Gaming with the Girl(s)

My oldest daughter is starting to be at the age where she can play games with me that go beyond the typical child fare. This blog is about my experiences with her (and, hopefully as they grow older, her sisters as well).

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The girl is getting EVIL!

Scott Lewis
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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I've continued to play several games with the girls, especially Kortnee, over the past months. Lately, Kortnee has been asking about teaching her Dungeon Lords. I'm not sure she's quite ready, as that can be an unforgiving game if you don't plan well, but I think I may try and find time anyway. If nothing else, I could perhaps give her a handicap like more starting gold and/or food, and perhaps giving her the option of taking Dead Letter marks if she runs out of gold/food and needs one for something. We'll see how that goes.

I've continued playing Eclipse with her as well, often with my brother. She seems to like it, but she still is not very aggressive, and that can actually hurt when playing with 3, at least when using the "official" turn order rules, as she often passes first, so whoever is sitting on her right ends up going last a LOT. I'm hoping to find some games that I can help teach her to be more aggressive with.

I think I may have found one that she's grasping pretty well. The aggressiveness isn't direct, but there's just enough. The game is Dungeon Petz. I've only played it a few times so far, but Kortnee picked up the rules pretty quickly. She's still working on the planning bit, although in one game she was only about 10 points behind the first place player. But I can definitely tell she's starting to get an eye for "screwage". In our most recent game, near the end, I had a few imps in the hospital, and a few imps still waiting to join me from off the board. Thus, I was hurting on imps during the setup phase. I made some groups, and we revealed. I got to go first, and though about getting some imps, but I *REALLY* needed a new pet because I only had one left, and I wanted to get it in time to sell. The neutral imp was on the "recruit imps" space.

So I take the pet. Yay me. But then Kortnee decides she really wants a Potion, and so takes the space... blocking me out, and trapping 2 of my imps there. Since the next (and final) round the neutral imp would be there, I had no way of getting them back. Poor me!

So the next round, I figured I would at least try to get the last of my imps on the board. But NOOOO, Kortnee builds two big groups, and her two actions are to take the Imp space to get HER last imp, and to take the add-on space to take something for one of her pets (despite me REALLY wanting one of the add-ons for my own cage). So there I am, with almost no imps left, and she was able to easily satisfy her customers that round.

In the end, I still got a much better score, because I had done well earlier in the game selling a couple pets. But she showed me that she does have what it takes to play nasty (but not just for the sake of being nasty, it also benefitted her, even if the benefit was making it harder for me to challenge her). I couldn't be more proud - I think this kind of gameplay is starting to click!

I can't wait to see what the next sessions will bring!
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Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:42 pm
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Went over better than expected!

Scott Lewis
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Although I love Twilight Imperium (Third Edition), I still like to get ahold of other space-themed games. Honestly, I don't expect any of them to supplant TI3 from my Favorite Games, but even I must be honest - TI3 takes a long time to play, and I don't always have that time to commit. Thus, when I started looking into Eclipse (prodded by a good friend of many years!), I decided it may help scratch the itch in a shorter time. So I pre-ordered it, waited, waited some more, and then waited just a little more.

Because Christmas was approaching, I decided to have it shipped directly to my in-laws, where we are spending a couple weeks, just in case. I'm glad I did, as we would have missed it had I had it shipped home. And that would have just resulted in MORE waiting!

So upon receiving it yesterday, I quickly unpacked it. No, before you ask, it wasn't meant as a Christmas present; another game in the package (Mage Knight Board Game) is filling that role. But not too long after getting it sorted, I realized... who am I going to play it with right now? My brother- and sister-in-law like playing games as long as they aren't too complex/long (they played TI3 with me once, and while they did well, it was a bit too much for their tastes), but are busy for the next few days. I checked with my wife's cousin, who lives next door, but he had stuff going on. Alas!

But then, remembering a post someone made about playing with their 10-year-old son, I decided to ask my daughter. She's only 9, so I wasn't sure if it would be above her head, but she not only seemed willing, she actually seemed excited about it. Off to a good start.

So we got it out, set it up, and I started explaining the rules. She seemed to get the gyst of it, though I was a bit worried because there were times she seemed to be zoning out. "Uh oh, maybe she isn't ready for this yet." But I decided to press on, and see how she does in the actual game.

Lo and behold... she actually seemed to grasp it pretty well! Now, granted, as a 9-year-old, her sense of strategy and planning isn't super-great yet, but after the first couple rounds, especially, she started putting the various pieces together in her mind, and started getting a good grip on it. She started working towards some big ships to take out the Ancients, and by the end of the game, she'd beefed up her Dreadnoughts and Cruisers enough to take on the GCDS... and won rather handily!

In the end, I still outscored her (35 to 27), but she seemed to be excited to "beat the boss", as she put it. Now, granted, in this particular game it ended up being more of a "race", as it wasn't until Round 9 that we finally got any connections to each other that didn't go through the Galactic Center... and even then, I decided to be nice, as she went gung-ho on the center, leaving one of her hexes undefended. I warned her in the future that I may not be so forgiving though

All-in-all, I think it was a success. And while I would still take TI3 given the time and the right group of players, I definitely feel thus far that Eclipse was worth getting, if nothing else because I have a feeling Kortnee will play with me often!
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Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:17 am
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Building ships... in SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE

Scott Lewis
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Last night, I had my brother over for a game. He lives close by and he comes by to play games fairly often, usually about once a week or so. Last night we decided to play Galaxy Trucker. We'd played it before, and Kortnee had watched us a few times. This time she asked if she could play. I decided it would be worth letting her try.

We all had a blast. I think Kortnee got a little frustrated at first, as the time limit was pretty hindering to her. Her ships often ended up pretty small as she kept closing off her ends before she really got a chance to expand. But as the game went on, I think she was starting to have more fun. She didn't do very well, score wise, but she's getting the hang of building legal ships - the next step will just be to start getting them bigger so that she has enough components to account for the various factors in play.

We played with the 3 decks of Adventure cards face up, so that Kortnee could see what to build for; I'm not sure it helped her (though it did help me and my brother out quite a bit!)

Hopefully she'll be interested in playing it again, with me alone or with my brother. I just got a deck from Artscow with some cards for a couple fan-made variants, including one called "Safe Havens". Next time, I may use that, and just allow the effects of the Safe Havens to apply to her alone, to help give her a bit of a handicap until she gets more used to the game. She is only 8 after all, but for an 8-year-old, she did very well. (She even wanted to use the IIIa ship, but we had to stop as it was her bedtime).
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Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:02 pm
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A wonderful Saturday Evening

Scott Lewis
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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After running a bunch of errands during the day on Saturday, I was ready to relax and enjoy an evening at home with my girls. The younger two wanted to watch a video ("Barbie as Rapunzel", yay!), but Kortnee wanted to play some games with me.

We started with a game of Pokemon. I hadn't really tweaked my deck since last time, and I don't think she had either, so we just jumped right in. I started with an Oddish, which I upgraded to a Gloom soon, but Kortnee's Pokemon was able to do some damage. I brought in Tropius, and healed my Gloom, and eventually started tearing apart her Pokemon with Tropius' Wind Slash.

However, she eventually took Tropius down, after I had won 2 or 3 prizes. She had a Togekiss, and was getting very lucky with the Air Cutter, slicking down my Pokemon one by one. I did eventually whittle Togekiss down, but she used Blessed Wing to heal all her Pokemon and return Togekiss to her rather reduced deck. Soon after, we were both down to 1 prize each, with my Umbreon fighting against her Crocanaw. It ended up coming down to a couple lucky coin flips going my way, as I beat her probably 2 turns before she would have beat me. But we both had a lot of fun.


After that, we decided to try a game I just picked up on Friday, Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries. I knew she fit the age requirement, but wasn't sure how she'd do because of the unfamiliar countries and names. My worries were for naught, though. She took a knack to the game, and was able to track down her routes very well. She played pretty conservatively, sticking with shorter routes, but was getting a good selection of them, and was claiming a lot of segments. I was doing pretty good at first, but took a gamble late in the game with some new routes, forgetting to count my remaining trains. In the end, I got trounced - she had 114 points to my 63! Nice work, Kort!


Finally, we decided to try Terra Prime. Now, I have a guilty confession to make - the "copy" I have was self made, because I'm waiting for my tax return to come in, and also wanted to try the game out before I committed to buying it. However, for what it's worth, I think (at least after one play) it's a game that I'll enjoy, so as soon as I can, I'm gonna get myself an "official" copy so I can feel less guilty

Anyway, Kortnee took to the rules rather well. At first, I thought I was going to handle her easily, as I claimed several Demands early on, while she was just building a couple colonies. But I started to realize she was being smart; thus far, I only had a couple Blue colonies, and she had a Green and a Yellow... and I needed the cubes for the techs and demands I wanted, and due to some hostile aliens, I wanted the guns! I kept feeding her points while using her system, until I eventually decided to found my own Yellow colony. Meanwhile, she successfully fought off some aliens (bribed them, really), and took a Red colony, which I needed to build up some shields. So more points for her. She kept exploring while I was frantically trying to finish up some demands, but that wasn't enough - she outplayed me. In the end, she had 100 points to my 73.


Definitely enjoying playing games with my not-so-little-anymore girl! Although she's still 8 years old, she's definitely getting a knack for thinking things through. Not long term all the time (she's still struggling with that in Merchants & Marauders, for instance. But she's getting there. She liked all 3 of the games I played tonight, which is a large part of why I'm going to pull the trigger on Terra Prime as soon as I can!
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Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:35 pm
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Pokemon - Dark Grass vs Psychic Water

Scott Lewis
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Kortnee has really been enamored with Pokemon for the past little while. A few months ago, my brother, who was a HUGE Pokemon fan back in the day (and still has quite a collection of cards), let us borrow a bunch of his Pokemon TCG stuff so I could play with her. Then Santa decided to help out and give her some cards of her own, and we've started building a modest collection since then.

Tonight, we decided to battle again. She's pretty much collecting Psychic, Water, and Electric at the moment, while I've got Metal, Dark, and Grass. She decided to field her Psychic/Water deck against my Dark/Grass deck.

Unfortunately, although she had 20 energy in her deck, she just couldn't seem to get any. I was having a little easier time (with 25 energy), but I didn't need most of it. I got just enough to fuel my first Pokemon (Spearow, eveolved into Fearow) to slowly whittle away at hers.

Despite her frustration, though, it was nice to see her take it well. When we first started, she would have thrown a small fit, but this time she just laughed it off, and wanted to play again right away. Unfortunately, it was dinner time, so we couldn't, but she demonstrated that her dealing with loss is maturing. Perhaps sometime in the near future we can find a local Pokemon League to let her try her hand against other kids her age!
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Wed Feb 9, 2011 1:23 am
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