Boys and girls, I'm going to read you a book today. The book is titled "Tara and the the Awkward Board Game."
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Tara who worked in an office. One of the people she worked with was named Grant. Grant was a jovial character, and Tara and Grant quickly formed a work-friendship, which is to say, the type of friendship that revolves around camaraderie and telling stories to one another, but not actually spending time together outside of work. Tara and Grant seemed to be okay with this kind of relationship, and everything chugged along nicely for a long time.
Then, one day, Tara and Grant were swapping stories as usual, when Tara told Grant that, now and again, she would play boardgames. Tara said this with certainty that Grant would have no idea what she was talking about, as most people thought board games were for children, and never played them anymore. They would say things like 'Oh, like Monopoly?' when Tara told them about board games.
But Grant was different. When Tara said "I play boardgames," Grant said "I used to play boardgames too!" Tara was very shocked by this.
Grant continued. "I have this board game sitting in my house. It's an old board game, and I love it very much. It's called Samurai. I used to play it, and love it, and raise armies in feudal Japan." But then Grant got very sad. "But now I never play it. All of my friends who played with me moved away to other neighborhoods. Nobody plays Samurai anymore, or loves it, or raises armies in feudal Japan." He sighed heavily. "In fact, I want you to have it. You will probably play it! Then it will be played, and loved, and you will raise armies in feudal Japan!"
At this, Tara was very frightened. Grant really loved Samurai! What if she did not like it? Board games had changed very much since 1983, and she was not sure that a game that was good in 1983 would still be good today. But she had to take the game, or else Grant would be very sad. Not only would she have to take the game home, but she would also have to play it in order to be nice to Grant. But what if she did not like the game? What if she played it, but did not love it, and did not like raising armies in feudal Japan? What would she tell Grant then?
She took the game home. She showed it to her friend Paul, who played games with her. "Grant gave me a game," she said. "It's called Samurai. Grant used to play it, and love it, and raise armies in feudal Japan. I am worried that we will not like it." Paul was a game snob, and did not like many games.
Paul went and looked up information about the Samurai on Board Game Geek. "It's called Samurai? It sounds very similar to Kingmaker, a stupid game that I played once. I think it will stink. We will probably play it, and not love it, and hate raising armies in feudal Japan."
Tara was very worried. Paul was very picky. How could she get Paul to play this game, and love it, and raise armies in feudal Japan?
Then, suddenly, she had a brilliant idea! She would invite Grant, and they would all play the game together! Grant would teach them the way of playing Samurai, and loving it, and raising armies in feudal Japan! And Paul would like it too, as Grant's enthusiasm would be contagious.
But then she remembered something dreadful. She had never seen Grant other than at work. Oh, there were so many bad things that could go wrong if she invited Grant. What if he wouldn't want to come over? What if he smelled bad on weekends? What if Paul was right, and Samurai really was bad? What would she do then?
She became nervous, and she fretted, and she worried. But finally, she made up her mind. She would invite Grant anyway. So what if it turned out poorly? At least she had tried, and trying was all she could do.
The next day at work, Tara found Grant. "I am going to play Samurai, and love it, and raise armies in feudal Japan. "Great!" Grant said. "I am so happy that you will play it." Then, Tara continued. "But I would like you to play as well, and love it, and raise armies in feudal Japan. I think you will help my friend Paul appreciate it as well, as he is quite stodgy and not given to new things."
Grant seemed taken aback by this. "I have never seen you outside of work before. Do you smell bad on weekends?"
"Nope," Tara said. "In fact, I usually smell better on weekends, because I bike several miles to get to work, and I get much sweatier then."
"Well that's good," said Grant. I would be very sad if you smelled funny. "Do I have to know the rules?"
"No," Tara replied, "we will read them and teach them."
"Very well then," Grant said. "I will come over to your house."
The big day came, and Grant and Tara and Paul (and their friend Matthew, who hasn't appeared yet in this story for narrative reasons) all played Samurai. They played it, and loved it, and raised armies in feudal Japan. The events of fate deprived first Tara of her army, then Matthew, and finally Grant. Paul had won as the last man standing. But they all agreed, Samurai was a very good game. It was fun to play, and they loved it, and they enjoyed raising armies in feudal Japan. It was not as bad as Kingmaker. They would have to play it again sometime. And they all lived happily ever after. 6/10
And now, breaking away from that story, I also played Dixit. I am not a big party game player, but I thought I'd give it a try, as it had won the Spiel des Jahres, and got a lot of bona fide gamers excited. We played it with the Dixit 2 cards mixed in. Color me unimpressed. I like my party games to be loud and raucous, and there's just not enough of that here. It's a little too staid, and the everybody votes mechanic is very stale for me at this point. I will stick to Taboo or Pictionary for my party game fix, thank you very much. 4/10
I also got a play of Bohnanza in, after making a bit of a fuss about playing Dixit for longer than I wanted. I felt a little bad, but I wanted to play something else for the evening, and not have a bad taste in my mouth. I know Bohnanza forwards, backwards, and inside-out at this point, so there's not much to surprise me. I did manage to win, despite being the last player in a six-player game. I still suspect that the person who cashes in the most rare beans will win. But I enjoyed it. 7/10
Also played a game of Paydirt, continuing my season with Ben. We're going to finish it eventually. I'm not going to bother writing about it, as I'm sure you're more than sick of hearing about it by now. But it was fun, as always. 9/10