Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

More Christmas Games

My brother-in-law Jeff got Qwirkle, so we played a couple games. It's very Scrabble-like but without letters; you just match colors and shapes. Different shapes with the same color, or different colors with the same shape, up to a "word" of six maximum, without any repeats. There is a 2x bonus to completing a six-shape or six-color group, which makes it advantageous to hang onto tiles rather than playing the fifth (or even fourth) in a group. Our second game ended with scores of 100, 100, 99, and 99. (I think I came in 3rd in each game.) I was trying to redraw when I thought it gave me a shot at a 12-point or better score, but I don't think I was playing the odds correctly--- with 36 different pieces the chances of drawing the necessary high-scoring tile are too low to justify giving up 3 or 4 points in the current round.

I also played two games with my niece Amber, who is three and a half. Hey, That's My Fish is a fun penguin-themed game. You move penguins across a hex board, picking up the penguins' starting tile (gaining the fish that were on it), thus blocking other players and eventually trapping all the penguins. Amber was able to play but not really engage in strategic decision-making. Marissa won handily.

The second game was Hisss which is much more of a children's game based on matching colors to grow a snake, then claiming it by finishing its head or tail. It's not quite trivial, though--- you sometimes have a choice as to which snake (or which end of a snake) to extend, whether to combine two existing snakes, or how to use a rainbow-colored tile. Keeping track of which heads and tails have been seen, and adjusting your longer- vs. shorter- snake preference based on whether you are currently winning, could result in a small advantage over players acting randomly. (Somebody over at boardgamegeek made some initial forays into trying to quantify the benefit.) Marissa won this one too.
Tags: family, games
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