Nov 06

Last Week In Games: 10/28/13-11/03/13

The trend of very little gaming has come to and end!  Unlike recent weeks, where the gaming content of my blood had grown dangerously low, this week saw a return to more acceptable levels.  Without further ado, here is last week in games.

Despite the IGS being off last week, I still managed to get in some early week gaming… of the electronic variety.  Board game arena was back in full effect as I played a few of my favorites on the site including:


I played 3 games of In the Year of the Dragon and only managed to win one.  It appears that I am slipping in my old age.  I won both games of Libertalia that I played, but admittedly they were both head to head matches.  Lastly, I pulled of a nice win at Puerto Rico in four man game.  This is my favorite number with which to play as I enjoy the addition of the prospector role.

However, the above games were not responsible for my most rewarding game on Board Game Arena last week.  No, that title fell to one of my personal favorites, Hearts.

Ahh, sweet sweet Hearts!  I learned to play Hearts roughly around the time that I was fifteen years old.  A good friend and co-worker of my father’s, Rick Lane (Jethro) was attending a New Year’s party at our house and he taught my Mom and I how to play.  Unlike many traditional card games, in Hearts players are attempting to avoid points rather than acquire them.  Also unlike many traditional card games, Hearts is a game that allows for a tremendous level of skillful play.  Even as Jethro was explaining the game I could already tell I was going to love it.  After just a few hands this feeling was absolutely confirmed.  If you have ever played a game that immediately clicked in your mind then you understand the feeling that I am describing.  Hearts was one of those games for me!

Hearts is an available game on Board Game arena, but I have never felt the urge to play.  For whatever reason, last week a game needed one more player and I joined in on a whim.  I warned the other players that although my profile showed zero games played, I knew the game quite well, but might struggle with the interface until I learned it.  I proceeded to play a most excellent game of Hearts with three gamers from across the globe.  I represented America against the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Canada in the game.  As the end grew near and the player from UK could see that not only was he going to lose but that I was going to win he said, “The Dirty Hamm did warn us that he knew how to play and clearly the score shows it!”.  I simply smiled!  It was good to get back into the groove of Hearts!  More to come on this in next week’s entry.

Friday night involved playing a game of Ra with the wife and kiddos downstairs in the Geekeasy with a fire in the fireplace.  Pretty sweet huh?  All things considered, it did not take very long to teach the kids and we were off and running.  Heather and I were enjoying the game, but the kids seemed to be going through the motions.  Sadly, this lead to some drama as the result of a misunderstanding and the game came to and early end.  However, none of this should be blamed on Ra as it is truly a great game.  These things will happen from time to time.

This past Saturday was once again Family Game Day at the Southport Library.  This month’s session was made up of the regular cast of characters:  The Callahan’s, K, LeSean, and myself along with a few others that wandered through.  I spent most of the day playing games with LeSean and one or both of the Callahan boys:  Tommy and David.

LeSean is a big fan of learning new games and as he had never played Scotland Yard, he chose to give it a try.  In the interest of teaching the game as quickly as possible, I took on the role of the villanous Mr. X.  I know it is hard to believe.

David and LeSean played two detectives each and were charged with trying to track me down.  This is not an easy task as have not been caught as Mr. X in about 25 years.  Their ages do not even add up to 25, so they were going to have their hands full!

Although David initially wanted to play, he decided that he wanted to quite after it became apparent that it would be much harder to catch me than he envisioned.  Normally his parents and I would not have allowed the quitting, but as the primary victim would be LeSean if he were forced to continue, an exception was made.  This left LeSean in charge of all four detectives and I must say that he played very well for a first timer.  He even had me in a tight spot once or twice, but my years and years of experience were just too much and Mr. X once again eluded capture by the detectives of Scotland Yard!

Next up was Aquaretto, in which players attempt to run the most successful water themed zoo.  Aquaretto is truly a great family game, but also packs enough punch to keep a more serious gamer interested as well.  LeSean picked up on the game right away and once again showed his ability to do catch on quick to a new game.  At the end of our intense water zoo battle we were both surprised to find that the score was a tie!  A very exciting game and most certainly entertaining for both of us!

After LeSean and my epic game, Tommy Callahan wanted to take me on.  He and I have played on a few occasions, and despite his very young age, he always gives me a run for my money.  This game was certainly more of the same as it came down to the very last turn before things were decided.  I barely managed to avoid an extra four negatives and was able to beat him by three points.  Had it not been for my last move he would have had me!

Last up was the ever fun family game, Ninja versus Ninja!  LeSean saw the word Ninja and had to give it a try.  I quickly explained the game in about 10 minutes and it was time for the Ninjas to do battle!  While there is some skill to Ninja versus Ninja, luck most certainly plays a very large role in the game’s outcome.  While LeSean was having more luck completing missions to earn points, I was killing off his ninjas at an alarming pace!  Down to his last ninja and with me one roll from the win, he rolled the highest possible roll possible, an eight, and pulled off a huge come from behind victory!  We both laughed and he declared himself the ninja master.  We will see about that next month!


In Conclusion:

It was good to be back at family game day after having to miss last month due to family obligations.  As the IGS is back in session next week, it will back to the realm of hardcore gaming for sure!  In addition, I am excited to announce that I will be reviewing a game that is soon to be released, “Titans Tactics”.  I will also be reviewing and upcoming Kickstarter game based on taxidermy called, “Body Builders”.  It should be an exciting couple of weeks.  Stay tuned to learn more and I will see you next week.




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