April 19, 2017

Participants: Jon, David, Gili, Aaron, Yael, Nadine

Magic: The Gathering

David+, Jon+

We didn’t have time to Rochester draft, so I chose a balanced color assortment of 120 cards and we created decks from our half. The decks were stronger than usual. David played BG, and I played BRW. Yes, I still played three colors, although, in my defense, all but one of my cards had only one colored mana requirement. I had a few nervous moments at the beginning of both games, but I got out most of my cards without difficulty.

I had many fliers and I was hoping enough to stock David’s ground forces. And I had a Mindcrank, even one of which is pretty insane in a 40 card deck. In the first game, he had a large reach creature and then he had too many big land creatures to block all of them. In the second game, I stopped his ground forces, and even though he was gaining life, I decked him with my small fliers.

Bruges

Jon 60, Gili 51, Aaron 37

First plays for both of them, who wanted to learn. We discovered that I had misread one of the cards that I thought was way over-powered in a previous game. Gili took control of the canals early on, and I couldn’t draw the color card I needed to build the canal segment I wanted, so I concentrated on people and VPs from them. I also had a person that made me more immune to disasters, while Gili played a person that removed some of her tokens.

They both liked it.

Puerto Rico

David 54, Nadine 50, Yael 40

First play for Yael. Nadine writes: David had two big buildings including Custom’s House, as well as Factory and Harbor. Yael did very well for her first time, and we didn’t help her much.

Among the Stars

Gili 88, Jon 83, Aaron 82

First play for Gili and Aaron, and first time I played with objectives. We also played special powers: Gili could use a discarded card, Aaron knew of a secret objective, and I earned a few extra points at the end of the game. I like the game; it’s not rip roaring fun, but it’s a nice management game.

Tichu

David/Aaron 1005, Jon/Nadine 595

Very few bombs, and Aaron made a grand Tichu. They took a steady path to victory.

Passover Games Day 5777

Thank you to everyone who came, and brought snacks, and helped set-up and clean up. Special thanks to Jon for doing the food order, and Jon and Aaron for picking up the food from Black in town, and Aaron for taking some of the pictures.

Most popular games – Five Tribes, Nefarious, Tichu

Intrepid rules resource and teacher – Jon

Special welcome – Emily and Eitan, our stalwart gamers who rarely make it nowadays because they’re raising their own game group.

Amerigo

172 Ariel, 154 Avraham, 123 Aaron, 110 Assaf

Antike

Yael and others

Bora Bora

Emily 149, Assaf 139, Gili 139, Eitan 130

Taught by Gili.

Bridge

Nadine and Avi+, David and Jon

We didn’t officially keep score. Avi and I did pretty well, though Ben said that’s only if you don’t count two missed slams. Jon and Ben managed to have several hands each with less than 6 points.

Ben also played this earlier with another group.

Bruges

Jon 56, Shira 45+, Haim 45-, Avi 41

New to Shira, Haim and Avi, I explained the game to Shira and Haim while Jon and Aaron were picking up the food order, then Jon taught the game after Avi joined.

Jon: The game’s mechanics work okay but they feel disconnected and awkward. Okay to play, but need polishing. Really too much luck. Have to implement some other of my changes.

Five Tribes

Ben 172, Ofek 127, Asif 117, Gili 110

Taught by Gili

Aaron 140, AA 121, A 138, G 125

Ben 205, Yedidya 150, Daniel 129

Game of Thrones

Noam 6, Elad 5, Avi 4, Nati 4, Yael 2, Yochai 0

They stopped after about 7 rounds of 10, a super long game.

Lo Ra

(Nadine 13, Jon 7, Assif 6, Gili 5, Ofek 4)

We stopped after two rounds to play other games because a lot of people arrived. We did not score tribes or Gili’s Ark, Jon had by far the most in tribes.

Love Letter

David +, Aaron, Avi, Nadine 0

Avi 4, Nadine 4

Avi lost the first four on the first or second round, due mainly to luck that he couldn’t do anything about.

Magic

Daniel+, David

Jon+, David

Jon: In Magic, David and I entered a vast build up of on the ground forces, each hoping to find the flyer in our deck that would get through,

My forces were a litter stronger, so as our decks were dwindling, I decided to attack with everything, leaving a few behind as defense. David and I were being hurried by you to rejoin Tichu, and he didn’t feel like calculating out how to defend against me, so we both agreed to just abandon the game. So I didn’t actually win.

Nefarious

Daniel 33, Yael 25, Ben 29, Yedidya 25

Ben 22, Yael 20, Daniel 15, Yedidya 11

Niagara

Avi+, Gili, Nadine

The game needs more players.

Notre Dame

Gili 64, Assaf 57, David. B 55, Sara 23

Taught by Gili.                       

Power Grid

Ben 16 16, Jon 16 16, Nadine 15 16, David  8 8 Banana. Cities / Power plant total

David, very unusually, didn’t do well. As usual, I started off well then blew it. I got the 50 Power Plant relatively early on, but had no spots where I could build during Step Two, and by Step Three, Ben was too far ahead with cities and plants. He and Jon agreed to tie rather than going for another round, Jon had slightly more money.

Jon: Same idea here as in Magic. We got to the end game, and didn’t feel like slogging through one more round to see who would win. David did poorly because we played on the Benelux board, first time for all of us, and he misjudged the value of an early 4 power green plant.

Puerto Rico

Yosef  56, David B  49, Jon 48, Nadine  47, Sara 44

David B gave a thorough and detailed explanation to Sara, including strategic analysis, to teach her the game. David and Yosef spent time during the game analyzing their best moves, many to block me, then selected the role Jon knew all along they would take. Yosef was first, he started with Prospector which is unusual in our group, though we also rarely play 5-player. He said it was to stop Jon from being able to build Tobacco on the first round, but Jon said that doesn’t matter since it would ship. Another game where I started off well, but didn’t play well enough afterwards. Though I don’t think I could have beaten all those experts.

Jon: You definitely had a strong initial advantage, but twice you didn’t craft when you should have; once you took captain and once you took something else. As a result, the timing and your money didn’t quite work out. Also, Yosef got to five good with Factory, and so could take the two big buildings ahead of you. And the fact that he had tobacco ahead of me gave him reasonable early trading and late shipping.

Sara had a coffee monopoly for a while, so she also did okay, but no buildings to speak of. I had tobacco following Yosef, which hurt, but I had a harbor which helped.

R-Eco

Gili 12, Jon 10, Assaf 7, Ofek 6, Nadine 6

An early filler, we played with random number order. Eszter and others played a game later.

Sentinels of the Multiverse

Cliff, Mishy, Avi, two others

Per Cliff: VICTORY WAS OURS!! The boys enjoyed it but thought it was too easy.

Study in Emerald

Mishy, Eszter, Assaf

Per Cliff: Assaf won a close victory. We all enjoyed the game but definitely needs some replay to really learn the strategies.

Tichu

820 Aaron and Ben (finished with David), 245 Yedidya and Daniel

Jon and David +, Nadine and Avi

We didn’t play a whole game, we switched to Bridge

Jon: I didn’t get to play this enough.

Tigris and Euphrates

Avi and others

Walnut Grove

Aaron 27, David 25, Nadine 23, Eszter 19

Taught by Nadine, David and Eszter hadn’t played in a long time, new to Aaron. David took a lot of workers early, Aaron had two extra storage areas and two bonuses for goods in storage, and 8 goods left, nice job. I didn’t do well with my board, and didn’t take another worker til late. Eszter took an extra storage right away which helped her.

Jon: I taught Amerigo, Tigris and Euphrates, R-Eco to Eszter and some others, Lo Ra, and Antike, but didn’t play them (except for Lo Ra).

 

March 29, 2017

Participants: Jon, Daniel, Nadine, Gili

Magic: The Gathering

Daniel++, Jon

Daniel came early to play Magic when David couldn’t make it. We did the usual draft. I played BWg, Daniel played BRg, if I recall correctly. Anyway, I thought I drafted and built okay, with some nice flyers and black creature control. I think I lost the first game with incorrect play. I kept attacking with a flying lifelink, but I could have done a bit more blocking with it instead. Anyway, he had more and bigger creatures, and when he finally sent my lifelink flyer (with enchantment) back to my hand, it was over. In the second game, I simply drew only very high casting cost cards while he took me out with 2 and 3 cost creatures and a Puppet Strings.

Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation

Jon (white)+, Daniel (black)

First play for Daniel. Daniel had a few bad encounters, including his first flying nasgul attack being straight into Legolas’ bow. Eventually, Frodo could slip sideways and pass his remaining creature to make it into Mordor.

Troyes

Jon 54, Nadine 38, Gili 37

Gili suggested this for our little company. I’m not sure about the right strategy, but apparently whatever I did worked in this game. Gili’s bonus card was the one for defeating black cards, and she attacked them fiercely, which kind of gave it away. Mine was meeples on the cards, which Nadine guessed. Nadine’s was influence, which no one guessed, because she ended with 0 influence (as did Gili; I eked out 1 point from her card).

All of our dice rolls were pretty bad. I had a little synergy working with a white card that gave me high yellow count, and several yellow cards. Gili had synergy with the red dice, but not enough to make up for the poor dice rolls. Also, people fought me for the white dice less than usual.

March 22, 2017

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Yael, Daniel, Nati

It’s Alive

Nadine 48, Daniel 47, Yael 45, Jon 35

First play for Daniel and Yael, I think. Daniel went out first, but Nadine scored the win.

Vegas Showdown

Jon 57, Yael 47, Nadine 46, Daniel 46, Nati 44

First plays for Yael, Daniel, and Nati. Yael took a good chunk of the early Slots. I got the only early Sports Building, so I was able to steal the Special Sports Book building for a coup. But there was plenty of competition to go around.

March 15, 2017

Participants: Jon, David K, Nadine, Gili, Elad, Daniel, Aaron

Back at my place after several weeks at Nadine’s.

Magic: The Gathering

David++, Jon

There were no more than one or two creatures of power 4. We had to rely on our boosting cards. I played BWG, while David played RU. Both of us had reasonable mana, although David was a bit shy in the first game. I played with only 15 mana (5 each) and had no problems. But I still went down. In both cases, we had a standoff on the ground, while David’s fliers and unblockables were stronger.

Bruges

Jon 75, Nadine 52, David 48

First play for David, third for me. While I already have a number of suggestions on how to change this to make it better (for my group), we played this (nearly) straight so that David could get an idea of the official game rules. This game is one that substitutes calculation for actual decision making, at least in part, which is a hacky game design technique. There are too many random elements artificially conspiring to make what you want to do difficult, so you have to plan every round, sometimes two, from the start of the round. Despite this, the choices (once you get past the calculations) are good, and the calamities that affect you are not annoying enough to actually wreck the game play.

The only change I insisted on was rolling the dice before choosing cards, which is a straightforward improvement. David had some initial confusion and irritation, but ended up liking the game. Nadine took the first bonus with canals. I played a person who kicked everyone else back on the cathedral track, which gave me the bonus for that. Then I pulled ahead of David one round to get the personality bonus (and then I fell back and let him get it). Both of them had better luck than me with the colors of cards they picked, and both of them had people out that gave then bonus actions.

I then pulled a seemingly overpowered card that gave me 2 points for each canal track, once per round (with a blue worker). With a little better luck with my card draws, I gained 2, then 4, then 8, then 12 points each round using this card. The canals I built also gave me the 3 point canal bonus, the 6 point monument, and my last personal bonus (canals).

I need to check how many other overpowered cards there are. That one is a doozy.

I think my change to the game is going to be like this: 1) I will create a Magic: The Gathering like color wheel. You will then be able to buy a neighboring color for $1, or an opposing color for $2, whenever you pay a card. 2) Some way to gain a few extra $, such as $1 income for each 3 or 4 rolled on the dice.

Suburbia

Aaron, Gili, Elad, Daniel

I don’t know what happened here.

Nefarious

Jon++, David, Nadine, Daniel, Aaron, Elad

First plays for Daniel and Elad. The first game gave us +1 point for every card we played, which made smaller cards even more powerful. The second game saw us losing money down to the nearest $5 (when over $5), which slowed the game down. I think the low valued cards are still slightly overpowered, which is a slight flaw. However, the game is still great. Strange how my group seems to like it more than most others.

Tichu

Jon/Aaron 1020, David/Nadine 980

David and Nadine pulled ahead with a series of early Tichus, and it was looking bad for us. We were down something like 940 to 360. I then bid and made a Grand Tichu, with us collecting 100 points from tricks. Then we won 75 trick points to their 25. And then I bid and made another Grand Tichu and 85 trick points. A classic Tichu underdog victory.

 

March 8, 2017

Agricola

Nadine 35, Aaron 30, Ido 30, Daniel 18

Aaron played once or twice. New to Ido and Daniel.

I rarely win this but managed this time. I had cards that helped with stone houses and rooms.

Love Letter

Nadine+, Aaron, Daniel, Elad

New to Daniel.

More Puerto Rico

Techelet brought her friend Tikvah, who is also in the Beit Shemesh group.

Master Gallery

Yael 82, Aaron 76, Nati 72, Gili 70, Nadine 69

A light filler while waiting. I had played once at Gili’s. It’s engaging, but a lot of luck. I had the fewest cards each of the four rounds because I didn’t get any that give extra cards and the others all did. Nati pointed out that then I end up with more card choices, but he agreed it’s not worth it.

Puerto Rico

Tikvah 53, Techelet 47, Nadine 45

They had both played, but not in a while. They did things we don’t usually do, but I know things tend to work anyway because it’s such a great game. They both had factories so were crafting to get money, even if they had to toss 6 goods. Tikvah got a warehouse and a harbor, and a tobacco boat, and took a tobacco plantation so that Techelet couldn’t get hers going. I was the only with coffee, but after trading once took a ship. I had a harbor and took a wharf instead of the first big building, but they were way ahead of me in money, Techelet had two large buildings, and Tikvah had Customs House. A good game.

Year of the Dragon

Gili 112+, Aaron 112, Yael 98, Nati 89

A tough game, first play for Nati and Yael. At the end, Gili told Aaron that rice would give him an extra point over taking money, he wasn’t clear on the conversion ratio, but she said he can’t win by one point. He did, but then they realized he should have one less, so it was a tie. Gili looked up the tie-breaker – ahead in turn order. She was barely ahead, on top of his piece.

R-Eco

Yael 11, Nadine 9, Nati 5

Nati 18, Yael 8, Nadine -3

Yael was waiting for her parents to pick her up after the theater, I said they may as well wait inside. And may as well play a game, first  play for both of them. In the end her parents decided to go out to eat instead of picking them up, but we got to play R-Eco. They both liked it, Nati said he thought it would be different second time, but said there wasn’t really more strategy. I had good luck in the first game and didn’t dump so got 4 points, next game I had bad luck and Nati good luck, sitting in front of me. Yael calculated to end the first game at the right time when she’d win.