game: Checkers

December 19, 2010

My wife and I have decided to play every board game/card game we own (including every game that we have an official set of rules for + the necessary equipment to play – close to 80 games), and blog about them together. Here’s one now:

Game: Checkers
Overview: a two-player strategy game in which players try to capture their opponents’ pieces
Edition: A cheap magnetic travel set. Instructions from Play According to Hoyle: Hoyle’s Rules of Games, edited by Albert H. Morehead & Geoffrey Mott-Smith, 1946, re-published 1983.
Duration: less than a half hour, including reading instructions

Winner’s Impression (Lynn)
I can probably count on my fingers the number of times I’ve played checkers in my life, and I suspect that this is the first time I’ve actually won the game. Games which incorporate strategy, as we’ve noted, are not my strong point. Honestly, this game should probably have ended in a draw. As for the game itself, I could take it or leave it. Mostly leave it.

Loser’s Impression (Daniel)
A simple, abstract strategy game should be the sort of thing I love, but for whatever reason I never really get anything out of playing checkers. It just seems sort of automatic, kind of like tic-tac-toe. I mean, obviously there’s more to it than that, but it has that sort of flavor to me. Nom nom. Whatever. Must stop typing now. 5/10 (Indifferent).

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game: Cribbage

December 4, 2010

My wife and I have decided to play every board game/card game we own (including every game that we have an official set of rules for + the necessary equipment to play – close to 80 games), and blog about them together. Here’s one now:

Game: Cribbage.
Overview: A two-player card game in which players score points to move pegs around a board.
Edition: Instructions from Play According to Hoyle: Hoyle’s Rules of Games, edited by Albert H. Morehead & Geoffrey Mott-Smith, 1946, re-published 1983. A cheap plastic cribbage board and a standard pack of playing cards.
Duration: Less than an hour, plus 15 minutes reading instructions.

Winner’s Impression (Lynn)
I grew up playing cribbage. With my mom and grandparents, primarily. So I have a lot of positive associations with the game. I like a nice game of cribbage. I wish we had a wooden board though. It’s nice to finally be a winner.

Loser’s Impression (Daniel)
This is my least favorite card game. You get a hand, add up points, and that’s about all there is to it. There are so many things I would rather do with my time than basic arithmetic. Also, the scoring system is too arbitrary to remember without constantly looking things up. 2/10 (Terrible).


game: Chess

November 28, 2010

My wife and I have decided to play every board game/card game we own (including every game that we have an official set of rules for + the necessary equipment to play – close to 80 games), and blog about them together. Here’s one now:

Anyone Can Play Chess WITH THIS COMPLETE SET OF LARGE CHESSMEN AND CHESS BOARD

Game: Chess
Overview: A two-player strategy game in which players move men to try to capture their opponent’s king.
Edition: Wm. F. Drueke & Sons, Inc., published some time after 1963. Plastic men with felt bottoms and an unreasonably large, green box. Very retro and 100% awesome.
Duration: about ½ an hour

Winner’s Impression (Daniel)
My very favoritest game. I mean, come on, it’s chess. If you don’t like chess, you might be a bad person.

Loser’s Impression (Lynn)
Chess frustrates me because I know if I knew some strategy I could be a lot better. But I don’t. Even though we own a strategy book. So I continue to play with my gut. Which involves chaos and carnage. And, today, a particularly humiliating loss.


game: Contract Bridge (for two)

November 20, 2010

My wife and I have decided to play every board game/card game we own (including every game that we have an official set of rules for + the necessary equipment to play – close to 80 games), and blog about them together. Here’s one now:

Game: Contract Bridge (variation for two, “Draw Bridge”)
Overview: A trick-taking card game, intended for four players on two teams. One side attempts to fulfill a “contract” by taking a specified number of tricks; absurdly complicated scoring ensues.
Edition: Instructions from Play According to Hoyle: Hoyle’s Rules of Games, edited by Albert H. Morehead & Geoffrey Mott-Smith, 1946, re-published 1983. And a standard pack of playing cards.
Duration: About 75 minutes, plus an hour reading instructions, plus 45 minutes explaining the instructions. We only played one “rubber” (a set of “games,” which are in turn a set of hands); one would normally play more, over the course of many hours.

Winner’s Impression (Daniel)
Ugh. This game is crap. Basically, the only skill or strategy is card counting, which I find completely dull. If you spent the time figuring out how the odds work, the game would come down to mindless arithmetic. Which would be fine for a card game, except the scoring system is extremely complex for no apparent reason. A lot of consulting of charts is involved. With all that work and effort, I expect a game that is equally complex. Hoyle lists Whist, which is more-or-less the same thing with the scoring simplified and the “bidding” removed, as a variation of Bridge (although Whist is actually the older game); that might be a nice enough game. 3/10 (Bad).

Loser’s Impression (Lynn)
If this were the 1950s or 1960s, with nice dresses and suits and cocktails and bridge mix and four players and a lot of time to kill and a need for an excuse to catch up on each others’ lives, I can see how this would be an alright game. But for two players, it was a bit… meh. Too little game, too much excessive and arbitrary scoring. It was almost as if the scoring procedures had been developed and approved by Congress. I would try the game again in its four player version, but have no need to try it again as two players.

Addendum: We tried playing a quick game of Whist, adjusted for two players in the same fashion as Draw Bridge adjusts standard Contract Bridge. It’s a much less frustrating game, but still pretty dumb. Although, the fact that it is even possible to play “a quick game” says a lot for it, relative to Bridge. 4/10 (Eh). -Daniel, 11/21/10 (the next day)


game: Go

November 19, 2010

Welcome to our latest project: The Board Game Project.

My wife and I have decided to play every board game/card game we own (including every game that we have an official set of rules for + the necessary equipment to play – close to 80 games), and blog about them together. Here’s one now:

Game: Go.
Overview: An ancient Chinese strategy game. Two players capture territory by placing stones on a grid. Whoever surrounds the most spaces wins.
Edition: Hansen, published 1977. The board doesn’t lay flat when unfolded, and there aren’t enough stones to play a full game (we had to improvise with checkers and chess men). But the box is unmistakably 1970s awesome, including a pair of fantastic pottery goblets on the back Picture of People Playing and Having Fun.
Duration: About 2½ hours, including nearly 30 minutes reading the instructions. A game with experienced players would probably be much shorter.

Mid-game. We have no idea what we're doing.

Winner’s Impression (Daniel)
Abstract strategy games are my favorite kind of board game, so I kind of love it – even though I have no idea how to play. I mean, I know the rules, but I didn’t feel I ever really knew what I was doing. This is only the second time we’ve played, and it would take a lot more tries to really get the hang of it. (And that’s not going to happen any time soon (see below).) But even not knowing what I’m doing, it was still a lot of fun trying to figure it out. 9/10 (One of my favorites).

Loser’s Impression (Lynn)
Abstract strategy games are pretty much my least favorite kind of board game, so enduring this was a trial. I was frustrated because I had no idea what I was doing and then, when we ran out of little stones, I rejoiced because the game was over. But it wasn’t. And I reacted like a petulant four year old. Objectively, I see how this is an excellent game that requires little set-up and foreknowledge, but subjectively, I’m okay if I never have to play it again ever.

I was more interested in playing with my stones than listening to a half hour of instructions. -Lynn