Monsters and Vikings

King of New York

Chaim 20, Nadine 18, David 16, Gili 18 but dead

Gili had played King of Tokyo and wanted to try this one. I said the additional complexity isn’t worth it, but everyone liked it with the more strategic options. I was in Manhattan the least. David had a card that let him roll an extra die. Chaim had cards that helped him, he was the first to get the 3 star card, and spent the most time in Manhattan.

Raiders of the North Sea

David 47, Haim 36, Nadine 35, Gili 30

First play for David and Haim, Gili and I had played one 3-player game. Turn order, which doesn’t change: David, me, Haim, Gili. Chaim didn’t like my advice to start with inexpensive cards, but he edged ahead of me because of one of his original cards which gave two points at the end of the game. It was hard to get the things we needed in order to raid, it’s somehow much more difficult in a 4-player game, and more raiding spots are taken. We all liked the game and want to try again, though this time people played negative effects against other players, which we didn’t have last time. But it’s usually not that bad, though David played a card first round that made us all give him one of our two coins, when most cards cost two or more. There is a good combination of planning and tactics, without being able to plan in detail due to player interaction.

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Solamente Espana

El Grande

Haim 20, 45, 73; Nadine 21, 48, 73; Israel 14, 40, 71; Eliezer 12, 32, 67; Gili 13, 37, 57

First play for Eliezer and Israel, who are high school seniors at Mekor Haim. The did very well at catching on and improving, they got the most points in the last third. Haim has played a few times, but not as much as Gili and I have. Gili was attacked once or twice for no reason, the game is fun and interactive.

Sagrada

Nadine 64, Haim 62, Gili 51, Israel 40

First play for Israel and Haim; I played a two-player game once. The game isn’t very interactive and feels a bit like work. And there’s luck, I went first and last on the last round, there was a die left that let me complete a row for five points.

Tiki Jon

Welcome to visitor Rachel from the UK. She works with a non-profit partnering with MATI, so she’ll be back.

Hawaii

Jon 114, Rachel 88, Elad 87, Haim 85, Nadine 84

First play for Rachel and Elad, so they did extremely well, second play for Haim who also did well. We gave them some tips after teaching the game, but they came up with their own strategies. I should have been competition for Jon, but instead came in last. Jon did a really good job planning and implementing his winning strategy – in addition to 45 points from Kahunas with lots of Tikis, he was often first in round points. I wasted resources trying to be first in round points, I should have just used my two 4 point surfers, though I did come in second once or twice. I had the boat and surfer multiplier, Jon thought he had it, and was ahead or tied with me in boats. I don’t think the extra fruit compensated enough for turn order first round: Rachel, Haim, Jon, Nadine, Elad.

Rachel got 6 pts per arrow chip, Elad had full fruits, and Haim had 4 villages and Kahunas, and was first in rounds points in the last round.

Sushi Go Party!

Jon 50, Nadine 48, Rachel 43, Elad 41, Haim 25

First play for Elad, Haim and Rachel. The right level and length for the end of the evening.

Yay David!

Havoc

David 38, Jon 30, Aaron 29, Haim 24

First play for Aaron and Haim.

Raiders of the North Sea

Nadine 54, Nadine F 51, Gili 42

Gili brought this, first play for all of us. A nice game, not difficult to learn, but it is tight, so each action matters. I started by investing in fighting power, and mostly managed to avoid Valkyries so I didn’t lose cards. You have to manage several things but it works well. Without planning to, I took one of the tiles Gili wanted, which meant she couldn’t use her plunder efficiently. None of us used the stealing action which I don’t think I like because you’ll steal what you need, not select the player who is furthest behind, if you can even tell. The game is an award-winner, in the top 100 on bgg.

Azul

Nadine 86, Nadine F 67, Gili 63

Nadine F was trying to take into consideration what the rest of us needed, which makes sense, but I complained because it made the game too slow.

Concordia

David 141, Aaron 123, Jon 114, Haim 99

Turns out that we’ve been playing wrong – you have to pay double or more to build houses where one is already built. David focused on cloth.

Tichu

Jon Haim, Nadine David

We didn’t finish the whole game, but Jon and Haim were ahead when we stopped. We set one of Jon’s 3 Tichus, and they set one of David’s by playing 2 bombs.

David found and brought plastic Tichu cards to replace Jon’s almost unplayable decks. The cards are smooth and slippery, with different art, a major improvement!

 

Close games with exclamation points

Clank!

Jon 97, Aaron 96, Nadine 86

Aaron had only played once and wanted to play again. Aaron seemed to be doing the best, but Jon ended up ahead of him. I did better than usual, I got more feet to compensate for last time, but needed more buying power. No one came close to dying and we all made it out easily.

Sushi Go Party!

Aaron 49, Nadine 48, Jon 38

We had chopsticks and spoons. I got to 10 in desserts first for 8 points.

Tichu

Haim Nadine 1070, Jon Aaron 930

A rematch from last time, but this time close the whole way. I ended up calling GT 4 times, and Tichu 3 times, Haim called Tichu once but didn’t make it. I made my Tichus, and missed one Grande. I should have made it but I guess there was no way to know. Aaron and Jon had pretty full hands. I had a 6 card straight to the Queen and the Dragon left. I played the straight first. Aaron went over it, and Jon almost went over him because he knew he could go out. They both had long straights, Aaron was able to go out without playing a single card. They didn’t have a bomb so I would  have made it if I’d played the Dragon first. On another GT I used an Ace bomb with 3 cards left, and Aaron overbombed with a straight. But he played a single card so I made it, I had the Dog, a King and the Dragon. On my last GT Haim passed Aaron the One and he called Ace and played a 10 card straight, then played a pair. Jon had to take it with his two Aces, and Jon ended up playing his third Ace, so it’s possible he could have blocked me if Aaron hadn’t called with the One. I played a 5 card straight with the Dragon left, Haim wanted to play over me but we didn’t let him, though he was right, he would have played the Dog or a single card back. Jon had 5 cards so if he could have gone over Haim he could have also gone over me, but he couldn’t.

Jon and Aaron called Tichu 5 times, Aaron missed two of his. We almost blocked another one, but he had two bombs in his hand. On another hand he called with a King bomb but didn’t make it, if he hadn’t called Tichu Jon would have called, but probably also not made it. I overcalled Tichu with a high straight bomb, 2 Kings and a low straight.

Haim’s unconventional winning move

Concordia

Jon 117, David 104, Nadine 95, Aaron 94, Haim 74

Jon’s Secret Santa gift, new to all except Aaron. We all liked it once we figured out what was going on. David doesn’t like playing with 5, but by the second half of the game people were making their moves quickly enough. Jon and Aaron understood the game from the start, David didn’t at first, I didn’t either, Haim didn’t complain. I focused on two things, ending up doing better than I expected. We all liked the game, you have to plan well but you have a lot of control, and all the actions are positive ones. The ‘copy another player’s move’ action works better with 5 players.

Tichu

Nadine Haim 1035, Jon Aaron 965

The score doesn’t reflect that Jon and Aaron were ahead by at least 300 the whole game, and we all expected them to win handily.

Aaron’s first two Tichus were defeated, but he was determined, and made his last one. Jon made a GT and some Tichus. Later in the game, Aaron commented that no one had gone out 1 2. I didn’t say ’til now’, but went out second after Haim a minute later. I had two bombs, I used one to save Haim’s Tichu even though it turned out that I didn’t need to, Aaron would have had to play a single card eventually, and Haim had the Dragon left. But I wasn’t sure, and had to use my Dog anyway, and had the second bomb which was enough after I managed to play my lower single cards. It was hard to pass, I had to break up a consecutive pair, I started with 3333 4444 8899 JQ.

On another hand, I had a good hand and was probably going to call Tichu. Haim opened with a 1 to 5 straight and called an Ace. Jon went over it, and I had to play with my Ace, which left me with an extra card, and one less Ace, so I didn’t call Tichu. I told Haim that I passed him a low card, so he shouldn’t call an Ace, he said he called it because he had no Aces.

The score going into the last hand was us 635 to 965. We made our usual remark that we only needed to go out one two on a GT to win. I called GT on good cards, I ended with the Dragon, Phoenix, and 3 Aces after passing. When I played the Dog, Haim responded with a low straight which Jon overtook, and then led and took the trick with a consecutive pair. After that I was able to get back in and go out, I played Phoenix and my last Ace over a pair of kings, then led the Dragon and 33322 to go out. Aaron and I were complaining about Haim’s play, but it was well thought-out. He said later that he knew we could only win if he went out second, so he played towards that, successfully, for a surprise win of the game.

Pie Town

Pie Town

Nadine 126 Haim 105 Jon 102 Gili 97

A new game of Haim’s, very nice. Worker placement to bake and sell pies, with a deduction element. You get more points for baking pies with your secret ingredients than for generic pies, but the other players can get points for guessing your ingredients so you need to disguise when you bake. I’m bad at deduction games, even though we had erasable cards to write on. I started off by getting to the maximum of workers, 4, while others got ingredients and upgrades. I upgraded eventually, and managed to bake the most pies by the end of the game, to put me ahead enough in points that I didn’t need the points from guessing. The others guessed well, but the maximum points from guessing it all correctly is only 12. It feels like there is luck, mostly in turn order. You can take first player if no one takes it before you, Gili took it once, which made me last player instead of second, first player rotates to the left. Haim also to got to 4 workers. It feels more tactical than strategic, all of us are ready to play again.

Azul

Haim 70 Gili 63 Jon 62 Nadine 58

My second play, Haim has played over 20 times, to good effect. Gili kept trying to block Jon, and he kept telling her to block me instead because I was ahead, but she was right. I could have done better but didn’t feel like thinking more, and I doubt I could have won.