Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sunday 21st January 2007

Lisa, Eleanor and I went to visit Sarah, Stuart, Maisy and Henry today for a lovely Sunday lunch. Me being me I took a game along with me to see if they could be persuaded to have a go. Whilst Eleanor and Henry napped, the rest of us played Diamant. It appeared to go down well, as we had 3 games of it!

Sarah did well winning the first game with 39 jewels. Lisa was next with 17, Stuart and Maisy (who is aged 8 I should point out!) were next with 15 and Paul brought up the rear with only 8. Everyone had got to grips with the rules of the game really quickly (one of the nice things about this game).

The second game saw a reversal of fortunes. Paul won with 63 jewels, Lisa was next with 53, then Maisy with 39, Stuart with 24 and finally Sarah, the previous winner, with 22. Interestingly Mine 5 collapsed after only 2 cards were drawn... yet it was still a fairly high scoring game. In fact there were only 9 gemstones left uncollected at the end of the game; Lisa and I do not think there have ever been so few left when we have played before.

The third game was disastrous. Mines collapsed very quickly and few jewels were collected at all. However, Maisy won with 11 jewels, Sarah managed 5 and Paul had 1. Lisa and Stuart failed to collect any!

Everyone agreed it had been fun and that Diamant is a good, fun, quick game; just what was needed after Sunday lunch.

I was then persuaded, by Stuart and Maisy, to have a go at the Disney Edition of Monopoly. I agreed. I haven't played Monopoly for a few years and, to be honest, I used to quite like it. I had forgotten how long it takes to play (although that is a good discipline to instil in kids!) and how repetitive it can become.

This edition had some nice features; the pieces were weighty reproductions of Disney characters and the spaces on the board were movies rather than places. In the middle was a giant pop-up Disney-esque castle which was stunning (although it did prevent players seeing the far side of the board).

The problems started with the rule changes. For starters (this may have been a house rule set to make play easier for littlies) everyone had £5000 more than you normally start with. This meant that there was no disincentive to just buy everything you land on... your money isn't going to run out quick enough to stop you doing this.

There is a golden Tinkerbell statuette who moves on to the next property when a double is rolled. If you land on this fairy space and someone already owns the movie, then the bank pays the fine rather than the player. I quite liked this random element to begin with, but later in the game I found it annoying as it repeatedly stopped people having to mortgage property thus elongating the game. If you land on an unowned movie with Tinkerbell on it then you get the movie FOR FREE! I felt that this really didn't add anything to the game, apart from, again, making it longer. I admit I did benefit from this feature (once), but interestingly, Maisy (who won in the end) benefitted from this several times.

The stations have been replaced with modes of transport (including Mr Incredible's car..which I really like!). You can choose to 'drive' the vehicles to cut the corners off the board and go straight to the next 'vehicle' (think 'station'!) but efffectively miss a go. This meant that you could bypass expensive properties and avoid paying for landing on them. Again, this seemed good fun to start with but ends up making for a long game.

Now, I admit, I did lose! But I still think my dislike of the game is warranted. I would play it again with Maisy, because she was fun to play with and I had a good time. I would also play standard Monopoly (if required) as it might now seem quite fast! However, the rule changes made it a very long game and it reminded me of playing Monopoly years ago; it starts out being fun, but then it becomes repetitive and ultimately horribly competitive - or you get knocked out and feel obliged to spend half an hour watching everyone else slog it out. Oh the joys of childhood....

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