Tag Archive | dvonn

Planets and Huts


Nadine 35, Gili 30, Elad 28

First play for Elad who wanted to try it. I had 4 plus 2’s.

Jon 43 Sara 42 Haim 31


Haim 95 Sara 90 Elana 90 Jon 87

First play for Sara, Elana had played once a while ago.


Gili 18  Nadine 13 Assaf 12  Elad 11

Gili’s game, new to us. Elad would have gotten around 8 points on his turn right after me if I hadn’t ended the game. Not all of us understood how the scoring worked, and Gili had one rule wrong – we were supposed to each get a resource if someone built on a planet we were on. That would have sped things up a bit. There is nothing to do when it’s not your turn, and the turns aren’t so simple, with extra actions and different cards available. The game seems fine, though not super interactive even with the area control.


Elad 1 Jon 1


Elad 1 Jon 0


Nadine 69, Haim 67, Assaf 42+, Sara 41

First play for Sara and Assaf. I didn’t explain well to Assaf, so he didn’t score some points that he should have. I just edged out Haim, I had one vertical, one horizontal, and one color, Haim had one color.

December 23, 2015

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Nissan, Eszter, Jonathan, Gili


Nadine 68, Eszter 51, Gili 40

Nadine writes: Very nice game, tactical with luck.

Lords of Waterdeep

Nissan 191, Jon 154, Jonathan 148

First play for Jonathan, second or third for Nissan. My starting quests didn’t match what my Lord wanted (Piety and Arcana), and I only ended up playing one of them midgame. I completed 7 matching quests, 8 altogether. Nissan managed to delay one of my quests early in the game for a turn, and completely block me from my last quest. My first quest gave bonus points for Piety quests and one of the other ones gave points for Arcana. I didn’t build a single building; Jonathan built 2, and Nissan built the rest. He certainly netted a lot of bonuses from them.

Jonathan and I were both ahead of Nissan until late in the game when he started playing his big quests. Nissan then ended with 20 points in goods and coins (I had 18) and 0 matching quests. Jonathan only managed 4 matching quests.

Vegas Showdown

Gili 66,  Nadine 59,  Eszter 52

They appeared to enjoy the game.

Jonathan’s prototype

Jon, Nissan

Nissan and I tried out a tile word game prototype designed by Jonathan.


Nissan+, Jon

I taught this to Nissan who wasn’t sure about the game – and also I wasn’t entirely clear in giving over all of the rules, and he ended the game with a sizeable win (after I showed him another legal (and far better) move that he had available for his second to last play).

June 02, 2010

Participants: Jon, Abraham, Miriam

Some participants were off to a play, and others promised to show up and didn’t *ahem*. Miriam returned for her second visit. Yay, Miriam!


Jon 30, Abraham 26

Gardens 4, Laboratory 5, Library 5, Market 5, Courtyard 2, Conspirator 4, Torturer 5, Ambassador 3, Navigator 4, Bazaar 5.

I thought the simplest strategy was Bazaar / Conspirator. So that’s what I did. Each of us also picked up an Ambassador and proceeded to trade coppers and estates. He decided to ignore the Conspirators and take instead Navigator. We split the provinces, but I also had two Gardens at the end.

Abraham 34, Jon 27

Woodcutter, Workshop, Throne Room, Conspirator, Torturer, Moneylender 4, Sea Hag, Outpost, Treasury, Wishing Well

Abraham emptied out the Treasuries, while I got two, and some Throne Rooms and Conspirators. I used Moneylender and Woodcutter to get some early provinces, but he used Sea Hag to clog up my deck with 6 curses, and I had no way of cycling past them. Again we split the provinces.


Jon+, Abraham+

I won the first game by a large margin. In the second game, I thought I was doing well. I lopped off half the board leaving me 11 pieces and him 10. However, I think I made a mistake somewhere, and he won by 1 disk.


Abraham 210, Jon 203, Miriam 182

First play for both Abraham and Miriam. I have the German edition, so though I explained the cards to them and there are symbols on the card, the symbols are not unambiguous, and so they needed to ask me what the cards were during play. Or, failed to ask me, and misunderstood what they had drawn.

The game was incredibly tight after the first phase, with Miriam one point ahead of me, who was one point ahead of Abraham (Miriam’s point was from jumping over both of us). At the end of the second phase, I was at 111, Abraham at 104 or so, and Miriam at 100. We each had our little castles, and shared control of the king’s castle.

Miriam then moved the king to a small castle on one side of the board, and started working on it. Unfortunately, I built the last free space and jumped onto it, which made it impossible for anyone to build past the second level, and so no one got the king’s bonus in the final phase.

I was just barely ahead of Abraham, but he played the jump two levels as his final card, after everyone else had played. Which gave him the game.

Settlers of Catan

Miriam 10, Jon 5, Abraham 5

Miriam had only played two-player. We needed something quick, and while we could have played a filler, this also fit the bill.

I placed first, and made a mistake when placing my second settlement. I decided to go ahead what I knew to be true: math. My first settlement was on 8/10/5. Instead of placing my second settlement on a 9/10/5 (which gave me all the resources, and had good values, but limited me to very specific dice rolls) I placed on 9/4/11, which also gave me all the resources, diverse numbers, but worse math. I should have stuck to what I knew to be correct.

After all, not only is it better math, but concentrating on certain numbers is actually a better strategy, since the dice roll screwy, anyway. If they roll screwy your way, you win. If they don’t you lose. But if you choose an assortment of mediocre middle, one of the other players will be benefiting from the screwy numbers more than you will be.

Anyhoo, Miriam lead off by blocking off one of my road, and then wrapping around and blocking the settlement in the other direction, as well. Then she hosed by 8 ore, which rolled about 5,000 times while the robber was on it. Abraham lost a few bricks from the short time that the robber was on his 6. And Miriam escaped nearly all injury, took an early Longest Road, and sailed to an easy victory.

May 12, 2010

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Ksenia, Abraham, Sara, David, Gili, Eitan, Emily

Ksenia was able to join us again, for once. I think she was inspired after having won In the Shadow of the Emperor on shabbat. Also nice to see Sara coming more regularly.


Jon 51, Ksenia 41, Nadine 32

Scores approximate. First play of Dominion for Ksenia. Both Nadine and Ksenia started on VPs a tad too early, imho. We played with the Seaside Village that give +3 actions and +2 gold which is incredibly under-priced at a measly 3 cost. Tack on some card drawing cards (such as Nobles) and the play was pretty straightforward. Ksenia also took a Sea Hag, who was a minor annoyance since there were no cards that trashed other cards.


Abraham+, Sara

This may have been Sara’s first play. Abraham won by a good margin.


Jon 31, Sara 30, Abraham 27

First plays for Abraham and Sara. Trias is one of those games that I love to pieces but don’t get to play much because the older regulars in the group don’t like it that much. Luckily, Abraham and Sara and Eitan and Emily are relative newcomers and so I can inflict these games on them at least once.

Also, Abraham is closer to my own feelings regarding which games he likes, and so he tends to like the games I like. He’s willing to play Santiago, for instance.

Abraham and Sara both loved Trias, so I’m thrilled. It didn’t take them long to get the hang of the basics, so most of the game was spent on tactics. Abraham managed to leach hex after hex away from other islands onto one on which he was alone, and the end scores were close. But he wasn’t quite diverse enough, and I managed to end with control of a 12 hex island, which just edged me into first place.


Nadine 80, Emily 79, Ksenia 67

First plays for Ksenia and Emily. Nadine started teaching a different group of people, but people showed up during the explanation, thought of joining and then some of them split off to start another game. I only played Cuba twice, and while I like it, I find the horizontal/vertical building activation mechanic on the players’ boards annoying.

In this game, according to Nadine’s notes: Nadine changed sugar into rum and shipped, Emily got money and had both shipping and building, and Ksenia had a blue stone and changed to VPs, but didn’t do it every turn.

Taj Mahal

David 53, Gili 53, Eitan 44

This was formed from the overflow of Cuba. First play for Eitan. A tie for David and Gili.

Reef Encounter

Abraham 38, Jon 31, Sara 24

Sara’s score is approximate. First play for me.

Some have compared Reef Encounter to Tigris and Euphrates or Go. Tom Vasel even claimed that once you have Reef Encounter, you can trade away T&E. While I’ve only played one game, so far it appears that nothing could be further from the truth. The only thing that RE and T&E share are the player screens and the tiles.

It’s certainly a pretty and colorful game, and the theme is fresh and interesting. It’s a good game, with quite a lot of depth to be explored. I enjoyed it fine, and will play again. But it’s no T&E.

Not simply because it wasn’t as good as T&E, which it wasn’t. But because the strategies and tactics are so different from each other, it’s like comparing apples and Chevies. They’re simply different games, plain and simple.

In RE, the object is to collect tiles of high value. You collect tiles by starting your turn with one of your markers on an area containing five or more tiles of the same color (you collect N-4 tiles from a reef that you eat). The values of the tiles are partially under your control during the game, though the values only matter at the end of the game. Each tile of a color will be worth between 1 to 5 points at the end of the game. So, in addition to your having to collect the tiles, you have to spend some time locking high values onto the color tiles that you are collecting.

The same part of the board that controls the end values of the tile colors also controls which colors are “dominant” during game play. When one color is dominant over another, tiles of the dominant color can be used to kick tiles of the recessive color (replace them) off the board. You can use then use the tiles that you kick off the board to control the tile values/dominance, or you can place them back on the board later.

At the end of each round, you get some more tiles from random piles, as well as a “control cube” – you spend a control cube on a color each time you want to place one or more tiles of that color.

Lastly, you have four markers, which sit on reefs and protect the spaces immediately orthogonal to them from being eaten by other colors, regardless of which color is dominant. Add to that some wacky board geometry, and you spend a lot of your time trying to figure out where the best place on the board is to grow your reefs so that they can get big before you eat them – and without other people’s tiles eating yours before you can harvest them.

In our game, both Sara and Abraham had large reefs that they ate, but Abraham got the colors locked in his favor. I had the choice on the last round which way to swing one of the tiles, and I swung it in favor of Abraham because I thought Sara had eaten more than Abraham had in his color specialty. Turns out I was wrong. If I had chose the other way, Abraham would have had 8 less points, and Sara 8 more points, and I would still probably have lost by a point or two.


David 16, Gili 15, Eitan 5

Also first play for Eitan, which surprised me.


Jon/David 515, Nadine/Ksenia 385

First play for Ksenia. This did not start out well for us.

In the first round, they both went out first. The next round we gained 15 points to their 85. The third round we split 50/50. David and I had crappy hands all three times.

Finally I got a decent pull and I called Grand Tichu (2 aces, 2 kings, Phoenix, jack, and 2 nines). It wasn’t a cakewalk, but I made it, plus another 50/50 break. We were still losing, and Nadine wanted to quit while they were ahead. I coerced her into playing one more round, in which David and I both went out. David went out first, and Nadine was on my right with only one card. And I had several cards and the Dog. Luckily, Nadine’s card wasn’t higher than a jack, and I was able to slowly play through all my cards and exit with the Dog.

February 17, 2010

Participants: Jon, Gili, Claude, Binyamin, Nadine, David K, Mace

I had some last minute work to finish. Claude is a local designer of simple but interesting wooden games who has come before, and also, coincidentally, a friend of Gili’s. He introduced a number of his own new games.

Claude Game

Mace, Claude, David+, Nadine

I forgot the game name. The game was like Mastermind crossed with Liar’s Poker, and I didn’t get to play it. The game was enjoyed by all the players, however. From only looking at the game, I’m not sure that each player, if sufficiently highly intelligent, should not be able to win siultaneously.

Each player secretly gets a role, and based on the role must either “always tells truth”, “always tells lie”, “alternates truth and lie”, or “say whatever he likes”. Each player is also given a card in one of four colors and with one of four numbers that all other players can see.

On a player’s turn, he flips over an unused card from the 16 casrd deck, and then asks one of a set number of questions about his own card in relation to the flipped card: is it the same color? same number? and a few others. The other players, from LHO around, answer the question by placing their yes/no disks along a track, like a Mastermind track. The question asked is left visually beside the answers (using a simple code system). When you think you know what your card is, you reveal, and either win or lose (actually, I don’t know what happens if you lose; do the others keep playing?)

Like Mastermind, it’s more of a puzzle than a game, except that the “say whatever he likes” guy has more to do … and also, we believe, has somewhat more of an advantage (will probably figure out his card one round before everyone else). And, though the board has a dozen track spaces, chances are that no more than 6 will ever be required.

It’s the quietest game I’ve seen since Princes of Florence. Lots of working things and figuring.

Claude’s games now have a website, which I will fill in here later.


David++, Jon+

We drafted Rochester draft again, though (as per comments on the previous Magic session) I may mix up the draft next time. we both ended up with White/Green/Red, since that’s what came out. David only lost the second game because he reckelessly went full out on the last round, instead of attacking with half his critters, and then finishing me off the next round. The third game was close, at least.

Power Grid: Factory Manager

Nadine, Binyamin, Mace, Claude (part)

This was way too complicated for Claude, and he had to leave early, anyway. Nadine had to read the instructions to teach the game as she didn’t remember them from the one two-player game we had played. This is always a painful way to learn a game, especially one as complicated as this one. I don’t know the results.


David+, Jon

David had never played this, and he enjoyed it, as I suspected he would. He was a little unsure of the depth, since he beat me, but I convinced him that it’s easy to mess up, even with experience.

May 06, 2009

Participants: Jon, Gadi, Hershel, Max, Nadine, Abraham, Gili, Claude

Gadi is the guy who organized the Board Game Studies Colloquium in Israel a few weeks ago. He came to return my games that I had left for the colloquium members to play, to learn how to play Ark of the Covenant, which someone had left him, and to learn a little more about the game group. He is starting a Board Game Studies department within the folklore department of Hebrew U. He dropped by early, around 5:30.

Claude is someone who spoke at the conference about four pretty wooden games that he developed – all abstract or word tiles – and which he is now trying to get manufactured. Turns out that he is also a friend of Gili’s. This was his first time enjoying games longer than a half an hour.

Ark of the Covenant

Jon+, Gadi

I’d never played this version of Carcassonne, but it took me only a few moments to learn the rules. It’s closer to Hunters and Gatherers than it is to regular Carc. The main changes are a) and ark piece you can move around when you have nothing better to do, and each time it passes a meeple that meeple gains a point; b) single-tile cloisters (or keeps or something) where the person with the most people on or adjacent to it when it is surrounded by tiles on all four sides gains 7 points; c) a double-scoring meeple that you can use once in a city; and d) unfinished items score at the end of the game: full points for roads, half points for cities and cloisters.

On a few of the tiles it was unclear when a road ended or continued, and whether a road that was broken in two by rubble meant that the two sides of the road should be considered a single field or two distinct fields.

I had no problem playing, having played versions of Carcassonne many times. Gadi played around half a game and didn’t quite figure out the strategy in that time. We stopped when many more people arrived.

Jon, Abraham

I enjoy Carcassonne but rarely get to play it with my group, but Abraham was willing to try this version. He had played other versions before. When scoring the end of the game, we removed meeples too quickly, and thus are not sure whether Abraham had control of a certain field or we both shared it. So I can’t tell you who won.


Hershel+, Dvonn

First play for both. I figured that the best first introduction for Claude would be an abstract. Nadine had borrowed Yinsh, so I gave them this. I think they both liked it, although it will of course take several more games to get a good feel for any sort of strategy.

I saw the last few moves, and on the last move Hershel could have won with a complete victory (total elimination), but he missed it. Instead he won something like 20+ to 3.


Hershel+, Claude

Yes, Claude named (temporarily) one of his games Claude. It’s a pretty wooden game based on Crossword Squares, but each player places three dead spaces before the game starts, there is a limited supply of letter tiles, and you score only if an entire line (wall to dead space, or wall to wall) is a word, 1 point per word length.

I enjoy Crossword Squares, so I enjoy this game, and the components are really nice. of course, it helps if you are fluid in English, which is not the case for Claude.

Gili, Gadi

Or Gadi.

It’s Alive

Nadine 50, Max 40, Gili 37, Gadi 33

This is a great gateway game. First play for Gadi, and probably not too many more for Max. I didn’t see the game progression. Gadi complimented me on it, afterward.

El Grande

Max 117, Nadine 111, Abraham 102, Hershel 101

It took a while to decide what to play next with newbies in the group, but a few jumped when I mentioned El Grande. Nadine usually wins, but she claims not so in four player games; she nearly won anyway, and anyway I don’t believe her. First play for Hershel and Abraham, I believe. Only second or third for Max.

Max was slightly ahead after the first third, 35 to Nadine’s 34. By the second third, he was way ahead, 93 to 77. This gap closed considerably at the end, as you can see. But the order didn’t change throughout the game.

Settlers of Catan

Jon 10, Gadi 9, Gili 6, Claude 4

While they El Grande’d, I broke out the big guns for Gadi and Claude. Claude had some trepidations about a game that took longer than half an hour, but we assured him that that was because he wasn’t playing the right games, aka games that are actually fun to play the whole way through.

Gili gave a lightning explanation all in Hebrew; apparently she’s done this for SoC many, many times.

Both Claude and Gadi were suitably impressed by the game; for the first time this evening, Gadi actually came close to winning. On the last round he stole Longest Road from Claude and could have won if his development card was a VP, but it was only a soldier. Claude actually traded him the card he needed to steal Longest Road, much to his chagrin. I was guaranteed the win when Gadi finished, turning up a soldier to claim Longest Army.

It was a crowded board, as it normally is with four players. As first player, I placed my second settlement in the second best remaining spot instead of the best one – the best one would have nearly entirely choked Claude off right from the start of the game, and I didn’t want his first game experience to be entirely frustrating. I think I make the right choice.

I ended up forgoing Ore because of that, but I was able to trade for it when I needed it. Wheat was in short supply in the early game, but eventually I built cities and more settlements on the wheat hexes and pulled in 5 at a time. The robber also played a part – I blocked off Gadi’s 6 Ore hex several times, while the 8 didn’t roll when it was on my 8 Brick hex. So yeah, there was some luck.

Magic: the Gathering

Gili+, Jon

First play for Gili. I taught her how to play in about five minutes, and then I pulled a random bunch of cards from my commons collection; lots and lots of junk. I had to toss half of them just to get anything resembling playable cards. Then I tossed 15 lands and 25 cards to Gili (blue and green), took the same for me (red and white), and we played.

We both had to struggle to come up with anything good to play, but eventually Gili got out a Craw Worm and an Illusionary Forces. I tried to Fissure the Worm, but Gili could Power Sink me for more than I could pay. I sacrificed a lot of little guys for a while, but eventually succumbed.

I gave Gili the cards to take home. I think I need some more lands. If anyone has MtG lands lying around, I could use some extras (especially swamps).

Fairy Tale

Abraham 45, Max 39, Nadine 37, Hershel 34

First play for Max, and possibly Hershel as well. Yeah, the game is pretty random in the end, but it’s still a quick and decent filler.

March 21, 2007

Participants: Jon, Ben, Binyamin, Zack, Elijah, David Barren, Adam, Gili, Nadine, Dylan

David wraps up his last visit to the JSGC and returns to America next Tuesday. Thanks for joining us!


Binyamin 5, Ben 21, David 22, Zack 34, Jon “many”

First play for David and Ben. Binyamin had made me a mockup of this and I needed a filler game while waiting for the stragglers to come in. Still a nice quick game. I somehow lost control of my tokens and swallowed a lot of bad cards.

Blue Moon City

Zack+, Binyamin, Jon, Nadine

First play for all of us. BMC is a board game based on the card game Blue Moon, which none of use had played, either.

There is some story about rebuilding a city and seven races with different abilities and so on, but essentially it is an area control game. You control areas by moving to them and playing the cards of the same color as the area. Simultaneously, you can use the cards for their special abilities, such as moving further, changing card colors, gaining “scales”, and so on.

Each time you complete an area, all players who contributed to the area gain the value of the area plus a bonus for all areas completed nearby. First place in the area also collects a bonus.

Furthermore, any time you build you can get “scales” if a dragon is on your area. Whenever all the scales are collected, bonuses are given to the one with the most and all who have at least three. The scales are returned and you start collecting them again.

Eventually, you convert your collected points into cubes on the big tower, and the first to place four cubes on the big tower wins.

It is yet another one of those “get this to get that to get the third thing” games, ala Caylus, as well as having to match cards to claim areas ala Ticket to Ride or Alhambra.

The game is nicely progressive and interesting enough, and most importantly, quick enough. That’s Knizia for you.

Undoubtedly there are some strategies to use in this game, such as which areas to go for first, whether to share in many areas or steal areas all to yourself, and whether to use up your cards early or try to save up. Most of us emptied our cards early.

I can’t tell you after one playing why Zack won. All of us had three cubes on the tower when he got his fourth.


Dylan++, Jon

While waiting for my turn to come up in BMC, I taught Dylan how to play Dvonn and he beat me twice in a row.

Tigris and Euphrates

Gili 7, Adam 6, David 5, Ben/Jon 5

First play for David. Ben was very unhappy after losing a few conflicts he initiated, nor about lacking green and red tiles throughout the game. He also wasn’t open-minded about varying his strategy. After BMC and Dvonn finished, I stepped in to his place. He had no green cubes and few cubes in other colors, and he had one treasure.

I through out all his tiles and picked up a green and red. Then I placed a monument for Green and Blue. I didn’t worry about the Blue, letting someone else take it, since I was more concerned with boosting my own score. After two turns, I was already up to 4.

Unfortunately, people kept handing Gili 5 point conflict victories in various colors. And she had been losing until now, too. On my last turn, I made it to 5 points and I tried to end the game through a conflict by tossing out 4 tiles. Unfortunately again, I should have just tossed out all my tiles, as I was one tile short of ending the game, which let Gili have one more turn.

Either way, I wasn’t going to win, but I did pretty well considering my starting position.

Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation

Elijah+, Zack

Zack was fresh off of his victory in BMC, but he rarely wins this game against Elijah.


Zack/Elijah 335, Adam/Gili 265

They played three hands. Elijah and Zack took the lead in the first hand, and then the next two hands were 300 point swings either way.


Zack+, Elijah

Zack wanted to play, and Elijah fought to the bitter end.


Jon, Dylan, Adam, David, Elijah, Zack

We played two games, one with me Master, and one with Dylan master. My rule was “All objects pointing different directions” which stymied them for a good number of round. Dylan eventually guessed it.

Dylan then stymied everyone else (I was off playing Bridge) and had to reveal the rule when I kicked everyone out for the evening. His rule was “A prime number of pips”, which Adam cried foul, saying that even if he thought of that he would hev rejected it as too complicated.


Nadine/Zack|Jon, Ben/Binyamin

We sure seem to be playing more and more Bridge. They taught Zack how to play, and then he went over to Zendo while I filled in for him.

Nadine and I had most of the hands, although nothing extravagant. I played 4 out of 5 of them.

The Menorah Game

Jon 46, Dylan 36

Dylan 52, Jon 40

I taught Dylan this. Unfortunately, he’s not much into auction games.


Jon++, Dylan

I also taught (or re-taught) Dylan this. As he is a smart fellow, I simply gave him first move on a 9 by 9 board. The first game was rather close, but in the second he made a serious mistake which let me live on a large section of the board.

Great Game.


Dylan+, Jon

I almost never get to play this deceptively simple and under-appreciated game. I figured Dylan would be willing. We played while simultaneously playing Zendo.

I made a small mistake (are there any others in Checkers?) which prevented me from keeping parity with his jumps. Once ahead, he was able to corner me into resigning.