Olympic Games In The Office

Some ideas for running a games session in the office, inspired by the Olympic games

Now that the 2012 Olympic Games have started and interest / enthusiasm for the games is increasing I thought I would offer some ideas for games you might choose to use in the office as a bit of fun. Some of the following we have already used in a very successful lunch time session last Friday.

My aim was to bring people together from across the organisation and from every level for a fun relaxing session. It was less about competition and more about laughter. Importantly each game took no more than 30 seconds to explain. Having a wide selection of games I had a few to choose from however there is a link at the end of the article that will take you to a pack of games ideas produced by the Friends of the Elderly.

Games in a Pub - 22nd July

A trip to Tokyo plus more paranoia

As I was returning from our holiday in Greece Oliver took over duties as scribe for the group whilst Martin was the man behind the camera.

I (Oliver) was running late and found that the game was just being set up for a round of PanicStation when I got there. Great - paranoia all round, please! I forget who arrived after me (it may have been Simon) but we got down to a run-through of the rules, and then we were off.
Panic Station - The players

Review – Zozzle

2 -4 Players, Aged 4+ with a 15 minute playing time

The guys at Zoch Verlag kindly provided 4 review copies of their memory puzzle game Zozzle (the Kinder or young children's versions).
Zozzle - Kapt'n Red Jake, the box artwork
Of their most recent batch of games these were the ones I was least looking forward to and it has to be said I was very pleasantly surprised.

What follows is an overview of the game broken down into 5 sections: The Game Components, Setting Up The GameHow To Play The GameWhat Did We Think? and finally Who Do We Think Will Like It?. So if you don't want to read the whole review scan down to the heading that interests you.

Match Report - 9th July

Time is short so herewith the briefest of match reports.

We met, we played games and we ate some delicious and very impressive munchies!
Games played included, Geistesblitz 2.0 (although there is no photographic evidence)

Review – Da ist der Wurm drin

2 to 4 Players, Aged 4+ with a 15 minute playing time

A first time game design by a mother (Carmen Kleinert ) and daughter combination, stunningly illustrated by    Heidemarie Rüttinger and kindly provided for review by the guys at Zoch Verlag.
Da ist der Wurm drin - The box artwork
With an age range of 4+ this is at the younger end of the family games spectrum. Perhaps surprisingly it hasn’t been rated as 6+ for fear of confused / immature 4 year olds putting the cardboard pieces in their mouths and chocking!

Da ist der Wurm drin - The author Carmen Kleinert with the Kinderspiel des Jahres awardAnyway the game went down a storm last year in Germany winning the 2011 Kinderspiel des Jahres   Award for childrens’ games. The game offers players a simple race between earth worms who want to be the first to poke their heads out of the compost heap at the end of the garden, made more interesting by:

a. The beautiful and colourful artwork.

b. The hidden movement – they are earth worms after all.

c. The ability to place bets on whose worm is doing best.

What follows is an overview of the game broken down into 5 sections: The Game Components, Setting Up The GameHow To Play The GameWhat Did We Think? and finally Who Do We Think Will Like It?. So if you don't want to read the whole review scan down to the heading that interests you.

Games in a Pub - 8th July 2012

Another crack at Power Grid: The First Sparks plus the paranoia of Panic Station

We gathered on Sunday evening having had some discussion before hand on Facebook about alternative games. The possibilities come down to Eketop, Power Grid: The First Sparks and a late entrant Panic Station.

As we sat down to play the decision went to giving Power Grid: The First Sparks another chance, our previous effort recorded here. Setting up the game was exponentially quicker than last time, although still required us to delve into the sepia like rules to clarify a number of points. Not an easy thing with the rules written in a six point font and the pubs dim lighting. However once we got going the game, with six of us, sped along at a reasonable pace and saw Simon’s clansmen sadly wander from hunting ground to hunting ground in an effort to find FOOD (the currency of the game), an unhappy time for the tribe.
Power Grid: The First Sparks - The game board and clansmen
The rest of us were broadly more successful gathering berries and hunting bears and mammoths to the point that within the hour my woad clan were poised to demonstrate their manifest superiority over Martin’s little red clan men (Martin having responded to my previous post stating that he didn’t think it possible that I would win the next game – a clear challenge to the manhood of the woad tribe). As it turned out I had forgotten about the perfidious Oliver and his black tribe. This meant that as my tribe headed to their traditional berry bushes (which in the previous season had yielded a rich harvest for them) they discovered that locusts had descended and the bushes were bare. This rich harvest that was rightfully mine (or so I would like to have seen it) had been stolen by Oliver’s black clad locust tribe and to add insult to injury the few berries he left had been taken by Martin’s veracious red clan!

Review – Alles Kanone! and Alles Tomate!

2-8 Players, Aged 6+ with a 15 minute playing time

Review copies of Alles Kanone! and Alles Tomate!, designed by Reiner Knizia, were kindly provided by Zoch Verlag.
The artwork from the Alles Kanone! box
These are two identical games, in terms of game play, that offer younger children a simple memory game with colourful artwork on the themes of farming, Alles Tomate!, and pirates Alles Kanone!.

The initial version of this game Alles Tomate! won an award from the magazine Spielen und Lernen in 2008 in the 6 years and up category (they have 4 categories ,"from 3-years old"; "from 6-years old" and "from 9-years old" and in one category for unreleased games) whilst Alles Kanone! was released earlier this year.

The Deutscher Lernspielpre award aims to promote the culture of educational games in German-speaking countries and highlight particularly good games for children. It seeks to promote playful learning to a wider audience, so that educational gaming is recognized as an essential building block in the development of children in all age groups; with the bi-product of heightening the social status of gaming. Whilst it is a German award it is promoting something that I think would be of interest to all parents.

What follows is an overview of the game broken down into 5 sections: The Game Components, Setting Up The Game, How To Play The Game, What Did We Think? and finally Who Do We Think Will Like It?. So if you don't want to read the whole review scan down to the heading that interests you.

Match Report - 2nd July 2012

The games group goes on summer tour!

With enthusiasm running high in Daniella’s household she took the brave step of inviting the group to descend on her home for Monday night gathering. As luck would have it we had a large (for us at least) turnout totalling 11 + Merlin, the dog not the wizard!

Travelling through an English Summer evening, this should conjure images of warmth, bird song and the smell of flowers in bloom. Instead the reality was heavy rain and wind, however like the wise men we came bearing gifts - MUNCHIES!
Bohnanza - The players
With Daniella midway through refitting her kitchen she had just enough space to accommodate us all. Crispin lead a game of Bohnanza at one end of the table with me leading two games of Niagara at the other end and Daniella / Leonie leading a game of Pirate's Cove on the other table.

Short Review - Elasund: The First City of Catan

A game by the designer Klaus Teuber of Settlers of Catan fame but a game with a very different feel.

What led us to get the game?

Elasund: The First City of Catan - The box artwork
Settlers of Catan, designed by Klaus Teuber, and winner of the Spiel des Jahres was the first euro game we bought as a couple. We knew very little about games at the time and it was too early for it to have garnered the reputation it would go onto achieve as the classic gateway game; it is so long ago that I cannot remember where we bought it or even what led us to buy it. What I do know is that we have had a lot of fun with it playing with friends and family over the years and the birth of the first cloned sheep in 1996 (named Dolly) coinciding with a particular game where one of our godsons produced absolutely HUGE numbers of sheep has meant that for us the sheep will always be Dollies!
Elasund: The First City of Catan - Some of the larger neutral buildings
Elasund is designed by Klaus Teuber and subtitled the First City of Catan being just one of the games and franchise opportunities spawned following the success of Settlers of Catan. With its heritage and being a tile laying building game (a type of game I really like) it was perhaps not surprising that this game would appear on my wish list. My limited investigations indicated that it offered a similar mechanism to its parent and so was likely to have a similar universal appeal, thus when it appeared on ebay and I put in a bid and on this occasion won.