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Subject: Family Game Night takes a turn for the worse. rss

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The first gane of Family Business we played was fairly straight forward. For Sarah and Elaine, it was their first game. For the rest of us, it had been a while since we played, so there was lots of checking the cribsheets to double check what each card could do. The game started off very violently when I played a Vendetta as the first card of the game. ABout 8 or 9 gangsters died in the ensuing mob war. After that, I became the target for quite a few contracts, and eventually ran out of counter cards. We all had around 4 or 5 gangsters left at this stage, and the game settled down a bit, with a lot of sniping between the gangs, slowly building up the hit list. Sue played St. Valentine's Day Massacre to finish off the second Mob War which also wiped me out. This left everyone very low, except Elaine and she managed to keep her advantage until the end, winning with 5 gangsters remaining, I think.

The second game was not as much fun. Sarah and Jamie seemed to have a pact in place to attack Elaine and protect each other if possible. This meant Elaine was worn down quickly. Even so, due to the extremell violent nature of the game (Ambush and Vendetta both played early), Jamie only had four gangsters left by the time he took his first turn. This was due to the rule that states the turn order shifts whenever anyone plays a counter card. Basically, every time Sarah played a Contract on someone, they would counter it. This meant whoever played the counter card would go next. As Jamie was to the left of Sarah, this meant he didn't get his turn. He also didn't have any counter cards of his own, so if someone took a Contract out on him, he coulddo nothing to stop it. He did have some Rescue cards, but again he couldn't play them as he didn't get a turn. So, despite Sarah's efforts, Jamie was the first to go. By this time, I was down to two, Elaine and Sarah had three and Sue had five. Elaine followed Jamie shortly after. Eventually, Sarah's last guy was up against the wall, followed by mine. Sue had one last gangster left, but he wasn't on the hit list. Sarah played a substitution, and replaced her man with Sue's. Sue got wiped out as my turn started. I played a Priority contract on Sarah, and she couldn't counter it. So Sarah's last gangster went up against thew all ahead of mine, and Sarah was wiped out when her own turn began, leaving me as the winner.

I learnt two things from the session.

Firstly, the rule changing the next player when a counter card is played breaks the flow of the game. We had periods where players were unable to take a turn in maybe 20 turns, when normally, they would play every 5th turn. It also means that whoever plays the counter card is more likely to get useful cards. They take a card to replace the counter card and then take a further one as their turn begins, immediately afterwards. As it is then their turn they get to capitalise on thier good fortune.

I also learnt never to play this game with Sue again. The game can be confusing as there is no information on the cards to explain their function, so I gave everyone a cribsheet. She basically refused to read it and would ask on every turn, not just her own, what certain cards meant. She asked four times in a row what a contract card was. She would ask on every single turn if there was anything she could do to counter whatveer it was that had just happened, regardless of what it was or who played it. Several times, she asked the same question twice in a row, or asked the same question as someone else within seconds of the answer being given. It turned the game from fun into work and I felt like I was explaining it to my 5 year old boy. She would insist on showing me her cards and asking which one she should play. I was tempted to misadvise her to get her out of the game early, but felt this would be unfait and further reduce my enjoyment of the game as basically I would've been cheating. The only reason I can think of that would explain her behaviour is that she tries to avoid responsibilty for things generally in life, and this was another example. I am beginning to think I should only try her with games that have minimal choice or player interaction, such as Lucky Loop. Time will tell.
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