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Subject: Fossil Hunting for Kids - Can the Father survive? rss

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Michael Lawson
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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The kids (3, 5 and 8) wanted to play a game.

"I want Battle Cry!" the 5 year old said.

"I want Battle Cry too!" echoed the 8 year old.

"Can I play too?" Asked the 3 year old.

Considering they all wanted to play, a tag team game of Battle Cry was out; especially if you consider that I didn't want my copy of the game to be obliterated during the first argument the kids had over the game. Casting a glance over the games at hand, I decided to give Fossil a try with them; it's fairly quick to learn, they get to move stones around the grid (a big plus for the 3 year old, who loves her rocks), it plays quickly, and there are no cards for they to absentmindedly bend while thinking about moves.

There were a few protests that I wasn't bringing out Battle Cry or Memoir '44, but once the kids saw the tiles with the fossil pieces on them, they decided to give the game a try. All, that is, except for the youngest who decided that she'd rather color than watch me set up the game.

It had been about a year or two since I'd last played, so I was familiarizing myself with the rules while I was setting up the board. This proved to be unfortunate, since I missed removing a tile and I ended up with 8 extra pieces after the 7x7 grid was created. After about 5 minutes of hunting down the offending tile, removing it and allowing one of the kids to select from the remaining tiles, I actually got to start explaining the game.

The kids took to the mechanics easily; after all, it can't be much simpler than move a stone, take a tile, and count backwards the number of tiles you jumped over. However, the 5 year old thought that counting backwards more quickly meant he was winning; it took me about half of the game to explaing to him that he really wasn't winning when he was jumping 5 spaces to grab a tile.

The 8 year old was able to grasp the concepts of the game quickly and started amassing a large amount of a couple of sets of fossil tiles, and because of the 5 year old's play strategy, she was able to circumvent my strategies to block her. At about the halfway mark, she had a 30 point lead due to finishing one of those fossil sets, and due to a spate of bad luck, I was stuck dead last.

"Never mind that," thought I, "there's plenty of time for me to make up ground and at least keep it competitive. Besides, my son now understands how to play the game, and he's not giving away the store to his sister."

Well, he understood the game a little too well, it seems, since he was able to block both his sister and myself to climb to within 10 points of her. In my haste to make up some sort of ground, I committed a blunder and set my daughter up to close on her other big fossil set and jump ahead by about 40 points or so. That pretty much put the game out of reach for my son and I, but in the fight for second place, I won by 2 points.

In the aftermath, the kids said they liked the game and wanted to play it again, but they said they really wanted to play Memoir '44 next time first. (I ended up playing Memoir '44 with my son right afterwards, so I owe my daughter a play later.)
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Scott Roberts
United States
Southlake
Texas
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Good review. It sounds like my gameplaying experience.
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