Every year we host an all-day gaming party in honor of Daphne's birthday. The party runs from 1pm until 11pm, and people are free to come and go according to their own busy social calendars. While here, we strongly encourage people to break into small groups and play any of the multitudes of games people bring to the party.
This year was our biggest gaming party ever. Here is how I know. First, we already had enough people for three games by 2pm. Normally it takes while to build up critical mass. Then, in the early evening we ran out of chairs for everyone. Finally, we still had enough people at 11pm for two games of Great Dalmuti plus one game of Quest. I am not sure why this year was so popular, although I know a number of people who came by just to say hello as I work on my search for a new job.
Daphne wanted to play Settlers (The Settlers of Catan) and she did, three times. She also got to play Falling and The Great Dalmuti.
I bought three new games for Daphne for her birthday. We played Schotten-Totten before the party started because it is a two person game. During the party, we tried Aladdin's Dragons, but the introductory version was not that interesting. Later a number of groups played the full version and seemed to enjoy it. I also bought Ohne Furcht und Adel for Daphne, and although she did not get to play it, I did and the game was very interesting. Two and half out of three, not bad.
This year we did not remember to get the house cleaners to come before the party so we had to do it ourselves. The kids (especially Ben) had trouble with the list of pre-party chores but we got the house looking good before the first guests arrived.
A lot of ex-Dragon (and soon to be ex-Dragon) people came by to talk about the future, but I was mostly interested in playing games so I will have to get back to them later. (For those who don't know, Lernout & Hauspie bought my old company, Dragon Systems, in the middle of 2000. Lernout & Hauspie then proceeded to go into Chapter 11 under a cloud of fraud and creative accounting.)
Anyway, the party was great and lots of games were played. I asked a few people to contribute to a party journal, which follows. You should also check out the pictures I took during the party.
Joel: Well, the night before the party we got a snowstorm. 3" on the ground when we woke up and still snowing. Oh, well, we added shoveling to the list of chores for this morning. At least it makes everything look pretty.
Joel: I bought Daphne 3 new games for her birthday. This morning we played Schotten-Totten, a two-person card game by the designer of Lost Cities. The game was fun, a little like Lost Cities but with more thought involved. I let Daphne win, but I will get her next time.
Amos: we arrived late but c- is still at home. We arrived at 1:50pm.
Joel: We played the introduction version of Aladdin's Dragons, a new game I bought for Daphne. The group consensus was that the basic game is not very interesting. We are hoping that when you add the advanced, magic, rules it gets better.
Joel: Wow, only 2:00pm and we already have 15 adults for three games.
Ben: I am a kid. Therefore I play no games. But candy is good!! CANDY CANDY CANDY
Dean: Ach so! Ich bin eine meister-siedler. The game started slowly - I was supposed to be brick and wood meister, but for some reason people kept blocking my production by placing the Ritter and stealing my cards. Eventually I was able to escape. (Ed: The Settlers of Catan)
Joel: 4pm, 21 adults, 5 games in progress; kids are quiet watching a movie in the basement.
Dean: Today's my lucky day. I won Egyptian Settlers (Ed: Die Siedler von Catan: Historische Szenarien: Alexander der Grosse & Cheops). Strange game.
C---: I won Aladdin's Dragons because I wasn't distracted by the Jewels.
Steve and Linda K: Linda won the first game of Schotten-Totten partly because Steve didn't know how hard it was to put together a straight flush. Linda foolishly showed him that it was easier than he had thought, so he won the second game after playing through the whole deck. Fun game.
Nat: Java, by the designers of Tikal, is both very engrossing and a bit too persnickety. At its core, it's a tile playing game in which you "develop" virgin territory in the heart of Java. Tiles can be played on top of each other, and are of different sizes, leading to interesting terrain. The goal is to have your developer pawns as high as possible in each "city", and then create palaces and hold festivals to gain fame. This game was a birthday present to Liz, but I beat her anyway. I guess I just don't get this husbanding thing, eh?
Joel: Java has potential. It reminds me of Tigris and Euphrates with its depth of play. But the game is just too long and people take way to long to make their moves.
Jim: Tasty dip! Good munchies.
Laura: Falling, Falling, Falling "What does grab do? No, give him another, Watch out, here comes the ground!!!" Splat, Splat, Splat, Splat, Splat .....OK, let's do it AGAIN !!!!!! (Ed: Falling)
Dean: I'm obligated again to make an entry in this journal. My streetcar (just barely) made it through its inaugural route first. (Ed: Streetcar)
Tani: Got a special permission to come eat Pizza without playing. Those games are way too complicated for me - as I expected. But seeing the old friends was as nice as I expected. Happy Birthday, Daphne!
C---: We played Settlers Alexander the Great (Ed: Die Siedler von Catan: Historische Szenarien: Alexander der Grosse & Cheops). It wasn't actually that different, except you could bid on city spots. The reason I won was I remembered that in the beginning of the game you have to spend all your resources on resource production. Also no one else realized that the marginal cost of a settlement is 8 cards (think 2 roads and a settlement) of exactly the right type so bidding 10 of any resource is not that much.
Bart. I've played a 5-person Merchant of Venus and 5-person Streetcar. Liked 'em both, though short games like Streetcar are more to my taste these days. It's interesting now that I've left Dragon to see people gathering here - seems like one of the biggest parties ever.
Judy and Mike: Good time. Thanks for the invite. Liked the games in German, good excuse for losing.
Sue: I played Aladdin's Dragons, I'm in Charge in the White House (a Nat B. game), and Quest (Ed: Quests of the Round Table). Aladdin's Dragons is not bad with the magic cards. Nat's game has potential, especially if he adds some cool graphics and more gimmicks. None seemed quite as intense as the games we played when we were all younger. It's almost time to leave and I haven't had a chance to talk to the guest of honor so Happy Birthday, Daphne, if I don't get to give you my wishes in person.
Chuck: I am amazed to find myself writing the entry for Torres, since I got stomped when Joel brought it into the office, as I recall. We only had 5 castles by mistake, so the scores were really high, in the 270s. All the castles were packed and by the middle of year 2, we were hard pressed to find a way to raise our scores.
Chuck (again): By the way, I feel obligated to point out that an honorary "game of the evening" should go to Corporate Shuffle in absentia. I've never enjoyed swapping business cards and speculating about new technologies at a party before.
Malte: First game of Merchant of Venus. Somehow won by pure luck (getting three relicts in a row was helping a lot esp. if you could jump around and change your roll results).
Ted: Learned and played Ohne Furcht und Adel ("Without Fear or Nobility", or something like that) and had a wonderful time... great game, stealing from people when you don't really know from whom you're stealing! Daphne has impeccable taste in single malts, with a great recommendation of the double barrel Balvenie.
Liz: Great Dalmute is a great game to play while you're asleep. It's been a great party.
Fabulous as always! We'll see you at the next one. Mari & Jonathan
Ben again: Its 11:00. And I am still a kid! 2 hours staying up. 2 HOURS 2 HOURS 2 HOURS
dcp: Thank's for inviting me. I had never played any of these games. See you next time.
Ted: and in the end... the love you take is equal to the love.... you make :)
Dwp: "Boy is this a cheesy keyboard. What are they paying you at L&H anyway?"
This web page (http://www.gouldhome.com/DaphnesBirthday01.html) was last updated on January 06, 2001.
For any comments or suggestions about the site contact Daphne Gould.
Contents copyright © 1999-2003 by Joel and Daphne Gould.