Games played over my Thanksgiving break
Kyle Murphy
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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I work for a university, so I have a very nice Thanksgiving break. This Thanksgiving I spent with my family and my (new) wife back at the old homestead. A couple of my co-workers also came for part of break, so it was a good group consisting of:

Myself
Aimee (wife)
Mom
Dad
Ryan (brother)
Kate (sister)
Alex (sister's fiance)
Dan (co-worker)
Matthew (co-worker)

While I'm the only one of the group who really gets into the hobby, all of the above are willing to play games with me with some amount of regularity. Here are the games I got to play this Thanksgiving break.
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1. Board Game: Summoner Wars [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:373] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Kyle Murphy
United States
Pittsburgh
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We arrived on Wednesday and settled in. Later on in the afternoon Aimee was cooking with my mother while everyone else who was around just relaxed. Dan and I didn't have anything to do so I introduced him to Summoner Wars. I had him play the Guild Dwarves for his first faction, an overall solid and mostly straight-forward faction. I played the Vanguards against him as I had never played them before (I only recently acquired some Summoner Wars factions).

Our game was characterized by my priests doing some serious damage and me mostly dominating the early game. By the end of the game though Dan had managed to take down Kalon and almost all of my units. My archangel kept smacking away at Oldin though and was eventually able to take him down. All in all it was a close game, and Dan seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.
 
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2. Board Game: Scattergories [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:2138]
Kyle Murphy
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Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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After dinner my mother was willing to play a game but wanted to play a word game, as she didn't want anything that would hurt her brain. We decided on Scattergories, a game my family plays a lot. The game was characterized by a lot of arguing, as is normal with my family. The six of us played (Mom, Dad, Aimee, Kate, Dan, and myself. Good game, Mom and Dan tied for the win. I for my part was just happy to score better than my wife.
 
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3. Board Game: Summoner Wars [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:373] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Kyle Murphy
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Another game with Dan later on that evening as people were going to bed. I played Cave Goblins against Dan's Jungle Elves. This game was lightning fast as my goblins just overwhelmed him, taking out his summoner with commons and The Eater. Dan didn't even get a chance to summon a champion. I have not yet seen the Jungle Elves win, though I haven't played many games with them. It seems to me that they play very differently than the other factions I've seen.
 
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4. Board Game: Summoner Wars: Jungle Elves Faction Deck [Average Rating:8.06 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.06 Unranked]
Kyle Murphy
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On Thanksgiving day there was of course the usual craziness of cooking, of which I was mercifully not much a part (other than peeling some potatoes). Dan and I got in another game of Summoner Wars in which I played Jungle Elves and he played the Vanguards. I immediately contradicted my earlier assumption and beat him, though he managed to damage Abua Shi a bit. The game was won on the strength of Miti Mumway and some Lioneers.
 
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5. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
Kyle Murphy
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Alex had recently purchased Dominion, but he and my sister Kate disliked it when they gave it a try. He thought they were playing it wrong so shortly before dinner Alex and I decided to run through part of a game. When we opened the box the cards were all in rubber bands, not sorted at all and not in the insert. We took some time and sorted everything out, I showed him how some of the cards have the different back and how you choose the kingdom cards using those. It seems that they didn't understand the set-up at all, but once we started playing a bit he seemed to know the rules pretty well.

Thanksgiving dinner ended our game early, which was certainly ok by me!
 
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6. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:137] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
Kyle Murphy
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After Thanksgiving dinner came the requisite sitting around enjoying full stomachs, followed by breaking out the pie. Later on that afternoon we played a game of Carcassonne. Aimee, Alex, Kate, Dan, and myself took part. Everyone had played at least once before so I just gave a brief reminder of the rules. The game went well and was very close, with me just barely getting the win by tying for the large farmland with my wife Aimee.
 
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7. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
Kyle Murphy
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I finally convinced Matthew to play a game that evening. Matthew loves Settlers of Catan (with Cities and Knights) but doesn't particularly care for trying other games. Agricola is Aimee's favorite game, so we busted it out once Matthew was convinced to give it a try. Dan had never played before either but is always up for learning new games. As the two of them had never played before we played the Family game.

The family game is still fun but is a little frustrating to me. It just reminds how great a game Agricola is but is missing so much. Dan and Matthew seemed to enjoy the game, and both were doing decently by the end. No one took a begging card. I think in my rules explanation I might have focused on baking bread too much as both Matthew and Dan chose that way of feeding their families. In the end I won by 3 points over Aimee.

At this point in the week I started to feel a little bad about winning all of the games so far. My philosophy in teaching games is generally to try my hardest but usually I try to use unorthodox strategies. Most things seemed to be going my way in just about every game so far though, and I hate to turn people off from games by winning all of them.

Also after this game Matthew and Dan left for the rest of the week. Both of them were looking forward to sleeping in their own beds and having some time to get work done or relax back at the university.
 
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8. Board Game: Dixit: Journey [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:370] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Kyle Murphy
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In the evening of Thanksgiving Aimee and I went Black Friday shopping, as is our yearly tradition (third year in a row this year). Due to all the stores that started their deals late on Thursday we were able to shop Thursday evening and then again Friday morning, with a decent amount of sleep over the night.

We went to Sears at 8 PM followed by Target at 9 PM. The main reason we went to Target was to pick up Dixit: Journey, which was nicely featured in their ad and in the store. Dixit: Journey is our Christmas present to each other, and it was significantly cheaper at Target. My friend Christopher has the original and an expansion or two, so we had played it several times and both loved it. Dixit is also a games that I knew my family would enjoy.

The next morning (Friday) we went shopping at J.C. Penney at 6 AM. All in all a successful Black Friday, with some good deals and not too much waiting in lines.
 
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9. Board Game: Monopoly Deal Card Game [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:1820]
Kyle Murphy
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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Alex and Kate recently bought Monopoly Deal.
United States
Hendersonville
Tennessee
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had been telling me it was excellent so I was interested to give it a try. Kate and Ryan went shopping late Friday morning, so when Alex came by I asked him to teach me. It was very easy to pick up and surprisingly fun. He beat me the first game (breaking my streak finally) and I beat him the second game. We played a third and added Aimee in, that game was won by Alex. After that Kate and Ryan came back and we all went out for lunch followed by a hike (our family's post-Thanksgiving tradition).
 
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10. Board Game: Dixit: Journey [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:370] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Kyle Murphy
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After returning from the hike all of us except Dad sat down to play Dixit. It was enjoyed by all, as predicted. I wound up winning, but I could tell everyone enjoyed it. My mother actually requested it the next day as well, which is always a sure sign that a game is a hit.
 
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11. Board Game: Euchre [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1323]
Kyle Murphy
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Friday evening my brother Ryan took Mom to the symphony. Aimee was feeling very tired and took a nap on the couch while Dad, Alex, Kate, and I played cards. Dad and Mom are both very into card games, so we played a lot while I was growing up. Alex has been learning a lot of the games we play. We started off with a game of Euchre, with Dad and I versus Kate and Alex. The game started off pretty terribly for me, I didn't take a trick in the first six hands. Dad and I were down 1-9 before we staged a bit of a comeback. Kate and Alex finally pulled out the win and the final score was 11-7.
 
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12. Board Game: 500 [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:2878]
Kyle Murphy
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After Euchre we played a game of 500, which I hadn't played in years. It's kind of a mix between Bridge and Euchre. It had been a while but Dad and I managed to pick up a win. 500 is a little more complicated strategy-wise than a lot of the other card games we play, and Alex had only learned recently so he is still a bit of a noob. I quite enjoyed getting the chance to play 500 again though, I don't really know anybody other than my family who knows how to play it.
 
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13. Board Game: Monopoly Deal Card Game [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:1820]
Kyle Murphy
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After 500 Kate, Alex, and I taught Dad to play Monopoly Deal. I'm really enjoying Monopoly Deal as a quick fun filler that's easy to pick up. Kate won both games.
 
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14. Board Game: Dixit: Journey [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:370] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Kyle Murphy
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On Saturday afternoon Mom requested a game of Dixit, so Kate, Alex, Aimee, Mom, and myself played a game. I didn't do so hot this game and Aimee wound up winning. Dixit is definitely a hit with my family, I gotta say it's one of the best party games I've ever played.
 
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15. Board Game: Money! [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1441]
Kyle Murphy
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After Dixit we played a couple games of Money. The first game was alright, but I didn't explain how the scoring works well enough, so there was some confusion. Mom, Kate, and Alex had not played before, but Aimee had. Everyone enjoyed it enough to play again though, and it was definitely a hit. My sister Kate seemed to enjoy it in particular, which was nice. I myself have recently started to appreciate Money as a nice easy filler that everyone can enjoy. Definitely a great game.
 
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16. Board Game: Monopoly Deal Card Game [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:1820]
Kyle Murphy
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On Sunday Aimee and I left around 3 PM, but before we went we managed to get in a few games of Monopoly Deal. The first game was Aimee, Kate, Mom, and me. Mom had not played before and had miserable luck the first game, winding up with only a couple of properties at the end. Mom was understandably not interested in a second game, so Aimee, Kate and I played a three-player game. At the end of the game Dad came in so we wound up playing a third game with him.

Games were a great way to hang out with my family this week. I sometimes make the mistake of trying to introduce games that are a little too complex to my family, but this week I kept it a little simpler and it definitely worked well. All in all it was an excellent week for gaming.
 
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