Tag Archive | la citta

May 24, 2017

Participants: Jon, Yitzchak, Haim S, Aaron, David K, Nadine, Gili, Evan, Haim B, Josh

Yitzchak is an old friend who is visiting Israel and comes once every few years. Evan is Nadine’s nephew, visiting from northern California. He just graduated Berkeley and will be moving to Seattle, where he plans to look for game groups. Haim B and Josh happened to be in Jerusalem, one visiting from LA, one from Tel Aviv.

Slap Deck

Jon, Aaron, Haim S, Yizchak

I taught Yitzchak and Haim how to play. We played two quick games.


Evan 22, Nadine 21, Aaron 20

First play for Evan. They played while waiting for Gili and a new player to arrive; when two new players showed up they split into two groups of three instead of playing Princes of Florence. Twists: +1 point per card. And something about paying minions to invent.

Five Tribes

Nadine 171, Aaron 149, Evan 149

Nadine writes: Aaron helped Evan analyze in Five Tribes. Evan had 10 yellows when the 3 point djinn came out. Aaron convinced him to bid 12, and didn’t overbid him, but it would have been worth bidding 18 for a move where he got two more yellows and could buy the djinn. I had 7 cards and some good board spots, though not the most. Aaron ran out of camels which ended the game, I had 3 left. The cards stalled when I had 7; Evan had 5. Aaron was second in yellows, I had 5 whites at the end. I took money twice, and bid low and went last a lot, though we mostly didn’t bid a lot.

Notre Dame

Haim B 61, Gili 47, Josh 46

First play for Haim and Josh.

La Citta

David++, Yitzchak+, Jon-, Chaim S–

We played four rounds out of six. First plays for Chaim and Yitzchak, while David and I hadn’t played in a long time. Chaim got blindsided and wiped out when he lost a central city. This is a very punishing game that can wipe out your chance of winning if you are careless. Otherwise, you have to balance winning and losing. Early mines, which David had in plenty, are game-changing. Not surprisingly, the other person who had a fair shot of winning by the time we ended also had a good income. I had a very small income; although I understood the rules better and wasn’t entirely wiped out, I wasn’t doing anywhere near as well.

All of us had a problem with the card turnover. Often six or seven of the cards are useless, which means taking a mildly useful or useless card simply reveals a good one for the next player. Worse, some basic actions that you need to stay competitive or at least climb out of your hole (or at least keep you from being bored for the last hour of the game) are simply unavailable. There MUST be a way to gain people, at least temporarily, if the cards don’t show up for it.

We played around with a few suggestions for how to fix the card issue, and David’s seems best: put coins on unused cards (for some definition of unused. And always make buying people an option, I think. I will look online for some variants.

Nadine: You should have believed me, and we should have checked our house rules: Pay one coin to replace all cards.

San Juan

Evan 35, Yitzchak 34, Gili 34, Haim S 34

First plays for Evan and Haim. Gili removed the expansion cards before playing.



David/Jon 605, Nadine/Aaron 395

We ended early since it was getting late. A lot of bombs and some interesting hands. On one hand, I called Tichu after David was down to one card. I would have made it if a) Nadine didn’t have 2 bombs, and b) David didn’t decide to just go out after I ducked Nadine’s first high card play after her first bomb: I had three cards left: Dragon, 9, and Dog. I was waiting for her to play a single card lower than the 9. David thought I was stuck and could not go out. Unfortunately, even if he had not decided to go out, I still wouldn’t have made my Tichu because Nadine had her second bomb.

I called and made a Grand Tichu on a round where Aaron also called Tichu (for some reason). And then he set David’s Grand Tichu on the following round. So we went up and down in score a lot.


Passover Games Day March 27, 2013

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

2013-03-27 11.33.12Dominion

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

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

2013-03-27 11.32.41Hansa Teutonica

Jon 68, Laurie 47, Ellis 38, Shalom 36

The Ra’anana clique was joined by Shalom.

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

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


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

2013-03-27 11.32.21Tobago x2

Gili 35+, Ofek, Lotem, Asif

Cliff 47+, Oren, Gil, Irit

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

Cyclades x2

Yosef+, Hershel, Mishie, (Nadine)

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

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

Walnut Grove

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

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

2013-03-27 13.23.16Magic

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

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

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

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

Age of Empires III

Jon 103, David 101, Hershel 77, Mishie 58

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

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

La Citta

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

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


Elijah 139, Yosef 126, Nadine 100, Laurie 73

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

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

2013-03-27 18.18.43Stone Age

Gili 194, Yehuda 150, Mishie 142, Ellis 142

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

Lords of Waterdeep

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


Jon: I taught this and it was generally enjoyed.

No Thanks

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

Tichu x 2

Jon and David, Elijah and Nadine

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

Jon, David, Avi, Yonatan

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

Puerto Rico

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

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

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


Emily, Eitan, Yehuda, Avi

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

2013-03-27 16.41.49Best Gamer Award:

Uli – our youngest and most well-behaved gamer.

Honorable Mention:

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

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

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

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

Ellis and Laurie for schlepping from Ra’anana.

Yosef for putting up with our English.

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

Hershel for being able to play sub-optimally.

Elijah for taking time to attend.

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

Gili for teaching the most games.

Dishonorable Mention:

David and Jon for winning Tichu by only 5 points.

Thank you to everyone who brought snacks, especially chocolate!


November 17, 2010

Participants: Jon, Gili, Mace, Nadine, Elijah

Five person game night, essentially one game.


Gili 0/2/2/3/4, Mace 0/1/1/2/4, Jon 0/0/3/3/3

The haters weren’t around to nay-say, so we tried this one yet again. Each time it’s about the same, but I don’t really know what that is. It’s not good. But it’s not bad, either. There’s too much luck and frustration. You’ve got a trading ability that looks like it was added to counteract the luck. But then you’ve got the Plague of Locusts which exacerbates it.

It’s not long, there’s a funny moment or two when luck trashes someone’s plans, but there’s no hook. Sorry.

I couldn’t get the two fields that I needed, despite trying for them through three cycles of the deck. And that’s that.

La Citta

Nadine 36, Jon 26, Elijah 25, Mace 22, Gili 14

First plays for Mace and Elijah. We tend to take a long time on our games, especially the five-player games, and this was no exception. It took 4 hours. For all of that, I only felt the drag a few times.

We don’t play it often. It’s an interesting game, a strange mix of the fiddly and elegant. The essential mechanics – not too few and not too many people at any one time, how the cities steal people from each other – are elegant. The implementation, on the other hand, has lots of little pieces, and lots and lots of counting and recounting. They gave you markers to count your food production, so why didn’t they give you markers to count your people?

Even when you can count your people, you have to evaluate and re-evaluate what’s going to happen to them at the end of each turn; it’s not random, but it’s not entirely under your control. Interesting.

The action card mechanic lets you take a mediocre card only to reveal a better card for your LHO, is a bad mechanic, just like the power plant reveals in Power Grid. A better mechanic would be for each player to have a set of cards they can use, either in the order of their choosing or by picking them from a deck. This is used well in several other games.

Oh well. The positives outweigh the negatives. It’s a fun, challenging game.

In our game, Nadine stuck to the edge of the board where only I could threaten her, which I didn’t do often enough. She also had rich farmland, which spelled success. Mace and Elijah fought each other, while I trapped Gili in the middle of the board. On my last turn, on my last action, I plopped down a last castle in a suddenly open space, netting one food production and two people. I miscounted by one, however, and ended up losing one person and gaining the 5 point penalty for last round loss. Luckily, everyone else except Nadine also lost on the last round.

August 12, 2009

Participants: Jon, Binyamin, Tzvi Yehuda, David, Avraham, Moshe, Har-El, Miryam, Elijah

Binyamin brought his son Tzvi Yehuda, and David brought his son Avraham and two nephews-in-law (or something like that) Moshe and Har-El. Meanwhile, Miryam is a first-timer who had played Settlers of Canaan somewhere and was told by her relatives that she should check out our group.

Tonight’s session was somewhat disorganized, owing to my being home late from checking my daughter in to the hospital in preparation for a tonsillectomy, and owing to having asked Binyamin to check out my mezuzah’s, which I then had to reattach to all my doorposts during the first twenty minutes of game night.


Binyamin, Elijah, Tzvi Yehuda, Miryam

First play for Miryam.

I set everything up and was all set to take my first move, when Binyamin told me that I had to put the mezuzah’s up right away. I grumbled, but I took a Silver and then put my cards down. David Klein then played for me after he walked in. He took Throne Room (the card that let’s you double an action), and then put the cards down. Then Binyamin picked up my cards to finish the game.

Unfortunately for him, Silver and Throne Room are two ridiculous cards to take on the first plays, and he spent the next five rounds playing catch up. Miryam liked the game.

Jon, David, Binyamin

And we played another game of this later in the evening, to close game night. David started slowly, but was eventually drawing his entire deck each turn (Throne Room and Smithy, Village, Festival) [DK: What makes this more impressive is that the deck had over 30 cards in it and I still pulled the whole thing!]. Binyamin is the first to play the Black Market. His most important purchase was Witch, which gave him the game. That’s probably always going to be the best result of Black Market.


David, Avraham, Har-El, Moshe

First plays for Har-El and Moshe.

Cosmic Encounter

Jon, Moshe, Har-El, Elijah

Elijah., as usual, pestered everyone to play Cosmic. I thought it would be a decent choice for Moshe and Har-El, but I was wrong: a) Har-El didn’t read English too well, though he spoke it well, and b) Har-El’s disconnect between what he wants the rules to be and what the rules are prevented him from grasping the rules. So he constantly tried to put more tokens in the cone than he was allowed, played extra cards, give cards to other people, make unbind-able deals, and so on. He found the game overly complicated. Can’t argue with that.

We played one power each: Mind, Ghost, Prophet, and Crystal. Prophet was the strongest power, so Elijah got ganged up on early.

La Citta

David, Miryam, Avraham, Binyamin, Tzvi Yehuda

David taught this to Binyamin, as he wanted to learn it. First play for everyone but David.

I’ve had a good time every time I played this, but acknowledge that there are some problems with the game: the luck of what cards are available on your turn, and your dead cities that feed people to other people’s success. These haven’t bothered me terribly, and I imagine that there is some way to fix the luck of the card draw, if we decided it’s necessary.

Unfortunately, these guys really weren’t happy with the game, owing to the above problems. So much so that they unanimously decided to abandon the game half-way through.


Jon, David, Binyamin

I taught this to David and Binyamin. It’s a decent filler, very spacial and calculating. Not too many rules, but I always forget one or two important ones when I teach it. 😮

Furthermore, there are a few rule problems that come up every time, such as can a temple be used to join two small settlements, ending with a settlement large enough in which to play a temple? Can you split a settlement such that a temple remains alone? And a few others like this.

I have to make rulings on these issues each time we play. Otherwise, I find it to be a fun abstract game with a little luck in the tile draw (which can be solved with a pool of available tiles, and upcoming tiles visible).

Winner’s Circle

Elijah, Tzvi Yehuda, Avraham

The younger ones played this to round up game night.

May 27, 2009

Participants: Jon, David K, Gili, Abraham

Night before Shavuot, Nadine is away, so low attendance expected.


David+, Jon

Path is a new route planning abstract (think Metro, TransAmerica) from an Israeli publisher for two players. The board is a cloth board of 9×9 squares. Pieces are plastic (Bakelite-ish) with routes and colors.

Each tile is unique, other than the black starting tiles and the black blocking tiles. Each tile has four corners, each of which is in either green or orange. Each tile has silver or black pathways crossing from side to side, between the colored corners. All possible variations are also represented. Paths are silver; black indicates no path.

Your job is to create a path from your starting point to either of the two opposite corners.

Nine black tiles with silver paths are place on the board to start. The remaining tiles (color tiles and black blocking tiles) are drawn randomly from a bag. The center tile has four silver tiles leading into it, but a black obstruction in the middle, so cannot be used as a crossing point.

On your turn, you have four random tiles to place (think of what to do with them on your opponent’s turn). Each tile must be placed so that it continues your path from your starting tile (eventually the two players’ paths may merge), so that adjacent colors match at corners (black counts as both orange and green), and so that paths match (black to black, silver to silver).

You must continue to place all of your tiles, as long as you can. However, you may choose to place them in an order that does not let you place all of them. If you have no legal moves at the start of your turn, you may rotate or replace a tile on the board (it must still be legally placed), or you may place one of your tiles off of any black tile on the board (I doubt that this action will ever be chosen).

That’s it.

Reactions: Hard to tell after one game. The majority of our time was trying to figure out what our legal plays were. Having to match both corners and path colors is hard enough, let alone having to do that with four pieces in a row. And that’s before considering if the plays are more beneficial to yourself or your opponent. For us, it was all tactical. With players who are very experienced and can count which tiles remain in the bag, I imagine that there will be actual planning involved.

Both David and I are reasonably intelligent, and were also willing on our first game to offer advice to our opponent if we saw better moves than the ones made. It should be noted that the four tiles that your opponent will play on his turn after yours are public, and therefore also must (if taken seriously) be considered when placing your tiles.

So there is room to explore. On the one hand, it didn’t really give much of a bang. Most of the time was spent figuring out “what” you could do, not “whether” to do it. On the other hand, tile laying and route planning is one of my favorite mechanisms, so I’m happy to try it again. It’s not one of David’s so I don’t think he enjoyed it as much.

A note must be made about the rulebook: it pretty much sucked. For pete’s sake, non-English speaking designers, get your translations and rulebooks done by professionals. We ran into a number of questions that the rulebook didn’t answer or only obliquely hinted at. Like, where we could put the blocking pieces, whether a tile could be placed that adjoined your tiles but didn’t extend your path, and a number of others. We eventually figured most of them out, but on some we’re still scratching our heads.

La Citta

David 34+, Abraham 34-, Gili 28, Jon 27

We played with a random setup, and Abraham managed to snag not only a prime food location (2 spots with 5 food), but a prime mining location (2 spots with 2 mountains each). David managed as well as he did because he was somewhat of to the side, and only lost people from his dead middle city; Abraham had to fight with both me and Gili a number of times in the middle.

I thought I was doing reasonably, but David and Gili managed to kill one of my cities and I had a hard time recovering from that.


Abraham 33, Jon 16, Gili 16, David 12?

We played with (2) Chapel, Moat, Workshop, (4) Thief, Militia, Feast, (5) Festival, Market, Library, and the guy that draws 4 and everyone draws 1.

I had never played with Chapel and was eager to abuse it. In my first game, I was way too tame in my abuse. I dropped 2 estates, but nothing else. There were a bunch of thieves walking around which discouraged me too greatly in getting silvers and golds. I took a Festival and a Militia, which did well. In the meantime, Abraham took silvers and golds, two libraries, and a few thieves of his own, and was able to clean up.

Abraham 38, Jon 34, Gili 31?, David less

I realized my mistake, and asked to play the same set again. This time I dropped estates and coppers, leaving myself only a few golds and silvers, some moats, and some festivals and one library. I did much better, but I should really have had two libraries. I might have won, then. Actually, I might have won also if Gili hadn’t militia’d me when Abraham had a library in hand (and so didn’t care) and I didn’t have a moat, or had David not ended the game right before my play.

David claims that the following is the correct strategy: buy libraries and festivals and NO treasure at all. Chapel away every single estate and treasure. Use only the Festival bonuses for buying. Every round should give you a Province, assuming that you have at least four Festivals (could pick up a militia if they run out, I guess. This strategy is immune from the thief and the militia.

February 25, 2009

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nadine, David K, Bill

David suggested that we play a 2-player and 3-player game, rather than a 5-player game. Turns out he was right, but our game night was still enjoyable.

Fairy Tale

Jon 41, Gili 41, Nadine 37

We exchanged games from the Beit Shemesh group: they got Saboteur and we got this in return. I like this game, but I also knew that it wasn’t going to be a big hit with our group, owing to the chaos of blind placement and card flipping.

It’s pretty good for a filler game. It’s lacking something: the flip and unflip mechanic is not that thrilling, but easy to grasp, at least. The first few games seem random, but by the end of the second I was starting to grasp that there is some control. Synergy is hard to achieve with drafting, since not all the cards are used in each game. In Magic, unless you’re trying to get a specific combo, drafting doesn’t kill you if you get it wrong; here it does. But it’s also not impossible, and that’s the point.

I played this once before a long time ago. First game for everyone else. None of us knew what would work and what wouldn’t, and we struggled with the pictographs a bit.

Jon 45, Gili 39, David 36, Nadine 33

David had a super combo going, but my second-to-last card play screwed him out of one of the key cards in his combo and he lost 12 points. He would have won, otherwise. I think the other players didn’t pay enough attention to attacking cards.

With my 12 cards and 45 points, it looks like 4 points per card is a good target score to shoot for.

La Citta

Jon 40, David 35, Nadine 28, Gili 26, Bill 23

First play for both David and Bill. Third game for the rest of us. This game ran a tad long at 4 hours – about 1.5 hours longer than it should. This was partially due to new players, five players, Nadine’s calculations, and the game being chaotic and calculating. It’s a little like the Game of Life: simple rules create complex interactions. Lots of recounting the number of people you have and are likely to get. Good thing they give you those food counters.

Ours was a strange game with much food grabbing by the others right at the beginning of the game, only later trying to grab markets and baths. I grew my food supply at a slower pace, and only held two cities throughout the game. This allowed my cities to be strong and steal people away from other players’ little cities. I had to concentrate on food growth in the last few rounds, while others, who had enough food, were building arches and so on.

It worked, though I didn’t think it would. After all, your score is equal to the maximum of the number of citizens / food that you have. I was simply going for food when they were going for citizens, and vice versa. I had no mines the entire game, and gained two coins twice by using cards.

Gili built an awesome first city that allowed her to get two mines each between two mountains, for four income in the first few rounds. But she didn’t have enough food, and the city wasn’t attractive enough to keep its citizens so she lost the mines in round 4. David built an awesome first city with several spots for 4 food production, which gave him massive food supply. But his lack of markets were limiting, and his central city kept losing citizens to mine; this was only his first game, after all. My central city was leaching 4 people a round in the last few rounds; one of the benefits of having a strong central city.

Because of our strange play, we ran into problems with the available power cards. At several points, none of the seven was worth anything to anyone. Which meant that whenever anyone took a card, he or she simply made the card that flipped up available to the next person, which was a boon for them. Gili was the one with the cash, so her buying a 3 arch building usually made a medium sized building available to me as I was sitting to her left. It helped; a lot less than others made it out to help. Sometimes a useful card flipped up, but people (including me) often didn’t have the cash or food to utilize it.

Despite this, and the long game time, David liked the game, and would be willing to play again with less than five players.

December 17, 2008

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nadine

Very light attendance, which was just as well, as I had gotten sick earlier in the day and needed to cut my activity short. I suggested that they play an additional game after I went to sleep, but they opted to leave.

La Citta

Gili 35, Nadine 33, Jon 27

Nadine’s first play. I was rather hazy during the game, so I’m not surprised to have lost. Actually, it began to feel a little too much like work in rounds 4 and 5. Gili had the first successful influx of citizens, and I never really recovered from that, although I did steal a few from her on the other side of the board later.

I almost managed to get a second city to score for me, but I was vastly shy in food, so instead had to spend my last actions building more farms instead of little arches. Nadine stocked up to the gills in food, ending with much more than she needed.

Nadine thought it was a good game.