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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Board Games

Part B of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, where every day this month except Sundays, I'll be talking about things I love - one thing for each letter of the alphabet.



I always want to play board games, but can never seem to find anyone to join me. People say they either take too long, or they're too difficult to play or they're just boring. There are three board games in particular that I love to play abut I don't get to play them nearly enough.

Trivial Pursuit
My family's made a tradition of playing this on Christmas Eve. Every year we go to my Aunt's house for Christmas Eve dinner, have said dinner and then break out the game. We get so competitive over it. I always tell people that my family members are the only people that can turn Trivial Pursuit into a contact sport. I love trivia and consider myself to be pretty good at it. Last year, I carried my team to an early lead, we fell behind in the middle, then I answered a ridiculous amount of questions in a row to get the last two pie pieces and have two goes at the final question in the middle of the board. We ended up running out of time, so we had to end the game on a three-way tie. All three teams had all of their pieces and were going for that middle. I was happy with the result.



Risk
If it's even possible for me to love anything more than trivia, it's strategy. And I view Risk as the ultimate strategy game - even more so than chess. I get a huge kick out of amassing forces, gaining strongholds, going on huge conquests, making deals and racing against everyone else to be the first to take over Australia. The dice also add enough of an element of luck that it can still turn a game in or out of your favour. I once played a version of the game called "Secret Mission", where each player had a private objective to achieve. If that player achieved that objective, they would win without having to dominate anyone's army. It's obviously important to keep your mission a secret, because if the other players cotton onto it, they can try and stop you.

My mission was to take over Africa and Asia. I amassed a huge force in West Africa under the guise of protecting it against invasion from South America. Then, when I felt I had enough troops, I planned a path of destruction that would allow me to take over both continents in one fell swoop. Well, the dice had other plans. I probably lost two thirds of the battles that it took to take over Africa, losing a large portion of my troops. I faired a bit better once I entered Asia, but it became a race to see if I'd have enough troops to last the distance. In the end it came down to a one-on-one battle in the very last territory. The whole game rested on one more roll. I lost. My plan had stalled and now everyone knew my mission. With the way my troops were now so thinly spread out, I was an easy target and I ended up losing the game - the first time I'd ever done so. But I was surprisingly okay with it.

Don't even get me started on an alternate version of the game I've played called Risk Godstorm. It ramps up the strategy to an insane level.



Monopoly
The thing I like about this game is that while there's a lot of rules you have to be wary of, there's also quite a lot of freedom with gameplay. Once all the properties have been bought up, players practically have free reign to do with those properties what they wish. They can trade deed-for-deed, they can use them to pay off debts, they can mortgage them or they could develop them. In the end it comes down to just who's the best salesperson.

I've played this game (we use the British version in Australia) twice with members of the Buttercup Gang and twice I've been completely undone by Kelsey. He's a heck of a salesman. One time he turned to me with a big excited look on his face and said "Mike... how would you like Kings Cross Station (Reading Railroad) and Fenchurch St Station (B&O Railroad) for your Coventry (Ventnor Avenue) and Piccadilly (Marvin Gardens)?" I laughed and said "Are you kidding? That's a horrible deal!" Kelsey was unperturbed.
"Mike, think about it. You already have a railroad. If I gave you mine, every time someone lands on it they'd owe you a hundred dollars!"
"You already own Leicester Square (Atlantic Avenue). You'd complete the set. You can beat that with just one house on each."
"Think about how long it will take me to develop though," He said, still grinning with excitement.
"If it's such a good deal, how about I give you my railroad for your Leicester Square?"
The rest of the room laughed as they saw his face drop and then quickly recover, trying to keep up the facade.
"Look, I'm not ready for that yet," he said sheepishly and resumed his roll.

You might be thinking "Well that doesn't sound like he's a good salesman at all," but that's not all. Once he realised I was too savvy to be conned like that, he moved on to others. Not only did the other players not have as good an idea of what each property was worth, they also really, really didn't care. I watched in horror as people agreed to deals that would put the proposer at a huge advantage and I ended up having to agree to one of Kelsey's ridiculous deals just to stop other people from benefiting. In that particular game I was the first person out, much to the amusement of everyone else. They knew I was the only person to whom it mattered.




26 comments:

  1. We enjoy playing Trivia Pursuit. And other trivia games. I think we own over a dozen movie or music based trivia games.
    I don't play Monopoly anymore though. My wife can get the two crappiest sets of properties while I get the rest and she will sail by mine every time - while I land on her hotels round after round. Needless to say, I finally tired of losing every single game.
    Sorry you can't round up more friends to play games.

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    1. Haha last time I played I managed to win because I gave someone a set in exchange for one that wasn't worth as much. I knew that it would take her ages to develop that set while I could get hotels on mine within two turns. Wiped everyone out.

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  2. Oh my, it is already B day in Australia. Thank goodness, I have a few hours. Of course, I will be posting Z when you are making ZZZZZZ's. Cheers.

    I'm not much of a board game player but I remember some rambunctious Monopoly games with an older brother. We bent rules and cheated. How else to end the game.

    Ann Bennett @annbennett12

    Too Much To Choose From
    Science Ladybug

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    1. I always tried to avoid house rules. I'm one of those VERY annoying people who quote the rules during games.

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  3. Ooohh, I love board games! I wish you lived closer because I can never find anyone to play with me. I like thinking games, like Scrabble, Clue, Monopoly... Games of chance, like Yahtzee or Sorry are ok too, but they aren't always my first pick. I like to be challenged.

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    1. I agree. Something like Risk which has a great mix of thinking and chance is even better for me.

      I'd certainly play with you :)

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  4. Twenty years ago, I was an absolute KILLER at Trivial Pursuit. Now my memory's gone all to ratshit with advancing age, but I bet I could still beat your skinny Australian ass at this game -- YEAH, I SAID IT! I can get quite competitive too but you know, the best part of any game is the TRASH TALK!

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    1. There's probably an app that will allow us to take each other on from afar. Bring... It... On.

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  5. You know, I own Monopoly but refuse to ever play it. But I would love to play Trivial Pursuit- something about that game brings back some great memories of playing with family growing up!

    Farin from The Newest Vazquez

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    1. In Australia trivia is huge right now, so you'd have no shortage of fellow players.

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  6. Trivial Pursuit is a favorite of mine and we kind of got out of the habit of playing board games. However, I've been dropping oh-so-not-subtle hints that somebody better find that game again (it's disappeared). I'd love to get that habit started up again.

    Great theme!

    Hugs,
    Cherdo
    Cherdo on the Flipside
    "Favorite Characters, Favorite Lines" on the A-to-Z Challenge 2016

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  7. Board games are great. When I was a kid, we'd spend holidays with our cousins and have marathon games of Monopoly. My kids also love board games. Great way to spend time together. Wonderful post!
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    1. I love a marathon game of Monopoly, but even rarer than being able to play is being able to play for two days straight.

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  8. Well you did pick some rather long-lasting games there. It's easy to see you prefer games with a lot of mental challenge. I like Sorry, Trouble, and especially Scrabble. Scrabble is as intense as I get! :D
    Calen~
    Impromptu Promptlings

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    1. You got me, I like to think. Certainly nothing wrong with any of the chance games though :)

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  9. IO can't remember the last time I played a board game just saying I don't usually have the time to play a game

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    1. I make time. ALWAYS got time for a board game ;)

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  10. Lol, @ the Seinfeld clip :) I have the Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit, but the only problem is that I only have one friend who knows enough about LOTR to play it with me.

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    1. Does it require prerequisite knowledge?

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    2. Well, our other friends seem to think so. They look at the One Ring on the cover like it's a foreign object and use the excuse that they haven't read the books...I need more book nerd friends.

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    3. Haha or at least more adventurous ones :P

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  11. We used to play a lot of Monopoly but I never was very successful at all. I never did understand strategies.

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    1. Haha I'm the total opposite. I love strategy.

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  12. I love board games and have quite a few. Used to love playing Masterpiece. Trivial Pursuit was invented close to where I love

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    Replies
    1. That's a cool fact! I don't know what Masterpiece is, but it makes me think of drawing.

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