January 17, 2018

Participants: Jon, Gili, Lorenzo

Another small game night.

Inca Empire

Jon 151, Gili 143, Lorenzo 143

First plays for Gili and Lorenzo. I got a rule  wrong (I gave the board bonuses for the cities instead of the temples). and there were several rules questions that I did not know how to answer. For instance, the card that lets you build two garrisons: in the same place or two different places? I only noticed late in the game that the wilderness road can parallel someone else’s road. And the card that removes all roads in unconquered territories is not explained well.

I started out with better income chips near me. But everyone else’s income jumped ahead of mine even before mid-game. Lorenzo and Gili were slightly ahead in victory points early on, until I pulled ahead in mid-game. By the end, as you see, they caught up greatly and we all ended pretty close.


Jan 10, 2018

Participants: Jon, Aaron, Gili

Small attendance, which is probably just as well since I was still getting over a flu.

Lewis & Clark

Jon+, Gili, Aaron

First play for Jon and Aaron. This game’s flow was unlike anything I had ever played. I thought it would play like Dominion or similar games: play cards until your hand is out and then pick up your cards and start again, giving you a sense of “rounds”. However, by adding “Indian” actions, you are able to take many, many turns, sometimes without ever playing or picking up a card. But only by picking up your cards can you make progress on the scoring track.

I began to pick up the game flow and found it pretty interesting. Once you get the hang of the flow, you realize that you have many, many options on a single turn. Luckily, the three of us were content to pick what seemed to be a generally good option on each turn. But it you are playing with analysis paralysis players, they might drag down the game examining every possible move. We’ll see.

Since we ended up NOT taking so many of the possible choices, it remains a big mystery to me what the best strategies are. Aaron also enjoyed the game, although his choice of trying to play a lot of Indian actions proved (pretty early on) to be not the best idea.

I won a few rounds ahead of the others, which appeared to be predetermined once I was the first to make it through the first mountain passes.

Among the Stars

Jon 84, Aaron 80, Gili 71 (scores approximate)

I suggested this as a mid-length game. Second play for Gili, third for Aaron. We all had decent races; Gili started with a powerful race (+1 building of every color), but failed to take advantage of it. In the end, we all ended up with one mission bonus.


Quiet night after last week’s crowd. Jon is on vacation in Tel Aviv, checking out the board game scene there. Mazal tov to Lorenzo and Sara on their civil marriage, Sara is visiting for two weeks, looking for a job in finance.


Nadine 42, Lorenzo 26, Sara 17

They had never played this, Lorenzo had heard about it, and a three-player game is a good opportunity to learn. Even when you understand the rules it’s a hard game. Sara didn’t want to add family members because she’d need to feed them. Lorenzo added one part-way through, then another one at the very end. He had a lot of pastures and sheep, but ended up killing them for food. He had good synergy with all his cards, and got 5 Occupations out, with a bonus for the most. Sara played the 8 point card, which meant no actions in the last round, but with two workers she only missed two actions. I had a card which gave me family growth without a room, which I played early. It caused me to lose 3 points for missing one food but helped overall.

Candle Quest

Sara 50, Nadine 41, Lorenzo 35

Sara got a lot of Sad candles as well as Dancing candles. They liked the game.


December 20, 2017

Participants: Jon, Aaron, Nadine, Gili, Haim S, Zvi, Avi K, Klara

David’s son Avi came; we last saw him at Games Day. His friend Zvi also came for the first time.


Aaron and I tried out this very miniaturized version of a collect resources / buy buildings game. Gilad (from Modiin) warned me that the volatility (which cannot be planned for) in the market makes planning impossible. For me, the biggest problem is that the game has basically three mechanics, with one or two other mechanics that are so weakly implements that they don’t actually have any effect on the game.

The game is so stripped down that it is basically a slew of ways to move your counters a little to the left and right until you can buy a building, after which you do and start over. Owning the buildings has essentially no effect on game play, so there is almost nothing to the game which is very dull. Which is a shame.


Zvi 50+, Aaron 50-, Gili

First play for Zvi, who won with the tie break on money.


Avi 45, Jon 42, Haim 36, Nadine 28, Klara 25

First play for Klara, Avi, and Haim. All of them felt like they could do better on subsequent plays. Avi got to the high income before any of us, which is usually a sign of victory. I had one more link than he did and was starting to catch up in shipping points, but not enough. Avi spent most of his time on the NE corner of the board, while I had a corridor don the center of the board and over to the west.


Aaron, Zvi

First play for Zvi.


Jon/Avi, Nadine/Haim

We splayed several round as teams, with all sides being very close. We gained 15, 10, 05 points each round, and once we were tied.


Nadine/Avi/Aaron+, Jon/Haim

Avi and then Aaron and Nadine gained an initial lead, but then I set tichus a couple of times, which placed us ahead. Before the last round, we were up 870 to their 630. I told Nadine not to worry, because they can just call Grand Tichu and both go out first.

Which they did. Aaron called Grand Tichu, passed me a 2, and called a 5, which destroyed the bottom of my very large run, giving me a far worse hand. Nadine’s second to last play was a long run which I would have been able to beat if I had my 5. And then she went out.


Chanukah Games

Second night of Chanukah, most people were busy.

Love Letter

Nadine 2, Chaim 1. We stopped when Lorenzo came. It was luck and guessing, not deduction.


For Lorenzo to try it, he liked it; we all liked the M’n’M’s.


Lorenzo 65, Nadine 54, Chaim 33

First play for Chaim. He lost 15 points for not being able to feed workers. Lorenzo said he understood the game better this time, second play. Chaim had six workers, Lorenzo five and I had four, and buildings to feed all of them for the last two feedings. No one bought a Monument.


Lorenzo 16, Chaim 13, Nadine 11

Lorenzo was happy to try this, he had wanted to but hadn’t gotten a chance at Kinneretcon. Chaim had three Merchants and Lorenzo one. I had a four point card in my hand, but would have had to collect more coins before playing it. Lorenzo noted that there is significant luck.


December 06, 2017

Participants: Jon, Haim S, Lorenzo, Nadine

Gin Rummy

Haim 42, Jon 0

We played one hand, playing the local rules that I grew up with.


Nadine 125, Jon 119, Lorenzo 119, Haim 94

First play for Lorenzo, Second play for Haim. I tried a few different things, but I could see that Nadine was going to win by halfway through. Naturally, she complained every time she only made 24 points instead of 25 in a round, or if she only made points in 4 areas instead of 5 in one round. I didn’t complain, because I figured I was second and thought it might be close.

We all played more military than unusual. Lorenzo played with the x2 chips, extra actions, and many Trajan tiles. I played more cards than I usually do.

Nadine writes: It’s not just luck, but not really planned either. At the end of one of the years I landed on a spot to get 9 points because I had the right colors there for the tile. It was the scroll rack spot, and I had an extra action chip, so I ended up second to get a bonus tile, worth 6 points. Lorenzo was hurt by it being his first game and not realizing a few things early enough, and Jon went last, without compensation. Tie breaker is the scroll track, I think.

Actually, we played with the slight rule change where all players get the same number of turns (so whoever triggers the end game, it comes around to the 4th player), which is a little compensation. But it’s still a little harder in last place.

Lorenzo says that he liked it.


Jon/Haim 1080, Nadine/Lorenzo 220

Second or third time for Lorenzo. Possibly it would have been better if he had been my partner. Nadine says that she wants to keep Lorenzo as her partner while he is learning.

Lorenzo writes: She is very good in trying to fix my mistakes, but Tichu is an especially hard game for me so for almost each point she gets I lose as much.


KinneretCon November 2017

Our third Kinneretcon. A large contingent from our Jerusalem group – Jon, Saarya, Lorenzo, Nadine, Chaya Bluma, Haley, Gili, Eszter, Binyamin, Cliff, Netanel, Mishi, Rafaella. Thanks to Roee, we played in an airy upstairs room with windows, instead of the basement.

Above and Below

I had seen people playing this at previous Kinneretcons and wanted to try. I’m not sure why I wasn’t impressed, the gameplay is fine. I don’t really like the story aspect being mixed in, the story part isn’t that interesting and disrupts the game while you read. You roll dice for success in explorations, but can injure your people for extra points. Lorenzo wisely took a re-roll two card, which helped him. Our scores, were close, except for Lorenzo. First play for all except Gili. Lorenzo 49, Roee 40, Nadine 39, Gili 38

Clans of Caledonia

I wanted to play this because I read that it was in bgg.con Hot Games. A very pretty and complex game about clans in Scotland, with nice wooden food and animal components. Cliff laughed when I told him you expand on hexes, get resources, trade in the market and fulfill contracts. I like that some of the clan representatives are women. Ortal, who had played once, taught it to us – Roee and David. I selected my choice of clan benefit, MacKenzie, a whiskey distillery, picking out of three, based on the clan of a fictional character in the Outlander books. This turned out to be a pretty good benefit, mainly giving money, which helped at the end of the game with buying and fulfilling contracts. I found out at the end that my starting goods had been random, independent of the clan, so I had been lucky to get a whiskey which started giving me money right away.

I knew there were variable round scoring tiles, but I forgot to pay attention early on, so barely got any of those points, and I didn’t even try to use any of the port bonuses. I pretty much understood the placement scoring even though I forgot about it. I upgraded shipping one level but didn’t use it. I thought I was doing poorly, as did the others, actually I was doing poorly. I didn’t have the goods for my first contract – I didn’t realize how hard and expensive it would be to make bread, I thought using wheat, which I was already producing for the whiskey, would be efficient, but it’s the opposite, it’s easier to produce something else. It took me two rounds to buy them at the market because I only had two merchants, so I fulfilled that contract on round three, of five. David thought that he could toss a contract, he hadn’t noticed that I had a problem due to that too, you only get one at a time and can’t discard it, he had already obtained goods for a new contract so that hurt him.

After fulfilling my first contract I was able to use my whiskey money to buy contracts, and managed to get ones that required whiskey, which by the end of the game I couldn’t use for income anyway. I also noticed, when Roee used the benefit, that you get a free contract for emptying a row; I had emptied my whiskey row a while ago, so got a free contract. I fulfilled four contracts in the last two rounds, pretty much catching up on contracts, and unexpectedly got the most contracts bonus of twelve.

Roee understood the game well, competing with Ortal for the placement bonuses, first place is eighteen. I made some placement mistakes, but the worker, production, and upgrading mechanics weren’t that hard to understand. I didn’t even realize there was a ranking mechanic til the end, the ranking of the import goods which are contract rewards change based on the number of each, but I don’t think knowing affects play much, because you mainly take contracts based on which one you can fulfill. I got 44 points for one good that I had on contracts, ending up second. Ortal had around 120, I had 100 and Roee 99, and David a bit less. I like the game, but it will take me several plays to understand how it all works.


I taught this. Partly selected for Lorenzo, who is Italian; he kept trying to figure out who the families were. They caught on and liked the game. I did mainly books, Lorenzo had a lot of men. Lorenzo 158, Effi 137, Nadine 131, Yossi 114


A great, fun filler which I learned last time. I taught it twice, and played it once, and won.


I played two rounds at one point. The game was a big hit with everyone.


Jon taught it to four people including CB, but two people who listened to the explanation decided not to play, so Haley joined and learned it. We all did pretty well, but Jon is always faster. He had the advantages of being off to the side, and being first player, but as he said, he would have managed to win anyway. I get better as I play more, but don’t play often enough. It’s a very elegant game.


Lorenzo taught us this Italian game, using his pretty cards. It’s a trick-taking partnership game similar to bridge, without bidding or trump, and suits of 10 cards. The game is fine, but we had a hard time telling the suits apart due to the similarity of the artwork. Lorenzo offered to switch to regular cards, but we liked the challenge, and almost had the suits down after the two rounds we played. In addition, Lorenzo plays counter-clockwise.


First play for all. A nice-looking abstract, with a lot of depth. Spatial, I played mostly tactically.

6 Nimmt!

We played a round of this game, I didn’t realize it was 6 Nimmt!, which I’ve heard of, we were playing with the Hebrew version which has a different name. Cute light game, pretty random.

Lorenzo’s other plays:

Rococo – Lorenzo 74, Gilad 63, Yossi 38

Edge of Humanity – Tal 11+ (He won the tie on more survivors) Lorenzo 11-, Effi 10, Pini 8 (the creator)


3 games. First was won by the renegade, Saarya was imprisoned for 3 rounds and never played. The second match the bad guys won, outnumbering the sheriff. Last game sheriff and deputy killed all after a long battle with Saarya.

Mazal tov to Cliff for winning Argent!

– Nadine

Jon’s report:


A wonderful game with simple, elegant graphics (with one or two niggling problems) and elegant gameplay: buy cards and play cards for points and abilities, and buy cities and workers to allow you to play the cards. Cities also give bonuses. That’s pretty much it, but it works very well, with a worker-taking mechanic and the additional payment of time counters – most actions use up two slots on your action track – the worker you take and the time counter to pay for it, but some require you to take two time counters. You can either take them as two time counters, using up a third slot on your actions, or as a double time counter which then turns into a single time counter the next round, effectively meaning that you use up the second slot on the next round instead of the current one.

I played by buying very few cities, but in the end I had to buy some in order to play certain cards. I did okay, but not as well as the winner by a good distance.

The complexity is about the same as Hansa Teutonica. I loved it. Unfortunately, it is a limited run game until or unless it gets reprinted.


A ridiculously over produced game with cartoons, rulebooks and action strips instead of a board, two massively sculpted pieces and cards. All for a pretty straightforward and annoying “take that” abstract game of collecting coins, only a few of which you can collect during the game, and the rest of which go back and forth like a yo-yo until someone who is marginally ahead decides to end the game. Last player is at a disadvantage, and no compensation is given for it.

In my game, I stayed away from the pool of points available at one end of the board, but I was still a target for some reason, and I was down to 0 points on the board in round 4 out of 6.25 (with two permanent points collected). I complained about this. Then I finally spent a little time thinking about what to do about it, tossed some cards and took no actions in round 5 to get better ones (since I could hardly lose my position any further by that point), and played all my cards in round 6, netting me 18 points. The player after me (who was first player) ended the game; he had 19 points, I had 20, and everyone else had less.

Bleah. I’m not a fan of “take that” mechanics, and this didn’t change my mind. It didn’t help that the explanation for the game took a few repetitions to understand. But it has pretty pieces.

I also played:

Age of Industry – taught this to various people, and while the game is still dry, they enjoyed it.

Antike – see above

Crokinole – see above. Lots of people played this, and several talked about buying it.

Slap Deck – a few times

No Thanks

Sticheln – I think it’s okay, but the people around me whined a lot.

I taught Power Grid

I saw the sunrise over the Kinneret: very pretty.