November 25, 2015

Participants: Jon, David, Eszter, Jonathan, Gili, Roman

Before we get to this report, I would like to report that I attended a Murder Mystery night together with Cliff and Linda and an assortment of others at the home of a new oleh in the neighborhood. Specifically, we played How to Host a Murder: The Wall Street Scandal, which is one in a series of many murder mysteries printed by Decipher games in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The basic thrust: everyone gets a character and some private information. We are given common information about the scenario, and then additional sets of common or private information in four stages, some of which we are supposed to reveal in “the course of conversation”. The last stage is the reveal, wherein all players’ histories and motives are revealed in detail and the murderer is revealed. Note that even the murderer does not know if he or she is the murderer until the reveal. In theory, we can ask each other direct questions and must reveal certain information if asked directly. We are supposed to deduce who the murderer is before the big reveal.

In practice, we barely had enough time to simply read to ourselves and then out loud the material we received each round before moving to the next round, and it still took a good two and a half hours. From the way we played and the way this particular story was arranged, it seemed like there was no way to know who the murderer was. Everyone had as equal a motive as everyone else, and in fact all of the characters essentially tried to murder the victim. The only mystery was whose poison/dart/knife/gun actually found the mark, and I don’t know how that could have been guessed. Perhaps I am wrong, and with more time and cleverer players, we could have pieced together who succeeded with the murder. I don’t know. We had a good time goofing around, pointing our fingers dramatically, and playing our characters.

On to the report.

Magic the Gathering

David+, Jon+

We drafted again, and I won the first game, this time by a comfortable margin. Then we played again and David won by a comfortable margin. My deck was 6 big creatures, 2 walls, a creature with deathtouch, and 5 flyers, together with 7 creature killers or direct damage and 3 utility cards for getting damage through. In three colors. I don’t know how to draft a better deck than this and I still lost the second game.

Power Grid

David 18, Jon 17, Jonathan 16

Jonathan is still the new player, so I wanted him to play another game that was not too complicated. He enjoyed it, and David did, too. I’m not too sure if I did, and I didn’t get screwed by the order that the power plants flipped up, so I can’t blame it on that. I know that much of the game comes down to the last few turns, and that most turns involve a few minutes of calculating money, starting from the end of the turn and working backwards. David likes it anyway, but I’m beginning to not like the repetitive calculations. Too many of the same kinds of calculations don’t make a good game, once it is transparent that there is no real “game” in the calculations. The game is about when to buy power plants and where to build your stations. The rest is just there to keep you busy. I docked the game a point on BGG; I’ll still play it, but I think it’s missing something.

Spyrium

Eszter, Gili, Roman

Eszter brought a game that I has never heard of, and I don’t know how the game went.

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