Tag Archive | magic the gathering

June 07, 2017

Participants: Jon, David, Nadine, Aaron, Haim S

No game night last week owing to Shavuot.

Magic: The Gathering

Jon++, David+

We drafted and I ended up with a GWR deck. Unusually for me, a) I played only 15 lands, 5 of each color, b) I played 41 cards instead of 40. In addition to the lands, I had 4 cards that fetched lands (of my choice) or generated mana. Also unusually for me, I never had any mana problems, hitting 7 or 8 mana in all colors within the first 7 rounds in each game. David had some mana problems with his 40 card / 18 land deck in RGb. He played b even though his W was stronger, because he hates playing W. The only reason his W was stronger was because he negative drafted W cards away from me.

I had a few fliers (including a red 5/5 flying haste who gets shuffled back into your deck at the end of the round), some medium green creatures, and some boosters, with only three control cards (a spark jolt (1 point and a scry), a white card that buries a large creature, and a small creature that sends one of his creatures out of play until it (the small creature) leaves play).

In the first game, I brought him down to one point, and then he took out my creatures and generated his own until he won. In the second he struggled with mana a bit and I took him down. In the third, I brought him down to two points and it looked light it might be a repeat of the first game but I top-decked my red 5/5 flyer to win.

Princes of Florence

Aaron 63, David 54, Jon 53, Haim 51, Nadine 47

First play for Haim and maybe second or third for Aaron? David and I essentially copied each other’s early strategy, each taking a jester and a recruiter. Then he took two more recruiters and I took two more jesters. We both ended with no prestige cards and very similar results, as you see. Meanwhile, I encouraged Aaron to try a builder strategy; he took 3 builders and 4 prestige cards, none of them too expensive. In the last round, Haim, who had two builders, actually covered more spaces than he had, so he Aaron lost his last prestige card. However, he times his works well, taking the best work twice I think (at least once), and did very well. Haim did a mixture of about everything, with builders, landscapes, and a prestige card. Nadine also had two prestige cards, and played conservatively (spending as little as possible).

Nadine writes: Chaim blocked Aaron from getting the least empty spaces one, and blocked me from getting anything for my second one which would have been 7 for most landscapes, 4 for a tie, with 7 I would have tied David; Chaim got most lakes. I should maybe have bid more against him for a lake, but that would have just been a tie, and I would have lost one or two points from the money spent. 


Jon 20, David 18m Aaron 17, Haim 13, Nadine 11

First play for Haim. He keeps complaining that we are always playing different games, while he prefers to play the same game several times in a row so as to get the nuances. I sympathize with him, but I must say that I rarely encounter someone who is so good at picking up the rules of games as I explain them.. He always understands the rules on the first try, although he often checks certain rules out loud as we play (like a verbal reminder, I think).

Anyhoo, we played with the twists a) we all start with 20 instead of 10, and b) we toss down to the nearest 5 at the end of each round (unless you have less than 5). The first twist is pretty uneventful, while the second one radically changes how you play. You MUST place minions, or you have no hope of accumulating any money.

I drew tons of very expensive cards. I finally tossed them all out for some cash (the effect of a card), and when I drew again I drew the most expensive card in the game. It actually ended up helping me, because it was worth just enough points to get me to 20.


Nadine/Aaron 620, David/Haim 280

Nadine/Aaron 310, David/Jon -120

I kibitzed the first game, tsking when Aaron called Tichu after Tichu (and then when he didn’t call Grand Tichu and he should have) and as he played his last few cards. David had some bad luck with his tichus. The I sat down to take Haim’s place, and David and I proceeded to have several hands of really bad luck, as well as a few bad plays (some of which hurt us and some of which didn’t). It was late so we gave up.

May 10, 2017

Participants: Jon, David, Aaron, Nadine, Gili, Haim S, Daniel Oshrat

Welcome Oshrat, to whom I didn’t get to speak.

Magic: The Gathering

David+, Jon

David drafted a slew of powerful green creatures, while I got a lot of cards that, in combinations of 5 cards, could give one of my creatures a +1/+1 counter. I wasn’t expecting to win. David claimed that his deck wasn’t all that strong, because he didn’t have a lot of great cards to go with his smackdown creatures. Right.

I lost pretty quickly.

Taj Mahal

Aaron 40, Haim 40, Daniel 37, Gili 33, Oshrat 25

First play for everyone but Gili. There doesn’t seem to be any tiebreaker in the rules. I don’t know what everyone thought of it.


David 151, Jon 130, Nadine 115

Second play for me and David. The first time I played we played a few major things wrong, so this was my first play with the correct rules. The tactics in this game are so complicated, that I still feel like I’m playing a near total tactical game, although flashes of strategy peek through here or there. This must be what I felt the first dozen times that I played Puerto Rico, but more so.

I saw David mastering a few of the tactics, including taking and scoring several 9 point trajans and winning every vote in the senate. He also pulled 4 matching cards in his first 6 card pulls, which was ridiculous. I expected him to win by around 60 points, but he stalled a bit in the last few rounds, allowing me to catch up to only 20 points behind. I made that 40 point gain in the last few rounds, pulling ahead of Nadine who until then had been doing about as well as I was.

Nadine took most of the wild tiles, and was first to move in the military. I tried the x2 bonuses again, and all of them paid off to some extent: I got to use some of them more than once, but this required me to focus on getting bonus action tiles, so it’s kind of a constricted game play that pays off a lot once every few rounds.

April 19, 2017

Participants: Jon, David, Gili, Aaron, Yael, Nadine

Magic: The Gathering

David+, Jon+

We didn’t have time to Rochester draft, so I chose a balanced color assortment of 120 cards and we created decks from our half. The decks were stronger than usual. David played BG, and I played BRW. Yes, I still played three colors, although, in my defense, all but one of my cards had only one colored mana requirement. I had a few nervous moments at the beginning of both games, but I got out most of my cards without difficulty.

I had many fliers and I was hoping enough to stock David’s ground forces. And I had a Mindcrank, even one of which is pretty insane in a 40 card deck. In the first game, he had a large reach creature and then he had too many big land creatures to block all of them. In the second game, I stopped his ground forces, and even though he was gaining life, I decked him with my small fliers.


Jon 60, Gili 51, Aaron 37

First plays for both of them, who wanted to learn. We discovered that I had misread one of the cards that I thought was way over-powered in a previous game. Gili took control of the canals early on, and I couldn’t draw the color card I needed to build the canal segment I wanted, so I concentrated on people and VPs from them. I also had a person that made me more immune to disasters, while Gili played a person that removed some of her tokens.

They both liked it.

Puerto Rico

David 54, Nadine 50, Yael 40

First play for Yael. Nadine writes: David had two big buildings including Custom’s House, as well as Factory and Harbor. Yael did very well for her first time, and we didn’t help her much.

Among the Stars

Gili 88, Jon 83, Aaron 82

First play for Gili and Aaron, and first time I played with objectives. We also played special powers: Gili could use a discarded card, Aaron knew of a secret objective, and I earned a few extra points at the end of the game. I like the game; it’s not rip roaring fun, but it’s a nice management game.


David/Aaron 1005, Jon/Nadine 595

Very few bombs, and Aaron made a grand Tichu. They took a steady path to victory.

March 29, 2017

Participants: Jon, Daniel, Nadine, Gili

Magic: The Gathering

Daniel++, Jon

Daniel came early to play Magic when David couldn’t make it. We did the usual draft. I played BWg, Daniel played BRg, if I recall correctly. Anyway, I thought I drafted and built okay, with some nice flyers and black creature control. I think I lost the first game with incorrect play. I kept attacking with a flying lifelink, but I could have done a bit more blocking with it instead. Anyway, he had more and bigger creatures, and when he finally sent my lifelink flyer (with enchantment) back to my hand, it was over. In the second game, I simply drew only very high casting cost cards while he took me out with 2 and 3 cost creatures and a Puppet Strings.

Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation

Jon (white)+, Daniel (black)

First play for Daniel. Daniel had a few bad encounters, including his first flying nasgul attack being straight into Legolas’ bow. Eventually, Frodo could slip sideways and pass his remaining creature to make it into Mordor.


Jon 54, Nadine 38, Gili 37

Gili suggested this for our little company. I’m not sure about the right strategy, but apparently whatever I did worked in this game. Gili’s bonus card was the one for defeating black cards, and she attacked them fiercely, which kind of gave it away. Mine was meeples on the cards, which Nadine guessed. Nadine’s was influence, which no one guessed, because she ended with 0 influence (as did Gili; I eked out 1 point from her card).

All of our dice rolls were pretty bad. I had a little synergy working with a white card that gave me high yellow count, and several yellow cards. Gili had synergy with the red dice, but not enough to make up for the poor dice rolls. Also, people fought me for the white dice less than usual.

March 15, 2017

Participants: Jon, David K, Nadine, Gili, Elad, Daniel, Aaron

Back at my place after several weeks at Nadine’s.

Magic: The Gathering

David++, Jon

There were no more than one or two creatures of power 4. We had to rely on our boosting cards. I played BWG, while David played RU. Both of us had reasonable mana, although David was a bit shy in the first game. I played with only 15 mana (5 each) and had no problems. But I still went down. In both cases, we had a standoff on the ground, while David’s fliers and unblockables were stronger.


Jon 75, Nadine 52, David 48

First play for David, third for me. While I already have a number of suggestions on how to change this to make it better (for my group), we played this (nearly) straight so that David could get an idea of the official game rules. This game is one that substitutes calculation for actual decision making, at least in part, which is a hacky game design technique. There are too many random elements artificially conspiring to make what you want to do difficult, so you have to plan every round, sometimes two, from the start of the round. Despite this, the choices (once you get past the calculations) are good, and the calamities that affect you are not annoying enough to actually wreck the game play.

The only change I insisted on was rolling the dice before choosing cards, which is a straightforward improvement. David had some initial confusion and irritation, but ended up liking the game. Nadine took the first bonus with canals. I played a person who kicked everyone else back on the cathedral track, which gave me the bonus for that. Then I pulled ahead of David one round to get the personality bonus (and then I fell back and let him get it). Both of them had better luck than me with the colors of cards they picked, and both of them had people out that gave then bonus actions.

I then pulled a seemingly overpowered card that gave me 2 points for each canal track, once per round (with a blue worker). With a little better luck with my card draws, I gained 2, then 4, then 8, then 12 points each round using this card. The canals I built also gave me the 3 point canal bonus, the 6 point monument, and my last personal bonus (canals).

I need to check how many other overpowered cards there are. That one is a doozy.

I think my change to the game is going to be like this: 1) I will create a Magic: The Gathering like color wheel. You will then be able to buy a neighboring color for $1, or an opposing color for $2, whenever you pay a card. 2) Some way to gain a few extra $, such as $1 income for each 3 or 4 rolled on the dice.


Aaron, Gili, Elad, Daniel

I don’t know what happened here.


Jon++, David, Nadine, Daniel, Aaron, Elad

First plays for Daniel and Elad. The first game gave us +1 point for every card we played, which made smaller cards even more powerful. The second game saw us losing money down to the nearest $5 (when over $5), which slowed the game down. I think the low valued cards are still slightly overpowered, which is a slight flaw. However, the game is still great. Strange how my group seems to like it more than most others.


Jon/Aaron 1020, David/Nadine 980

David and Nadine pulled ahead with a series of early Tichus, and it was looking bad for us. We were down something like 940 to 360. I then bid and made a Grand Tichu, with us collecting 100 points from tricks. Then we won 75 trick points to their 25. And then I bid and made another Grand Tichu and 85 trick points. A classic Tichu underdog victory.


Feb 15, 2017

Participants: Nadine, Jon, David, Daniel Gili

Magic: The Gathering

Jon+, David+

I don’t remember much, but I took the first game easily and David took the second with difficulty.

Among the Stars

David 78+, Jon 78-, Nadine 68

Second play for each of them. We played without special powers. They are not that impressed with the game, which is a shame. My requirements from a game go down with the playtime, and the playtime is not high here, once people are used to how to play. But I guess it’s still a little long for them.

We ended on a tie, with David having more locations.

Puerto Rico

Jon 54, David, Nadine, Gili, Daniel

First play for Daniel. Nadine and David don’t play five player too often. I was first, followed by Gili, David, Nadine, and Daniel. I took a strong building strategy, while Gili and David were feeding into each other’s shipping. Nadine and Daniel also had some shipping, but no one had anywhere near my building points. I had two large buildings, including Guild Hall, and the last large building remained unbought. I had a tobacco monopoly for a few rounds at the beginning. I also had a Small Warehouse so that I didn’t fall entirely behind in shipping: I ended with 11 shipping points, to David’s 30.

Daniel did pretty well, although we kept giving him unasked for advice (often contradictory).


David, Jon, Nadine, Gili, Daniel

First play for Daniel. Gili gave some of her clues in Hebrew (which Daniel doesn’t speak yet).

February 01, 2017

Participants: Jon, David, Elad, Nadine, Gili, Daniel, Saarya

First visit by Daniel, welcome. Saarya, my son, decided to join us for a game.

Magic: The Gathering

David+++, Jon

David and I drafted as usual. I actually didn’t draft a terrible deck, or, rather, my deck was not so terrible that I didn’t think it could compete with whatever terrible deck that David drafted. I had some larger spells and some X spells, so I added one more land than usual. However, I also had a pretty even distribution between my three colors RWG, rather than my usual 2 colors and a splash of a third.

We played three games, and I drew only two of my three types of lands in all three of them (a different two each time). In the first two games I also drew far less mana than I usually do, which was strange. David didn’t draw a lot of mana in the first game either (despite having 20 lands out of 40 cards), but I also had color screw. But I lost all three games.

Two-Player Cribbage

David+, Jon

David wanted to try this one again, and he handily won the single round we were able to play.

Slap Deck

David 63, Jon, Daniel, Elad

First play for Daniel and possibly Elad. David toasted everyone.

Age of Industry

Jon 46, Daniel 45, David 43, Saarya 41

First play for Daniel and Saarya, second for David. I think it is one of the better games I got recently, being clean and somewhat elegant. I very much wanted to play this again. I was sure David would like it once he got to know it better. Unfortunately, it wasn’t too successful.

Everyone thought there was too much calculation and downtime between turns. They didn’t feel that they could plan their turns while others took their turns. In addition, it took most of the game for people to remember the placement rules. The game rounds certainly went faster near the end, and people were planning their turns during other players’ turns near the end, but the damage was already done.

Saarya took a coal monopoly on the US board. There was a bit of confusion about overbuilding ships and ships that come into play and resupplying the coal market. But I think we did okay. I still enjoy the game, but I’m not sure I will be able to get others to play it. Nadine and Gili think the game is too dry.

Five Tribes

Nadine 158, Elad 132, Gili 113

First play for Elad. Gili had the djinn that let her buy tiles with meeples on them. On the last turn, Elad got 32 points – 18 money with three servants, and 2 cards worth 20 points. And he went last.

Notre Dame

Gili 59, Nadine 49, Elad 47

First play for Elad. Gili went to Notre Dame twice on each of the last two rounds. Nadine was the only one there on the first round.

Dixit Codenames

many …

Saarya was willing to play Codenames, but preferred the picture variety. We don’t have Codename Pictures, so we played with Dixit cards. These take up a large area on the table and they are a little hard to see upside down, so people kept coming to the other side of the tale to look. And it’s perhaps harder to make connections between the desired cards without overlapping the undesired cards since there is so much to say about each card.

I gave some terrible clues, but everyone had a good time.