Larry WelbornUnited States
South CarolinaClemson Tigers #1
Not many round-ups lately as there has not been many games played. Fall is a busy season for the Welborn family. School has started back and with it comes homework, after-school clubs, and class plays. We also restart dance classes for daughter and soccer for both of the kids. Wednesday night youth group at church also starts back. And, since I like to go to Clemson football games, most of my Saturdays are spent watching the Tigers. All of this significantly cuts into game time.
Nevertheless, despite our busy schedules, we did get a bit of gaming done this week.
Thebes is an excellent family game. It is simple to learn, although non-gamers might have some difficulty without a gamer to help them. The theme is strong and there is enough luck (many say too much luck) for everyone to have a chance at winning.
I thought this was a game that my children, ages 10 and 8, would enjoy, so we set down after soccer practice this afternoon to give it a go. When introducing a game to the children, I try to keep the explanation as short as possible and explain things as we go along. in this case, we talked about the 4 possible actions and I talked about the face up cards. As special cards and exhibitions were turned up, I explained those cards in more detail. My wife joined us and we set out on a 4 player adventure.
As typical, the first several weeks were spent gaining knowledge, then the intrepid archaeologists headed to out dig site to search for treasure and glory. Instead of glory, most of what was found was dirt, lots and lots of dirt. The first few digs were mostly unsuccessful.
Undaunted, the archaeologists returned to Europe for further research and armed themselves with better equipment and more assistants to help with the dig. Near the end of the year, a few digs proved more successful and everyone regrouped in Europe for a final big push the final year.
The final year saw one wildly successful dig (mine) and a couple of disasters (wife and son). Everyone took time off from the dig sites to return to Europe and display their finds at noted exhibitions. The Conferences were mostly ignored in favor of more digging.
After two years, the scores were added up. Final Scores: Me 54 (artifacts 46, exhibition 4, conference 1 special knowledge 3). Daughter 41 (Artifacts 23, exhibition 4, conf. 1 Special Knowledge 13).
Son 35 (artifacts 26, exhibitions 4, special knowledge 5). Wife 28 (Artifacts 12, exhibition 5, conf. 6, knowledge 5.)
The really good dig for me and the two bad digs for my wife and son proved to be the difference in the game. The kids had no problem understanding the game and it played in about 75 minutes.
We also played 25 games of Pentago. This two player abstract is very quick playing (most games run 3 to 5 minutes) and is easy enough for the children to play reasonably well.
My son asked for a copy for his birthday, as he had played it a few times at school. We obliged him, I and must admit that it is a fun little abstract. On Sunday, the kids designed a ladder competition to determine the winner. I'm not sure of all of the details to their ladder, as they invented and implemented it themselves. I just played when I was told to play. My wife also played and we knocked out 20 games in about an hour. If I understood correctly, I am currently on the top rung of the ladder but hanging on by a thread. Also, for some reason, one rule of the ladder competition is that I always go second, regardless of my standing or the competition. Both of the kids seem reasonably well-matched and they were having fun playing without adult supervision, which is always a good thing.
The children and I also got in a 3 player game of Heroica: Fortaan, Heroica: Waldurk, and Heroica: Nathuz.
The children designed the massive world combining all 3 sets. My daughter was the Wizard, my son the Ranger, and I was the thief. The object was to fight through monsters until you reached the ultimate evil and defeated the creature in battle. My son and I generally followed the same path while my daughter took an alternate route. My son and I both fought through many monsters blocking of path, killing them right and left. Unfortunately, we were often forced to rest to regain our strength. My daughter didn't have much trouble with the monsters but the wizard had trouble picking a route through a rock slide and lost precious time there. We all converged on the ultimate evil about the same time. My son was in the lead, followed by my then my daughter. It appeared that she would not get a chance to fight the monster before it was defeated, but she used a potion of speed to sail past us then used a weapon she bought to slay the creature and capture the victory.
The Heroica series is not that particularly interesting for adults but both kids really enjoy it. Since the game is easily tweaked, I anticipate slowly adding in house rules to ramp up the difficulty and interest as the kids become more familiar with the system.