Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Love in the Time of Carcassonne

CyberKev has been bitching that I've been in a blogging drought, to which I have the answer he should have expected - there's a woman involved! And if at any time there's not a woman involved, it's the lack of a woman that's causing trouble. In any case, my life is as finely balanced as a game of Puerto Rico - there's only 168 hours in the week, and you can follow the Love Life strategy or the Game Geek strategy, and the more you do of one the less you do of the other. Maybe I should rename this blog "Sex and the Single Gamer". But that would be misleading :-(. Anyway, CyberKev should be grateful that he has managed to hijack my love life and turn it into a quest for a 4th for Tichu.

So, on Sunday I went to visit my sister who has introduced me to hardly any of her single friends. I wanted to play a game with her and the kids, but Dogville was too long and Escape From Atlantis only takes 4, and there's 5 or 6 of us depending on whether BIL is playing. In desperation as I rushed out the door I grabbed Carcassonne. It's like going out on the prowl and having nothing to wear but a faded pair of jeans. So embarrassing to be seen playing something so dowdy.

Of course, my sister hadn't played it before, and it was completely new to the kids, so I had to teach them how to play. Out of respect for the newbies, there were no such things as farmers, not even lying-down ones. Anyway, it was disturbing seeing people who didn't know how to play Carcassonne. It was new to them. It was like seeing someone discover the sky was blue, or that you could drink water. Or that chicks really dig faded jeans.

Anyway, son and sister conspired to build a big city. I could see myself getting shut out of the game, so I tried to invade and they blocked me. I tried to invade again and succeeded in preventing them from completing the city. Meanwhile, I started a small city and was joined by 5yo nephew. As there were no farmers, I invested in a lot of roads as well - I had my guys out working for me! Son could have played better by taking small points with his extra meeples, but he just doesn't get that every point counts. Oh, and everybody loved doinking - you can't knock a game where doinking is taken seriously.

My attacks on the big city succeeded in keeping son and sister out of the winning position. Niece played respectably but didn't get involved in any major cooperation. Nephew made enough points out of our city to get into second place, but I beat him by about 5. They did seem to like the game - building a city, meeples, doinking - it does have a lot going for it. And finally they know what my Meeple People shirt is about.

On the same evening BIL and I played a few games of Gobblet, yet another of my underplayed two player abstracts. It's a very good game as well, though not quite as popular as Quoridor. We'll have to play more because we're still not out of the "losing due to stupid mistakes" skill level.

Anyway, enough blogging. I've got a strategy to execute.


gerrod said...

The sky is blue? Chicks dig faded jeans? Carcassonne?

OK, so I've never heard of it either, but I love Settlers of Catan and it sounds similar. Would you recommend it?

Friendless said...

If you like the trading of Settlers, you can try Bohnanza. If you like the building and blocking, you can try Domaine. You might like something completely off-the-wall like Funny Friends. Citadels is also a lot of fun. Carcassonne doesn't have quite enough in it to interest me, but a lot of people do like it. Another popular game for new players is Ticket to Ride. You can research all of these and more at boardgamegeek.com.

For you Gerrod, I'm really thinking Funny Friends.