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  • Writer's pictureJames

Three games I Had to Get in 2021

We have dinner each Sunday night with my father-in-law and many nights are spent scrolling on cell phones instead of associating with one another. Recently we have been trying to combat this by playing a game from time to time but the challenge is to make sure the game is quick, easy to explain, and learn as you go. There were three games this year that attracted me so much that I had to buy them and try them out. Two of these games fit the bill and one did not, but I still enjoyed playing it.

The End of Summer SaltCon 2021 was my first gaming convention and my first opportunity to play games with people I had not met before. I enjoyed the time I spent learning and teaching others how to play games at the Meeple Nation tables. I also got to meet the group Herriman Utah Gamer Gals (HUGG) just before SaltCon and had a great time with them. These ladies also signed up for some of the games with us at the convention and in between games we played other games at other tables. One of them showed me The Crew and taught me how to play it.

The Crew the Quest for Planet Nine is a cooperative play, trick taking game that takes place in space and the goal of the players is to complete missions together in given challenge sequences. Communication is restricted to a green disk, when the mission allows, that is placed on a card indicating whether it is your highest, lowest, or only card of a color. I like how easy it is to progress through each mission and each one gets progressively more difficult as you play through them. Some of them require some serious thinking to succeed in the challenges. Inevitably, we end up bending a rule here or there, but we have fun and that is the real goal anyways.

I play with Nathan’s Thursday night game group, and sometimes we need a fast game while waiting for others to show up. Ohanami is great because it is fast and doesn’t require much time to learn. You draft cards to your 3 gardens and place the numbered cards in numerical sequence from high to low. Points are scored based on the color of your cards in your garden and certain colors are worth more in later rounds. I have played this game quite a few times this year too. I have had the opportunity to show others to play this last summer and it was fun to see that they enjoyed it as much as I did.

My wife and I did the On The Trail Shop Hop (a quilt shop free for all) this summer and I got to go fishing in some great places in Wyoming and Idaho along the way. We like to play games together if we remember to take them. I was scrolling through Tik Tok and ran across a review for Calico, a quitting themed game. My wife is a quilter so I knew she would love it and gave it to her as an early Christmas present because this year I thought she would like to play with our family at our Thanksgiving dinner. We were going to have a small group so it was perfect. The only problem was that this game has a bit of a learning curve. We were not able to explain the game enough to get it played before everyone began feeling tired. We still played later that night and I liked this game too. You have to match tiles that have patterns and colors to get extra points by attaching buttons or attracting cats, known as Quilt Inspectors (QI’s) in the quilting world. You get cats by matching their pattern sequence and attach buttons for matching the 3 of the same colors.

One interesting thing about Calico is if you just think of it as purchasing points for making the pattern matches the theme isn’t needed. I had a cat (brown grey tabby) in my game whose colors matched my own cat so I kept trying to get him. My first time through I don’t usually do very well because I have to figure out how the strategy works. There is a limited amount of moves as you play to complete your quilt so you need to plan on what you think will win you enough points based on your goals. My initial thought is that you make more points attracting cats and attaching buttons of different colors rather than the fixed goals on the tile board. I will have to play more to try this out and see how it goes. The name is off with the cover art too because it is not a calico cat nor are any of the fabric pattern tiles a calico print, but none of that takes anything away from how good of a game I thought this was.

I am looking forward to playing each of these games more and bringing Calico with us when we go on our Quilt Shop Hops and fishing trips next year in 2022.

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