Heather and Andy came over last night for games. That would Andy Fisher, not Andy Crews, which, if you've been keeping track, is a good thing to note. Today was supposed to start Kris' vegetarian week, but, well, we pushed it off for a day to make tasty pizza this evening with various ingredients the four of us had from our respective refridgerators.
Sidenote: I remember in kindergarten having to circle the pictures of the items that began with R. I circled the rat. I circled the rake. I didn't circle the refridgerator, and so had a big red X over the refridgerator. I cried foul in whatever way a five year old can cry foul, and said that doesn't begin with an R. "What is it?" the teacher asked. "It's a fridgerator." She didn't count that one against me. Why I didn't think the rat was a mouse, I have no idea.
To start the evening, I pulled out all the board and card games Kris and I have. I dug to the bottom of the office closet to retrieve some of them, pulling them out for the first time in years, I think.
Each of us vetoed two of the games for the evening: ones we were tired of playing, or tired of losing at when we played, or didn't want to learn the rules, or didn't like the color or shape of the box. Once that round was done, we still had a large number of games left to choose among.
At Heather's suggestion, we decided to play a game of UNO before making dinner. Usually, it's a quick game. In our case, it was a quick disaster, with my "hey! check this out!" distracted call as I walked around the table, bumping the Rumis box, which hit the Fast Figure box, which jammed the Password box, which knocked over the beer bottle sitting on the other side, which spewed beer all over the cards.
Yeah, party fouls come quick and furious when I'm around.
After spreading all the UNO cards out on nearly all the elevated horizontal surfaces in the house, Heather and I wandered into the kitchen to make dinner. Kris is planning on trying a fully vegetarian diet for a week or so, but Heather and I thwarted his start by fixing pizza with a beef topping. We managed to use up some ingredients from her kitchen, as well as ingredients from our kitchen, so, even though Kris was thwarted, I was not in my goal to use up instead of toss out (as in, eat before it spoils).
Kris and Andy spent the baking time out in the living room playing Parlay. The cards for the game have both normal playing card numbers on them, as well as a Scrabble-like distribution of letters on them. Each hand is played as both a Scrabble hand, make the best word you can with the seven cards you've been dealt, as well as a poker hand, make the best five card poker hand you can with the seven cards you have.
After the pizza was in the oven, I wandered out to the living room with Heather, to see what Kris and Andy were up to. The two of them were fairly evenly matched when we sat down, I next to Andy, Heather next to Kris. We figured this was a good way to distribute the poker talent, as well as the word creation talent: Heather vs me, Kris vs Andy.
If only Andy were so lucky.
He had been able to keep up with Kris mostly on the word games, but, gah, after I showed up, his luck with the numbers completely disappeared. We managed a few five letter words, which was great, but we couldn't even eek out a pair. One single pair would have been great. Maybe even an ace high hand would have been great, but, noooooooooo. We managed Jack high hands, and that's the best five cards from seven.
I did the best thing I could for Andy.
I walked away,
Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, his luck improved. Who would have guessed I could be such a bad luck charm?
After a few more rounds, even without the removal of his bad luck charm, Andy lost handily on an all-in, had-to-go-for-it move on the poker hand that lost handily to Kris' four a kind poker hand. Go fig.
The next game up in our night of games was Carcasonne. Now, I've watched Kris and Doyle and Mark and Chookie and Keith and Martha and Tyler and others play Carcasonne a lot, but I started playing only this year. I have played all of five times before, never making it past second place, behind Doyle, behind Kris, behind Keith three times. Tonight was my best shot: two beginners and Kris.
We played the game as we explained a bunch of the rules. I played for a strong end game, hunting a large meadow, fishing a large river system. I ran though a lot of cities during the game to keep the early points going, but I concentrated on cities with the little gold nuggets in them, finishing them whether or not I would receive immediate points, and concentrating on the bonus cards instead.
My plan mostly worked, but not completely. Kris was hunting my largest meadow with me, with Heather sharing my river system. I had to play sneaky, but it didn't really help. In the second to last round, I was tied with Kris. Tied with Kris and he managed to connect a meadow he was hunting with the meadow we were sharing, giving him more guys on the meadow, pushing me out. In that round, however, my collect-the-bonus-cards plan came through, and I managed somehow to pull out the miracle card and claim the meadow for myself.
Yay, me! I won my first Carcasonne game! Whoo!
Spoons came next.
I remember watching my mom play spoons when I was younger. I remember the large group of people, all crammed in the dining room around the table, the cards passed around the table, the flurry of card matching, the mad scramble for a spoon as someone snagged the first one and everyone realized it.
Playing with three people changes the dynamic a lot: fewer spoons to grab, quicker cards being passed along, sneakier opponents snatching spoons with more subtly than a big group can manage.
After eight rounds of playing, with each of us taking two turns at dealing, each of Kris, Heather and me had lost 2 or 3 times, Andy hadn't lost a single round.
Not. A. Single. Round.
We decided to try to rectify that situation, and switched places. Since the table is rectangular, the persons on the ends were at a disadvantage for reaching the spoons or even passing cards. Andy and I switched, putting him on the end, and me on the side.
We tried grabbing the spoons closest to him. We tried being subtle. We tried being obvious. We tried grabbing spoons and pushing the other ones away from Andy. Nothing helped.
Four rounds later, he still hadn't lost.
So, we tried another tact. We put the spoons in the far corner, close to Heather, and away from Andy. Around the cards went. When I had a matching four cards, I grabbed the closest spoon. Since I had to reach across the table, my gesture was quite obvious and Kris grabbed the spoon closest to him.
Heather and Andy immediately lunged for the third spoon. Both missed. Heather managed to toss the third spoon on the floor. Andy managed to grab my hand. "My spoon! Mine! Mine!" I cried out, as Kris called out, "The floor! Heather, on the floor!"
Andy heard Kris and lunged even farther in an attempt to launch over the table to reach the last spoon. Heather bent over and picked up the last spoon.
Ah, that victory was by far the sweetest.