The holiday gaming was pretty good.
It started with a double helping of Glory to Rome. My wife controlled this game. She played down Catacombs early on and was threatening the end all game. I built some things and it seemed much more uncertain whether she should end the game but I was always catching up and she played stuff into her Vault while I scrambled. I did get the Forum up and had 5 of 6 clients (with the final one close) but she ended it and won comfortably on the merchant bonuses alone.
Her: 6Inf + 6Vault + 3(Statue) + 6 MB = 21
Me: 9Inf = 9
Noting the lack of things in the Vault being a quick route to losing, I decided against a different approach. My wife moved things efficiently into her vault, with the wall scoring her points for her overflowing stockpile as well. But I had my merchants working as all roles (building power) and that proved a powerful ability as I caught her up in vault while building more buildings. Game end and we both took 2 merchant bonuses (tied in the other 2 as well), but my extra building gave me the win.
Her: 10Inf + 22V + 6MB + 5(wall) = 43
Me: 17Inf + 20V + 6MB + 3(statue) = 46
Christmas gifts did include some games: I bought my boys 10 Days in Asia (after reading about it during the Welborn December Challenge) and also King of Tokyo from lots of different places on here.
King of Tokyo has been a hit with the boys. In the two games so far, an interesting trend: I don't get to finish the game. In both, a card is bought that does damage to everyone, at just the right time to knock me out. Also: the player that picks Gigasaur gets to win. I'll be able to end one of those if they let me pick him next game...
It is silly dice rolling fun, though and despite not having much chance at winning (I consider it a mark of respect at my abilities that the rest of the clan gang up on me *cough*cough*) I am looking forward to more of this in the new year.
I picked Asia for the 10 Days game because it has the railroad connections (my son loves trains and maps). I wasn't sure how good a game it would be for the adults but thought it looked decent for the mixed age games. The boys have only played it once so far and one of them was feeling the effects of a long day/early start as he wasn't too into it. But my older son got into it and was working on his route pretty much without any parental advice. We also played it without them, as a 2 player and I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Not a deep game, but a good amount of puzzling combined with a race against your opponent - we both enjoyed it and it will see some more play in the 'we want a lightish game to play in the evening after work' slot.
After Christmas proper, the kids were off but my wife and I were still working. She works evenings, so I had the boys at home. This was the first time they both had some holiday homework, but the younger lad had much less, so he was kicking his heels a good bit while my older one toiled away on his math. What better solution than to play some games?
He has instigated some gaming, including Guess Who? and War. But I have on occasion steered him to something else, so over this holiday we played Backgammon. I inherited my father's set, in its shiny black case. My son got it quite quickly and he rolled well: he opened up with double 6 for example. But I managed to stay in touch and despite his good rolling, I had only 1 blot left as his left the arena.
I also taught him the dice rolling silliness of Groo: The Game. In this game, you roll dice for resources and spend them on buildings and people. All give you abilities of various types, but the buildings are how you win. And the people can attack and defend. The additional wrinkle is the presence of Groo, who wanders from town to town and accidently destroys things and kills people. I got a good few buildings and was one point from winning when my son's Dragon showed up and knocked down half my town. Then Groo killed my reinforcements when he was supposed to be training them. And then my son built his last building and won. Stupid game.
We've played Hey, That's My Fish! a few times and he still jumps on the big fish quite adeptly but doesn't see the longer game. So even if he thrashes me at everything else, I still have the bigger pile of fish.
Oh yes, my son also had a project to do over the holidays on a Native American tribe. It involved a series of artistic works representing the tribe and how they lived. He drew a picture, he built a model of a tee-pee (with absolutely no help from his mother, nuh uh) and his final piece was to design a game. I was quite pleased he picked that option and I hit upon the strategic retreat the tribe (the Nez Perce) beat across Montana and Idaho toward Canada and Sitting Bull. We kicked around ideas between us but it was the boy himself that came up with the final idea of a chutes & ladders-type game but with different sets of hazards (such as soldiers) and helpful things (like canoes). It was pretty fun for a kids' game.
Rounding off my year and I had set myself some goals. One was a play for every day of the year. Another was 25 plays of Race for the Galaxy. We started this game at 11:30, so my 365th play came right at the end of the 365 days. My Rebel Freedom Fighters pushed out military developments (with most military and most developments goals in play). My wife's Alien Research Team put out Black Hole Miners and Terraforming Engineers. I had an Explore in which I had to pick 1 out of about 5 I wanted - I picked Rebel Homeworld, though I need to put New Military Tactics in play to get it. I took a chance and did a Search for Alien (that goal was in play and several alien worlds have boosts in military, plus it would give me a good) - I lucked out in a big way with the Lost Alien Battle Fleet, which I played after using NMT and then had no problems playing any other military worlds. Meanwhile she had played Deserted Alien World, giving her a substantial discount (-4) playing Alien worlds. She proceeded to make heavy use of it, playing Alien Guardian, Alien Robot Scout Ship. The Research Labs that followed were also a blow to my need to Explore, plus gave her a nice clutch of cards on produce. I had Rebel Alliance but few more rebel worlds to play, but I ran into a run of Uplift cards (that goal was also in play) which could also help with my prestige deficit. But she just continued to produce alien worlds - 4 more in fact. I don't think I ever saw a tableau with the Guardian, the Departure Point and the Monolith in it before. She had SETI to cap things off (I'm just glad it wasn't Alien Tech Institute). I had the last turn decision to play Primitive Rebels or an Uplift world to claim the goal - the windfall on the rebel world meant I played that.
Her: 40 + 7VP + 7PP + 9 goals + 15 SETI = 78
Me: 22 + 8VP + 5PP + 10 goals + 11 (RebAll) = 56
It was at the same time an epic and humiliating way to round of a fine year of gaming.
And a Happy New Year to all who made it this far!