Matt's Board Game Back Room

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JUST GAMING AROUND - My son helps push to a 'most games played in a month' with Dominion, Diamonds, Love Letter and Splendor

-matt s.
United States
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This was a good month of gaming for me. I got in 54 FTF games this month! The last time I did that many (exactly in fact) was August 2013. And my son definitely helped reach that goal as he really wanted to play games a lot.

The month started out at Lebanon-a-con, a smallish local convention run mainly by two gamers in Lebanon, OR. I got a few solid games played, mostly longer, but definitely good.

Key games for me were: Madeira (which as pending for many months for me), Lewis & Clark(btw, don't play this game 5 player unless they are all VERY fast players - slooowwww snore), Tzolkin (always a fav), and Five Tribes (nice game, might need to pick it up), and Würfel Bohnanza (yet another interesting dice game) among several others.

Then, another friend that goes to Essen every year had a game day and I got a few more good (NEW) games in. Yay! One of my favorite times of year. Games played were: Aquasphere (I messed up one important part teaching - opps!), La Isla (definitely will pick this up), Colt Express (played 3 times! great fun!), and Deus (great civ building game that plays smooth and relatively quickly)

But the primary gaming for me was driven by my son. Almost every day for at least 2-3 weeks he was asking to play a game. Most are shorter but we had a great time playing all of them.

The games were mainly:
Splendor - played a couple of times - he seems to really like this and even plays it at scouts when camping.

Dominion - he has always 'liked' this game, but for some reason he just asking to play it over and over, sometimes 2-3 times in an evening! We mostly just use my a phone app to randomly choose sets (I have all Dominion expansions so we have a lot of variety to choose from). He or I will keep generating sets until we get something that looks interesting, maybe tweaking it a bit. He consistently plays well and he LOOOVES the attack cards. Anything that gives a curse to me and other players is a total joy for him.

I have tended to win more than him, but he definitely holds his own and it is interesting to see his unexpected strategies work for him - he also loves picking up lots of coppers - he will frequently 'buy' them if he has nothing else to buy. He had at least two games where he had 30-40 coppers in his deck! Ill-gotten gains is one of his favorite cards.

We have also had some interesting sets where we randomly ended up with a bunch of cards that make you look at the top of your deck in various ways with interesting effects. We have also had others where most cards trashed other cards and/or generated cards and we ended up with a Trash full of dozens of cards.

Dominion continues to amaze me on how many different interesting interactions and combinations can come about. I will say, though, there are definitely some terrible, horrible combinations that drag the game out for WAY too long no matter how hard you try!

Love Letter - For some reason he is really taken by this game. We've played a couple of times with my daughter and had a great time. But mostly it has been 2 player. This game isn't necessarily the best with 2, but there's still something fun with it, plus its quick. There are a couple of 'better' variants for 2 but we haven't tried them yet - vanilla is still fun for us and tends to generate at least a few good laughs every session.

Diamonds - This has also been a pretty decent 2 player game for us. We have also played 3 player with my daughter and 4 player with my friend Bob (who got us started on it). We don't actually own Diamonds (yet) but have been played with a Clubs deck, using similar plastic gems (large and small in clear rather than clear and red - works better my opinion) and we use the player screens from Rampage which lends it an interesting thematic twist - instead of putting gems into your vault you they are being guarded by your monster/dragon instead. Actually, in Rampage everything behind the screen is 'in the stomach' of the monster so we tend to think of it as the dragon eating the gems for permanent protection

(Side note: Here's a good memory trick for remembering the suit action: Diamond is easy because you get a diamond behind your screen. Clubs is easy because you are hitting another person over the head with your 'club' and stealing a gem Heart you love the diamond so put it in front of you so you can look at it. Spade you are shoveling the diamond in front of you into your vault (or stomach in our 'themed' version)

Anyhow, 2p definitely plays differently since you play 2 cards every trick. You have to play differently than in a 3 or 4 player game because you HAVE to follow your own suit - you can set yourself up nicely sometimes and sometimes you are just stuck. The passing becomes even more important in trying to set yourself up.

Well, we've had a lot of fun with this game as well.

So, overall it has been a great month of gaming, even if many games were with my son playing shorter games - sometimes the interactions in the game and the fun, joy and laughter of my son and myself is what makes it all worth it. AND we're spending time together and keeping him away from his video games and youtube zombification.

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