Xavier wanted to play a game tonight.  Did he want to play a regular game that would be easy and over quickly?  Nope, he wanted to play Masterpiece.  Now I love that game.  The art, the bidding, the characters, and big money.  We rarely play it though.  It’s a three or more player game, it just can’t be done with two.  Even my sister and I who have made many a multi-player game into two player games (every played two-person pinochle, we have) never found a way to make this one work with just two people.  Yeah, there are three of us who would play the game, me, Xavier and Austin.  But even Xavier is a bit young to really be playing the game.  He doesn’t yet understand odds and percentages.  Although, tonight when we were playing he did show some savvy that I didn’t quite think him capable of.  He did learn to stack the forgery cards so that only one painting became worthless.  And I had been trying to tell him that adding that third value card onto a painting I already knew was a forgery was a bad idea.  But that was after buying that painting from me for $20 million.  The odds of him even breaking even were very slim, and with only two value cards $20 was the highest range it could have been at.  So he can play and he’ll pick up some strategy while we play.  Austin though, the concept is kind of over his head.  He really doesn’t understand the percentages, he can’t add up his money to know how much he has to determine if spending all of it would be a good idea, he can’t add so if the painting have more than one value card he can’t tell which one is worth more, he can’t remember what a painting is worth that he’s already seen to determine what would be a good bid, and he can be easily swayed by his older brother to do something dumb (though I’ve talked with the other brother about using his persuasion tactics to the detriment of his brother, but persuasion is part of the game.  Yeah, Austin is just a bit too young for the game.

Watching the two of my children play is interesting.  Xavier gets all excited about who he thinks is winning.  When he had a lot of money he thought he was winning.  When he saw how many paintings his brother accumulated by the end of the game he was sure Austin won.  Multiple value cards got him excited, and his high bids became outrageous.  Over all though I could tell he was starting to get a concept of the game.  To start with Austin can’t sit still.  When he wasn’t needed during the game he was practicing forward rolls, jumping or trying to stand on his head.  He never wanted to know how much money anyone had.  His bidding was erratic, buying and selling randomly.  He quite possibly had the luck to win if he had played with more strategy.

Xavier who was playing hard and trying hard to win lost, big time.  But he took it well, he is eager to play again with perhaps a refined strategy.  Austin who wasn’t really into the game came in second, and trounced Xavier.  He was devastated that I won.  And now never wants to see the game again.

What we need is to get Chase back home and teach him how to play.  Then Austin and I could team up and I could help him with some of the concepts he doesn’t totally understand at this point, and we’d still have three players/teams.

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