March 12, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili, Bill, Binyamin, David

Bill is from Kansas City and just moved to Israel for one or two years with his wife. Both of them have RPG and board game experience. Bill and I had discussed starting up a new RPG campaign. Because he has to go back to the US several times over the next few months, each session was to be (is to be) a single night’s play.

Unfortunately, his wife was held up negotiating a lease so she never got here, and Bill was called away to help right when we were going to start the RPG so we didn’t get to play that this evening.

Race for the Galaxy

Nadine 72, Jon 38, Gili 32, Bill 30

This was everyone’s first play except Nadine’s. I only wanted to learn a few round before Bill got here but we ended up playing out the entire game. Even though I hadn’t played before, I ended up explaining the game while Nadine piped in with strategy advice she learned from her previous game during the process.

First games are about learning the mechanics, so all of us were just playing around with the cards. In the meantime, Nadine built nothing but brown worlds and bonus cards. Not only did every building count for her three times at the end of the game, she was making 10 or 14 points during each consume phase. As you can see, she slaughtered us.

Meanwhile, I tossed out my early high point cards but then couldn’t drawn them again later.

RftG is still a lot like San Juan, but I like the double building opportunities and the choice of trading or shipping which is missing from San Juan. While the interaction is pretty low, I can see how you get more when you start to think about what the other players are doing and how to thwart them. Still, it’s pretty close to solitaire.

Once I know all the cards and abilities, it will remain to be seen whether the game is really any more complex than San Juan or if it will feel “played out” like San Juan does (at least until we get an expansion for it). As of now, I’m happy to play it again and several more times after that.

Magic: the Gathering

David+, Binyamin

David and Binyamin played this and were going to keep playing this if we had started our roleplaying. As it was we had to drag them away from it to play a five player game when Bill left.

David won by one point, I hear.

[DK: Binyamin was going to kill me on the next round (I had 2 life). I needed seven points of damage, but even with my humongous trample creature, I could only get through with six. Then I noticed a d6 which represented a piddly 1/1 token creature…]

Notre Dame

David 81, Nadine 77, Binyamin 68, Jon 55, Gili 41

Binyamin wanted to play Year of the Dragon but Gili didn’t want to learn a new game and really wanted to play this.

I decided to give the Hotel area a go since it’s obviously the worst area on the board and can’t possibly win. I figured to at least try to see if I could do something useful with it. Unfortunately, conventional wisdom is correct and there is now way to make any use out of it. By the time you’re up to three cubes, you’ve so fallen behind that you begin losing them to the rats or losing out on the rest of the bonuses everyone else is getting.

Meanwhile, David won with a straight VP area win, scoring the region three times in the last round (twice with cards, and once with a purchased favor).

[DK: FOUR times in the last round. Three with cards and once with a favor :-). With park, 8+7+6+5 for 26VP]

Nadine used a combination of money for Notre Dame and park bonuses; one early Notre Dame score shared with me helped her gain an early lead over David, but not enough. Binyamin tried park and VP scoring.

Mr Jack

Jon (Detective)+, Nadine (Criminal)

We played this while Binyamin and David finished up their Magic game and then while we played Bridge. I got two characters eliminated in round one, and then three more in rounds two and three. It was not hard to win in round five after that.

Bridge

Jon/David, Binyamin/Nadine

We played a few hands, all of which seemed to start with 1 club or a preempt.

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