Sunday, 22 September 2013

in photos: simple fun

31 Aug 2013. Playing Dungeon Petz, the monster pet shop game, on Merdeka Day. It's fun to bring it out now and then. I don't play it often enough to warrant getting the expansions. I'm quite happy with just the base game. I remember having many pets is one of the keys to winning, so I tried to purchase as many as I could.

This is a worker placement game, and your workers are these lovely imps with huge ears.

Keeping many monster pets can be quite a challenge. I didn't have time to move them around in order to clean their cages, so there was still poop (brown cubes) in the cages. I didn't have enough toys to entertain them so this imp in the middle was put in charge of playing with them. Don't worry, the monsters don't bite when they are in the mood to play. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't fully satisfy their needs, and the monster on the right took one suffering cube (grey cube in the middle - it's a bit hard to make out in this photo).

8 Sep 2013. I brought the family to Meeples Cafe. Again, we played one of Chen Rui's (right) favourite games, Dixit.

Shee Yun (yellow bunny) won.

We played Pack & Stack too. We have played this before, and I didn't think much of it last time. However I enjoyed it more this time round, and I'm not exactly sure why. There is not a lot of strategy to this game, and not much player interaction. Every round the players have different types of furniture to load, and will need different types of trucks. Sometimes some players will have similar combinations of furniture, and thus will need to fight over similar trucks, but regardless of that, there will always be a race to grab a truck as quickly as you can, because the last person to grab any will not have a choice, and must draw a random truck from the draw deck. Player interaction in this game is just those few seconds between flipping over trucks and grabbing one. Loading trucks is just a Tetris-like 3D puzzle.

I found that I enjoyed this simplicity. I enjoyed playing a game with the children which they completely understood and I didn't need to guide them along the way at all. Loading trucks in this manner is not something you see often, and I enjoyed that too. It was good to sit back and relax and enjoy something different.

The number 2 means the max height available. I have wasted some space here, and will be penalised, but it is better to waste space than to have leftover furniture that you can't load. The penalty is smaller.

15 Sep 2013. Playing Antiquity on my birthday. That's a win! And I did win this game too, but that's not important. It had been a while since Michelle and I last played this so our rhythms were a bit off, especially hers. She always prefers to have San Christofori be her saint (unlimited storage, accumulate 3 of each food and luxury goods types to win), and made no exception this time. I always prefer to try something different, and picked Santa Barbara (construct all buildings to win). Her rhythm was more off than mine, so I finally scored a win after losing quite a few games.

This was my first city. I was slower than I had hoped in building my second city, and had used up all the space in my first city. I had nowhere to place three new graves, and had to pile them onto my Explorer building on the bottom left.

I was yellow, Michelle was red. I knew I needed at least 3 cities to win using Santa Barbara, and kept looking out for good building spots. We had two big mountain ranges at the centre in this game. One became a source of stone, the other, gold.

My second city was a horrible place to live in. Only one family lived here, column 1 row 3. They had a fountain behind their house, but the rest of the city was graves, graves and graves except for a giant rubbish dump and a smelly harbour. By the time I was preparing to build my second city, the famine level was already quite high and I had to add graves every round. So my second city once built immediately became a huge graveyard.

My three cities at game end. I only had 4 spaces to spare. Santa Barbara's power allows you to freely move graves from atop buildings to vacant spaces, but not the other way round. I had to plan ahead a few rounds which buildings to place new graves on (i.e. which buildings I could afford not to use) in order to leave enough space for the remaining buildings I must build.

16 Sep 2013. Playing Through the Ages on Malaysia Day. Through the Ages was once my spouse game, and it's the longest game that ever achieved this status. Michelle and I usually take 2 hours to complete a game. This time I made the Michelangelo combo, Michelangelo plus St. Peter's Basilica. It gave a nice boost to culture generation (i.e. victory points), but I think I didn't fully utilise his potential. Through the Ages is one game that Michelle often loses at, but she enjoys it a lot and doesn't mind. This time she did well and beat me 353:304. It was a sweet victory for her, after a long losing streak.

Bird's eye view of the game in Age II.

The children requested to play Heroica: Nathuz. I think it's a poor game, very obviously designed by a toy maker and not a game designer, but if the children are keen, I'm happy to oblige. They design their own dungeon and create their own additional rules.

The entrance of the dungeon is at the far end on the right. It leads into two passages, one extending towards the left, with some treasures and equipment at the end. The other leads towards the camera, and has the sceptre protected by monsters, which is what the players are trying to retrieve. Naturally no one bothered to go for the treasures, and went straight for the sceptre. My children are not exactly game designers yet I guess.

One of the rules is you must carry a torch on top of your head, unless you are also carrying the sceptre. Then you must carry the sceptre on top of your head.


James Torr said...

"I enjoyed playing a game with the children which they completely understood and I didn't need to guide them along the way at all." Totally agree, and moreover, I enjoy a game so much more when everyone knows the rules and I don't have to teach/guide/monitor, kids or adults.

Regarding Heroica, my boys have also loved a couple of the Lego games, which I think is great, but I'm always sitting there quietly thinking "whoa, this is not a good game . . . it's not even a very good toy (there are countless better Lego sets, ones where the characters have arms and don't have to keep everything on top of their heads . . .)." But as you say, fun is the key, and the Lego games somehow work for kids.

Fimm Mc Cool said...

Hi there, apologies for contacting you as a comment, couldn't find another way to do it. I wondered if you might be interested at taking a look at our new strategy survival game based on the War of the Worlds- Tripods! We're hoping to launch with an Indiegogo campaign which is now underway. You can find photos, rules, an unboxing and play-through on the campaign site:

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

Hi Fimm,
I have taken a quick look at the Indiegogo page. Not really my cup of tea I'm afraid. But cool to know that you're getting Ludo Fact to produce the game. Good luck with the campaign!