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Subject: TVB - 2P - Let's manipulate some DNA rss

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Richard Pardoe
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Dinner ended early and Sabrina (my 7 year old daughter) wanted to play a quick game while we waited for the others to arrive, so we played a game of Gene Pool. This game was initially introduced to TVB as an opener last week. Since that initial play, this little game has come out a few times as it plays quickly, is attractive on the table, and Sabrina enjoys it.

As I noted last week, this is a game where the ability to see patterns and shifts in patterns in key. And to be fair, Sabrina hasn't quite developed those skills. But there is an easy handicap that I have adopted in the game. I will initially go after the 2 year (5 bp) sequences while Sabrina has free choice. Of course, this means that I must get more of the sequence lined up which can take awhile. (If that statement doesn't make any sense - last week's report: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/121613 includes a rules overview which I won't repeat here.)

So I drew my 5bp (GCTAC) and started to work the DNA sequence towards that goal. Of course, each player alternates turns so advances I made in one area were offset by Sabrina's moves in another. Sabrina drew a 1 year research card as her initial draw and managed to quicky score TCGG followed by GTCA, so I was down 0-2 before I could get GCTAC to even up the scores.

But this didn't last long as Sabrina manged TACA while I was trying for CTAGT. Sabrina then felt confident enough to go for a 2 year sequence and maneuvered the sequence on the table to get it. The scores continue in this manner with each of us trading the lead a few times: Rich 4-3, Sabrina 5-4, Rich 6-5, Rich 7-5, All Tied 7-7. At this point, she wanted another 2 year sequence, but they were all gone as Rich was trying for the last sequence. As a result, Sabrina had to go for the 1 year results. While Rich tried to get his single sequence for the win, Sabrina managed the first 4 bp sequence to edge into an 8-7 lead. The next sequence scored would win the game. Sabrina and Rich twisted the cards, inserted a gene and approached the end. Sabrina needed 2 moves to get her sequence, but Rich only needed 1 and scored ACTAC to win the game 9-8.

This continues to be a fun, quick (~10 minute) game with just a bit of thinking to make the exercise enjoyable. Not only in how the patterns might play out, but also in the pace of scoring. Who knows, if Sabrina had noticed the 2 year cards were almost gone, could she have forced Rich to play the 2 1 year cards while she made the winning move? We will need to play again to find out.

 
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Mark Goadrich
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Conway
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I really enjoy reading these detailed session reports, Rich, thanks for posting them! I was partially guessing when I labeled the game in the 10+ age category, since that's about when DNA is introduced in the school curriculum, and it's nice to hear Gene Pool can be played by 7 year olds.

I'm glad you are having fun with Gene Pool and finding some interesting decisions with the scoring. I've posted a few strategy hints in the FAQ on my website ( http://games.goadrich.com/faq.html ) which might give your daughter the edge next time.
 
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Richard Pardoe
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Thanks for the comments! The FAQ has answered one question I was going to work out on my own - that of the patterns in the reasearch cards to see how they were related.

But back to the age limit. Sabrina knows nothing about DNA as that just isn't taught in second grade science. What attracted her to the game was the overall visual appeal. In fact, at another game group (daw65's session report) one of the player's in the concurrent Hare and Tortoise game was asking questions about the game also. It just looks neat on the table as you play. Age limits on games tend to be an educated guess anyway and has never deterred me from trying a game with Sabrina if I think she can handle the mechanics.

In case you are curious - how did I get interested in the game? That GG auction you ran for for Copy #50. Had not heard of the game at that point, followed the links and was intrigued by the theme and ordered a copy (actually have #49).

 
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