July 28, 2007

Gulf Games 2007- Day 1

by Susan Rozmiarek

We just returned from my family's favorite week of the year, Gulf Games. This small, private family-friendly game convention is held in various locations in the southern U.S. and has been our family's summer vacation for several years. This one was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee in an older hotel in downtown on the same grounds as the historical Chattanooga Choo-choo. In fact, there were actual old railway cars in use as hotel rooms for a hefty price, I'm sure. The Gulf Gamers had two large rooms to use for gaming that were separated by the hotel's narrow bar and the entrance corridor to the men's restroom. I never could quite get used to walking under the "Gentlemen" sign to get to the other room. I never tried to peek, honest!

Four airline tickets and a rental car were not in the budget this year, so we suffered through the 17 hour drive from Austin in our aging van. Fortunately, we have family in northeast Texas and were able to break the trip into a 5 hour day and a 12 hour day of driving. Except for a bizarre spell when none of the gauges worked in the van (no officer, I really don't know how fast I was going!), we had an uneventful trip and arrived in Chattanooga around 9:30 pm. We intended to drag our exhausted selves straight to our room to collapse, but we couldn't resist the lure of gaming that was already going on in one of the rooms. I LOVE when we first arrive and get to see friends that we haven't seen in a year!


This turned out be a very enjoyable, light card game that didn't tax my road-weary brain too much. There seems to be an endless supply of card games like this - simple but with a few new clever twists that require a bit of hand management. I'm always keen to discover new ones as fillers for our game days so we will certainly be seeking a copy of this. Another nice thing is that it handles up to eight players.

The goal in Olé is to get rid of your hand of cards and not take penalty chips. The cards are ranked by both color and number and you can play multiple cards on your turn as long as each beats the previous card by either rank. If you play a card that is higher in both color and number you must play another. Anytime that you can't play a card you get a penalty chip that will be negative points at the end of a hand. A round ends when either a player has run out of cards or everyone takes a penalty chip. You get negative points for chips and the numerical value of cards left in your hand. After getting dealt cards for the next round, the player in last place gets to choose which colors are ranked highest. The way this is shown on the card themselves is clever and makes it easy to see while playing. Hands equal to the number of players are played and the person with the fewest negative points wins.

Despite being too tired for a game, I had a great time playing as it was with a fun, lively group. However, we were totally done in for the night and hit the hay afterwards.

This ends my Day 1 report. Look for Day 2 shortly!

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at July 28, 2007 3:38 PM


I have Ole. We played it once before it was slammed by the meathead group. They didn't like turning the cards upside down or something like that. I'm glad you got a chance to play it. I enjoy it too.

Posted by: John Gravitt on July 29, 2007 8:05 AM

Thanks for the report on Ole. Somehow, I've missed hearing about that game, in my search for games for 7 and 8 players. I hopped over to BGG to check it out further, and it sounds like a good family game for us. If it's still available out there, it will be in the next game order.

Posted by: Gerald McDaniel on July 29, 2007 12:25 PM

John: I think I need a list of meathead approved games because I certainly can't predict what they are going to like anymore. This was just the type of game that they used to play at lunch.

Gerald: I was going to either email you or comment on your blog about Ole as I remembered that you are always looking for games that handle that many players. You beat me to it! In searching for a copy, I found it at both Boulder Games and Game Surplus.

Posted by: Susan on July 29, 2007 3:25 PM

Thanks, Susan. I appreciate you remembering me. I had also done a little search and found it at Boulder Games. Now, I need to add some other games to an order, to justify the shipping. :-)

Posted by: Gerald McDaniel on August 1, 2007 10:17 AM
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