Monday, 19 November 2012

boardgaming in photos

22 Oct 2012. I continue to play Ascension regularly on my iPhone. In this particular game I tried a construct strategy, and it was a fine strategy. I had 5 constructs in play. Most were Mechana constructs and they jived well with each other. I find that I'm enjoying Ascension more and more. The designers have definitely done something right with it, although I can't quite put my finger on it.

28 Oct 2012. Another game of Fauna with the children. This time the whole family played. The children are not as keen about this game now, so I think it will be a long long time before we even get to use one side of all the animal cards.

9 Nov 2012. Another game of Ascension in which I used the construct strategy. This time I was very lucky with the card draws and with the cards appearing in the purchase area. I had 6 constructs!

Usually constructs themselves are worth many points (which are totalled at game end), but they don't always help with scoring during the game itself. In this particular game, they helped me tremendously with in-game scoring. By the last round, I had outscored Han 44 to 18 (in-game points only). Han actually had some constructs too, but I defeated some monsters which forced him to discard all of them. He would need to draw his constructs again to put them back in play. The final score was 87 vs 62, so our construct and card points were actually very close. It was the in-game scoring that won me the game.

15 Nov 2012. Shee Yun (7) wanted to play At the Gates of Loyang with me. We play with simplified rules that I invented because she can't handle the full rules yet, and I was not very keen to play these rules. So I suggested Agricola. She said OK, so we played the family game (i.e. without occupations and minor improvements). She managed to understand the rules well enough. Agricola is not exactly a simple game. I think what helps is that the actions in the game are mostly intuitive. Shee Yun was very careful with making sure she had enough food to feed the family. They did not starve even once. She enjoyed identifying the disks as the father, the mother, the son, the daughter and the baby. Thankfully she did not ask me much about the family growth action and how babies came about.

This was the farm she built. 28pts, which I thought was not bad for a beginner. I did guide her a little, e.g. making that 5-space pasture on the left. It greatly reduced the number of unused spaces and thus reduced the penalty at game end.

She loved the game! She soon asked to play again.

18 Nov 2012. Chen Rui (5) has been playing the iOS Ticket to Ride heavily lately, having discovered it only recently. Shee Yun (7) has been playing it longer. Chen Rui asked me to play the physical copy with her, so we played. I have no idea who taught them these annoying victory poses. It certainly was not me.

In this game I inadvertently blocked Shee Yun's way to Houston, and made her cry. She needed to go from Dallas to Houston, but the single-train route had been used by Chen Rui. So she had to painstakingly collect 4 red train cards and 6 green train cards to take a longer way. I had completed my tickets and was just wasting time to give the girls more time to complete their tickets, and I claimed one of the routes Shee Yun needed only for the sake of the points. When she saw that she had been completely locked out of Houston, she started crying. I consoled her, but I did not take back my move. I asked her to look at other actions that could better her position, and to just accept that she would have to take the 5pt penalty for failing to complete one ticket. 5pts was not much, I told her. I think learning to cope with frustration and with failure is something children can do in boardgames.

The card holder was quite necessary for Chen Rui. Look at how many cards she had! These are the first edition cards, which are smaller. Hey, I bought Ticket to Ride before it won the Spiel des Jahres (in 2004).

I recently bought Nightfall on iOS. Soon afterwards, after a few games against the AI's, I realised I didn't really like it much afterall. I find that I don't like the restriction in buying cards. Chaining cards is a key mechanism in this game, and to be able to chain your cards, the cards you buy need to have main colours, chain colours and kicker colours that match one another. I find that I need to decide on which few types of cards to buy early in the game, and then stick to the plan. If I try to change my mind halfway, I may end up with cards that don't work well with one another. I feel I don't have the freedom to buy any card I want at any stage of the game. I wonder whether it's just that I don't know the game well enough yet.

The iOS implementation was done by Playdek, so the interface is good. This is the purchase interface. Cards you can afford are highlighted with green borders.

This is a chain in progress of being resolved. The card on the right is the active card being resolved.

The interface was intimidating at first, but once I started using it, I found it intuitive. Maybe I'm already used to the interface style of Playdek. Similar to other games by Playdek (Ascension, Summoner Wars), to view you draw deck or discard pile, just touch it and the list of cards will pop up (the bottom row in this screen).

The victory screen. No I didn't take a screenshot of the defeat screen.


Aik Yong said...

The annoying victory pose is from Anime, e.g. Sailormoon.

I did not 'gel' with the Nightfall iOS app too, I attribute it to the learning curve. As with all things iOS, I have since moved on to other apps.

Unknown said...

"Family Growth Action"!

I believe the same thing about children and board games, that they can learn to not get frustrated or pout. I think that it's cool that you can play games with your family, and I hope to do it someday when I have my own.