After playing a cooperative firefighting board game called Flash Point, I came up with the idea of one called House Work. You must clean up the childrens’ toys and take care of the other chores before the house is enveloped in utter chaos. It’s almost impossible to win because as you’re cleaning up toys in one room, the 1-year-old is scattering toys in two other rooms…somehow simultaneously. Look out! It’s an outbreak of laundry coming from the kid who’s decided to throw clean clothes directly into the laundry basket. Just like Pandemic, you almost never win.
Archive for the ‘games’ Category
We got to visit relatives and my uncle (super board game aficionado) was there. We played 7 Wonders, a big ole empire-planning strategy game. Pretty good, but with a high learning curve. We also played Flash Point: Fire Rescue, a cooperative firefighting game similar to Pandemic. Surprisingly, we actually won. I hear that’s rare. One pretty casual game that I found we liked a lot was Hamsterrolle. It’s a bit like Jenga, played in a circular will with inward facing slats around the edge. You’re trying to get rid of all your little wooden blocks by placing them on a wheel, making it slowly turn and eventually drop pieces out. If you cause pieces to fall out, you have to pick them up. Lots of tension and excitement in that game. Oh, another casual game we played was Luck of the Draw. Draw a random subject mentioned on a card and vote on some random criteria such as “most surprising” or “most angular”. Pretty fun.
In scrum software development, there are all these ridiculous special phrases like “story points”, “burn down”, etc. Specialized phrases always annoyed me. Why can’t you just speak in plain English? Why do they have to invent these silly terms? Is it just to protect the trademark of the process inventor? It’s kind of like Bananagrams…great (and stressful) word game, but instead of “next” you say “peel” and “bananas” instead of “done”.
We got Lego Creationary and tried it out. It’s fun, but is pretty short on rules. “Your game, your rules” say the instructions. That seems kinda lazy to me on the part of the designers. Rules are supposed to take a lot of work and modification to create the most fun game play. This isn’t work that should be left up to the players. I have similar problems with Scattergories…”name something you eat that starts with C”….”cardboard…what? you could eat cardboard”….so subjective. So yeah, I’m a stickler for rules. We also played (and lost) several rounds of Pandemic the other day. That game is hard! Maybe we’re not following one of the rules or something.
Friday evening, we took the kids to a special event at the zoo’s reptile house where we got to take a tour into the areas behind the exhibits where they prepare reptile food with vitamins and so on. They keep new reptiles in quarantine for a little while until they’re sure they don’t have any disease. They had a large chameleon with three large lamps pointing at it. It seemed pretty happy right in the middle of the lights. (The chameleons drop dead rather easily, they said.) They had a refrigerator full of anti-venom for various kinds of snakes. This supply is pretty expensive to keep in stock, apparently. They’ve only had one bite in about 40 years, which is a pretty good record. A cobra in quarantine behind glass flared its hood at Sean. He did not think to do the karate kid cobra dance. The guy who gave the tour has something like 14 snakes and several at the zoo have been in his collection.
Saturday, we helped a friend take some loads of grass to the dump. The piles of grass had begun composting and steaming underneath, which was interesting to see. It turns kinda white under there and smells like elephants. The area where it was resting will probably have some very good soil now.
We played a game of Shoots and Ladders with Sean and Mia last night. Mia enjoyed tapping her piece on the board. I was thinking that we need a good board game that Sean could play. Shoots and Ladders is so random. Lego Creationary is looking good.
Sean got up strangely early this morning and showed me that he’d lost his first tooth. I asked to see it and he had to go up and search around his bed a while before he found it. You apparently lose 20 teeth as a kid, including the 2 premolars behind the canine. That’s more than I remembered.
Went over to visit my sister’s family in the Manzano Mountain area yesterday. Played Power Grid with my brother-in-law…not a bad board game, but kinda long at 2 hours +. We went on a great mountain bike ride where I saw a couple of wild turkeys, a dear, and Kyle chased a squirrel along the path, which was pretty funny. Those clip-in petals seem kinda dangerous so far. Several times I found myself trying to scramble uphill over a steep rock or dirt and spinning out. That’s normally when you’d slam your feet down on the ground to catch yourself. Now imagine your ankle is cuffed to the pedal. You’re going down, buddy! We saw some of the largest yucca fruits I’ve ever seen.
Kyle touched one of them and it just fell off, so we had a taste. It was like watermelon in taste and banana in texture. Later, we played an Alhambra expansion with diamonds and gates…it wasn’t much different from regular Alhambra.
Mattel (who owns Scrabble in the UK) is going to change the rules of Scrabble to allow names? That be wack. The reason they weren’t allowed in the first place is that people would just make up high-scoring names like Zyqax and say, “what? I could name my kid Zyqax.” I hate boardgames with subjective rules that are wide-open to interpretation and you just spend the whole game arguing. Outburst had this problem. “Things to eat that start with C.” “Cardboard…what? You could eat cardboard!”
My board gaming uncle was visiting recently. We played Caylus Magna Carta, Dominion, and the Pandemic expansion. We found out we’d been playing Pandemic wrong and in a much harder way because I misunderstood one of the rules. No wonder we could never win. (Unfortunately, we’ve tried this cooperative board game again a couple of times recently and still never win. That game is teh hard.) Dominion is a pretty good card game in which the cards have the rules written on them. (I usually don’t like card games because they’re often random, but this one’s good.) Every round of Dominion can be different because you can select what cards you want to use in that round. You can play Dominion and other boardgames for free online at this German site.
Another trip to Peralta and another game from Uncle Keith’s case o’ games. It was Stone Age. It takes a while to learn and play the first time and we made a lot of mistakes, but it’s a good game. The most amusing part of the game was that it comes with a manly leather dice cup and many illustrations of large-bearded men. It changed us somehow.
We visited my grandparents in Peralta yesterday. My uncle brought his famed case o’ boardgames…obscure boardgames that are often pretty good. We picked Pandemic, which turned out to be a really good cooperative game. Four of us tried to find cures for four diseases around the world. It was good enough that we played it three or four times, even though we lost each time. The diseases suddenly outbreak and spread around the globe, so it’s very difficult to contain them before they’re out of control. It really got into our heads while we were trying to sleep, so we were having obsessive thoughts/dreams about it. One funny part about the game is that you determine who goes first by whoever was last sick.