March Game Night – 2005

This month’s game was Ticket to Ride. Ken was gracious enough to bring his copy and after a quick run through the rules we were off and running. Well, most of us were. Keith was mostly hoarding cards with all of his “blind” draws. I have to give him credit though. If it hadn’t been for Rich’s underhanded train placement Keith would have been the easy winner. Rich actually caused Keith to lose the game at the end when he tied me but had to “take back” 9 points for not meeting one of his goals. Keith, you should blame Rich.

February Game Night – 2005

Ken was supposed to bring Ticket to Ridethis month. It was his big chance. It was the whole reason he bought the game.Every fiber of his body wanted to participate by bringing the game. Ken, however, let us all down and forgot it at homeand didn’t realize it until he walked in the door.

Thanks Rich for hosting this months get together. Paul showed up againand we’re very happy to see him back. I brought my wooden Carcassonne – The Cityto show to everyone. I haven’t played it yet and don’t like tobring a game to AGN unless I’ve played it. It’s so much harderto learn a game when nobody has played it yet. However….in this casewe had to learn a brand new game (see note above about Ken sucking at remembering Ticket to Ride)that Keith brought (thank goodness for Keith).

This month’s game was King of the Elves by Alan Moon. Note Alan Moon also designed Ticket to Ride but we didn’t getto play that game this month…’cause of Ken sucking so bad at rememberingto bring the game.

It took us almost an hour to go through the rules. In that hour, there wasplenty of grousing and complaining (see note above about not bringinga brand spankin’ new game to AGN). However, with encouragement we madeit through the rules and began playing. As it turns out, it was a nicegame. We only played 3 of the 5 rounds and that took us 2.5 hours. There were times when play was very slow but I think it’s a game thatspeeds up the more you play it and get settled in to what your optionsare when it is your turn.

After 3 of 5 rounds, Rich came out on top followed closely by Keith, then me, Ken, and Paul.

Category Nimmt

An update from Noah’s teacher:

I am going to try to play Category five with just 3 children today. THey seem to end up with different numbers of cards in their hands. I think with the smaller group they can keep track of who has layed their card in the middle and who has not. Also some are still struggling with which number is bigger so the smaller group will help them to teach each other rather than take the card and put it where it belongs. The great thing about the game is that there are 106 cards. So 3 groups of three could play at one time with one deck. (only each child gets 9 cards to begin rather than 10)

This is your brain on games…any questions?

My recent game order included two copies of Category 5. This is the retooled US version of 6-Nimmt which we’ve played numerous times in the Analog Game Night group and with family and friends. A copy of each game was destined for Sophie’s and Noah’s classrooms at Indianola Alternative Elementary.

Noah’s teacher is always looking for inventive ways to teach math and this game has really hit the spot. Here are Sarah’s comments:

We are using the game as a math menu choice because it is getting the children to practice the order of numbers and will help to build number sense.

It is great because the children are helping each other recognize if the number card they chose will work because it is “larger” than the cards laying in the middle. Joushua, for instance, was confused for awhile but got the hang of it once he played the game the second time.At the end of the game, they are also grouping the cards into similar groups so that the counting is easier. also a number sense builder!!! For example fives are easier to count when they are together. Then by 2s and finally one by one.

Thanks for the great game idea!!! I am always looking for games that get kids to manipulate numbers, group together numbers for adding, and that are challenging and fun. Thanks for the game!!!

Ticket To Ride

My latest game shipment came in and the kids and I tried out Ticket to Ride by Alan R. Moon. Ticket to Ride won the Spiel Des Jahres (Game of the Year) 2004, International Gamers Awards Best Strategy Game Nominee 2004, Deutscher SpielePreis (6th Place 2004), and Games Magazine Best Family Game Nominee 2005. This game will stay strictly at home and cannot be brought to Analog Game Night. Ken bought this game as well and wants to contribute a game to our game night playing festivities.

Ticket to Ride plays quickly and is very easy to learn. The kids had no problem at all picking up the rules. It took about 45 minutes to play which included the learning phase. It’s got a fairly significant luck component with the “draw your blind train cars” action. They do try to mitigate this somewhat by exposing the top 5 cards from the draw pile. There are still plenty of tactical plays that can made that can greatly affect other player’s ability to meet their hidden Ticket Card goals. So be forewarned that others can (and will) sense the end-points you’re shooting for and will attempt to block you from completing your task (the nerve of some kids…I mean people!). Speaking of nerve, Sophie kicked our butts by constructing several 5 and 6 segment routes and meeting all of her Ticket Card goals….plus she got the longest route bonus. I made all 5 of my Ticket Card goals but they were, unfortunately small in value. Noah didn’t meet two of his three goals so he got docked the value points for those.

The other games I received are Carcassonne – The City, Carcassonne’s new more strategic big brother (comes in a wooden box!) and Battle Line, a Reiner Knizia designed 2 person card game. I’ll throw out reviews of those as soon as I get a chance to play.

January Game Night – 2005

We gathered at Rich’s house for the January installment of Analog Game Night. This month we played Fluxx and Mexica. Fluxx is a card game that’s extremely simple to start playing but difficult to keep track of when your turn is over. Ken loved the complete lack of randomness of the game and the level of satisfaction one gets from a strong, well thought out strategy.

Mexica is a game of turn angst interspersed with long periods of extreme boredom. The ability to place bridges, canals, Calpulli Tiles, buildings, and your Mexica…at strategic locations of course, make your turn interesting while you’re taking it but almost sickeningly tedious to others. I think the best aspect of the game is how the board looks when you’re done.

There is a noteworthy item to point out to faithful readers of this blog…you will not see any “Sleepy Rich” pictures this month. This time, Rich was behind the camera. I wonder if his eyes close every time he takes a picture as well as when a picture of him is taken?

Turkey Day Family Game Night

After much Thanksgiving Day overeating, we sat down for a special edition of Family Game Night. I decided to try out Piratenbucht on the kids and Lisa. At 10, Sophie matches the minimum age listed on the box. At 8, I thought Noah might have a few problems here and there but he kept up pretty darn well. In the end, Sophie won, if you can believe it. I’ve never seen anyone throw dice like that. I could not protect my ship in any way shape or form against her onslaughts. When I wasn’t battling Sophie, I kept finding myself battling with Lisa. Noah and Sophie kept racking up tons of cash.

November Game Night – 2004

Rich was kind enough to host a special November edition of game night to take the place of both a cancelled earlier November Game Night of the same name as well as the cancelled December Game Night of a different name. Thanks Rich! Okay enough about Rich, although he [kind of] won El Grande he’s still was sleeping…

We had a new player tonight, Darren Thompson, a co-worker of my wife at the School For Young Children. He seemed to be willing to put up with our quipping and heckling about his silly plays in the game. However, he just didn’t seem to understand the basic game rule that if you can’t advance your own position, then you attack Ken’s position.

Unfortunately, due to Darren’s lack of zeal in this area, Ken and Rich tied for second in El Grande. Due to the rules of El Grande, a tie means that nobody gets the benefits awarded to the tied position and everybody moves down one. I held the 3rd position solidly with Keith and Darren in 4th and 5th places.

We only played the short form of El Grande. Although Keith and I tried to make the short form feel like the long form by maximizing turn angst and even with some quality OCD-like behavior from our esteemed green cube arranger using the code named Ken, our game did end pretty quickly and we were also able to get in 3 rounds of 6-Nimmt.In English, 6-Nimmt translates to “I am screwed because Ken creates huge gaps between numbers”.

We hope to have Darren back again but from the pictures you can see that he’s aspiring to “be like” [sleepy] Rich. If he keeps that behavior up we’ll have to crank the ridicule level up a few notches.

October Game Night – 2004

Keith blessed us again by hosting so thank you very much Keith (and Rhonda). This month’s game was the card game version of Puerto Rico called San Juan. If you’ve ever played Puerto Rico (we all had), the rules to San Juan will come pretty naturally.

After a quick run through the rules, we commenced and played leisurely for about 2 hours until I was declared the winner by a small margin over Ken. Rich was glad to not be last to Keith’s dismal performance.


The “board” about a 1/3 into the game. Clockwise from the top left: Keith, Ken, Rich, and my hand.


Keith is about to yell at Ken for providing way too much turn angst. Rich is, of course, got his eyes closed in sleep. I don’t remember what we were eating but it doesn’t look very appetizing…


Rich wakes up to take his turn. Strangely enough though…his eyes are still closed. He’s using his psychic powers to simply “will” the right cards into his hand.


Yes…I do actually play the game so that’s me taking poor advice from Ken concerning my next play. Looks like Keith is finishing off some more of something.