Marquand Gathering of Friends – April 2012

Once a month, on a Saturday evening, Lisa and I gather a few friends for some light games and good food. However, for the most part, the board games simply provide a nice backdrop for some enjoyable face-time with real people, a thing that seems to have gone by the wayside in recent years.

For several years, we’ve been hosting a monthly game night and even with our modern busy schedules, we’ve been able to find a quorum from those fifteen people to gather for a game or two. There are times when we’ve had enough to split into two tables but that’s rare.

Although Lisa is still recuperating from an illness, she felt that her recovery had progressed to the point that we decided to jump start the group again after canceling a few months. We ended up with seven last night so we grabbed 7-Wonders so that we could all stick together for the first game. Five of us were already familiar with the game so we ran through the rules for one of the couples. It’s nice when other people who outwardly proclaim they are not gamers lean in to help new players through tough decisions or for rule clarifications. And they don’t call themselves gamers; well I beg to differ!

7-Wonders is one of those odd games that it takes a while to get through the rules: what different cards do, how you score points, how you build resources to have enough of them to build cards in the future, how the “free” building works when you’ve built the appropriate predecessors, etc. But in the end, if you play it once, odds are, you’ll like it. I’ve yet to see anybody (even people who say they don’t even like games) not get it. Many new players (and old for that matter) want to play it again immediately afterward. The great thing about the game is that it plays in roughly the same amount of time (about 30-45 minutes) regardless of the number of players you have. The game is family accessible; you can easily have younger kids pair up with adults to help make partner-based decisions. There is one expansion already out and another due this summer that officially introduces partnership play. I’m really looking forward to it.

We spent a lot of time after the game just hanging out, talking about kids, costs of colleges, etc. and generally had a nice evening sitting around the table chatting. After one couple left, I pulled out China and with the five that remained we quickly ran through the rules and got started.

China is a really great game by Michael Schacht. If you’ve not played it you really need to pick up a copy if you can find it. China is another game that plays well with several different numbers of players (the double sided-board provides different maps depending on the number of players) and like 7-Wonders, you can play it and be boxing it back up in less than 45 minutes, an amazing feat given the depth of the game in such a simple package.

Lisa survived the ordeal without any long term physical issues so we’re both glad she’s on the mend and ready to do it again next month. Now, I’m off to pick out a game for the two of us to play later this afternoon.

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