Games Extravaganza with my son
Nathan Woll
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Warsaw
Virginia
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I don't know how old I was when my dad first started playing games with me. But I remember learning Risk, Uno, Skip-Bo, Twixt, Chess, Feudal and Euchre at a young age. My dad was my first gaming partner and my favorite. As I got older I learned Acquire, Axis and Allies, and Diplomacy from my dad. In 2004, at the age of only 50 years old, my dad passed away from cancer.

Now I'm a father of a 10 year-old son. His mom and I share joint custody but because of my work schedule I only see him a few days a week. I started playing games with my son when he was still very young and it has become our main way of bonding and spending time together. He's at the age now where he can be competitive in some games so that makes it even better. (Once he got to about age 8 I stopped holding back in games. Consequently he would only win 1 out of 10 games or so. This meant that he really knew that he deserved it whenever he won and he really got excited about winning.) Games with a heavy luck element see the table more at this stage since they allow both of us close to equal chances of winning.

On Wednesday (March 13) my son was off school and I was off work so I decided to make that day special. I told my son we would have a Games Extravaganza and do nothing but play board games all day long! He was absolutely thrilled at the idea and on Tuesday night he laid out his plans for the event.

This geeklist is a record of our first Games Extravaganza.

The last thing my son said to me before he went to sleep at the end of the day was "Thanks dad, I had so much fun today. Today was one of the best days of my life!"
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1. Board Game: Kamakura [Average Rating:4.07 Unranked]
Nathan Woll
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Warsaw
Virginia
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Before going to bed Tuesday night we decided to play a few short games. Neither of us had played this game before but I knew it was fast and simple. I didn't really enjoy it too much since there is almost no skill required but my son thought it was cool. Anything with Ninjas is cool to a 10 year-old boy!

My son - 13 Me - 7
Winner: My son
 
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2. Board Game: Cold War: CIA vs KGB [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1114]
Nathan Woll
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I had been waiting to teach this game until I felt my son was old enough to get the strategy, so I finally taught it to him Tuesday night. I had forgotten just how much I enjoy this game! I want to play this more and I think my son liked it enough to ensure it hits the table more in the future.

I started out with a nice lead. Not only did I win the first two objectives but my son caused civil disorder on both and lost two agents. But then he started playing soundly and made great use of his Master Spy. He won almost all the rest of the objectives and when I tried to bluff having the Master Spy he called me on it and won what turned out to be the last objective.

Scores: My son - 100 Me - 25
Winner: My son
 
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3. Board Game: Arcana [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:2671]
Nathan Woll
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Warsaw
Virginia
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Wednesday morning I began making breakfast (fried potatoes and eggs) and I told my son he could choose each game we play. His first choice was Arcana.

(We played with the Advanced rules that add more strategy)

This game was one of the first to use the deckbuilding mechanic as a part of the game rather than the whole game. I find that I prefer deckbuilding that way. Both of us really like this game and it was a close one. I took an early lead but then my son started making up ground pretty quickly with some powerful buildings. In the end though, he ran out of time to catch up.

Scores: my son - 65 me - 72
Winner: Me
 
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4. Board Game: Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:269] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Nathan Woll
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I only have this one set so even though my son loves this game, we took a break for a while since we were getting burned out playing the same characters every time. But for a 10 year-old boy this game is close to heaven!

After a few months hiatus it was time to play again so we both constructed a 500 pt. army, and went after each other. Early on my elf archer was picking apart his men from long range, but it didn't take long for his dragon to get close and use his devastating fireball effect to even the odds. We played last-man-standing style and in the end my Sgt. Drake Alexander held on to win the game.

Winner: me
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5. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:260]
Nathan Woll
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Warsaw
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This is our go-to game and in my opinion this is the best two player game there is. We've played well over 100 times. If my son and I were trapped on a deserted island with just one game it would be this one. So much replayability! So much bluffing and reading your opponent! So much theme! So much fun!

I played as the free folk while my son took on the role of the evil forces. I was able to win some key battles and it looked like Frodo would get to Mt. Doom unopposed. But the Witch King had other plans and with the help of the Balrog he cornered Frodo, killed him, and won the game.

Winner: my son
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6. Board Game: Star Wars: Epic Duels [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:913]
Nathan Woll
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2 plays.

Another obvious game for a 10 year-old boy. My son chose the matchups for both games. He played the first game as Luke and Leia and wanted me to play as Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers. (I reminded him that Darth Vader was one of the strongest decks but he wanted the challenge.)

I won the first game yet my son was determined to beat Darth Vader so we played again. This time my son chose Emperor Palpatine and the Imperial Guards but once again Darth Vader proved too strong and I won.

Winner: me (twice)
 
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7. Board Game: Kamakura [Average Rating:4.07 Unranked]
Nathan Woll
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Well apparently my son liked his first play because this was the next game he suggested.

2 plays.

Winner (game 1): me
Winner (game 2): my son

(My son won game 2 on his first turn, playing two barrages against my fortress and palace and I had no walls in hand.)
 
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8. Board Game: Battlefields of Olympus [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:7580]
Nathan Woll
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Warsaw
Virginia
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Since getting this in a trade about a month ago this has been our most played game. I'm not sure I would suggest it since I think it's too luck driven for my taste, but my son likes this game a lot.

We were tied 13 apiece when my son played Raid to battle for my 6 pointer (I forget the name of the card). He won the battle.

Scores: my son - 19 me - 7
Winner: my son
 
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9. Board Game: God Dice [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:5764]
Nathan Woll
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I definitely want to play this game more. This was another one that I had forgotten how much fun it was. In fact, this may be my favorite pure dice game (where the dice are used for rolling).

My son chose the Hero and the (female)Bowman. I chose the Sage and the Assassin. In spite of a 40pt Backstab from the Assassin, the Hero and Bowman won out and killed both my characters.

Winner: my son
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10. Board Game: Caribbean [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2592]
Nathan Woll
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This is another game I haven't played in a while and hadn't taught my son yet. He saw it in my pile of games and asked me about it and I said "Sure, let's play it."

This game actually plays well with 2 people. I enjoyed it and I think my son did also. We will probably put this in our rotation.

Scores: my son - 60,000 doubloons me - 58,000 doubloons (so close!)
Winner: my son
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11. Board Game: Ricochet Robots [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:582] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Nathan Woll
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Another game my son saw in my pile that he wanted to play. I warned him that this wasn't the type of game he could be competitive in by the first or second play, but he wanted to give it a go.

He actually picked up on this rather quickly. I like this game quite a lot so hopefully he'll continue to improve and give me a challenge.

2 plays.
 
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12. Board Game: TAMSK [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1547] [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
Nathan Woll
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Warsaw
Virginia
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We've only played this once before without a time constraint (no flipping the timers).

I love Abstract games and especially the GIPF series of which TAMSK is my second favorite (after ZERTZ) (and I know TAMSK was kicked out but to me it's still a part of the series and I love it.) My son enjoys abstract games as well but it's hard to keep him hooked since there is no luck element to help him win.

He suggested this so we played it twice and even added the timers the second time. He's getting better.

2 plays.

Winner: me
 
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13. Board Game: Columns [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:8510]
Nathan Woll
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Warsaw
Virginia
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This was the next game he suggested. Another abstract that I just recently taught him. He still struggled a bit with the strategy.

Winner: me
 
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14. Board Game: Guild of Thieves [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Nathan Woll
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Everyone should own this game. It's deckbuilding meets Hey! That's my Fish! We've played this over 50 times since we got it off the Game Crafter and it's easily the best game I've gotten for less than $10.

I think the Coins card should only be worth 1 pt. since it is so strong but as long as both players recognize it's value it doesn't affect the game.

Scores: my son - 50 me - 69
Winner: me
 
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15. Board Game: Tooth & Nail: Factions [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:5729]
Nathan Woll
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For the last game of the night this was my son's choice. He chose to play as the rodents (Rodenta?) and I chose the wolves (Aeon?). It was close all game and it finally came down to my turn with me having 2 cards left in my deck and he had 5. I had 5 actions but couldn't do more than 4 damage so it looked like he would win until we realized that the first thing you have to do on your turn is draw a card . . . which depleted his deck and gave me the win. It was a heart-rending way to lose and end the night but my son accepted it gracefully.

Winner: me
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