Lewis and Clark
Yael+, Jon, Haim, Cliff. Elana had to leave early. Cliff said he loved the game.
Lewis and Clark
Yael+, Jon, Haim, Cliff. Elana had to leave early. Cliff said he loved the game.
Avi 14, David 8, Jon 6, Nadine 5
We played with random chip piles, which Jon thinks is better for some reason.
Avi 62, Jon 52, David 50
Lewis & Clark
Aaron +7, Schnur -7 camp, Nadine -7 scout
First play for Schnur, who caught on and planned well, but Aaron focused on getting cards which worked well for him.
David 65, Avi 65, Jon 52
First play for David and Avi, who liked the game. No tiebreaker.
Schnur 111, Aaron 88, Nadine 66
There were too many things I didn’t realize at the start, including that there were Colonies, which also makes the game much longer, Platinums, and attack cards that gave a lot of useless cards. With the longer game and useless cards, I needed to have more (or any actually) trashing cards, which meant more cards giving actions to support them; and work on buying the higher value money and victory point cards. If I had bought trashing and action cards, it aso would have limited the number that the others were able to buy. Each individual card didn’t seem worth it compared to a silver, but a money strategy doesn’t work in this type of game. The Bishop, in addition to letting you trash, give victory points that don’t clog up your deck, which the others used effectively. So I ended up with a really bad deck for a long game. The only benefit was that it blocked Aaron when he used an attack cards and wanted me to reveal action cards, those attack cards worked much better for Schnur, who had Aaron as his left hand opponent. Schnur and Aaron are also extremely experienced Dominion players.
A busy games day, with most people staying the whole time. Thanks to those who came early and stayed late to help with set-up and clean-up – Nechemia, Assaf, Lior, Binyamin and Jon, who also brought an extra table and chairs; and to Gili for the pictures she took and for organizing the online dinner order. Quite a few close games, a crazy Tichu game, and even a few hands of bridge, and welcome to Lorenzo’s wife Sara. Game trend – titles that begin with the letter C. Played more than once: Crokinole, Oh My Goods, Tichu, Traders of Osaka.
Binyamin 27, Haley 21, Eszter 12, Gili 11
Nadine and Binyamin S, Jon and Binyamin
Binyamin really wanted to play, Binyamin S has never played so we walked him through. First hand I opened 3 spades with 7, Binyamin S passed, and Jon and Binyamin made game in hearts. Next games I bid and Binyamin passed, Jon and Binyamin went one down in 4 spades with Binyamin playing it, I had a strong hand.
Azriel+, Lorenzo, Binyamin, Eszter
Clans of Caledonia
Nechemia 130, Sara 120, Nadine 108, Assaf B 103
First play for the other three. We played with 4 points per all import goods, with no tracking or coins for them. I tried the delta clan, which did help somewhat, partly because being near rivers helped me get most settlements, and I upgraded to two lochs which I usually don’t do. Nechemia had the whiskey clan, Sara had double contracts, and Assaf had the one with the extra initial placement. Nechemia tied Sara for most contracts with 5, and had 72 in export good points. I had a lot of whiskey at the end that I didn’t have market tokens to sell, I should have done more market upgrades in the last round.
Eszter, Binyamin S, Efrat, Gili, Noam, Maria
They played three rounds.
Binyamin, Rosalynn, Nechemia, Yehuda K
Not Rosalynn’s type of game, not sure it’s mine either though I heard it’s good. Nadine S left to join Walnut Grove.
Jon, Elianna, Rosalynn and others throughout the day. Jon: Crokinole, not too much play, but some fun play nonetheless. Binyamin didn’t take to it, and especially not the high price I paid for the game.
Deep Sea Adventure
Lorenzo, Binyamin S, Azriel
Jon 79, Lior 77, Gili 74, Efrat 71
Jon complained a lot about the Hooligan mechanic, which adds total luck to a strategy game. It doesn’t have that big of an effect and the luck sometimes evens out, but annoying nevertheless, Gili likes it because it adds fun and suspense.
Jon: A game with somewhat confusing graphics, but straightforward gameplay. As I mentioned several times during the game, the game has a bunch of random and strategic elements, which are fine, but then ends with a luck draw out of a bag that serves absolutely no game purpose other than to screw some people instead of others (much like Thebes). In some games there may be a person or development that you can buy to mitigate it, but often not, and only one person would be able to do it. And there is no, absolutely no, purpose for the mechanic. It is as useful as simply rolling a die and handing out victory points based on the number you roll – actually, it is exactly like that. Remove the mechanic and the game plays EXACTLY the same, but far better. I like the game other than that. It’s a basic planning and allotment of resources game that works well enough with enough theme to color it.
Jon, Avi, Efrat, Lior
Jon: Enjoyed by all players. I didn’t take any of the instant circle bonuses, like I usually do. Instead, the game ended rather quickly as Avi and I spread a network of cities across much of the left two-thirds of the board. I had a boost from having 4 disks, while one other person had any, and only one.
Efrat 54, Lior 49, Gili 34
First time for all players.
Lewis & Clark
Nadine+, Lorenzo, Yokhay
First play for Lorenzo and Chaim. I’m starting to understand the game, first time I played with the rule where you can discard cards to pay equipment, we had missed it until now and it makes a difference. Fewer cards were bought than in previous games I’ve played, I only bought one, a 3, which helped, but my main advantage was it being their first play. Lorenzo bought the card I wanted at the start, but then gave me good advice. Lorenzo hogged the Indians, there were a few times where there were none available at all. We shortened the trail by 7 spaces to finish sooner, which may have hurt them with a stronger infrastructure.
Nadine S 44, Adrien 41, Avi 34, Elianna 33
New to all of them. Jon wanted to try this again, but after teaching it ended up trying Alchemists, which he also didn’t play in the end.
Jon 20, Binyamin, Binyamin S, Haley
Oh My Goods
Lorenzo 25, 24 Binyamin S 24, Eszter 21
Rosalynn, Elianna and Azriel also played.
Noam 54, Yael 50, Yossi 48, Maria 46, Assaf B 39
Yael, Yehuda K, Avi, Binyamin, Yossi
Yael taught this, they played a long time but didn’t finish the game.
Jon and Lior, Azriel and Binyamin S played a hand or two earlier.
Avi and Nadine vs Assaf B and Yehuda Klein
Second game, which we didn’t finish
I called Tichu at least 3 times in the first game. Avi offered to switch partners after the first game, but they said no. It was mostly luck of the cards, though Yehuda K hadn’t realized he could play his 4 bomb over my 3 bomb. It might have stopped my Tichu but he couldn’t have gone out easily. I played something like the 1, 3, Queen, 3 bomb and a 7-card straight with the Phoenix.
Traders of Osaka
Jon, Lior, Efrat
Jon, Binyamin, Nechemia
Jon: It played well enough, but it’s just a bit too long for what it is, which keeps it from being a far better experience. There is often just a little more to the gameplay then there seems to be, however.
Nechemia 63, Sara 58, Assaf B 57, Rosalynn 33
New to all of them.
Nadine 29, Nadine S 25, Yochai 24, Elianna 18
First play for all but me. I lost 6 points on the last turn – I couldn’t pay 3 cubes, and only had 2 left – not enough to pay back a loan, so I had to take two Neighborly Helps and used a gold coin, but I had 3 bonus tiles which made the difference, two 2-point per bonus tiles for 12; Nadine S had 2 and the others one.
Passover Games Day East – April 4
Jon went to visit David in Maale Adumim because David isn’t attending public gaming events while in avelut. Report by Jon:
David and I and two of his kids played Nefarious. We had the twists a) when you research, draw two cards and then toss a card, and b) you gain 1 vp for every 5 coins you have. Everything was pretty normal, until both of the kids got to 21 on one round. David had 20 and I had 19. So we went another round. Both kids had 22 and I got to 22, as well. The next round two people had 23. The next round two people had 24. The next round two people had 25, but I got to 26 and won.
We all played Tichu for a while, and my partner and I went very negative. We were -350 to 350 at one point. We stopped for dinner when my side was -170 to 570.
After dinner, David, Avi, and I played Lewis & Clark. Probably not the right game for David, even though he loves it. It’s a real analysis paralysis machine, as you know, and David took a long time on his very first turn. So did Avi. I was patient. Eventually, David got ahead of us, Avi eventually started playing faster just because he didn’t want to think too long, and we all make some of those famous mistakes, which is the point I think. David won several rounds ahead of any of us. They both enjoyed it, but agreed that maybe David shouldn’t play it.
Participants: Jon, Nadine, Haim, Elad, Yael, Gili
Elad+, Jon-, Yael, Haim, Nadine
I brought this out to see if it was as boring as I remembered, and it was. Every round you make pretty much the only sensible choice that there is to make, and if you’re lucky you get points and if you’re not you don’t. Whoopy.
Elad finished with 0,2,2,2,1 types or something like that, and I was second with 0,2,1,1,1 or something like that. Everyone else had less than 4 types.
Lewis and Clark
Elad+, Jon, Nadine
First game for Elad, second for me and Nadine. This is not Nadine’s kind of game: many different options on one turn, and no way to calculate them all, so she ends up paralyzed trying to figure out every possible point in every possible move. I just pick something that looks okay, figure out what will happen after a round or two, and go for it, and if I’m off by a move or pass up a better move then so be it; I usually do okay.
The game was closer than the last one, where I won by a large margin. This time Nadine and I were within a few rounds of winning when Elad finished.
Gili 31, Haim 24, Yael 19
First play for Haim, and also for Yael I think.
Participants: Jon, Aaron, Gili
Small attendance, which is probably just as well since I was still getting over a flu.
Lewis & Clark
Jon+, Gili, Aaron
First play for Jon and Aaron. This game’s flow was unlike anything I had ever played. I thought it would play like Dominion or similar games: play cards until your hand is out and then pick up your cards and start again, giving you a sense of “rounds”. However, by adding “Indian” actions, you are able to take many, many turns, sometimes without ever playing or picking up a card. But only by picking up your cards can you make progress on the scoring track.
I began to pick up the game flow and found it pretty interesting. Once you get the hang of the flow, you realize that you have many, many options on a single turn. Luckily, the three of us were content to pick what seemed to be a generally good option on each turn. But it you are playing with analysis paralysis players, they might drag down the game examining every possible move. We’ll see.
Since we ended up NOT taking so many of the possible choices, it remains a big mystery to me what the best strategies are. Aaron also enjoyed the game, although his choice of trying to play a lot of Indian actions proved (pretty early on) to be not the best idea.
I won a few rounds ahead of the others, which appeared to be predetermined once I was the first to make it through the first mountain passes.
Among the Stars
Jon 84, Aaron 80, Gili 71 (scores approximate)
I suggested this as a mid-length game. Second play for Gili, third for Aaron. We all had decent races; Gili started with a powerful race (+1 building of every color), but failed to take advantage of it. In the end, we all ended up with one mission bonus.
Leaving Israel, when we thought we were ready to depart everyone had to get off the plane, they said it was to fix an electrical problem, but people thought they were looking for someone. It was about an hour delay, not so bad for me because I had a long layover in Newark, but many people missed their connections. In Newark I found kosher sandwiches which was handy. A girl who had seen me on the previous flight started talking to me, she lives up north, her dad’s from LA. So it turns out that she’s David Rothberg’s daughter, also celebrating a family 60th wedding anniversary.
First thing in the morning my laptop powercord broke, leaving me with my airplane mode phone for communicating. We went down to get in line at 9:15, the line was already up the stairs. But it wasn’t because there were more people lined up than last year, but because the con had less downstairs space for the morning. They wanted us to line up out the door but it was too cold so we went the other way, but a bit later a congeek came over and told us we had to go out the door because we couldn’t have the line in the lobby. We were outside for about 5 minutes and then our section moved back in, but there were people in line all around the building.
We registered at about 10:30, on the way we admired the signs and talked with people about which free games to pick.
Gili took the games and some Texas souvenir shirts she bought up to our room, I went to hot games. It was a section of the large main room, which I don’t like as much as when it’s a separate room as it was the past two years. There was a also a vendor game demoland area next to it which was interesting. I wanted to play Glass Road which wasn’t available, I figured it could take days til I got to play.
I played Bruges, which I had also heard about, but it wasn’t in hot games. It’s the best new game I played – short but interesting choices and good interaction. There is attacking of a sort, you can cause negative effects to other players, but they do see what you’re setting up. I came in third out of four, I stayed ahead in influence but barely built to 3 canals.
Then I got into a game of Lewis and Clark in hot games. A serious Eurogame, long with thinking and planning. Less interaction than Bruges. And un-PC with Indians as a main mechanic. They’re helpful and important, but still. I came in third of four again.
After that I took a break for lunch and then visited the vendor area. Not as good as last year – the Funagain store was much smaller, but I think there were more vendors which is good. There was a big wheel for a drawing to win prizes. I met Josh Neiman, head of development at Victory Point Games, he worked on Candle Quest, and Stephanie Marroquin in PR and Marketing, and Joshua Gottesman, who works with distributors.
I saw people reading the rules to Power Grid, so that was good for me. They both caught on well. I thought they were getting too many interim plants, but they both beat me by about $100. A 3-way tie powering 17, I think Amanda had about 13 more electros than her husband Daniel. Amanda said they have all these games at work that she hasn’t played – they own Geek Chic. Fun to play on their tables, and they brought me a cup holder when they saw my water bottle.
After a dinner break I was pretty jetlagged at 10, but walked around the main room anyway. Of course that’s when there was a game of Glass Road starting, so I played. It wasn’t what anyone expected, it’s pretty light. The mechanics don’t seem to work so well. The moving wheel is cool but confusing – some goods get produced, some are reduced, and you need to plan while you’re selecting cards, and some goods are on two wheels. I wasn’t the only one who had a hard time and wasn’t so impressed. The other mechanics weren’t so good either – the building were weak, all except maybe one, most were maybe half a point more than the goods needed to pay were. There aren’t many points in the game, but you don’t feel like you’re getting very far that way. You’re supposed to guess and piggyback onto what others play, but it actually reduces your choices because you’re required to play matching cards. Our scores were 15, 18.5, 19.5, 20.5. I came in third.
One of the players is a blogger, Roger Hicks of todayinboardgames.com. I mentioned my prototype and that it wouldn’t do well due to the Biblical theme, he said he was interested in those, so we played my prototype and he liked it, he said it’s a game he’d play with his son. They wanted the orange pawn to match the orange robe on Moses, and the blue one matched the blue on Pharaoh, so I switched them for the publisher meetup.