I've been a fan of abstract strategy games for near about as long as I can remember playing games. I've also been a fan of the 3M bookshelf series for a while as well. Naturally, I've managed to pick up most of the abstract strategy titles in the line. Unfortunately, I do not get to play them all that often.
However, tonight, I was assisting my wife by distracting the children from the memento unpacking that was going on. Since my 4-year-old loves to play games with Dad, I was sneaky and asked her if she would like to play a game. Of course, she said yes. Well, she probably thought she was going to get one of the usual. Not tonight. It's been too long. You are now my guinea pig for Jumpin and Breakthru.
Game 1: Jumpin
I've never actually been able to play this one before, but had heard / read some things about how simplistic it is. It seems simple enough, so I figurea 4-year-old can handle it. We set it up, and Grace asked to be the yellow (gold) while I got to be the white (silver). As usual, she wanted me to go first.
I began jumping my men around, and she did the same. After a few moves it occured to me that I could speed my movement across the board by altering my jumping patterns some. This helped a lot. Then it dawned on me that I better be paying attention to where these men were going to end up. This is the part that ended up being a challenge. It took a little doing but I managed to get everyone lined up properly without leaving anyone behind -- a challenge in and off itself. Ultimately, I won the game.
Grace had no problem with the basic idea of the jump, though she made very few compound jumps and none that involved jumps in multiple directions. However, I don't really expect that level of strategic thinking for a few more years. At any rate, she said she wanted to play again, "but not tonight Daddy. Let's play a different game."
Game 2: Breakthru
I'm pretty sure this is not what Grace had in mind with the above mentioned statement. Oh well, I'm picking the games tonight. With the movement and capture rules, this one may be more of a stretch for her. We set up using one of the basic setups in the rules. I played gold, as they are supposed to be at a slight disadvantge. Grace was silver. As usual, she refused to make the first move.
I begin the game by choosing one corner of the perimeter to concentrate on. I send a few pieces there to work on opening a hole up. Grace moves some of her pieces around actually trying to get to my flagship. Unfortunately, the diagonal attack a turn after the move to setup the capture seems to escape her at the moment. I manage to capture a couple of her pieces and move my flagship right out for the victory.
As I feared the movement or capture rule is a little beyond Grace at the moment. She wanted to capture pieces like a Rook in Chess and didn't really grasp having to wait a turn to capture. However, unlike in Jumpin, she did make several interesting multiple dimension moves. It was nice to see her make that connection in this game.
As for me, I began to see a lot of things that could be done tactically to make life difficult for the gold team. Perhaps I will get to play this one again sometime soon with someone a little more strategically / tactically oriented.
Grace's next request was the dinosaur game -- Trias in our house. Unfortunately, her bedtime was quickly approaching, so we had to put this off until another day.