Tag Archive | fairy tale

February 14, 2018

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

Fairy Tale

Jon 53, Gili 35, Aaron 32, Haim 29

We hadn’t played this in a while, so it was first play for Aaron and Haim; Gili had played once a long while ago.

It’s not the most exciting game but it’s not bad, I think. A little too much luck.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Nadine S 91, Yael 87, Jon 84, Haim 66

Second play for me, first play for everyone else. Like last time I played, I felt like I liked this less than Suburbia. Yes it has prettier tiles and none of the negative feedback, but it is less elegant and more fiddly. It requires more table space and the castles, especially the ones that stretch out thinly like the gerrymandered map of South Carolina, are fragile when you have to shift them over a few inches.

This was only Nadine S’s second real Euro (after Alien Fronteirs and not counting Catan). She started off a little overwhelmed, and maybe a little bored, but she picked it up by mid-game and played very well to victory. She and I had no downstairs. I would have done a little better but Haim stole the only downstairs room that I wanted.

Clans of Caledonia

Aaron 151, Gili 137, Nadine 124

First plays for Gili and Aaron. Everyone liked it.

Crokinole

Jon, Nadine S, Yael, Haim

We played a few rounds.

October 28, 2015

Participants: Jon, David, Nisan, Nadine, Binyamin G, Gili, Roman

Fairy Tale

Nisan 54, Jon 48, David 40

David and Nisan arrived a little early, so I tried this on them with only the basic cards. Using only the basic cards is necessary in order to have a hope of obtaining combinations, but the game is a bit flat. The special cards make the game less flat, but make the combinations more difficult. Perhaps picking from 6 and playing 4 would be a better game experience (instead of picking from 5 and playing 3).

First play for Nisan.

Bora Bora

Jon 154, Roman 135, David 131, Gili 113

First play for everyone except for Gili. Gili was slightly ahead of me and then slightly behind me until the final counting, whereupon both David and Roman shot ahead by finishing their last three missions. I shot ahead with bonuses in both buildings and jewels, as well as a strong island showing.

Bora Bora seems, after one play, to be, like Caylus and Die Macher, a well-balanced game that works, but is too complicated for its own good. It’s one thing to have 5 or 6 different interlocking mechanics, but this one has upwards of 15 of them, and only some of them make any thematic sense. The goods and buildings mechanism is the most strange, and the forced arrangement of storing goods the most unnecessary. So is the division between people into men and women. A few other games inhabit spaces close to this, such as Agricola, but somehow Agricola’s tight, sensible theme and limited decision mechanics squeaks it through.

In Bora Bora, you get 18 actions during the game plus any actions on the people you acquire (up to two, one man and one woman). The actions are three dice to assign to seven different action options in each of six rounds. The value of your action is the value of your die (so higher is better), but you can only use an action if your die is less than the value of any other die already place on that action (so lower is sometimes better). But “gods” (we called them “dogs”) you acquire can let you get around that, but only if you also have offering tokens to use with them, unless you got a free dog action by having the highest priest value last round …. etc. Forget it, it’s too complicated.

It was fun, because the game worked, there were many strategic paths, and the decisions were harrowing. But it was painful, because every move by every other player locked away actions that you desperately needed, so you watched your plans crumble, sometimes before you got to take a single action. I suppose that is true for every worker placement game; and even in this game, there is sometimes (but not always) a way to do something the long way that you couldn’t do the short way. I’m not sure yet. Perhaps experience will soften the frustration. One more thing: as typical with dice rolls and card flips, just a bit too much of one’s ability to progress is determined by how the order of the card flips favors one player over another.

Before my first turn, I decided to take the bonuses in buildings and jewels, and that’s what I did. In order to achieve this, I was required to take 5 people, build 6 island spaces, and place 3 priests. I fulfilled 7 missions. Gili was sure that fulfilling 9 missions was the way to go, and that is what she did in her previous 4 games. In this game, either through the odd order that people and missions turned up, or through fierce competition, she was thwarted in every direction. Roman collected several items to move him up in turn order, but he only achieved full success in that starting from mid-game.

Update: It turns out we missed a scoring rule: you get 6 points for filling up your building space (with buildings or with goods) and ANOTHER 6 points for using all of your buildings. This means that using all of your buildings automatically nets you +12 points (since it also fills your building space). So I actually have 6 more points. Similarly (although this doesn’t apply to any of us for the game we played) you get 6 points for using all of your huts and 6 points for filling all of the spaces with people; if you did the latter, you had to have done the former.

El Grande

Nadine (56  75 102) 157, Binyamin G (63  69 104) 151, Nisan (53  59 88) 142

First play for Binyamin and Nisan, who foolishly asked Nadine to teach them El Grande. Nadine writes:

Second number is just before second scoring to show I was ahead. Nisan took Score first place in all regions early on. Special scoring was taken most rounds, Intrigue was taken more often than I expected – these guys were willing to think. I scored first place in the three 5 regions twice with special scoring. Binyamin G was good at remembering what was in the Castillo, except the last round. They discussed card selection and move options extensively, partly because they were both new to the game. We placed all our Caballeros, except Binyamin G had one left.

Star Realms

Nadine +, Binyamin G

First play for Nadine. Nadine writes:

Binyamin G taught this game, which is similar to Thunderstone but simpler. You start with 50 life points, and buy cards and attack. I had over 20 points when I killed him. It’s nice for a quick two-player game.

June 22, 2011

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili, Binyamin, Tikva Shira

Nadine returned, as did Binyamin, giving us a more normal session than last week’s.

As I noted on my blog, I will be moving to Raanana in August. The fate of the JSGC will be left in the hands of Nadine and Gili. Hopefully they will be able to keep it going while I’m gone (at least a year, maybe more).

Fairy Tale

Jon 39, Nadine 35, Gili 35

I saw that several of my cards were going to be worthless by the end of the game, so I was pretty sure I was going to lose. How did I win? Seven of the nine cards I scored averaged 6 points or so. Nadine and Gili had several cards that scored only 2 to 4 points each.

Navegador

Gili 70, Nadine 70, Binyamin 69, Tikva Shira 67, Jon 62

I requested this, since I loved it the one time I played it. Binyamin thoughtfully brought it. First play for everyone else except for Binyamin.

I may love it, but I’m also bad at it, or at least I’m bad at the strategy; the tactics I can handle. I bought an early ship-building house and had essentially no income for the next fifteen turns. Everyone else had little houses or colonies and raked in 100+ income on markets; I pulled in 20 or 30, and I couldn’t afford to buy houses or colonies, which made is a catch-22. (Binyamin, with his extra sail action, swooped in and took the only colony I could have afforded.) I figured that this early mistake set me back about ten moves. And I barely even used that ship-building house during the game.

By the end of the game, when everyone else was pulling 250+ or more from markets, I was finally pulling around 100. I scored as well as I did because, other than that early mistake, I get the tactics of games like this. I can focus on points in a game rich with intriguing mechanics that distract from the end-scoring. As I said, I love the game. I just have to figure out how to play my start-game correctly.

T”S was the first to pull ahead in worker-building advancement, and Gili followed. Nadine had the most ships and the most blue disks. Binyamin had the most colonies.

Set

Jon 12, Tikva Shira 8, Nadine 4, Binyamin

There wasn’t time for a full game, so we let T”S choose a short game. Binyamin would have gotten more points if he had been actually playing. Which is odd, since he’s pretty colorblind.

Bridge

Jon/Nadine 550, Binyamin/Tikva Shira 0

Three hands of Bridge. Nadine and I set them one trick in two hands, and we bid and made one game in the other.

March 02, 2011

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nadine, Mace, Binyamin

Once again I’m doing this without notes. Bleah.

Fairy Tale

Gili 51, Jon 45, Nadine 36

Scores approximate. I tried a combination strategy only to discover on the first round that Gili, sitting in front of me in the passing order, was using the same strategy. I’m always scared to try the once that need specific cards from a smaller pool (such as 4, or even 1), because, with three players, it just seems unlikely that those cards are actually going to turn up. So I passed them all, and of course they did show up; luckily, no one else tried for them, either.

The baseline seems to be 3 points a card. So when you can score more, you should do it. The 6/1 cards (flip, unflip) are marginally better than 3 points a card, and even better when you have ones to flip down when you must. The game is actually kind of interesting. I think I need to play it more often.

Glory to Rome

Mace +, Jon, Binyamin, Nadine, Gili

First play for all of us, and we all liked the game. However, like Tigris and Euphrates, some of the basic mechanics, while seemingly simple for some of us, caused a lot of confusion again and again for others. I’m not sure why that happens, but sometimes a particular rule is just hard for an otherwise smart person to wrap his or her head around. I think I can teach the game better next time.

GtR looks like shlock, and the “box” that the game comes in is less then shlock. But the game is really good, deep, and satisfying. The game is just a card game, but each card has five different uses: a)cas a role; b) as an extra action for a role whenever anyone plays the role; c) as a resource for building a building; d) as a building that gives you a bonus power when it is completed; or e) simply to tuck away for vp’s at the end of the game. once you get the hang of it, the cards make sense; however, they initially are very confusing, as the bonus power is foremost on the card and it isn’t active unless the card is played as a building and the building completed.

On your turn you play a card as a role (a), and anyone else with the same role card can play it to also do the role (or can pick a card or cards, instead). So, like Puerto Rico, you benefit everyone else by what you choose to do, hopefully benefiting yourself more through the timing or the available resources to select first. On everyone else’s turn, you can play the same role card as they played or pick cards; in addition, everyone, the player whose turn it is and any other player, gets to play the role additional times for each “patron” they have previously played (b).

The roles allow you to take patrons (b), take resources (c), play buildings (d) or add resources or cards to buildings (c/d), steal other players’ resources (c), or convert resources to victory points (c/e). You pretty much have to complete at least one decent building during the game, because, in addition to the points and special power you get from the building, your capacity for patrons and victory point cards increases according to the building’s points.

Owing to the building powers, the game is wild and fun, with your strategy determined by the cards you have at any one time. But you can always choose to draw back up to a full hand (so you can dump or play cards pretty freely), and there are always a lot of options.

The one negative … which I’m not sure is a negative … is that a few buildings can end the game with instant victory for a player, or simply end the game early. I’m not a big fan of that mechanic. I understand that this allows even a “losing” player the chance to win the game, but it makes all the other game play that occurred feel like a waste. In our game, mace won by completing a Forum, and the game ended like that. There are a number of possible responses to this move, but you MUST take them and prepare for them, which disrupts the game flow severely. On the other hand, this was our first game, so the idea of the “game flow” that I got from playing it once may have been illusory. We’ll see.

In the Shadow of the Emperor

Jon, Nadine, Binyamin, Mace

I taught this to Binyamin and Mace and refreshed all of our memories at the same time. It took a long time to explain, and a long time to get through the first two rounds, at which point Binyamin had to call it quits. The game suffered in comparison to Glory to Rome which we had played just before; it’s actually a decent game, but not nearly as exciting.

June 23, 2010

Participants: Jon, Adam, Shira, Nadine, Gili, Elijah, Miriam, Abraham, Eitan

Welcome to Shira for her first visit. Shira lives in walking distance and has previous Eurogame experience, and so is a welcome addition. Hopefully she will return. Adam also doesn’t usually come anymore, since he works on Wed evenings, but he was able to make it for a one-off.

Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation

Shira (B)+, Adam (W)

Adam taught this to Shira, who picked it up quickly enough to win.

Fairy Tale

Nadine 46, Jon 42, Gili 37, Elijah 22

We hadn’t played this in a while, and we needed something light for three players. Elijah walked in as I was dealing, so he joined, though he doesn’t particularly like the game.

I thought I had kind of figured out some strategy for the game, but Nadine won anyway. She claimed that she played randomly, but I kind of doubt that. She just likes to say that when she wins.

Louis XIV

Abraham 42, Shira 39, Gili 38, Nadine 35

First play for Shira, and possibly first or second for Abraham. This is an otherwise decent game where I don’t particularly like the scoring system.

Cosmic Encounter

Elijah+, Jon, Miriam, Adam

Elijah always begs to play this, and I and Adam were willing, so I brought it out. First play for Miriam, whom we taught. First time teachings of this game in our house can result in disaster when the fanatics insist on adding multiple hidden powers, half the flare deck, weird destiny pile cards, and other such nonsense. I prefer to have the first game be quite limited: single revealed powers, 20 flares + the power flares, and that’s it. Edicts, Kickers, Reinforcements, and the rest of the exceptional card is quite enough for a first time play.

As a result, the game went fairly straightforward (nobody drew the wild Schizoid flare that was in the deck). I played Symbiote, Miriam played Grief, Adam played Will, and Elijah played Visionary.

Steam

Miriam 36+, Jon 36, Adam 34, Elijah 28, Eitan 24

First plays for Adam and Miriam. Another great game I don’t get to play often enough. It’s typically a long game, but the length usually occurs during the track laying and cube moving phases. For some reason, people took a really, really long time to figure out their role selection. As a result, the game took about three hours.

Adam and Eitan commented that a five player game is more brutal, with much undercutting of track space and stealing cubes, apparently more so than with three or four players.

In our games, we all crowded around the Connecticut coastal area before branching west. Adam and Elijah began building in the Canada area extending south, while I just continued north and central through Mass/NY.

I was the first to start churning out victory points. Miriam went to 10 income which I though was kind of a waste, but somehow she had a nice central route and just managed to match my score at the very end, whereupon she won on the tie. Adam was frustrated at one point that train power could not exceed 6, as he had a few 7 link routes he wanted to run.

In the end, we all had about 9 links.

San Juan

Abraham 35, Gili 31, Nadine 30

They played this to wrap up while we finished Steam.