Rachel and I played Mr. Jack on Sunday evening. Rachel is never too enthused about trying a new game, but gave it a go since Nadine recommended it. She played Detective, and I played Criminal.
I made two mistakes: It is far easier to keep people lit than to keep them unlit. I had the five remaining suspects unlit, and with her last character on turn three I let her move two of them together. The number of suspects was narrowed down to three.
In turn four I needed to move either Mr Jack or one of the other suspects, and I moved the other one instead. That move separated the two and kept them unlit, but the other one was now able to escape the next round - when it should have been Mr Jack that was able to escape the next round. As a result, when I didn't escape with the other one, he, too, was eliminated as a suspect.
She won on turn five. I doubt she will play again.
The second game we played was our usual perfect two-player variant of Puerto Rico with the usual substitute buildings from my sets. It was close, but she beat me nicely 52 to 47. I think she beats me around 60% of the time. Which is nice. Keeps both of us happy.
On Monday, I received a call from Mitchell Thomashow of board game geek, in Israel as keynote speaker for a conference and looking to escape from a very strict lecture and touring schedule for the night. He came over for dinner and some games. I invited Nadine over as well, so we were a threesome.
Mitchell couldn't stay too long, so we needed some quicker games for three. It's Alive is fairly perfect for that, and he hadn't played it before. Rachel had a cross-conversation with him while we were playing, so we didn't concentrate fully on the game, but I think he enjoyed it. I won 47 to his 38 and Nadine's 37.
Another quick game for three players is Blokus Trigon, which I've only played once or twice, and so was eager to try again. I enjoyed it more this time than last time, although my basic comments still hold.
It's much more serene than the original Blokus. It's really hard to get trapped, and hard to get blocked until the very end of the game. Where in the regular version you may end up with five or six pieces left, in this game it's hard to end up with more than three pieces left. Everything just fits until the very last moves of the game.
Nadine managed to block my last pieces, however, and then play out completely. As a result, she won, Mitchell was second, and I was last. Nadine doesn't usually win these spacial games, so it was nice to see her do so this time.
Even though it's not that hard to use most of the pieces, it's still fun to think about how to use them, so it's still an enjoyable game. And it gets tense at the end.
MIT has a tradition of doing yearly pranks, or "hacks". They are so elaborate and interesting that many of their hacks have passed into Internet legend. This year's pranks included dressing up some familiar buildings around campus in a board game theme.
If you're into beautiful playing cards, here's an article about hand painted Ganjifa cards from India.
The Times Online has a basic list of links for gaming and game related creative activities.
Another card game stabbing (Athens, GA). Another car game robbery (Reddick, FL).
Here's an environmental game called Play Rethink. You pick a random subject and have to come up with a new environmental use for it. Then you upload the card to the site. I don't know if there are any specific rules of winners, although each month they pick a winner and possibly help the person develop the idea. Is it a game?
And oh yes: Happy Christmas to all my readers who celebrate it.