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December Gaming Fueled by Rivalry

Bill Kunes
United States
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In my last blog post I shared what games from all the Essen discussions influenced my Christmas Wish List. With Christmas and now December here and gone let me just say, "It was a great December of Gaming!"

I played more games this past month than any month prior. I had a bunch of vacation time I needed to use or lose. So I also had more "free time" to catch up on things around the house and play games during breaks with my wife and kids. It also inspired some blog topics. I'll start with the games we developed heated, in-house rivalries over.

(21x) It all started with our anniversary getaway where I introduced my wife to Race for the Galaxy. Surprisingly she liked it! Her winning 5 of the first 7 games certainly helped the cause. This led to a string of days where we played as many games as possible, going back and forth. Eventually we upgraded to the advanced 2-player rules (i.e. play two phase cards each) and included the goal tiles from The Gathering Storm expansion. A rivalry game in our household was born.

(3x) Speaking of rivalries, The Rivals for Catan has been just such a game for us over the past year which saw some play time in December. Over the course of the year the rivalry has played through the various era card sets, and December saw two plays of the Dual of Princes variant with all eras represented in the draw stacks. I am considering adding the new expansion Age of Darkness expansion in 2012.

(12x) While I was out doing some last minute Christmas shopping I performed my ritual of walking down the department store game isle just to see what surprises might exist. I was pleasantly surprised to find Qwirkle on sale and I couldn't resist. I did receive a minor chewing when I got home over it, but that was quickly mended by all the fun we had playing this award winner. Some friends of ours went out and got the same deal after I told them about it. In our first dozen plays I'm averaging 258 pts and 12 qwirkles per game (diluted a bit with a few 3p games vs 2p games).

Among the games I received for Christmas a couple received play time that I'll briefly mention here (I'll save more in a separate blog about New Years Eve Game Night).

(6x) First up was Saint Petersburg. There was nothing exciting about this game to attract me to including it on my Christmas Wish List other than it was highly rated and sounded like a decent game that could be played with 2-4p in a relatively short time. During Christmas it was difficult to find anyone willing to play any games, until my wife took pity on me and offered to play something, so we opened this one and proceeded to create another game to contend and go back in forth as to who would be king/queen of Saint Petersburg in our gaming rivalry... the battle still rages.

(2x) My parents gave me Gears of War which I included primarily to have a new solo option in my collection--and the miniatures don't hurt the cause. I had no previous exposure to the video game it is derived from, so I had lots of reading of the Rule Book and Cards to navigate through the first game, at a snails pace. I was terminated by the time I reached half way through the map. However, the second play a day or so later proved more successful and quicker as I completed my first solo mission. I see more solo plays (and if I'm lucky group plays) in 2012 of this one.

(2x) The last game I wanted to share about is Kingsburg. I played this one over the summer and felt this would be one my girls would like. I got it for Christmas and introduced the family to it and I was right. They loved it! This has the potential to be the family favorite in 2012! It might even set the stage for Alien Frontiers or Troyes on next year's Christmas Wishlist.

Other games to see some table time prior to New Years Eve included Agricola (3x), Killer Bunnies (1x), Hive (2x), and a scenario of Memoir '44 Eastern Front (2x), Bohnanza (1x), Citadels (1x), and Puerto Rico (1x).

meeple Keep playing (and stay tuned for at least a couple more reflective blog posts about 2011 yet to come)...
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