We had fun the other day just playing a mixed group of Euro Games with a mixed family group. Only myself and Cath had played more than one Euro before so it was going to be an interesting time seeing what they all made of it.
The cast was obviously Cath and myself, we took along Child1 (age 7) and Child2 (age 5) who were joining in some of the games, also playing was J (nephew aged 18), H (niece aged 17) and Ja (boyfriend of niece aged 17) so overall a younger crowd. First question was could we hold their attention? Second would they be able to leave their phones in their pockets?
First up was Pirates Cove by Days of Wonder and a game owned by J. This is the one Euro the other three had played before. I was at a disadvantage on rules but having played so many games of this style I knew I had a fair chance to make good. Cath played Take It Easy with the Kids whilst we were busy. Pirates Cove was quite fun, nothing really new to me in it's play or mechanics but it all seemed to work well. Each player has a ship board that charts the upgrades you can do. The basic idea is that you travel to different islands to take the cards turned face up. These cards give you treasure, gold, prestige and special cards. Some cards give you all four and some just a few and the value of the cards can be high or meh. Each island also allow you to upgrade your ship in a certain category, sails, crew, guns and hull. This means that not only the cards have to be consulted but what upgrade you require as each island only allows one type of upgrade. You also have a further option of visiting treasure island and burying your treasure for prestige points.
The snag comes when two or more players wish to enter the same island, apart from Treasure Island there is only room for one pirate and you have to fight it out. A Legendary Pirate also sails the sea visiting each island in turn and you just don't want to fight him!
I think this point was rather missed by the other players who went after the best card or dumped treasure rather than following a strategy. I instead upgraded the crew and guns over any other actions so that I could win the encounters. Ja on the other hand seemed to be on the losing side of every encounter and failed to get started whilst the rest of us grew. This was not so much a failing of the game as Ja should have gone after the less interesting cards leaving the rest of us to battle. This he stated at the end of the game which pleased me no end as it showed the right kind of thinking. In the end it was really close but I got the win based on me defeating the Legendary Pirate in a mass battle at the end. Me winning is defined by all the others doing the work and then me putting the boot in at the very end. I would like to play again and whilst I would not want to play every session I can see it getting a fair shake.
Next up the the four youngest played Take It Easy which my kids love. Child1 was calling out the tiles and really played very poor scoring a record low whilst Child2 and H did all right. Ja on the other hand scored 170+ in one round and possibly the highest yet. I look forward to a full game of this against him sometime.
The idea is to complete lines scoring the number on the tile x the tiles in the row. You score all line directions. As one player draws the tiles randomly and every player has to play the same tile the luck factor is reduced. Do you go for the easy points or do you hold out hoping for the perfect tile?
Cath played J at a two player card game called Speed. This is based on the normal deck of cards by the same name but has symbols, colours and numbers. Cath is a demon at it and it was fun to watch her carve him up. Though his "again, again" after each defeat brought a smile to both mine and Caths face (she loves a smuck).
Next up was a five player game of "Evo, the last gasp of the dinosaurs" which we have owned since it came out. We had only played it once or twice and had difficulty remembering it. Well the teenagers loved it, both Cath and myself were not really that impressed. The idea is that you bid for the tiles drawn with your evolution points (player with the highest points wins at game end). So it's possible for two or more players to go after the same tile with the loser of the bidding then settling for the unwanted tile. In our game a certain amount of puffing of the bids happened sometime to great hilarity. The problem was that the game play really was not that involved. It had a mixture of systems that seemed not to do much. More a case of too much system not enough game play. Excitement levels were low ad the ability to pull back the leader was limited. Basically there is a lot better games out there for the time slot it fills. We will have to play it again if only for the sake of the other players but I very much doubt Cath or I will change our view. I am sure we are not missing anything. J won this as was clear he would with three turns to go.
Last up was a straight up card game called Bohnanza, those who know it know why we finished with it. Same reason a great rock band finishes with a big hit. You just want more! Now this card game came out in 1997 and has had so many expansions I am surprised the overkill has not done it to death but it is still one of the most played card only games played. The concept is about as naff as you can dream of. You plant fields of the same type of bean and attempt to grow a good crop. To do this you need to trade for beans from other players and also get rid of beans from your hand as you have to play them in order. This leads to lots of haggling and plenty of attempts to block other players trades in the hope of getting the deal. H says she enjoyed it but seemed a little lost a few times. Ja on the other hand really got it and I think would have benefited from a second game. J on the other hand just quietly took it in his stride as he traded his way through point after point. Come game end he had enough points to equal me for a joint win. Ja had come in next only two points behind. The best thing was that They Got It. This will get played next time, I'm guessing sooner in the running order though. That their will be a next time I have no doubt as they really had a lot of fun, as did we. Next time our kids will only be involved a bit as Granny Willey will look after them when we play grown up games, the real question is what next? This was the frustrating thing, when asked which games they liked the most or liked the style of we got a chorus of all of them etc etc. zero feedback means we can not Tailor the games to their liking, but at least we have plenty of choice.