February 14, 2018

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Haim, Gili, Aaron, Yael, Nadine S

Fairy Tale

Jon 53, Gili 35, Aaron 32, Haim 29

We hadn’t played this in a while, so it was first play for Aaron and Haim; Gili had played once a long while ago.

It’s not the most exciting game but it’s not bad, I think. A little too much luck.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Nadine S 91, Yael 87, Jon 84, Haim 66

Second play for me, first play for everyone else. Like last time I played, I felt like I liked this less than Suburbia. Yes it has prettier tiles and none of the negative feedback, but it is less elegant and more fiddly. It requires more table space and the castles, especially the ones that stretch out thinly like the gerrymandered map of South Carolina, are fragile when you have to shift them over a few inches.

This was only Nadine S’s second real Euro (after Alien Fronteirs and not counting Catan). She started off a little overwhelmed, and maybe a little bored, but she picked it up by mid-game and played very well to victory. She and I had no downstairs. I would have done a little better but Haim stole the only downstairs room that I wanted.

Clans of Caledonia

Aaron 151, Gili 137, Nadine 124

First plays for Gili and Aaron. Everyone liked it.

Crokinole

Jon, Nadine S, Yael, Haim

We played a few rounds.

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February 07, 2018

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Haim, Elad, Yael, Gili

Nile

Elad+, Jon-, Yael, Haim, Nadine

I brought this out to see if it was as boring as I remembered, and it was. Every round you make pretty much the only sensible choice that there is to make, and if you’re lucky you get points and if you’re not you don’t. Whoopy.

Elad finished with 0,2,2,2,1 types or something like that, and I was second with 0,2,1,1,1 or something like that. Everyone else had less than 4 types.

Lewis and Clark

Elad+, Jon, Nadine

First game for Elad, second for me and Nadine. This is not Nadine’s kind of game: many different options on one turn, and no way to calculate them all, so she ends up paralyzed trying to figure out every possible point in every possible move. I just pick something that looks okay, figure out what will happen after a round or two, and go for it, and if I’m off by a move or pass up a better move then so be it; I usually do okay.

The game was closer than the last one, where I won by a large margin. This time Nadine and I were within a few rounds of winning when Elad finished.

Troyes

Gili 31, Haim 24, Yael 19

First play for Haim, and also for Yael I think.

January 31, 2018

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Yael

Bridge

Nadine and I played a few hands, taking two hands each.

Amerigo

Jon 158, Nadine 145, Yael 143

First or second play for both of them.

No one got locked out of performing any actions. The pirates were slow to attack us, and I basically ignored them. So I ended up laying a few more tiles and completing a few more islands than they did. I also had strong resources.

I leaped ahead early on, but they caught up. I won in the final scoring, so it was fairly close.

Crokinole

Yael, Jon, Nadine

We played a few rounds of this. Yael left early.

January 24, 2018

Participants:  Jon, Nadine, Nadine S, Lorenzo

First time for Nadine S. Not sure if she will return.

Alien Frontiers

Nadine S+, Nadine, Jon

First play for Nadine S, she did well, as you can see. I got the force field card, and some other cards, but I was well behind the others in ships.

Clans of Caledonia

Jon, Lorenzo, Nadine

First play for Lorenzo and me. This game is a hodge-podge of mechanics from other games, including Hansa Teutonica, Agricola, Kingdom Builder, and others. Still, it was an enjoyable balance of all of these, rather spatial in nature. The alien races special abilities were a nice touch.

I got the hang of it fairly quickly. We missed a rule or two, which really changed the nature of what we were doing. So there was that. Also, in the end, I tried to keep track of all the scores as we calculated them using tokens instead of writing down the figures, and I became confused as to whether I had scored Lorenzo or me, or both, a few times, so we don’t really know the end scores, except that Lorenzo and I were close and Nadine was about 40 points behind us.

January 17, 2018

Participants: Jon, Gili, Lorenzo

Another small game night.

Inca Empire

Jon 151, Gili 143, Lorenzo 143

First plays for Gili and Lorenzo. I got a rule  wrong (I gave the board bonuses for the cities instead of the temples). and there were several rules questions that I did not know how to answer. For instance, the card that lets you build two garrisons: in the same place or two different places? I only noticed late in the game that the wilderness road can parallel someone else’s road. And the card that removes all roads in unconquered territories is not explained well.

I started out with better income chips near me. But everyone else’s income jumped ahead of mine even before mid-game. Lorenzo and Gili were slightly ahead in victory points early on, until I pulled ahead in mid-game. By the end, as you see, they caught up greatly and we all ended pretty close.

Jan 10, 2018

Participants: Jon, Aaron, Gili

Small attendance, which is probably just as well since I was still getting over a flu.

Lewis & Clark

Jon+, Gili, Aaron

First play for Jon and Aaron. This game’s flow was unlike anything I had ever played. I thought it would play like Dominion or similar games: play cards until your hand is out and then pick up your cards and start again, giving you a sense of “rounds”. However, by adding “Indian” actions, you are able to take many, many turns, sometimes without ever playing or picking up a card. But only by picking up your cards can you make progress on the scoring track.

I began to pick up the game flow and found it pretty interesting. Once you get the hang of the flow, you realize that you have many, many options on a single turn. Luckily, the three of us were content to pick what seemed to be a generally good option on each turn. But it you are playing with analysis paralysis players, they might drag down the game examining every possible move. We’ll see.

Since we ended up NOT taking so many of the possible choices, it remains a big mystery to me what the best strategies are. Aaron also enjoyed the game, although his choice of trying to play a lot of Indian actions proved (pretty early on) to be not the best idea.

I won a few rounds ahead of the others, which appeared to be predetermined once I was the first to make it through the first mountain passes.

Among the Stars

Jon 84, Aaron 80, Gili 71 (scores approximate)

I suggested this as a mid-length game. Second play for Gili, third for Aaron. We all had decent races; Gili started with a powerful race (+1 building of every color), but failed to take advantage of it. In the end, we all ended up with one mission bonus.

Agricola

Quiet night after last week’s crowd. Jon is on vacation in Tel Aviv, checking out the board game scene there. Mazal tov to Lorenzo and Sara on their civil marriage, Sara is visiting for two weeks, looking for a job in finance.

Agricola

Nadine 42, Lorenzo 26, Sara 17

They had never played this, Lorenzo had heard about it, and a three-player game is a good opportunity to learn. Even when you understand the rules it’s a hard game. Sara didn’t want to add family members because she’d need to feed them. Lorenzo added one part-way through, then another one at the very end. He had a lot of pastures and sheep, but ended up killing them for food. He had good synergy with all his cards, and got 5 Occupations out, with a bonus for the most. Sara played the 8 point card, which meant no actions in the last round, but with two workers she only missed two actions. I had a card which gave me family growth without a room, which I played early. It caused me to lose 3 points for missing one food but helped overall.

Candle Quest

Sara 50, Nadine 41, Lorenzo 35

Sara got a lot of Sad candles as well as Dancing candles. They liked the game.