Sun, 18 April 2010
This evening, I (Jeff) had the joy that all parent/gamers look forward to: I played my first entire, complete, start-to-finish game with my older (4-year-old) son. This event was remarkable --and holds Gamer interest that goes beyond the mere "doting dad story"-- for a few reasons, detailed below.
Now, in full disclosure, this was not the first time I had played a game with my older boy. We have many partial games of Chutes and Ladders and Candyland under our collective belts. Tonight was different. My FIRST surprise of the evening was that tonight, the game was my son's idea! In the past, it was always I that was trying to encourage my son into a game-of-something. In contrast, my son told ME that he want to play a game! So we went into the family play room and started scanning the shelves of assorted toddler games, but as I ran my pointing hand past the Candyland, the Chutes and Ladders, and the Hi Ho Cherry-O, my son said, "No! Daddy Games!" --and this was my SECOND surprise of the night-- My son pushed my pointing hand up to the highest shelf that is home to all of my boardgames from when I was a kid: my original Battleship set, my original Monopoly and Clue games are on this shelf. Tonight it was NOT going to be Candyland or Chutes and Ladders; it was going to be Dungeon Dice. While this game is not a deep well of strategy, it is not a toddler game by any means. The box reads "Ages 8 and up". "Okay", I said, "we can play Dungeon Dice." My son followed me proudly as we carried the game to the dining room to set it up, all the while saying "Boardgame Night! Boardgame Night!" (As an aside, one night a month, I host my gaming group for boardgame night --which I hold in the dining room-- so my son was apparently very excited about having his own Boardgame Night with daddy.)
Now before I tell you about my third and final surprise of the evening, a quick word about Dungeon Dice as a game. This is basically a dice rolling game as you'd guess from the title. Each player represents a prisoner in a dungeon trying to dig their way to freedom. You extend your escape tunnel by rolling matching sets of symbols on the game dice --which are 6-sided dice whose 6 sides depict symbols of five different types of escape tools (shovels, lanterns, daggers, etc) or the Guard! The Guard is bad; more on the Guard later. You collect tunnel cards by rolling 3-of-a-kind or higher: 1 tunnel card for 3-of-a-kind; 2 tunnel cards for 4-of-a-kind; 3 tunnel cards for 5-of-a-kind, etc. Build a tunnel of 8 tunnel cards and you win. Very simple. There are a few additional rules that force a bit a light strategy into the dice rolling, but you get the picture. This is basically Yatzee-Lite-with-fantasy-chrome.
Now, this sets the stage for my THIRD revelation of the evening: this kid can SERIOUSLY roll dice!!! The first game (we played twice, and my son won both games) my son took his first turn rolling the six dice and right-off-the-bat rolled four daggers! As per the game rules, those four dagger dice are set aside and he gets the option to re-roll the remaining dice to try to better his score. He took the remaining two dice and rerolled them producing a fifth dagger! One turn; three cards! This kept up, and I think in four or five turns, he won the game. The top picture shows the game board at the end of play.
My son then told me he wanted to play again! Maybe he really enjoyed it, or maybe he thought he was forestalling bedtime. Anyway, the second game was much closer. In fact, on two consecute turns, my son rolled 3 Guards and ended his turn without collecting any tunnel cards, which allowed me to take the lead. Then, my son took the dice and rolled...yep, you guessed it... Five-of-a-kind, and won the game (bottom picture).
So, as I reflect on this evening, I am very glad that my son has finally taken to gaming (before bedtime, he asked for assurance that we can play again tomorrow, which as many of you can appreciate, will be one of the things that I will dream of tonight). I am also glad that my son apparently does not share his dad's misfortune with the dice (I have got to have the worst dice rolling abilities of anyone I know, and I am glad that my son is not stricken by the same affliction).
Now, I need to check the regs of any tournaments that I consider entering to see if they make provisions for "Designated Rollers". If it is at all possible, I want my son to do my dice rolling for me!
Category:general -- posted at: 11:05pm EDT