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Subject: What makes a Simple Game enjoyable? rss

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tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
Costa Rica
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All said and done this is a pretty easy game to learn, teach, and play. It is a Knizia so it is a numbers game at its core and pretty basic for most serious gamers. But the reality of it is, most people are not serious gamers. I enjoy having this around for when non-gamers come by and want to play a game, something that they can understand in minutes, no real learning curve and a lot of fun - with the right crowd.

My neighbors, Paul and Ashly, where not true gamers when they moved here, but they where gamers as much as anybody from the States or Canada in the sense they did grow up playing the standard classics, a few weird games their parents bought for them, and card games. So I consider them to be gamers in the making really. We had played this one a few times and Ashly likes a simple game more then a complex and she picked this one for the first game of the day. Considering myself a true gamer I was just alright with this, I mean I want a game with some meat on it, something that is just down right fun but has strategy to it. Well Knizia proves me wrong again is all I can say!

This is a simple numbers game and you have 6 cards in your hand and you are trying to always be able to put a higher number down then the guy before you, the only rule is you can only play one type of card at a time ( so I can throw a 7, or 2 7´s for 14, or 2 7´s and a wild card that can be a 7 for 21 - or 3 7´s would also give me 21 ). The mix of the cards seems perfect to me and I have considered this an OK game, but have not played it all that much compared with how much most of my games get played. We are playing 3 rounds so even if your luck is bad the first or 2nd round you still have a chance by doing great the 3rd round - and winning. The First round saw me doing very well and being able to stop what ever was thrown at me, >I had great cards to start with and got good high cards through out the game. I ended the round with 7, Paul with 21, and Ash with 26. So I figure I am looking good and have this down. The 2nd round sees me collecting all the cards, which is what you do not want in this game, and I can tell it will be a very ugly round for me. I had all low cards to start the game with, you want the higher cards if you want to win that is, and I just kept getting low cards so I did really bad this round. I got 28, Paul 16, and Ash 11 so after round 2 I am leading at 35 and they are both tied at 37, so it is close ( the guy with the lowest score wins ). I am doing well the 3rd round but so is Ash, all the cards are gone and Paul has a giant stack in front of him so I know he is out but Ash and I have about the same amount of cards when all the cards are gone but we still have to play the cards in our hands till 1 person is out of cards. I try and play my highest cards since I basically have crap and hope top force one of them into picking up the cards before it gets back to me,this does not work in any way shape or form for me and I am stuck with most of the cards and Ash had to pick up none of them, so she ended up winning 42, to my 46, and Paul had 75.

This gets me thinking about strategy for this game and should I have thrown my lowest cards instead --- I think not - but by trying to figure out how it would have gone down, but with out actually playing the hands out differently it is hard to say for sure. So that gets me thinking I need to play more and try and figure out if I could find a strategy to how I throw my cards at the end of the game. Then I think how it is different on how I throw my cards in the beginning, middle, or end of the game. This all gets me thinking this is a better game, or more complex, then I thought since I am putting way to much thought into this game and how I could have done better and how I will play it out next time if the same situation comes up.

It was actually a fun game and I could see the real fun part of the game and where there is tension and that feeling of oh man this could go either way, and I was holding my breath hoping for Ash to have to pick up the pile, knowing if she doesn´t then I will have to. In a 3 person game you lay your cards down and are either playing a low card that just barely beats the last card played or you are throwing the highest number you can out there and hoping it does not make it back to you - this is because you know if it gets back to you, you are screwed and will be picking the pile up. So you throw your high number(s) and watch the other guy throw his card, now it is the 3rd persons turn and you already know there is no way to beat the number there and you are studying the other person trying to read them and see if you are screwed or if they are. I caught myself holding my breath and being on the edge of my seat waiting for her to figure out if she could play or not ( Now Ash is not great with numbers so it may be a quick calculation for most people, but Ash will take a little longer which just heightens the suspense of it all - at least for me it does ).

The following game I caught myself doing it again, holding my breath and wondering if I am screwed or not, and realized that even a simple game can be a lot of fun. It is the little things that make up the whole of the game that make it a great, good, OK, Meah, or bad experience in total. When I first played this one I was like - simple card game with a pasted on theme, whatever. But it really is a good simple game and is a lot of fun, for me at least, and that is what a game is all about - having fun with friends.

I did win the next game and actually I was very lucky and destroyed them but I still had a lot of hands that could have easily gone against me and I was enjoying the game when I was winning or losing so I think Mr. Knizia has taken a simple game and added enough umph to it to make it a fun game that I am sure will be seeing more and more table time with me and my groups!

Game On´
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