Gaming with my Girl

This is a silly little blog where a single father from Boston discusses hobby board and card games that he plays with his 5 year-old girl Natalya. Sometimes her teenage brother, Jeffrey, might even play too! And their Dad might go off on some other tangent — it may even be game related. Imagine that?

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Another New Start

Jeff Rhind
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So, I've decided to not go forward with PinkMeeple.com or this blog. At least for now. I wanted to say thank you for everyone's support here on BGG. This such a great community of people. I will still be here on the geek uploading pics, participating in BGG Secret Santa, as well as PnP stuff, et cetera.

Instead I have focused on a YouTube Channel as well as new blog called Completely Board. You can find it at http://www.completelyboard.com

Why?

As much as I wanted to go on talking about kids games I felt that would pigeon hole me and not allow me to talk about any other games whatever they be. And as my daughter gets older those kids games would turn into family games and even heavier games. Plus I ran into a couple of snags with regard to the PinkMeeple name online and in the trademark space. But more importantly, I wanted to have something a little more generic and allowed me to talk about games in general.

I am not sure whether this is a mistake or not but I hope you will follow me along for the ride.

You can follow me on Twitter at @jeffrhind or @completelyboard
Check out my YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/completelyboard

Thanks again.
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Wed Aug 27, 2014 4:41 am
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New Acquisitions

Jeff Rhind
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From gallery of jeffrhind


Sultaniya
Pagoda
Dark City
Heroes Unite
Sushi Go
Roll For It (Red)
Jaipur

Some fun is going to happen here. Plus reviews for all of the above coming soon.
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Sun Aug 3, 2014 2:43 am
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Hurricane Arthur and a Pile of Games

Jeff Rhind
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Hurricane Arthur pretty much only skirted our coast so it wasn't as big as an event as some thought. But it still made for a pretty yucky day overall.

So, this is what gaming most of the day with a 5 year old looks like.

From gallery of jeffrhind


Sleeping Queens x3
Dweebies x3
Splendor x1
Too Many Monkeys x1
Colorama x1, Carcassonne x1
Animal upon Animal x3
Mancala x3
Race to the Roof x2
DiceAfari x2

Now off to the parade!

Viel Spaß
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Sat Jul 5, 2014 1:42 pm
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10x10 Challenge...6 Months Later

Jeff Rhind
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So not only is this the birthday of this wondrous nation we live in...'Merica, but it's also, more or less, half-way through the year. And with that a look at mine, and Natlaya's, BoardGameGeek 10x10 Challenge, where we stand, and my thoughts.

From gallery of jeffrhind
First, my daughter: Considering her list is pretty much made up of her favorite games that we play all the time, she is almost done already. Just a couple of stragglers. We need to play more Pick a Pig, Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small and Dweebies. No problem there. The Three Little Pigs which was her favorite right before I made her list, we lent it to a friend. The collection of games that she can play is far smaller than mine whether my own personal collection or those I play in my gaming group. So all in all she's doing well.

From gallery of jeffrhind
Now, my list: I am not even close. And here's why. At the time I made this list, these were all games I played all the time, or games I mistakenly thought I would play more often. In the past six months, I have acquired other games that would take many of these spots. My tastes have changed over the past 6 months. I guess that makes me a fickle gamer? I dunno. All I know is it is now July and I have yet to get Legions of Darkness (Sorry, Joel) or Space Hulk: Death Angel (Sorry, Rich) to the table even once. Plus my alternates? Sentinels and Caverna? I still do not own either of these and I do not think I ever will own Sentinels. I liked the "idea" at first but Legendary and DC DBG do it for me right now. Cuba Libre? 10 times? I would wear the game out and trade it away by then.

Board Game: Eldritch Horror
It's interesting to track a list like this, but ultimately futile. As I said, my tastes have changed over the course of the year. Plus this seems more like an assignment then a list of what I want to play. The differences are subtle but some of these games I could care less whether I play or not. Elder Sign is still sitting on the shelf next to Eldritch Horror punched and ready to go. Ahhh, someday. Some games I no longer own. In fact, today I just traded Race for the Galaxy away for Star Wars: X Wing Miniatures in a Math Trade.

To wrap things up, I think I will still track what games my daughter plays, as well as myself, relative to the BGG 10x10 Challenge but it's no longer a priority to play these games just to get that count to ten. I think I will still do the 10x10 Challenge in 2015, but just to see how my tastes and gaming change over time.

Viel Spaß
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Fri Jul 4, 2014 2:00 pm
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Splendorific

Jeff Rhind
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splen·dor [splen-der]
noun
1. brilliant or gorgeous appearance, coloring, etc.; magnificence: the splendor of the palace.
2. an instance or display of imposing pomp or grandeur: the splendor of the coronation.
3. grandeur; glory; brilliant distinction: the splendor of ancient Greek architecture.
4. great brightness; brilliant light or luster.
5. a board game designed by Marc André and published by Space Cowboys

From gallery of jeffrhind
I bought Splendor on a whim after seeing a run-through/review on a YouTube channel somewhere. I am pretty sure it was Joel Eddy and the Drive Thru Review You Tube Channel. But no matter...

Everyone has been raving how it should win Spiel des Jahres! I have to agree, this game is awesome! It hits that sweet spot of 30 minutes or so. It plays fast and smooth and I can teach it to anyone in 3 minutes. It is currently one of my favorite games and I never see it leaving my collection. I've played it only two and three player. Not sure what happens at four, but the game does change a bit from two to three players as more cards tend to stay on the board instead of disappearing into other players tableaus or hands.

Gameplay: There are chips in the bank of 5 colors and the amount varies based on number of players. On the table there are three stacks of cards (level 1-3) with four dealt from each...so 12 cards on the table. The Level 1 cards (green-backed) are easiest to acquire, then Level 2 (yellow) and last the blue-backed are the hardest or most costly to acquire. More on this later.

From gallery of jeffrhind
On your turn you do one of four actions. They are:
1) You can pick three chips of three different colors (no more than 10 can be in front of you)
2) You can take two chips of one color if there are at least four in that stack (again discard down to 10)
3) You can take card from the table and put it in your hand (no more than 3) and a gold (wild) chip
or 4) You can purchase a card from the table.

Cards are purchased by paying the bank the number of color chips required in the lower left area of the card. The gold chips are wild and each can be used in place of another color chip. As you purchase cards, you can use the gem in the upper right as chips for payment toward other cards. So eventually, you can "buy" cards for free because you have enough bonus gems in front of you to pay for it. Then, in later turns, you can buy other cards that give you bonus points indicated by a number of 1-4 in the upper left of the card. At the end of your turn check the nobles on the table (three were drawn at random at the set-up of the game), if you have the number of bonus gems in front of you indicated on the noble card, you get that noble card and it's bonus points. First person to 15 points triggers the last round. Easy, peasy.

From gallery of jeffrhind
Thoughts: Now, this game isn't exactly age appropriate and although she doesn't quite grasp the strategy involved in winning the game, she does understand the mechanics of getting chips to buy cards and discounting them with the bonuses in front of her. I think she loves to want to play it because I like it so much. And she loves the chips. She is definitely going to be a fan of quality components when she gets older. But hey, aren't we all? And yes, she has beaten me on occasion - and that's only because I was helping her make the hard decisions which in some cases screwed me over.

Like I said, the component quality is fantastic! The chips could've been made out of cardboard or plastic and people would still love this game. But in this case, the components really add an extra level of quality and swag to the game. They are really fantastic, meaty, heavy ceramic poker chips with stickers applied to both sides. This game can be a little luck driven with cards that come out into the field, but there is also some strategy involved as players take cards off the table to purchase or into their hands to prevent you from taking them. So, ya, even a little of "take that." I introduced Splendor to my gaming group and all loved it. They thought it was fast and easy to learn! Granted, a little slow at first, but it picks up speed quickly as you build up your gem engine and speed toward your 15 point goal. A great 30 minute fix. Not really a filler, but not quite a full-on lengthy game. I recommend it highly. Go get it!

From gallery of jeffrhind
Splendor is for 2-4 players, ages 10 and up and plays in about 30 minutes. It is designed by Marc André and published by Space Cowboys. You can follow Space Cowboys on Twitter @SpaceCowboys1

Viel Spaß
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Wed Jul 2, 2014 2:42 am
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Not a day over 3,500 years old

Jeff Rhind
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As I was cleaning up my gaming bookcase (yes, singular. I haven’t expanded to two…yet) my daughter asked what the wooden box was that made a rattling sound when I moved it.

“It’s called Mancala,” I responded.
“Macala?” Natalya questions.
“Mancala.”
“Mancala. Can you teach me that?” she asks.
“Absolutely.” I said enthusiastically.

Who am I to argue when my daughter wants to learn a game.

From gallery of jeffrhind
The word mancala is derived from the Arabic word manqala. Their are hundreds of versions of mancala, including Bao, Wari, Mefuhva, and Kiuthi. Although most have the same basic objectives and methods of play, they differ in detail. Most boards are carved into pieces of wood from the very large to smaller, more portable ones. But the beauty of this game is that it can be played with stones found on the side of the road and the “board” etched or dug out into the dirt with a stick.

Most experts agree that the birth of this game was in the region of the world surrounding the Red Sea. The game is ancient. Mancala boards have been discovered dating back 3,500 years to cities such as Al-Qurna, Luxor and Karnak. It is considered one of the oldest games known and is still played today.

From gallery of jeffrhind
Gameplay: In the modern US version of Mancala, each player has six cups in front of them with 4 gems in each. To each player’s right is the mancala where stones accrue as points. On a player’s turn, they select a cup in front of them and redistribute the gems one gem in each cup counter-clockwise including their own mancala but skipping over their opponent’s mancala.

If the last cup is empty and gets a gem on the player’s own side of the board, that player scores that gem as well as any in the cup directly across from it. Once all six cups are empty in front of a player triggers the end of the game and the player with the most gems in their own mancala is the winner.

At the end of three plays, she said she liked playing it. Abstract as it is, she understood the game concept quickly. It’s an inexpensive game that can be acquired almost anywhere including Target and Wal-Mart or even most large chain pharmacy stores like CVS and Rite-Aid.

Viel Spaß!

From gallery of jeffrhind



Image Sources:

http://travel-wonders.com/2012/03/01/games-around-the-world-...
http://goafrica.about.com/od/peopleandculture/tp/gifts.htm
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Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:06 pm
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One fell off and bumped its head

Jeff Rhind
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From gallery of jeffrhind
Gamewright has proven yet again they can make a simple game that can be taught in just minutes and that my daughter has fun playing. Note: I've only played it with two players so far, so I can't speak to a higher player count.

In Too Many Monkeys, the deck is composed of 55 cards numbered 1 - 6 as well as these special cards:

* Elephant and Giraffe cards - Ends your turn
* Orangutan card - Wild card
* Raccoon card - Search through the discard pile for a card you want
* Skip card - Assigned to another player, that player skips their next turn
* Do Not Disturb Card - Flip upside down any opponent's card (more on this later)

From gallery of jeffrhind
Gameplay: the object of the game is to go from 6 cards in front of you, to 5 then 4 all the way to 1. First player to do that wins. In the first round each player is dealt 6 cards face down in front of them. They can then take the top card from the discard pile and play it or take a card from the draw deck. If they get a number card, they place it in its appropriate numbered spot in front of them. The card that was there gets played. If that's a number card then it gets placed, et cetera. If a card that is revealed is already face up in front of the player, then she discards that card and their turn is over. If an elephant or giraffe card is revealed, then she discards that card and their turn is over. The game continues to the next player. If a raccoon card is revealed, that layer discards it after they hunt through the discard pile for a card they want. If the orangutan card (wild card) is revealed that can be played in any open position in front of the player. If a card is revealed that can take the place of the wild, the player does so and can then place the wild card in a different location.

From gallery of jeffrhind
If the player flips over/plays all their cards and shows 1-6 then she wins the round. On the next round she is dealt 5 cards and all other players are dealt 6. Now the sixth card is useless to that player. If they win again then they are dealt 4 cards et cetera. Whomever has one card in front of them and plays a 1 on it is the winner.

Natalya really likes all games from Gamewright; it's pretty much a no-brainer when you need a game for a kid. This game is a little whacky to explain in a blog post or to explain in words to a kid. I found it easier to just play and show them. Natalya picked it up in one game. There is not a whole lot of strategy here as it is mainly luck driven by what card you pull from the deck or you have hidden in front of you. There is a little "take that" when Natalya pulls a "do not disturb" card and gets to flip a card back to face down in front of me. But other than that...total luck. And that's ok.

From gallery of jeffrhind
It's a fast game and plays in about 20 minutes or so. The game is for 2-6 players, ages 6 and up. The art is cute and the component quality is good which is pretty standard from the folks at Gamewright. I recommend it as I do for most games from these folks.

Viel Spaß!
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Mon Jun 9, 2014 12:19 am
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Aquaman isn’t so bad after all

Jeff Rhind
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So in this blog post my 16 year old son Jeffrey gets a turn.

From gallery of jeffrhind
I picked up DC Comics Deck-Building Game in a recent Math Trade on BoardGameGeek. I thought it might be a good introduction to deck building as a mechanic that my son has not yet experienced. Why not go to Dominion first? I’m not a fan of the theme of Dominion from what I’ve seen from the various reviews online. At the same token, I’ve never given it a try. However in his defense, my son (and myself as well) likes superhero anything. He doesn’t care so much whether it’s Marvel or DC as he likes both. He doesn’t know the whole mythos of either universe but knows enough of the characters, that either DC Deck Builder or Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game will make sense. (Legendary we don’t own yet, but he says he wants to try it) We played several games over the weekend it came in the mail and his first impression was that he loved it. In fact, so much so, he said it’s “one of his favorite games of all the games we own.”

From gallery of jeffrhind
Simply, each player selects a role randomly. They include: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Flash, and others. As you get better at the game you could choose two at random and then select which one you want to be. My son had a habit of getting Aquaman. Now, Aquaman is the butt of all jokes in the DC universe especially if you’ve seen Robot Chicken or Big Bang Theory but in this game he is actually a very cool character to be since his ability allows for cards that costs 5 Power or less that you gain can go right to the top of your deck to be used the next turn.

From gallery of jeffrhind
Each player starts with 7 Punch cards worth 1 Power and 3 Vulnerability which are worth 0. The Vulnerability cards just clog your deck so you can’t get as much power in a turn. Weaknesses work the same way except they are also worth -1 VP each at the end of the game. So as the game progresses you want to get rid of those when the opportunity arises. Like most deck builders, you shuffle, then deal 5 cards to yourself, purchase as many cards as you want up the available Power you have in your hand. Everything then goes into the Discard pile (unless a card’s ability changes that rule), then next player has a turn while you deal yourself 5 new cards. When you run out of cards, you shuffle your Discard pile to make a new deck. Rinse and repeat.

From gallery of jeffrhind
Over the course of the game, you are buying special equipment, or locations that offer ongoing abilities, super powers, heroes, with special card abilities and villains. Think of buying villains like Solomon Grundy or the Penguin as defeating them and the power you gain later when you play them as experience you gained in your battles against them. You can also defeat Super Villains which cost much more power to defeat and when they first appear, unless you have a defense ability card in your hand, you must suffer the penalty of an Attack which includes losing a card in your hand to your Discard pile or worse. When this deck runs dry (there are 8) the game is over and you total up the Victory Points. The player with the most points wins. Also, if the main draw deck runs out the game ends.

From gallery of jeffrhind
Jeffrey liked the fact that the game play is simple and can be taught in just a couple of minutes. He liked how it plays fast and usually we want to play again right after the game ends. The artwork is really nice, and although I wish the text was bigger on the cards (my usual beef), with a little effort and looking over my glasses I could make them out. After a lot of plays I can see where the replayability could run out as you will see the same cards over and over. There is an expansion out called Heroes Unite which is a stand-alone game but can also be mixed with the base game for more variety. Later this year, is another stand-alone game being released called Forever Evil where you can play a villain role. Again, here you can mix these cards in with the other two sets.

From gallery of jeffrhind
I know that some people have an issue with the gameplay in that as you acquire cards, you might buy cards that don’t relate with your role card. For example, you might be Batman and acquire cards like the Batmobile, or the Bat Signal – makes sense. But often times you are acquiring other cards like Heat Vision or Wonder Woman’s Lasso. I look at it like this: you might be Batman but you are calling in reinforcements to do battle from other heroes. So if we’re on the same “good guy” team, why isn’t this a co-op? Well, I think the competitive nature of the game is such that we are working together as “The Justice League” but secretly we keep track of the villains we defeat much like Legolas and Gimli did in The Lord of the Rings – friendly competition among heroes.

I can see where the game would become tiresome if overplayed with no expansions. But it is simple, fast and plays in less than hour for experienced players who are familiar with all the card types and their abilities. This comes fast with only a couple of plays.

From gallery of jeffrhind
Jeffrey does want to try Legendary as this is also a deck builder but cooperative. Set in the Marvel Universe, the game play is a little different than DC but the basic concept of accumulating power and combo-ing those with other cards for maximum effect.

This game will stay in my collection for a while since I can teach Natalya this game when she gets older. The box says ages 15 and up. I am not sure why this is. As long as you can read the text on the cards and do simple math, the game is easy. Anyway, a great gateway game to deck building and if you like superheroes, it’s even better. And don’t feel bad if you get Aquaman – his trident is a pretty awesome card too.

Viel Spaß!
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Mon May 26, 2014 5:31 pm
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Apologies

Jeff Rhind
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So, it's been a while since I posted anything.

We have finally moved out of our house to a new place. It's been taking some getting used to but once that was done came school. I had a very heavy class entitled "History of the Modern Middle East" that was sucking up a lot of time with papers, studying for tests/quizzes and a final, and prepping a final presentation on the Ottoman Empire. Additionally, I was making up work on two classes that had incompletes that were going to expire with no chance of renewing: American History II and Intro to World Religions: Eastern Religions. Then, if that weren't enough, came Commencement ceremonies at the University.

Now that all that is done, I can move forward with some postings.

I have a lot of games to write up including Dweebies, Pick-a-Pig and Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small. Plus we have some new ones to try out including Skyline and DiceAFARI.

Sorry for the excuses but sometimes real life does get in the way of our gaming. More coming soon...

Viel Spaß!
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Thu May 22, 2014 2:34 am
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Agricola: ACBAS

Jeff Rhind
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…or how to kick ass in horse husbandry. Natalya beat me by 5 points!

From gallery of jeffrhind
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Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:33 pm
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