Happy New Year! A Recap of Holiday Gaming | Giant Fire Breathing Robot

Happy New Year! A Recap of Holiday Gaming

The big 2011 is here at last. Time to leave 2010 behind and gear up for the rockingest, highest-numbered year yet on the Gregorian calendar. My wife and I spent New Year’s Eve at my parent’s place with family and friends. I was sure to bring several different games down so that there would be options for all. I was optimistic that, with so much to choose from, I might be able to get at least one game to the table. Check it out after the jump to see which game(s) made it.

To my utter surprise, everyone was very excited to play board games. Sure the XBox Kinect also made an appearance (and the dance game is pretty fun), and there was some ping pong during daylight hours, but afterward everyone was all about the board games. I couldn’t believe it. This was just how the body snatcher invasion would start, so I kept a close eye on them for any peculiarities. Finding none, I decided that they were either in a good mood, or that the body snatchers were a benevolent force wrongly maligned by Hollywood.

Ticket to Ride. We started off with a little Ticket to Ride action. The family had played before so I thought I’d have the best chance getting them into it. We also had a few new gamers—one eager, the other not so much. But, after a five-player game they happily (and grudgingly) admitted to enjoying themselves. I took a “build lots of trains” strategy and was way ahead for most of the game. But, when it came time to reveal destination cards, I was only in second place. I usually like the long and difficult-to-complete routes, but managed only to snake the short ones. Good fun!

Dixit. After I showed them Dixit, my family fell in love. In fact, my father wanted it for Christmas and I was only too happy to oblige. He’s now the proud owner of the base game and the additional cards. We played a few games of Dixit with everyone laughing and enjoying themselves. My poor grandmother, though, didn’t get the hang of it until late in the second game, but everyone else had a blast.

Piece o’ Cake. I brought Piece o’ Cake down because it has probably the shortest playtime of any game I own. It’s quite enjoyable and I thought if time to play became a concern, then this game would be a real winner. We got in several games of Piece o’ Cake, including a five-player game with a four-way tie for victory at 28 points a piece. With so many variables, it was certainly a strange result, though one that will be remembered.

Zooloretto. Zooloretto actually got two plays this week—once with my gaming group (who met briefly and mostly watched movies) and once with the folks. Zooloretto is new to our group, but the gang very much enjoyed it. It has just the right amount of spite moves where you try to make trucks less attractive to other players, but more attractive for yourself. The result is that you end up getting less than ideal animals in your zoo and then spend turns figuring out how to get rid of them—including trying to get other players to buy them. “See this female flamingo right here? We all know you want to buy her from me…” It makes me think the zoos that we are creating are less than reputable.

Small World. Although initially apprehensive about an area-control-style game, despite its Game of the Year status, I eventually scrounged together enough immediate family for a four-player game. I led off our Small World with Barricade Gypsies. That combination allowed me to get 10 points every turn! Four from holding territory, a bonus three from the Barricade, and then I would abandon three territories each turn for more points. And, because I had so many barricaded up, no one really tried to attack me. While this resulted in an early lead, I was never able to progress beyond ten points, so I suffered in later rounds. I especially suffered when horrible Commando Goblins ran in and smacked me down. I had to decline with only two territories and wasn’t able to recover. So, keep your barricade gypsies for a turn or two, but don’t get greedy. Expand out and let them decline like a normal race or you’ll pay in the end.

Rowboat. I ended the weekend with a play of Rowboat. I introduced it to my Grandmother who took a liking to it very early on. She picked up the rules fairly quickly and was stealing points from me after just a few hands. She remarked that there were a number of other grandkids, and great-grandkids, that she was hoping to play with. I was happy to hear her enjoy it, and I think it’ll serve her better than some other traditional style games (cough, Skip-Bo, cough, is awful, cough).

What about you? What games did you play over the course of the New Year celebration?

There are 2 comments.

  1. carol said on January 3, 2011 at 11:19 am

    We actually played a lot of games this weekend. We had enough people to play Werewolves of Millers Hollow a couple of times, one of my daughter’s favorites. We also played Shadow Hunters (new to us – loved), Priests of Ra, 7 Wonders (new to us – pretty good) and Forbidden Island (new to us – great for a family).

  2. Andrew said on January 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Got Darci hooked pretty hard on Dominion over the break, we also bought a copy of Rowboat and played it (and liked it). Also bought and played Mr Jack and Mr Jack pocket (Darci’s really good at those and beat me handily, so needless to say it’s time to “lose” them in the basement…)

    Also got in a couple rounds of Warmachine with Rob, it was really good to push some minis around the table again.

    Do you think you broke enough ground with your family to get them into the more hardcore games?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *