Back in 1994, I invited a group of my college buddies to come hang out with me at my parents' lakehouse. Since we've always played games, a lot of game playing went on. This has turned into an annual gathering with the amount of gaming increasing dramatically in the past few years. This year I was able to play 37 games (27 unique) over essentially four days time. If you are interested in all of the games we played, they can be found on the following Geeklist:
The players: Stephen (Myself), Christine, (longsuffering wife), Dwight (single friend), Jared (from Dallas), Becky (Jared's better 9/10), Clint (Preacher), Cheri (Clint's better 3/4), Glen (from Vicksburg), Amy (Glen's better 1/2), Jody (from Dallas), CJ (Fleeing hurricane), Steph (CJ's wife), Page (from Arkansas), and Lori (Page's wife).
Day 3, Fourth Game: 5 Crowns (22)
After Hansa, I was ready for a something a little lighter in order to rest my poor tired head. Since we had moved back to the front of the house, we expect quite a few others to join in. Based on this, and a previous history of enjoyment, we chose 5 Crowns as the next game. For various reasons, several people decided not to play, so we formed up a 5-player game. For those who have never played, 5 Crowns is a rummy game played with a deck of cards in five suits. In each suit, there are 2 of each card from 3 to king. There are also four jokers. The game progresses through 11 hands, starting with a hand of 3 cards and ending with a hand of 13 cards. In each hand, the card number matching the number of cards is wild--i.e. in the 3 card hand, 3's are wild; in the 13 card hand, king's are wild. The object is to form valid rummy melds with your entire hand, meld it all at once, and go out with a discard, at which point all players have another turn to improve their hand and play any melds they have. Points are scored against for cards remaining in your hand. The lowest total after "the kings go wild" is the winner.
As the game commenced, fortune smiled upon Jared and he was able to meld his entire hand quickly. The gods of fortune being fickle, both Becky and myself were cast deeply into the abyss of last place where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth and several unflattering descriptions of Jared. Being such a large sum behind the leaders, I was mulling over instituting the variant rules we have often played in the past. In our variant, each player attempts to obtain the greatest number of points. While this is easy at the beginning, as the game progresses, it becomes more and more difficult to avoid forming melds and obtaining truly disgusting high scores. Whilst contemplating this heinous move--which would have unduly benefited my darling wife--one of the voices told me to wait. Fortune was again fickle and smiled on my wife. However, the screwage this time around was directed at Becky and Jody. It now seemed UI had a chance. Oh, but the powers of fortune were merely toying with my hopes and dreams and cast their favor upon Jared, who was quickly moving into the lead. I managed to double my score and cement a position firmly in last place. However, fortune again smiled on Christine, and through some cosmic mix-up, a small amount was passed on to me. Unfortunately, fortune gave a little to all (except Becky), so that my position was not indeed improved. Jody was the beneficiary of fortunes next gift, whose negative aspects pounded on Jared and Becky. It was not clear the contest the gods had set for us: Jared and Christine would be battling for the premiere positions while Jody and I must fight for third wheel. Unfortunately for Becky, fortune was laughing maniacally over her cards. For the rest of the game Jody and I battled valiantly for the third position with me surviving at the bitter end. Jared and Christine battled as well. However, Jared's spirit was not up to the task, and he faded quickly at the end.
Christine -- 43
Jared -- 80
Stephen -- 105
Jody -- 106
Becky -- 228
This game has received a lot of play at our gatherings over the years and never fails to entertain. Often, we will see several games played one after the other at the center table, often with up to seven players. Strange that this year, there was but a single game. I can only credit it to the general disinterest in card-gaming of any type this time around. While a shame in some respects, it also means that there were more people playing interesting board games -- a feat that should not go unnoticed.