Board Games

Since I was a kid, I have played computer games. I really loved games like Civilization (Civ 4 is my favorite, after the classic Civ 1, of course), SimCity, Dune 2, and other strategy and 4X games. These days, I love Cities in Motion, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me, and about which I’ll write about another day. On my iPad, I really enjoy Ticket to Ride, which also shouldn’t surprise anyone, as well as San Juan (which I started playing while I was in Puerto Rico). However, I have never been into board games much, other than the occasional ultra-competitive games of Risk in my university days. I would guess that part of the reason that I never played many board games is that when I was in high school, the big thing at the time was Magic: The Gathering, and I’ve never been into Fantasy; I was always a science-fiction guy, Star Trek and so on, not Dungeons and Dragons. 

In any case, a few months ago we got The Kids of Carcassonne for the family, and we enjoy playing it together with the boys. As a consequence, I’ve started looking at other games that we could get, such as Catan Junior, which I plan on buying soon. I’d also love to try some of the other big games out there, such as 7 Wonders, Amerigo, or the Castles of Burgudy, but the problem is that most of the time, it’s just me and my wife and the boys here at home, so we don’t have anyone else that we can play with, and for many of these games, they recommend 3 or 4 players.

So with that in mind, I am asking you, my readers, for suggestions of board games (other than Hasbro-type games like Monopoly or Risk that I already own and know well) that would be good for the whole family (fun for my 4 year old and 7 year old boys, without boring the adults), as well as games that can play well with just 2 players (for me and my wife). For example, I’ve heard that Pandemic is a good one for 2 players. So, what say you? What games should I go out and buy?

Jetpack at the Beach

Other than the annual Grand Meetups, every team or subteam at Automattic is able to get together a few times a year to work on a project, and to solidify the the bonds between the team members. At the beginning of November, I went to San Juan, Puerto Rico, with the Jetpack Pit Crew (the developers, Tim, George, Miguel, Ben, Dave) and the Happiness Engineers that answer Jetpack support requests these days (me, Jeremy, Carolyn, Ryan, Karen and Deborah), and special guests Andrew, Nikolay and Konstantin. We worked on a couple of important projects: reworking some aspects of the modules page in everyone’s Jetpack installation, and a complete reworking of the Jetpack support pages to make it easier for people to find the information they need when they have a question about a Jetpack module.

But, no meetup is complete without some activities as well! We went to the warm-water beach every day, several times a day; it was a 30 second walk to it and it was hot and humid all week, so who can blame us! 🙂 We also explored Old San Juan a bit and El Morro, went for a walk in a mountain forest and a swim in the Charco Azul (which wasn’t so Azul that day; since it had rained on and off all week, the water was freezing and filled with sediment), and on our last day there, we went snorkeling around reefs from a catamaran! I’d never been snorkeling before, and without my glasses I couldn’t see much anyway, so I ditched the snorkel and wore my prescription swimming goggles (yes, those exist!), which made the day much more enjoyable. Of course, the open bar (rum punch!) on the catamaran helped quench my thirst after swimming in all that salt water. 😉

Jetpack Ocean Party

More pictures below!

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