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Daphne's Birthday Party
8 January 2000

Photos Daphnes Birthday Pictures

As we do every year, this year to celebrate Daphne's birthday, we held an all day gaming party. People were encouraged to show up at any time between 1:00pm and 11:00pm. The group played continuous games, each game lasting between one and two hours, giving everyone a chance to try a number of games.

Most of the games were contributed by the Goulds and the Brooks, with a few other guests bringing a favorite game or two. This groups games were primarily German board games as distinguished from the more common American parlor games. But there were some more irreverent card games in the mix as well.

People came and went all day long. At dinner, which is the only time that I counted (so I knew how much pizza to buy), we had just shy of 30 adults and kids. But more suprising was how long most people stayed. At 9:00pm when we normally start playing the Great Dalmuti with the last 6- 8 guests, we still have twice that many people playing games.

As always, I took a lot of pictures for your enjoyment. But this year, I also asked people to contribute their own thoughts to the following party journal.

Party Journal

Joel: we were going to have mini hotdogs like we do at most of our parties but we have no power cord for our hot tray. We used the hot tray at the Meek's Christmas party and the cord got misplaced. Scott thinks he knows where the cord is but we decided not to risk it for today. [Ed: Scott did bring the cord]

Joel: The party has not even started and I am already concerned that we will run out of root beer in the first few minutes. It seems the kids have discovered it.

First game of the party – Settlers
Daphne requested the "pure" version. I agree that it's the best. – Liz

Joel: the Settlers game was interesting. Both Liz and I went for the upgrade strategy (rock and wheat squares) since there was almost no brick. The brick deficit hindered early development until the upgrades kicked in. At 30 minutes, both Liz and I were within striking distance of the end but it took another half-hour to get that last few points. Nat and Daphne never got developed and instead played spoiler.

About "Falling": As I dealt the cards out in a steady stream, I was overcome by a rush of adrenaline. Not since my rock climbing days has the fear of hitting the ground with an audible "splat" so enlivened my life. Amazingly, the dealer isn't even playing. I fear that if I actually play, I will collapse into a quivering heap. A good, fast, insane game.

Mari: What a wonderful game Ursuppe is. Where else can you sit with people you don't know for an hour and talk about eating and pooping?

Dean: The basic rule of this journal is to read one item and write one item. No, wait a minute, … it's read them all and them erase them … well, I'd better not play that one. Let's say the goal is fun and food. I've got that! I win.

Dan: The food and cake were wonderful. I've never seen such a stack of games as the Goulds had here tonight. Happy Birthday Daphne!

Chuck: After the shootout at checkpoint 1 (see photo) [ed: Robo Rally], we discovered that death was a pretty good strategy, as shutting down just took a long time. With this many robots, two straight-forward hands gets you way out in front. Enough to shutdown before navigating the tricky conveyor belts. I've never played with that many robots before, it was pretty cool.

Kate: Boy it felt great to win that "Anaconda" poker game and split the pot with Daphne. I knew I had a good chance of winning the high hand when immediately I got a full house Kings/Queens!

Laura: Being here for the first year has been both a relaxing and exhilarating experience. Relaxing because our kids aren't here, and exhilarating because I love playing games regardless of the outcome (although I did win one).

Bart: I played Laura (of Laura and Chuck) in this new game of exploration cards (gee I'm not doing well – I don't' know the name of the game [ed: Lost Cities] or my opponent's last name [ed: Ingold] …). I won the first and she won the next two. It's kind of fun. Good for when your brain is fried, though also at other times. I was in on that Ursuppe game with Mari, Ellen, and Laura. I guess I gave Laura the winning tip to edge me out by one point. Lots of fiddly little pieces…

Peter: I played Castle Risk, which is one of my favorite games (even though I have only played it here at a Gould's game party). Unfortunately, I was the first and second person taken out of the game (after I lost the first time I took over my son's position and was immediately taken out a second time ?). A two time loser, but it was still fun!

Jessica: I played my dad Peter, my brother Stephen, Chuck, and Ken in Castle Risk, a game slightly like Risk, but not really, where boats can be used to attack coastal provinces occupied by your opponents. It was a very long game. Finally, Ken, Chuck, and I were left, and since Ken has by far the most armies and provinces, Chuck and I decided to only attack him, not waste time on killing each other off. It was only a matter of time before Ken finished us off, or so we thought. After a series of stunning roles of the dice by Chuck, Chuck defeated Ken's pieces that were attacking him, though the numbers were originally Ken: 40 something armies, Chuck: about 20 armies. The attacks with the dice in this game are the same as those in Risk. After that, I made my move, clearing out 2 of Ken's countries before going after his castle. I had about 35 armies and he had about 25, but I was amazed when I gained control of his castle and the opportunity to control all of his provinces. Chuck then forfeited, seeing as I had 40 something armies on the board and he had about 10. Also, my numbers would grow much faster than his would. So, a 12 year-old girl won this game!

Ellen: So Joel tells me I have to write something here. This was fun. I'd really rather stay longer. I don't get nearly as many opportunities to spend time playing games as I'd like, but I need to go off to tool.

Joel: I introduced the group to one of our newest games, Tikal. This is an amusing game about exploration in the jungles looking for buried temples and treasures. Liz won the game but I came in a close second. (You can see the final score in this picture of the end game. Liz is black and I am red.) Steve and Linda also had a great time.

Scott: We played Stadte and Ritter (Cities and Knights) which is a Settler's expansion. We call it "Settlers on Steroids". It adds a number of interesting complications to the basic game. I won. :-)

Joel: about Stadte and Ritter. I am not sure I like this Settlers variant. The original Settlers game is very elegant and this version is just, well, complicated. I can't really say that I dislike it; I think that it has potential. You just can't think of it as Settlers the way Seafarers is a variant of Settlers. It would also help if the cards were in English. :-)

Jonathan: Mostly played some of the new card games. Fluxx doesn't seem to have much long- term strategy, but Steve was in stitches. Lost Cities is pretty tricky.

Linda: A Fluxx of rules passed me as I was Falling in a Dog Eat Dog world. Steve and I looked for the lost city twice. I thought I had him the second time, and he STILL beat me by 2 points. All in all, I'd fall for this party any time.

Bart: Joel got 5 of us to play El Grande, about gaining influence in Spain. Anthony, Peter, and Daniell played too. I ended up edging Daniell out by 2 points. Only Joel had played before, and he said he hadn't ever won. What did I do? A little bit of instinct amid a lot of confusion and some good luck.

Dan: Curse you Bart! You have beaten me this time, but I will play you again soon. And this time I will destroy you!

Joel: Five of us played El Grande, four newbies and me. Although I had never won before, I had played so I assumed that I had an advantage. But not only did I lose, I came in last. Oh well, I guess its time to try again. Also after three short games we should try the longer game to see how it plays.

Cyd: I played Fluxx, which I had played before (and really like because of the chaos factor). I also played Falling, which was new to me (and chaotic in a different way than Fluxx, but also a hoot). Then, although it was getting late, we broke Dog-eat-Dog out of its wrapper. Although we did our best to rape and pollute the environment to fatten our Swiss bank accounts (and for the good of consumers everywhere, of course), Nat actually won through aggressive recycling. Well, he was President of Waste Mismanagement Inc, after all. This game's maiden test-drive progressed a little slowly, but everyone who played had fun and agreed that the game has potential. I hope the Birthday Girl had as much fun as we did.

Chuck: Found Fluxx weird, then hated it, wait, No! Ok it's a great game that changes too much.

Ken: My natural position at Great Delmuti has been proven to be Lesser Peon after many trials. Castle Risk was great, my first time, until I lost the game by insufficient defense. A game party is a great way to celebrate a birthday.

Jim: I experienced the highs and lows of the Great Dalmuti. The food and the company were good too. Happy Birthday Daphne!

Dan: I experienced the lows and everyone left just as I started to experience the highs. You were right to run in fear! Laugh at a Peon, will you! Next time I will destroy you all!

Joel: Interestingly enough the most popular game of the day, based on the number of games played, would have to be Lost Cities. This is unusual because Lost Cities is a two person game. I suspect that some of reasons that Lost Cities was so popular was that there were three different sets at the party and people found it easier to find one free person to play rather than the necessary 3 or more to play a larger game. But mostly I think that people just liked Lost Cities. It was short but fun.

Joel: If there was a surprise hit at the party, it was the card came Falling. This very silly game where players who have fallen out of an airplane race to see who will hit the ground last by playing their cards as fast as they can, seems unusual for this crowd of people. Yet, it was played over and over again and Dean ended up leaving his deck of cards when he went home so we could keep playing. After the party, Daphne said that she wanted me to buy her Falling.

This web page (http://www.gouldhome.com/DaphnesBirthday.html) was last updated on January 08, 2000. For any comments or suggestions about the site contact Daphne Gould. Contents copyright © 1999-2003 by Joel and Daphne Gould.