Tag Archive | age of empires iii

January 18, 2017

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili, Elad, Ofer

Welcome to new attendee Ofer.

No Thanks

Gili+, Elad, Jon, Nadine, Ofer

First play for Ofer. Gili decided to take the second card which was adjacent to the first card that I took. Later on, Elad decided to take a card which was adjacent to another one of my cards. Apparently we’ve become a more aggressive game club. 🙂

For the last card, Gili calculated everyone’s score in order to determine if it was safe to simply take the card (it was).

Age of Empires III

Jon 90, Elad 76, Ofer 65, Nadine 63, Gili 48

First play for Elad and Ofer, first play in a long while for Nadine. Again, the play was pretty aggressive, although we had no soldiers in the new world until turn 6 or so, but then we had 4 warfares every turn (for three turns), most by Ofer.

This game is designed a little unbalanced toward money and buildings, in my opinion. Admittedly the design would work better if warfare and combat were easier and more worthwhile. It should be easier to get soldiers into the new world. Whomever controls a region should have an additional resource of the region’s type. Warfare should be a bit more flexible and less costly.

Anyhoo. Elad cornered the early commodities and then managed to win 7 out of 8 merchant ships. After his third one, it was no longer any use fighting for them. I think he had a merchant and captain every round. He had the highest income, and had no problem getting the “4 points for every merchant ship” building, but he had almost no points from the new world. Gili sacrificed herself to take the “steal money from each player equal to your merchant ships” building before Elad could, even though she had no merchant ships. I had one, and would have been willing to take it myself for the modest gain it would have given me, but she decided to keep it away from both of us.

Meanwhile, I was doing okay in the new world, but so were others. I was slightly outclassed in the new world, and Elad slightly outclassed me in building and income points, but since I had both new world ad buildings – and no one else did – I ended up ahead. It was hard to see that until the end. However, Gili apparently saw it, because she attacked every first place region I had on the board. I still came in second in many regions.

Everyone except for Gili failed their last discovery by a single native.

The game took about 3.5 hours, including explanation.

August 10, 2016

Participants: Jon, Gili, David, Nadine, Aaron, Sheur, Nitzan, Eyal, Eitan

Welcome back Gili after her vacation. Also nice to see Eyal and Nitzan return. Eitan is my roommate who does not yet play games, but may someday. But he plays Chess.

Pirate’s Attack

Shneur+, Gili

Gili was given two games from Israeli game companies to review on her Hebrew video review series. This was one of them. The other had cubes.

Slap Deck

Nitzan++, Eyal, Jon

I taught this to both of them. Nitzan is a fan of speed games, and she did very well, winning both games.

Troyes

Gili 44, Nadine 28, Shneur 28, David 22

I didn’t see how this played, but at one point Gili was getting only a single die to play with and she needed to use it to combat the black cards. And yet she seems to have handily won. Nadine: First play for Shneur who caught on well, Gili was first player which is an avantage. Many dice were bought or stolen which hurt David and me more than the others.

Age of Empires III

Eyal 103, Jon 100, Aaron 89, Nitzan 76

Aaron requested to play this. First play for Eyal and Nitzan. Aaron was under the impression that this would take a long time to teach, but it didn’t. It took 2.5 hours to play, however. Partly that was because Aaron analyzed every possible move before each play, and – since they were new players – often helped Eyal and Nitzan to do the same. I did a bit of this, too; at one point. I twice argued that it was better for other players to help themselves – and help me – rather than block both of us, since this would move us both forward. However, at some point it is best to let people just play and learn, or you end up playing for them. With all of his analysis, Aaron still made a few mistakes. He also failed in his first discovery attempt, which hurt.

Aaron started with the first building, which was the “gain $20 and therefore effectively buy two more buildings” building. He also got first crack at everything else, and then he got the “$5/round” building round 3. It was his game to lose, which he managed to. He was the first to put soldiers on the board, but his territory was outmatched by Eyal who had buildings giving him a free missionary every round and an extra colonist for each missionary. Aaron’s income was on par with Eyal’s, but he had few discoveries.

I was excelling in discoveries and buildings, and I was second to Eyal in board points, but his income was far better; I always bought a building when I wanted to, but his extra points on the board and extra points for income outclassed my extra points for discoveries/buildings. Just barely.

Chess

Eitan++, Shneur

Eitan is always willing to play Chess. He apparently easily outclassed Sheur in a series of games.

San Juan

David 37, Nadine 34, Gili 33

They stuck to the base cards. David ended the game with 9 production buildings, Library, Guild Hall, and something else.

February 17, 2016

Participants: Jon, David, Nadine, Nisan, Aaron, Binyamin, Roman, Francis

Magic: The Gathering

Jon+, David

I achieved a rare win over David, but it was close. I played WRu, and David played BGu (I think). We both drafted a lot of fliers; David also had walls and I had a few large ground creatures. But I also had more direct damage and white instant boosters. We both started a little mana shy, but no color problems. I took David down to 8 and then to 5, and was set to kill him but he jumped back up to 10. Then he got a few flying damage in, and threw 4 +1/+1 counters on his flier, but I boosted my flying defense with an instant and killed his. I eked out the last few points with two direct damage spells.

Take It To The Limit

David 428, Jon 385, Aaron 253, Nisan 245, Nadine 178

Second play for Nadine and me, first play for the others. Nadine thinks the game is ok. David I think also thought it was ok. Aaron liked it, and Nisan didn’t like it. I like this version of the game, but I think the shorter version (Take It Easy) played on a curtailed board is probably a better filler experience for most people.

Mr Jack

Binyamin, Roman

Binyamin taught this to Roman while we played Take It To The Limit; Francis came and watched. I think Binyamin won as the Detective.

Lords of Waterdeep

Roman 149, David 128, Nisan 117, Nadine 97

Nadine writes: My strategy was to stay far behind so people would give me things when required. Which worked. I was the only one below 100. We played wrong – we didn’t replace buildings when taken. Roman had strong intrigues.

Age of Empires III

Aaron 96, Francis 94, Binyamin 89, Jon 83

Binyamin requested this because he was considering buying the new version of the game. First play for him and Francis, second for Aaron. As usual, I told the to gang up on me, but there was not much need to. While Francis slowly took control of the New World, it seemed like Aaron was winning with his income and other strong appearance. He also seemed to get a lot of specialists, but then so did Francis.

I didn’t feel like I was doing too badly, especially when I had a good income and points in buildings. But I lacked points in the New World, and Binyamin and Aaron had better incomes. As usual, not too much in the way of warfare; I rarely say this, but there could be a tad more warfare in the game to make it more interesting.

It was a long game, but everyone liked it.

December 30, 2015

Participants: Jon, Jonathan, Roman, Gili, Aaron, Shneur, Alan, Francis, Karina

I’m writing this late, so I may have crossed my names. I also can’t remember the lovely woman who spoke only Ukrainian and a bit of English. Shneur? Karina is Roman’s girlfriend who spoke mostly Russian.

Francis is a volunteer from Kenya who works nearby. I had him over for shabbat meal and found out that he likes games. This was his first visit.

7 Wonders

Jon 48, Jonathan 29, Roman 52, Aaron 40, Shneur 47, Alan 49, Ka 40

First play for all but me, and I believe Aaron. I started with the board that gives a free science symbol at second level, but could only pick up 3 science cards during the game (without sacrificing too much). My RHO Jonathan produced almost no resources, so I had to build my own. I was also shy in money until the end. I ended with 19 blue points a small amount of everything else except for purple.

Shneur had the most science (18) but no blue. Alan had the most blue (22) and was the only one with a full monument. Ka has strong purple and science, but -4 in military and not much else. Roman had 15 in military, 10 coins (with very strong resources), and a fair amount in blue and purple.

Age of Empires III

Roman, Jon, Aaron, Shneur, Karina+

First game for all but me. Karina won.  I lost an important discovery with 5 colonists (it required 6) and then lost another one with 4 colonists (it required 4). Luckily, even though I thought I also lost out on my chance to buy two buildings in the last round by the single coin I should have gotten from either of those discoveries, it turns out that I had enough after all. Instead, I couldn’t buy two buildings in the last round because Aaron purposely blocked me from doing so, even though he couldn’t buy one himself. He thought he was blocking Shneur, but in fact screwed me instead.

Aaron got the initial $20 building followed by two more buildings, and he was the only one with real soldiers in the New World, but he never had more than 3 income the entire game. Shneur picked up two early merchant ships – even when he couldn’t use the second one – and then a third, and then the building that made each of us pay him $1 per ship per round. By the last round he had 5 merchant ships. We all thought he was going to win, but Karina was massively into missionaries and had such a huge lead in colonists in the New World that she kept ahead in the end.

Our game took a VERY long time.

Tobago

Gili, Jonathan, Francis, Alan

I didn’t see how this went, but they played with the real rules about curses that I won’t play with. Still, they seemed to enjoy it.

Passover Games Day March 27, 2013

2013-03-27 12.09.5423 attendees, more than had RSVP’d, but we had enough chairs. And managed to find a kosher for Pesach burger place that delivered.

2013-03-27 11.33.12Dominion

David 18, Mishie 5, Avi 5, Yehuda -3

David taught this, new for the others, and David’s already good at it. We had Dark Ages, but they played the basic game.

2013-03-27 11.32.41Hansa Teutonica

Jon 68, Laurie 47, Ellis 38, Shalom 36

The Ra’anana clique was joined by Shalom.

Jon writes: This was the second play for Ellis, Laurie, and me. Shalom had apparently played a dozen times. The last time that Ellis and I played, we liked everything about the game except one strategy element that appeared to dominate: taking the extra actions track. I looked online, and many other people also complained about this track, while others said that only the first extra action is really required; the rest can be ignored by getting to the scarce victory point rewards early and/or ending the game before the other players can use their extra actions effectively. After this game, I believe the first argument, but I’m unconvinced regarding the second argument.

Part of the game’s strategy, which we are still not effectively using, is to be annoying and to thwart what the other players are doing. Someone with extra actions should be able to effectively shut down someone without extra actions if they do so patiently and consistently. We mostly play by keeping to ourselves, so this doesn’t come into effect.

Anyhoo…

In our game, I went for the first extra action only and then for the bonus victory point rewards that looked to be the most profitable: the bonus disks (that paid for themselves in terms of actions or removing other people’s pieces) and the reward spaces in the lower left corner. I got three of the spaces for 25 points, which was huge in terms of victory points, as you can see from the final score. I got another 15 from the bonus disks. The rest I picked up from two completed tracks on my board (both required to take the reward spaces), taking control of the bonus action space (rather than taking the bonus action, which netted me a point every time anyone else took a bonus action) – I got 5 points from that before someone else took control from me, and the usual assortment of controlled cities. The other players all seemed to be fussing around with controlling various cities on the board or progressing in other tracks. I don’t know if these are worthwhile strategies, but even by early to mid-game I could see that they weren’t going to hold a candle to my strategy unless someone else acted forcefully to block me. No one did.

2013-03-27 11.32.21Tobago x2

Gili 35+, Ofek, Lotem, Asif

Cliff 47+, Oren, Gil, Irit

Cliff asked what happens when you run out of Amulets, Jon responded that it hadn’t happened before.

Cyclades x2

Yosef+, Hershel, Mishie, (Nadine)

2013-03-27 13.22.58Yosef taught this game to me and Hershel. He didn’t explain everything in advance which is fine, but he also didn’t explain strategy much. Hershel didn’t realize that the soldier option was rotating away after one turn, and neither of us realized how important the soldier action was to setting yourself up for the rest of the game. I did tell Hershel that he should at least bid for it to make Yosef pay more, but he wanted a different selection. Yosef was getting 8 coins per round, Hershel was at 2, then managed to get to 3, and I went from 2 to 3. When I decided to play, Yosef said it would take around an hour, but it was taking much longer than that, it ended up 2 or 3 hours. Mishie took over for me and did a great job learning the game while playing. He says he would have won if he hadn’t lost one city at the very end. The game has interesting mechanics, but I don’t like the direct conflict.

2013-03-27 16.02.37Avi and Yehuda played afterwards.

Walnut Grove

Shalom 23 +13, Nadine 23 +0, Laurie 22, Elijah 20

I switched over to teaching Walnut Grove, which everyone liked. It’s quick once you understand the game. Shalom was doing very well the whole time, fewer mistakes than the rest of us. First game I’ve played where people took negatives, I did too, but we paid them off. And we were playing correctly which is related. On the last round, both Shalom and I sold 3 cubes as our best bet to get more points than buying a farmer. I got 3 points, Shalom 2. So the random draw from the bag of coins could have easily changed the outcome of the game. Shalom had a huge area and the bonus building for it. Laurie had an extra barn, Elijah had a lot of gold coins.

2013-03-27 13.23.16Magic

Jon and David snuck off for their usual bout. Later, Avi and Yehuda also played with them.

From Jon: David and I have seen each other very infrequently, and we love this game. It’s a ritual. David usually wins the “best 2 out of 3” match.

David and I drafted from my cards. I didn’t think I was drafting particularly well, since I was giving up some very good card drawing cards to David, and then I ended up playing in a color I hadn’t even been drafting. I played Green with a lot of white and red support. The deck managed to come together pretty well. Even though I only put in 15 lands (7 green, 4 white, 4 red), I had a few cards that boosted mana, fetched lands, or washed colors. This allowed me to actually get out my heavy green creatures. My only concern was to counter what I knew David would be playing: blue fliers. I had just enough utility cards or creatures with reach to handle him.

He won the first game (I conceded on my turn when he had 6 points and I had 1, and I had no way to stop all of his creatures on his upcoming turn) and I won the second. We set the cards aside until the evening. I won the tiebreaker game much the same as I won the second game.

Age of Empires III

Jon 103, David 101, Hershel 77, Mishie 58

2013-03-27 16.02.25First play for everyone except Jon. My impression while playing a different game was that David would have won except for a whole bunch of mistakes and misunderstandings. David turned out to be correct in his interpretation of the Stable card – thanks to Hershel who found the information in the rules after we failed online.

From Jon: Actually, while we found others online who supported David’s interpretation of the Stables card, we then found that the official ruling (from the designer) was against David. We ended up letting David switch for a different building instead, without disrupting the rest of the game. David played against the odds in drawing cards twice and succeeded both times. He lost because, even with his good luck, he still couldn’t afford the building he wanted when he wanted it. This was due to inexperience in managing his money, I think. He still came VERY close to winning, much better than we were all expecting him to; he gained a whole lot of points from colonies in the new world. I took an obvious early lead by securing good money for buildings and then I was second place in many areas in the new world. Hershel had already surpassed my income level by mid-game, and we all thought he was doing much better than he ended up doing. I think he had almost no discoveries. Michie was the first to start wars, of course, but they don’t do very much in this game.

La Citta

2013-03-27 16.03.00Gili 30, Ellis 27, Shalom 23

First play for Ellis and Shalom, Gili hadn’t played in a while. Which explains why they played wrong, Gili says probably to her benefit, she might not have won otherwise.

Hawaii

Elijah 139, Yosef 126, Nadine 100, Laurie 73

I taught this, no one else had played. Yosef watched the French explanation on the Tric Trac site. Elijah misunderstood and gave himself and Yosef 6 extra feet during setup, but fortunately we noticed at the end of the round, and Elijah took back most of his actions; Yosef hadn’t used the extra feet so just returned them. 2013-03-27 16.10.00Elijah did a good job balancing round and end game points, and he had 6 points in spear multipliers. Yosef won a lot of round points for the highest number. Laurie balanced well but it wasn’t enough of a total. This was the first time I didn’t reach the Tiki with a village, I wasted 14 points. I don’t think I would have won anyway. I had a -4 but didn’t reach the minimum everytime. I didn’t do a good job calculating which resources to use, my only extra resources were a lot of fruit, and I got all the multipliers. The boat multiplier wasn’t available.

When Yosef asked if there was a shul nearby for mincha, someone figured out that we had our own minyan. Good timing on Avi’s bar mitzvah last week!

2013-03-27 18.18.43Stone Age

Gili 194, Yehuda 150, Mishie 142, Ellis 142

Gili taught this and won. She says they didn’t follow her advice to buy cards.

Lords of Waterdeep

2013-03-27 21.41.00Gili 156, Yonatan 141, Mishie 137

Parade

Jon: I taught this and it was generally enjoyed.

No Thanks

Jon: Then I taught this to Avi and Yehuda and they loved it. We played twice, and then a third time with David and Laurie joining us. Funny: I also recently taught both of these games to a group in Raanana, who liked No Thanks, but loved Parade. Here it was the reverse.

Tichu x 2

Jon and David, Elijah and Nadine

2013-03-27 20.07.43We let Jon and David team up, and came close to beating them. Though we didn’t play a full game, but based on their record, we did really well.

Jon, David, Avi, Yonatan

Jon: In the second set, I played with Avi and David played with Yonatan. The hands we had all day, until the very end, were fairly lackluster, with few Tichus called and no double victories. Avi and I kept winning hands by a few points here and there. Eventually Yonatan tried and lost a Tichu, David won a Tichu but lost the points for the hand anyway (105 to 95), and I made a Tichu very luckily. I had a 2, 5, and A left in my hand but I wasn’t on lead. I thought I had goofed up. Yonatan helpfully played a 4 and I played my 5, which I thought was finally just what I needed. It came around to me and I played my A, but David played a straight flush bomb over it, leaving me with only the 2. Then Avi (my partner) got in and played the Dog, so I was able to finish. On the last hand, we were at 820 points. Avi called and made Tichu and I went out second.

Puerto Rico

Nadine 45 (24, 17, 4) Eitan 44 (14, 21, 9) Hershel 43 (17, 18, 8) Emily 41 (21, 15, 5) Laurie 39 (15, 18, 6)

A close and lively 5-player game, Laurie and Eitan didn’t remember the game from having played once a long time ago. We didn’t know who was winning, for good reason. I only had 3 different goods, with factory and wharf, one of each and two corns later. Hershel had factory and harbor. Laurie had a coffee monopoly most of the game, and Eitan had a tobacco monopoly the whole game. Hershel didn’t like the way I taught or gave advice, but I stop giving advice after two rounds except for extreme cases. 2013-03-27 21.04.10But then he kept giving advice because they were making bad moves, and kept having me confirm that I would have made the same ‘obvious best move’ as him. We disagreed on building recommendations. Hershel gave Laurie an early coffee trade; but it was wasted when she didn’t buy a factory or harbor or wharf on Hershel’s recommendation, he later got a factory, and I got one. He’s right that it depends, but she would have done better with a good intermediate building.

At the end of the game we let Laurie re-mayor because she had bought a warehouse and forgot to mayor it, that happened earlier also with her wharf. People do learn better when they don’t get to take back, but when you play infrequently, it’s harder to play that way. Hershel hadn’t played 5-player before, and didn’t realize that you lose factory income if goods run out. He says at their house they don’t allow discussion because they argue trying to influence moves. Emily had a large market but no trade good. Eitan did well with his tobacco monopoly, though he shipped his indigo instead of taking an available empty ship. Hershel mayored a lot for fortress, which ended the game suddenly when he was last player. We each had one big building.

Steam

Emily, Eitan, Yehuda, Avi

Abandoned because they were playing wrong. Jon: Abandoned not only because they were playing wrong (only transporting once per round instead of twice), but because everyone was really interested in playing other games instead.


2013-03-27 16.41.49Best Gamer Award:

Uli – our youngest and most well-behaved gamer.

Honorable Mention:

Emily for playing, taking care of Uli, and organizing the dinner order all at the same time.

Eitan for letting Emily have Uli so he could make up the minyan.

2013-03-27 16.41.59Mishie for playing like a grown-up.

Cliff for giving up playing for a last minute guiding job.

Ellis and Laurie for schlepping from Ra’anana.

Yosef for putting up with our English.

Avi and Yehuda for attending right after Avi’s bar mitzvah.

Hershel for being able to play sub-optimally.

Elijah for taking time to attend.

2013-03-27 21.02.58Shalom for continuously explaining Walnut Grove when he had just learned it.

Gili for teaching the most games.

Dishonorable Mention:

David and Jon for winning Tichu by only 5 points.

Thank you to everyone who brought snacks, especially chocolate!

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/155307/passover-games-day-in-jerusalem-2013

April 20, 2011: Games Day

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.

Antike

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.

Citadels

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).

Cosmic Encounter

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.

Dominion

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.

El Grande

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.

Genoa

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

Jon, Zachary

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.

Homesteaders

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.

It’s Alive

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.

Key Harvest

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

Adam, Vallah

Played when they first came and were waiting for others to free up.

Notre Dame

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.

R-Eco

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.

Steam

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.

Tobago

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.

Torres

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.

Tribune

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.

April 13, 2011

Participants: Jon, Jessica, Nadine, Binyamin, Tzvi Yehuda, Zachary

Zachary and Jessica both returned for a second visit. Binyamin brought T”Y to game night because they won’t be able to make it to Games Day next week.

7 Wonders

Binyamin 59, Jessica 53, Jon 50, T”Y 50, Zachary 49, Nadine 40

First play for all of us except for Binyamin and T”Y. Of course I’d heard about this game on BGG, but I never really took a closer look, assuming it was some kind of long civilization building game. It was entirely unlike what I was expecting.

The game is simply a card game, a cross between Fairy Tale and Race for the Galaxy. The game comes with huge over-produced but beautiful boards and bits in a large box; but it’s just a card game; the boards and bits are essentially superfluous.

Each player gets 7 cards. Pick one to play and pass the rest to your neighbor. Repeat until you’ve each played 6 cards. Repeat 3 times (a total of 18 cards). That’s it.

The cards can “produce” resources, give you military power, give you victory points, add to sets (that also give victory points), or have some other minor effect (give you cash, reduce the cash you need to play something). Many of the cards also allow you to play future cards for free, i.e. if you have card A in play, you can play card B without requiring its resource cost.

In addition to the above, you can also toss a card out for 3 money, or place it face down to activate one of the three stages of your city, each of which requires some resources and gives you a similar benefit to playing certain cards.

Resource “payments” is not actually a payment; you just need to have it in play. A resource never gets used up. If you lack the resources you need to play a card, but one of your neighbors’ has that resource, you can pay two cash to that neighbor and utilize his or hers.

That’s it, really. What’s good about it is that you have to pass away all those cards you want while deciding which one to play; as the game progresses, you might want to not pass a card that will give your neighbor too many points. You also have many areas in which to concentrate: the brown cards, the grey cards, the blue cards, building your city, the green sets, etc. Naturally, you won’t get the cards you need to focus perfectly.

Like certain other games, if you are focusing on a strategy that others are ignoring, you are in much better shape than if you are competing for the same card types.

What’s bad about the game is a) it’s really light. That’s not much of a problem, but you might have been expecting something more substantial. And b) the tableau and its effects become crowded and difficult to review as the game goes on. You may have 12 cards that you can play for free now; each time you get new cards, you have to review all the cards you have in play and check the names of all the cards you were passed. Then you have to do the same for each of your neighbors. This can be time consuming, so, in my first game, I didn’t do much peeping into my neighbors’ fields. But you really have to in order to do well.

It’s really, really Eurogamey: the theme might as well be vegetable gardens as ancient wonders. In any case, I didn’t notice the theme while I was playing, despite the nice artwork. And there’s hardly a whiff of confrontation. You get certain extra points if you have more military strength than your neighbors at the end of each round, but they only lose one point for it if you do. The rest is simply denying them the cards they need.

We enjoyed it and would play again to explore it more. Nadine in particular liked it and found it easy to pick up and understand, compared to some other recent games. Nadine concentrated on blue cards but didn’t succeed, as you can see. I tried for early brown resources and then green sets, with some late military might (late military might is worth a lot more than early might is). I don’t really know what Binyamin did to win.

Age of Empires III

Binyamin 142, Zachary 110ish, T”Y 80ish

Zachary requested this, and it was his first play. I think he enjoyed it, but I don’t know anything about how the game went.

Puerto Rico

Nadine 49, Jessica 47, Jon 46

First play for Jessica, who is probably the brightest non-gamer to join our group. She professes to be confuses initially, but she picks up games very quickly. I helped her through the first few rounds, but she was already making confident and reasonable choices by mid-game.

Nadine was first player and achieved a tobacco monopoly, though she never got any corn. She took a mid-game Harbor in place of a Factory. I was second and took an early sugar, a coffee to play in front of Jessica, and a Factory. I only got a trade good at the end of mid-game; enough to buy two big buildings, but not quite enough to buy anything else. Jessica had the first trade good, a coffee, and Guild Hall, filling out the entire building.

Havoc: The Hundred Years War

Binyamin 29, Nadine 28, T”Y 26, Jessica 18, Jon 16

First play for Jessica. As you can see, I lost every game I played this evening. I suggested this game because it was a light game for five, and we hadn’t played it in quite some time.

Still a fun game, though we still can’t figure out the rules for how dogs work. I think I understood it once, but I lost it again.

With five players, I wasn’t able to get anything approaching a straight flush, but I had a mid-range of three and four of a kinds. I took some mid-game wins and second places, but the rest of my attacks, including Agincourt, I was defeated and wasted my resources entirely. Binyamin was behind at mid-game, and he only came in first in the seventh battle, but he squeaked out a win with that.