Thursday, April 03, 2008

91 Days of Gaming: Five & Dime

Well, if I'm going to be completely accurate, that's actually 84 days of gaming. (Thanks to BGG's tracking system, I can tell that I've only had 7 days in 2008 on which I haven't played a game.)

Here's the stuff I've been playing a lot of in the first three months of '08...

13 times
  • Race for the Galaxy - Once you get past the whole "what the heck do all these icons mean?!" phase of learning the game, this one hums along at top speed. The rest of my regular group is catching up and/or passing me in skill, so I'm no longer winning every game I play. Doesn't dampen my enthusiasm, though - there are a BUNCH of nifty card combinations to put together that I haven't managed to pull off yet!
10 times
  • Hüpf hüpf, Hurra! - This wonderful dexterity/luck game was a gift from one of the members of my congregation (who has a son serving in Germany)... and it's been a hit from the minute we cracked open the box. I had to translate the rules myself (well, with a bit of help - thanks, Henning!), but it's not that difficult to figure out. Essentially, it's the direct descendant of the old Tupperware game, Bounce-It-In... except with marbles & a cleverly slanted rim around the scoring area that allows for some fun "around the horn" kind of rolls. It's proved popular with kids, adults & kids playing with adults.
7 times
  • Burg-Ritter - this is a cooperative dexterity game from Haba which utilizes an old-fashioned girl's hair band (kind of like a super-strength rubber band) with four strings connected to it to make a medieval "crane" to maneuver tower pieces into place. My six year old enjoys it a lot, though we need to go with a shorter timer to make the game more challenging.
  • Dish It Up! - my youngest son has just discovered this memory variant which I consider to be an unrecognized gem. Rather than matching the tiles to each other, you match them to the items on your tickets - you're a waiter in a diner!
6 times
  • Battleship Express - Part of a series of dice games released by Hasbro in nifty plastic carrying cases, it's not as good as Risk Express (which, for no apparent reason, is not available in the U.S.) but it's still a decent little game. It probably works best with 3 players - 2 & 4 are, weirdly enough, too quick to be any fun. Three players allows for some time to balance out the fluky rolls of the dice.
  • Funny Bunny - an old standby here at the Jackson house... but now it's Collin who is requesting it rather than Braeden. (We bought it on our first mini-vacation here in CA, when we went to San Luis Obispo in September 2003.)
  • HeroScape - I discovered the Battles of Vahalla boards on, which put us back into HeroScape overdrive. 500 pt armies, small but well-designed boards so that you're fighting from the 2nd round on... and the rest is history. Braeden & I are currently planning a "Ice Dragon/Yetis" vs "Marvel Superheroe Duo" battle on an ice-heavy board.
  • Kiki Ricky - from the same Ravensburger series as Funny Bunny, this is basically King of the Mountain with a chicken who throws eggs at players. It's silly but fun.
  • Monopoly - Tropical Tycoon DVD Game - I'm working on a more extensive post, but this is not only the best Monopoly spin-off game, but it's also the best version of Monopoly period. More to come...
  • Scene It? - Disney - 50+ plays of this game has not dampened Collin & Braeden's enthusiasm for this game... and, yes, we have many of the clips & puzzles memorized. I'm trying to figure out if the 2nd edition has repeat clips from the 1st edition... if not, we'll probably get it for them for Christmas.
  • Tumblin-Dice - the size of this game (about 1/2 a coffee table) keeps it in the box for much of the year... but when it comes out, it gets a LOT of play. So far, it's been played both at Fresno Gamers & with my family.
  • Turbulento - a really odd Selecta game of dropping wooden balls onto curved disks (to flip them over) which turns into a memory game as you have to remember what animal is on the bottom of the disks. Collin is spectacularly good at the memory part & Braeden rocks at the flipping part... which means I don't win very often.
5 times
  • Duck, Duck, Bruce - This is a very cute game that reminded me a lot of Zirkus Flohcati... and then I realized it's actually a reprint of an older German game that pre-dates ZF. There's a bit more luck here (what with the Bruce die to steal cards) but it's also a bit friendlier (a duplicate card doesn't always keep you from taking cards).
  • Hisss - It's barely a game... but my youngest (Collin) really likes to play & it helps him with matching colors. Soon, we'll move on to better games & I can leave this one behind.
  • Memoir '44 - Richard Irving was in town, which accounted for a couple of plays... and Braeden really wanted to try out scenarios with airplanes. When things slow down a bit, we plan to play some more!
  • Zingo - Bingo that is actually enjoyable for 3 year old children... and adults, as long as you don't have to play it over & over.
  • Zooloretto - This game grows on me every time I play... which is odd, as I detest Coloretto. I think the combination of excellent theme & a greater number of choices makes it a winner in my book. An excellent choice for Spiel des Jahres last year, even if I still think Thebes got cheated. (We haven't done much with the expansions yet... just used the Petting Zoo, which was kind of neat without changing the rules much.)

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