Participants: Gili, Elad, Yael, Oshrat
Gili 54, Elad 50, Yael 50, Oshrat 42
Participants: Gili, Elad, Yael, Oshrat
Gili 54, Elad 50, Yael 50, Oshrat 42
Nadine 75, Gili 72, Eszter 59
Gili brought this because she missed playing it, and we set it up while waiting for Eszter. Gili wasn’t sure Eszter had ever played, I thought she had, so I looked it up. Eszter had played for the second time at Gili’s house on Chanukah Games Day two years ago; Gili didn’t remember seeing the picture of her house. Gili got two Jesters for 300 in the first two turns. I never paid more than 200 for anything; I took two Prestige cards early on, selecting ones that would give 7 points rather than 8 because I was more likely to have the items. Eszter didn’t remember how to play so Gili explained, but it takes a while to understand the mechanics and timing. Eszter had a lot of buildings, two builders, as did Gili, and all the landscapes. I played the most works but only got best work once. Gili had leftover money worth 3 points, so we would have tied.
Gili 51, Nadine 46, Eszter 44
Eszter got 19 points from coats of arms, but only had 5 missions. I had almost as many, but she won most of the types to get more. Gili had 9 missions, I had 7. I was going to play all my cards on the last round, good thing Gili noticed in time. I could put down one last piece from a mission card, to get my fourth chip.
Mace, Ken, Nadine, Gili
We played about half a game before people had to leave; new to Mace and Ken. Gili added a stealing tile which messed her up. It seems to have big effect when one person doesn’t get to build, especially early in the game.
Moshe+, Oran, Jon
Jon: Oran finished his board and ended with 42, but Moshe had 3 dancing candles and won with 49. (Advanced version).
Jon 41, Oran 36, Elijah 34, Meir 27
Shirley 49, Nadine 44, David 42, Ken 25
Jon: I mis-taught the game. I forgot all about how the round and game ending point scoring worked. I simply had everyone toss down their cash to their limit without any chance for scoring, and I had everyone trade only 10 for 1 at the end of the game. Which doesn’t even make sense. Something small was bothering me during the game as we played, but not enough to make me look up the rules.
I took the early lead and managed to keep it. I took the sheriff as fourth player in the first round. In rounds two and three, it was also not picked often. It was only picked first in round four. We developed a lot of the board, and – despite the rules flub – it was quite fun.
Bill left the second game during the explanation to play Lords of Waterdeep. First play for Ken and Shirley. David didn’t remember how to play and was hurt by joining in after the rules explanation.
Binyamin+, Emily, Eitan, Oren, Avi
Shachar and Shlomia also played several games of this.
Meir+, Eszter, Binyamin, Oran
Lords of Waterdeep
Ofer 105, Moshe 103, Oran 96, Eitan 80
Ofer had the most connections at the end.
Gili 130, Jon 125, Emily 96, Elliot 90, Bill 89
Jon: We played this correctly, though it was the first time I played it correctly. I always thought that every player had only one chance to fulfill a quest at the end of each round, which is very painful and introduces a bad element to the game if someone hits them with a forced quest. The real rules are much better (that is not always the case with rules mistakes, but it is in this case).
I was ahead most of the game and thought I would squeak out a win, but I ended with no items left on my board and Gili ended with a whole bunch. We both had 24 points bonus from the correct quests at the end; I had a lot of synergy from plot quests to fulfill arcana quests. I’m still not quite sure how it all worked out there.
Elijah 44, Ofer, 43, Oran 38, Nadine 36
New to Ofer.
Avi+, Eitan, Oren, Binyamin and Eszter
Jon: I played two rounds of this and really don’t like the game.
Jon: David and I drafted as usual, and Elliot came at the end. Since our drafts give us 45 cards each, we gave Elliot 60 random cards to make a deck. I played Green/White/Red, David played Red/White, and Elliot played Green/Red/Blue.
We played three way Magic where we each had a 20 life point stack against each opponent and the game ends when one player has reduced the relevant life point stack of each opponent to 0. In theory, this means you can win even if you have lost both of your life stacks already.
We had a lt of stalling since many of our creatures couldn’t get through, but Elliot had a flyer and David had a big guy who didn’t tap and had first strike (with an enchantment). David won the game. I killed his life point stack, but then he killed mine and used direct damage to finish off Elliot. One amusing thing that happened – or almost happened: Elliot used an enchantment to take possession of David’s big guy, which is what let me finish off David. I was then about to cast a global disenchant that would send the big guy back to David’s side, which would then allow me to finish off Elliot. One round too late.
David and Elliot then played two player and David won again with the red direct damage.
Jon 23, Gili 21, Meir 19
Meir 23, Gili 22, Jon 20
Jon+, Oran, Ethan, Moshe
Oran+, Jon, Ethan, Moshe
Jon: Even the winning scores were up in the 40s in both games.
Michael 63, Mace 47, Emily 42
Mace used a cubes strategy, which he later transferred to the points area. Michael went into Notre Dame a lot.
Emily 32 +1, Eitan 31-1
Emily only got positive tokens. Eitan dumped one card.
Oren 92, Ofer 91, Nadine 87, Gili 72, Ken 67
Oren 92 (Halfling), Avi 88 (Nomads), Binyamin 83 (Dwarves), Eszter 80 (Magician Chaos), Eitan 77 (Darklings)
Gili and I had been looking forward to playing the new game of the year, but were disappointed. Partly due to the build-up, but it’s not that exciting of a game. Minimal player interaction, and pretty straighforward. You do have calculations, and the energy mechanic is different, and the variety of groups makes the game different each time for good replayability. I don’t think it’s as fun or interesting as Tzolk’in and many other games.
Jon: I learned the rules to the game in 30 minutes but opted to play Magic. I then turned around and taught the rules to David’s son Avi in less than 10 minutes before leaving. It doesn’t look bad, but it also doesn’t have any kind of wow factor at first glance, just a lot of rehashed mechanics I’ve seen before.
Jon 35, Gili 34, Meir 28
Jon: Meir started off too concentrated on one side. Also, both Meir and Gili “re-learned” rules specifics as the game went on, which affected their earlier plays a bit. First play is a learning experience.
Ofer, Oran, Nadine
Year of the Dragon
Michael 111, Mace 95, Moshe 75, Ethan 67, Shachar 49
Thanks again to Emily for taking care of the dinner order.
Set-up crew – Jon
Longest trip – Ofer and Oran
Worst drive: traffic jam and flat tire – Ken and Oren (Ken’s blog post)
Best dressed – Shachar
Best gaming parents – Emily and Eitan
Best surprise attendees – David and Avi
Cutest – Uli
Gruesomest winner – Meir
Most French – Elijah
Most helpful – Bill and Shirley
Most popular game designer – Jon
Simcha group – Mace, Michael, Ethan, Moshe, Shachar, Shlomia
JSGC stalwart – Gili
Clean-up crew – Eitan, Emily, Bill, Shirley
David, Gili, Eszter, Nadine, Matan, Mace, and Shachar dropped by to kibbitz. Welcome back Gili, from her vacation in Greece.
Mace, David, Gili, Eszter
Good to get feedback, I need to work on things.
Mace 64, Gili 53, Eszter 51
Everyone figured Mace would win, but they did a good job against him. First play for Gili.
Year of the Dragon
David 120, Nadine 103, Matan 82
First play for Matan who wanted to try this. David did a good job with the book action, he was far ahead in turn order the whole game, easier to do with three players. I did well, but couldn’t compete. I went first at the beginning, David overtook me to go first, Matan was last the whole game. We had all the taxes and wars at the beginning, and disease and rice in the second half.
David 57, Matan 49, Nadine 44
I had bad cards the last round, though I don’t know if that would have made much of a difference. Again first play for Matan, who caught on well. He liked this game, he also liked Year of the Dragon, but Louis XIV is easier to play well your first time. Despite complaining, David had good Mission cards, including the joker 4, though he couldn’t take advantage of it on the last round; he also played well and took the king most rounds, Matan took it once.
We played both games while the others played Tzolk’in.
Gili, Eszter, Nadine
David was going to come with Avi but wasn’t feeling well.
Eszter had played once but didn’t remember much, but it’s easy to catch on. You never get to do everything you want. I was able to plan but it’s still hard. I was lucky with tiles, they were all pretty good, and I managed to get 4 closed areas. I took two bonus tiles though I lost coin points because I didn’t have the cubes. If I had realized I’d have closed areas I would have taken that bonus tile, but I got points from the points for bonus tiles one and for huts. Eszter had a bonus tile for huts, she had bought a hut and barn, I just had a barn, Gili had for coins. Eszter took 4 coins at the end instead of a farmer, but only got one point. Gili had 4 workers, one more than we did. She didn’t realize that the board edge didn’t count as closed in, but since that was the last tile she placed we let her move to where it did close in an area. Gili and Eszter sold at the end so I couldn’t, I got my second bonus tile. We enjoyed playing the game.
Gili’s favorite game, though it’s work to play, a lot of thinking. I thought I had bad cards but they weren’t so bad. I couldn’t get a second card on my first turn and lost a chip, same thing happened to Gili later. The game is easier and less competitive with 3. We played with Gili’s card point variant. Gili had 6 points from shields, I had eight, and Eszter had 20. I had mentioned at the beginning that someone once won on shields, which is almost what Eszter did because she had far fewer cards than we did.
Gili, Jon, David, Mace, Eitan, Nadine
Dominion Dark Ages
Mace 30+ Jon 30* Nadine 18
Nadine 46 Jon 40 Mace 24
Mace and I played three games of this on Shabbat, Jon hadn’t played this version, but is good at Dominion, as is Mace. They were discussing cards and card effects that I wasn’t following. And running through all sorts of cards. I only bought a few different cards, focusing on money. In the first game I forgot to take a spoils at least once. There was a lot of money available. When I bought the last province, it wasn’t clear whether the remaining blue-backed one was mistakenly in the game, so we scored our decks. Turned out it was in the game, but Jon and I hadn’t kept our hands, and reshuffled. Jon bought the last province, but remembers that his original hand wouldn’t have been enough for a province, probably not even a duchy, so Mace won.*
The next game was much harder, a lot of attack cards. All the urchins were bought, none by me, but I got some later from the pick from the trash card. Jon also had mercenaries, Mace too, so I never had more than 4 cards, often 3. Once or twice when I played an urchin it hurt Mace. They rarely hurt me, once or twice at the beginning. But I had a hard time deciding which cards to keep, with cards that let you pick a card and not having enough actions for the other cards and wanting the money on them, I picked wrong at least once. I had a few discard your deck cards which were good for getting to use golds. I had 5, 6 or 7 a lot, and already had golds, so I started taking duchys because the others were already taking a lot of provinces. So I won because of the duchys, I had 6 and 4 provinces and some estates, Jon had 6 provinces but not enough other cards. None of us thought I was wining, we thought Jon was far ahead even if he complained about how he was doing, though Mace complained more, and was right. I didn’t trash any cards, Jon did a good job with that.
David 21 Eitan 20 Gili 16
Gili had played once, when we played wrong. She said it wasn’t so tough the right way.
David 57 Eitan 49 Gili 43
We heard David complain several times that he had made a mistake that would cause him to lose. He was right that having to discard 3 chips because they weren’t the right ones for his cards is pretty bad. But he won anyway. They all played 8 mission cards.
Mace 41 15 0 56 Jon 13 25 11 49 Nadine 21 20 5 46
David and Jon wanted to play Tichu, but that would have left two people in a game, and it was still pretty early. And we thought the two last games might go faster and leave some time. Mace didn’t remember how to play, I haven’t played in a long time and made some mistakes. Jon complained a lot about his lack of shipping points, he had 10 late in the game, which meant Mace and I had a lot. I could have figured out how many Mace had, or even realized he must have a ton, if I had thought about it. I made some mistakes, which Jon of course didn’t point out in time for me to do anything about. I could have bought a second big building if I had built, which was my plan, but I forgot and shipped, leaving only 9 when Jon built, so I got a wharf. So actually I should have beat Jon, though not necessarily, my points from shipping and wharf probably equaled a big building. Mace spent a long time figuring out moves once he caught on to the strategy. Mace and Jon had harbors, Jon and I had factory, Mace and I had wharf, but he got his earlier. Mace had a coffee monopoly, but was behind in money because of our factories. I miss playing this with people like Jon who understand the game at the level he does. Jon knew Mace was doing well in shipping and ended up being correct that his two big buildings, guild hall and customs house, didn’t stack up against 41 shipping points. We gave Mace a few tips; he did some things we wouldn’t have, but that’s what’s great about PR, most things help you.
Gili, Hersh, Cliff, Eszter, Binyamin, Nadine
Fifth night of Chanukah. Gili and Eszter hosted while I was away, they played Louis XIV and Princes of Florence. I played It’s Alive!, Trivial Pursuit, Bridge and Scrabble with my family in California.
Eszter 77, Nadine 72, Hersh 71, Gili 69, Cliff 58
Five people had said they were coming. I spent 45 minutes sorting and setting up Hawaii, which my nieces and nephews had helped me punch out in California. Maybe quick once you know how, a puzzle board, more different pieces than Shipyard, so far the record holder, little huts – I realized after assembling them that the roofs need to match, of course all 5 were wrong. So I hadn’t finished reading the rules by the time people arrived, and we started working things out. Different people showed up than expected, and we were 6, Eszter and her son Binyamin were happy to be a team.
So we played and corrected rules as we went. We did pretty well, but different people missed different rules. And after one or two rounds we had a better idea of what we should have done strategically. The rules were very clear that you can’t mix types of purchasing resources, I was willing to play that you could, though there’s no good reason to change rules before playing at least once, we didn’t. We all assumed that the resources you receive each round increased as the game went on when it turned out to be the opposite. We used the wrong resource quantity card, the next one rather than the completed one, but were able to make up for it when we realized, and gave out the extra resources.
There are two main scoring systems – during and at the end of each round of 5, and end game for your village set-up. Round scoring is difficult and competitive, I gave up on it after getting the extra 6 points for being first one round. End game scoring is limited too, you can’t repeat buildings in a village, and most give you resource benefits rather than points. The spear scoring bonus card which gives points every time you get a relevant chip was strong and is why Eszter won. The fruit strategy is also strong due to synergy of gaining resources and getting bonus points for the cards; I had zero fruit. I did have the card that let me pay only one foot to travel, which was handy. Gili had the bonus for boats card, which explained why she got a third boat. Hersh did well with fruit and tikis. Cliff didn’t understand the end game scoring, he had arrived late. He won the most points bonus on at least one round.
The art and variability is very nice, and there is a good choice of strategies. We all liked it except Cliff, and look forward to playing it now that we understand how it works. Now that we know what the pieces are, and they’re in the 15 or so baggies that came with the game, the set up won’t be hard.
After playing, Cliff said he puts it in the same category as Shipyard, a game he doesn’t like, but he’s more of a wargamer than a Eurogamer. He asked why I bought it, I said I didn’t, I got it from my Secret Santa, along with Walnut Grove. It was on my wishlist as a 3 – I only had two 2’s, both filler games, which is what we need but makes me hard to shop for when my Secret Santa apparently wanted to get really nice games, which is appreciated.