Turkey-Day Gaming with the Family – Gobble Gobble!!!

Thanksgiving isn’t always a very successful holiday for me in terms of getting my family to play games (other than my brother Tony, of course).  But this year, I had a great time playing some games both on Thanksgiving and the day after.  So, here’s a quick rundown of what made it to the table over our holiday weekend.

The “game of the holiday” for us was definitely PitchCar.  I took it to Mom & Dad’s and set it up later on in the evening.  Tony and his two boys (Alex and Ben) joined me, and we played 4 straight games!  Each of us even won a race!  And then the next evening (when Gwen and I invited my brothers and their families over for Chili and games), Tony set it up again while I was still cleaning up and they played another few games with my other nephew Peter.  

Tony’s boys were definitely excited about PitchCar, and I think that it shot to the top of their Christmas lists.  Between cost and availability, though, I hope they don’t get too set on finding it under the tree this year.

I also pulled out 10 Days in the USA and 7 ate 9 with Tony and his boys on Thanksgiving.  10 Days was a little tough for Ben (who is only 8) to get his head around (mostly in how to manipulate the tiles and get them to link up), but Alex (age 12) did great with it.    

7 ate 9 was a total blast with 4 players.  It has such a nice balance between the cerebral and the physical, where you not only have to think fast but also to react and move fast.  Having so much fun with it makes me really want to try out the other games in this series, Super Circles and Run Wild.      

On Friday night, we got a couple party games to the table as well.  Based just on the name, Alex practically begged to play Word on the Street, so he and I played against Tony, Peter and Ben.  The game was pretty close, but I’m not terribly good at it, and in the end they beat us something like 7-4.

Ben mentioned really liking Apples to Apples, so I recommended that we try out Dixit next.  Gwen (with Corinne in her arms) was finally able to join us, which was really nice since she had never gotten the chance to play it before.  I jumped out to an early lead as we got started, but then finished a distant last place (with my lovely wife taking the win) once everyone else got the hang of it.  I think that everyone had a lot of fun with it, but playing with 6 and going to 30 points (with the expansion) seemed to maybe go on a little bit too long for the younger boys. 

Most everyone cleared out at that point, but Peter (my oldest nephew at 15 years old) seemed very interested in my several of the other games he saw in my most excellent game room.  Gwen showed him 1960: The Making of the President (which he specifically asked about) a little while I escorted everyone else out, and then he and I talked some about games. 

He was definitely interesed in trying out a more strategic game, so I pulled out my favorite, Pandemic, to play with him.  Coop games are so nice to use as gateway games, because you can get right into playing very quickly and then just help out the new players on their turn.  I set up using 5 “regular” epidemic cards, and with semi-random roles he ended up being the Medic and I was the Generalist.  I suggested moves to him a few times, but by the 4th or 5th turn, he was able to make most of the right choices himself.  The game wasn’t really all that close, though, and we won pretty easily.

Fortunately, he had a good time and wanted to play again.  This time, he was the Epidemiologist and I was the Troubleshooter, and we had a little bit of a harder time of it.  We still won, but we were further down the outbreak track and the board looked like it was on the verge of totally melting down just as we discovered the final cure.     

Peter had never played anything like Pandemic before.  The cooperative idea was new to him, and he hasn’t really played many true strategy games before either.  Thankfully, he seemed to have a really good time with it, and we talked some about a few other games before he left.  Who knows, maybe he’ll want to try out a few more with me and Gwen over the next few years.