Despite being a young man now, and taller than me by a good four or five inches. Nath will always be my little boy.
I have plenty of memories of him as a little one. From the time he threw up on me and laughed afterwards when he was but a baby, or when he read to his mum and me for the first time, or our walks up Welsh and English mountains, or swimming in swimming holes in the Brecon Beacons, to us watching the whole of Prison Break together one Summer.
But how much does Nath remember of those times? Does he see them as good times?
I love video games, I grew up playing them. As I aged and grew, so did video games, we grew up together. Not surprisingly Nath too is into video games. And for a while on our visits we’d play a couple of Nath’s favourite games, FIFA and Call of Duty. Two games I hardly play. So I was nothing more than a more random opponent for Nath to beat up on.
But I wanted our time together to be a higher quality. And that’s how I got back into playing board games after an obligatory long gap. I started getting games that played well for two players that would both interest Nath and myself.
Last night after making that first Vlog (I’m sorry if you watched it for stealing three minutes of your life you won’t ever get back), doing that washing up and cooking tea, we sat down and played some games.
We started off with 7 Wonders Duels. The first game went to me when I grabbed a military win. After recording the victory in the app I use to track my plays, I decided to try out the apps social media sharing abilities. So the world at large got to hear of my win.
We played a second game. This time I was trying for a science win, but also doing well on the military front. Nath had been building up a mass of blue victory point cards. If it got to victory points I’d have no chance. It was all down to the third age. Nath managed to block my science path to victory. It was down to the military route for me. But that too proved to be another dead end when Nath got rid of what was to be the last military card. It was down to counting victory points. Nath had a massive 41 points on blue alone. I had nothing to answer back with. In the end my final score was less than this opening score for Nath. I was well and truly schooled.
Our next game was The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction. Time to teach Nath how to build an atomic bomb! This is such a quick and easy game to teach, and quick to pick up. Nath played this game abit more aggressively than my previous opponents. Instead of drawing cards when he had the cards that allowed you to draw more cards, he mostly used their other ability to force me to discard cards instead. An interesting tactical decision that paid off. Nath won both games we played. The second game he destroyed me. I had scored a three point bomb, and I only made it to 4.5 points thanks to my uranium!
Our third and final game that we played was Odin’s Ravens. Once again a fairly simple game to teach, and easy to learn. Our first game I won. But it was like my game with Jonathan at the weekend, if I hadn’t won that turn, Nath would have on his next turn. Our second game Nath romped home with some great plays of his Loki cards. I was at best 3/4 of the way home, at least two turns card wise from finishing.
Our limited time together on visits is I feel of a higher quality now, more social. I’m hoping these visits and our time together playing games are giving new memories. So that in years to come Nath will look back on our time together as adults with fondness, and remembering the time he played 15 cards in one go to wipe out my health and get the win with a smile as he does the same to his own kid.