Memorial Game Week with the Family
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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My son was graduating from high school last week and so we had the family over for the event and we spent a week doing a variety of things including gaming in the evenings. The following list compiles the games played and how everything worked out.

Due to the size of my game collection, I shop the titles in advance and set them aside based on how things are going and the interests of the players. For the most part the evenings went very smooth and my sister commented a number of times that this is so much better than watching TV. She also stated that the week seemed to go by so quickly as a result.

All in all it was a good time with only one unexpected dud and a couple of tough sells that I tried to work through.

Enjoy the list and my comments about each.

Note: The games are not necessarily listed in the order that they were played
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1. Board Game: Azul [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:37] [Average Rating:7.98 Unranked]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(4 plays) [Playing Experience: Good] Played with all of the player counts (2, 3 and 4) It was fun to play with all of the player counts as this was the first time for 3 and 4. This is not a “strategic” game but one that could be. It did not take long before some were looking ahead and blocking others. It was light enough and a bit of a break for me as there is not much to explain. I was pleasantly surprised that my daughter wanted to get in on the 4 player game. It was the game that I got a score that I did not think would be possible, 124. Just a perfect storm I guess. I think I like the 3 player game best. Just has a better flow to it. It went over well with all of the players although the reference to Bingo was a bit odd. Augustus has the bingo vibe where this has more of a set-collection vibe.
 
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2. Board Game: Dice Town [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:733]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(2 plays) [Experience: Confusing/long] 4 players, experienced and 2 not. For such a “simple” game it took a lot of explaining that it was not just about the best hand. There were a lot of comments about how slow the game is and not understanding why they should keep money, not show the dice they are keeping too soon etc. It seemed that every hand I had to say “is everyone ready, is everyone ready etc.” There were many times when the comments were that “you did not explain that”. I would start again, nuggets for the most 9’s, money for the most 10’s etc. Having the game plenty of times I have never had the game go for an hour. It did twice. I can understand the “this game is long” comments and I would agree. 30 minutes or less and this is fun. More than that; no fun.
 
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3. Board Game: Trump, Tricks, Game! [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:3770]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(5 plays) [Experience: Excellent] 4 players playing partners. I had the only real experience with the game but 2 others are well versed with trick taking games. This was the hit of the week by far. Each game was tense but flowed nicely. All of the players understood the scoring after the first hand (whew!). My son who was my partner had never really played a partnership game but he latched onto how to work together quickly. He and I made a good team and won 4 of the 5 games played. This was the last game played before the airport run and everyone spoke very well about the game. I play with the pass 2 left, 2 right, 2 across and hold, in order, for the 4 hands. Additionally, I invert the scoring for the last hand with the trump being worth the least. All of this makes the game a meatier more controllable experience.
 
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4. Board Game: Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:831]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(3 plays) [Experience: Fine, familiar with the mechanics, played before] Most were played with 2 but there was one 3 player game. Once again the familiarity with the mechanics helps to keep the game moving. I like Jekyll and Hyde the best, followed by Jack the Ripper, Escape from Alcatraz, Rue Morgue and then Al Capone. This is mainly due to the level of complexity. We played the middle 3. Each play was fine as far as rummy games go.
 
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5. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:397]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(2 plays) [Experience: Poor], 4 players, 2 experienced and 2 not
Such a simple game to explain that can go horribly wrong if the players don’t grasp the effect of the chips. There were many times where I said that if you let that card go around a few times you will get 8 or more chips and be able to force others to take a card that they don’t want to. The response was over and over, “why would I want to do that?” I ended up not having to take any cards in 2 games and watched a 32 be taken with only 2 chips on it. After the second game I quickly picked up the game and placed it on the pile. I had another instance of this same kind of thing happen and it kind of makes the game pointless. This is so much better than liar’s dice if played “properly”. The comment after the plays was that there is no way that I can win when I take cards …
 
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6. Board Game: Kingdom Builder: Big Box (second edition) [Average Rating:8.15 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.15 Unranked]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(1 play) [Experience: Marginal] Played with 2. I took a chance on this one just because there are so few mechanics and decisions to make. I made sure that I focused on the goals on every turn and explained the abilities of the tiles. I would talk my way through each of my turns to help reinforce the goals and the rules. I would not say that it was full understood but at least I did not get the “this is too confusing” comment. When the game ends was clear enough. I wish that I could play this more as this has Ticket to Ride beat by a mile.
 
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7. Board Game: Linko! [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:714]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(1 play) [Playing Experience: Good] Played with 3. My explanation was OK but the other 2 had a bit of trouble understanding the building a hand bit. We played a test hand which fell apart and I thought that this was going to be another bust. However, when the official game started everyone was on board and my sister who struggled with the first hand locked in and won all 3 hands and won the game handily. Linko has always provided a fairly balanced experience once they get past the “bouncing” interaction.
 
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8. Board Game: The Bottle Imp [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1100]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(1 hand) [Playing Experience: Confusing] Played 3 players although I really wanted to play a 4 player partnership game (best way in my opinion but 3 is fine second alternative). If anyone has ever had to explain this game you spend 90% of your time explaining the “other” suit. Some players just cannot grasp that and refuse to take the bottle at any time. This is usually a bad sign that the understanding of the card distribution is not taking hold. You have to understand how to “dig out”. I love to be able to play the “1” on the first hand to watch the mouths drop … you … you … can’t do that. Why not? Anyway, the game did not go well and the other 2 players did not fully grasp the trump suit and how to sequence their play. I really like the Bottle Imp but gotta have the right players who want a different kind of trick taking experience. I keep trying.
 
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9. Board Game: Tokaido [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:453]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(1 play) [Playing Experience: Marginal] 3 players. Tokaido is such a simple game with a very imposing presentation which makes some players become intimidated by the experience. Such was the case here. The other players had help with their traveler abilities and certainly understood how to paint a picture but quickly became frustrated. There is a bit of development that you have to analyze to determine the “path” that you are going to follow. 3 players is a very tight game experience and this helped to cinch up the straightjacket. In the end I ran away with the game by being George Washington (chopping down just about every cherry tree). My sister stated that the game was not fair for the player who left the inns last which she did each time. It was not a bad experience but I getting the feeling that it will not be requested in the future.
 
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10. Board Game: Stop Thief [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:3237]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(1 play) [Playing Experience: OK, nostalgia] 3 players. We played my classic edition and it brings back good memories of my aunt who loved playing this game back in the day. When I moved out of the house she bought the game from me and always played it until the end. I picked up another copy in great condition much later and it was nice to have it out on the table again with the “original” family. This is a very light game and one where I have my approach that always seems to work out even now. I won the game easily. It plays in <30 minutes which makes it easy to get plays at the house. Plus how can you resist the “electronics”?
 
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11. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:262]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(1 play) [Playing Experience: Marginal, too much going on] 3 players playing on heroic level. We had a nice mix of characters and each of us performed well in our jobs. We spent the first third of the game putting the fire down to a smolder and then having me take care of the hazmat. We lost a couple of victims but one was the cat so small loss there. From then on we had it under control. We were playing the brownstone building and only flashover created a “doorway” in the middle of the house. From then on it was a matter of time until we found success. Unfortunately, there was too much alpha playing going on. I would rather lose and have everyone be a part of the game then just focusing on winning. It was slightly memorable so it was OK but a bit shallow.
 
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12. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:592]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(1 play) [Playing Experience: Confusing] 3 players. This is another of those simple games with a “simple” concept. Kind of like a one instrument band with all in the band playing triangles. Not the most musically diverse but can be a quick distraction between games. I don’t know what it is about 6 nimmt as I never seem to lose. Maybe I can read the other players well or just am extremely lucky but it was quickly assured that I was the victor. For some reason the “play in sequential order” was a problem this time around. Therefore there were many times where I would be told “wait, that is how that works? I want to play a different card!” Then you come to find out that it did not matter. I don’t mind 6 nimmt with 3-5 players but more than that is too random and not any fun. It was an OK break.
 
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13. Board Game: Yardmaster [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:2303]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(1 play) [Playing Experience: Good] 3 players. This was an experience choice in knowing the players to bring this out. It took all of 2 minutes for the game to be understood even though there have been times where the players have struggled with the 2 actions concept and then the action cards. Not this time. It was almost, got it and then I got beat and beat again. This is not a card game where you can say that you did not get the cards and that is why I lost. If you are not getting “the cards” exchange the disks. The second game was particularly tasty as I kept trying to open up more options as all of us could win. As it turned out each of us were banking on a color and when it popped, the game ended. It is still a light’ish game but is right in those certain circumstances.
 
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14. Board Game: Codenames [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:50] [Average Rating:7.75 Unranked]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(includes pictures, 8-10 rounds) [Playing Experience: Excellent] 4 players each time. This has been a slam dunk every time from the first play. The last time I was in California it was requested every night and it never disappointed. The excitement of the players was great. This time it was a little different as all of the players were experienced so there was no WOW factor. Still, I always enjoy being in the clue giver seat and giving those clues that connect 4 words and my partner gets that a-ha moment and picks them all off. My daughter and I are an unbeatable team. We play duet and rarely do we miscommunicate. We mainly played regular Codenames although we did play a couple with pictures, it did not go well. Not being able to relate upside-down pictures is a frustrating experience. Regular Codenames is the only way to play. Anyway, the game ran smoothly and was fun to end the evenings.
 
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15. Board Game: Trivial Pursuit [Average Rating:5.21 Overall Rank:16202]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(1 play) [Playing Experience: Passable, nostalgia] 2 players. This is my original version with all of the original sets from the time. I chose it mainly as a non-competitive night ender just to laugh over all of the crazy questions. I can never get anything right for a Silver Screen question. I just don’t pay that close an attention to movies to have that depth of knowledge in the subjects. However, just about every other subject I am OK with. Just a time killer here. It did not provoke the nostalgia feel that I was after.
 
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16. Board Game: Chronicle [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:1381]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(1 partial play) [Playing Experience: Slow and confusing] 3 players. I had much higher hopes for this as I presented this as a trick taking game like the Dwarf King. Some had played this before and it went down OK. I thought that Chronicle would create a more focused experience but it turned into a more cerebral affair. The other 2 thought that the game played too slow but this was mostly due to the actions that the cards triggered. I thought that by the second hand we were OK but it was the goal where you wanted to be evil instead of not. This locked everyone up again as the angel was now an attack card. They called the game when everyone had a point each. Like Bottle Imp or Lords of Scotland you have to get your mind wrapped around the game actions. If takes a few hands to know on sight what a 3 does etc. More plays with this group looks to be unlikely. In the game debrief I stated that I really like card games that mix up the normal goals of trick taking. It makes it much more interesting.
 
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17. Board Game: Stocks & Bonds [Average Rating:5.62 Overall Rank:11136]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(1 play) [Playing Experience: passable, simple and nothing you need to focus on] 3 players. My son has been the goto player for this one. He always seemed to focus on the right approach and the money would just fall in his lap. In this game my mother played a much more conservative game and every one of her companies split by the mid game. She started to pay more attention to what was going on once this started happening but just like in the real world she held instead of flipping the shares limiting her appreciation. This allowed me to catch up and then pass everyone by a large margin. My timing was very good as I did not stay in Stryker, which can be quite punishing (like the last game I played of this). I continued to invest and flip and ended up tripling my investment by game end. Not bad. It is always fun to play this one even given its age, simple and yet mathematically complex. There is a lot of luck but it is a stock market game after all. It is about managing your risk. This it does well. What a great $3 purchase a couple of years ago and in perfect condition (still had the original piece of chalk, eraser etc.).
 
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18. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:124]
bryden
United States
Stow
Ohio
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(2 plays) both 3 player: [Play Result: OK (splendor is a bit dull) both thought the game took a while to get going] I forgot about his one. Again chosen for its simplicity. Initially, it seemed like too much to absorb for my new players. But at the tail end of the 1st game I noted that one of the players could combo out and win the game. She did not see it and was just going to take chips. I let them look for the solution and noted that this was the winning play. I had overlooked the scoring and thought that it would have been a tie which I would have won. In he second game I was much more efficient and stayed the course. It was hard to get excited about this one at the pace that it was played and so it was just a time killer. Upside is that they both asked for the 2nd game.
 
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