April 13, 2009: Games Day

Participants: Jon, Koby, Zohar, Itamar, Oren, Nadine, Elijah, Gili, Hershel, Adam, Abraham, Binyamin, Tzvi Yehuda, Hannah, Yoseph, Yael, Dekel, Rachel A, Bill

Koby, Zohar, and Itamar arrived from the Rechovot group. Oren is also from that area. T”Y is Binyamin’s son, and Hannah is his mother. Yoseph came to our group a few times a while ago, and Yael is a good friend of both mine and Rachel’s, who came to the group before it became an official group. Dekel is a friend of Zohar’s. The rest are group regulars.

Amun-Re

Elijah 45, Yoseph 43, Itamar 39, Yael 30

First play for Yael and Itamar.

Cosmic Encounter

Elijah+, Yoseph+, Adam+, Nadine, Zohar

First play for two of them, I forget which. Double powers seems a bit much for a first play, but I don’t get to set the rules. A triple win.

Binyamin+, Dekel+, Elijah+, Adam

First play for Dekel. Another triple win, this time against a lone defender.

Dominion

Itamar 24+, Koby 24-, Zohar, Oren

Itamar won on the tie.

Koby 36, Jon 27, Binyamin 25

Jon 54, Nadine 42, Gili 21

Nadine started straight off for the Duchy’s, which I warned her wouldn’t work. She did better than I expected, however. I trashed a lot of coppers and silvers to get golds.

Fairy Tale

Elijah+, Oren, Nadine

First play for Elijah and Oren. Played as filler, and I think interrupted before finishing.

Imperial

Binyamin, Jon, Hannah, Gili, Tzvi Yehuda

Binyamin taught this to all of us (except Tzvi Yehuda). I had been interested in learning it, as it is a sequel to Antike, a game I very much enjoy. We ended up quitting the game after a few turns our of a combination of boredom, annoyance, and frustration.

It looks like the core of the game is interesting, though very long. Our major problems were situational: Hannah and Tzvi Yehuda really don’t speak any English, so translation had to go back and forth all the time. Also, this didn’t seem to be Hannah’s type of game, and she was slow to learn every rule, and could make no decisions as to what to do on any turn. Tvzi Yehuda also hed to be reminded all the time when it was his turn.

The other major problem, to me, was one of the major mechanics of the game. Unlike Antike – and nearly every other game in the universe – where each player does their best on a turn by taking their turn. Turns are taken by the countries on the board, not the players. The player who currently controls the country plays for that country. Therefore, some players take more turns than others, and it’s quite likely or even probable that a player will quite literally have no turns to play. The player can still react a little on other player’s turns.

Binyamin tells me that this doesn’t detract from the fun that some people have in the game; I’m guessing that it’s possible, if difficult, to win this way. But in my book, it violates a core rules of fun in a game: equal participation and involvement by all players, or at least the possibility thereof. It’s just plain a NOT fun mechanic, to the point that, added to the other frustrations that were going on, I was really annoyed.

I may try the game again later, perhaps with four players, all quick players and all English speakers.

Pivot

Elijah++, Adam

Elijah+, Dekel

Yoseph++, Elijah

Dekel brought a prototype of his game Pivot, an abstract game with pieces consisting of twin pegs connected by rubber bands. Looked interesting, and played very quickly.

Power Grid

Itamar 15+, Adam 15-, Hershel 14, Jon 13, Koby 12

First play for Hershel. We played on U.S. without the southeast. Adam dominated the entire west for most of the game. I started in the northeast and quickly got crowded. It was anyone’s game until the last two turns, as usual.

Zohar 17, Tzvi Yehuda 15, Hannah 14, Yoseph 13

I hear that they accidentally played on all six regions. When they realized their mistake midgame, they closed of one of the regions, but couldn’t close another one. First play for at least someone.

Puerto Rico

Jon 39, Gili 35, Rachel 32, Nadine 32

Gili hadn’t played in a while.

Jon Rachel Nadine Gili
Round 01 Settler Builder Mayor Craftsman I start with quarry and leave a corn to Rachel. I build a Small Indigo first round, and accidentally take an indigo when Gili crafts, forgetting that I didn’t have indigo fully manned. I sheepishly put it back when I remember.
Round 02 Builder Trader+ Prospector+ Captain+ Early trade for Rachel. I build Small Fashion District (2/1 trade indigo at +2).
Round 03 Prospector Craftsman+ Settler+ Mayor+ Rachel also has a Small Fashion District, but she never gets to use it since I always do. Nadine already has a Tobacco going.
Round 04 Mayor Builder+ Craftsman Trader+ I forgo Builder+ since I need more colonists and have nothing to build.
Round 05 Captain++ Settler+ Prospector+ Trader My captain prevents Rachel from trading again, I think. Gili took Trader five times during the game. I begin to realize that I can’t compete in victory points and so have to end the game early with building. I eventually get Factor and tobacco, and never get corn.
Round 06 Trader Mayor+ Builder+ Craftsman+
Round 07 Builder Captain+ Prospector+ Trader
Round 08 Settler Craftsman+ Builder Mayor+
Round 09 Trader+ Captain+ Mayor Prospector+
Round 10 Builder+ Settler+ Craftsman+ Trader Gili trades coffee, as she does several other times during the game. She had a coffee monopoly, and eventually a coffee boat. I build my first big building. Gili builds a Wharf that she only uses once.
Round 11 Builder Prospector+ Captain+ Trader I build my second big building.
Round 12 Builder Settler+ Craftsman+ Captain I build my 11th space. Gili builds a big building.
Round 13 Builder Mayor+++ Captain Settler I would have taken Mayor; Rachel then would be unable to buy and man a big building, because I would buy my last building at the same time and fill up my board. To take pity on her, I agreed to buy if she would mayor; I needed Mayor to man my two big buildings. I ended with 4 shipping points, but many more building points.

R-Eco

Itamar 12+, Koby 12-, Zohar, Oren, Hershel

First play for many of them. Koby loses on the tie, again.

Binyamin, Tzvi Yehuda, Hannah, Abraham 12+

Race for the Galaxy

Abraham 67, Jon 41

I played this at the same time as Power Grid, and it’s not easy. For some reason I tried some military might, but Abe beat me down with 6 6-point developments.

Koby 41, Itamar 27, Binyamin 21

Binyamin usually does better than this.

San Juan

Gili 40, Nadine 38, Jon 37, Elijah 35

We hadn’t played this in a while. The game desperately needs expansion sets. Close game, as you can see. I spent time trying to find 6-pointers, only to realize that Nadine was holding on to one, and Elijah had buried one in his Chapel. As usual, the players who built the most 6-pointers scored highest.

Santiago

Jon 103, Elijah 95, Yoseph 90, Adam 84

I was happy to play this, as usual. First play for Yoseph. I concentrated more than the others and paid higher for things when they were worth it. Adam caught on to the valuation, and was fierce competition for me. Don’t know why he didn’t score higher.

Stone Age

Abraham 205, Tzvi Yehuda 134, Gili 131, Hannah 127

Someone else smudgily wrote these scores down, so I don’t know if they’re accurate. First play for some of them. This is a game I very much want to try, but haven’t gotten to it yet. It’s on the buy list.

Taluva

Jon+, Koby, Itamar, Hershel

First play for everyone. Koby was looking forward to playing it. Afterwards, he thought it was nice but not worth buying. I liked it a lot.

Another game with very few rules, but very interesting implications. And beautiful pieces.

Nadine+, Bill, Gili

I taught this to them and left them to play it, only to discover that I forgot to tell them that you couldn’t build more than one temple in a settlement. They had to start again. Nadine thought it was good, but not her type of game, which I predicted. Still, she says she would play it again.

Tigris and Euphrates

Nadine 7/7/8/8, Adam 6/6/7/9, Hershel 6/6/7/7, Zohar 4/4/4/5

First play for Hershel and Zohar. First win for Nadine, I think.

Year of the Dragon

Oren 96, Zohar 95, Elijah 92, Nadine 84, Gili 75

First plays for Oren and Zohar, and they won, too. I think second or third play for Elijah.

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2 thoughts on “April 13, 2009: Games Day

  1. It’s almost always humbling to play against Nadine. Especially when she complains about how she’s not really smart enough to be good at the game we’re playing as she trounces me. I really think she’s sincere about it though. She’s like an inadvertent pool hustler!Bill

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