Participants: Jon, Gili, Lotem, Nadine, David 1, Ellis, Peleg, Zachary, Michael, Elijah, Abraham, David 2, Eitan, Emily, Adam, Vallah, Jessica, Diana, Max, Hila, Saarya, Noam, Aryeh, Ori, Yishai
I think that’s everyone. I got to play several games I really like but don’t get to play often enough with my usual regulars. It was a hopping, successful games day, with just enough chair and table space to go around, and only a little downtime for some people. Most everyone enjoyed their games, from what I heard.
There was one exception: one guy who appeared to be a lonely grandfatherly type showed up to play without the slightest idea as to why or what we play. He was, perhaps, the worst match for game playing since Dan Bosley’s infamous Misadventures in Gaming series. He was loud and talked continuously in bad Hebrew (he was an English speaker, and we were all (mostly) English speakers as well). He thought he was very funny when he wasn’t the slightest bit funny, ever. He kept accusing everyone, jokingly, of cheating, hiding cards, and being a shark. He wouldn’t listen to single explanation of any rules – deliberately reading unrelated game material while you tried to talk – and complained every turn about not knowing what to do or what the game was about.
He was the first person I was going to personally throw out of my house for being impossible; thank goodness he chose that moment to leave. After four excruciating games.
Note that it’s possible that I missed a game, somewhere.
Age of Empires III
Michael 84, Abraham 83, Gili 78, Elijah 74, Lotem 52
I almost started playing this game after teaching it to Lotem, Elijah, and Abraham, but them Michael walked in and wouldn’t have had a game partner. I knew Michael would like the game, so I told him to take my place and then gave him the quick run down as the first turn got underway.
At the end of the game, as they were packing up, Michael was down 14 points. he then asked if he was supposed to score these face down tiles in front of him that he had forgotten about. So it turned out that he won by a point.
Jon 8, David1, Ellis, Peleg
The last excruciating game played with the above described non-gamer. Ellis and Peleg appeared to enjoy the game. I started off as the Phoenicians, and, while Peleg and Ellis fought in northern Europe, I took a commanding and embarrassing lead.
Emily 32, Eitan 31
They played together when they first arrived and were waiting for other people to free up. They like this game, which I don’t because of the Assassin.
They also took Gosu off of my hands, another game that only they liked (not that no one else liked it, it’s just that we didn’t like it).
Adam, David2, Elijah, Zachary, Vallah
I heard a lot of laughing going on in this game. The ending appears to have come down to a major kingmaking situation.
In all of these games, only the base set was used.
Nadine 42, Ellis 36, Peleg 27, David1 23
Nadine says that this is the first time she’s really gotten the game. She was cycling she cycled through her entire deck several times as the game played.
Abraham, Nadine, Peleg, Ellis
They ended the game early, though it appears that Abraham had tuned his deck and was on his way to winning.
Jon 33, Max 29, Elijah 24, Jessica 10
We played with the same set that was abandoned by the previous players: Cellar, Chapel, Bureaucrat, Militia, Moneylender, Smithy, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Library.
Note the lack of a 3 point card, the lack of anything useful in 5 point cards, the great amount of 4 point cards, and the great amount of attack cards with no defense. And note that many of the cards trash cards from your own or others’ hands, or force you to discard cards.
The result was a game where decks were shrinking nearly as fast as they were growing and we were constantly mixing. Max was already starting to feel a little burnt out on Dominion, and this was a particularly annoying set.
I had dumped all of my coppers and Estates and had just enough cash to buy provinces, but lived in constant fear that a thief would take away my purchasing power. I was very lucky; the thieves either got my little money, or no money at all, or I always bought a new Gold right after they trashed one of mine anyway. Still, I thought Max might be winning.
Elijah was the only one who bothered to take a Throne Room, and therefore was able to chain double actions. It didn’t seem to help him much, as he usually ended up with only 4 purchasing power after his chains, anyway.
Abraham/Elijah 95, Michael 94, Nadine 92, Emily 85, Eitan 64
Abraham starts this, but then switched to Steam because a) he wanted to play Steam and b) Elijah didn’t and would have been sitting around waiting for a game otherwise.
After the first third, Abraham was in the lead by around 8 points. By the second scoring, the lead had narrowed to 1 point ahead of Nadine, the usual favorite to win.
Gili 785, Eitan 700, Noam 690, Emily 550
Noam was rumored to be winning the game at around the half-point. This was the last game to finish the day.
Heroes of Graxia
I wanted to try this game out for its first play, and I thought that Zachary would like it, since he’s more of an American-style gamer than a Euro-gamer (he likes some direct competition in his games). Yes, he did very much like the game. I liked it, too, though perhaps a bit less.
Unfortunately, we decided to stop the game around mid-way because we had messed up so many rules that the game balance was entirely off at that point. For instance, we mistook the price of the cards at one point, letting Zachary buy ten or so cards
at nearly nothing when they should have been 3 or 4 times as expensive (we mistook the toss-out value for the card cost). We forgot the defense value in our first two attacks, thus suffering about twice as many wounds as we should have. And so on.
First game is a learning experience, as I always say. I think I’m ready to teach the game for the next try.
So what do I think? Unlike Dominion, every card is available each game, but only certain cards are available to a player on his turn; you may buy a mediocre card only to reveal a better card which your opponent can now buy. So that’s bad. But, otherwise, the game looks pretty solid and enjoyable. Certainly for my opponent, who was looking forward to something with a little PvP. It’s VERY hard to figure out the right buying approach on your first play.
Jessica 54, Jon 48, Ellis 41, Peleg 37
First play for everyone except me. I said a number of times, apparently, how much I like the game. I though I was doing pretty well, but I had had to accumulate 6 debt chips to do it. I was hoping to cancel most of them by the game end, but I was still left with 4. that was enough to sink me from winning.
The other three players all had piles of 4 or more trade goods (gold, copper, or cows) at the end of the game. I’m not sure exactly how Jess managed to pull off a victory; actually, I thought Peleg was doing better.
Adam, Vallah, David2
Vallah noted to me later that she didn’t particularly like the game (I’m not sure if she knew that I was he designer).
Saarya, Noam, Aryeh
Zachary 49, Elijah 43, Jon 33
First play for Zachary. This was a quickly played game. I failed miserably, as you can see.
Zachary 25+, Eitan 25-, Emily 22, Nadine 19
I’ve never played this, and I didn’t see how it went.
Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation
Played when they first came and were waiting for others to free up.
Nadine 73, Ellis 50, Zachary 43, Peleg 27, David1 26
Nadine administered a beatdown, I see. First plays for everyone else.
Odds and Evens
Michael 3, Elijah 1
Michael insisted that I record this one, so that it be known that he won something.
Nadine 11, Peleg 7, Ellis -1, David1 -5
First play for all except Nadine.
Rock Paper Scissors
Michael 3, Jon 2
See Odds and Evens.
Settlers of Catan
Gili 10, Jessica 6, Diana/Max 4
Diana started playing this as her first game, but she got bored of it. Max took over for her when he arrived.
Abraham 46, Jon 45, Ellis 43, Peleg 14
First plays for everyone except me. A tough fought game. Any one of the three leaders could have swung the game by transitioning from income to points one move earlier or later.
Peleg spectacularly failed to get his engine moving and spent too much time building his first links.
Tigris and Euphrates
Eitan 4/4/4/10, Nadine 4/4/4/4, Emily 3/4/5/7, Gili 3/4/5/5
Looks to have been a close game.
Jon 44, Abraham 36, Lotem 29, Gili 18
One of the first games played, first play for everyone except me. Once again we played without the curses. I took this idea from Binyamin, and I think I will play this way from now on. The amulets are still very useful for chaining actions and for removing cubes.
Yishai+, Saarya, Aryeh, Oren
First play for everyone except for Saarya, and he hadn’t played this in a very long time. Actually, no one in the game group has played this for quite a long time, which is a shame.
The cards were in German, but I only had to field one question during the game, so the symbology was basically good enough after my explanation.
Max+, Elijah, Jessica, Hila
They played the four player medium game where 30 Denari is one of the four required conditions. First play for everyone except Elijah.