posts tagged with 'board games'

board games new and old

We played a lot of board games this past weekend. Or a lot of hours of board games at least; many of those hours were occupied playing Root, which I gave Harvey for Christmas. I've heard it described as "Risk meets Redwall", which means that we get to play as cute forest creatures—cats and birds and bunnies—battling for control of the forest. The real draw of the game, though, is that each faction has different goals and even game mechanics, so when you learn to play one it's still like figuring out a whole new game to pick up another one. Lots of replay value there! And if we ever get bored of the base game, there are (of course) expansions to buy, that add yet more factions. We're sorely tempted already, but at the moment the budget does not allow.

Of course, with new games coming in our game shelf gets more and more crowded, and a few days ago I took some time to neaten it up a bit and pull out all the games I don't see anyone playing anytime soon. It was mostly the little kid games that didn't make the cut, and I was sad to see them go. How much fun we had playing Snail's Pace Race, and Pengoloo, and the Ravensberger 4 First Games! You can bet that I didn't get rid of them; they're safe down in the basement in case we ever want a little shot of nostalgia. Just like with the adventures, sometimes I miss those simpler days of hanging out with small people. Of course, if they were still small who would play Root with me?! These days are pretty good too. Especially since on Saturday, after ten or twelve games since Christmas, I finally won for the first time!

what did we do with the old one?

When the younger two boys got vaccinated the thing they were most looking forward to was the annual New Years Eve party at our friends' house. Which of course we missed last year. Then when the omicron surge got going and there was a chance it might not happen, they were prepared to be crushed. Happily, limiting the party to a core group of friends and having everyone take a rapid test beforehand meant that, never mind the pandemic, we were all able to celebrate the New Year the way it's meant to be celebrated!

Or the way some people mean it to be celebrated anyway... the boys were strongly in favor of staying up until midnight, which I didn't think sounded like a good idea at all. I felt sick and woozy just contemplating it! But with a party that got going at 6:00 I figured we'd have plenty of time for fun and then still get to bed at a reasonable hour. I guess I didn't anticipate how much fun it was going to be!

Fun and food. There were only three families there, including the hosts, but we all felt like creating a festive atmosphere required plenty of food and drink. I made coleslaw, rolls, and a pecan pie, and also brought crackers and dip. Then there was chili, cornbread, chips with a green enchilada dip, caramel popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, oreos, and candy. Oh, and a bowl of baby carrots. Luckily there was an appropriate amount of alchohol to counter some of the sugar flooding my blood and keep me from exploding; I'm not sure how the kids survived.

Actually, I'm not 100% sure how they spent most of the party. The hosts kept them off screens until 6:30, so they got to participate in a couple card games, but then they vanished into the other room to play on a couple Switches and watch some of the old Avatar show. There was also an air hockey table in there so I guess they had the option to move a little bit if they wanted. Me, I didn't move much unless it was too and from the buffet. I just sat at the table and played games: Pit, Dungeon Mayhem, Spit, Pokemon cards, Root, and Regicide. I lost most of them but that doesn't matter; I was still having a great time!

I knew it was getting late, but I was still surprised when I finally checked the time and saw it was just past 11. Awareness of the hour sent my body into shutdown mode, and I barely managed to collect the boys and say a polite goodbye before stumbling out the door. All three boys had been advocating that we stay up til midnight, so when we got home at 11:30 they felt that we were so close we might as well wait up that last half hour! Plus they wanted to hear stories. I knew, though, that if I didn't get myself into bed instantly I might die, so I declined. Of course, I told them they could stay up as long as they wanted! Tucked in their beds Harvey and Elijah fell instantly to sleep—as did I—but Zion, our king of willpower, held on til the bitter end. Though, as he reported in the morning, he was a little disappointed to miss the precise turning of the year: he looked at his watch at 11:57, then blinked and it was 12:03.

All that excitement was pretty hard on us! We took a walk in the afternoon on New Years Day and Elijah, who began it full of joy and energy, was in a grumpy sulk before we got back to the car. Back at home he unspeakingly ran himself a bath and soaked for a while, then came downstairs in his bathrobe and promptly fell asleep on the couch for two hours. Yes, it was hard work but worthy work: this New Year was properly celebrated.

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pokemon cards

Since Christmas, Pokemon cards have entered our lives in a big way. I know, right? Here's the story. For some reason, this school year saw a resurgence of card collecting among the elementary-school set. I pushed back at first, but with Pokemon excitement sweeping the neighborhood it was inevitable that some cards would come our way before long. Looking back at the photos, I can see that as early as the summer there were already impromptu poke-battles happening in our house.

boys and friends playing with pokemon cards

the latest craze

Nobody actually knew how to play, which was a little frustrating to me, but I managed to let it go. Then in the fall Grandma Beth, a keen observer of children's interest, bought a learner deck for the boys. It ran them through all the steps of the game, the right way. I couldn't help but listen in as they played. Soon afterwards Harvey bought a deck of his own... but then sadly traded its best cards away for flashier cards that he couldn't actually play.

By Christmas we had accumulated a couple hundred cards (mostly for free... thanks, Kelsey!) and Harvey had bought a second deck to replace the first one—which he had by then lost anyway. By then he knew all the ins and outs of the rules, and was really hoping to find some opponents worthy of his developing skills. So I bought Zion a deck as a Christmas present... and added one for myself, too. Why not?! They're only $15 a piece.

Only, not really. When I first figured out the rules I was underwhelmed by the game: I declared that it was a deck-building game where the interesting parts of the experience came while you were spending money. At first, the actual head-to-head game play felt pretty flat. That's still true. But it turns out that the more money you spend, the more interesting the games get! And let's just say that, by this point, I'm pretty interested.

I do have moments of sanity—if not to say disillusionment. Why do I need to pay seventy-nine cents for a card with some particular words on it, so my deck can do what I want it to? Can't I just take some other random card and write on it with a permanent marker?! I could, actually; and that line of thought has us thinking about designing our own trading card game. One day. But for now we're enjoying the complete Pokemon experience: building our decks, researching old cards and new releases, and watching championship matches on youtube. And playing against each other and a few friends!

the boys playing pokemon at church

have cards, will travel

It's probably just a phase, but it looks like one that's not likely to run its course anytime soon. We need more opponents... any interest in learning to play?

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the excitement never stops

We had a fun time at Bible study this evening. Since half the folks didn't show up, we decided it would be mean to continue with our study of the Gospel of John and make them miss the beginning of chapter eight, or wherever we are anyways. Instead, we played Ticket to Ride ("trains", as Leah and I and now everyone we know calls it). Awesome! Then we prayed, because, you know, you have to get some religion in there somewhere.

I was going to post something to this effect on Facebook (more briefly, of course), but Leah pointed out that that wouldn't be really good for my street cred: yeah! We played a board game at Bible study! So I write it here instead; if you're reading this blog, you already know I'm not in any way cool.

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night life

Who says we're not cool: we had a party tonight, without even the excuse of a holiday! We stayed up late, drank beer, and played board games.

Well, two out of three ain't bad.

kickin it old school

Leah and I don't always get a chance to relax together in the evenings, both of us having jobs that often require some after-hours work. When we do, though, it's board games if we're feeling adventurous; if not I read to Leah while she knits or embroiders. Or winds yarn, which is what she did this evening. Our literary selection was By hook or by crook, David Crystal's book about whatever random facts about English and England he can come up with, mixed with some Old English poetry. Yes, we're that cool.

When people warn us ominously that having a baby will keep us from doing all the exciting activities that they imagine young couples enjoy, we laugh.