How to Pass The Time In Hospital – Part 1

A quick recovery, an unexpected delay and 5 games!

My long suffering and increasingly active game playing wife had to have an operation on her left foot last Saturday resulting in lots of holes, stitches, bruising and, very unpleasantly for her VERY squeamish husband, 3 pins sticking out the end of her toes! On the upside for me she cannot get out so I have a willing captive with whom to play games.

The operation went well and by 2pm Gwen was: fed and watered, expert with the crutches, dressed and waiting for the surgeon to visit and give her the all clear to go home. Frustratingly, he finally arrived well after 6pm meaning we had four hours to kill in a hospital room; thankfully I had thrown two games in the back of the car for just such an eventuality.
San Juan - A game in hospital

We started with San Juan (a gift from Tim on my trip to STABCON last summer - thanks again Tim). This is a simple and relatively fast card game where players seek to build up the optimal set of plantations, commercial and monumental buildings. More importantly it can just about fit onto one of those wheelie tables found at the side of hospital beds.

I had hoped that as well as fixing her foot the medical staff might have injected her with some magical ‘losing serum’ (regular readers will know that Gwen wins most of the games we play together), sadly this was not the case she beat me – strike one to Gwen!

Next we moved onto Roll Through The Ages a game we find plays well over a coffee break as it takes about 15 / 20 minutes. It has some similarities to Civilisation and Yahtzee i.e. it is about building up cities, developments and monuments but via throwing a dice for each city and recoding your results on a wooden peg board and a paper control sheet. However, unlike Civilisation it does not take 10 hours and fits nicely onto the aforementioned table. Strike two to Gwen – oh dear.
Roll Through The Ages - A game in hospital

After tea and biscuits we moved back to San Juan and had a further three games, our frustration with the absence of the surgeon mitigated only by the relief that I had thought to throw some games into the car.

For those with an interest in such things I did finally managed to beat her on the fourth and final game – although she claims that she thought she’d better let me win as she needed me to look after her through the coming weeks!

Having an operation and spending time in hospital must rank pretty low in most people’s list of things to do and places to be, but as they say every cloud has a silver lining. Spending time with your wife is always a good thing but I doubt our gaming experience is representative of many in the same situation where reading or watching 4 hours of telly would likely be the norm.

The post is entitled Part 1 as Gwen has to return for the other foot to be done two weeks after the first and I fancy we may end up playing a game or two in her hospital room again – but what?

As a postscript with Gwen’s limited mobility and to stop her climbing the walls with boredom we have already played 2 games of Ra (disappointing as a two player game), two more games of San Juan (I won both!) and I have found the two player rules for Puerto Rico (the original game on which San Juan is based).

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