July 23, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Binyamin, Tikva Shira, Zvi Yehuda, Dov, Hannah, Gili, David K, Avraham, Tal

Back to a higher attendance level although five of the attendees were Binyamin and his family. T”S and Z”Y are Binyamin’s children, and Dov and Hannah are his parents. Nadine is back from vacation.

R-Eco

T”S 15, Z”Y 12, Jon 5, Dov 3, Hannah 2

I taught this (in broken Hebrew) to all the others, and they picked up fairly easily. I got lots of chips, but tossed out lots of cards. As usual, the players with the 4 and 5 chips took the game, which is one of the problems with the game, and the reason why I prefer playing with all the chips randomly stacked on all cards in even-sized piles (game is over when the last chip is taken from any pile).

Notre Dame

David 52, Gili 51, Dov, Hannah, T”S

Gili taught this to Dov and Hannah while David drove up. Obviously a close game for the two most experienced players.

Pandemic

Jon, Binyamin, Z”Y, Nadine

Heard a lot of good things about this new cooperative game, and Avraham had left us a copy, so we read the simple rules and tried it out. As in many cooperative games, it tends to be dominated by one player who tells everyone else what to do if table talk is allowed. Best to play with no talking.

Pandemic is a light game, with theme enough, though not a deep one. Cubes are put onto the board representing virus outbreaks, and when a city gets more than three it spreads to neighboring cities. You have limited actions to move around removing cubes, and collecting sets of cards to implement cures. You lose the game if too many of one cube is on the table, or too many outbreaks occurred (similar) or too many rounds have elapsed.

The lesson learned, as we expected after playing Shadows Over Camelot, was that the Traitor aspect of Shadows Over Camelot is a huge bonus for the game. The board as your enemy is just not quite as intense a conflict if everyone can be counted on as your friend.

As far as strategies and tactics, there is a nice amount going on, where you have to decided which outbreaks to tackle in which order, and how to use your limited cards to best effect.

It was interesting enough, and I would play again. By the way, we all lost when disease spread out across South America.

Vegas Showdown

Jon 41, Avraham 39, Nadine 35, Binyamin 35, Z”Y 31

We don’t play this enough, partly because the random effects each round detract from the game more than they help. If we could see the next five effects that will be coming into play, it would be somewhat more strategic.

Despite this, it’s an excellent game of money management and auctioning. I won the last few points with my red diamonds, which I never expected to actually come in useful.

Settler of Catan

David, T”S, Gili

This game was started and abandoned, I believe.

Tichu

David, Hannah, T”S, Gili

David tried to teach this, but only Hannah was interested in continuing after one hand.David/Avraham 375, Jon/Tal 325

We played this later in the evening as a session closer. We managed to get in five hands.

I generally maintain that the points on the cards taken in are not significant compared to Tichu effects and both team members going out first. I’m usually right, but not this time.

In the first hand, we had 20 and our opps 80.

In the second hand, I called and made Tichu, but our trick point count was -20, giving us net points of 80 to our opps 120.

In the third hand, David called Tichu, and we all laughed. It turned out that his was the only hand at the table that didn’t have a bomb. My hand was particularly good, and I went out first without too much difficulty. But with the trick points, we gained 25 while they lost 25 (-100 +75).

In the fourth and fifth hands, Tichu wasn’t called. Each pair went out before the other, netting each team 200 points. And we had to call it a night.

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