Tag Archive | lo ra

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.

 

January 11, 2016

Participants: Nadine, Jon, David, Elad, Preston, Aaron, Schneur, Tchelet, Eszter

Nadine hosted.

Magic: The Gathering

David+, Jon

David continues his winning streak. I had a sucky deck.

R Eco

David 11, Nadine 5, Elad 3, Jon -3

First play for Elad. I had one of each color chip, I think.

Amerigo

Jon 146, Schneur 138, Preston 136, David 86

First play for all but me. David made some early errors based on misunderstanding the rules and was disheartened thereafter. As usual, everyone thought the cube tower was cool, but questioned about how it affected planning.

Year of the Dragon

Elad 105, Nadine 95, Tchelet 87, Aaron 85, Eszter 70

First play for Elad and Tchelet, who appear to have done well. Elad managed to get 3 double dragons, which is nearly unheard of. He got 10 points in the last round.

Lo Ra

Aaron 41, Nadine 36, Elad 30

Elad did poorly in the first two scoring phases, but made a decnt comeback in the last.

Tichu

Jon/Schneur 960, David/Preston 240

First play for Preston, who did a great job. David lost an early Tichu which put them in negative points for a few rounds.

 

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

Passover Games Day 5776

2016-04-26 15.30.45A fun day, with 23 people playing at peak time in the afternoon, more people came later after some had left. Mazal tov to Ofer and Michal on their one-week wedding anniversary. Thank you to everyone for recording scores, bringing snacks and games, and moving furniture, and to Gili for some of the pictures.

Adastra

Binyamin Z 58, Devora 35, Alan 26, Yiscah 24, Michael 19

Agricola

Roman 36, Ron 25, Assaf 21, Eli 9

2016-04-26 14.18.55Roman taught them. Eli is not a Eurogamer, Ron liked the game and did well for his first play, as did Assaf.

Bridge

Binyamin Z/Nadine, Devora/Yiscah

Binyamin helped everyone with instructions on how to play optimally. On the last hand, he bid 1NT. I had 13 points, 4 hearts, and AKx of spades and wanted to bid 4 hearts, but he said I should bid my honorless 4-card club suit. We ended up in 4 hearts; he made 7, he had 5 hearts and the queen dropped. So he asked Ben for his opinion on whether he should have gone to small slam, Ben basically said yes. He said he would have bid 4 hearts like I wanted to, unless he was playing with Binyamin, in which case he would know he had to bid the clubs.

Bora Bora 

Gili 188, Jon 178, Avi 121

boraboraJon: I decided to try this one more time to see if it was as finicky as I recalled or if it was just that my first play was overwhelming. I remain convinced that the game should have been streamlined and a few mechanics taken out. I WAS less overwhelmed, but I don’t think I will play it too often.

First play for Avi; he shared my sentiments, and by the time we were halfway through he wanted it to be over. We stuck it out. I thought I was doing OK, managing to build a building every round by the skin of my teeth, which should have given me a tidy sum. Unfortunately, owing to the luck of my first mission draws, I was a single tile shy of competing my last mission, which lost me at least 10 points. Gili finished all of her missions but was one shy of finishing her buildings, she beat me by 10 points, and I’m not sure how she beat me. If I ever play this again, I am going to try building all my tents, just to see what happens.

20160426_205142Castles of Burgundy

Binyamin Z 238, Nadine 205, Ofer 151

Jon: I taught this to Ben, Binyamin, and Ofer. Ben got bad luck with his rolls and was thoroughly sick of the game by the end of the first phase; he was perhaps too tired to figure out how all of the buildings worked, and I don’t really blame him; the iconography is not terrible, but it’s not great. On the other hand, Binyamin really liked the game and scored pretty highly.

I was happy to take over for Ben instead of playing Frank’s Zoo. Binyamin had placed the same buildings in the same area, and I let him do it again to finish a section because he had taken the building based on playing that way. I got good yellow tiles – the 3 bonus for colors of tiles sold, and the play the same building in areas, that Binyamin should have had, but it wasn’t enough to beat Binyamin’s yellow 4 point bonus tiles for 2 buildings, and his first place in several colors.

694fddfa-504b-487f-8275-f27ec404b3a5Eldritch Horror

Gili, Roman, Yonatan, Avi, Noam, and Alan beat the game in this co-op.

Frank’s Zoo

7af56e6b-146e-4240-b398-00d4bef946f4Michal 9, Devora 7, Binyamin R 6, Yiscah 4

Yiscah 25, Binyamin R 14, Eszter 14, Devora 13

Guildhall

Eitan 20, Emily 13, Ofer 10, Michal 8

guildhallIn the last turn Eitan got two series of dancers. Eitan said he exploited a loophole which allows combining extra actions with additional card draws.

Homesteaders

Jon 64, Michael 52, Avi 44

Michael had requested the farming game with the apples ahead of time, Jon realized which game he meant.

Jon: I taught this to Avi and refreshed Michael’s memory of the game. It was a nice experience for all, as I remember, but in the end my experience gave me the edge. The end scores were pretty close, however.

Lo Ra

Eli 25, Efrat and Yossi 17, Eitan 9, Ron 1, Emily 1

At least they all had positive scores. Our house version of Ra with a Biblical theme.

Lords of Waterdeep

Avi 133, Gili 122, Noam 116

Second play for Avi and Noam.

2016-04-26 21.16.49Magic

Jon: David and I drafted and we both ended up playing colors that we weren’t expecting. David played BRG and, while he got out a lot of his strength, it didn’t seem to be enough. I played BWu, with many fliers and some control cards. In the first game, my fliers took him down. In the second, I started with only one mana. I tossed a creature to get my second, which was luckily the right color for me to cast a spell that let me pay life for 2 more cards. I got out one more, a mana unicorn, and that was enough to get me started until more flowed in. We traded some kills, we both played a few big creatures, and then I took some of his out and he resigned.

Mundus Novus

Devora 95, Ofer 59

Devora +, Haim 41, Guy and Gilad 19

noblemenNoblemen

Binyamin R 92, Yosef 91, Eszter 90, Nadine 74

Eszter has the game but hadn’t played. Yosef taught us, he had read the rules but never played, so we looked up things as we went, and of course played a few things wrong. The cards were in German but it doesn’t matter because it’s just the card title, no text otherwise, we had the rules in English, and he taught in Hebrew. The game pieces are beautiful, and it’s a nice game. I forgot to do one or two things which led to my having no moves for about half the game, because I was out of tiles and money. Everyone else had tons and couldn’t understand it. I forgot to place one guy when I build a castle, which would have given me a few more tiles. I did have bad luck with tile drawing – I had three down, and every time I drew three more, which is limited to once per the three rounds, none were the forests which let you draw more tiles. I also forgot that the point of the purple churches was to get cards, which also would have helped me get more tiles. So the problem seems to have been my playing, and not the game. The theme is well-integrated as you have masquerades to increase your rank, but it resets twice per round.

2e6ead30-2c26-4939-9d4a-a31aa192eae7Notre Dame

Yiscah, Shira, Haim

Power Grid

David 15/17, Roman 13/14, Ksenia 11/15

2016-04-26 12.22.22David taught this to Ksenia who we all enjoyed seeing on her visit from Poland. We were going to use the German side, but three regions didn’t seem balanced. I left to play 7 Wonders Duel before we started, and after Ksenia and others came.

R-Eco

Devora 15, Yiscah 10, Binyamin Z 4

First play for all of them.

7 Wonders

Emily 54, Yonatan 54, Noam 51, Ofer 43,Michal 42, Eitan 37

2016-04-26 12.42.117 Wonders Duel

Yosef 88, Nadine 75

I had wanted to try this. It’s more interesting than 7 Wonders, with a similar theme and feeling, but still a lot of luck. When you select cards, it opens up new cards for the other player/s. I made mistakes with this a few times early on, and a few other mistakes. Yosef is experienced so he gave me advice. I thought he’d end up further ahead than he did. There are three ways to win; I was in a good position to win with military, two away, but the cards worked out for him, and he took advantage to block me. He was able to take the last card he needed to win in green, but preferred to keep playing and count points, he said otherwise the points are a waste. Counting points seemed complicated and time consuming, he did it. We played in French, his main language and my first one.

signorieSignorie

Binyamin R 150, Eszter 128, Nadine 127, Assaf 115

New to the others. Binyamin was competing with me for the lead most of the game, but pulled ahead at the end. He caught on well to what he needed to do. Eszter didn’t realize she should pay and get points when placing daughters, but we gave back the 5 she had paid for points with the bonus and back paid for all her placements, which gave her more points and caught her up to near me; she passed me by one at the very end. Assaf only had three helpers, Binyamin had the most.

Slap Deck

Avi++, Jon+

Jon: I taught Avi how to play this, and he really liked it. We played three times, he won twice. He asked to play it again several times when I wasn’t available.

83bda1f1-e1d1-4cde-b231-ac9cdab63769Suburbia

Jon 134, Binyamin 114, David 11, Ben 110

Jon: I taught this to Ben, David, and Binyamin. David like it and wanted to play again. Ben seemed to like it, too. Binyamin didn’t like it, because there is nothing to do when it is not your turn and the other players’ turns took too long for him. It’s true that there is not much to do on your turn, and not much in the way of player interaction or interfering with other players (other than taking the building he wants), but I think the game is fast enough and interesting enough to be good; I actually really like it.

Even though I had the highest income at the start, I was cash shy for a lot of the game. Binyamin took early greens but he ended up with negative income and no money, which made many of his last turns useless; even lakes couldn’t bring him enough cash not to lose them, and he couldn’t save money to buy income generating buildings. David also had a lot of cash, from the building that doubles lake income, which he then doubled again (for triple). He made use of his cash finally in the last third of the game hovering near the top of income and reputation until the last round. But it was too late, and he had no bonuses. Ben and I each made two bonuses, and Binyamin made three. On the last move of the game, Ben handed Binyamin his third bonus in order to take around 14 points himself.

Tichu and Where’s Tichu?

Avi/Nadine 375, Jon/David 225

We started the day with this. My favorite Tichu partner, and players. When David said maybe the teams aren’t fair, Avi said we like playing together, and I said it’s worth losing for the times we do manage to beat such good players. First hand I called a Tichu and made it. The others asked me why I called it so early, at least a hand before I played my first card, and I said because I always forget to call it if I wait. On another hand Avi could have gone out first, but wanted to give me a chance to play so we could go out first and second, but neither one of us ended up going out first, he should have just gone out. Jon thought about calling a Tichu but decided not to. One game he did well, but would have done better if he had remembered that he had passed David the Dragon and therefore knew where it was. We stopped when more people came, which I had said at the beginning would be our strategy.

Jon/Ben 735, David/Assaf 565

We couldn’t find Tichu among all the games people brought, which were stacked on shelves, couches and tables. Whenever I asked if they had looked somewhere they said yes. I know things slip between my couch pillows, so I looked carefully, and found it with a few others small games behind a back pillow.

Jon: We taught Ben and Assaf how to play. Ben picked it up quickly; Assaf took a bit longer, but they both seemed to enjoy it (it helped Ben’s enjoyment that we were winning). Ben was my teammate. David called and made 2 grand tichus, including one on the opening hand. I called and made regular tichu on the second hand. Even when our opponents made tichus, they always seemed to end up with the short end on points, so Ben and I did very well.

Ticket to Ride

2016-04-26 15.30.55Shira 123, Yiscah 121, Devora 109, Haim 98

Year of the Dragon

Shira 112, Ben 105, David 86, Haim 95

David taught this to the others, and then proceeded to do much worse than he usually does. They were all close in the number of people left at the end.

 

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.

Welcome Ziv

No Thanks!

Lior 55, Gili 59, Nadine 75

Nadine 11, Gili 27, Lior 75

We taught this to Lior, who started off well and won his first game. I won the second one when the right cards came out.

20141029_202853Notre Dame

Nadine 67, Lior 61, Gili 42, Ziv 42

First Eurogame for Ziv, first play for Lior too. Gili taught the game, then I went over some of the basic strategies. Ziv concentrated on Notre Dame, Lior did very well with victory points. Gili and I had Parks. I did the car and had 4 chips for bonus points, and the one time I went to Notre Dame no one else did. The rats weren’t too bad, most of us went over once. I rarely beat Gili at Notre Dame, but this time Lior was my competition. He had a lot of cubes on his board for bonuses, and also did cars. A good introductory euro.

Lo Ra

Nadine 54, Lior 42, Gili 19, Ziv 16

We were going to play A Castle for All Seasons, but realized we didn’t know it well enough – Gili’s taking it home to figure it out. Lo Ra is always fun with ups and downs. First round Lior got 8 tiles right off which included two disasters and the Ark, which he used to cancel all disasters at the end of the round – he got another also. The first and third rounds started off with slow Mosaics, but then ended suddenly with a lot at the end. I was the only one left in the second round, I stopped the round with 7 good tiles. On the last round, I was out early, but had the tiles I needed. First play for Ziv and Lior, they both caught onto the trade offs. Ziv called frequent auctions for his low amounts.