Sunday, July 02, 2006

Weekend Gaming

Rachel and I headed out to dinner at a family in our shul at whom we had not eaten before. They were a couple with four children, all boys. I debated what games to bring. I was going to bring For Sale and Sticheln, but ended up up only bringing Sticheln, because it was less obtrusive. This is not because I know how to play Sticheln, but because it has 6 suits and cards from 0-18 in each suit, which let's me play any of a dozen or more games.

Remember that these are not game players, as far as we know. Also, shabbat meals follow a certain understood pattern: kiddush, challah, various foods, songs, dessert, go home. Gaming is not on the list.

Rachel even warned me, "You don't have to bring a game. These are intelligent people. We can have a conversation." The implication being not as I humorously chose to interpret, which is that gaming is not intelligent, but that gaming either presents a barrier to communication or is needed when conversation hasn't developed. Still, I said "Duh! Duh! Duh!" to Rachel all the way over.

Turns out that the father and I had a nice conversation about how his Dungeon Mastering is going with his kids and the merits of old style D&D and alternate RPGs versus the 3e version that he uses with his kids. Other conversations were also held; something about literature.

I played David and Goliath with them; it's not a great game. It has about zero strategy. And while it has some interesting tactics, I haven't decided if any of them are really of any value, or if it basically is all luck. But the game does present a new way of thinking, which is why it makes an interesting demonstration.

Sat afternoon we went to Nadine's who was hosting Rachel's weekly shiur. Afterwards we played Puerto Rico. I took second position and Nadine took third, since randomly drawing for positions before previous games hadn't been assigning us equivalent frequencies at each position.

The game hinged on a good choice by Nadine at the beginning of round six. The boats had corn and sugar. At the end of round five, even though both Rachel and I could have manned indigo, Rachel was only set to produce sugar, I was set to produce corn and coffee, and Nadine was set to produce corn and tobacco. The trading house had corn, indigo, and sugar in it. Settler had two gold, Trader one gold, and Craftsman one gold.

Nadine was governor and chose craftsman. Since nobody was producing indigo, Rachel decided to ship. My corn wasn't enough protection, and my coffee was forced onto a boat, leaving Nadine with her tobacco. We argued for a minute or two on whether Rachel should just have taken Settler, which would have let me trade Coffee, but then Rachel could take Trader the next round and trade sugar while Nadine traded tobacco.

Anyway, I still felt like I was doing ok, even though they both had Factories, while I had Harbor. I then got a Wharf while Nadine also got a Harbor. Rachel had Small Warehouse, but all she was doing was saving up corn, since the boats were always stuck. Rachel was kind of thinking she was going to lose, and I was kind of thinking that I was going to win. I knew I would be a large building behind, but I figured that I was more than ten VP's ahead.

Turns out that I was mistaken. Rachel eventually got the corn shipped, and both of them got their two big buildings, and Nadine ended the game before I could man my only large building. I chose to buy that building when I could have shipped instead, which would have been better for me. C'est la vie. I also forced Nadine to end the game with buildings, since I was set to mass ship the next round. Nadine ended with 52, Rachel with 48, and I had 45.


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