Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gaming101: Know Nothing? Know it All!

On the weekend, we had some friends around to announce the gender of our baby.  My beautiful wife Vanessa is now 22 weeks pregnant with our first little one.  With the idea of having a kids party with plenty of snacks, drinks and games.  The idea that with a large group of people, we could have a couple of games going at once and people could play what they wanted, rather than being relegated to a game they weren't happy playing.  This worked out well, but we still only ended up playing 3 games, with a few "I don't care"'s being thrown around in the mix.

From 2pm friends started turning up and after a quick chat & catch up we got into our first game:  Trivial Pursuit - 90's.  Now, we're all 80's babies, so in the 90's we're 10-20 right? Right!  Just at the time in growing up, where we think we know it all!!  I mean, as a teenager, I sure thought that I knew it all at the time. 

We broke up in to Boys vs Girls, cause why not!! Time to assert the male dominance we're all renown for.  The girls started off, got a quick wedge and that's when it all fell apart.  After a lot of moving around, lots of tennis or Australian TV questions, we'd hit a wall.  Who would have thought that 12 people who grew up in the 90's couldn't answer these questions!!  NOT US!  Anyway, we changed the rules and decided that any question we answered correctly, meant we could have a wedge piece of that colour.  Rather than having to roll and land on the converted spaces.  This made for a better game, as we started getting somewhere. In the end, the boys pulled it out, with the last wedge being a rather simple question.  Now that I think about it, it would have been a good idea to remember it and put it into the blog.  Next time, I will!!

Just as we were finishing up, the last of our expected guests arrived.  With another round of catch ups underway, we got everyone sitting down to hear what we were going to have!  With a quick whip around the room, the majority had guessed "Girl" with a few "Boy" answers in the mix.  So with a rather large grin on my face, I announced we were having a Girl.  Ness can attest to the fact that after leaving the Scan a week before, you couldn't wipe the grin off my face at all.  Cue another round of chatting, names being a big topic of conversation at the time, along with the typical "my name is a great girls name", although not as bad a "Aaronetta"

Our next round of games ended up being split up, the Girls were keen on a round of "Deal or No Deal" - I wasn't playing this, but could hear the typical DoND comments of "I still have the 200K & 100K, NO DEAL"

However the boys decided another game of Trivial Pursuit was on the cards, this time something most of us could relate better to, Lord of the Rings!  There is a pretty cool feature where you add in a black rider who hunts the One Ring, which goes to the player who got the last Wedge.  Not really the best addition for our group at the time.
With Frodo, Aragorn, Gandalf and Galadriel as our playing pieces, we only had 4 players, Mike was keen to watch as he hadn't read the books or seen the movies, this made me sad.  I ended up with the girl after a round of "not the chick".  A quick dice-off left us with Kerry going first.  Again with the issues of not getting answers for some of our players, getting the hard questions for others and me answering question after question, it was looking like a 1 sided game.  We decided that the same tactic would be employed as the 90's version.  Answer a question - get the wedge.  This allowed my 4 wedge lead to diminish quickly, one of our 4 had to leave to go home, but we battled on.  Ended up giving a few hints to the other lads, but still managed to squeek into the middle (after lots of questions and answers) and managed to answer correctly "The hardest question on the card" - Again, I wish I had made a note of it.

With both games winding up, a few people left and 7 remained, we snacked a bit, boiled up some Cherios and  broke out the next game.  With a choice of 3 monopoly's (LotR, StarWars & GermanShepherd), RatRace, Game of Thrones, Game of Life & Risk, we picked Game of Life! 
The physical game was a 2nd hand one from a garage sale that friends bought, so it was missing a few pieces, so we ended up with 5 cars & a Rat (thanks RatRace) & only 1 driver....I grabbed some paper and made notes of what people had (kids etc) so we could refer to that, rather than the number of pegs in the cars.  Also, there was no rule book, subsequently we missed a couple of rules, the game could have gone slightly differently, but overall it was pretty good!!  Had to get the iPad out download the rules.  How does one choose a career, whats the bonus of going to school, etc.  We got everything sorted, people chose what they wanted to do,  and we were off!! 

Once we got out of the starting block, things started to go a bit smoother, we had to stop to consult the rules a few times, buying stock, what to do when the life tiles run out etc.  We missed a step of putting 4 life tiles in the mansion, which could have influenced the end of the game, but in the end it worked out (at least for me!).   

Some of us went to College, some jumped on the road to success early on.  Tracy got 90k as an athlete which we were reminded of constantly throughout the game.  Candy was the most "normal" of our workers, as an Accountant who earned the coveted 100K salary, PLUS he got taxes from people who landed on his spaces!  Heather was a Salesperson with a semi decent Salary of 70k.  Ness was the unfortunate one with 20k, although I can't remember what she was, it might have been an artist?  Ness was always speeding (spinning a 10) and as the Police Officer, I managed to get a bit of money from her ($5k for speeding?!?! DAMN!!) anyway, I always managed to get 'the look' whenever I made siren noises from people speeding hehehe.  

Candy and Shelly both got flat tyres after their first payday and would bring up the rear for most of the game.
 Tracy, had a roaring start as a high paid athlete, gaining money and status quickly, apparently sport lessons etc are a big thing in the Game of Life.  As an overpaid police officer, I held a steady pace in the middle of the pack.  After buying a semi decent house & having 2 girls, I managed to have house problems, which set me back 4x what insurance would have cost me, had I gotten that, when I bought my house!  Real Life should have taught me to buy insurance, but my lightning doesn't strike twice theory went right out the window two turns later. *SadPandaIsSad*  With the night school option missed, Ness struggled most throughout the game, a shining light appeared when she managed to trade her 20k with Candy's 100k.  Until, on that same turn around the board, Shelly managed to take it back off her & got a "still better than 20k" - 50k salary instead.  This turn of events is probably what put Candy back in Last Place, combined with sending his 2-3 kids to school / college, etc, his 20k Salary meant his savings were going up in smoke!!

Tracey was probably the most lucrative over the course of the game,  Shelly got a few good deals towards the end as we grew older and went traveling around the world (Travel Agent) - Heather was doing ok as the Sales person, again getting better as we all got older.  We missed a few possibilities in the mid-game point of changing careers & salaries.  Ness with her 20k Salary could have changed when she went to night school.  I could have been something else after night school too, but I would have kept my 80k Salary!  

There was a big shuffle of "life cards" in the 2nd half of the game, as you could take them from other players in the deck had run out.  There should have been 4 life tokens in the mansion at the end, for the cash-richest person to take, however we missed out on those. So in the end, Tracy retired in the Mansion and everyone else went to the retirement home.  Upon counting up the cash & life tokens, Tracy & I finished with $1.8Million, followed by Heather on a $1.77M.

With that, done, the game was packed up, people left and a successful day of gaming was completed!  

I hope you guys liked the first Blog of Games.  This weekend I'm up in Auckland for Paintball, so will blog about that next week.  On Tuesday, we've got a game night which might be "Battlestar Galactica" - Will remember to take photo's and make notes of various funny & anecdotal happenings throughout the evening.

If you guys have any feedback about my writing, what you might want to hear about from a game session etc?  Do you want a decent run down of the rules, premise of the game etc? do you want to know how it was set up, how long it took to get a hang of things?   The 3 games above are pretty old school games, that I think most people know how to play / premise of them etc.  However, if its easier, I'm happier to include more information about that.


  1. CORRECTION:I believe it was the GIRLS that won 90's trivia. We got off to a rocking good start and you boys managed to catch up nicely to the point we were battling it out over the same wedge. But I do believe the GIRLS took it home in the end!

    We should totally play disney trivial pursuits. I wanna see a 00's trivial pursuit - I wasn't drunk for most of that decade. Or maybe I was. . . eek.

    I still vote 'Heather' as a great girls name! ;)

    Life was a good game with more people. It's kinda boring the fewer people that play.

    I like your possible other discussion points for the blog. I have some suggestions (when do I not?!)
    - Rules to be aware of - the ones that people forget, or that make a big difference to the game.
    - Optimal amount of players for the game for enjoyment value.

    Great first blog :)

  2. Thanks Heather, good to have some feedback. For now, lets call it a draw.... or agree to disagree. (I totally don't remember)

    With future blogs, I plan to break it down, so each entry will be a new game. I like the points you mentioned. I think I'll do a "Wrap Up" at the end of each game.

    Beginning - Game we're going to play, how we decided, the premise, number of players, set up time & effort etc.
    Middle - How the game played out, humorous snippets, backstabbing & tactics
    End - How the game was won/lost, last minute double crossing, bad choices etc.
    Summary - Rating based on several points, fun, speed, ease of rules etc.