July 19, 2017

Participants: Jon, Jeff, Sara, Haim S, Aaron, Gili, Assif, Yael,

Jeff and Sara are visiting from the US. Gili brought her daughter Assif.

Slap Deck

Jon+, Sara+, Jeff

First plays for Jeff and Sara. We played two games.

Bruges

Gili, Sara, Jeff, Assif

First plays for Sara and maybe Assif.

Antike

Jon+, Yael, Aaron, Haim

First plays for Aaron and Haim. As usual, I played to one less point than recommended. This is the closest thing I have to a war game, and Haim tried to play it much like a was game, making pacts, encouraging others to do so, and threatening those who didn’t. I found myself squeezed in the middle. Lucky for me, everyone basically agreed to apportion out the board and leave me three additional cities to which to expand.

Haim conquered many cities and built up some armies. Aaron progressed nearly as quickly as I did on the Know-Hows. Yael was in the corner and built up some boats and cities. I was first to three temples and a few know-hows, then 7 seas. I won the game by destroying one of Aaron’s temples, which was the only conquering in the game.

Mockup

We learned to play xxx’s mockup, which was a bit like a a cross between By Hook or By Crook and Can’t Stop (games with which they are unfamiliar). It was not my type of game, but for those that like that kind of game, it might be fun.

It’s Alive

Jon, Aaron, xxx

First play for everyone but me. Amazing that Aaron had never played this. I think everyone enjoyed it.

Advertisements

July 05, 2017

Participants: Jon, David, Gili, Aaron, Yael, Haim S

Magic: The Gathering

David++, Jon

We drafted rather mediocre cards. I played RBw, David played BGw I believe. I have a number of fliers and some boosters, but not much else. David had some kill, boosters, and better creatures.

Suburbia

Jon 117, Hai 81, Aaron 42

First play for Haim. I got a high income quickly and then almost never bought a building that cost more than my income. by the last few rounds, I had some 50 cash, I still bought very little, instead doubling some key reputation boosters. Aaron went out of his way to take the Casino (never loses income when crossing a red line), but his reputation was so low that he fell back down to the last row of population and only crossed red lines on his last two turns. Haim made two of the common goals, I made one and my hidden goal, both of which were worth more points.

Hansa Teutonica

Jon 84, Haim 63, Aaron 44

Second play for Aaron. Haim religiously plays by blocking route he thinks people want and then waiting for them to give him extra pieces. While this give him extra pieces on occasion, it also means that he takes extra actions to actually do anything. I rarely do this, and when I do, it’s only because I don’t want to telepath what my actual intentions are (I can move more pieces at a time than place, so I can move and claim a route faster than I can place and claim a route).

Haim and Aaron had the extra actions and extra points routes blocked up for most of the game, but they both got to five actions while I only made it to four. On the other hand, I had three out of four of the extra end game city point slots (7, 8, and 11) and also built a cross-board route for 7. Haim had a nearly fully developed board and scored three time his final cluster (for 24 points).

Above and Below

David 48, Yael 42, Gili 42

First play for David and Yael.

Tichu

David/Haim +, Jon/Aaron –

We didn’t finish the game, but we were certainly losing. Out of about 7 hands, Aaron called and lost 4 tichus and 1 grand tichu (he also made 1 tichu). One of them I could have saved if I had thought it through.

 

 

 

 

 

June 28, 2017

Participants: Jon, David K, Chaya Bluma, Ido, Tzur, Aaron, Haim S, Tal

Welcome back Ido and his friend Tzur who enjoyed the group but probably won’t have time to come. My daughter sat in for some Tichu at the end of the night.

Magic the Gathering

Jon++, David

I continue to win this game, occasionally, after losing for so long. We both drafted BG. I thought I would be adding W, but I ended up playing BGU. David played BGW, which is unusual for him. My mana worked well in the first game, a little less in the second; David had the opposite problem. His bigger problem was that he had some creature killers but didn’t see them for the most part in either game. I had a few unblockables and some ability to excavate them from the graveyard.

Parade

David 14, Jon 15, Ido 33

First play for Ido. David could have won by more by taking a riskier play, but he played a safety play by calculating the best score I could achieve and playing to beat it by one point.

Nefarious

Jon 21, David, Ido

First play for Ido. The twists were both “good”. One gave you an extra card when you researched but made you toss a card when you invented. The other gave you $2 whenever you played an invention worth more points than a previous invention.

Hansa Tuetonica

Jon 53, David 50, Haim 47, Ido 32

First play for Ido. David was convinced that he was doing poorly (as usual), while I was convinced that he, Haim, and I were pretty close. I never got to five actions, while all of them did. Instead I took an early lead on cities and 2 of the 4 lower left city bonuses; David took the other 2. At the end David took away some of my cities. And Haim had the most disks. Somehow I still squeaked out a victory.

Castles of Burgundy

Aaron 190, CB 186, Tzur 175

First play for CB and Tzur. CB liked the game, but toward the end she said that there was not enough contrast between different colors and some kinds of icons, making it hard to see what’s going on. And it wasn’t as interactive as Puerto Rico. 🙂

Tichu

David/Tal, CB/Aaron, Haim?

I don’t remember exactly what happened here, except that once again we went very late past midnight.

June 21, 2017

Participants: Jon, Chaya Bluma, Yael, Haim S, Aaron

Aaron showed up late. Welcome first time attendee CB.

Puerto Rico

Jon 48 + 16, CB 48 + 5, Yael 36, Haim 29

First plays for CB and Haim, second for Yael.

This was a slow game, but everyone enjoyed it. CB did an amazing job tying me on her first try.

Tichu

CB/Jon/Haim 1080, CB/Yael/Aaron 920

First play for CB. Yael stayed for a short time while I coached CB. Then Yael left and CB took her seat while I took CB’s seat opposite Haim.

We started this game late and the game went 12 hands. I inherited a come-from-behind position, which I did with the help of a last round Grand Tichu (before which we were down 775 to 925). And my opps had two bombs against the GT. We ended late, around 1 am.

 

June 14, 2017

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nadine, Yael, Haim S, Ben

Ben, my brother, made a rare appearance.

Parade

Haim 14, Nadine 18, Jon 19, Gili more

Hansa Teutonica

Jon 64, Yael 64, Haim 53

First play for Yael, who did very well.

It’s Alive

Yael 51, Jon 41, Haim 34

First play for Haim.

Trajan

Nadine 130, Gili 127, Ben 126

First play for Ben. Ben may have moved the wrong person.

June 07, 2017

Participants: Jon, David, Nadine, Aaron, Haim S

No game night last week owing to Shavuot.

Magic: The Gathering

Jon++, David+

We drafted and I ended up with a GWR deck. Unusually for me, a) I played only 15 lands, 5 of each color, b) I played 41 cards instead of 40. In addition to the lands, I had 4 cards that fetched lands (of my choice) or generated mana. Also unusually for me, I never had any mana problems, hitting 7 or 8 mana in all colors within the first 7 rounds in each game. David had some mana problems with his 40 card / 18 land deck in RGb. He played b even though his W was stronger, because he hates playing W. The only reason his W was stronger was because he negative drafted W cards away from me.

I had a few fliers (including a red 5/5 flying haste who gets shuffled back into your deck at the end of the round), some medium green creatures, and some boosters, with only three control cards (a spark jolt (1 point and a scry), a white card that buries a large creature, and a small creature that sends one of his creatures out of play until it (the small creature) leaves play).

In the first game, I brought him down to one point, and then he took out my creatures and generated his own until he won. In the second he struggled with mana a bit and I took him down. In the third, I brought him down to two points and it looked light it might be a repeat of the first game but I top-decked my red 5/5 flyer to win.

Princes of Florence

Aaron 63, David 54, Jon 53, Haim 51, Nadine 47

First play for Haim and maybe second or third for Aaron? David and I essentially copied each other’s early strategy, each taking a jester and a recruiter. Then he took two more recruiters and I took two more jesters. We both ended with no prestige cards and very similar results, as you see. Meanwhile, I encouraged Aaron to try a builder strategy; he took 3 builders and 4 prestige cards, none of them too expensive. In the last round, Haim, who had two builders, actually covered more spaces than he had, so he Aaron lost his last prestige card. However, he times his works well, taking the best work twice I think (at least once), and did very well. Haim did a mixture of about everything, with builders, landscapes, and a prestige card. Nadine also had two prestige cards, and played conservatively (spending as little as possible).

Nadine writes: Chaim blocked Aaron from getting the least empty spaces one, and blocked me from getting anything for my second one which would have been 7 for most landscapes, 4 for a tie, with 7 I would have tied David; Chaim got most lakes. I should maybe have bid more against him for a lake, but that would have just been a tie, and I would have lost one or two points from the money spent. 

Nefarious

Jon 20, David 18m Aaron 17, Haim 13, Nadine 11

First play for Haim. He keeps complaining that we are always playing different games, while he prefers to play the same game several times in a row so as to get the nuances. I sympathize with him, but I must say that I rarely encounter someone who is so good at picking up the rules of games as I explain them.. He always understands the rules on the first try, although he often checks certain rules out loud as we play (like a verbal reminder, I think).

Anyhoo, we played with the twists a) we all start with 20 instead of 10, and b) we toss down to the nearest 5 at the end of each round (unless you have less than 5). The first twist is pretty uneventful, while the second one radically changes how you play. You MUST place minions, or you have no hope of accumulating any money.

I drew tons of very expensive cards. I finally tossed them all out for some cash (the effect of a card), and when I drew again I drew the most expensive card in the game. It actually ended up helping me, because it was worth just enough points to get me to 20.

Tichu

Nadine/Aaron 620, David/Haim 280

Nadine/Aaron 310, David/Jon -120

I kibitzed the first game, tsking when Aaron called Tichu after Tichu (and then when he didn’t call Grand Tichu and he should have) and as he played his last few cards. David had some bad luck with his tichus. The I sat down to take Haim’s place, and David and I proceeded to have several hands of really bad luck, as well as a few bad plays (some of which hurt us and some of which didn’t). It was late so we gave up.

May 24, 2017

Participants: Jon, Yitzchak, Haim S, Aaron, David K, Nadine, Gili, Evan, Haim B, Josh

Yitzchak is an old friend who is visiting Israel and comes once every few years. Evan is Nadine’s nephew, visiting from northern California. He just graduated Berkeley and will be moving to Seattle, where he plans to look for game groups. Haim B and Josh happened to be in Jerusalem, one visiting from LA, one from Tel Aviv.

Slap Deck

Jon, Aaron, Haim S, Yizchak

I taught Yitzchak and Haim how to play. We played two quick games.

Nefarious

Evan 22, Nadine 21, Aaron 20

First play for Evan. They played while waiting for Gili and a new player to arrive; when two new players showed up they split into two groups of three instead of playing Princes of Florence. Twists: +1 point per card. And something about paying minions to invent.

Five Tribes

Nadine 171, Aaron 149, Evan 149

Nadine writes: Aaron helped Evan analyze in Five Tribes. Evan had 10 yellows when the 3 point djinn came out. Aaron convinced him to bid 12, and didn’t overbid him, but it would have been worth bidding 18 for a move where he got two more yellows and could buy the djinn. I had 7 cards and some good board spots, though not the most. Aaron ran out of camels which ended the game, I had 3 left. The cards stalled when I had 7; Evan had 5. Aaron was second in yellows, I had 5 whites at the end. I took money twice, and bid low and went last a lot, though we mostly didn’t bid a lot.

Notre Dame

Haim B 61, Gili 47, Josh 46

First play for Haim and Josh.

La Citta

David++, Yitzchak+, Jon-, Chaim S–

We played four rounds out of six. First plays for Chaim and Yitzchak, while David and I hadn’t played in a long time. Chaim got blindsided and wiped out when he lost a central city. This is a very punishing game that can wipe out your chance of winning if you are careless. Otherwise, you have to balance winning and losing. Early mines, which David had in plenty, are game-changing. Not surprisingly, the other person who had a fair shot of winning by the time we ended also had a good income. I had a very small income; although I understood the rules better and wasn’t entirely wiped out, I wasn’t doing anywhere near as well.

All of us had a problem with the card turnover. Often six or seven of the cards are useless, which means taking a mildly useful or useless card simply reveals a good one for the next player. Worse, some basic actions that you need to stay competitive or at least climb out of your hole (or at least keep you from being bored for the last hour of the game) are simply unavailable. There MUST be a way to gain people, at least temporarily, if the cards don’t show up for it.

We played around with a few suggestions for how to fix the card issue, and David’s seems best: put coins on unused cards (for some definition of unused. And always make buying people an option, I think. I will look online for some variants.

Nadine: You should have believed me, and we should have checked our house rules: Pay one coin to replace all cards.

San Juan

Evan 35, Yitzchak 34, Gili 34, Haim S 34

First plays for Evan and Haim. Gili removed the expansion cards before playing.

 

Tichu

David/Jon 605, Nadine/Aaron 395

We ended early since it was getting late. A lot of bombs and some interesting hands. On one hand, I called Tichu after David was down to one card. I would have made it if a) Nadine didn’t have 2 bombs, and b) David didn’t decide to just go out after I ducked Nadine’s first high card play after her first bomb: I had three cards left: Dragon, 9, and Dog. I was waiting for her to play a single card lower than the 9. David thought I was stuck and could not go out. Unfortunately, even if he had not decided to go out, I still wouldn’t have made my Tichu because Nadine had her second bomb.

I called and made a Grand Tichu on a round where Aaron also called Tichu (for some reason). And then he set David’s Grand Tichu on the following round. So we went up and down in score a lot.