#FamilyFriday #Boardgame Discovery – Santorini (@roxleygames, 2016)

Mrs. RMN and I were out shopping post-Christmas and passed a pop-up Christmas location for a chain with huge banners proclaiming everything on sale at 50% off. We walked in and took a look around. I found a copy of Santorini (Roxley Games, 2016) on the shelf and, having recently seen something about it, went ahead and purchased it.

Mrs. RMN was very interested in Santorini and wondered if it might be suitable for use by her elementary-age students. So that evening we tried the game. You have to understand that Mrs. RMN likes using boardgames (and other educational games) for her students but she is often very reluctant to play them socially with the family. I guessed long ago that Mrs. RMN likes abstract strategy games; she previously professed a liking of Qwirkle (Midware, 2006) and Blokus (Educational Insights, 2000) but a recent attempt to play Patchwork (Mayfair, 2014) was a failure. Late in the year she enjoyed two new-to-us games, NMBR 9 (Abacuspiele, 2017) and Layers (Happy Baobab, 2018) which was a change for her.

After a quick set up I explained the beginner game of Santorini to her. She was doubtful but played against me anyway. At one point in the game she paused and stared at the board, not talking, for a long time.

A very long time.

Several silent minutes passed.

I was very worried.

Then it clicked. Then she beat me. Then she declared a new favorite game.

After our (several) plays, I explained to her the option of using the “God Power” cards in Santorini for some asymmetrical play. She flat-out refused to use them in our games preferring to keep our plays simple straight-up matches. That’s OK; I’d rather have her comfortable playing a game than forcing her into something she does not enjoy.

BTW, when we bought Santorini there was a second copy still on the shelf. Recognizing a good game and a good deal, we went back and snagged that copy for her “Shelf of Giving.” Some lucky family will be getting a copy sometime in the future!

Mrs. RMN’s “Shelf of Giving” stock

#Coronapocalypse #Boardgaming #FirstImpression – Summer starts early with Azul: Summer Pavilion (nextmovegames.com, 2019)

I guess I got lucky in that I got an order from Miniatures Market in before the #Coronapocalypse shutdown kicked in really hard. Although I am a Grognard wargamer, I also want to play family boardgames. As much as the RockyMountainNavy family plays games, Mrs. RMN is a reluctant gamer. Sure, she encourages others to play, but she is reluctant to play herself. So I decided to try a new game that would (hopefully) attract her to the table.

The game I settled upon is Azul: Summer Pavilion (Next Move Games, 2019). Why Azul? Well, it aligns well with her (limited) gaming interests:

  • It’s colorful
  • It’s an abstract game (Qwirkle is a favorite)
  • It’s easy to learn.

To date I have had limited success. I have yet to get Mrs. RMN to play even though we are now being detained¬†ordered by the Governor to Stay at Home. However, the RMN Boys and I have played a few times. Our general reaction is that the game is more “thinky” than we expected. If your fellow gamers are prone to Analysis Paralysis this may NOT be the game to bring to the table if time is essential to you. I mean, the game is not hard to learn (the rules are rather simple) but the choices to make can be challenging. If you are really into puzzle games then Azul: Summer Pavilion will be right up your alley.

I have not given up yet on Mrs. RMN. I think that once she plays she will enjoy the game. Even if she doesn’t, the game is a good candidate for her older students. The ease of learning in many ways makes this a gateway game, however the strategy challenges makes it a lite-medium weight game.

Regardless of Mrs RMN plays, Azul: Summer Pavilion will stay on the gaming shelf (and table) in our Medium Gateway category.