January 03, 2007

Participants: Jon, Tal, Zack, Alex, Nadine, David, Shevi, Josh, Jelman, Idit, Adam, Gili, Binyamin, Ben

Zack brought his grandfather Alex (I think I got the name right). He had no particular game history, but is a brainy, curious, and friendly type, which made him a happy addition to the group. Josh brought his friend Jelman (again, not sure about the name) who lives in Katamon. Jelman had game experience and was astonished and thrilled to come to the group. I expect his return as a regular.

I had gone over the rules to Netrunner before the group and was eager to try it out with my CCG partner David. Since we ended up with more than ten attendees, I was able to leave the others to work out their game choices while David and I slipped away for a go.

Saboteur

Saboteurs: Alex, Nadine, Shevi +, Dwarves: Jon, Tal, Zack, David

We started off with five until David and Shevi showed up. With five, two saboteurs against three dwarves is bad enough. Three saboteurs to four dwarves is nearly impossible. Especially when the rock slides all end up with the saboteurs.

Everything seemed hopeless until the deck ran out. Suddenly we were able to make a comeback, exploring a side branch and diligently working our way to the gold nugget. Unfortunately, we got close – within two lengths – but not close enough.

We played the game as a filled, and so we stopped after the first round. This was first game for all players (except me) and all of them seemed to like it well enough.

Netrunner

David, Jon

David and I slipped off to try out Netrunner. We’ve been playing Magic for ten years and have never tried another CCG. I recently acquired both this and the Middle Earth CCGs, having heard great things about them. Too bad both are now discontinued.

Initial impressions are: wow! I haven’t seen bad CCG’s yet, so I don’t know if I can simply say that the entire idea simply lends itself to incredibly rich and complex gaming, or if I’m spoiled by these two great games.

The major differences between Netrunner and Magic are the unequal roles of the two players and the victory conditions. In Netrunner, one player plays the Corp, whose job is to play and activate Agendas, while the other plays the hacker, whose job it is to raid the Agendas before the Corp can activate them. The Corp tries to prevent the Runner from raiding by placing ICE defenses in the way of his raids or by dealing direct damage to the Runner, while the Runner tries to increase his hardware, resources, and countermeasure programs to give him enough power to get past the Corp’s ICE and heal or prevent the damage.

I have only the barest feel for the types of cards that exist, how to approach the game strategically or tactically, or even the basic rules, of which we got several wrong on our first attempt, of course. We only made it through a few turns before we decided to stop and join others for a larger game. But I definitely look forward to trying it again.

Wildlife

Nadine, Zack, Alex, Josh, Jelman, Idit

Like other great games, six appears to be pushing the limit as far as downtime for a game like this. Despite this, they all seemed to enjoy the game. They discovered a major rule we had wrong, namely that points are given for largest herd, not most amount of creatures. This game went on for much of the evening.

Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation

Adam (B) +, Gili (W)

Adam and Gili had to wait for the Saboteur game, so they played this. This time, Adam took my advice and caught Frodo in the mountains where he couldn’t retreat.

Children of Fire: the Board Game

David 14, Gili 9, Jon 8, Adam 8

Adam and I were both looking forward to trying this again. I enjoyed it again, but I think both Gili and David felt like it dragged on near the end. They may be right. One problem with the game is the lack of a definite ending, so there is a sense of wanting to simply end the game just to get it over with. This could easily be fixed by adding a limit to the number of rounds to the game, such as ten or so.

We still don’t have an answer to two of our rules questions, both of which came up again.

In our game, I was thwarted on every turn, achieving only two of my four primary prophecies and not through my own effort but only because someone else wanted it, too. That, and the four masses I converted, gave me only 8 points. Adam did a lot of the moving, achieving a huge number of influence stones again, but even though he locked two of the figures, he didn’t do any better than I did.

Gili had an additional secondary prophecy fulfilled and one less mass than either of us. David, on the other hand, fulfilled every single one of his prophecies, both major and minor, and also has a mass stone. This, despite losing countless times the fight over the influence stones to Adam, who always seemed to beat him with just the card he needed, just one number above David’s.

Palazzo

Binyamin 45, Ben 41, Shevi 39

Binyamin introduced this game that is “better than Alhambra”. It is, but I still didn’t think it ws any great shakes. Ben particularly didn’t like it, because he doesn’t like auction games in general. Shevi and Binyamin both liked it.

Binyamin won, as he did for the rest of the games he played this evening.

Metro

Binyamin 72, Ben 68, Shevi 57

Binyamin introduced yet another game, about which I heard many mediocre comments on BGG. I don’t know how it was received.

Power Grid

Binyamin+, Ben

Shevi left, so they played this two-player. As usual, Ben was blindsided occasionally by a forgotten rule, and he doesn’t perform well in the auctions for the power plants, anyway.

Tichu

Nadine/Adm 205, Jon/David -5

Settling in to some enjoyable play, and we discussed whether their is any real cooperative aspect to the partnership. I maintain that as we become more experienced, our discards and play will become more subtle and more able to fully utilize the partnership aspect of the game.

We played three hands. I called Tichu in the third hand, and lost only to a bomb played by Nadine before I could finish my hand. Hence the negative score.

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