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5-Player Tichu

Magic

David++, Jon

Traders of Osaka

David and Haim had 4 chips, Jon and I 3, when we stopped.

Clank!

Haim 105, Jon 92, Nadine 0

Well, I had 102 points, but was one step away from getting out of the deep when the game ended. Jon said of course I had more points, because I stayed below, but I wasn’t getting points from being there, my points were mainly from cards. Which clogged up my deck and made it hard to get feet and swords, especially together. At the end I drew all my swords at once, and then all my feet when I had to stop after one at a cave. I had a problem with movement the whole time, I didn’t realize I need a Teleport, and I don’t know if one would have been available since Jon and Haim went after them. I had gold, points, and swords, and even feet, albeit not enough. Last time I got out too early and couldn’t play and get points, so this time I did the opposite. You do have to balance well to counter the luck, with luck I could have gotten out. Haim had a very good start, which let him get good cards right away, and Jon wasn’t able to catch up. Jon escapted for 20 points, Haim died without escaping, but was in the top part so kept the points he had; I died for getting caught in the deep.

Notre Dame

David 55, Aaron 45, Nadine F 35

First play for Aaron and Nadine F. David played too well, he had all his cubes on the board, and lots of money. Which meant that he couldn’t go to Notre Dame even if he planned for it because he had no way to get a cube. Aaron ended with like minus 3 rats, it’s the first time I’ve seen anyone benefit from the spaces above rats card. Nadine F put two cubes in Notre Dame twice, which doesn’t give her more points, and uses up cubes.

Tichu

Jon / Haim +, Nadine, David, Aaron

Before Jon and Haim won on the last round, the score was 975 to 125. David, Aaron and I had a negative score most of the game. I decided that I was too tired to play well, and would share a spot with Aaron, our partner was David. After a few rounds Aaron decided that he wanted to learn from David by having David help with his passing, so I partnered them. David sat out a few rounds to take a phone call, so it was handy to be 5. Aaron and I made a few mistakes, but mostly Jon and Haim had good cards, and took advantage of them. Jon stopped one of David’s Tichus with a bomb, and then one of Aaron’s at the end.

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Jon complains and wins by a mile

Helen hosted the group, with a Chanukah celebration, and invited other friends who played Dixit, Master Mind, Ticket to Ride and Bananagrams, most taught by Jon, who also taught Castles of Burgundy.

Scythe

Jon 80, Nadine 55, Aaron 50

Jons first play. He complained a lot, but part of his issues relate to being new to the game. Scythe seems designed to play when you are familiar with the game and know all the faction’s mech powers, for example. Aaron and I like the game, despite minor issues. I like that the game is positive, trying different factions, and the choices and planning, even if I feel I’ll always get things done too slowly to win. Jon said there’s too much going on, similar to his complaint about Clans of Caledonia, which I also like.

Jon spent time thinking, which paid off. He was yellow, Aaron red, me blue. We didn’t follow the rules with the bonus cards, we chose based on the actual rewards, which is how Lorenzo plays it. Aaron reached the middle early from his power, and had the extra action card the whole game, but Jon kicked him off at the end.

It was different than the first time I played at Kinneretcon, we all used the neighborly circles, which mainly gave all of us the same bonus. I got all my mechs out, and finished upgrading, but didn’t attack. I was attacked twice and lost spaces due to it. We were all high in military, Jon and I reached the end. I received a lot of extra military that I couldn’t use because I was at the top. I just missed reaching the second level in hearts, I needed one more turn. Jon had over 8 cards, which was one of his missions, he fulfilled the other one; Aaron and I also fulfilled ours.

Jon’s report:

VISUALS: The print on everything is too small and too light. I could not read anything without my glasses, and I didn’t have my glasses.

VISUALS: Player boards are fine when you need to track your own progress only. They are a terrible idea when you have to track everyone else’s progress because you need to take into account everyone else’s powers before you can take your turn. And see above. They could have made a central board where everyone’s abilities are clearly visible.

VISUALS: For no apparent reason, the sequence of actions is different for each player board (I don’t mind different powers and costs, but why different arrangements?). Makes it even harder to figure out what is going on.

VISUALS: The abilities of the pieces are explained underneath the pieces, so you have to keep lifting up the pieces to see what they do.

PLAY: The encounter events are an RPG mechanic spliced into a strategy game and I thoroughly hate them. Either you randomly pick a result and then find out it was worthless or killed your next several rounds, or you simply memorize all of the encounters which defeats the point. I’m okay with this mechanic in a different game, not in a resource-driven strategy game.

PLAY: The special bonus points at the end for buildings is simply one mechanic too far.

PLAY: I generally don’t like the mechanic where you have to decide whether to end the game immediately, because it is arbitrary for the other players who suddenly don’t get another turn. Sometimes it works okay, if the rest of the game works okay.

PLAY: The end game calculation is simply massive and massive amounts of calculation, something that the rulebook actually acknowledges. It is very poorly designed. The rulesbook’s suggestion is to dock players points if they spend too much time thinking on their turn, which is funny, but they should simply have fixed the mechanics of the game so that that doesn’t happen.

PLAY: I simply don’t like direct confrontation games, and this game has combat. We didn’t engage in much, and perhaps many people don’t, but if you lose a series of combats and territories, you just lost the game and there is little that you can do. On the other hand, that’s why I won, which is that no one kicked me out of my territories.

PLAY: I don’t know if all of the powers are balanced.

RULES: It may be difficult to explain the rules, especially considering the rulebook.

As for what is good, the main mechanics and action selection work okay. The actions are balanced and make sense. I like the missions and the options for getting victory awards. If people don’t gang up on a player (like combat games tend to allow), it may be okay.

Castles of Burgundy

Nadine F 1st, Haim 2nd, Noam last

First play for all, they liked the game, especially Nadine F after she decided that Scythe was too complicated.

We don’t kill Jon

Welcome back to Binyamin who hasn’t attended in a long time. Best wishes to Sara and Lorenzo who are off to Japan for two months.

Magic

Jon: We played one game and David slaughtered me with an 11/11 double strike trample my deck was actually pretty good and only 2 colors, unlike usual.

3-level Cube Prototype

Binyamin brought a prototype of cube placement, with multiple point counting possibilities.

Hansa Teutonica

Lorenzo 70, Binyamin 54, Sara 46

First play for Sara and Lorenzo.

Lorenzo: One more turn and Binyamin would have won. Teutonica Is nice. It is not the favorite type of game for Sara and me, but it is nice, strategic and I appreciate some direct “fighting”.

Clank

David 86, Nadine F. 77 Jon 76, Nadine 59

Nadine: First play for all. Everyone made it out except for Nadine F. who was on step away, she would have won with the additional 20 points. Jon went first and got off to a good start, Nadine F who went second was also able to pick up a lot of bonus chips. I was last, after David, which reduced my early opportunities, and early on better cards came out for Jon and Nadine F. Though one wasn’t as strong as we thought, we realized later that it was a purple so could only be used one, Jon had only used it once. We also forgot to move the dragon a few times for artifacts. Jon’s cubes got drawn more than anyone else’s until late in the game, it made sense at first due to the first player penalty. Jon had two artifacts and a lot of coins to buy at the market, but he wasn’t able to buy as many cards with points as David or Nadine F. did. I didn’t realize that once I was out of the dungeon I could no longer buy cards, but when I got out I was two away from dying. Jon took more of a risk and managed not to die even though he was two away for several turns, and get more items. At the end we were buying 7 point cards, so fewer new cards, and fewer dragons, came out. How close to dying: Jon 1, Nadine 1, Nadine F 2, David 4.

The game is interesting. David and I felt it has much more luck than Dominion and Thunderstone. Deck building is not the major mechanic because of the travel and dragons. I prefer Dominion even if I’m not good at deck building.

Bruges

Binyamin 51, Sara 42, Lorenzo 39

First play for Sara and Lorenzo.

Lorenzo: The first time I played Bruges gave me the idea that it relies too much on the chance to draw card combos, this time gave the same impression of being based on luck. It is not bad for a game to have luck involved but I would go for something else.

 

Advanced Tichu

Magic

Jon+, David+ in close games.

Hawaii

David 126, Jon 105, Elana first play

David won with all kahunas, and the boat and surfer bonus tile.

Amun Re

Era 1
Sara 16, Lorenzo 12, Nadine 11
End of game
Nadine 48, Sara 41, Lorenzo 38

First play for Lorenzo and Sara. Lorenzo said afterwards that he doesn’t like auction games. It was close, and they both made minor errors due to misunderstandings.

Slap Deck

The Hawaii crew played this while waiting for us to finish Amun Re. They all won at least one round, new to Elana.

Tichu

David/Nadine 1110, Jon/Elana 690

Elana would have bid and made a Tichu (all four aces and Dragon and Phoenix) but somehow Jon had 15 cards to my 13 so we called a misdeal. She should have called Grand, she had all but an Ace, and would have made it, and Jon had a good chance of going out second. I’ve never seen Jon have so many bad hands. On our first hand, I called Tichu, then Jon called it also. David said later that meant his hand was likely to be stronger than mine, which makes sense. David played an Ace, so I didn’t go over with my Dragon, though I had no idea what he was doing. David’s plan was to go out, and hope that I could go out second for 200 points, instead of risking losing the Tichu. David forced Jon to play 3 Aces over David’s 3 jacks, with one card left. I should have passed Jon’s lead to try to let David go out first instead of playing my Dragon, which Jon bombed with Kings, then went out. A whole new level of Tichu for me. David thought I made a mistake on another hand when I passed him the two, but he understood when I explained that I passed two fours and the two, though I ended up not being able to call Tichu. Elana plays well for a new player, though she’s not as new as she seems, I met her for the first time tonight, but she’s been coming for a while.

 

Small night

Schotten Totten

Nadine+, Jon

The one game I won. It’s a cute fast game with light decisions. Tactical.

Taj Mahal

Jon 63, Nadine 41, Aaron 32, Haim 24,

I haven’t played this in a while. The game is fine, though there is more conflict than I like. Once someone gets ahead as Jon did, other players can’t catch up. He had the extra elephant special card, and had around 8 elephant and small chips so he scored a lot every round. I had the yellow card and got two points every round, but it wasn’t enough, and it cost me to play it. I couldn’t pass, and needed to focus on yellow chips to keep it, so was low on cards. Elad started the game with us, but then got called back to his hospital work for surgery.

Tichu

1155 Jon Haim  845 Nadine Aaron

The score was 960 to 940 for both rounds before the end. I made 3 Tichus right off, it turns out I would have made GTs if I had called them with the 2 high cards I had each time, but that’s risky. Aaron missed two Tichus, he was weak, but mostly Jon had very good cards and a bomb, and called Tichu against him. Haim made and called a Tichu.

Haim’s night

Magic

Jon+, David

Nefarious
Haim 20, Nadine 18, Jon 17, David 16, Aaron 13

Twists were: Lose a minion to invent, start game with 2 extra cards. Losing a minion turned out not to be as bad as it sounded.

Tikal

Haim 122, Jon 121, Nadine 104

I hadn’t played in years, and never with correct rules, not that I remembered. It’s a good game, pretty balanced though there is luck, and not my type of game. Jon had 3 sets of treasures, Chaim and I 2.

Azul

Lorenzo+, Aaron, David

Lorenzo had 1 column and 2 rows and all of one color

Puerto Rico B S B

Jon 21 26 13 60, Chaim 22 18 6 46, Nadine 20 16 9 45

We used a few of Jon’s buildings, Forest House, Beach House, Cathedral, Large Business, Assembly Line, Small Fashion District. I felt like everything was against me, even though I was the only one with coffee for a while. Jon bought Large Business early, and a Large Market, Small Market wasn’t in the game.

Tichu

Aaron / Nadine+, Jon / Haim

On the last hand, I had an Ace, King bomb, Phoenix which fit into 3 consecutive pairs to jacks, 2, 3, 9. I was planning on calling Tichu. Aaron led the 1 and called and Ace. Jon played the 8, and I decided not to call Tichu. I led the 2, Haim called Tichu, won with an ace, and played a straight. Then he played a single card which let me get rid of my 9; I bombed his dragon and my consecutive pairs won. Aaron also passed the dog to Jon, which he played to Haim. We made two GTs, they made one, going out one two. We had two bombs to block a Tichu that Jon called.

 

Around the World

Magic

Jon++ David

David: At the beginning of the second game I had out 3 powerful creatures (a flyer, a pumper (1B->+1/+1) and (I think) a tapper (1W->tap target creature). Jon had a do nothing 2/3 creature. He then played an inexpensive red card that does two damage to all creatures! Killed all 3 of mine, and left his own intact. Beautiful move, but very painful from my end.

Jon: The end of the first game I was similarly lucky. He had me down to 4 points while he was at 11. I had two ground creatures and two 3/3 fliers and he had no flying defence so I could do 6 points before he crushed me . And my mana was low at 5 lands, only one green. I topdecked a card that gave all of my cretaures +3/+3 but I needed 7 Mana to cast with 2 green. But it was a card that let you tap creatures to reduce the cost by 1 Mana each of the creature’s color I tapped both of my ground creatures, which were green, and all of my land to cast the spell, and my two fliers we’re then able to do 6 points each.

David: And one of the two creatures was a 1 casting cost white OR green for a 2/1 creature!

Traders of Osaka

David 18, Haim 18, Nadine 16, Jon less

Tichu

Nadine/Jon 1100  Haim/David 500

We played while waiting for more players. Jon and I had good cards and made Grand Tichus. David missed a Tichu when Jon had a bomb. I played wrong at the end of a Tichu, fortunately it didn’t matter.

Lords of Waterdeep

Nadine F 142, Lorenzo 128, Martin 109, Gili 109

First play for all but Gili.

Tigris and Euphrates

Jon 10, Lorenzo 5, Martin 5

First play for Lorenzo and Martin, they liked it. Lorenzo had a lot of points, but not evenly spread which you need.

Power Grid

David+, Nadine, Haim

We stopped after buying plants in Step 3. I realized David could probably build to 17, and I knew I couldn’t, so I asked him if he could, and we stopped, I couldn’t build to 16. He could power 16, good job. We played on the Poland board, first time for all of us. We used the middle 3 regions. Martin came over to see and liked the map, he’s from Czech Republic.