Actually, I’ll start with another session report first. Wednesday we went to see some of our playground friends. The kids — 5 and 7 years — don’t mind Nooa much, but they are all over me. Well, Nooa had great fun playing with their toys (Bob the Builder Duplos, a guaranteed hit) and I played some games with the kids. It was fun, if a tad chaotic.
We started with some roll and move games. Duck Pond, a Ravensburger game by Heinz Meister, was one of them. We played it wrong, and it was terribly boring. When played correctly it’s still almost decision-free, but at least three times faster and thus much better. Players move ducks in a pond to pick up cards; we had each player controlling a duck, while actually everybody can move every duck. For four-year olds, but adults will be nevertheless be bored dead by this game.
Tier auf Tier aka Eläinpyramidi is my latest acquisition. This Haba game won the Finnish Game of the Year for kids this year and when I saw it for just 15, 16 euros (a strange price), I had to buy it. It was a great purchase, as Nooa loved the game immediately. He was all over it, playing with the wooden animals.
It’s a simple dexterity game for kids. Everybody gets a set of seven different animals, a crocodile is placed on the table and players take turns putting animals on top of the crocodile. If something falls, the player who made the mistake collects up to two animals and game continues until someone is out of animals. Simple and fun.
The kids weren’t thrilled. We played a game, but they didn’t want to try it again. They were really keen to play with the animal pieces, so that’s what we did — it was fun, though I prefer actually playing the game. Well, maybe other kids like the game more. I sure did.
We did play the game today, while waiting for more players to arrive. When Hannu and Sonja joined us, the first thing they wanted to do was to try the animal game, so once more… And why not, because this is an excellent little dexterity filler. It only takes about 10 minutes, tops, and while the game is really simple, it’s also rather entertaining enough. The dexterity part is fairly easy, until the pyramid gets tall — the pieces are quite slippery.
So, a top-notch game: a nice small box, really gorgeous components, really easy to teach, plays fast, works with (at least some) kids, is fun enough for adults to play without children — what else can you wish from a game that costs 15 euros? I just hope Nooa likes the game as much as he loves the bits.
Back to Wednesday. We also played Candy, which is a rather entertaining quick perception game. A bunch of multi-colored candy tokens are spread on a mat. Three colourful dice are rolled and the players must race to grab the piece of candy with the correct colours. Simple, yet fun.
Here’s another game that suffered from not playing by the rules. We played until the very end, or would’ve except we had to leave. The rules suggest playing until someone gets five, and I can see why: as the pieces are taken, more and more rolls are blanks, pieces that are already taken. It gets a bit boring. But if the game stops at five, it works much better (and then you start again and play for best out of five or something like that if you want a longer game).
In any case, this is a good game for kids, nice practise to make the kids ready for more adult reaction test games. The publisher, Beleduc, seems to be one of those companies making quality children’s toys and games, like Selecta and Haba. It’s a German company, no surprises there… The components in this game were nice, the candy is wooden and the mat is nice cloth.
Then, today’s games. After Tier auf Tier, we played a quick game of Dominion — the less said about my performance, the better — and after endless discussions of what to play, ended up playing a three-player game of Attika followed by a four-player game.
Attika is one of those fairly rare games I’ve played constantly — it, Gang of Four and Age of Steam form a trio of games I’ve played every year for six years now. Not much Attika for the last few years, true, but still — every time the game hits the table I’m reminded of how good it is. It’s such an elegant game, my rating of 9 is definitely valid.
In the first game I showed the novices Petri and Hannu how to play, in the next one first Petri was really close to win by a temple connections and then Hannu did it, right out of the blue. I’m actually fairly sure Hannu will eventually buy a copy, he seemed to like the game a lot.
We wrapped up the evening with a quick game of Die Dolmengötter. I was on a roll, played well and eventually won the game with few points over Sonja. Hannu seemed certain Sonja would win and she did play a good game, but I knew I did well, too. Funny enough, only Petri was left with dolmens, so it was fairly close game.
I now have 11 games of Die Dolmengötter logged and I really like it. I’m seriously contemplating a 10 rating. If the game was as good with three or five as it is with four, a rating of 10 would be close to obvious. Now Die Dolmengötter is simply one of the very best 20 minute games for four, full of wonder and clever moves. My record is strong: I’ve won 7/11.
Ok, so I did it: Die Dolmengötter is now rated 10. It simply is that good.