KinneretCon Fall 2016

Nadine and I, and others from Jerusalem, went to KinneretCon for around 30 hours of gaming on the Sea of Galilee. This was their second event, and they are planning more. Both times the event was held at a kosher hostel. Basic rooms hold 2 to 4 people and edible (if not glamorous) full board is provided. It sits 100 meters off the lake shore, which is nice; I didn’t see too much of the lake, but my kids did some swimming.

Around 30 to 35 people were around, about half of them religious.

Games played by either me or Nadine:

Amerigo

I taught this to three others, and we had a good time. Unlike the last time I taught this, where the other players loved the cube tower, this time the other players were a little unsatisfied with the cube tower and would probably prefer one of the “bag drawing” variants. I lost by a few points, if I recall correctly.

Antike

I taught this to four others, and, as usual, stressed that they should concentrate on points and not get lost in the mechanics. And, as usual, I won (by one point, instead of my usual two points). Also as usual, we played to one point less than the recommended value. I think everyone liked it.

Next time I play I might use the new tech chart from Antike II.

Castles of Burgundy

Nadine writes: I taught this to three other players who picked it to play. They did well, I didn’t win. I did help them, though I mostly gave advice on request or when they didn’t understand the implications. I forgot to tell them that a six could become a one, until I used it late in the game. Two players, including the one who won, had 5-tile regions with all the same animal. They all really liked the game.

Goldwest

A multi-player solitaire straightforward game of taking tiles and scoring points. The tiles you can take – or other actions you can perform – relay on how you distribute cubes onto your action track, but that’s somehow less interesting than it should be. There is nothing to do until your turn again, and you can’t really plan between turns.

But, as a filler (if you play quickly), it’s okay as a pastime and there are often a few options to consider each turn.

Imperial Settlers

Another so-so game, which I didn’t like mostly because it had a take-that mechanic but also a runaway winner problem. One would think that the person doing “take-that” would at least target the leader, but circumstances don’t always favor this, which just makes it more frustrating. There are cards you can play that simply counteract anything that one of your opponents does every round, making it nearly impossible for them to progress. Frustrating.

Otherwise, the game would be okay, with lots of cards and resources and a deceptively large number of things to do during each of the five rounds. I was ahead in points until the last round, but I knew I was losing by a large margin to my LHO already in round 2, and there was not much I could do about it.

Isle of Skye

First play for me. This is a game played over five rounds, where you get to add 0-3 Carcassonne-like tiles to your tableau each round. Each player gets three tiles, assigning money to two of them and discarding the other. Each player can then buy one of the other tiles from someone else, giving him or her the money and letting them keep their money. After all players have bought one tile or passed, you pay any money on any of your remaining tiles and place these tiles and the one you bought (if any) into your board. Then you score based on certain scoring tiles, each of which apply to three rounds of the game. Some tiles also provide income, but everyone gets at least 5 coins each round.

That’s it. It plays okay, and Eszter and her son liked it a lot. I liked it, but it lacked some kind of spark for me. The best part of the game was that one of the scoring tiles gave you points for money left in hand at the end of the round, which provided a good decision for whether to try to get money from others or try to place more tiles. But this scoring tile is only used if it is drawn for the game; I think the game will be even less interesting without it.

Mombasa

Nadine write: A large, long complicated game. But interesting and good. Two extra players were learning it with us, so one of them ended up helping Eszter and one helped me. We each understood different rules, so it took both of us to figure out moves. We ended up doing really well, partly inadvertently, we came in second, only losing to Roi who taught it and did really well. It has varied mechanics – company shares, worker placement, area control, hand management. Also an award winner, 2016 International Gamers Award, and Spiel de Jahres Recommended.

Nefarious

I taught this to four others. We played with the twists: a) you get have +five points if you have five cards at the end of your turn; b) if you build an invention worth more points than any previous invention, you get +2 coins. Both positive twists, which are good.

I walked to victory here, stumbling only for two rounds when one of my opponents made everyone else discard two cards.

Prime Time

A clunky-looking game about TV scheduling which is actually better than it looks. I had to leave after the first half of the game, and I suffered during some of that, but only because I made colossally bad plays and my RHO made even worse plays.

But it actually worked well and looked intriguing after I got the hang of it, and I would like to try it again.

Red 7

Nadine writes: A fun light game, good for 1:30 am. It took us two games to catch on to how to plan your turn. Binyamin S won the first game after teaching it, I won the second game. A 2014 Golden Geek award winner.

Slap Deck

I taught and played this a few times, but the response was muted (which is unusual).

Space Cadets: Dice Duel

Nadine write: Each team frenetically rolls dice, over and over, simultaneously, in a race to get missiles, offense, defense, movement and shields. Our team wasn’t as good at understanding and assessing when we’d win an attack, so we lost a lot of missiles. It also took us a while to get all the rules. Towards the end, our opponents attacked us quickly right after their previous attack; they were surprised that we had gotten a shield up so fast. So was our team, good work by our shield player. We were far behind and conceded the last point.

Takenoko

Nadine writes: Another award winner, especially in France where it was published, 2012. Great art, colors and components, extremely well done. Nice theme which is well integrated with the gameplay. A light game which plays quickly and is easy to learn, fun to play despite the luck factor. The person before me ended the game when he placed his seventh point card, he had 28 points. The other players then all get a last turn. I had 24 points, and several cards which would give me more than 4 points. But bad luck meant that I couldn’t play any of them. I didn’t roll rainfall or tokens, couldn’t move the gardener, and picked another card which didn’t work. I ended up tied with Zoya for second place. The player who won played well, but drew at least two point cards which he could play immediately because the conditions were filled.

Tichu

Tal and I played against Nadine and Yoval. Tal played well; I bid and lost a Tichu and a Grand Tichu, and I wasn’t happy about either of them (the Grand Tichu loss was not really my fault; I played poorly on the Tichu). After that Tichu wasn’t called by anybody very often, and we eventually lost after many, many hand by 1005 to 895.

Voyages of Marco Polo

Nadine writes: Roi and David wanted to play this, so I taught it to them. It’s a good game, I’m just not good at it. I made a mistake with the rules which did make a difference, but Roi would have won anyway. And I would have lost anyway. We placed trading posts on the way, not just on our last stop. We played the beginner version with the recommended characters, but selected goal cards.

Walk the Plank

Nadine writes: You’re pirates being chased by sharks, and you detach arms and legs from your large plastic person when the shark catches you, after losing your 4 limbs you’re out of the game. The main mechanic is selecting a number that no other player selects, otherwise you can’t move. I got eaten, though late in the game, in two games.

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