Tag Archives: Catan

Like To Get To Know You Well

When I was younger, I was somewhat clumsy at interacting with people not in my closest circle (and sometimes, even with them, and I suppose that the clumsiness hasn’t entirely ended). And I didn’t have confidence in interacting with the subsection of females that I was attracted to. Closer friends I could talk to for hours, and then some particular people, I couldn’t even get much in the way of words out to.

The gaping chasm of the fear of rejection was one thing to overcome, but that wasn’t the entirety of the problem.

I knew of the delicate balance that exists, ideally you’d want to get to know someone first before getting more serious, but even asking for a getting-to-know-you stage gets “I’m not looking for a relationship right now” responses. And the social situations you go to aren’t always the best conditions for socialisations: too formal, or too many people so splitting into smaller groups.

It can seem like a no-win situation, not wanting to jump the gun, so to speak (or wanting to, but believing slower to be better and trying to take that slower path), and having the slower approach be taken as a veiled attempt at jumping the gun.

Much as I was into books, computer and videogames, and movies, those aren’t easy worlds to casually bring someone into. Computer games, even multiplayer ones on the same machine, or ones you can play over a network, you can invite people over to play, but it’s more for better friends who are also into that kind of thing. Movies aren’t the best for interacting with people. Sometimes you can discuss afterwards, but that either happens or it doesn’t, and you can’t really force it if it doesn’t happen. Actually, of all those, videogames ended up being the most social, because it was quick 2-player games in situations with a lot of people, so a bunch of people stood around watching, and the players got swapped out a lot.

I think if I were to go back and live that time again, but could retain the things I know now, I would try to have more things of my own going on. Game nights. Ditch Monopoly, and games that only need the players to roll the dice and move the pieces rather than make any actual decisions, get Catan when it was really new. Think at the very least it could have made me even better friends with my friends, and made socialising in new situations down the road, a bit easier.

“Hey, I get together with some friends every Saturday night to have some food, play some games, would you like to join us sometime?” less pressure than “Hey, I’d like to get to know you”. And revisiting the question at a later time after an initial refusal, might be an easier option.

Still, I got where I am today, I’m not going to go and invent a time machine to go and print-and-play myself a Catan set before Klaus Teuber can get it to market. Just trying to visualise how a very unconfident me could bridge that interpersonal gap, rather than make it wider. Have parts of your life that it’s easy to bring people into, casually. I don’t think I had that figured out until after I got married, at which point it was less necessary. Fortunately, our relationship took a different kind of path, with a more necessary getting-to-know-you time.

A Game Night

Tonight we had a game night. We haven’t had one in quite a while, and it was relatively short notice, so our guest lineup was shaken up a bit (also, family visiting from England will throw that for a bit of a loop, too).

Shortly before people came, I was trying to brush up on the rules for Captains Of Industry, which I’ve been looking forward to playing for a long time (indeed, it’s been sitting in a prominent spot for a while), but in the end it didn’t seem like the right time to introduce a game that complicated. Maybe another time.

I brought up Catan, Dominion and Ticket To Ride from the basement, and we ended up not playing any of those, either.

I talked to one of the guests about the last game I Kickstarted, whose arrival I’m looking forward to: Bomb Squad. Co-operative but seeming to avoid the problem with games like Pandemic, of one player dominating (“here, you do this, you do this, then I can do this…”).

I know two games, brought by one set of guests, were played on a table I was not at. One was a trivia one, and some answers floated from our table to theirs.

The first game I played was Firefly Clue. I’d played it once before and enjoyed it. The last time, I’d just figured out whodunnit, and that was enough to tip the game’s owner to the same information and she won.

This time, I’d pretty much concluded the What, was pretty sure on the Who, and I’d lucked into the Where on my last guess, but that was enough to tip my mother off onto the right answers, so she got to the centre square and won.

Seems like you need a bit more space on the answer sheets, to write down who asked about what, who answered about what, and who has what, to keep better track.

The next game I played was Love Letter, which I was introduced to not long ago. We played nearly two games: the first game, I was in the lead with three cubes and only needed one to go, then one player had to go and another joined, so we started scoring from scratch. The second game, then, the new player, my sister-in-law, convincingly won.

We talked about playing Templar intrigue next, but there weren’t seven people free to play it with (7-10 players). There were still enough adults in the room to play it, but kid-wrangling was still going on, so we have to save this for another time.

The last game we played with guests, The Game Of Things. One player reads the text on a card (“Things you should not teach your pet to do”, “Things that don’t last very long”, “Things you shouldn’t do on a first date”, and so on), and all the players write something that fits with what the card said. The person who read the card reads the answers, and the next player has to guess who wrote what. If they get one wrong, the next player guesses, and so on, until everyone knows who wrote what (the player reading doesn’t guess, so the handwriting doesn’t give it away).

That was a pretty funny game, particularly as it was getting late, and people were verging into getting punchy and silly. Seems a good one to have on hand to be able to pull out.

We then chatted a bit about games we liked the sound of but haven’t tried. Currently on my radar of games I’d like to try and possibly even get, are Firefly The Game, and T.I.M.E. Stories. And I liked the story behind the creation of Euphoria: Build A Better Dystopia.

It sounds like we might get Love Letter in the household at some point, too.

The last game I tried, after all our guests had gone, was one my sister (and brother-in-law, and niece) had left for my kids. My wife had played it with Oldest (I think my mother-in-law played some with them, too). It was called Loopin’ Louie. A crazed pilots flies round and round, trying to knock your chickens down. You can make him pull up when he gets close to you. Sounds like the kids enjoyed it, I played it against my wife, and it seems you might be able to learn how hard to hit i and exactly when, to make the plane come down again in exactly the right place. On the other hand, it keeps a fairly even playing field between the kids and grown-ups.

A good, fun, night.

Remember: games are good for you, but don’t eat too many at once.

Some Games In The Evening

With my family over, we decided to break out some games in the evening.

First up was Settlers Of Catan, which my wonderful wife set up, and I played with my parents, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law.

My parents didn’t really remember how to play, and I don’t think my brother-in-law had played before.

I started without a settlement on any lumber, and on 6es, 9s, a 10 and a 12.

I went second, and none of my numbers were rolled until after my second turn. I think I built a total of 4 roads throughout the entire game.

While my numbers weren’t that popular (the Number Of The Game ended up being 3), I saved up enough to upgrade, I traded for a wood to build a road. I managed to build a settlement, and upgrade, and upgrade again, very close together, was a very quick jump from 3 to 6 points.

Getting on another number helped slightly. There were moments where I was buying development cards to avoid getting robbed, and my loving family robbed me occasionally (brick and log were least forthcoming from my tiles, so at one point I’d built a road, and held back those road materials for maybe building a settlement, one of those got stolen from me).

I used a knight to unrob myself (but not rob somebody else), and thought I lucked into getting a Victory Point development card.

During the last go around the table, I had to buy 2 development cards, got another knight and another point. On my turn, I managed to build a settlement, which took me to 8 points on the board (3 Cities and 2 Settlements). I did flip the second knight, and I had been expecting to need to go round the board again, to flip another Knight. As it was, I didn’t have one, but I did have those two Victory Point cards in hand, so I had enough points to win, and put everyone else out of their misery. Or at least highlight why people usually gang up on me :)

My parents and sister and bro-in-law and niece had to go away to retire for the night, soon after that.

My wife and mother-in-law were still up for another game after that, so we played Dixit Journey.

As a 3-player game, there’s a slight rules variant: The person whose turn it is chooses one card from their hand, and the other players get to put down 2 to match the clue.

It was more difficult for the active player to choose a card that one other player  would choose but the other not. It took a while for the game to get past “both players guessing wrong” or “both players guessing right”.

I had a strong start, but the main arrangement on the scoreboard was mother-in-law first, me second, wife third. How far each of us trailed varied.

At one point, my clue was “I want to break free“, that line sung. Apparently neither of them was familiar with the song, they both guessed right nonetheless. (Looking at the Wikipedia article there, I’m not familiar with the music video.)

The last turn was mine, I knew what I wanted to do so I didn’t deal myself a card, and there had only been 2 cards left in the deck so I dealt one each to my opponents (one of them ought to have had 2).

I’d been giggling about what clue I was going to give since my previous turn.

I was only a couple of points behind my mother-in-law> Only one outcome could get me the win: she guess wrong and my wife guess right.

My clue was, “I’ve had this card since the beginning of the game, and it hasn’t fit into any categories yet!” (which was true). Apparently, my mother-in-law had at least one card that was like that, too.

Shockingly, my gamble actually paid off, and I won.

I was pleased with myself for the clue, but I was more surprised to actually win.

Don’t know about anyone else, but I had a good evening!

Late-night ramblings

Been a long day, not sure what to say.

In the past few days, I’ve had good feedback about a couple of websites I’ve made (one of them’s not live yet, I’m itching to make it live).

Tonight we had some out-of-town visitors, who were here relatively spontaneously. We had a nice chat, then one settled down to watch Serenity (we hope you liked it!), while the other sat down for board games.

First game of the night was The Settlers Of Catan, the classic gateway drug. I did really well when we first got that game, but more recently I’ve been struggling to do even partway well. A lot of it’s luck of the numbers, of course (two early 7s when I was just about able to do something with the cards, set me back quite a way), and everyone having the same resources, so trading was awkward. A couple of thievings when I was consistently behind.

All part of the game, though. I ended with a tragic 4 points.

The second game of the night was one I backed on Kickstarter, Harbour. I played it once just with Oldest, and once with parents-in-law a little while after that, and it’s been ages since then til now, the third play.

It’s a lot easier learning it the third time – remembering what to do, from the mistakes we made before.

Once I’d arranged my resources, I bought the clock tower – high in price, high in points. Not one that fit with my strategy, got a couple of resources when others wanted to use it. My next purchase was the similarly high-point, high-price Abbey. Helps you a lot, helps your opponents a little.

After that, I needed to recoup my resources. I built up, and got a bit lucky right at the end of saving, so that I could have 20 to spend. A 10-cost item I had my eye on got bought. I got a bit lucky, getting my purchasing power increased right before my turn.

I set my meeple on an unbought card that gave me 2 buys that turn. I bought two expensive buildings.

It was getting really late, so the other players forwent their last turn, because no-one really stood a chance of catching up.

Fun. Tired. Night, all!