My Best Opponent
Carthoris Pyramidos
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Not always my most challenging opponent (although she is on some games), probably my most frequent, but certainly my most obliging and dearest fellow-player. We like co-ops too, so she's a teammate as well as an antagonist. My daughter is eight years old, and these are some of the games we like to play.
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1. Board Game: Summoner Wars [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:417] [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
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For a while, she and I would play about five games of Summoner Wars per week. Then she retired from the game for a few months, saying that it made her "sad" for those fantasy creatures to kill each other. Still, when the Second Summoners came out, she was back at it!

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2. Board Game: Jenga [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:11234]
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Not a favorite game for either of us, but we always have fun when we play it.

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3. Board Game: Sorry! Sliders [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:1647]
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You wouldn't think so from some of the other pictures here, but her biggest weakness as a player is a certain liability to distraction.

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4. Board Game: Caldera [Average Rating:7.49 Unranked]
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She always gets to go second in this game, which gives her a very slight advantage. Given that, we're about evenly-matched in the standard game, I win the 5x5 8-color variant, and she dominates at 7x7 Supercalifragilisticaldera.

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5. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:253]
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We always have a great time with the meeple carnage that is this game. We play with a full range of expansions, and she's a big fan of the giant squid.


In this picture, she shows the level of unease appropriate to the first part of a turn, while at the end of the turn, she has been known to declare: "I am the Grim Reeple!"
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6. Board Game: The Awful Green Things From Outer Space [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1752]
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At first, she always wanted to be the monsters for this one, but she's discovered the fun of playing the crew.

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7. Board Game: Treehouse [Average Rating:5.83 Overall Rank:6113]
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After our weekend Tae Kwon Do classes, we always go out for lunch, and usually we play a small portable game at the restaurant, like this one.

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8. Board Game: Pharaoh [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:13143]
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Sometimes she gets a little frustrated at her losses, but she's really a good sport.

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9. Board Game: Lunar Invaders [Average Rating:6.10 Unranked]
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When I was in the throes of chronic pyramania, she indulged me by experimenting with all sorts of Looney Pyramids games, at the rate of three or four new games each week.

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10. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:727]
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She puts up with my silly variants, like "Hey! That's My Shoggoth!"

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11. Board Game: Pirateer [Average Rating:5.48 Overall Rank:15939]
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Here's a game she keeps around as a "gateway game" for other kids her age, who would be intimidated by the sort of exotic games she plays with her papa.

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12. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:213]
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She's become an accomplished Hive player, winning over a third of our games, although she insists on playing Ivory and going first.

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13. Board Game: Elder Sign [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:490]
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Here are our alter-egos in Arkham (once among many times): she's lab hottie Kate Winthrop and I'm the rough-and-tumble cheese.


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14. Board Game: Tic Tac Doh! [Average Rating:5.72 Overall Rank:13011]
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We've played an awful lot of this one in years past.

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15. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:13]
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She's only recorded one win against me, but I think she's better about building her estate than actually recording her points. So there may have been others.

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16. Board Game: Abalone [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1487]
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The new king of our 2-p open-information abstract pile.

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17. Board Game: Martian Chess [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:5859]
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In the background, Abalone is set up and waiting, with the "pillar" variant. (The bright blue marble in the center isn't allowed to move.)
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18. Board Game: Nexus Ops [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:373]
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I got this game in early December 2013, and she surprised me by being enthusiastic about it. Her preferred strategy is to seize the monolith quickly and build a nest of Rock Striders there. It hasn't usually paid off for her, but here's a picture of the board on her first win:



We played with "Time Is of the Essence" and "King of the Hill" optional rules, along with my "Encryption Failure" variant. The final battle saw two Syndicate Lava Leapers and a Rock Strider mount the monolith for a showdown with a lone Ares Inc. Rubium Dragon: a successful attack that netted her 4 VP and the win.
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19. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:488]
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She likes the fast, streamlined play of this game, and she's pretty competitive at it. After an initial set of losses, she beat me soundly once, and we've been closely matched since then.

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20. Board Game: Mindflex Duel [Average Rating:6.02 Unranked]
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A couple of years ago, she had her first introduction to the Star Wars universe with a toy called the "Jedi Force Trainer," which used a headset registering electrogalvanic responses to modulate the speed of a fan that would make a ping-pong ball rise and fall in a clear tube.

The technology has advanced to multiplayer options, and stripped of the now-Disney IP, this toy has become the game Mindflex Duel, which she got for her birthday. She insisted on quite a few plays with me, despite my nearly-unbeatable psychic powers...

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21. Board Game: FITS [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1384]
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She continues to enjoy abstracts. So far we've only played two games of FITS, and while we're both getting better her learning curve (round-for-round) is steeper than mine. So I expect her to beat me next time.

Eating sherbet during round two of our second game:
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22. Board Game: Chaos Marauders (second edition) [Average Rating:5.52 Overall Rank:14744]
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I had to add this one because of the picture of her playing. This is our newest-to-us game, which we've started to think of as the older, bigger, and far stinkier brother of GUBs.

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23. Board Game: Kamisado [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1207]
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She's very good at this abstract, beating me routinely. She doesn't quite have the stamina for a "long match," though.

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24. Board Game: Chase [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:3904]
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I recently picked up a copy of Tenzi in order to construct a set for Chase. She gave her best shot to couple of plays of Chase, but alas for me, she far prefers Tenzi!

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25. Board Game: Tales of the Arabian Nights [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:357]
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She really likes this game, and it has been giving her a diet of Schadenfreude as she sees her papa cursed and crippled.

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