!, which she was keen to show off to our guests. We set the game up with a couple of the cards removed in order to make things a little easier and quicker. Everyone started off at different rates but then got uniformly confused until somehow we managed to end up with a five-way draw, which seemed to me to be an excellent and appropriate way to finish off the afternoon.
So, thanks to all our lovely friends for taking the time to come and play with us. We had a lot of fun and hopefully will do this again some time down the line.
So we had a day trip to visit our lovely friends, ED and ID. The idea was that S could mostly do arty things with ED, I could play some games with ID, and Miss B could join in whichever activity she fancied. Actually, Miss B had been thinking about what games she wanted to play for a few days (Dominion being top of that list) and helped me choose the pile to take along. We knew ED and ID have a decent selection themselves, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
Before lunch we had a couple of rounds of Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule, which is always a crowd pleaser and we are seriously looking forward to getting hold of the real cards when it is finally published properly. This was then followed up by a couple of hands of Sleeping Queens, which has been consistently one of Miss B’s favourite games since we got it.
After a pasta break, the ladies went off to be creative while Miss B joined ID and I for a game of Dominion. We let Miss B choose the cards, which turned out to be a source of great challenge and opportunity. Miss B is rather into attack cards in Dominion and was soon repeatedly playing Witches (as were we others) which meant that the game steadily slowed down due to the sheer number of accumulated curses (and we didn’t have cards that would effectively clear them up in the game). In the end, we ended the game a little early as Miss B was getting a bit bored with the slow progress and wanted to do some painting.
I’m not sure if I should ban Witches when playing Dominion with Miss B for the time being, or if I should just remind her of this experience next time and then let her decide. Of course, now I write that down it seems pretty obvious to me that the latter option is the right one.
Anyway, after Dominion, Miss B moved on to the art area while I got to have a game of Infiltration with ID to round the afternoon off. By the end Miss B was showing quite a lot of interest in this, so maybe I’ll try playing that with her soon — though probably using a cooperative form of the game.
Another great day, and many thanks are owed to our hosts.
This afternoon Miss B and I hosted a little games afternoon. Four adult friends came around and we managed to play through quite a large selection of games, with Miss B making the choices (with me guiding as to suitability for the number of players we had).
So, before anyone arrived, Miss B and I had some dice practice with a few rounds of Shut the Box. We have a fairly nice box for this that I found in a charity shop many years ago, and I only dug it out of the cupboard a few days ago and had forgotten the whole Zen of it. Plus it’s great adding practice for Miss B.
Our first couple of friends arrived and we were pretty much straight into a game of Giro Galoppo which, unlike last time Miss B stuck with to the end, and took the jostling of the race extremely well. We then got through a few hands of Sleeping Queens before a quick single race game of Ave Caesar, a couple of rounds of Ghost Party and then getting out a real oldie that we hadn’t played for a long time, Tot Ten.
By the time we were half way through Tot Ten, our other couple of guests turned up. so when we had finished, we moved on to a big game of Castle Panic. As it turned out we were very lucky with the run of the monsters, so the panic would have been better described as “mild concern”, but it was a remarkably fun little team exercise in which Miss B did very well suggesting cards to trade and behaving fantastically well. She definitely really thrives in cooperative games and seems to really enjoy being part of a team. Finally, we rounded off with a five-player game of Coloretto (report our earlier plays of this game coming up in the next couple of days I expect) which went well and left Miss B only two points short of the winning score after getting not much more advice from the adults than one or two “are you sure?” comments (which she pretty much ignored, so it shows what we know!).
(Please note, I may have got some of the sequence of all this out, but I figure that it really doesn’t matter and nobody cares. It was a bit like this anyway.)
After a very tired little girl went to bed, I got to play Dominion with the two guests who stayed a little later, which was great. I really must work out a slight simplification of Dominion for Miss B to play — I think the big problem will mostly be in all the shuffling, to be honest. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
So, another fun day leaving me very proud of Miss B. When put in a situation with adult gamers she does extremely well. Okay, so she can take a long time over turns sometimes or get distracted, but I know plenty of adults like that (myself included sometimes). I do owe a big thankyou to our lovely friends K & R and V & K for coming along and being very patient.
We had a few friends (and a couple of friends-of-friends) come to visit for an afternoon over the weekend with the intention of playing either some games or some folk tunes as the mood took us, and in the event this turned into quite a serious games day, with tables on the go in two rooms. This was Miss B’s first experience of “grown-up” social gaming and I’m very pleased with how it all went.
I completely neglected to take any photos, so this post will go unadorned. It must be said, though, that my photographic skills fall somewhat short of professional standard to say the least (as you’ll know from previous posts), so you’re not missing out much.
Miss B kicked off with a couple of rounds of Ghost Party without the messing about with scoring, then on to a mildly simplified Enchanted forest. Next up was Giro Galoppo, which was a hoot for the rest of us, but a few turns in Miss B heard a game of Uno starting up in the other room and decided to switch her loyalties. Then she rejoined the crowd in the dining room for a round of Ave Caesar.
All in all this seemed to go really well. Aside from the switch from Giro Galoppo to Uno, Miss B maintained an admirable focus most of the time. Yeah, she slowed play down quite a lot at times, but everyone was very helpful and accommodating (so huge thanks to everyone for that) so she ended up telling me how much fun she had had.
And, of course, one of the key success metrics related to young children is whether or not things end in tears at any point. Well, I don’t think B won any games, but I don’t remember any tears at all until we reached bedtime. I hope we can do something like this again soon.