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Rio Grande Games
I used to approach PR with a rigid strategy in mind - either grow lots of cheap crops and ship them like a madman, or focus on generating income and go heavy on buildings. I've since learned that a semi-flexible strategy is important, as is paying attention to what roles benefit one's opponent(s) as much as or more than oneself. I have a hard time articulating my strategic approach to PR better than that, so perhaps it's worth some thought and a subsequent post ... and perhaps some research first into what others have written on PR.
In yesterday's session, Kathy picked up a hospice early, as well as a couple of quarries and a few corn plantations, so I was afraid she'd be off to the races. I had a small start in indigo but went pretty long in sugar. I picked up both small and large markets, so I had some good cash coming in, enough later to buy the fortress and city hall. Kathy got tobacco production going but could only sell it once or twice. She picked up the guild hall very late, but my building points ended up carrying me by three points at the end.
This afternoon was an absolutely perfect fall day, so Kathy lit a fire in the fire bowl in the back yard, I made some drinks, and we sat out and played a couple of games of cribbage. That game was quite popular on my boat when I was in the Navy (and holds a submarine tradition going way back to World War II). Nowadays, I find it a nice diversion. I have to say that my opponent today is distractingly better looking and much more pleasant company than were my opponents aboard ship.
I picked up a copy of Castle Panic (designed by Justin de Witt, published by Fireside Games) today on the recommendation of my son, who came home after a game session raving about it. We tried it as a family game after dinner tonight, and we picked it up pretty quick. I think the cooperative aspect of this game works well for us as a family, once we have the "game courtesy protocol" established (no touching pieces on other people's turns, etc). We players won against the monsters, and my youngest son emerged as the Master Slayer with 16 points.
This nice discovery of Castle Panic (thanks to Spike and Mary) comes serendipitously after my posting earlier this week in which I expressed concern about the approachability of games in their first playing. CP turned out to be very intuitive and straightforward in its execution, and therefore easy to learn in the first play-through. Now, it is a relatively simple game by any measure. Still, I think its construct is conceptually transparent, so that individual quirks and capabilities of unique monsters and action cards could be learned one at a time as they came up. We could learn each new capability as it emerged and accommodate it into our overall understanding of the game without the frustration of saying, "oh, well if I'd known that, I'd have done this differently."
So I think if I want to design family games, I really have to give some thought to this aspect of being able to sit down, start playing, and learn while playing without ever having to go back and re-visit points in the games that the new player previously thought they'd understood.