2012 Gaming Highlights

January 6, 2013

Although I don’t keep stats on my game plays anymore, I do remember certain plays over the past year. Below are some highlights to my 2012 gaming.

New Year’s Eve Gaming
My last game played of 2012 was Dixit. We hadn’t planned to do anything for New Year’s since we have 3 young kids and a 4th is immiment. But when our neighbor said they were planning on staying home we decided to have them over for some games and snacks. I grabbed Dixit off the shelf since it could handle the bigger group and the large age range (4 years up to 35+). After a brief explanation where the neighbor kids looked confused we started playing and I said, “You’ll get the hang of it.” After a few rounds everyone was enjoying themselves so I wasn’t surprised when after the first game ended they immediately wanted to play again. And then we played a third game. It was a big hit and we had a great time. I love that my kids could play and compete with kids twice their age and adults alike.

Black Friday Game Day
We had a game day on Black Friday this year. It was a great time visiting with friends and playing games. The most memorable experience was a game of TransAmerica. The first game was with my wife, me and two couple that hadn’t played before. I explained the game and we were soon off building our railroads. My wife always does well in this game and this time was no exception. I think the game ended after only three rounds and she lost only 1 point! They wanted to play again now that everyone knew how it worked. After one round in the 2nd game my wife needed excused herself to the bathroom. We quickly conspired against her and dealt her what we thought would be the worst hand. She didn’t do well that round, but even so she managed to take third place. After the game was over we spilled the beans and all had a good laugh. [Editor's note: Margin of Victory Games does not condone cheating.]

More Cheap Games
Although this one isn’t a gaming session it is one of my highlights: my game collection has increased greatly and I didn’t have to pay much for it. I use my lunch breaks a couple times per week to visit 2nd hand stores like GoodWill and others. I’m amazed at what gets donated to these stores and I’ve had some great luck this past year. I scored a brand new copy of Rune Age – which is an interesting take on the deck-building genre by Fantasy Flight. I also picked up copies of Can’t Stop and Bohnanza and have played each more than a dozen times with family.

Jati
I can now say I’ve owned and played a copy of Jati. I found this in a thrift store for a mere $2. Back in the 1960s 3M (yes, the Post-It Note people) used to make games. They made a couple hundred prototype and review copies of a simple abstract game called Jati. However, they decided not to produce the game and scrapped the remaining copies. However, several copies (probably most of the review copies) still exist. There’s a German site that tracks the number of owners and claims a mere 57 copies in existance. So the one I found would have only been the 58th surviving copy. For collectors of the 3M Bookshelf series of games it is their Holy Grail. My wife and I played one game and found it rather uninteresting. But it was cool to be a brief part of gaming history. I sold my copy for much more than $2 and couldn’t be happier.

Spies in the Dark
My top gaming highlight of 2012 is, without a doubt, a few of games of The Resistance on Memorial Day weekend with my family. Earlier in the evening a thunderstorm had rolled in. We were actually in the middle of a game of Bohnanza when the power went out. We were almost finished so we grabbed some candles and flashlights and finished the game. Since it was still early and had wanted to keep playing games I pulled out The Resistance. The dim lighting really added to the atmosphere and helped hide the spies’ identites. We played 3 games in a row and then finally had to call it a night.

I know that 2013 will provide some more good gaming memories. I’m also looking forward to getting some new games to the table as well as several classics. What was your favorite gaming moment of 2012? And what are you looking forward to in 2013?


Family Reunion Time

June 24, 2011

Next week I’ll be taking a much needed vacation with my family. We’ll be heading to Wisconsin Dells to relax, have fun doing some touristy stuff and most importantly visit with my extended family. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen some of my cousins – who, like me, are now married with children – the last time I saw a lot of them were at my Grandparent’s funerals. I’m looking forward to chatting and spending time with them. And when we get together we play games.

I have fond memories of visiting my Grandparents’ house as a kid. The crossword puzzle was always completed by Grandma before we were even out of bed. Playing Boggle against her was a losing affair. And at night we gathered around the dining room table to play poker and “Cayman Rummy” – a rummy variant they invented while vacationing in the Caymans.

They’re will be plenty of card games being played, but here’s a list of games I’ll be bringing for the trip. My criteria for bringing a game are: portable/small, easy to learn, plays quickly and multiple players. Obviously not every game meets all 4 criteria but here we go:

Travel Blokus
Although this is only for 2 players, how can I pass up bringing one of the few games specifically designed for travel. Plus the game can be taught and played in about 15 minutes.

TransAmerica
This is one that meets all 4 criteria. I’ve had good success introducing this game to several people and they all enjoy it.

Dixit
Another game that has been a hit after introducing it to several people. I think people enjoy the creativity it allows.

Space Hulk: Death Angel
I think some of my cousin’s children will be approaching – or already in – their teens years. I’m thinking I should be able to get a group of young men to rally together and slay some genestealers. Plus the box is so small I can’t justify leaving it behind.

Wits & Wagers
A trivia game for up to seven people that isn’t boring. Plus it plays quickly. Although the box is pretty big… maybe I’ll throw the components into a smaller box to make room for another game.

Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers

I’m bringing this instead of regular Carc for two reasons: 1) my little sister has the Big Box so I don’t want to be redundant if she brings that and 2) it’s my most recent game acquisition so it still has that new game shininess.

King Me!
Another one that meets all 4 criteria. I actually like this game more than I thought I would after a few plays. A little bit of psychological warfare in a small package.

I’ll let you know how these games go over.


Thanks for Gaming

December 1, 2010

I had a nice long Thanksgiving weekend visiting family and playing some games. My family has always played games during Holiday get-togethers. In the past it consisted mainly of card games with a sprinkling of party games. We still get in some card games, but have been playing more board games lately. I played a couple of favorites, but I was also able to try out a few new games. I also had a good experience with introducing a new game to my in-laws.

Russ and I tried a few turns of Julius Caesar. We were both learning the game for the first time so many mistakes were made, but I’m eager to play it again.

My little sister brought along Trivial Pursuit Bet You Know It. The four of us kids were each on our own team while my parents teamed up. This is a Trivial Pursuit game that is actually a blast to play. The questions are probably a bit easier than the traditional Trivial Pursuit games I’m used to, but it made the game move along. The betting mechanic adds a lot of fun. It keeps you involved through out the whole game. And who doesn’t like betting against their siblings.

The best of the new games was my latest pick-up: Dixit and the expansion. This game just won Spiel das Jahres (Game of the Year awarded by the German Press) and I think it was well deserved. The game play is simple enough for my 4 year old to play along, but it offers challenges for any age. The cards are beautiful. We used the scoring track for each game, but it seemed like it was just there to make it a ‘game.’ People kept wanting to play longer just to see the cards and be creative with their clues.

My wife loved the game right away and encouraged me to bring it along to her families’ Thanksgiving dinner. I should mention that my wife’s family doesn’t really play games. I can literally count the number of games I’ve played with them in the ~10 years I’ve known them on one hand. After dinner we urged a few family members to try a new game. After a few rounds we had several spectators and everbody was asking about this new game. I knew I had a winner when Great-Grandma B asked me to bring it along when we come for Christmas!

So this year I’m thankful for having a wonderful family and great games to enjoy with them.