Tag Archive | geschenkt

October 02, 2009

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nadine, Eitan, Emily, Abraham, Bill

Usually I skip game night before a Games Day, because it’s also a few days before holiday. But I figured, what the heck? I didn’t take notes, so this will be a poor session report.


Gili 23, Nadine, Jon

Gili toasted us.

Gili+, Nadine, Jon, Eitan, Emily

First play for Emily and Eitan. I think Gili toasted us again, but this time Eitan and Nadine didn’t show too poorly.


Jon 164, Bill 161, Gili 130something

First play for Bill, second for Gili and me. I took this out once a while ago, and no one wanted to play it again, not because it was Bad, but because it had a poor mechanic or two and wasn’t great. I thought it was ok, though. So I wanted to take it out at least one more time, to see if we were keeping or trading it.

In the end, it’s got a poor mechanic or two (but not that poor) and it wasn’t great. One bad mechanic is the “complete the turn” mechanic, which works well in non-interactive games, such as race games, but doesn’t work well in area control or otherwise interactive games. It induces a fear for the first player to end the round, since everyone else will have a chance after him, while the last player can always decide whether or when to end the round.

I;m also not thrilled about games where the players have the ability to speed up the game end with dumb plays, too.

Other than those things, the game is good, a lot like Through the Desert actually. Connect to your water holes (markets), create large groups, score in a variety of ways. It’s enjoyable enough, just like TtD is (TtD doesn’t have the drawbacks, though, but it’s a bit more serene).

In our game, I was first player. They each built huge blocks of one territory, raking in cash and big bonus points. I built a bunch of small territories, hoping for the cascading bonus, which I got. I wasn’t sure it would be enough to beat them out in the end, however. I was actually behind on the first scoring round by a few points.

When there was only one card left to draw in the animal deck at the end of the second round, everything just went into a holding pattern. I couldn’t afford to end the game, and Gili took as much time as necessary to eke out more points (hoping to be more than we got in the process). Finally, she ended the game out of boredom (never a good sign).

Year of the Dragon

Nadine 97, Eitan+, Abraham-, Emily

First play for Eitan and Emily, second perhaps for Abraham. Nadine as usual swooped to victory with final scoring of many people and buddhas. Eitan’s last play was to move forward on the timing track, having nothing else to do. It ended up giving him the tie lead over Abraham.

It’s Alive

Eitan+, Abraham, Nadine, Emily

First play for Emily and Eitan. Eitan finished his board first. Abraham ended up with massive amounts of cash, but few points.

At the end of the night, Nadine also taught Abraham how to play Robo Rally.

October 05, 2008

Participants: Jon, Elijah, Nadine, Gili, Avraham, Tal, Rachel

A game night on Sunday to avoid all the holidays.

Reels and Deals

Jon/Avraham 100, Gili 84, Tal 80, Nadine 66, Elijah 55

Avraham came in the middle and joined me. First play for Gili and Elijah. Nadine would like to say that she now believes that luck so determines the game that she has no desire to play it again. Despite it’s faults, I still like it, as did Gili and Avraham.

Nadine and Avraham both believe that a much better game could be made using the cards. The biggest problem is the end game condition, which is just bad. I haven’t got a solution to that. As for the luck of the draw, particularly with the scripts and finding the needed talent to fill them, we all feel that a common pool and auctioning them off would make for a better game.

In our game, Elijah only drew small scripts, and though he finished two, they didn’t do him much good. Gili got frustrated a number of times, but still ended in second place with her cash reserves, which made her feel better. We would have beaten her by only one point, but gained an entirely unnecessary additional 15 point bonus for finishing the game.

Cosmic Encounter

Jon+, Elijah, Avraham

First play for Avraham. We played single revealed powers. I played Sorceror, Avraham played Filth, and Elijah played Mutant.

It was a very quick game. They couldn’t dump their hands, so I was able to walk through to five bases while they couldn’t draw new cards to stop me. I had additional help from the Wild Queue, which let me change the cards that Elijah drew as Mutant, and Wild Filth which let me prepare for my fifth base in Avraham’s system, if necessary (which it wasn’t).

Year of the Dragon

Jon 100, Nadine 99, Gili 91

I played this simultaneously with Cosmic Encounter. Second play for Gili. I usually lose to Nadine by one point in the end point scoring of Buddhas and remaining people, but somehow managed to win by one point this time. Nadine made one mistake which cost her a Lady, so that was probably it.

I tend to play with only three house at two levels each, six figures, two dragons, one or two late Ladies, and strong book usage in the last several rounds. I also take one early firecracker, and as little as I can of rice, money, and medicine.

Mr Jack

Avraham (Detective)+, Elijah (Criminal)

First play for both of them. Elijah managed to survive until the beginning of the seventh round. Both really enjoyed it.


Nadine+, Jon, Gili, Elijah, Avraham

Jon+, Nadine, Gili, Elijah, Avraham

Elijah only had a small amount of time, so we played this. First play for Avraham, who liked it a lot. We all did, except Nadine thinks it’s only so-so. I lost the first game, and won the second game, by un/lucky draws on the last card.

Puerto Rico

Jon 61, Nadine 51, Rachel 50, Avraham 50

We roped Rachel into playing this at the end of the evening. First play for Avraham with alternate buildings.

Rachel and Avraham had the Harbors, and Avraham had an early coffee monopoly and a Discretionary Hold, but somehow didn’t get them all to work well together. Nadine and I had Factories. I could see early on that I was going to lose the shipping war after I chose Factory instead of Harbor, which Rachel chose right after me. Later on I chose a coffee to make a full five goods, instead of a Discretionary Hold to eke a few more VPs.

Turns out to have been the right move, as I ended the game with three big buildings. I had only 16 shipping to Nadine’s 25, Rachel’s 28, and Avraham’s 35, but I had 26 building points and 19 bonus building points, while Nadine had 20/6, Rachel 15/7, and Avraham 15/0.

An interesting game, as usual.

May 28, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Bill, Gili, Binyamin, Max, Sergei, David K, Yitzchak, Dylan, Rachel A

A bustling game night. We discovered that you can’t do role playing in the same room as board gaming.

It’s Alive

Bill 55, Gili 47, Jon 33

First play for Bill, so he was happy to win. He ended up flipping four of the six coffins and no villagers, while I flipped four of the six villages. With brutally unfair luck as that, it’s hard to compete.

Notre Dame

Binyamin 64, Nadine 47, Yitzchak 45

They played this as an opener, although it’s kind of long as an opener.


Binyamin+, Sergei

First play for Sergei.

Dungeon Twister

Binyamin, David

Binyamin introduced this game to David, who decided to forfeit mid-game, as he really doesn’t care for the combat mechanic of blind bidding.


Max 22, Jon 30, Gili 35, Bill, Sergei

First plays for all but myself and Gili. Gili pulled an inside straight. The second time she needed an inside straight, Sergei was forced to ruin her (and his) plans as he had no cash to push off the card. Max enjoyed the game and plans to make a copy to play at his own group.

Universalis / Children of Fire

Bill (GM), Jon, Dylan, Max, Gili

Nadine opted not continue last time, and we thought rightly that Gili would join. She did, but the setup took too long for her, or she was just too tired, and she left before ever really doing anything. Max stuck around for longer, but it appeared that he was not really into combat-less role playing, as he kept trying to kidnap or cast spells on humans, which is not the point of the CoF theme. He also bowed out mid-game.

Dylan and I meanwhile had a good time, and owing it to just being the two of us and our previous first experience, we made some story progress. Cthulhu or space aliens or some combination are sexually attacking the teenagers of Wichita trying to get them, or to get, pregnant, for some reason.

Princes of Florence

Yitzchak 76, Nadine 69, Sergei 65

I think this was Sergei’s first play.

Race for the Galaxy

David 43, Binyamin 42, Jon 30

I don’t seem to have a handle on this game yet, as not only do I keep losing, I lose soundly. We were originally going to play a longer game with more VPs and building capacity, but I could already tell mid-game that the end result wasn’t going to change significantly so there wasn’t much point. I may have been wrong, but I think that extending the game essentially swings the game to the VP producers.

Magic: the Gathering

David+, Jon

I dealt each of us 60 random cards and we built decks without knowing if we would play. In the end, we squeaked in a game.

The game was kind of a slog. Both of us has unblockables, and each was able to do roughly two points of damage per turn. Unfortunately for me, David started his damage earlier. Near the end, when I could finally take out his attacker, he was able to counter my spell. And that was pretty much that.

Puerto Rico

Sergei/Jon 61, Nadine 59, Max/Jon 53, Rachel 44

This was first plays for both Max and Sergei, but they had to leave near the end of the game to catch a ride with David. I took a basic look at their boards to help finish the game, and I mostly crafted and shipped them to victory.

December 12, 2007

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Hillel, Yitzchak, Binyamin, David, Channie, Saarya

Hillel has come occasionally before, and Channie is the latest of David’s daughters to try out the group.

Arkham Horror

Jon, Nadine, Hillel, Yitzchak, Binyamin

I knew this would take a long time, but I also thought it might be interesting. Yitzchak was very keen to play. In theory this could have accommodated all the participants, but I thought it might be unwieldy with more than five. Turns out that it probably would have worked better with eight.

We didn’t finish the game, but it looks like we were all headed to our doom.

The game is a huge and complex thing, with dozens of different avenues to explore. We barely scratched the surface. I found it to be all-the-more intriguing for that. On the other hand, Nadine thinks that once you’ve explored all the basic strategic paths, it’s going to get less interesting.

She points out that, unlike Shadows Over Camelot, there is almost nothing in the way of cooperative activity in this game. In Shadows, aside from the traitor, you have to combine players on certain tasks. Here, everything can only be done by one person. There are a few cards out of the hundred available that say something like “heal 1 point” to another player, but you both have to be in the same space, which is generally a waste, and 1 point isn’t a big deal.

You can’t fight monsters together: if you fight a monster, it gets to hit you. If two of you fight, it gets to hit both of you; it doesn’t have to choose which one of you to hit. Gates are always closed by one person, and there’s nothing you can do to combine efforts.

So our first game felt like a classic multi-player solitaire. Will this change with more plays? Maybe. There are a lot of cards I haven’t seen yet. Even so, just exploring all the possibilities looked like fun.


Binyamin, David, Saarya, Channie

Played as an opener.

Power Grid

David, Channie, Saarya

I have no idea, but I assume they tried out one of the new maps.


Jon, Binyamin, Nadine, Yitzchak

Played as a closer.

GAMES DAY: April 4, 2007

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Ben, Tal, Josh, Avri, Keren, Debbie, Gili, David K, Saarya, Binyamin, Adam, Pinchas, Tikva Shira, Zvi Yehuda, Itamar, Nadav, Shlomo, Rafi, Meir

21 Participants, for a fairly smooth, albeit loud, Games Day. My apartment is simply too small for this. I must find a larger place for next Pesach. Sukkot we play on the roof, anyway, so the noise is not so bad.

Avri is a player from Beit Shemesh who came for the first time, bringing his brother Rafi. Rafi brought his brother-in-law Shlomo, and Shlomo brought his brother Meir. Or something like that.

Keren is a reader of my blog, and she came by for the first time with her friend Debbie. Except for Gili playing Settlers with them, I somehow neglected them while they were here, which I feel bad about. Come again, and I promise to play more with you personally.

Itamar brought his nephew Nadav, and Binyamin brought his kids Tikva Shira and Zvi Yehuda. Pinchas came on the last few Games Days too, and he is an old Bridge partner of mine.

The others are regulars.


Tikva Shira+, Zvi Yehuda

I taught this to the kids; they kept forgetting the rule about rows not going past 24, and Z”Y never quite got the way you get points.


Saarya 43, David 36, Nadine 33

Nadine was ahead 2 points in the interim scoring, 15 to 13 to 13.


Jon, Adam, Nadine, Ben

We played this simultaneous with our game of El Grande, while waiting for people to take their turns.

Binyamin, Adam, Tikva Shira, Zvi Yehuda

They played one hand of this at the end of the evening, waiting for the Amun-Re game to end, so that Binyamin could take the game home.

Carcassonne: the City

Jon 130ish, Binyamin/Ben 85ish, Nadine 55ish

Binyamin taught us this version of Carcassonne. It has the usual three area types, but one third of the way through the game you begin placing walls and towers around the tiles.

The most significant difference is that only roads have to match, not areas. We found this to be a huge huge Bad Thing. Most of the tactics of Carcassonne derives either from merging with other areas, or from locking opponent’s areas so that they can’t close them. This rule significantly reduces both of these options, making the game simply a matter of picking the best tiles and putting them down in the best places each turn. Whoopee.

It is one of those situations where too many opportunities for scoring makes a significantly worse game, rather than a better game. There is not enough tension.

I got luckiest. Nadine made a few sub-optimal choices, according to Binyamin, and he got upset enough to leave the game early. Ben filled in for him for the last few rounds, without any understanding of the rules.


Pinchas+, Jon

Pinchas loves Chess, and I play very infrequently, and totally tactically. I also get bored with games where it’s clear that one person is winning, and the only way for them to lose is to make a dumb mistake.

So I enjoyed the game at the beginning where I managed to secure a lead over Pinchas by a Knight and a Pawn. Then I got bored, moved too quickly (I should mention, perhaps, that I don’t like to take too long with my moves, and I was also simultaneously playing El Grande at the time), and went down to a single Pawn advantage.

In the end, I didn’t feel like dragging the game out for another 50 moves, so I lost a few more pieces and resigned. It was a little rude of me. Sorry, Pinchas.

Keren, Debbie

Keren and Debbie played a game of this later in the day.

Die Macher

Jon, Gili, Binyamin, Adam

This is one of our grails of gaming – simply getting it onto the table. That took most of the day.

The rule explanation then took another hour and some, as usual, and it was about three hours before we finished the first round. I was really hopeful we would finish the game, for once, because we were ll enjoying it, and the second round went much quicker and smoother. But Gili had to leave before the game would finish, so we only finished three rounds.

We all really enjoyed it, for what we played. There are a lot of rules that I have to keep digging up and remembering, but we all suffered the adverse effects of this, and managed to keep on forging forward, anyway.

El Grande

Nadine 107, Adam 100, Ben 94, Binyamin 90, Jon 83

I made the mistake of having a slight early lead after round three, which made me a target. And this despite the fact that this is Nadine’s signature game. And she won, of course, in the end.

Nobody was horribly behind the whole game.


Rafi 13, Avri, Saarya, Shlomo, Meir

I taught them this game as a brain cleanser between the games of Power Grid and Santiago. Rafi won it.

Lost Cities

Keren+, Debbie+

They played two games of this, while we were davening Mincha. I think I didn’t explain the rules completely. I believe they were drawing and then playing, and opposed to the other way around.


Ben, Nadine, David, Josh

These guys were looking for what to play and started with this. Binyamin warned them that it wasn’t really their type of game, and he turned out to be correct, and they abandoned the game halfway through, not particularly enraptured.

They also complained about the sameness of the colors on the chips and other design elements.


Jon++, Binyamin

Rather than try to find my Magic lands, I taught this to Binyamin. I first played the Corp, while Binyamin drew a number of expensive cards and couldn’t quite get together a cohesive attack. I took home 5 agenda points without too much trouble, and we decided to switch sides.

We then played the fastest game of Netrunner ever played. Binyamin played his turn and didn’t protect R&D. I raided R&D three times and pulled three agendas, totaling 8 agenda points. Game over.

Perhaps there is a tad more card luck in Netrunner than in Magic, after all.

Power Grid

Saarya 14, Avri 11+, Rafi 11-, Meir 10, Shlomo 6

Saarya taught them this, and naturally won, as the only experienced player. The others bought too many power plants. They played on the US without the NW, but no one even made it into the SW.

I should note that Shlomo’s dismal score is not due to lack of plants, but probably being shut out of fuel.

Princes of Florence

Ben 58, Avri 57, Nadine 53, Josh 48, Tal 41

Tal would like it noted that she was leading at one point. Keren and Debbie also looked interested in trying this game.

As you can see, a close game, with Avri scoring well for his first time.


Avri 76, Meir 55, Rafi 51, Saarya 45, Shlomo 37

I suggested this one to them, and they were all first time players. They seemed to enjoy it.

Settlers of Catan

Gili+, Keren, Debbie

I was going to play this with them, but Gili sat down before I got there. They all enjoyed it, even though Gili was the more experienced player and gave them a trouncing, it appears.


Adam+, Pinchas

Pinchas likes Chess, so Adam taught his this Japanese game of Chess. Unfortunately, all the pieces were disks with Chinese writing on them; I have no idea how Pinchas could ever distinguish the pieces.

World of Warcraft

Itamar, Nadav, Tikva Shira, Zvi Yehuda

The award for the day’s longest game goes to this, not Die Macher. They started playing at 12:30, and ended, without finishing the game, at around 9:00 or so. I have no idea what they accomplished during that time. The biggest problem was that none of them were native English speakers and the cards were all in English, so they had to keep running to Binyamin for explanations.


Zvi Yehuda, Tikva Shira

Played at the end of the evening.