We visited Val and Chris for an afternoon of gaming. We started by playing ‘Settlers of Catan’ (SoC), which on reflection, neither Elaine nor I had played for 3 or 4 years! Val plays regularly online so was most familiar with the game, but we soon recalled the rules, and the game played quickly. The final result was a convincing win for Val, followed by Chris, with me trailing in last place. Both Elaine and I came away thinking that we must play SoC more often. It is an excellent game and deserves to be considered a gaming ‘classic’. I think one of the reasons we have neglected SoC is the components, particularly the assembled board; the hexagonal tiles never sit perfectly within the sea border sections, tiles lift and shift, road counters get knocked about etc. Val and Chris have invested in wooden board specifically designed for SoC, with recesses cut to hold all the tiles and components in place. Brilliant! They also have various expansions, so we look forward to many more SoC games in the future.
Next we played ‘Quilt Show’, a new game to us. The theme of quilting appealed to both Elaine and Val (who have an interest in the area of fabrics, quilting, sewing etc.), but essentially the game has a set building dynamic. Players collect fabrics (in a mechanic similar to that used in Ticket to Ride), which are used to buy quilt panels (different colour and style sets), and these make rectangular quilts which score points, which earns prizes/money in turn end competitions. The game is played over 3 turns, and players can keep unused fabrics and panels for use in latter turns; the player with the most money at the end, wins. The mechanics are nice and simple; the theme works but is not crucial to the game; the components are OK; and the game experience is enjoyable. Val won, followed by Chris, myself and then Elaine. We all enjoyed the game. It is a fairly light game, although some thought needs to go into planning your quilts and hoping that other players don’t buy the key panels you need before you can get to them!
We finished by playing a card game called ‘Parade’. The cards are beautiful and depict the classic drawings of the characters from the Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatters tea party. I truly don’t know how to describe the mechanics of this game; basically the cards form a ‘parade’ and each player adds a card to the ‘parade’, hoping not to acquire previous cards in the parade of the same suite or equal/lower value. The game ends when a player has acquired cards from each of the 6 suites, or if the deck of cards is exhausted. Players count up the values of the cards acquired (with some modifications), and the lowest player wins. The rules are actually quite simple and easy, but the strategy can be quite complex and sometimes you cannot avoid making a play which forces you to collect undesirable cards. I really enjoyed this game (I also won) and I’m sorely tempted to buy it myself. There are other games on the market which utilise a similar mechanic (e.g. Circus Flohcati) which I might get as an alternative.