Sunday, March 16, 2008

Weekend Gaming

I'm working on a longer post, again, so I'm posting light.

I went to Beit Shemesh this weekend to spend some time with my parents. My Mom and I were two players a few times (otherwise she just plays solitaire by herself), so we played Scrabble, 500 Rummy, and Honeymoon Bridge.

In Scrabble, I won by a decisive 288 to 287. Even though I started the game with several racks containing nothing but vowels, I'm still pleasantly surprised that she did so well, considering that I know more of the new stupid acceptable words than she does.

In 500 Rummy, I also won by a ridiculously close amount, some 520ish to 510ish. We also played one hand of Honeymoon Bridge. I remember liking this game when I was younger, but I hadn't played it for twenty years or so.

Honeymoon Bridge is one of those attempts to recreate Bridge as a two-player game, but it fails pretty badly. You only have access to 13 cards when you bid, and you draw the remaining 13 cards over the course of the play. It's bad enough in 3-player Bridge to not know the last 5 cards of your dummy, but not knowing all 13 is simply impossible.

During the afternoon, Avri came over. Avri runs the Beit Shemesh gaming group which only started in the last year or so. He's doing a great job.

He brought his wife (and two small kids), a friend, and another mutual friend. We played El Grande. Or we played the first six rounds of El Grande and then stopped as the kids were a handful which made it hard for Avri and wife to concentrate. This was the first play for all of them, except that Avri and his friend had played one two-player game the night before.

I was just far enough after round three to get ganged up upon but not far enough ahead to actually have an advantage. As often happens to me in this game, the fatal blow was dealt by the "score the first place in every region" card, which put two of the other players instantly ahead of me by twenty points.

After El Grande we played a kids game to mollify one of the kids: Froggy Boogie.

Froggy Boogie is a lovely kids game. It's a memory game with the following mechanic: roll the die to determine one of nine frogs. Choose one of the frog's two wooden eyes. If the underside of the eye shows a frog, you don't move forward and your turn ends. If it does, you move forward and roll again. First to get to the end of the path wins.

This is a hard game for adults that is devastatingly easy to play. Do you know how frustrating it is to roll the exact same frog twice in a row and not remember from one time to the next, within a matter of seconds, which eye was the right one?

Of course, if you concentrate you can do better. And if you want to resort to grown up memory tricks like converting the frogs to a nine-digit binary number and then back to a decimal number as you learn which eye on each frog is the correct one, well then you shouldn't be playing kids' games.

The colors of one of the frogs was off compared to the others. A few more decision making skills wouldn't have hurt, such as multiple path options. But it's a very nice game for the earliest player ages, around 4 or 5 years old.


P.S. The latest game carnival is up here.

1 comment:

Gameguy said...

I remember seeing some type of two player version of bridge around my house when I was young. It was never used, and I can only assume it was an attempt by my father to get my mom to play. He passed away when I was 18 and I didn't learn until then that he was an avid bridge player before he was married. I can only assume that the two player bridge game just wasn't the same.

I learned to play in college and can't imagine playing it with two people.

I hadn't thought of that in years.