Weekend gaming

This weekend I visited my parents and played games with them. I also tested my new game recording system: I bought a small notebook which I dedicated to making notes on my games. Before I’ve made notes in my calendar, this way they are a bit more permanent and I can have more room to make better notes. But now, to the games:

First we tried out Africa. As the smaller boys were too busy playing Heroes of Might and Magic, they didn’t join us so it was the four of us: me, my mother Raija, Ismo and Ismo’s oldest son, Ilari (he’s 13). I tried a new way to teach the game: I didn’t explain the rules. Only the barest essentials, like how to move and what is the purpose of the game. Whenever there was new type of tile drawn, I explained how those worked. I think it was success — we got to play soon and it wasn’t too big an effort to learn the rules at once.

Africa was well received. We played three games right away. First game was quite even — after 40 minutes, the game was over and Raija won with 57 points. Diamonds were the key to the victory. In the second game, Ismo led throughout the game, but in the end, Ilari ran past him because of the items collected. In the last game, I got tons of base camps, but had no good opportunities to place them. As a result, I came last for the second time in row while Raija won again.

Then we played Puerto Rico. I had played with Ismo and Raija before, and they did like it. Now it was my turn to win: I played corn shipper strategy and did it well. In the end I won Ismo with only one victory point (I had 53, Ismo 52, Ilari 36 and Raija 32). The game took 90 minutes — next one took 75, then the next one only 60 minutes.

Saturday’s games started with Vom Kap bis Kairo, which was also familiar from earlier visits. However, it was the first four-player game I played. Ismo and Ilari played for the first time and Ismo definitely figured out how the game works: for a long time, he paid nothing in the auctions. I think he had about five landscapes in front of his train before he did anything. But then he just whizzed past us and eventually won the game easily. Bummer. I was second with 7 landscapes built. I think it’s a very strong strategy to save your money as much as possible. I’ll have to study it a bit more and definitely I’ll have to play more 4-player VKbK.

The only game of 6 Nimmt we played was next. The boys were very much into HoMM! Five players, and I got very very bad cards and got over 20 points in the first hand, which ensured I placed second to the last.

After that, it was time for some more Puerto Rico. This time I tried to build buildings. I did manage to build my city full and I even got the City Hall to support my strategy, but I got perhaps four victory points during the game, so actually I lost the game. Ismo won, I think he shipped a lot and built a lot.

Sunday started with two games of Africa. First one was won by Ismo, who didn’t find any base camps during the game! Still, he won by one point, managing to gather 60 points. In the second game, I got 63 — and placed second after Ismo’s 66 points. That man is a machine! In these games, we started moving tokens around — that’s a tactic I haven’t used at all, but it looks like a good way to get more points in the end game.

Guess what’s next — more Puerto Rico, of course. We played two games. In the first one, I played a strong indigo shipper strategy, shipping tons of indigo. The game ended when the victory points ran out. I counted my score — 48, a good score, I thought. Well, yes, it was, the best score in game. The negative side of it was that Ismo had 48 points as well and he had more goods and money. So, I didn’t win and Ismo got his fifth win in a row. We played another game right after this one (Ilari dropped out, however — the call of PlayStation and Tony Hawk was too much to resist). I played indigo shipper again, this time much worse. Ismo shipped a lot, built a lot and finished with 49 points, securing his sixth win in a row. I must try to use his Puerto Rico tactics from now on, somehow he always ships a lot and gets a ton of money too…

To finish off the games this weekend, I played two games of Battle Line against my mother and, in the general fashion of the weekend lost both of them easily. Next time I go to Jyväskylä, I’m taking something I will win… Perhaps Princes of Florence or something else they’ve never tried and I’m good at.

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