Games For Christmas

Sophie and I played a game of Polarity Christmas morning. Sophie won 16 to 13 by pulling off moves like this one. Polarity is a dexterity game for 2 players. At the beginning of the game, each player receives half of the magnets (one pole white and the other pole black). An all red magnet is flipped like a coin to determine which pole will face up in the center of the board and who will play which color. The ‘board’ is a large canvas sheet with a large circle painted on it and the named pole on the red magnet is placed in the center of the circle.

Play begins with the white player laying five magnets flat on the canvas followed by the black player laying five magnets. Players then alternate placing leaners against magnets already placed on the mat. A leaner is a magnet that is ‘hovering’ at an angle due to the magnetic force between the two or more discs. As leaners are played, the magnetic force may cause discs to shift position and ‘click’ together or fall/roll flat onto the canvas causing what’s called a fault. When you fault, your turn is immediately over. If your fault causes magnets to click together, then your opponent claims the ‘tower’ and gets to pick up and place the tower anywhere onto the mat (their color facing up). If you cause a magnet (or more) to click up onto a magnet in your hand, then you must add those magnets to the magnets you have yet to place on the mat.

The game ends when the first person places their last disc and the final scores are calculated by adding up the number of disc in the towers you’ve claimed minus the number of discs you have yet to play.

Polarity is very addictive and at first it’s fun to just play with the magnets to get a feel for playing leaners in different situations. I have yet to play a double leaner in a game and it’s starting to bug me enough I might stay up late and practice!!!

I recieved a lot of games for Christmas this morning including:

  • Hansa
    Players are merchants of the Hansiatic League. Players take control of the ship and buy and sell goods, establish trading posts, and sail to find new markets. The board is a very simple map of Scandanavia, with arrows from point to point restricting where the boat is able to move. Active player takes control of boat and must pay to move to each new city where he may either buy, sell, or expand. Players wants sets of goods that they can trade for victory points, but also need to expand market presence to generate revenue.
  • Amun-Re
    Players try to outdo each other in building pyramids and growing crops, but must watch out for floods and droughts along the Nile.
  • Maharaja: Palace Building in India
    Raja is a clever strategic boardgame for two to five players. During the game the players take different roles and travel from city to city in India. Their architects build palaces and houses for the maharadja. Of course, building a palace is expensive. Therefore it is important to earn enough money in the cities. The first player who builds seven palaces is the winner.
  • Bonaparte at Marengo On 14 June 1800, the French army under Napoleon Bonaparte was taken by surprise and attacked by the Austrian army under General Melas. Outnumbered and outgunned, the French were defeated and forced to retreat. But later that same day, French reinforcements arrived under General Desaix, and in what amounted to a second battle the French counter-attacked and won, taking thousands of prisoners and driving the Austrians from the field. Thus was won the battle of which Napoleon was always the most proud – Marengo. Bonaparte at Marengo recreates that dramatic battle. The game is simple and fast-playing, departing from almost all of the standard conventions of wargaming in order to achieve the look and feel of nineteenth century linear warfare.

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