Tag Archive | mr jack

October 26, 2016

Participants: EAST: Jon, David K, Nadine, David C, Nati, Francis, Aaron, Shneuer. WEST: Gili, Yael, Tal, Nimrod, Ido

Gili was in the mood for an Ameritrash game. Seeing as it looked like we were going to have good attendance, Gili opted to host the one, long game at her apt. That gave us, for the first time, a JSGC East (my apt) and a JSGC West (Gili’s apt).


Eldrich Horror

Gili, Yael, Ido, Tal, Nimrod

Gili writes that they only accomplished the first goal but they had fun.. Time ran out.


Magic: The Gathering

Jon++, David K+

David arrived early to play this with me. I continued my winning streak. I played BRW with some flying and creature control. Not a bad draft. David also played three colors. I’m pretty sure that each of us lost games to bad mana draws, but I think my deck was still a bit more agile than his.

Mr. Jack

Shneuer+, Aaron

New to both, Shneur was Mr. Jack.


Jon/David, Nati/David C

I taught this to David C and Nati, and we played one hand for practice. David K called and made tichu and then I went out second. Hopefully we can try this again.


David K 43, Nadine 29, Shneuer 29, Francis 21

First play for Shneuer and Francis. Nadine was slightly ahead after the first scoring. Francis had a lot of money (89) by the last round. Nadine and Shneuer were tied, even according to the two suggested tie-breakers.


Jon 39, Nati 29, Aaron 25, David C 20

First play for everyone but me; actually second play for David C, but he had only played the introductory game, without minor improvements and professions (it’s much different with them). I explained the rules and the basic strategies, and invited them all to gang up on me, as much as possible.

Some of us had dramatically good professions or minor improvements, but even the less dramatic ones made a lot of difference. For instance, David had what looked like a powerful professions “you can plow whenever anyone else plows”, but I got more use out of my profession “+1 clay every time you take either wood or clay”. Nati took the burgeoning food spaces often, which is often a sign of poor production, but he he still did pretty well.

In the end, I was the only one with five family members, and I had – by far – the most bonus points in improvements. That was more than enough to make up for my lack of plowed fields and three empty farm spaces.


David K 5/3/2/1/1, Shneuer 3/2/2/1/1, Nadine 3/2/1

Nadine writes: I had really bad luck. I got the Plague of Locusts twice, once right after having played six castors. David traded strategically several times at the end and got what he needed.

July 20, 2016

Participants: Jon, David, Mace, Nisan, Nadine, Or, Eyal, Nitzan, Boaz, Yael, Roman

Last week’s session was at Gili’s, with Estzer and Heidi, a visitor from the US. I was unavailable (at a lecture on games and manuscripts by Stephen Jacobs from the Strong Institute of Play). This week had a whole host of new players sent over by Gili, or who found the site on FB. Welcome everyone. Also, Mace is briefly in Israel and dropped by; hi Mace!

Lords of Waterdeep

Mace 204, Nisan 156, Yael 135

First play for Yael and Mace. Nisan writes: Yael was stuck with her Lord being for warfare/arcana, where Nisan had warfare and Mace had arcana. Mace completed a commerce plot quest giving him +2 points for each completed commerce quest, and had about seven at the end of the game. Similarly, the buildings he bought gave him +2 points per use and were used regularly for the last few rounds.

Nisan completed both 25 point warfare and piety quests. Yael completed some mid-worth quests and ended up with 17 unused cubes at the end of the game. Everyone enjoyed the game.

Alien Frontiers

Or (won), Nitzan, Eyal

First play for everyone. I taught the game and yelled answers to their questions while I played at the next table. Everyone like it, I believe.

Mr. Jack

Or+ (criminal), Boaz (police)

Boaz arrived late and had to wait around. First play for both of them.


Boaz and Yael lost with 26 points each. Mace won with 15 points. David had 21 and Jon had 22 (if I recall correctly).


Jon 48, David 44, Roman 42, Nadine 37

First play for David and Roman, first multiplayer play (and third play) for Nadine and Jon. I think we played all the rules correctly this time around, and we found the game more balanced and worked correctly. We played without the random tossing of goods (which is a stated variant; randomly tossing goods is a Bad Mechanic). David enjoyed it and wanted to play it again.

I, on the other hand, feel that the game substituted complex calculations for tactics/strategy; and there is very little in the way of strategy. Just because it’s hard to calculate doesn’t make it a good tactical game. It’s decisions that matter, not analysis paralysis.  Our game took quite a while to play.

I won with the most buildings, which was not a big surprise. We may have overvalued the bonus cards at the beginning and David, being fourth player, was concerned that he wouldn’t get any as they could all be bought before it was his turn; in fact, Roman who went first bought five of them. They are not game changing cards; still, I think a limit of one per turn, or how many you can buy altogether, or at least a larger deck of them would be nice.

February 17, 2016

Participants: Jon, David, Nadine, Nisan, Aaron, Binyamin, Roman, Francis

Magic: The Gathering

Jon+, David

I achieved a rare win over David, but it was close. I played WRu, and David played BGu (I think). We both drafted a lot of fliers; David also had walls and I had a few large ground creatures. But I also had more direct damage and white instant boosters. We both started a little mana shy, but no color problems. I took David down to 8 and then to 5, and was set to kill him but he jumped back up to 10. Then he got a few flying damage in, and threw 4 +1/+1 counters on his flier, but I boosted my flying defense with an instant and killed his. I eked out the last few points with two direct damage spells.

Take It To The Limit

David 428, Jon 385, Aaron 253, Nisan 245, Nadine 178

Second play for Nadine and me, first play for the others. Nadine thinks the game is ok. David I think also thought it was ok. Aaron liked it, and Nisan didn’t like it. I like this version of the game, but I think the shorter version (Take It Easy) played on a curtailed board is probably a better filler experience for most people.

Mr Jack

Binyamin, Roman

Binyamin taught this to Roman while we played Take It To The Limit; Francis came and watched. I think Binyamin won as the Detective.

Lords of Waterdeep

Roman 149, David 128, Nisan 117, Nadine 97

Nadine writes: My strategy was to stay far behind so people would give me things when required. Which worked. I was the only one below 100. We played wrong – we didn’t replace buildings when taken. Roman had strong intrigues.

Age of Empires III

Aaron 96, Francis 94, Binyamin 89, Jon 83

Binyamin requested this because he was considering buying the new version of the game. First play for him and Francis, second for Aaron. As usual, I told the to gang up on me, but there was not much need to. While Francis slowly took control of the New World, it seemed like Aaron was winning with his income and other strong appearance. He also seemed to get a lot of specialists, but then so did Francis.

I didn’t feel like I was doing too badly, especially when I had a good income and points in buildings. But I lacked points in the New World, and Binyamin and Aaron had better incomes. As usual, not too much in the way of warfare; I rarely say this, but there could be a tad more warfare in the game to make it more interesting.

It was a long game, but everyone liked it.

May 04, 2011

Participants: Jon, Zachary, Jessica, Gili, Aryeh, Binyamin, Nadine

Aryeh is a first-timer to the club. He has a little game experience.

Heroes of Graxia

Jessica 26, Zachary 21, Gili 21

I started this game but then left as it started to play with Aryeh. This was our first game actually finished, with most of the rules played correctly. However, we made the big mistake (at least until halfway through) of not discarding our hands and drawing a new one (ala Dominion). We were playing that you had to spend actions to draw cards. Of course, this changes the game dramatically.

I don’t know what they did when they discovered this error. I know that Jessica had most of her legion decimated near the end of the game but still won the game.


Binyamin 55,600, Jon 51,400, Aryeh 48,400

First play for Aryeh, and somewhere in the single digits for Binyamin. Aryeh was, without a doubt, the slowest player in our group, ever (yes, even slower then you, David). It was kind of a mystery, since he was obviously bright. He hesitated, asked a question about something minute, hesitated, asked another question about some minute aspect of strategy, hesitated, and then hesitated more. It seemed was very hard for him to make a decision, even when he had only one good option, but especially when he had nothing particularly good to do and simply had to place some random tile. The game took nearly three hours, of which 2.5 hours at least was Aryeh. I was growing restless, and I knew that Binyamin was going nuts.

He began to speed up a little near the end, but only marginally. And yet, other than his slowness, he was a nice guy and could be fun to play with. I think the trick is to find the right games for his personality type.

In our game, I managed to avoid the problem I had last game of only buying edge properties which took a long time to merge. I had spending cash all game. Binyamin and Aryeh were low on cash at least once each. But I still didn’t win, mostly because I had fewer shares of the two big chains at the end. I made more money initially, but Binyamin managed a few quick foundings and mergers at the end.

Louis XIV

Jessica 48, Gili 43, Nadine 41, Zachary 32

Gili suggested this, I think. First plays for Jessica and Zachary. It took a long time, too, I think.


Jessica, Gili, Nadine, Zachary

Played as a filler.

Mr. Jack

Binyamin+ (Detective), Jon (Criminal)

Binyamin caught Mr Jack on round 6, after a tipoff from the red guy. Also played as a filler.


Jon 63, Nadine 49, Jessica 6, Binyamin 0

I taught this to Binyamin and Jessica. I’ve figure out now to teach it starting backwards, from the score to the points, and then from the bid to the score. And then to the play. The reasons and strategy for bidding are still a complete mystery for the first 10 or 20 hands you play. But they began to warm up to it by the end of the two hands we played.

November 03, 2010

Participants: Jon, Mace, Binyamin, Gili, Nechama, Nadine

Still low attendance, though at least we have two simul games running


Binyamin 63, Jon 44, Mace 42

Kingdoms: Council Room, Coppersmith, Torturer, Trading Post, Duke, Harem, Embargo, Salvager, Ghost Ship, Envoy

A game without a single extra action, and nothing to buy for 3 coins except Silver, yet we were hitting 8 or more coins already at round 3. Binyamin’s third turn was Coppersmith and four copper.

When I saw Duke during the setup, I almost tossed it out; I had a bad experience with it last time and was pretty sure that I don’t like the card. Sure, everyone can buy them; but everyone HAS to buy them, which kind of ruins the fun of the game. The fun is to try to find the good combinations, not to force all players to go for the only one that dominates.

I left it in to give it one more try. However, the results were just as bad as last time. Binyamin ended the game with five Duchys and five Dukes and as you can see, that was enough to slaughter us.

We were skeptical about the worth of Embargo. However, with not much else to do with 2 coins, both Binyamin and Mace picked up one or two. All three were used on the Province deck, which made the Duke strategy that much stronger. If they were used on the Dukes, maybe the game would have been more interesting. Now that I think about it, that was really my main option for fighting Dukes.

I chose kingdoms based on my love of trashing cards. I took curses from Embargo and Torturer because I could trash them. I trashed golds to buy Provinces (when they only had two embargo chips on them). But it wasn’t enough

There were several attacks, but Mace’s single Torturer was the only one bought.


Nadine 40, Gili, Nechama

First play for Nechama. Nadine slaughtered them both.

Settlers of Catan

Jon 11, Gili 7, Nechama 7

First play for Nechama. I played this at the same time as Tigris and Euphrates.

I placed my settlements last (3 and 4), which is generally good, but the two of them took the only good wheat and brick locations. With a strong city strategy, I dominated some middle numbers. The 6 rolled far more often than the 8, which was good for me: I was on one 6 hex, and the robber spent most of the game on their 6 hex.

I had a setback when, without any access to brick, I traded four ore for a brick in order to fall under 7 cards. Gili rolled, putting me over 7 cards, and then Nechama rolled a 7. I lost half of my cards and then Nechama stole my brick.

I got Nechama to take longest road right before Gili could take it and win. Then I stole longest army from Gili to win.

Tigris and Euphrates

Jon 8/8/11/12, Binyamin 8/8/9/11, Mace 7/7/9/12, Nadine 5/5/6/6

First play for Mace. I played this at the same time as Settlers of Catan. It seemed to end up as my turn in both games quite often.

I played first and gave Binyamin a nice location for his first Trader. After that it was the usual game play. I built both monuments, taking only one point from each of them each round (and letting others take the other points). Ultimately, Binyamin lost because he had a shortage of red tiles during the game and didn’t try to fetch any.

Mace was also close to winning, as happens in this game. But we make the wrong decisions when we don’t know exactly when the game will end.

Mr Jack

Gili, Nechama

First play for Nechama, but I don’t know the results.

San Fransisco

Jon 34, Nadine 20, Mace 15, Binyamin 11

First play for everyone but Binyamin.

As I heard the explanation, my heart sank. The game appeared to be a straightforward version of “pick the highest number between 1 and 10; duplicate guesses are eliminated; highest remaining guess wins”. Which, as game theorists will tell you, means that the optimal solution is to play randomly.

To elaborate: The game board is a series of boxes (city blocks), and you bid to place your “roads” on the board. Whenever you have an indisputable majority of roads around a block, you win the points for the block: generally 4-6 points, but in two cases 10 points.

Each round you you blind bid some amount of “money 1” (cash) or “money 2” (influence), both of which run out but will be resupplied occasionally after a block is built. You bid to acquire the privilege of placing a road next to a 4, 5, or 6 point block. As is the nature of roads, by placing a road between two blocks (at least one of which matches the required type) you are staking claim to both of them.

Depending on the round, either the first highest bidder, or the first and second highest bidders, or all bidders, will be able to place a road. By highest bidder, I mean highest among those players who don’t duplicate their blind bid numbers. In some auctions, the auction is not blind bidding, but a standard circle auction where the eventual highest bidder takes the privilege.

Play until 12 blocks have been captured.

My fears were not only about the random nature of blind bidding (whose bluffing aspect is supposed to be strategic, but that’s really nonsense), but that there didn’t seem to be any sort of story arc to the game. Every round you flip, bid, place a road. I could see that as roads got placed on the board, more blocks would be likely to be captured in a round. Still, I was game to try once, to see if I was wrong.

I wasn’t entirely wrong, but I was a little wrong. There is a certain enjoyment – and frustration – out of being eliminated for bidding the same amount as someone else. Meh. As you get ready to close off certain blocks, the particular block type you need (4, 5, or 6) becomes relevant, and so slightly changes the stake you have in certain auctions.

But not really. In the game I played, on not one round was one particular auction worth more than another for me. If I needed to close a 4 block here, you could be sure that adjacent to it was the 5 or 6 block that would let me place the road, so that it didn’t matter one whit if I won a 4, 5, or 6 auction. Such situations did come up occasionally during the game for the other players, but rarely.

Furthermore, even if you don’t need the road this turn, placing it is sure to get you one road away from capturing some other block on the next turn, and also prevent someone else from placing it and scoring. Both money types were returned to you a sufficient number of times during the game that – aside from Binyamin who went broke – the fear of spending wasn’t a great obstacle.

So how did it all come together? It wasn’t as bad as I feared. I wasn’t bored due to repetition and a lack of story arc, since the game went pretty quickly and the auction variations added some interest. There was some light money management, and some light spacial considerations (generally there was a best place to play, but finding it could take a moment or two). I’d play again.

However, I won handily by playing every blind selection event during the game (except the last turn) randomly. I chose my influence cards randomly, I chose the block type bids randomly. I only played the standard auction straight. And I was never the worse for wear. Which proves my point: there is no strategy in “bluffing” games (not to say that some people can’t master the tactic of out-bluffing their opponent, but I don’t call that strategy).

September 26, 2010: Games Day

Participants: Jon, Mace, Shachar, Nadine, Elijah, Saarya, Michael, Oren, Yardena, Tal, Rachel

Small Games Day, I think because Janglo, the local mailing list that usually publicizes the event, is no longer all that effective. Still, it was fun for all involved, I believe.

Age of Empires III

Elijah 120, Oren 110, Nadine 82, Shachar 69

Played at the end of the day. First plays for Oren and Shachar. They complained about the building that gives you money from each other player equal to the number of merchant ships that you possess. It is the only building that affects other players, and it dulls the strategy of its possessor.


Nadine 44, Shachar 42, Elijah 39, Mace 35, Saarya 31

First plays for Mace, Shachar, and Saarya. According to Nadine, Saarya may have counted player numbers on cards as victory points. The game took five hours.


Jon 8, Elijah 5, Michael 5, Shachar 3

This is one of the few games I love that I also seem to consistently win. I don’t expect this to last, however. I focus on the victory points, not on conquering cities and other players, and I expect to have a lot more challenge (I think this has happened in some of the games I’ve played) when the other players catch on to this.

I played Greece, rather then my favorite, the Phoenicians. My first play was for gold and Market, followed by a temple, some fleets to ward off players on all sides, and then Democracy. Then five cities, seven seas, and a few more know hows.

Shachar was the Phoenicians, and he simply expanded, while keeping away from my glistening three state fortress and one space in all directions. Michael was the Germans, and he spread out throughout the north rather quickly and then harassed Elijah, who played the Romans. Elijah built some monuments, and then spent his time trying to protect them from Micahel who was always threatening to conquer them.

My final act was to take the last unclaimed known how (Roads). Michael was one move away from preventing me from getting it. Shachar could have prevented it, but he was so far behind that he decided to just conquer my cities and let me win. If he had taken the know how, it would have delayed me one round, after which I could have gotten the bonus point from level two in all the know hows, anyway. (I was also threatening to conquer one of Shachar’s temples.)


Jon 44, Mace 37, Shachar 17

Kingdoms: Cellar, Village, Bureaucrat, Throne Room, Council Room, Harem, Haven, Ambassador, Lookout, Outpost

More Seaside than usual, but still half from the base set. Why does that always happen when I draw randomly?

I took only a modest amount of Villagers, as well as Council Room, Throne Room, and Ambassador. Elijah managed some nice synergy with Haven and Outpost. I originally thought Lookout was weak because I thought it could be used on the cards in your hands. When I realized that you had to pick three random cards to which to apply the effect, I realized that the card sucked. I’m not thrilled with the balance on several of the cards in both Intrigue or Seaside.


Jon 55, Oren 47, Micahel 41

First plays for both of them. I misplayed twice, taking building auctions for one type of building when I was really planning to build some other type. Second-to-last round, I was locked out of the bidding, and I was not far enough on the railroad track to gain much from it. I was determined hell or high water to get something on the last round, however, which I did, and it was worth over 20 points for me (minus a point or two given up by my having to pay $9 for the privilege).

Michael snared the buildings I wanted (such as Bank) due to my bidding miscalculations, and I wasn’t sure that I was winning until that last round.

Oren liked the game.

Magic: the Gathering x 2

Jon++, Mace

Mace hadn’t played in a really long time (fourth edition, I think). He was rusty on a few rules. We Rochester drafted from the new cards I bought on eBay.

Our first game, we were both mana glutted, but he didn’t have enough creatures in his deck to thwart me. I won fairly early.

In our second game, we entered a standoff for most of the game. However, I had already beat him down to 6 points, while I was sill at 18. Enter the Rod of Ruin on my side, versus a tapping damage prevented on his side, which meant that I could get 1 point through every two turns. In the meantime, he was hitting me for two points each turn with an artifact that required 5 mana to cycle through each point of damage that it dealt to me.

At one point I attacked with everything and cast an instant that gave all of my creatures +2/+2 and first strike, only to have him Fog. Then he attacked with the one creature he could afford to (with Vigilance; he was three points shy of killing me with a full-out assault, and would not have been able to afford the return attack), only to have me Pit Trap and kill it. Back to stalemate and pings.

Eventually, he had three creatures tapped to deal his pinging damage, I had seven creatures able to attack against his four blockers, and he was at two life. He could blast one with an instant, but couldn’t prevent the remaining damage. There were six cards left in my deck.

Mr. Jack

Jon+, Michael+

I taught this to Michael. We each won once as Criminal, him on turn three (I goofed), and me on turn 7.


Elijah 20, Shachar 25, Jon 83

I taught this to them, though I think they had each played once before. My inglorious defeat was due to a tremendously bad hand and a timidity at taking cards. If I had taken more, I would have dome better.

Puerto Rico

Nadine 50, Mace 49, Yardena 48, Rachel 40, Oren 38

First play for Mace. Yardena is self-taught and has played with her kids; this was her first play with another group, and we corrected a few minor errors. I think everyone believed that Nadine was running away with the game, but it was pretty close in the end.

Nadine adds: Rachel realized that Yardena might be winning due to huge shipping, she had a wharf and factory, and harbor at the very end, no big building. I had factory and two big buildings, but low shipping.


Yardena played this with Tal for a while. They didnt’ play for points, just for fun. Tal had to leave, and Rachel took over. Even so, they abandoned the game mid-way.

September 01, 2010

Participants: Jon, Gili

Hmm. Hopefully participation will pick up, now that summer is over. On the other hand, the next few weeks will be an erratic schedule.

Mr Jack

Jon (Criminal)+, Gili (Detective)

First play for Gili. Gili was slow to differentiate the characters, but she discovered who Mr Jack was by turn 7 (purple). However, she couldn’t manage to jump on him by the end of turn 8.

Gili (Criminal)+, Jon (Detective)

We switched sides. I eliminated four characters by the end of turn 1, and two more by the end of turn 2, but that’s how it stayed until the end of the game. Turn 8 I guessed wrong.


Jon (Runner)+, Gili (Corp)

First play for Gili. This is still a great game. It’s one problem is that too much can swing on a lucky pick (raid R&D and topdeck 3 points, when you only need 7 points to win the game).

After the game, I cataloged all of my cards and added them to my Netrunner entry on BGG. They’re for trade or for sale, if anyone wants. I just don’t think I’ll get to play it much, here.