In the year since he came to live with me (trading the wilds of Missouri for the thin air of Colorado), I have successfully transformed my son Jake (15) into a gamer. It's a good thing too, since the most my wife will play is Carcassonne, and too much of that can get stale.
Jake and I belong to a local boardgame group that meets twice a month, and a weekly selection of my friends that get together every Friday night. The local group got together on the 5th, and member Dave introduced us to Attika. I'd seen it here on the Geek and seeing him carry in the box more than piqued my curiosity.
I love a game that's well made and looks good, so I was immediately impressed. We set up a four player game, and while things went smoothly, I think I was the only beginner that caught on right away. Dave won the game (not surprising), and I was enamored of what little I'd gotten to play. Dave offered to lend me his copy, but I don't play with other kids' toys. Next stop, FLGS. Attika was mine!
Wednesday night we grabbed the kitchen table, cleared it off, and set up a two-player match.
First game was mine easily since Jake still had not quite grasped all the subtle nuances of the game. I teased him a bit, and he demanded a rematch. Game two saw him trounce his old man so fast my head hurt. I had watched him shuffle his tiles, but he drew Thebes as his first piece and was off to an early start, while Athens failed to produce much of anything for me. I never did catch up. Apparently I had shuffled my pieces too well, and my card draws were no help at all. A crushing defeat.
Okay, we were tied, and he was gloating, and that was one thing I wasn't going to stand for. A tie-breaker game was immediately set up.
Sure enough, I lost that one too. He spread Thebes north and south in hardly any time at all, saving his four streets and an amphora to make the last shrine connection in one fell swoop. He dodged a smack to his ego-swollen head and ran from the table.
How could I live with myself now? I was the gamer in the family! I never lose to the kids unless I want too! I'M TOO GOOD TO LOSE THIS BADLY!
Oh, who was I kidding? He got lucky, and he would pay the price. Two hours later while he slept I filled his open hand with shaving cream and tickled his nose with a string.
Okay, I was still the loser, but I felt a little better.
Fast forward to this evening. Feeling overconfident, he challenged me to a rematch, swearing that his victories had not been a fluke. He would show me.
Disenchanted with Athens, I chose Sparta. He stuck with Thebes. I let him go first, and his first draws were not so good. I got my city tile on my first draw and slapped it down. Yeah, baby! Yeah! After that, the draws got even better, and Sparta spread like a virus across the board. I surrounded the closest shrine, cutting him off at the last second. I was too far from the other shrine to go for a connection victory, so we raced to get all of our tiles on the board. I won, with the boy leaving 8 of his pieces unplayed. REDEMPTION!
Flustered and a tad miffed by my dancing around the kitchen, he shuffled his pieces, then shuffled mine to make sure I didn't cheat him with more "lucky" draws. "This time you're mine, old man!" Whoa, that sounded like a challenge!
New tiles on the table and we were ready. He wanted to go first. He drew two pieces and groaned. I drew my first and grinned. Sparta was in play! He couldn't accuse me of cheating, since he had stacked my pieces for me. Now Sparta began an outward expansion that ate up spaces. I again cut him off from the closest shrine, earning me a really dirty look. He drew cards, more pieces, cussed under his breath (good thing), and announced he was going to lose. "No kidding," I replied, and closed the distance to the other shrine by using one of my amphoras to lay down four streets and finish the connection. I sat back and cracked my knuckles.
Final score for two evenings of Attika: Dad - 3 wins, Jake - 2.
Seeing as how I am recovering from a bad bout of bronchitus, we put the game away so I could return to the couch. He paused as I lowered myself to the cushions. "Half day of school tomorrow," he said.
"Yeah? So what?"
"Tomorrow your butt is mine, pops."