Participants: Jon, David, Gili, Nadine, Miriam, Abraham
Miriam is a new visitor, and new to modern gaming. But she’s sharp and so picked up the games pretty quickly. She said she’d return, and I hope she does.
David came early.
Magic: The Gathering
So of course, we drafted, still using the cards I picked up more than a year and a half ago. They’re still new to us. Unusually, I felt like I was doing poorly in the drafting; usually I feel like I’m doing ok, and then I lose. Around a third of the way through this draft, I decided to start paying attention to the creatures that boost other creatures of the same type, something that only works in the modern expansions; but our draft was from mostly modern expansions.
I ended up with a deck of nothing but Elves, Giants, and Goblins, as well as a few utility cards. I had an Elf that brought another Elf to the top of my deck when it came into play (and the same for a Giant), an Elf that replaced any dead Elf card with an Elf token, an Elf instant that gave me an Elf token for each Elf I had, and a few others. Also, an enchantment that could be moved to another creature of the same type when the enchanted creature died.
In our first game, I had 17 land, mostly green with even amounts of red and black (7/5/5). I ended up with too much land, and, even though I kept dragging things out of the graveyard, too much land slowed me down enough for him to overrun me. I tossed out two lands (G and R; none of my R’s were double), and proceeded to win the next two games, though they were close. While a synergistic deck can be disrupted, it has to be thoroughly disrupted. Fun games.
David 80, Jon 71
Second play for David, and he had to re-learn the game. The first time he played he was overwhelmed. He was still overwhelmed in this game, but in a good way.
I have to say that I’m really, really liking Homesteaders. Unlike nearly every other game I’ve played, it has a tremendous re-playability value. There are just so many avenues to explore packed into those ten rounds. I’ve played five times now, and I’m nowhere near knowing what I’m doing. And yet, it’s clear that one can eventually learn to know something about what one is doing. Kudos to Alex for making a game that may actually rival Puerto Rico. What’s amazing about Puerto Rico, however, is that PR does it without auctions.
In our game, I racked up some debt, but I never produced any strong goods, such as copper, cattle, or gold. David had some nice gold and trade chips going, which netted him the late game win. He stole 5 points from me by taking the last building that could really have helped me, and as you see, a 5 point swing would have done it.
Jon 56, Abraham 53, David 51
We played this again later in the evening. Second play for Abraham, who also really likes the game. David now officially likes the game, too. This time, in addition to the more competitive auctioning, I managed to get the trade chip/gold thing going, which just squeaked out a victory for me. The building that let me substitute gold for cattle or copper also helped a lot.
Abraham scuttled a late building bid by David, which apparently hurt both of them.
David 34, Jon 33, Gili 25
We played with Cellar, Chapel, Workshop, Feast, Spy, Laboratory, Torturer, Salvager, Outpost, and Envoy. We mostly played with Cellar, Spy, Laboratory, and Salvager, though I made effective use of Chapel, dumping my three Estates and a Copper on turn four. They each started with a Silver instead of a Chapel. I don’t know why I lost, actually.
Nadine taught this to Miriam. They played the basic game very quickly, and Miriam won by one card. She didn’t really like the game. Oh, well.
Gili+, Nadine, Miriam
First play for Miriam, who started off strong but fell behind as the game progressed. Still, she liked the game.
David 20, Abraham 27, Jon 46
David did in this game what Abraham did the previous time he played, which was manage to avoid taking nearly anything for most of the game. Still a cute filler game.
Jon-David/Miriam 1080, Nadine-Abraham 720
David and I started off behind, down a few hundred points. Abraham bid and made a number of Tichus. Then David had to go.
Miriam took over for him, and this was her first play. She played well. I bid and made a Tichu or two, including in one hand, when both Abraham and I bid Tichu, and I made it, putting us in the lead, finally (we went from 480/620 to 650/550. Then we were both tied at 700.
The penultimate game gave us 80 points. And then I bid and made Tichu, and Miriam and I both went out first, which gave us the game.