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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Library session planning

I've started putting together the list of games to take along to the two afternoon gaming sessions I'm going to be running at the library. These are focussed on family gaming, parents and kids, and were hugely successful last year. We had about 50 people over the two afternoons, ranging from 5/6 years old through middle schoolers and lots of parents, and I'm hoping for the same again.

The question is, what games to take? Some of the more successful ones from last year are a good start, so Metro, Can't Stop and Pueblo go in the box. They were in constant use last year, and one family came back on the second day specifically to play Pueblo. Next, the games that have gone down well at the regular sessions this year. Emerald, Fist of Dragonstones, Ticket to Ride and Tally Ho.

So, where to go from there? Some simple card games is a fairly safe bet, so in goes 6 Nimmt, Coloretto, Lost Cities and San Juan. I'm also going to try Geschenkt and Bohnanza, both are fairly simple and the latter was a big hit with a new gamer at Nike last week. Some games that more resemble traditional board games are a good transition, so Transamerica, Africa and Freya's Folly go in the box.

I'll go with a few of the staples in gateway games, so Settlers, Carc and Alhambra are placed in the box. (Carc has been the biggest hit at Nike.) I'll need a couple of abstracts, so I'll include some of my favorites, Ingenious and Yinsh.

Some games for the younger set are needed. I want to try out Geistertreppe (2004 Kinderspiele des Jahres, and one I picked up in Essen) and Walk the Dogs is sure to be a winner, all those cute dogs! I also want to try a dexterity game, so I'm going to bring PitchCar this year. I took it along to the 2004 GameStorm family game session on the Sunday morning, and the kids loved it. I'll also include Pick Picnic, always good for some silly fun.

Room for a few more yet. I agree with Dave that Cartagena is a great gateway game. Simple rules, yet with a bit of depth and planning. I want to have some sort of bluffing game, so I'll go with the SimplyFun Texas Roll 'em. It has all the flavor of Liar's Dice, but leverages the current popularity of poker. (Then again, that may be a turn off for some parents who are against gambling. I may reconsider this choice and go for plain Liar's Dice/Perudo.)

That leaves two games I'm planning on taking. First is Havoc. I _have_ to include this. Not only is it a good game (there, KC, I said it. It has grown on me considerably as I've played it more and begun to appreciate some of the detail. But I still prefer some of your other designs! :) but I think it will click with the local people as it comes from a local designer and game company. Second is Railroad Tycoon. Yes, it's a large game, and I may just have it there as a demo rather than to play, but it really isn't that complex, so we'll see how people go. It may depend on who shows up, and if I get a family with some older kids I might just let them loose on it.

One I considered, but decided against, was Doom: The Boardgame. Whilst I think it would be a great hit with the kids, it takes a long time to play and would keep my other demo dude (Colin, my oldest) fully occupied, as it would need someone familiar with the game to run the aliens. I ran the idea past the library person and she didn't see any problem with it, which did surprise me a little. I expected them to be a little wary of a game just involving killing things. I may yet take it along just as a show game.

I'll no doubt throw in some small card type games at the last minute to pack corners of the tubs as I pack, but that's the list so far. Feel free to offer suggestions.

On the SimplyFun front I've let it lie for the Christmas period. The last date for shipment in time for Christmas has passed, so I'm not pushing for orders. I'm now looking forward to the new year and have already lined up a few parties with some people. I also had a call from the person doing the piece in the local paper. She's interested in looking at some of the SimplyFun games and would like to host a party. That's one of the things I like about this type of business, you never know who's going to be interested and it's always providing surprises.

I've finally got the details on the 3 new games that are being released in the new year and am a trifle disappointed to find that they're more party type games. I really had my hopes up for at least one more serious game.

In10sity is a trivia game where each answer is a number between 1 and 10, and you all pick your choice on a dial. There are also 3 colored dice, but I've no idea how they fit in. All will become clear I'm sure!

Take Your Pick is a choose the adjective most applicable to your fellow players. Another simple party game by the look of it.

Chess on the Loose is a bunch of variant on chess. One features a 'Frankencheck' monster and cards (shades of Finstere Flure?), another has special tiles that give points, and yet another has you collecting letters to spell words and add bonus pieces to the board.

Like I said, a bit lighter than I hoped, but we'll see when I get some review copies.

Finally, after much thought I've decided to drop off the rota of the GoE blog. I don't have enough ideas to contribute to two blogs (those who read my own blog will have seen a lot of common posts) and I'd rather focus on my own. So, next week will be my last post as I see out the end of the year. My thanks to those who have read all my inane drivel. You know where you can find it, if for some strange reason you wish to keep reading it.

OK, I lied, this is definitely finally. I'd just like to wish everyone out there the very best for Christmas, and go play some games.


  • At 11:52 AM, Blogger John Steadman said…

    Another game to consider is High Society. The person with the most stuff wins... as long as they don't go broke. I find that people get into the theme and have a lot of fun. Plus, it doesn't take a lot of time.


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