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The Saturday after Thanksgiving is our kickoff for the holiday party season. Jill’s family (the Curry’s) and another (the Waitt’s) have a tradition dating back more than 20 years (25? 30?). Originally, the two families gathered on Christmas eve but over the years as the children grew to adulthood, married and had kids of their own, it became more and more difficult to get together near Christmas. These days, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is reserved for this party. Every year, 40 to 50 people ranging from a few months to many decades gather at the home of Jill’s parents. We talk, we eat, Santa shows up and all the kids receive a couple of small gifts.

This year was no different. We arrived about 6pm and we snacked until everyone arrived. After dinner, Santa showed up and passed out presents to all the good boys and girls. Jill and I were able to catch up with folks we see only a couple of times a year and sometimes only at this party. I’m not a big fan of large gatherings so I stuffed the pockets of my jacket with games — the big one held Havoc and in the smaller two I had Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper and a prototype of Tres Amigos that KC gave me at BGG.con.

After Santa left, a few people started playing Euchre. I mentioned I had a new game that was interesting and several folks at the table wanted to hear about it. After some discussion, I taught Dawn, Mike and Adrianne (Jill’s sister’s family) and our friend Fred how to play Havoc. We played two games of a shorter, 6 battle version. There was a lot of activity going on around us so it did take longer for everyone to get the hang of the game but by the second game, everyone started clicking with the game and enjoyed playing. Fred, who teaches middle school, indicated he was interested in purchasing several copies to start a gaming club at school.

Jill and I have taught Havoc to more than 10 people in the last 3 weeks and everyone has thought well of the game. We’ve taught it to gamers, non-gamers and everyone in between. Regardless, anyone that plays enjoys the game. I don’t know if that will translate into sales for Havoc but it certainly speaks well of its general appeal.