At the Table – Pandemic

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Pandemic is a cooperative board game that requires players to take on different roles/coordinate their moves in an effect to treat infections/find cures for four different viruses. At the end of each player turn, cards are drawn which cause the viruses to spread even further. Will solid teamwork win the day?

Pandemic Cover

Years ago, Tab and I had a bad experience with Pandemic. For an entire game, we were told what to do:

“Use your special move to do this.”

“You should move here to stop the yellow virus from spreading.”

Instead of being allowed to wrap our head around the game’s unique mechanics, we were compelled to be good soldiers and follow orders. This experience made Tab and I never want to play Pandemic again… and so we didn’t. We avoided the game like the plague.

Side Note: Our experience, I later found out, was not unique. In the board game world it even has a term: “Quarterbacking”. Quarterbacking occurs in cooperative board games when one player dominates the group by telling everyone else how to play.

Pandemic
Behold, the board! And the many virus cubes of evil.

Last year, one of my big pushes was to introduce cooperative board gaming to our family. I wanted less of us all working against each other and more of us working together to overcome the board. So we played a bunch of cooperative games such as:

  • Castle Panic
  • Forbidden Island
  • Jaws
  • The Mind
  • The Game Card Game
Jaws
From our recent family playthrough of Jaws.

For Christmas, I decided to ask for Pandemic. I thought maybe playing the game with just Tab and Wyatt might redeem Pandemic in the Hall house. I was right! We had a great time stumbling across the board, as we tried to figure out exactly how everything worked. By the time the world was imploding with viruses, we lost the game. But even in our defeat, we are all eager to play Pandemic again.

Final Thoughts: Castle Panic is our favorite family cooperative game right now. We love the way it plays. However, Pandemic isn’t too shabby. Funny how one bad experience soured the game for us. I am happy to have brought Pandemic back to the table for another go.

When Halls Converge

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Spent the weekend hanging out with my brother and his family from Arkansas.

Roughneck

Saturday, we planned on heading to the Caldwell Zoo. But the weather ended up being cold and drizzly, so we stayed inside and hit up the East Texas Oil Museum.

Oil men

The East Texas Oil Museum is one of those special places that is far cooler than it has any right to be. Something about the museum having:

  • A replica of an oil boom town. Complete with a muddy street that has cars and donkeys stuck in it. We learned that the donkeys have been with the museum for 40 years. Each of the donkeys has a name (there are 4 of them) and are real (taxidermy).
  • A mine elevator ride (puppets included).
  • And even an audio-animatronic lineman.

Learning about where oil comes from.

Not just a Disney thing anymore.

My sister-in-law said that the museum reminded her of Knott’s Berry Farm, in California.

The kids loved the scavenger hunt and resulting prizes for finding all of the listed items.

Post Office Boxes

My artsy shot.

Overall, we spent a good two hours at the museum.

After lunch, we let the boys hang out and play. They fought with their Beyblades on the trampoline. I’m not sure who “won”, but I know that Wyatt loved hanging out with his cousins.

Spidermans

Wyatt ran into some other Spider-Mans.

We ended the day with some trick-or-treating at LeTourneau University. Afterwards, we did some big eating at Papacitas, a two story Mexican food restaurant here in Longview.

Sunday, we hung out and talked. Even got my sister-in-law and niece to play a few games of The Mind.

I hadn’t seen my brother nor his family in over a year. The weekend was a great time to catch up with them, hang out, and eat.

Thanks, Mike, for driving down.

Mom and dad, ya’ll really need to come out and visit.

38th Birthday – Showered in Board Games

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I recently celebrated my 38th birthday. This is the first year, that I can remember, not receiving anything video game-related. Instead, thanks to generous/loving family and friends, I was drowned in board games!

I can’t tell if this means that I am growing up… or what.

The Mind

Wyatt and Tabitha gave me the card game, The Mind. Imagine playing with three to four other people. On level 1 (there are 12 levels), you are each given a single card. Without talking, signaling, or having to take ordered turns, you each have to place your cards down in sequential order. If someone plays their card out of numerical order, you lose one of your 3 lives. Once all 3 lives are gone it is game over.

Tabitha, Wyatt, and I played a few rounds of The Mind and became frustrated. The lack of communication makes the game difficult combined with a certain level of patience that is needed. Tabitha and I played the game later on that evening and had a great time. We even made it to level 8 (which equals each player having 8 cards in their hands to place down). There is something about The Mind which shouldn’t work but is almost magical when it does. I love the concept of it.

Azul is a tile-based game which was super fun. I’d like to play this again soon.

Star Wars: Destiny

The RavingLuhn sent me a copy of Star Wars: Destiny (thanks again, Joe!). Tab and I had a time with the rules. So we watched a Youtube video. The video we ended up watching was less about how to play and more about strategy. We are planning on watching the official Fantasy Flight Games video when we get a chance to play again. I like the dice mechanics. (Saving the video below for later.)

My brother-in-law and his family brought donuts over for breakfast on my birthday. We indulged in greasy goodness, conversed, and then got in the pool. They went home after the pool and we had a quiet afternoon until Tab’s parents came over that evening. I fired up the BBQ and cooked some chicken that Tab had marinated in a balsamic dressing. I then topped the chicken with cheese, tomatoes, and some avocado (except for Tab’s dad, who dislikes the green fruit). All which equaled an amazing birthday dinner.

My co-workers gave me a birthday card this year.

Getting closer to the big 4-0. Whatever that means…