Gaming after Katrina
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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In a bizarre twist of fate, Hurricane Katrina has revitalized the gaming hobby with my wife and I. When our gaming buddies moved to Auburn, and then we moved to Biloxi, our games started gathering dust except for the occasional Magic duel.

Then Katrina hit, and we ended up with friends/coworkers as long-term houseguests when their home was destroyed. They don't play games, but were patient enough to put up with us as we explained them...
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1. Board Game: Blokus [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:518]
 
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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We started out simple... Blokus can be explained in a couple minutes, and it's a nice abstract. Christy (my wife) enjoys this one a lot, and plays for blood. Philip and Julia (our guests) picked it up quickly.

Julia loved it, winning her second game handily. She calls for it frequently now, but Philip didn't care for it.
 
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2. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:228]
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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After Blokus, we decided to try to teach them San Juan. Philip liked this one a lot, although he didn't 'get it' until midway through the game. Julia didn't care for this one as much... she played it but didn't get into the game. I feel this was due to the higher learning curve of San Juan and the fact that she really wanted to be playing Blokus!
 
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3. Board Game: Sequence [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:3090]
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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After San Juan failed to be compelling for Julia, we went with Sequence. I hate this game, it's pure random luck, and the Jacks are far too overpowering... but it's quick, easy, and supports partner play. It went over well, but Julia liked Blokus better, and Philip liked San Juan... if only we could get them to see in the middle
 
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4. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:893]
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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So... we've got gaming buddies, and they like games. I ran by the local gaming store and they were having a 50% off sale... unfortunately, it had already been picked over. I picked this one up, along with Carcassonne: the Castle, and brought it out.

The ease of play and abstract nature got both Philip and Julia hooked, which was a good thing. We've given it several plays and it's been a hit each time. However, Philip feels the scoring mechanism to be atrocious: 'So the slowest train wins? Lame.'

I'm glad I finally picked this one up... it's an excellent filler.
 
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5. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:91] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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Ah, Ticket to Ride. It came out right as my old group was disbanding, so I never picked it up. I had decided to order Shadows over Camelot, and found a website selling several Days of Wonder games for 60% off... TTR:E for $20 was an unbeatable deal, so it got added to the cart along with Pirate's Cove and Shadows over Camelot.

This game was fairly well received the first time we played it, but nobody really jumped all over it. However, the next night we decided to play again, and it took off... with the rules set in our head, and strategies in place we all had a blast. Julia got pasted pretty badly the first two games, but called for it again the next night, doing much better. She has vowed that she will beat Philip and I the next time.

A resounding success, and this game alone will likely be the catalyst for Philip and Julia becoming regular gaming buddies.
 
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6. Board Game: Blokus Duo [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:770]
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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While trying to find Shadows over Camelot retail, I stumbled across this gem... two player Blokus with purple pieces? I'm there. Julia took to this one quickly, trouncing me, Philip, Christy, and my son Alex. Since it's two player, it's not seeing any play other than a pick up game, though.
 
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7. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:413]
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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During some down time I pulled this one out and played a game with Philip. He liked it, but not enough to want to go at it again. I'll have to poke him some and get him playing enough to get a feel for the game so I have another opponent.
 
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8. Board Game: Carcassonne: The Castle [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:494]
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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Ok. I want to like Carcassonne. I like playing with the tiles, and the scoring mechanism is very intriguing, but my wife and I keep trying and keep hating it.

I think it comes down to random tile draw combined with a very 'heavy' scoring theme. The meeple placement is so critical, that combining that with a purely random tile draw seems at cross purposes. Is it light or heavy? I have to admit that this was the best Carc I've played, but I still didn't go 'ooh ooh again'.
 
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9. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:317]
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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My wife and I played this while we were evacuated from Katrina, and it was awesome on the first play. I ordered it, but we haven't gotten to play with Philip and Julia yet... I'm hoping to get 6 players for the first outing, actually...
 
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10. Board Game: Pirate's Cove [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1020]
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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This was another impulse purchase at the 60% off sale... I'm desperate to play this one, but the others would rather play Ticket to Ride Europe again... it'll hit the table soon, though!
 
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11. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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We've got this one on deck... while it's a bit old hat to us, we feel that Philip and Julia will really like it. And, it's always a good game to play now and again, and it's been a long time for us.
 
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12. Board Game: Elfenland [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:793]
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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This is another game waiting in the wings... I think that it will be a big hit, as it shares enough with Ticket to Ride that there will be familiar themes for them to draw on. That, and it's just a beuatiful game, which will appeal to Julia.
 
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13. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
Marshall Jansen
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
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Puerto Rico is one that we're hopeful on... although I want to wait on this one, and get them more familiar with gaming in general before we spring it on them. A couple extra rounds of San Juan to cement the turn sequence/role drafting might not hurt as well.
 
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14. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:422]
Patrick Dignam
United States
Lithia
FL
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This has been a big hit with the 3 20-somethings in my home as a result of the storm. It's easy, quick to play (at least the time seems to go quickly) and we can all relate to the theme.
 
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