Tag Archive | five tribes

Passover Games Day 5777

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

Most popular games – Five Tribes, Nefarious, Tichu

Intrepid rules resource and teacher – Jon

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

Amerigo

172 Ariel, 154 Avraham, 123 Aaron, 110 Assaf

Antike

Yael and others

Bora Bora

Emily 149, Assaf 139, Gili 139, Eitan 130

Taught by Gili.

Bridge

Nadine and Avi+, David and Jon

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

Ben also played this earlier with another group.

Bruges

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

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

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

Five Tribes

Ben 172, Ofek 127, Asif 117, Gili 110

Taught by Gili

Aaron 140, AA 121, A 138, G 125

Ben 205, Yedidya 150, Daniel 129

Game of Thrones

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

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

Lo Ra

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

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

Love Letter

David +, Aaron, Avi, Nadine 0

Avi 4, Nadine 4

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

Magic

Daniel+, David

Jon+, David

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

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

Nefarious

Daniel 33, Yael 25, Ben 29, Yedidya 25

Ben 22, Yael 20, Daniel 15, Yedidya 11

Niagara

Avi+, Gili, Nadine

The game needs more players.

Notre Dame

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

Taught by Gili.                       

Power Grid

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

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

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

Puerto Rico

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

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

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

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

R-Eco

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

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

Sentinels of the Multiverse

Cliff, Mishy, Avi, two others

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

Study in Emerald

Mishy, Eszter, Assaf

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

Tichu

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

Jon and David +, Nadine and Avi

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

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

Tigris and Euphrates

Avi and others

Walnut Grove

Aaron 27, David 25, Nadine 23, Eszter 19

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

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

 

February 22, 2017

Participants: Nadine, Jon, David, Gili, Daniel, Nati, Yael, Noa, Aaron, Aviv

Aviv is a first-time attendee who found the group through Gili.

Five Tribes

Gili 157, Aviv 156, Noa 143, Yael 140

Gili taught this to some or all of the others. Good show for Aviv.

Tzolkin

Nati 69, Aaron 61, Daniel 6

First play for Daniel (and maybe Nati). Nati write that the gods of corn were good to him. Daniel’s poor showing was due to losing points from not feeding, apparently.

Seasons

David 175, Jon 163, Nadine 131

First play for all of us. Nadine started complaining immediately when the first attack card hit her. After a while she came around a bit, but is still skeptical. David was a little better.

We played without drafting, and as a result had some unevenly powered cards. But, in the end, it all evened out. I suspect that my good show was due to my realizing early on that extra cards are not all that difficult to put into play, and so they gave me multiple benefits. But I still lost to David, who had a nifty series of card combinations that gave him 90+ points in the last round (before counting his card points). I had something like 130 points from card, but it wasn’t enough (I also was the only one maxed out in bonus actions).

It is certain hard to plan when you don’t know the cards or game flow, but I already got the gist that strategy can play a big part of the game. However, as is pointed out online, there are a few drawbacks to the game. The first is that the teeny tracking boards are wholly inadequate; cubes keep sliding around. It’s total junk. The second is that some cards are really wildly different than others; the draft at the start helps with that, but during the game you have to top deck cards. This would be far better if four or five cards from the deck were face up at any time, with bonus points added on any that remain between each season. The third is that there are up to 25 or 25 card effects in play at any time, and they are hard to keep track of. Some kind of system would help here, to. A good game board would solve problems 1 and 3, and my solution above would solve problem 2.

Lo Ra

Jon 37, David 33, Nadine 28

I hadn’t played this in a while, so I picked it out instead of R-Eco. David had no score in the first two scoring rounds. I managed to acquire the best bidding tiles by round two and used them to re-acquire each other (for the most part).

Tichu

Jon/Aaron 1120, David/Nadine 680

David lost an early Grand Tichu, but we were still neck and neck until the last two rounds. Great game.

 

February 01, 2017

Participants: Jon, David, Elad, Nadine, Gili, Daniel, Saarya

First visit by Daniel, welcome. Saarya, my son, decided to join us for a game.

Magic: The Gathering

David+++, Jon

David and I drafted as usual. I actually didn’t draft a terrible deck, or, rather, my deck was not so terrible that I didn’t think it could compete with whatever terrible deck that David drafted. I had some larger spells and some X spells, so I added one more land than usual. However, I also had a pretty even distribution between my three colors RWG, rather than my usual 2 colors and a splash of a third.

We played three games, and I drew only two of my three types of lands in all three of them (a different two each time). In the first two games I also drew far less mana than I usually do, which was strange. David didn’t draw a lot of mana in the first game either (despite having 20 lands out of 40 cards), but I also had color screw. But I lost all three games.

Two-Player Cribbage

David+, Jon

David wanted to try this one again, and he handily won the single round we were able to play.

Slap Deck

David 63, Jon, Daniel, Elad

First play for Daniel and possibly Elad. David toasted everyone.

Age of Industry

Jon 46, Daniel 45, David 43, Saarya 41

First play for Daniel and Saarya, second for David. I think it is one of the better games I got recently, being clean and somewhat elegant. I very much wanted to play this again. I was sure David would like it once he got to know it better. Unfortunately, it wasn’t too successful.

Everyone thought there was too much calculation and downtime between turns. They didn’t feel that they could plan their turns while others took their turns. In addition, it took most of the game for people to remember the placement rules. The game rounds certainly went faster near the end, and people were planning their turns during other players’ turns near the end, but the damage was already done.

Saarya took a coal monopoly on the US board. There was a bit of confusion about overbuilding ships and ships that come into play and resupplying the coal market. But I think we did okay. I still enjoy the game, but I’m not sure I will be able to get others to play it. Nadine and Gili think the game is too dry.

Five Tribes

Nadine 158, Elad 132, Gili 113

First play for Elad. Gili had the djinn that let her buy tiles with meeples on them. On the last turn, Elad got 32 points – 18 money with three servants, and 2 cards worth 20 points. And he went last.

Notre Dame

Gili 59, Nadine 49, Elad 47

First play for Elad. Gili went to Notre Dame twice on each of the last two rounds. Nadine was the only one there on the first round.

Dixit Codenames

many …

Saarya was willing to play Codenames, but preferred the picture variety. We don’t have Codename Pictures, so we played with Dixit cards. These take up a large area on the table and they are a little hard to see upside down, so people kept coming to the other side of the tale to look. And it’s perhaps harder to make connections between the desired cards without overlapping the undesired cards since there is so much to say about each card.

I gave some terrible clues, but everyone had a good time.

Sukkot Games Day 5777

20161020_165201A lot of attendees with more new faces than usual.

Thank you to everyone who helped set up and clean up, a big help. Thank you especially to David for taking care of the long food order. We ordered from Pollo Loko for the first time. David had them read back the names for each item, but the order came without any names, missing one item, and without silverware or napkins. When David called to complain they said people need to request those. You would think with a large order they might ask if we want?

Antike

Yael+, Eszter, Binyamin S, Avi, David E

20161020_145719Bang the Dice Game

Sheriff Yael, Bandits+

Shariff Yael, Deputy Binyamin S, Bandits+

Bridge

Avi / Nadine, Ben / Jon

20161020_170415We played one hand before switching to Tichu, Avi made the 3NT that we bid.

Empires: Age of Discovery

Gili 104, Shnuer 94, Aaron 70, Arie 50

Castles of Burgundy

Gili 242, Yuval 206, Avi E 180, Yedidya 129

20161020_121905Gili taught this, first play for the others.

Codenames

Jon: I taught this to David C, Avi Einot, and Yokhay, and they all liked it. In the first game, Avi and I gave clues, in English to David C and Yokhay, which didn’t always go so well since they are Hebrew speakers and we are English speakers. In the second game, Avi gave clues to me in English and Yokhay gave clues to David in Hebrew. Sometimes they switched to English in order to give a clue that is one word in English but two words in Hebrew.

Five Tribes

Eszter  138, Dov 129, Tal 114, Nimrod 107

Gold West

David 115, Eszter 98, Nadine 81

Eszter taught us. Then when we saw Ezra wasn’t playing a game, she taught it again to him. After being interrupted by dinner, Ezra ended up leaving, but we finally played. I didn’t get all the rules right away, even when I did, I didn’t like the resource movement mechanic. Eszter helped us with recommendations, David liked the game.

Hawaii

Gili 104, Binyamin S 90, Eitan 86, Emily 70

20161020_225519It’s Alive

 

King of Tokyo

Avi+, Nadine, Gili, David, Yedidya

I killed Gili, David and Yedidya, but then Avi killed me to win.

Lo Ra

Nadine 35, Shneur 27, Aaron 20

New to both, they liked the game. Before counting most and least money, Shneur had 32, Nadine 30.

Magic

Jon++, David +

David says Jon is on a long winning streak. Jon: David and I drafted cards and I ended up with a relatively tight deck that had some fliers and creature control, but nothing else spectacular. In the first game, I drew as well as I could have, but I had limited land after the initial opening hand and David took me down with bigger creatures.after killing my fliers. In the second game, David was entirely mana screwed, with a hand full of blue cards and no blue lands. In the third game, I was able to eke out another win where both of us had average draws.

Nefarious

Ben didn’t win, I don’t know who else played.

20161020_145800Pax Pamir

Gili, Cliff, Shalom, Refaela

Gilli and Cliff won together.

Phoenicia

Jon, David, Avi, Aaron

Jon: David made one strategic and one tactical mistake in the penultimate and ultimate rounds. Avi thought it was too hard to catch up once ou were losing (although with more experience, hopefully no one will be losing by too much). I taught the game again to David, Avi, and Aaron. I hadn’t played it in a while, and we are not sure that we got the action card availability mechanics correct. David took a wide lead in the middle of the game and held it, but he spent one 20161020_170126round too long building up his infrastructure. I used that one round to gain a huge amount of victory points; that was the penultimate round. On the last round, he neglected (forgot) to deprive me of a card I used to keep my lead. While I would have gotten almost as many points anyway, it was a mistake.  

Scythe

Ofer

 

Signorie

Ben 154, Nadine 133, Assaf 120

20161020_170110First play for Ben, second for Assaf. Ben complained the whole time that he wasn’t getting the game, and about his limited possibilities, though of course he did well. I don’t think he liked the game despite winning. He’s right about the luck elements, such as which flag tiles are available and which ones you need. Assaf did well with marrying daughters into cities, he placed them all in one city which limited his end game bonuses, which lost him 8 or 12 points, and he didn’t invest in many white discs. I concentrated on the book track, not enough to beat Ben’s training of sons – and he also got points from the book track.

Slap Deck

Jon: I taught this to several new people and played several times. Many people liked the game a lot, especially David C (guy from my work who came for the first time), Avi Einot, and Yokhay Liot (the last two guys are new to me and I met them at the end of the evening).

20161020_105552Smiley Faces

Gili, Yuval, David, Avi

Steam

Jon 55, Nati 52, David C 52, Yael 47

Jon: first plays for Yael, Nati, and David C, who all liked the game. I invited them to gang up on me, and they did some of the time but not all of the time. They also all played very well, but I managed to get a 2 or 3 point lead by mid game and just managed to keep hold of it until the end.

20161020_170142Tzolk’in

Eliezer 68, Alan Greenspan 66, Michael 61, Ofer

Tichu

Avi / Nadine, David / Yedidya+

Avi / Nadine 915, David / Ben 1050+

Avi and I had a pair of kings overtaken by a pair of aces twice, ruining our plans.

20161020_212706Jon / Yechiel 1195, Aaron / Shneur 605

Jon: I played with Assaf’s friend Yechiel from Kokhav Hashachar (first play) against Aaron and Shnuer (first or second play). Yechiel made some beginner mistakes, but played very well for his first time. He even called Tichu twice (made it once). I called it three times and made it twice. In one of the times I made it, Aaron on my right played his second to last card (a 7) and I called Tichu, which shocked him. I played an 8. Luckily for me, my partner played his K so Aaron could not play his last card, which was a K. I overtook my partner’s K with one of my aces, played a long straight, then a full house of Q’s over aces, and then got out with the dog.

In another interesting hand, I pulled in my opening 2 aces, 3 Q’s. 3 tens, a straight 2 to 6, and the phoenix. David and Avi’s advice for passing was to pass one 10 to each other player, but I decided to pass the 2, 3, and 4. I got back 2 4’s and the dragon, making an easy tichu. Aaron also called and made or lost some tichus. At one point, one hand took us from 795, and them at 105, to us 695 and them 405, and then us 695 them 605. But those two hands were their only streak. In the next hand it was 995 to 605, and then 1195 to 605.

20161020_170110Year of the Dragon

Nadine 105, Ben 96, Shneur 81, Assaf 79, Ezra 76

New to everyone except me, Ben had played once. This is a very hard game to get on the first play but they all did well, especially Ben. Assaf jumped ahead of me in turn order before the game and took a dragon, I took one on the next round. Ezra started with Books but couldn’t maintain it, no one else focused on it either. Ben had a lot of people, but was slower with round points. I did single building for a while until I finally took a builder. I took a Monk at the beginning for turn order, and was unexpectedly able to keep him til the end of the game. I got one double one, Ben had two double ones.

20161020_132939

Bang the Dice Game

July 6, 2016

Participants: Jon, David, Avi, Yedidya, Nadine, Dan, Netanel, Nisan

Dan is a gamer/designer from Boston who kindly brought me his game Producer, which we didn’t get a chance to play. I hope to get it to the table sometime in the next few weeks. Netanel is also a newcomer. Yedidya is a nephew (?) of David’s who had come once before.

Parade

Yedidya 20, David 21, Jon 24, Avi 47

First play for Yedidya, who won. David only took cards on his last two turns. Yedidya had the most cards, all worth 1 point each.

Five Tribes

Nadine 165, David 148, Netanel 128, Dan 120

First play for Dan and Netanel. They apparently played with rather good djinns. Nadine writes: Dan had the djinn that let him put the camel on spaces with meeples. I had 6 cards but paid a lot for them, didn’t take money, or pay for turn order. I had 9 yellow meeples and got the djinn that gives 3 points per yellow meeple. David took money a few times and he had a lot at the end and a set of resource cards. Netanel placed all of his camels except for one. Dan and Netanel liked the game.

Amyitis

Jon 57, Avi 54, Nisan 51, Yedidya 32

First play for all but me. We played with my rule that you can buy any action for 3 coins. Yedidya seemed to not really play the game: with few exceptions, he made one or two actions each turn and then just collected coins. At least he could use all his collected money on the last turn (owing to my rule), but it wasn’t nearly enough to catch up.

I usually go for third level in blue, but I usually come in second place, too, so I opted to only go for second level blue this time and instead start early on the reds. This is the first time that I ever collected all the red cards; Avi took one and Yedidya took one late in the game, but basically no one competed with me for them. So that was 31 points. I also eked out 3 tiles for the 5 point bonus.

Avi had the most tiles and the 10 point bonus. Nisan had third level in caravans, but neither any blue or red cards. Nisan said that it was ok, but not as good as Castles of Burgundy and so forth.

 

February 24, 2016

Participants: Jon, David, Nadine, Aaron, Nisan, Binyamin, Mace, Francis, Helen

Helen is a friend who has only seen some light games until now. This was her first intro to more complicated games. Mace is now living in Australia, but is here on occasion.

Magic: The Gathering

David+, Jon

We drafted and I felt very unsure of my collection. But I managed a W deck with G secondary and a splash of R. David played UGR. I didn’t do too badly, but he was able to wipe me out before I could play my boosting trample instants.

Five Tribes

Jon 141, David 136, Nadine 126, Mace 113

First play for Mace. He seemed to be doing well, and owing to my 8 card set I thought I was doing well, too. However, David had a pretty big set and first place in yellow meeples – though nothing on the board – so I thought he was not too far behind. Nadine had a strong board, but not as strong as Mace’s, and she doesn’t spend any money bidding.

In the end, Mace had 71 on the board but nothing else, not even money. I was just behind Nadine on the board and I had my card set. David’s cards didn’t quite match, because Nadine took the cards he needed.

Helen watched us play for a while.

Pandemic

Nisan, Binyamin, Aaron, Francis

Binyamin: We lost pandemic we had eradicated yellow and cured black but didn’t have enough black to put down. We also had enough cards to cure black.

Colt Express

Aaron 2300, Binyamin 2300, Nisan 2000, Helen 1250, Francis 500

First play for everyone except Binyamin. Aaron won with the tiebreaker. Nisan adds: In loot money alone, Nisan had 2000; Binyamin and Aaron got $1000 bonus for gunslinger.

Dvonn

Binyamin+, Aaron

Tichu

Jon/Mace, David/Nadine

We played about 6 or 7 hands. First play in a long time for Mace who had played once or twice. I started with a Grand Tichu that I didn’t make. From there we gradually narrowed the gap until Mace tried his first Tich  – but he shouldn’t have, since he didn’t yet understand how to value hands. Despite this, he played pretty solidly. On the last hand I bid and made a Tichu, effectively tying us up (or within 10 or 20 points) before David had to run.

Spit It Out

Jon, Nadine, Aaron, Binyamin, Mace

A silly party game that takes 30 second to explain. The points are not relevant. Some challenge to play, but it’s not exactly clear what answers to the questions are acceptable or not – which may not necessarily detract from the fun.

KinneretCon

Several JSGC members attended a board game convention at Kare Deshe over shabbat. We played games from Friday afternoon until a bit after motzai shabbat. In addition to breaks for food and sleep (not much for some people), the religious ones took additional breaks for prayer, etc. Nadine came up with the name KinneretCon.

Attendees: Jon, Nadine, Gili, Eszter, and other occasional attendees including Cliff, Rafi and Eszter’s son Binyamin. The event was organized by Roee of Givatayim, and about 30 other faces, familiar or otherwise, were in attendance.

People brought games into the miklat, resulting in a pile of about 150 games to play. Once in a while I had to stand outside and take a look at the very pretty and not-quite-as-severely-evaporated-as-last-time Sea of Galilee to remind myself that I was not, in fact, a dungeon dweller.

Jon’s report

Mr. Jack Pocket – First play for me, having played (out) Mr. Jack. This is a smaller, cleaner, shorter version of the game that gives nearly the same experience, so it is preferred. It’s a small tactical puzzle that plays quickly. I won as the criminal.

Nefarious – Gili and I played this with someone else, who played it for the first time.  Our twists were “lose all of your money after inventing” and “gain $2 each turn”, which pretty much canceled each other out. I won with five 4-point cards.

Tigris and Euphrates – I taught this to two people. Zoya was one, but she had played it once several years ago and not liked it. I thought perhaps because it hadn’t been explained well.

Turns out I was right. Both of them were very happy with my rules explanation, and Zoya particularly seemed to enjoy it, despite that fact that I kind of killed them. I had 11, Zoya had 7, and the other guy had 4. It was a very bloody game at the beginning. Then, when I built a monument, they let me keep it too long, despite my urging them to attack me. I ended with game by taking the last treasure, giving me my fifth.

Tichu – Nadine and I played against Roee and Zoya Nuar, the organizers. It was the first time we had serious opponents outside of our group. I supposed at first that Nadine is shy in calling Tichu, but she called more often than I did, even a grand tichu. In contrast, I have a lot of experience but barely ever called tichu, owing to hands that were always just a little shy. The one time I called it, our opponents had two bombs.

Nadine made a few play errors that cost us some big point swings. I played very well, if I say so myself, several times exiting with the dog as my last card.

We played upwards of 15 hands, and Nadine and I were negative for much of that time. Eventually it was something like 800 to our -100, which we closed to 800 to 500, but then finally lost in the end.

Codenames – Others played this a few times. I practiced playing this one on one with Cliff, giving myself four turns and only two errors allowed. Turns out to be much harder when your opponents aren’t eliminating their own cards.

Take it to the Limit – This was on my wish list and Gilad from Reut was selling a copy. I had actually only played Take it Easy, which is its shorter baby version (10 minute game). This is a larger game that takes about 20-30 minutes, and plays up to 6 easily. Although people say it is similar to bingo – because one player draws a tile and everyone has to place that tile on their board – it’s not; it’s more like Crossword Squares, which is a pen and pencil word game where people call out letters and try to make words. In this game, you try to make high scoring lines of numbers.

Nadine was apprehensive, but in the end she was okay with it. I picked it up as a filler game for our group.

Carcassonne Big Box 5 – First play for me, I played with Yovel Zim. I had played Carcassonne before, but never with any of these expansions, and certainly not with many multiple expansions like this. Some of the expansions were ok, such as the traders and builders, and some were irrelevant, such as the hills and sheep. The ones that added luck were a mix. The wheel of fortune was fine, since it gave you additional options to play for. But it was unnecessary to have it sometimes skip a section.

I pretty much creamed my opponent, who kept not leaving himself a meeple to score with on each turn. I also played many more farmers than he did and scored bigger cities. Final score was something like 335 to 245ish.

Bruges – A classic Stefan Feld Eurostyle game I played with Cliff and Nadine (first play for me and Cliff). I tend to like games that have you acquire buildings with special abilities, like this one. I was initially concerned that the disaster events were too frequent and too strong – which is a Stefan Feld signature – but it turned out that they could be dealt with without too much harm. Still, I don’t really like attack cards (they added to the frequency of the disasters for the other players) and I would probably eliminate or mitigate them somehow.

I won this with something like 54 point while Cliff and Nadine were tied at 41 (Cliff won the tie).

Candle Quest – I taught a gamer and his non-gamer, apprehensive wife how to play, and they played the basic game with Nadine. She liked it enough by the end to request to play it again, and I sat in for Nadine on the second game. I lost.

Tokaido – This is a beautiful game with an original and lovely theme, etc. What matters is the game play, which has been – fairly – compared to Candyland. On your turn you go to the next available space that makes any sense for you (i.e. if you have money you go to the next space, otherwise you go to the next space you can afford), draw a card and do what it says. The only clear decision is whether to gamble spending money now for a few points against the possibility that you won’t have enough for a few more points next round. That’s it.

Defenders of this game say that the other decision – whether to skip forward more a few spaces to get something special (in exchange for giving your opponent extra turns) – is where the heart of the game lies, but from what I have seen I call bull. In the comparable game – Glen More – that decision makes sense, because you are getting something very highly valued in exchange for the turns you give up; sometimes 18 or more points, and each additional turn you gave up is also -3 points for the person who takes it. In this game, the most you will get by jumping forward a few spaces is 3 extra points, and every turn nets you 2-5 points, so it is never worthwhile to lose turns.

I would be happy to be proven otherwise, but until then this remains a thing of beauty that  I hope to never play again. Everyone else playing with me – Cliff, Nadine, and someone else – felt the same way. At one point Nadine went to the bathroom and we played her turns for her. The game played us, rather than the other way around. I think the game won for me.

Roll for the Galaxy – Although I don’t like dice, I sometimes like dice placement games, like Alien Frontiers and Troyes. I thought this might be the same, maybe slightly better than Race for the Galaxy, which I think it okay but not great (in particular, I don’t like games where players can act to end the game early when they are winning). Fiddly dice rolling doesn’t add much to the card game, although the ability to choose what kind of cards you draw does. So it’s a mix of things that are better than and worse than the original game. We had to stop this mid-game since shabbat was out and the owners had to go.

Lo Ra – Finally, we played this with the same couple with whom we played Candle Quest. Again, she was apprehensive, and again she warmed to it by the end of the game. The husband had played Ra, so he understood what was going on. Nadine toasted all of us by an embarrassing amount.

Nadine’s report

Someone said the event needs a name, and we came up with KinneretCon. The best game event I’ve been to, very fun and friendly in a great setting.

Roll for the Galaxy – I played twice, once Friday afternoon before Shabbat, once at the end of Shabbat where we stopped after a few rounds. It’s interesting but fiddly, I’m glad I got to try it. Tons of pretty dice.

TIME Stories –  I’ve wanted to try this since I saw at bgg.con, where it was popular. Cliff and Rafi also really liked it. I played with Gili, Eszter and Roee; Rafi got us started and answered questions. It’s a co-op game with a creative mystery story and nice art. I don’t play games for literature-like wording; the others, not native English-speakers, weren’t into the wording either. The mechanics of discovery, deduction, combat tests and puzzles are fine, but we didn’t feel like doing them for three hours, so we stopped near the end of the first run, after spending twenty minutes on the mental maze. Which Rafi later said wasn’t necessary if we had followed a different path. It was a good way to experience the game and see how it works; it’s more of activity than a game.

Five Tribes – I played with Eszter and two players new to the game, they were very good at analyzing and making beneficial moves. They were strong on the board, one had a Djinn for placing camels on empty tiles, and one could place palaces, and keep assassinated meeples. I only had 4 camels on the board, on low point tiles, and no Djinns or white meeples. I did money once. I collected cards, which I usually don’t do because they cost money, but only Eszter was collecting any at all, and there was a good selection available. I ended up with a set of seven and a set of five, I finished the second set at the end, I hadn’t tried getting two large sets in other plays. I also had six yellow meeples for the most; the assassin guy killed one of Eszter’s instead of mine because he was in competition with her for second place, whereas I would have the most either way. I also had bid pretty low, and ended up winning. We all enjoyed the game, I think the open information makes it more interesting because you end up helping people plan moves once they say what they want to do. The new version with Fakirs instead of Slaves.

Tichu – I partnered with Jon against Roee and his wife Zoya. They’re super Tichu fiends. I don’t call many Tichus, but called Grand Tichu early on. I said I don’t know if I could even make a regular Tichu against these guys, they complained about my table talk because they thought I was referring to my current hand, but got it after I explained what I meant. I’m not sure if I could have made it, but I definitely played wrong, which put us in the negative. Our opponents seemed to always have bombs at the right time to stop us from both going out first, or making Tichus. At one critical point, I was trying to go out, and had no idea that Zoya and Jon both had only one card, just because I wasn’t paying attention, a very stupid mistake. I played wrong, letting Zoya go out before me or Jon. Jon couldn’t believe it, and complained, which was totally justified since it basically cost us a lot of points and the whole game, frustrating when I had the right cards. Zoya and Roee commented on his complaining, but he wasn’t seriously mad, just pretty annoyed. And even after I played I hadn’t noticed what happened. Other than losing, it was a very long and fun game, interesting to play against serious players. Now I need to get better at several aspects of it.

Bruges – I had played this twice at bgg.con two years ago, and liked it compared to other games, but not enough to get the game. It’s not too long, and has negative effects, but they can be mitigated. My big move was making the others lose three points, but I lost a house and person card from Cliff’s attacks. I finished my canal before Cliff, a one-point advantage. Jon won, I tied with Cliff in points, he won the tie with one extra coin. I took cards from only one stack to make the game finish sooner, it may have prevented one round. Getting good person cards with synergy seems to be the best strategy, but which cards you get is partly luck.

Take it to the Limit – The game is spatial, but not complicated, so it’s a good break from Eurogames. I was trying to only make a few rows, but should have tried for one fewer, because I ended up with two in the same color with each missing one or two tiles. Next time I’ll pay more attention to the small board, and should get a better result. There’s strategy, but plays quickly.

Tokaido – I had seen a demo of this at bgg.con; it’s known for beautiful art. Disappointing as a game; I left the room for a few minutes, and told Cliff they could take care of my Inn move. When I got back, they had done my next move too, because it was so obvious what I would choose. Which is the case for the whole game, only very minor decisions which have little effect. Our scores were close because the game is well-balanced. I would have had money for food at the first Inn if I had only bought two cards instead of three on my first move, I don’t know how much the point difference was. Jon compared it to Candyland, later I read a review that said that it’s been called Candyland for adults, and the reviewer went into the differences between the two games. A game that needs to be defended against comparisons to Candyland has major issues.

Candle Quest – Jon taught the game but didn’t play. The players did well at understanding and playing. I didn’t draw any bad candle cards, the others drew several, including the person who won. People bought cards several times from discard piles. I hadn’t played in a long time.

Lo Ra – Jon and I taught this to two new players. They wanted to be taught in Hebrew, but after Jon started explaining, one player said “just like Ra.” So Jon let him explain to his wife. They caught on well, and were interested in the game. I won because I managed to win a few good auctions at the right time. Only one person was missing a candle for the menorahs in one round.