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Subject: Gift Trap with Non-Gamers (first play) rss

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Tom Thingamagummy
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Yesterday I had organized a pot luck at work with the larger group of 30 people. I had brought a number of games in case people wanted to play. I had heard that some people like games, and I felt it may be a good way to introduce others into the genre and explain how games have really evolved over the last 15 years.

I set the games on a table and mentioned that I can explain all of them within 5 to 10 minutes. I had Carcassone, Wits and Wagers, GiftTRAP, Cloud 9, Apples to Apples, and Guesstures on the table. The very first game picked up was GiftTRAP by Patricia.

The box was opened up, the board was laid out, and there was an ooh as I lifted out all the little pouches. I explained that it was a good "getting to know you game" and the two new people in our group (both joined less than two weeks ago) were happy to play. I told each player to choose one pouch... purple, orange, red, and blue were quickly grabbed, while a 5th came by and said, "OOH, Silver!" So we'd have a 5 player game.

Thanks to http://boardgameswithscott.com/ , I had a really good understanding of how to play the game. I had everyone get their two gift tokens and their 1-6 chits. I told them that we would be using the basic rules, so the other components were not needed. The explanation continued with the object of the game: to give presents to people that they wanted, and to get the presents you want in return. I explained how the mechanics worked, and when I explained the presents they all decided to use the most expensive ones.

I had to leave to explain Cloud 9 and Wits and Wagers. I was called back to the table when the first scoring round occurred, because they didn't quite get it from my explanation.

The first round ended with Patricia very far along the Get track. She was pretty easy to shop for. Gladys didn't get ANY get points. Every person gave her a diamond necklace, in which she didn't have any of her want tokens on. Rob was pretty even on both tracks, Michelle was a good giver but not a good receiver, and everyone read Saskia wrong, which was part of the reason Gladys had no points. She had hit Saskia's NO WAY Token.

Coming back around to see their third scoring turn, I noticed Patricia had reached the end of the Get Track. On the third scoring turn, the gift that I thought she'd want the most had her No Way Token on it. Two people hit that, so she moved back a lot on the Get Track. When questioned, she had an evil grin and was laughing. "I did that on purpose, to stop you from getting to far on the Give track. I know people will get me good gifts next round."

I was floored. She turned a getting to know you game into a bluffing and strategy game. Ooh, I was so proud! So the round after this took a different bent as everyone was trying to figure out what was the best strategic move to maximize which track they needed to move forwards on, while trying to limit the points of the other players. And I stayed for their "shopping round" where all the players were discussing the presents in an attempt to gauge interest in the presents and to bluff and posture their interest in it as well.

The game ended with Patricia winning, who manipulated both scoring tracks very well. There was a ton of laughter throughout the game. And after every scoring round there was a post mortem on the presents and the strategy.

So GiftTRAP definitely hit the mark on the enjoyment factor. They loved the game components, the presents, the discussion, and the game. It was played in 45 minutes with 5 players.
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