August 24, 2016

Participants: Jon, Gili, Ido, Netanel, Estzer

Gili hosted last week. They played Hawaii: David 147, Gili 109, Aharon 92, Nisan 71, Netanel 68. First play for Aharon (a new player), Nisan, and Netanel. They let David take 5 sword bonuses. Nisan aimed for a complete tiki/kahuna grid, but David’s well-planned row earned 30 points. Also, mid-game points, such as first and second place scoring each round were also worth a lot.

This week’s new player is Ido.

Glen More

Jon 51, Netanel 48, Gili 42, Ido 38

New to Netanel and Ido, Gili had played once (?) a long time ago. Netanel basically liked the game, but wasn’t happy that there was nothing to do on your turn, which could be a long time coming (especially when others take a while on their turns). He felt like he was losing, but he racked up a slew of points on his last turn, which netted him second place.

Ido took the tile that let him activate any one tile each round, and he did a lot of butchering. Still, he didn’t have enough men and production/money to do everything he wanted. I usually take a lot of early villages, but this time I played more balanced. I also almost never take distilleries, but I took one and used it to grand effect, especially since neither Ido nor Netanel had any barrels. The rest was just keeping a small edge in points. Gili and I ended with 15 tiles each to Netanel’s and Ido’s 12.

Notre Dame

Ido 64, Jon 60, Gili 45, Netanel 42, Estzer 42

First play for Netanel and Ido, and I think Estzer hadn’t played too many times. I usually go straight for 2 park cubes and victory point cubes, but Gili denied me the park cards early on and then the victory point cards later. I took early cubes and money, moving a cube over to Park at the end of round three. Everyone else also had 2 parks early on, but Gili lost hers at the end of round 5 or 6. Netanel gained 4 parks in round 7. Gili started with an early lead and some nice points, but then stalled mid-game when she lost her park bonus.

Gili and I can’t remember who did Notre Dame in phase 1 (which I ignored), but I managed to get there in the next two phases.

Since Gili denied me the victory point cards I wanted at the end, instead I created sections with three points each (park and hospital), which both prevented the rats from attacking me and also gave me 3 areas with 3 cubes each, for almost as many points. Unfortunately, Ido also had three areas with three cubes each, also was protected from rats, and also was earning a few more points than I was because of his double park bonus.

Gili is hosting next week, as well.

August 10, 2016

Participants: Jon, Gili, David, Nadine, Aaron, Sheur, Nitzan, Eyal, Eitan

Welcome back Gili after her vacation. Also nice to see Eyal and Nitzan return. Eitan is my roommate who does not yet play games, but may someday. But he plays Chess.

Pirate’s Attack

Shneur+, Gili

Gili was given two games from Israeli game companies to review on her Hebrew video review series. This was one of them. The other had cubes.

Slap Deck

Nitzan++, Eyal, Jon

I taught this to both of them. Nitzan is a fan of speed games, and she did very well, winning both games.

Troyes

Gili 44, Nadine 28, Shneur 28, David 22

I didn’t see how this played, but at one point Gili was getting only a single die to play with and she needed to use it to combat the black cards. And yet she seems to have handily won. Nadine: First play for Shneur who caught on well, Gili was first player which is an avantage. Many dice were bought or stolen which hurt David and me more than the others.

Age of Empires III

Eyal 103, Jon 100, Aaron 89, Nitzan 76

Aaron requested to play this. First play for Eyal and Nitzan. Aaron was under the impression that this would take a long time to teach, but it didn’t. It took 2.5 hours to play, however. Partly that was because Aaron analyzed every possible move before each play, and – since they were new players – often helped Eyal and Nitzan to do the same. I did a bit of this, too; at one point. I twice argued that it was better for other players to help themselves – and help me – rather than block both of us, since this would move us both forward. However, at some point it is best to let people just play and learn, or you end up playing for them. With all of his analysis, Aaron still made a few mistakes. He also failed in his first discovery attempt, which hurt.

Aaron started with the first building, which was the “gain $20 and therefore effectively buy two more buildings” building. He also got first crack at everything else, and then he got the “$5/round” building round 3. It was his game to lose, which he managed to. He was the first to put soldiers on the board, but his territory was outmatched by Eyal who had buildings giving him a free missionary every round and an extra colonist for each missionary. Aaron’s income was on par with Eyal’s, but he had few discoveries.

I was excelling in discoveries and buildings, and I was second to Eyal in board points, but his income was far better; I always bought a building when I wanted to, but his extra points on the board and extra points for income outclassed my extra points for discoveries/buildings. Just barely.

Chess

Eitan++, Shneur

Eitan is always willing to play Chess. He apparently easily outclassed Sheur in a series of games.

San Juan

David 37, Nadine 34, Gili 33

They stuck to the base cards. David ended the game with 9 production buildings, Library, Guild Hall, and something else.

August 03, 2016

Participants: Jon, David, Avi, Yedidya, Nadine, Yael, Nisan, Or, Aaron, Shneur

Tichu

David/Avi, Jon/Yedidya, Nadine

Played at the beginning and end of the evenings. I played two hands at the beginning, calling Tichu both times – the second time I was going to call Tichu anyway, but I was passed the 1 and a straight flush bomb. At the end of the evening, I played two hands where David called Tichu both times – and I had a bomb both times. He had his own bomb in the first hand and made his Tichu. In the second, I bombed and got my partner out, and then I was able to finesse him to go out second.

Magic: The Gathering

David++, Jon

David and I both drafted weak hands. David was very unlucky with his mana in the first game, but lucky with his cards anyway. In the second game we both had mana, but he had the stronger deck. I never drew any of my creature control.

Colt Express

Avi 3250, Yael 2500, Nadine 2200, Yedidya 500

Glen More

Jon 35, Avi 34, Yael ???

First play for Avi and Yael. Although I knew the rules, I sometimes interpreted the castle cards incorrectly and had to go back on them. This usually made no difference, but Yael got the one that doubled her chieftain score, which apparently doubles her chieftains, not her chieftain’s scores. So while she ended with 45, she really had 33, BUT she would have bought a different card instead and won anyway.

Avi had no chieftains and I had no whiskey barrels. Yael had, by far, the most castles.

Notre Dame

David 70, Nadine 64, Yedidya 35

First play for Yedidya.

Nefarious

Or 20, Nisan 17, Shneur 17, Aaron 16

Or won with Secret Lair (1/invention with 7 inventions) and an earlier one which allowed her to play 4 minions for free.

Twists: Start with $20. Research gives 2 cards, but each invention forces you to discard a card.

Princes of Florence

Or 59, Aaron 50, Shneur 49, Nisan 48

Nisan writes: First play for everyone except Nisan. I like teaching the game and making sure that all players understand it well enough to win. To that end, clearly I did a fine job..🙂

Even with the men’s various mistakes (Nisan’s cost him 7 points, for example, because he missed his prestige card), Or won handily.

Or had three builders and on turn six earned nine points for third builder and two buildings. The next turn she played two profession cards for 18 WV each and had 8 WV bonus points earning her the best work for that round. So in the last two rounds she earned 33 prestige points.

Everyone enjoyed the game, and what was most important is that no one got shut out from victory by round three. Cheapest auctions: twice Jesters went for 200 (round 1 and 7), builder went for 200 in round 6, prestige and recruiters went for 200 in rounds 4 and 3 respectively.

July 27, 2016

Participants: Jon, David, Nadine, Nisan, Yael, Roman, Avi, Yedidya, Francis

Yael is the only one of the new players who showed up again, although a few said they would come. Avi brought his friend Yedidya again.

7 Wonders

Yael+, David, Jon, Avi, Yedidya

I left my scores at home (where I am currently not). First play for everyone except for me, which surprised me. Everyone liked it.

My monument was military, and I ended up playing military which I usually don’t, since competition by a neighbor can make your investment in the cards useless. I ended with military and blue cards. Yedidya had the science monument, but didn’t build any science. He also had some blue cards. He also was discovered to have accidentally built the same blue card twice (which would have been mine); he had to discard it for 3 coins.

Yael had the “play one discarded card for free” monument, which netted her 6 points at the end of the game. She also had strong military and science. David had the “build one card each phase for free” monument, which he used in phases 2 and 3. He had nice purple cards and 3 matching science cards. Avi had the “free resource” monument, and also had strong science, but he had -6 in military score.

Vegas Showdown

Roman 39, Nadine 38, Francis 36, Nisan 36

Nadine writes: First play for Francis. Everyone enjoyed the game. Roman went first with an income-centric strategy and the rest of us used a mix-and-match.

Nisan would have won and I would have done better if I hadn’t mistakenly paid 18 for the High Rollers room. I didn’t notice that I didn’t have the prerequisite required to place it, while Nisan did. I never got the prerequisite so I never place the HR room. We redrew one card combination, where two cards [gave contradictory changes to income and we couldn’t decide how to resolve them]. Francis was the only one who completed all three [bonuses for hotel, casino, and connection], but it wasn’t enough to overcome my big victory point buildings or Roman’s most income and diamond bonuses. Nisan didn’t get any completion bonuses. I accelerated the game end when I had the chance to choose a stack.

Homesteaders

Avi 54, Jon 53, Nadine 52

I suffered from not buying the gold mine, that each of them both bought. I bought a copper mine a round or two later, but it’s really not as useful, since you need two trade chips to use it for anything else. Everyone was shy trade chips.

I had the most buildings, but Avi got the one that gave 1 point per building. At the end, we thought Nadine had won with 55 points, and then we remembered her 3 points in debt, which took her from first to last by a point either way.

Slap Deck

David, Jon, Yedidya, Yael

Avi, Nadine, Jon

We played a few games each. In the first set, David and I both pulled off winning piles. In the second set, all three of us won one game each.

Lord of Waterdeep

David 153, Roman 151, Nisan 130, Yedidya 89

David writes: Nisan and Roman were both badly hurt by Yedidya, who used his first place position to take the first place position as his first move each round, [which essentially made David who played after him the first place player for the entire game, and Roman the third place player for the entire game].

Nisan writes: True. First place for Yedidya who did not truly capitalize on going first most rounds. He also went last with the lieutenant for a few rounds. Nisan and Yedidya had piety Lords, while Nisan and Roman had arcana.

Nisan was in the lead for round 2-7 with the most missions completed. In the last two rounds, David completed 25 and 20 point missions, and Roman completed a 25 point mission of his own. Everyone enjoyed the game, I think.

 

 

July 20, 2016

Participants: Jon, David, Mace, Nisan, Nadine, Or, Eyal, Nitzan, Boaz, Yael, Roman

Last week’s session was at Gili’s, with Estzer and Heidi, a visitor from the US. I was unavailable (at a lecture on games and manuscripts by Stephen Jacobs from the Strong Institute of Play). This week had a whole host of new players sent over by Gili, or who found the site on FB. Welcome everyone. Also, Mace is briefly in Israel and dropped by; hi Mace!

Lords of Waterdeep

Mace 204, Nisan 156, Yael 135

First play for Yael and Mace. Nisan writes: Yael was stuck with her Lord being for warfare/arcana, where Nisan had warfare and Mace had arcana. Mace completed a commerce plot quest giving him +2 points for each completed commerce quest, and had about seven at the end of the game. Similarly, the buildings he bought gave him +2 points per use and were used regularly for the last few rounds.

Nisan completed both 25 point warfare and piety quests. Yael completed some mid-worth quests and ended up with 17 unused cubes at the end of the game. Everyone enjoyed the game.

Alien Frontiers

Or (won), Nitzan, Eyal

First play for everyone. I taught the game and yelled answers to their questions while I played at the next table. Everyone like it, I believe.

Mr. Jack

Or+ (criminal), Boaz (police)

Boaz arrived late and had to wait around. First play for both of them.

Parade

Boaz and Yael lost with 26 points each. Mace won with 15 points. David had 21 and Jon had 22 (if I recall correctly).

Merkator

Jon 48, David 44, Roman 42, Nadine 37

First play for David and Roman, first multiplayer play (and third play) for Nadine and Jon. I think we played all the rules correctly this time around, and we found the game more balanced and worked correctly. We played without the random tossing of goods (which is a stated variant; randomly tossing goods is a Bad Mechanic). David enjoyed it and wanted to play it again.

I, on the other hand, feel that the game substituted complex calculations for tactics/strategy; and there is very little in the way of strategy. Just because it’s hard to calculate doesn’t make it a good tactical game. It’s decisions that matter, not analysis paralysis.  Our game took quite a while to play.

I won with the most buildings, which was not a big surprise. We may have overvalued the bonus cards at the beginning and David, being fourth player, was concerned that he wouldn’t get any as they could all be bought before it was his turn; in fact, Roman who went first bought five of them. They are not game changing cards; still, I think a limit of one per turn, or how many you can buy altogether, or at least a larger deck of them would be nice.

July 6, 2016

Participants: Jon, David, Avi, Yedidya, Nadine, Dan, Netanel, Nisan

Dan is a gamer/designer from Boston who kindly brought me his game Producer, which we didn’t get a chance to play. I hope to get it to the table sometime in the next few weeks. Netanel is also a newcomer. Yedidya is a nephew (?) of David’s who had come once before.

Parade

Yedidya 20, David 21, Jon 24, Avi 47

First play for Yedidya, who won. David only took cards on his last two turns. Yedidya had the most cards, all worth 1 point each.

Five Tribes

Nadine 165, David 148, Netanel 128, Dan 120

First play for Dan and Netanel. They apparently played with rather good djinns. Nadine writes: Dan had the djinn that let him put the camel on spaces with meeples. I had 6 cards but paid a lot for them, didn’t take money, or pay for turn order. I had 9 yellow meeples and got the djinn that gives 3 points per yellow meeple. David took money a few times and he had a lot at the end and a set of resource cards. Netanel placed all of his camels except for one. Dan and Netanel liked the game.

Amyitis

Jon 57, Avi 54, Nisan 51, Yedidya 32

First play for all but me. We played with my rule that you can buy any action for 3 coins. Yedidya seemed to not really play the game: with few exceptions, he made one or two actions each turn and then just collected coins. At least he could use all his collected money on the last turn (owing to my rule), but it wasn’t nearly enough to catch up.

I usually go for third level in blue, but I usually come in second place, too, so I opted to only go for second level blue this time and instead start early on the reds. This is the first time that I ever collected all the red cards; Avi took one and Yedidya took one late in the game, but basically no one competed with me for them. So that was 31 points. I also eked out 3 tiles for the 5 point bonus.

Avi had the most tiles and the 10 point bonus. Nisan had third level in caravans, but neither any blue or red cards. Nisan said that it was ok, but not as good as Castles of Burgundy and so forth.

 

June 30, 2016

Participants: Jon, David, Avi, Nadine, Nisan, Alan

We say good bye to Alan, who is moving to Petach Tikve and so won’t be around for the foreseeable future.

Love Letter

Nadine+, Avi

Nadine was left with the Princess.

David+, Avi+, Nadine

Lords of Waterdeep

Alan 145, Avi 128, Nisan 126

I usually play without the Mandatory Quests, because they are too powerful and too annoying. Nisan was used to that, so he was surprised when one was played on him, because he thought they were out of the game. They agreed to remove them at that point, I believe. Alan is not as opposed to them. Alan and Nisan kept giving each other intrigue card benefits.

Both Avi and Alan built buildings early; Nisan only built one in round 7. Alan completed 7 quests, Nisan 6, and Avi 5.

Nefarious

Nisan 20, Avi 19, Alan

Nisan had three minions on research and won on a round where both of the other players played research. The twists were Stolen Goods (other players lose $2 when you play an invention) and Perpetual Motion (play two actions each round).

Inca Empire

First play for David, second or third for Nadine, fourth or fifth for me. Nadine thinks she should be bad at the game, since it has routes, but the routes are not so much the point as is the optimizing from round to round. Strategy plays a part; not as much as tactics, but good strategy AND tactics is better.

I took a small early lead, so David played bad cards on me and good cards on him and Nadine, until and even after it was clear that Nadine was winning from the board position. Too late.

Two phases left until the end of the game, and Nadine was ahead 69 to me at 65, and David at 56. But she was already locked into more points per round than either of us and it wasn’t likely to change; perhaps I could have caught up a bit, but she was probably still going to win.

We abandoned the game because Nisan and Alan had left leaving Avi with nothing to do. Nadine: And Tichu is more fun.

Tichu

Avi/Nadine 1060, Jon/David 840

David and I apparently suck at getting the actual card points during the game, because even when we make Tichus we still end up with less points. On the first round, Avi called Tichu and then I did, and I made mine. Score: 90 us, 10 them. The next round we were even again, and we stayed even until the penultimate round, usually within 10-20 points of each other. They then both went out first to clinch the game.

Nadine: On the last round, David was down to three cards; Jon and I hadn’t played yet. Jon thought for a long time about calling Tichu and finally decided, rightly, not to. I thought about calling as I played my Dragon, but wasn’t going to because David’s three cards would be a threat to me whereas they wouldn’t have been to Jon, but Avi encouraged me so I did, fortunately. I had three pairs and my first bomb of the night; David played two Kings to beat all my pairs and would have gone out, but I bombed him and was able to go out. Jon ended up with the dog and a five.

I had only one bomb during the game (David had several), and my bomb was a straight card flush opposite my partner’s Tichu. I also had the Dog. And I still went out last.