When It Rains It Pours

Much like John, I was also clamoring to get back into some gaming over the holidays. I thought I would get a great day of gaming in on Black Friday as my wife and I were hosting a game day for all those people who didn’t go shopping. Unfortunately a stomach flu affected me, my wife and my oldest daughter so the gaming plans were scrapped. This lead to a drought of gaming in the early part of winter due to my #1 gaming partner, my wife, busy baking and crafting various things for Christmas.

But the long holiday weekends over Christmas and New Years started a gaming binge that lasted a couple of months! Below are some of the highlights:

Blokus: I gave my parents a copy of this game so now when I visit we usually get a game of this in. My sister’s family was in state to celebrate Christmas and I was able to get a few games in with of my nieces and nephew. After our first game, which I won, I made the mistake of letting them know I had never lost a game of Blokus before. I was immediately destroyed in the next game… and the next game after that. That will teach me to keep my mouth shut.

7 Wonders: My 4 siblings and I draw names for buying Christmas gifts for each other each year. This year I drew my younger sister’s name. She’s been getting into board gaming and I thought she would enjoy 7 Wonders. We let her open this gift the night before the others so that I could teach her (and other family members) how to play the game. I think I lost some people while explaining the rules, but I assured them that once you start playing it’s actually a simple game. After the first game we played again and it was a hit. I played several more games of this over New Years when my sister stayed at our place for a few days. I find myself really liking this game: quick playing, always involved and you get to create a civilization in just 18 card plays.

Zooloretto: As Jon mentioned, my wife and I were finally able to host that game day. We were rescheduled for Martin Luther King Jr Day since I had the day off from work. Our Priest was able to make the game day and my daughters and I were able to get in a couple of games of Zooloretto with him. It was nice to hang out with Fr. Mike outside of church – I think the girls especially enjoyed that. I don’t remember the scores, but we all had a great time creating our zoos.

Age of Conan: Later in the month Joe, Russ and I sat down to capture treasure and women and slay some monsters. Russ and I spread our armies across the board and were scoring points for the first age. Joe didn’t score a single point, but his emissarries were out filling his coffers. After the second age Joe got on the board, but still lagged in points. However, he was moving Conan effectively and was able to crown him king. That swing in points along with some military progress in the third age catapulted him into first place by the end.

The gaming binge culminated this past weekend with another game day. This time it was the Minnepolis Board Game Madness on Saturday. This is a monthly meet-up of local gamers to spend a weekend doing what we love. With the kids at my parents house it gave my wife Jess, and I the opporunity to play.

St. Petersburg: Our first game of that day was St. Petersburg with Greg and Trish. Greg was new to the game so I was explaining the rules. After hitting all the points, I finished by telling him how the game ends: when one of the decks runs out the game ends after that phase. Trish stopped me and told me differently – we finish all of the phases of that round. She was certain and after a rules check I realized she was right! Jess glared at me. I’m pretty sure a few of the recent games where I had bested her would have been different had we been playing it right… I think we’ll be getting this to the table again soon to play it correctly. The game finished with Trish scoring huge bonus points with 9 aristocrats to give her the win.

Cuba: After lunch Jess and I were joined by Brian and Nadine for a few games. One that I taught was Cuba – I kept the rules close just in case! I got off to a good start using my Large Branch Office to ship plenty of products. But my wife was able to get a Distillery and Rum Cafe together to churn out VP. Brian and Nadine got their little plantation engines going as well. At the end of the final turn we paid our final taxes and duties and awarded the bonus points for buildings. The final score was 71VP to Nadine, Brian and Jess finished with 72VP and I eeked out a victory with 73VP. A very exciting finish to a close game.

I’m sure I’ve averged at least a game per day over the last couple of months and it’s been a blast. I’ve learned new games and played some old favorites. I played with family, friends and complete strangers and had fun the entire time. Hopefully I can keep up a steady number of plays through out 2012.

Now I need to get back to the Kremlin to plot my next move…

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