As followers of this blog are well aware, I experienced a major life event in the last few months: the birth of my first son. While I am so grateful to have him around, there is one area of my life that has required a lot of adjustment: gaming.
My primary gaming partner before the Farmerlet arrived was my wife, but now with the (understandable) demands on her time, our gaming interactions have changed. So what have I been up to in the recent weeks? Find out below!
As I hinted in our last FDQ, games in the @FarmerLenny household have been a bit more on the casual side lately, but casual does not totally cover it. Here are some games I've had a chance to discover/explore in the wake of my son's arrival:
Belfort. So I say that games have been casual, and I open with Belfort? No one will believe me... This is one I played on a Saturday morning with some friends. I had won a copy in a Tasty Minstrel Games Twitter contest (thanks, Tasty Minstrel!), but hadn't gotten a chance to play it. One Saturday morning, we decided to change that. Belfort is long with lots of moving pieces, but it was surprisingly smooth. (I give major kudos to the visual design of the board, which provides constant cues to players.) I enjoyed my first play quite a bit and look forward to playing again. Unfortunately, as things have been more casual, that time has not yet arrived.
Wiz-War. On the same morning I played Belfort I also tried Wiz-War. I'll quickly summarize my feelings on this game with "not for me." Admittedly, we played the rules wrong, but I think I preferred it the wrong way because the game ended a lot sooner. If you like Ameritrash games, you'll probably like it. I only like Ameritrash games that are on the border of Euro, and that does not match this game's description. Not. For. Me.
Roll through the Ages. I got this one in anticipation of my son's arrival. I had read reviews, and it seemed to fit the gaming niche of "short," "could be interrupted," and "not a brain burner." I found a used copy cheap on Amazon, so it didn't break the bank. Keeping with other games in the Gryphon Bookshelf Series, the game is simple to teach and quick to play yet still offers satisfying decisions. It's not my favorite game ever, but I enjoy it and am looking forward to more plays.
Through the Desert. After I failed to trade an old CCG in a recent math trade, @BGJosh came to my rescue and traded me Through the Desert for it. I wasn't sure what to expect with this one, but I knew I liked Reiner Knizia and had heard this was one of his best. This game has been a huge boon! Not only does it play in the super-short window, it's also a very satisfying abstract. My wife enjoys placing camels around the board and beat me our first several games. (I blame her extensive knowledge of actual camels.) This game is exactly what I expect from Knizia—and that's not a bad thing.
The Lord of the Rings (co-op). I received this in a recent math trade. It's another Knizia game, which seems strange for a thematic title. I played the game in mixed company: half of us loved Lord of the Rings, the other half didn't care so much. I think the game would be better among Lord of the Rings fans. While the game was fun otherwise, since the thematic layer is a bit thin, I think it would be more immersive with players who love the universe. Also, next time we are not playing on the easy level: Sauron starts at 12. How's that for tension?
Crokinole. Okay, so if I ever complain about never winning anything, you have my permission to slap me. Mayday Games hosted a contest on Board Game Geek several weeks ago for In Cahoots, an expansion to their Eaten by Zombies! that they're currently raising support for on Kickstarter. I enter pretty much every contest on BGG, usually expecting to win. I diligently read the rulebooks, scan the Kickstarter campaign, and acquaint myself with the game in general to enter the contest with the maximum number of entries. But as this contest was for a zombie game (and I don't care for zombies), I answered all the questions blindly and did poorly as a result. Well, wouldn't you know it—this is the contest where my name is drawn, and I didn't even know a Crokinole board was one of the prizes! I was thrilled. My wife and I had tried this game in a game store once, but I put the idea of ever owning one out of my mind. They're expensive. They're huge, and thus probably impractical for home use. I was afraid that my wife would want it out on the curb: a 28" disc is a hard thing to hide. Well, it turns out, this game has quickly become one of her favorites. She even tweeted that she was "addicted to criminology" (iPod's autocorrect version of Crokinole). It has remained on our coffee table for a week without cries to put it away. I don't really understand why it is ridiculously fun, but it is. Essentially you are just flicking discs around, except that if an opponent's disc is on the board, you have to hit it. Rounds go quick, I'm not very good at it, but this game is super fun. It is the ultimate in games that can be played in between feedings and crying stints, and believe me, we have. This one isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
The baby's arrival has also resurfaced old favorites, namely Pandemic and Stone Age. When a longer game is called for, my wife likes Pandemic because other players do some of the thinking for her (she can be a bit distracted when the baby is making noise). She likes Stone Age because it generally feels lighthearted and straightforward.
So...that's what I've been up to. What about you?