Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Twelve Games of Christmas - 2016

We've started something of a holiday tradition around our home that we call the Twelve Games of Christmas. Over my vacation, my wife and I try to play 12 games. We first did it in 2014 and repeated it last year.

Last Tuesday (the 20th), our cat Thomasina (who loves watching us play games) kept trying to lead us into the living room. We could tell that she wanted us to play a game. I checked and we did start prior to Christmas last year. So the next day we decided to start our 2016 edition of the Twelve Games.

Here is what we've been playing so far:

Wed 12/20 - Castle Panic
Castle Panic is a light, cooperative family game where the players defend a castle from hordes of monsters. Although there's not a ton of strategic thought needed, it is easy to set up and quick to play. As a result, we'll frequently pull this out when we don't want to be taxed by something more complicated. We decided to start our season with it. Although we stumbled early, we recovered and won a fairly easy victory (at least compared to a recent play)

Thu 12/21 - Elder Sign
I haven't written about it in a while, but we will still occasionally pull out Elder Sign (which I described in this post). It is a bit fiddly to set up (there are a lot of card decks) so we don't play it much anymore. However, it is playable solo and my wife was not feeling up for a game. Yet Thomasina demands a game so I needed to play something.

Elder Sign is like Yahtzee, but with monsters. To defeat the elder gods and their hordes, you need to roll the special dice and get combinations specified on the location cards. Repeated failures will ultimately unleash an elder god. Rolling well goes a long way to winning the game. Unfortunately, I was rolling . . .

Anyway, the elder god, Ithaqua, appeared. To defeat it and banish it to its home plane, I had to roll a combination consisting of 3 investigations (magnifying glass), a skull, and doom (tentacles); and I had to do it 11 times before my last life. Well, I was down to my last life. I rolled the combo ten times, nearly shutting the portal. I only needed to do it one more time, but I only had 3 dice left. I rolled, and got this:
My roll - 3 investigation, a skull, and (sigh) 1 investigation
Ithaqua snatched and devoured my character, and then proceeded to destroy the world. What a cheery Christmas game!

Fri 12/22 - Once Upon a Time
Once Upon a Time (here's a detailed description) is another game we haven't played in a while. I forgot how quick and easy it is (although it will challenge your creativity). I won the first 2 games. In both stories, I managed to get the hero to marry a beautiful princess to win the game. I thought I was going to take the final game, too. I had control of the story and was weaving a tale that would use up my cards and lead to my ending. Then I used the word "cauldron." My wife had that card so she stole control and kept it to the bitter end. Well played, dear.

Sat 12/24 - No game
Visiting family

Sun 12/25 - Labyrinth
My wife is a huge fan of the 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth. So much so that she was in tears when we saw it in the theaters earlier this year for a 30th anniversary showing. When I saw this game in the game store, I had to get it for her for Christmas

We tried it out. It's not complicated; essentially you roll to move, draw a card for a challenge, and then roll to beat it. Failure can land you in the Oubliette. The game is timed - you only have 13 hours (turns) to get to the castle and rescue Toby. Unfortunately, we could not get past the Humongous so Toby was turned into a goblin.

A lot of the game is random so there is not a lot of strategy. Still. we would play it again but it seems very difficult to beat it in the time allotted. We did not even find the goblin city until turn 10 and then the guards in the city are very difficult to beat. We'll have to give it another go at some point. (by the way, the components are beautiful)

Mon 12/26 - Holiday Fluxx
This night we pulled out another Christmas gift, which is yet another version of the card game Fluxx.

In the first game, I (quite unintentionally) gathered a feast-themed hand of Keepers.

Meanwhile, with candles and bubbly, my wife declared that her theme was "Get Lit."

We played 3 hands. She won 2-1.

Tue 12/27 - Batman Fluxx
For Christmas, my wife gave my brother-in-law Batman Fluxx. I'm guessing that she likes Fluxx; perhaps I should include it as part of the Six by Six Challenge.

At this point, I'm halfway through my vacation, and we've completed 6 games (including this night's). Looks like we're on pace for a dozen. I'll post the other half at a later date.

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