Lag B’Omer

We had to keep all the windows closed due to smoke outside from the holiday bonfires.

Love Letter

Haim won two games to my one, then Gili arrived and won a game. We stopped playing the next game when Lorenzo arrived, I guessed Gili’s card at the beginning so she was already out.

Puerto Rico

Lorenzo 17 40 5 62, Gili 22 28 7 57, Nadine 21 22 12 54, Haim 18 21 6 45 (Buildings, Shipping, Bonus, Total)

Haim wants to keep playing this until he understands it better, rather than learning new games all the time. Gili doesn’t usually like it, but said she hadn’t played in a long time so was willing to try, and afterwards said she liked it better this time. I went first, then Haim, then Gili, then Lorenzo. The game is always fun and interesting. Gili had wharf and factory and produced all goods except sugar. Lorenzo had wharf and harbor and a coffee monopoly for most of the game, he got a lot of points from the harbor. I had factory and two large buildings, the others had one. Haim had large market and large warehouse by the end, but no storage most of the game.

Lo Ra

Lorenzo 32, Haim 25, Nadine 17, Gili 16

Lorenzo did well with tribes, and got the ark, Gili had most baskets til the last round.

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Airports

Suburbia

Jon 122, Nadine 97, Haim 82, Nadine S 78

I got points from the most airports goal, same as last time I played. Jon is really good at the planning for this game, I don’t find it very interesting / or the planning is too hard. Nadine S and I were competing for the most contiguous lakes.

Tichu

First play for Nadine S. We stopped before finishing.

More 5-player PR

Puerto Rico

Nadine 34 17 8 59, Jon 20 23 13 56.10, Aaron 28 17 5 56.5, Nadine S 22 17 7 46, Haim 27 13 0 40  (Buildings, Shipping, Bonus, Total)

5-player Puerto Rico again, and I won again, and not on a tie, after last time seeming like a fluke. Seating: Jon, Nadine, Haim, Aaron, Nadine S. Beforehand Haim switched places with me because Jon said second is the worst position; Jon offered to switch but I said I want to win as second. He gave the least experienced players corn. I had factory, wharf, 3 corns, 1 indigo, 1 tobacco behind Jon, and managed to get Customs House. Jon had 2 big buildings including Guild Hall.

Tichu

Aaron Nadine 1000+, Jon Haim 505

We had much better cards and won in a few rounds.

Passover Games Day 5778

A busy games day, with most people staying the whole time. Thanks to those who came early and stayed late to help with set-up and clean-up – Nechemia, Assaf, Lior, Binyamin and Jon, who also brought an extra table and chairs; and to Gili for the pictures she took and for organizing the online dinner order. Quite a few close games, a crazy Tichu game, and even a few hands of bridge, and welcome to Lorenzo’s wife Sara. Game trend – titles that begin with the letter C. Played more than once: Crokinole, Oh My Goods, Tichu, Traders of Osaka.

Alchemists

Binyamin 27, Haley 21, Eszter 12, Gili 11

Bridge

Nadine and Binyamin S, Jon and Binyamin

Binyamin really wanted to play, Binyamin S has never played so we walked him through. First hand I opened 3 spades with 7, Binyamin S passed, and Jon and Binyamin made game in hearts. Next games I bid and Binyamin passed, Jon and Binyamin went one down in 4 spades with Binyamin playing it, I had a strong hand.

Catan

Azriel+, Lorenzo, Binyamin, Eszter

Clans of Caledonia

Nechemia 130, Sara 120, Nadine 108, Assaf B 103

First play for the other three. We played with 4 points per all import goods, with no tracking or coins for them. I tried the delta clan, which did help somewhat, partly because being near rivers helped me get most settlements, and I upgraded to two lochs which I usually don’t do. Nechemia had the whiskey clan, Sara had double contracts, and Assaf had the one with the extra initial placement. Nechemia tied Sara for most contracts with 5, and had 72 in export good points. I had a lot of whiskey at the end that I didn’t have market tokens to sell, I should have done more market upgrades in the last round.

Codenames

Eszter, Binyamin S, Efrat, Gili, Noam, Maria

They played three rounds.

Concordia

Binyamin, Rosalynn, Nechemia, Yehuda K

Not Rosalynn’s type of game, not sure it’s mine either though I heard it’s good. Nadine S left to join Walnut Grove.

Crokinole 

Jon, Elianna, Rosalynn and others throughout the day. Jon:  Crokinole, not too much play, but some fun play nonetheless. Binyamin didn’t take to it, and especially not the high price I paid for the game.

Deep Sea Adventure

Lorenzo, Binyamin S, Azriel

Dinosaur Island

Jon 79, Lior 77, Gili 74, Efrat 71

Jon complained a lot about the Hooligan mechanic, which adds total luck to a strategy game. It doesn’t have that big of an effect and the luck sometimes evens out, but annoying nevertheless, Gili likes it because it adds fun and suspense.

Jon: A game with somewhat confusing graphics, but straightforward gameplay. As I mentioned several times during the game, the game has a bunch of random and strategic elements, which are fine, but then ends with a luck draw out of a bag that serves absolutely no game purpose other than to screw some people instead of others (much like Thebes). In some games there may be a person or development that you can buy to mitigate it, but often not, and only one person would be able to do it. And there is no, absolutely no, purpose for the mechanic. It is as useful as simply rolling a die and handing out victory points based on the number you roll – actually, it is exactly like that. Remove the mechanic and the game plays EXACTLY the same, but far better. I like the game other than that. It’s a basic planning and allotment of resources game that works well enough with enough theme to color it.

Hansa Teutonica

Jon, Avi, Efrat, Lior

Jon: Enjoyed by all players. I didn’t take any of the instant circle bonuses, like I usually do. Instead, the game ended rather quickly as Avi and I spread a network of cities across much of the left two-thirds of the board. I had a boost from having 4 disks, while one other person had any, and only one.

Homesteaders

Efrat 54, Lior 49, Gili 34

First time for all players.

Lewis & Clark

Nadine+, Lorenzo, Yokhay

First play for Lorenzo and Chaim. I’m starting to understand the game, first time I played with the rule where you can discard cards to pay equipment, we had missed it until now and it makes a difference. Fewer cards were bought than in previous games I’ve played, I only bought one, a 3, which helped, but my main advantage was it being their first play. Lorenzo bought the card I wanted at the start, but then gave me good advice. Lorenzo hogged the Indians, there were a few times where there were none available at all. We shortened the trail by 7 spaces to finish sooner, which may have hurt them with a stronger infrastructure.

Mercator

Nadine S 44, Adrien 41, Avi 34, Elianna 33

New to all of them. Jon wanted to try this again, but after teaching it ended up trying Alchemists, which he also didn’t play in the end.

Nefarious

Jon 20, Binyamin, Binyamin S, Haley

Oh My Goods

Lorenzo 25, 24 Binyamin S 24, Eszter 21

Rosalynn, Elianna and Azriel also played.

Puerto Rico

Noam 54, Yael 50, Yossi 48, Maria 46, Assaf B 39

Rising Sun

Yael, Yehuda K, Avi, Binyamin, Yossi

Yael taught this, they played a long time but didn’t finish the game.

Tichu

Jon and Lior, Azriel and Binyamin S played a hand or two earlier.

Avi and Nadine vs Assaf B and Yehuda Klein

First game
300 -100
600 -100
635 -35
935 -35
1100 0

Second game, which we didn’t finish
40 -40
100 0
405 -5

I called Tichu at least 3 times in the first game. Avi offered to switch partners after the first game, but they said no. It was mostly luck of the cards, though Yehuda K hadn’t realized he could play his 4 bomb over my 3 bomb. It might have stopped my Tichu but he couldn’t have gone out easily. I played something like the 1, 3, Queen, 3 bomb and a 7-card straight with the Phoenix.

Traders of Osaka

Jon, Lior, Efrat

Jon, Binyamin, Nechemia

Jon: It played well enough, but it’s just a bit too long for what it is, which keeps it from being a far better experience. There is often just a little more to the gameplay then there seems to be, however.

Tzolk’in

Nechemia 63, Sara 58, Assaf B 57, Rosalynn 33

New to all of them.

Walnut Grove

Nadine 29, Nadine S 25, Yochai 24, Elianna 18

First play for all but me. I lost 6 points on the last turn – I couldn’t pay 3 cubes, and only had 2 left – not enough to pay back a loan, so I had to take two Neighborly Helps and used a gold coin, but I had 3 bonus tiles which made the difference, two 2-point per bonus tiles for 12; Nadine S had 2 and the others one.

Yinsh

Jon+, Nechemia

Passover Games Day East – April 4

Jon went to visit David in Maale Adumim because David isn’t attending public gaming events while in avelut. Report by Jon:

David and I and two of his kids played Nefarious. We had the twists a) when you research, draw two cards and then toss a card, and b) you gain 1 vp for every 5 coins you have. Everything was pretty normal, until both of the kids got to 21 on one round. David had 20 and I had 19. So we went another round. Both kids had 22 and I got to 22, as well. The next round two people had 23. The next round two people had 24. The next round two people had 25, but I got to 26 and won.

We all played Tichu for a while, and my partner and I went very negative. We were -350 to 350 at one point. We stopped for dinner when my side was -170 to 570.

After dinner, David, Avi, and I played Lewis & Clark. Probably not the right game for David, even though he loves it. It’s a real analysis paralysis machine, as you know, and David took a long time on his very first turn. So did Avi. I was patient. Eventually, David got ahead of us, Avi eventually started playing faster just because he didn’t want to think too long, and we all make some of those famous mistakes, which is the point I think. David won several rounds ahead of any of us. They both enjoyed it, but agreed that maybe David shouldn’t play it.

March 21, 2018

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Haim S, Nadine S, Lorenzo

Puerto Rico

Nadine 54 (wins the tie with 17 goods/coins), Jon 54 (10), Nadine S 49, Haim 42, Lorenzo 39

First plays for Lorenzo and Nadine S, second or third play for Haim. Also, a five player game throws Nadine (and me, a bit) off her game.

I went first, had sugar first and tobacco second, and one big building, Customs House. I had Factory, Harbor, and a late Wharf, so I didn’t choose Guild Hall, but I should have; I had the most building points, at 25. I hate that it is always the only correct pick. Haim was second and never got any corn; he got large goods going late, but still picked up Fortress. Nadine was third and got two big buildings, Guild Hall and City Hall (12 bonus points) and great shipping, somehow. Lorenzo was fourth and, even though he had tobacco first, he never got enough for a big building. Nadine S had first coffee and did well with it, and had the most shipping with 5 corns and a Wharf (26 points), and a filled Residence. Nadine: I had good early shipping, but fell behind without a wharf or harbor. Shipping, Buildings, Bonus: Nadine 21 21 12, Jon 25 23 6, Nadine S 26 16 7, Haim 12 23 7 42, Lorenzo 24 15 39.

March 14, 2018

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Haim S, Haim G, Nadine S, Gili, Eszter, Lorenzo, Efrat

I actually can’t remember if Efrat has actually come before, but I think she did once. It’s also been a long time since either Haim G or Eszter graced us.

Parade

Lorenzo 9, Jon 12, Haim G 12, Nadine S —, Haim S —

I forgot to write the scores down, but something like that. First plays for Nadine S, Lorenzo, and Haim G.

Princes of Florence

Nadine S 57, Gili 53, Haim G 45, Lorenzo 43, Haim S 37

First plays for all but Gili, I think. Unsurprisingly, Nadine S won again, with two 24 WV works on the last round.

Clans of Caledonia

Nadine 136, Jon 131, Efrat 129, Eszter 118

First plays for Efrat and Eszter. With explanation, the game took around 3 hours. I realized by the middle of round 3 that I was doomed. The score above actually took me by surprise, and I expect it is because I made a mistake in an upgrade or counting points. I think I should have scored lowed. On the other hand, I was 3 deliveries ahead of everyone else, so the 40 points I was shy on the board and with goods I guess is nearly made up by the deliveries which are worth 12 to 20 points.

I had the extra delivery slot, Nadine S took the extra first settlement and 2 shipping upgrades, Efrat had the reduced cost on river deltas, and Nadine took the whiskey money. I only really made use of mine on the first and last rounds. Nadine made money hand over fist and easily dominated the board, but I guess somehow didn’t concentrate on deliveries enough. Efrat also had good board spread and Eszter wasn’t far behind. I didn’t bother fighting them for it, which saved me some effort. Nadine: I tried for more deliveries but wasn’t able to – partly because everyone else managed to select contracts before I did. And I was mainly producing whiskey, which I used for contracts so I couldn’t sell them for money.

I also spent extra money buying things, rather than investing in producing them, which made me perpetually cash shy. But I still came close.

Eszter miscalculated on the last round, which is why she is a little further behind (she couldn’t make her last delivery).

The game is definitely good, but it is rather fiddly, especially since money is tight and there are many options, so you keep forgetting which one you decided on and then need to take it back so you can have the money for what you really intended to do. Maybe a loan mechanic would help. But there are already a few too many mechanics (round bonuses, $1 when counters cross 5 points, and harbors come to mind). Frankly, one of the main mechanics doesn’t make sense to me: very fiddly and unthematic. Why give points for number of settlements in a group instead of number of hexes in the group? Hexes would seem to make more sense. You are still encouraged to spread out in order to get the neighboring production/market bonuses.

Ah well.

March 07, 2018

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

Endeavor

Nadine S 64, Haim 50, Jon 45, Nadine 38, Aaron 28

First plays for Aaron, Nadine S, and Haim. Nadine S is new to gaming, and so far she has kicked our butts in every new game that I have taught her. She just gets it, usually by a third of the way through the game.

Haim and Nadine S both shipped/settled several times during the game. I didn’t get that building, nor several governor cards I was trying to get because both of them kept taking them before I could. Well done to both.