03 July 2006

Growing My Own Gamers #7

I've had several opportunites to squeeze in some card games since my last report. They were all small pockets of time, but it was better than nothing. Our breaks at work aren't long enough to complete a game, but 15 minutes is long enough for me to introduce a game and play a round or two.

On Saturday, M and I taught C2 how to play Dungeon. I figured out that with a game that plays 2+, it is easier for me to teach one person at a time and then add in another person each session. That way player #2 (the first person I taught) can help me teach player #3, and so on. This works especially well for me with the kids because one or two lose interest if I am trying to teach all four of them at once. C2 is my advanced learner when it comes to games, so she was giving me competition before the game was even half over.

By the way, Dungeon is a much more aggressive game with one deck of cards than with two. There are fewer cards to go around, so gameplay lasts a little longer as everyone is attacking each other to get the cards that they need. This doesn't mean that the game is super-simple with two decks, but the game plays differently. Everyone is trying to get what they need from the draw pile so they aren't attacking each other quite as much, which makes the game play more quickly.

In an effort to include the other kids, I switched to Towers of Wyoming because I thought it would be easier. They chose to stick with the GameCube so it was just M and C2 playing with me again. Towers of Wyoming comes under the heading of "root beer and pretzels" game for me. Each player tries to build a tower of cards while attacking the other players' towers. The only thing that matters is suit. Since you don't have to pay attention to the rank of the cards or laying them down in a certain order, it is the perfect game for kids or for socializing with grown-ups.

M and C2 liked this game so much they could have played all night, but I needed some sleep. Unfortunately, the kids' board and card game sessions still degenerate into shouting matches if I am not around so they couldn't play on their own. M has mentioned that she and her classmates played cards during their free period at school, so perhaps she will be able to introduce some of these games to her friends.

Dungeon got played twice at work last week, once with my lunchmate and once with my lunchmate and another co-worker. It went well, but that game does take more than one 15-minute break to sink in. I think once everyone learns the rules, we could just about squeeze a game into one break.

Today I offered to teach my lunchmate how to play Towers of Wyoming. Before I got all the cards dealt, we picked up two more players and an observer. We usually play quietly in a corner; working at an organization that employs Christians of all stripes, we didn't want to offend the ones that think playing cards puts you on the express train to Hell. Apparently, there are several avid card players in our department. They all picked up the game pretty quickly, and I had to remind them twice that our break was over! I have a feeling that a few of them will be seeking me out at break time on Wednesday.
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