Tag Archives: games

How to Lose Well to Your Children

A few days ago, I had the chance to play A Feast for Odin twice. I played once with my friend, and another time with him and my wife. After a full day of gaming, my daughter came to me with Quadropolis, wanting to play it again. My friend and my oldest daughter joined us as well. Much to our surprise, my middle daughter won. She is 9. Quadropolis has easy-entry rules, but a deeper strategy than you might think. She played a great game. She strategized well and even marked her board to show her future moves. It excited me to see it.

How do you lose to your children? I’ve learned a few things as my winning percentage is shrinking.

Lose with Grace

Even against children, the most competitive among us will still find difficulty losing. It may be frustrating. We might want to take it out on them. We may even become a rules general, trying to find loopholes. However it plays out, parents have to be careful here. Losing with grace to your children will teach them more than when you win.

Highlight Their Great Play

I let her know throughout the game of her good choices. I praised her (as did my friend) for planning her strategy on her player board. She made efficient use of her resources. She played a good game. I hope that by strengthening her good decision making, it will help her beyond the gaming table. One day I won’t be there to pat her back or coach her. This is a great way to build her confidence.

Ask Them What You Did Wrong

Something funny here – she didn’t wait for my prompting! She immediately told me what I might have done to score more. It wasn’t in a bragging way, but in an instructive way, like she’s heard me do with her. Her instruction encouraged me because it was correct and helpful. I lose a lot, so I don’t think I need a pick-me-up, but one day, someone will. I hope she’ll be there to listen, and if appropriate, offer her help.

My children beat me more and more at games. As my loss column grows, I hope their ability to lose well grows as well.

Games that Make You Say “Wow!” – A Feast for Odin

For Christmas, my mom surprised me by gifting me “A Feast for Odin” by Uwe Rosenberg. It is a game I had in my view for a while, but the price and clear complexity of the game scared me away. Since Christmas, I have played the game 5 times, with one of those being a 4-player session. After five times, I can say it is in my top two games ever played.

There are several things that make Odin a great game. While it is not for the “casual gamer,” it blurs the line of what board game complexity is in a way I haven’t seen before. It makes itself accessible with a strong theme and fun mechanics. What I like most is the “Wow” factor that is hard to categorize. Several games leave you sitting back and thinking, “Man, that was satisfying.” Almost like good food or drink, you just walk away thinking, “I want more of that.” My experience with Odin led me to write about those same experiences with other games. Sometimes a game just makes you say, “Wow!” So, from time to time, I’ll do that. I’d love for others to share the feeling I have.

For Odin, there are a few factors that stand out:

The Viking Theme

 

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The feast is set!

 

Vikings are a theme that many designers might stay away from. The gaming word has released several games about Vikings in recent years. I think Rosenberg nailed the theme. He integrated exploration, ship building, hunting, pillaging, and feasting all into one experience. The integration of theme always improves the euro-game experience. This game’s interaction between theme and gameplay proves this point well.

The “Tetris” Mechanic

 

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Conquered Greenland with an axe and some cloth!

 

The fact that you have to fit all your loot onto a board makes the mechanic interesting. There are infinite arrangements and many correct choices. This makes the mechanic better than many I’ve played. Your given tiles, which could be peas, milk, a chalice, or some whale meat. Then you’re asked to fit them into an area full of negative points and bonuses. I enjoy every placement until the last one. After five games, I find I love this tile-laying puzzle to be my favorite part.

The Story Factor

 

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An epic game.

 

After the game, my friends sit around and talk about feeding our Vikings coins, salted meat and milk.  We talk about converting sheep into jewelry. I know that sounds odd, but it’s these stories that make the game fun. Anytime I’ve talking about a game several days later, that is a good game. Rosenberg’s games have always had that effect on our group more than others. We speak of the stress of Agricola – and we speak of it with affection. This game provides a packet of stories you can walk away with and tell. Any experience in life that gives you that is something to hang onto.

Things I Read This Week: 1/1/2017-1/7/2017

I read a wide variety of things this week. I mixed in some weather, with some politics, and of course games. Here are five articles I think you might enjoy:

The Top Ten Weather Events of 2016

I love to read the blog by Jeff Masters as he gives a great global perspective on the weather. Sadly our planet’s weather has been politicized with topics like global warming.

9 Things You Should Know About J. R. R. Tolkien

Great read from the Gospel Coalition about Tolkien. I’m a giant fan of Tolkien’s and love most of his work. This information was fascinating.

Top 10 Most Innovative Kickstarter Strategies of 2016

Here is another one from Stonemaier Games. Great ideas in moving forward with my future game design.

A Feast for Odin Review

This one is from Board Gamers Anonymous. I read several other reviews of this game since it’s one of my newest. It’s a great game, and I love to read the perspective of others concerning games I consider to be great.

How to Brainstorm Ideas (for Boardgames)

This one is good for would-be game designers. It’s always good to be thinking, and this article gives helpful tips for that task.