February 22, 2017

Participants: Nadine, Jon, David, Gili, Daniel, Nati, Yael, Noa, Aaron, Aviv

Aviv is a first-time attendee who found the group through Gili.

Five Tribes

Gili 157, Aviv 156, Noa 143, Yael 140

Gili taught this to some or all of the others. Good show for Aviv.

Tzolkin

Nati 69, Aaron 61, Daniel 6

First play for Daniel (and maybe Nati). Nati write that the gods of corn were good to him. Daniel’s poor showing was due to losing points from not feeding, apparently.

Seasons

David 175, Jon 163, Nadine 131

First play for all of us. Nadine started complaining immediately when the first attack card hit her. After a while she came around a bit, but is still skeptical. David was a little better.

We played without drafting, and as a result had some unevenly powered cards. But, in the end, it all evened out. I suspect that my good show was due to my realizing early on that extra cards are not all that difficult to put into play, and so they gave me multiple benefits. But I still lost to David, who had a nifty series of card combinations that gave him 90+ points in the last round (before counting his card points). I had something like 130 points from card, but it wasn’t enough (I also was the only one maxed out in bonus actions).

It is certain hard to plan when you don’t know the cards or game flow, but I already got the gist that strategy can play a big part of the game. However, as is pointed out online, there are a few drawbacks to the game. The first is that the teeny tracking boards are wholly inadequate; cubes keep sliding around. It’s total junk. The second is that some cards are really wildly different than others; the draft at the start helps with that, but during the game you have to top deck cards. This would be far better if four or five cards from the deck were face up at any time, with bonus points added on any that remain between each season. The third is that there are up to 25 or 25 card effects in play at any time, and they are hard to keep track of. Some kind of system would help here, to. A good game board would solve problems 1 and 3, and my solution above would solve problem 2.

Lo Ra

Jon 37, David 33, Nadine 28

I hadn’t played this in a while, so I picked it out instead of R-Eco. David had no score in the first two scoring rounds. I managed to acquire the best bidding tiles by round two and used them to re-acquire each other (for the most part).

Tichu

Jon/Aaron 1120, David/Nadine 680

David lost an early Grand Tichu, but we were still neck and neck until the last two rounds. Great game.

 

Feb 15, 2017

Participants: Nadine, Jon, David, Daniel Gili

Magic: The Gathering

Jon+, David+

I don’t remember much, but I took the first game easily and David took the second with difficulty.

Among the Stars

David 78+, Jon 78-, Nadine 68

Second play for each of them. We played without special powers. They are not that impressed with the game, which is a shame. My requirements from a game go down with the playtime, and the playtime is not high here, once people are used to how to play. But I guess it’s still a little long for them.

We ended on a tie, with David having more locations.

Puerto Rico

Jon 54, David, Nadine, Gili, Daniel

First play for Daniel. Nadine and David don’t play five player too often. I was first, followed by Gili, David, Nadine, and Daniel. I took a strong building strategy, while Gili and David were feeding into each other’s shipping. Nadine and Daniel also had some shipping, but no one had anywhere near my building points. I had two large buildings, including Guild Hall, and the last large building remained unbought. I had a tobacco monopoly for a few rounds at the beginning. I also had a Small Warehouse so that I didn’t fall entirely behind in shipping: I ended with 11 shipping points, to David’s 30.

Daniel did pretty well, although we kept giving him unasked for advice (often contradictory).

Dixit

David, Jon, Nadine, Gili, Daniel

First play for Daniel. Gili gave some of her clues in Hebrew (which Daniel doesn’t speak yet).

February 08, 2017

Participants: Nadine, Jon, Riva, Elliot, Noa, Avishag, Yoshi, Gili, Daniel

First time coming for Riva and Elliot, who are new to Israel. I’m very late with this posting, so I forgot much of what happened.

Tzolkin

Riva, Noa, Nadine, Avishag

Nadine writes: We picked it quickly, before deciding who was playing or considering other games we should have chosen based on experience and interest. Riva did a good job despite not understanding a few details. Noa understood the game well and explained things to other players. Avishag was hurt the most from not understanding the game and my explanation mistakes. She started cleaning up before I wrote down the scores.

Santiago

Jon+, Eliot, Yoshi, Gili, Daniel

I brought this out of storage, having not played it for some time. Still a great game, and a good pick for new players, such as Elliot. First time for everyone else. I won by a very small amount.

R-Eco

Jon, Eliot, Yoshi, Gili, Daniel

We also played this, but I don’t remember who won (it wasn’t me).

Kramim Con

Gili drove me, Eszter and her son Binyamin to the kibbutz Friday morning. We were able to get our rooms, and other people showed up to start playing. Gili did a great job organizing the con, she has relatives on the kibbutz, located near Beer Sheva, easier to get to than the Kinneret.

Mombasa

Gili and I joined Roi and someone else to play this. I had played with Roi and Eszter at Kinneretcon, first play for Gili and the other player, Roi is experienced and won again by around 80 points. I came in second again, but Gili was close. I did a bit better than last time, but still missed a lot. You need to make all the right moves, and many of them are competitive. I made a lot of travel moves at the end to help red, where I was ahead, but it didn’t net that much. Roi made it to the end or close to the end of two tracks. I didn’t do bookkeeping at all, and sold several cards for money without buying enough, so second to last round I only played three cards instead of the four I finally managed to qualify for on the jewel track. We all liked the game.

R-Eco

I played with Eszter and Binyamin right before Shabbat. Eszter liked the game but had never played, which amazed me, and Gili when she heard.

I also played with another group, including the guy who asked me to bring the game because he wanted to try it. They all liked it as a good strategic filler.

Dominion

We picked a set from the list in the original game, but then modified it, replacing cards we didn’t like. We all went through tons of cards, with Market and Village. Three players; I did well but lost by one point, 37 to 36.

Sushi Go

Eszter and I played a series of light games with others. I had heard of Sushi Go and how popular it is, and wanted to try it. This was the Sushi Go Party! expansion, which includes the base game, very nice art and components. It took us a while to get the correct cards. It’s a light drafting game with simple scoring. Seems too light as a game.

Kingdomino

Eszter also played. The only game of this type, tile placement, that I like. It’s quick with a small area, and very simple but still fun. I even won.

Panic Lab  

Eszter also played. A pretty party game too complicated for me.

Happy Salmon  

Eszter had wanted people to play this, it’s good for a group. It’s fun and fast, you try to get rid of your deck of cards by finding another player with the same card, you need to perform the card action to eliminate both your cards. Actions are fist bumping, high five, switch places and arm pats.

Fruit Mix

A set collection and memory game. Eszter also played, Binyamin won.

Secret Hitler

I didn’t want to play this because of the name and the deception mechanic, but agreed to play because Eszter really wanted to even thought it’s hard to believe she has a game with that name. Roi didn’t want to play either but joined to try it out. Others including Binyamin were also playing. There are two teams, Liberals and Fascists. The Fascists know who they are and who Hitler is, but Hitler doesn’t know who is on his team. If the Hitler player is voted in as Chancellor the Fascists win, which they did, partly because Eszter was one and is experienced at the game.

Puerto Rico

I taught this to a new player, one of the other players had played a few times. Then a fifth player joined us, my LHO, he said he usually plays 3 player, sometimes with 4. I wasn’t sure of some details, like colonist and VP counts for 5, and number of goods which as it turned out we were missing a corn. The rules weren’t in the box, so LHO looked up the information online, not restrained by Shabbat. I was first player, started with Setter corn, got 4 corns pretty early, and the boats seemed OK so I took a harbor first. With no trade goods or quarries, it took me a long time to get a Wharf, which I barely needed. One time I missed production due to 7 on the corn boat, and it had taken a long time to get enough colonists. My LHO had a coffee monopoly, I had coffee but didn’t build the building. He traded and built a lot, he ended the game with three large buildings, one unmanned. He said I’d win, I of course said he would, and I was right. He had 7 shipping points, I had 29, but no buildings or bonuses. He had 40, I had 37.

Saturday

Takenoto

We wanted a short light game, I played this last time, very cute. Eszter also played. I triggered the end game which lets the other players have one more turn. I had 28 points, I told Zoya that if she got 5 points she’d beat me. She managed to play a 5 point card, so we thought she won. But then someone pointed out that the end game card I received gave me an additional 2 points, so I won.

I played again later with Gili, we modified the rules a bit, but the kids are game players and liked it with the ganan and hapanda.

Voyages of Marco Polo

I played this at bgg.con, and taught it to people including Roi at Kinneretcon, but got a travel rule wrong because I never travel in the game. Gili and I have been playing online with David, and Gili wanted to play on the actual board to understand the game better, she said it helped. Yovel also played, his first time. I usually just do contracts, which doesn’t work against good players who travel and also do contracts. I had the character who doesn’t need to pay to place on top of previous players, Gili picked first and took the one who starts in Beijing, Yuval could jump from one oasis to another, and Roi had two travelers. I went third so had more money to compensate, and didn’t have to pay for placement. I had money, so I started by traveling instead of doing contracts. The second travel location bonus was an additional travel step which facilitated travel. So I got to the small city which had the three points per round bonus first round. I traveled a bit more and got good bonuses and placement options, including the dice for gold, which Yovel also had, but only used last round. I also did contracts, which were easier for me because of my character. Somehow I got far ahead, and ended up winning. For the first time I got points from my travel bonus cards, I had 3 cities, the other was close but too hard to get to. I had around 80 points, Gili and Roi around 50. Roi said he liked the game less this time, Gili said it helped her a lot with how it works. We all agreed that my character was much stronger than the others in the game, and possibly all of them.

Carto

I was waiting for this to be set up. During set up I started Gili and her niece and nephew on Takenodo, but didn’t finish explaining it because the Carto explanation started. As soon as I understood the main mechanic which sounded abstract and spatial, I left to play Takenoto with Gili and the kids.

Hawaii

Roi wanted a new game, so I taught this to him, Zoya and Yovel. After one round Shabbat was out, and even though people had planned on staying and playing afterwards, everyone ended up leaving. I haven’t played Hawaii in long time, Gili likes it borrowed it. We play sometimes on Yucata.

Eszter played real Ra, Isle of Skye and Blood Rage which she likes and won, and Terraforming Mars. She was ahead the whole game, and had a lot of money to buy cards, but no cards that would help her turned up. Someone else said there’s no control in the early rounds.

Binyamin played Isle of Skye, Cash ‘n’ Guns, Carto, Opera, Nadlan B’Katan (For Sale), Brick Party.

Gili played Ticket to Ride and Settlers with her relatives, Cash ‘n’ Guns, Nadlan B’Katan (For Sale).

The game Above and Below looks interesting, about growing plants, but you can also build buildings underground. In Brick Party pairs compete to build with actual Legos based on an image on a card. One partner builds without seeing the picture, the other gives the instructions. The image is just the outside shape without showing the bricks, I don’t think I could build from that, much less direct someone else.

We were helping a group playing Five Tribes, I discovered they had played completely wrong, they were only using tile actions if they put a camel on it. The guy who had told them didn’t want to believe me, he said that’s how he’s always played.

February 01, 2017

Participants: Jon, David, Elad, Nadine, Gili, Daniel, Saarya

First visit by Daniel, welcome. Saarya, my son, decided to join us for a game.

Magic: The Gathering

David+++, Jon

David and I drafted as usual. I actually didn’t draft a terrible deck, or, rather, my deck was not so terrible that I didn’t think it could compete with whatever terrible deck that David drafted. I had some larger spells and some X spells, so I added one more land than usual. However, I also had a pretty even distribution between my three colors RWG, rather than my usual 2 colors and a splash of a third.

We played three games, and I drew only two of my three types of lands in all three of them (a different two each time). In the first two games I also drew far less mana than I usually do, which was strange. David didn’t draw a lot of mana in the first game either (despite having 20 lands out of 40 cards), but I also had color screw. But I lost all three games.

Two-Player Cribbage

David+, Jon

David wanted to try this one again, and he handily won the single round we were able to play.

Slap Deck

David 63, Jon, Daniel, Elad

First play for Daniel and possibly Elad. David toasted everyone.

Age of Industry

Jon 46, Daniel 45, David 43, Saarya 41

First play for Daniel and Saarya, second for David. I think it is one of the better games I got recently, being clean and somewhat elegant. I very much wanted to play this again. I was sure David would like it once he got to know it better. Unfortunately, it wasn’t too successful.

Everyone thought there was too much calculation and downtime between turns. They didn’t feel that they could plan their turns while others took their turns. In addition, it took most of the game for people to remember the placement rules. The game rounds certainly went faster near the end, and people were planning their turns during other players’ turns near the end, but the damage was already done.

Saarya took a coal monopoly on the US board. There was a bit of confusion about overbuilding ships and ships that come into play and resupplying the coal market. But I think we did okay. I still enjoy the game, but I’m not sure I will be able to get others to play it. Nadine and Gili think the game is too dry.

Five Tribes

Nadine 158, Elad 132, Gili 113

First play for Elad. Gili had the djinn that let her buy tiles with meeples on them. On the last turn, Elad got 32 points – 18 money with three servants, and 2 cards worth 20 points. And he went last.

Notre Dame

Gili 59, Nadine 49, Elad 47

First play for Elad. Gili went to Notre Dame twice on each of the last two rounds. Nadine was the only one there on the first round.

Dixit Codenames

many …

Saarya was willing to play Codenames, but preferred the picture variety. We don’t have Codename Pictures, so we played with Dixit cards. These take up a large area on the table and they are a little hard to see upside down, so people kept coming to the other side of the tale to look. And it’s perhaps harder to make connections between the desired cards without overlapping the undesired cards since there is so much to say about each card.

I gave some terrible clues, but everyone had a good time.

January 25, 2017

Participants: Jon, David, Haim Gurov (1), Nadine, Gili, Nati, Preston, Elad, Haim Ginsburg (2), Shira

Haim and Shira usually can’t come Wed nights, but found time to join us tonight.

Magic: The Gathering

David+, Jon

David continues his winning streak. I drafted a deck with many flyers and a scant amount of delaying and creature control. David drafted big creatures and a scant amount of direct damage. I was hampered during the game by lack of the right mana, and not quite enough of it. Possibly I may have been able to win the second game, but we didn’t have much time left before the others would arrive.

For Sale

Haim Gu 65, David 64, Jon 63, Nadine 49

First play for Haim Gu, and the others hadn’t played in a while. It’s a pretty quick game. Nadine’s strategy during the first phase was to always bid unless she was out of money. Haim’s strategy during the second phase was to play his houses in order from least to most expensive.

Suburbia

David 136, Jon 110, Preston 75

Second play for David, first for Preston. We played through the first phase, by which point I was ahead in income and behind in population. David was looking unsatisfied with his progress, and asked to restart, which we were all willing to do.

This time David shot ahead in income and basically smoked us throughout the game.He captured the tile that keeps his reputation from dropping on the population track, and he also captured two out of the three public bonuses. He didn’t get his hidden bonus – both of us did, and they were each worth 20 points – but, as you can see, that didn’t matter.

At the end, they both said they liked it.

Troyes

Haim Gu 37, Gili 37, Elad 27, Nati 24

First play for some of them.

Trajan

Shira 129, Nadine 105, Haim Gi 102

First play for Shira and Haim. Good job, Shira.

2-Player Pinochle

David+, Jon

I taught this to David, struggling to remember the rules which I was getting confused with Honeymoon Bridge. Eventually I figured them out, and we played two hands. David won the first hand by a small amount and the second one by a larger amount.

Dixit Odyssey + expansions

David+, Jon, Nadine, Haim Gi, Shira

Something to do as the evening closes. David and I ended up in front, at 31 points each. We played one more round and David scored an extra point.

January 18, 2017

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili, Elad, Ofer

Welcome to new attendee Ofer.

No Thanks

Gili+, Elad, Jon, Nadine, Ofer

First play for Ofer. Gili decided to take the second card which was adjacent to the first card that I took. Later on, Elad decided to take a card which was adjacent to another one of my cards. Apparently we’ve become a more aggressive game club. 🙂

For the last card, Gili calculated everyone’s score in order to determine if it was safe to simply take the card (it was).

Age of Empires III

Jon 90, Elad 76, Ofer 65, Nadine 63, Gili 48

First play for Elad and Ofer, first play in a long while for Nadine. Again, the play was pretty aggressive, although we had no soldiers in the new world until turn 6 or so, but then we had 4 warfares every turn (for three turns), most by Ofer.

This game is designed a little unbalanced toward money and buildings, in my opinion. Admittedly the design would work better if warfare and combat were easier and more worthwhile. It should be easier to get soldiers into the new world. Whomever controls a region should have an additional resource of the region’s type. Warfare should be a bit more flexible and less costly.

Anyhoo. Elad cornered the early commodities and then managed to win 7 out of 8 merchant ships. After his third one, it was no longer any use fighting for them. I think he had a merchant and captain every round. He had the highest income, and had no problem getting the “4 points for every merchant ship” building, but he had almost no points from the new world. Gili sacrificed herself to take the “steal money from each player equal to your merchant ships” building before Elad could, even though she had no merchant ships. I had one, and would have been willing to take it myself for the modest gain it would have given me, but she decided to keep it away from both of us.

Meanwhile, I was doing okay in the new world, but so were others. I was slightly outclassed in the new world, and Elad slightly outclassed me in building and income points, but since I had both new world ad buildings – and no one else did – I ended up ahead. It was hard to see that until the end. However, Gili apparently saw it, because she attacked every first place region I had on the board. I still came in second in many regions.

Everyone except for Gili failed their last discovery by a single native.

The game took about 3.5 hours, including explanation.