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.

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

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.

A Good Week

June 10, 2010

This has been a good week and it’s not even over yet.

John had some people over for a BBQ. The weather was perfect and the company enjoyable. After some bean bag toss and dinner I got in a full game of Manoeuvre on the patio table. My Austrians lost a close one at nightfall to the Prussians. Next to us John’s Ottoman cavalry were too much for Russ’ Russians. After that I played a teaching game with another friend.

My 3.5 and 1.5 year-old girls and I went through the game cupboard. First the girls wanted to look at the dice for Boggle. Then we played a game of Jenga. I push a block out part way for them to grab. They also get to hold on to the tower at times. After 5-6 turns my youngest got a little too aggressive and knocked over the tower – but of course that’s the best part of Jenga for them! After I cleaned that up, the girls sorted out the Rummikub tiles onto the racks. I think I like their variants for those games better.

John came over and we played a couple of battles in Command & Colors: Ancients. I had played around with the Wargameroom module for this game and found it fairly straight forward to play. So after a brief rules summary we took to the battle field. My Syracuse forces inexperienced leader failed them in the Battle of Akragas, but took their revenge near the Crimissos River. Both games were won by one victory banner. I really like the quick playing nature and the subtle strategies in the game. And all those little blocks make it feel like you are actually commanding an army. I look forward to more plays.

Although no board games were played, I did put in another big board game order for our gaming group. In fact, our biggest one yet. Now I have to wait a whole week to get to tear off the shrink wrap, but it’ll be worth it. Look forward to some Inside the Box posts soon!

Thursday, Friday and Saturday
I’m not sure what tonight or the rest of the week will bring in terms of gaming. Possibly a game or two with my wife. However, I get to cap this week off by watching the USA take on England in the World Cup Saturday afternoon. What could be better?