Tag Archive | parade

September 28, 2016

Participants: Jon, David K, Nadine, Gili, Aaron, Avi BB, Eszter, Nati, Yahel

Yahel, Avi BB, and Nati are all new attendees. Welcome!

Magic: The Gathering

David+, Jon

David came late, so we have to built from random cards instead of draft. I pulled 60 crappy cards for deck-buildings; even with a 40 card deck and playing with 3 colors, I still had to fill out my deck with a few useless cards just to reach the card counts. If I had some more time maybe I could have made a better deck with one of the other colors.

I didn’t have any mana or color problems, but David built up a nice army and all I could do was throw things in the way until I couldn’t do that any more. Actually, I was able to ping him several times with a flyer while I was delaying his army – if I had a few good damage or game ending cards hidden in my deck I might have been able to kill him. Eventually I went down.


Jon 6, Gili 8, Yahel 10, Avi BB 21, Nati 25

First plays for Yahel, Avi BB, and Nati. Nati managed to avoid taking any cards until the end, which is great if you can keep control, but otherwise is often a recipe for death.

Gold West

Gili 91, Estzer 88, Avi BB 86

First play for all, I think. Looks like it was a close game.

Red 7

Eszter +1, Gili +1

I didn’t see this one.

Tigris and Euphrates

Jon 9, Nati 8, Yahel 5

First play for Nati and Yahel. I rarely get to play this gem. It took some time for Nati and Yahel to get up to wrap their heads around the rules, which is usual. They actually did quite well, especially at the start. The first five treasures left the board fairly quickly.

I built an easily conquerable monument just to show them how to do it, and then several more monuments went up. I won and lost some external conflicts, and found myself with all of my leaders off the board. I put them back down and attempted to end the game more quickly, which is what happened.

They both loved it.

Slap Deck

Jon, Nati, Yahel

I taught them this little game of mine, and we played several games. Nati won the first game with an astounding score of 1 – 0 – 0. Everyone won at least one game. They liked this a lot, too.

Candle Quest

Nati+, Jon, Yahel

And I taught them this game, and they like it, too. We played the basic game.


Avi BB 116, Estzer 22, Gili 19

I didn’t see this, but this seems like a less close game (unless Gili got the scores wrong).

Power Grid

David 17, Aaron 16, Nadine 15

First pay for Aaron. They played on the cheapest US locations. They played without our house rule, which made for some game chaos. Nevertheless, it seems that David had the game in hand by the last few rounds, at least.


Jon/Aaron 575, David K/Nadine 525

First game, no tichu; we had -5 points, they had 105. Second game I called and made grand tichu (with dragon, phoenix, ace, and two jacks); I passed him the dog. We had 220 to their 180.

After the fourth game and two more tichus the score was them 405 to us 395. In one of these, David had a cross-bomb situation (4 card bomb crossing his straight card flush bomb). Fifth  game they were up 480 to our 420. In the last round, Aaron called and made his first (?) tichu; I actually had a bomb and the dog to help him.


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.

July 6, 2016

Participants: Jon, David, Avi, Yedidya, Nadine, Dan, Netanel, Nisan

Dan is a gamer/designer from Boston who kindly brought me his game Producer, which we didn’t get a chance to play. I hope to get it to the table sometime in the next few weeks. Netanel is also a newcomer. Yedidya is a nephew (?) of David’s who had come once before.


Yedidya 20, David 21, Jon 24, Avi 47

First play for Yedidya, who won. David only took cards on his last two turns. Yedidya had the most cards, all worth 1 point each.

Five Tribes

Nadine 165, David 148, Netanel 128, Dan 120

First play for Dan and Netanel. They apparently played with rather good djinns. Nadine writes: Dan had the djinn that let him put the camel on spaces with meeples. I had 6 cards but paid a lot for them, didn’t take money, or pay for turn order. I had 9 yellow meeples and got the djinn that gives 3 points per yellow meeple. David took money a few times and he had a lot at the end and a set of resource cards. Netanel placed all of his camels except for one. Dan and Netanel liked the game.


Jon 57, Avi 54, Nisan 51, Yedidya 32

First play for all but me. We played with my rule that you can buy any action for 3 coins. Yedidya seemed to not really play the game: with few exceptions, he made one or two actions each turn and then just collected coins. At least he could use all his collected money on the last turn (owing to my rule), but it wasn’t nearly enough to catch up.

I usually go for third level in blue, but I usually come in second place, too, so I opted to only go for second level blue this time and instead start early on the reds. This is the first time that I ever collected all the red cards; Avi took one and Yedidya took one late in the game, but basically no one competed with me for them. So that was 31 points. I also eked out 3 tiles for the 5 point bonus.

Avi had the most tiles and the 10 point bonus. Nisan had third level in caravans, but neither any blue or red cards. Nisan said that it was ok, but not as good as Castles of Burgundy and so forth.


March 09, 2016

Participants: Jon, David, Nadine, Gili, Yovel, Assif

We played this week at Gili’s apt, and her daughter Assif joined us for one game. Yovel lives in Tekoa but doesn’t usually join us. This was his first time, I think.

But first I met David early and we played Magic.

Magic: The Gathering

Jon+, David+

I thought I drafted BRW, but in the end I played RWu; I had more B than U, but they were nothing special, while the few U I had were nice. I had a U sorcery that exiled any amount of my own creatures (1U each) in exchange for replacing them with 4/4 flyers. I jokingly said that I would play with the RR1 sorcery I had drafted earlier that gave me 3 1/1 goblins, but in the end that was exactly what I did!

But first I endured a quick smack-down from David in the first game. He played BG. Turn 3 he cast a 1/1 flyer with lifelink while I couldn’t find more than one mountain or any cards that didn’t have RR in their casting cost. Turn 4 he put 3 +1/+1 counters on it and I died shortly thereafter while he gained life. In the second game he tried something similar (no lifelink) but I had my 4/4 flyers out and he had to defend against me. He jacked up one creature with three spells to 9/10, but I did him some damage and then cast a sorcery that had a creature do damage to itself. We were both down to no creatures, but I was able to build right back up with enough to take him down.


Gili 8, Jon 11, Nadine 12, Yovel 31, Assif many

David sat out this filler. First play for Yovel and Assif. They both caught on quickly, but Yovel kept taking a few too many cards, letting Nadine stay at 0 for nearly the entire game. At the very end she had to take a 10. She was hoping to build up that card’s suit, but I also needed to do it, so she had to swallow 12 points; still not bad, but Gili managed to end with 4 cards in 2 suits.

Princes of Florence

David 70, Jon 57, Gili 56, Nadine 55, Yovel 46

First play for Yovel. David isn’t a fan of five-player games, but we chose a classic that we don’t play too often, so we all enjoyed it. We played with my change for five players: the professions are  pick 2 choose 1, and the last profession card cannot be bought but can be recruited. The intent is to not give player 2 a huge advantage in that she can get two profession cards while everyone else can only get one. But it only works if everyone (or everyone but player 2*) buys a profession card on the first round, which makes that round rather dull. I thought of a possibly better solution: same rules, but add that each player can only buy one profession card during the game. Eh, it might not be necessary.

In our game, I got an early cheap Recruiter (200 on turn 1) and Nadine took a 200 Prestige card on turn 1. Jester was 1000, Builder 7 or 800, and Yovel took an expensive forest. David amassed 2 Jesters and 3 Recruiters, which is insane, and explains his win. I had the other 2 Recruiters, 1 Jester, and 3 Forests which I took because it fulfilled the only Prestige card that was even possible that I took in round 4. Nadine also wanted the Forests, but not as much. She had some nice works and two Builders. Gili concentrated on Builders and bonus cards, as well, playing a 34 WV work in round 6. I ended up not being able to play my last work, which took me a long time to figure out in turn 6; this was partly because during rounds 3 to 5 I thought I needed the University for it but it turns out that I needed the Workshop. The writing is not that clear and I wasn’t wearing glasses, but I still should have known it (from the number, etc).

Slap Deck

Jon 152, David 139, Gili 112, Yovel 65, Nadine 21

I requested that we play this and taught it to Gili and Yovel, both of whom liked it. We played to 150 (which is currently the official rule for 5 players), which took 7 rounds. Gili started by going to -52. So, technically, she gained more points that I did on the subsequent rounds, with one round alone netting her 62 points (she fought fiercely over the aces, as did Yovel). David was the most in contention with me for most of the game, but he stalled after round 4. Nadine only scored points once, because she often waits too long to decide that she wants to slap. I was at 137 in the penultimate round, so I simply took the first 13+ point batch that I saw.

January 13, 2016

Participants: Jon, Nadine, David, Binyamin, Gili, Roman, Francis

A nice gathering.


Binyamin(+Roman) 7, Nadine 8, Gili 19, Jon 22, David 23

First play for Binyamin, and possibly also for Roman who joined his “team” near the start of the game. Our parade was very long for much of the game, at 13 people for several turns in a row.

Alien Frontiers

Roman 12, Gili 6, Binyamin 3

It took a while to settle on a game. First play for Binyamin and Roman, second or third for Gili. Binyamin appeared to believe he was losing early on. Roman got some early cards and they appear to have helped.

Smash Up

Roman 15, Binyamin 14, Gili 11

They played another, short game, since we were still playing. First play for Gili at least. I don’t know how it went.


David 61, Francis 57, Jon 56, Nadine 51

First play for David and Francis. Nadine appeared to take an early lead with a third level building by turn 2 and a 4th level by turn 3 or 4. Her double shipping seemed to propel her well and she netted more than one governor card. However, she stalled a bit, partially because we attacked her a bit to keep her from running away with it.

By mid-game it seemed like everyone had a reasonable chance of doing well. As usual, I don’t like to sit and count everyone’s score, so that was just an estimate. I had a bit more on the board, but so did Francis, and both David and Nadine seems ahead of me in tracks. The slavery cards were in danger of being emancipated, but the only one who could do it was Francis, and he had two of them.

As it turns out, David was most ahead in the tracks, with 50 points. Nadine had 45, and Francis and I had 44. Francis had one more point than me on the board. We forgot that you get 1 point for each 3 people left on your board, but I don’t think anyone had 3 people left, anyway.

Nadine thinks the game is a bit negative and too tactical.

December 09, 2015

Participants: Jon, Aaron, Shneur, Shmuli, Leah, R Yitzchak Meir, Nadine, Gili, Roman, Alan, Ben, Assaf, Raanan

Leah and Yizchak Meir are parents of Shneur, and Shmuli is his brother. Leah and Yitzchak Meir are Americans who are also Chabad of Crimea; they were evacuated right before Russia took over the province, and have not been able to return since owing to visa issues. Nevertheless, as Chabad, they continue to hope for a miracle to allow them to continue their work, which they continue to do from afar and will continue to do until all Jews are out of Ukraine.

Welcome back Nadine.

Before I begin, let me just mention that on Monday evening I went with Nissan to a Nefesh B’Nefesh Panoply trivia game night to benefit Orr Shalom, an organization that provides for 1,300 children from distressed family situations. I don’t really enjoy trivia game nights, because no matter how well I do, I only remember the one or two questions that I absolutely should have gotten but missed. Still, it was for a good cause and I made many good contributions with my music and entertainment knowledge, but I can’t believe I didn’t remember the Canadian female artist who had the song with most digital downloads [1]. Sheesh.


Aaron, Shnuer, Shmuli, Leah, Yitzchak Meir

Aaron suggested this and I taught it to them. I didn’t see how they did or who won, but the seemed to enjoy it.


Jon/Raanan, Roman/Nadine

One of the games that Nadine brought back. This is a tricky party/word/tactical game for two teams. One player on each team is the code giver. There is a grid of twenty five words. The code givers are informed which 8 or 9 of the words belong to their team. 8 belong to neither team, and one of those 8 is a trap.

Taking turns, a code giver says a word or phrase and the number of cards that “are associated” with the word or phrase. The other members of his or her team try to guess the card or cards that are associated with the phrase. The trick is that the code giver only wants his teammates to guess card that belong to his or her team, which is very hard unless the word or phrase matches only a single card. When you try to give clues that match more then one card, you have to be super careful that none of the cards that are not from your team also match the word of phrase. Your team’s turn is over after they guess the number of cards you gave (+1) or after they guess a card that is not from your team. Your team loses immediately if they guess the trap card by mistake. Your team wins if they guess all of your cards before the other team guesses theirs.

Roman and I were the code gives in two games. In the first game, Nadine guessed the trap on their first move. In the second game Roman managed to get in a two word clue to win the game when my team had only one word left unguessed.


Gili 37, Raanan 37, Nadine 33, Roman 33

Nadine used influence to re-roll three different dice four times and got the same number each time. Gili was down to two, then one, dice in the last rounds, and had to use her one die to fight a black die.


Aaron, Shnuer, Shmuli, Leah

Yitzchak Meir took a nap while they played this. I don’t know who won. Aaron taught this to the others.


Aaron, Shneur, Shmuli, Leah

I taught this to all of them, although I mistakenly had them draw only two cards at the end of each turn, instead of three. This, combined with the great amount of negotiations they undertook, made the game longer. They only made it through the deck once. They played with “favors” that continued to the next round, although it wasn’t always clear who owed whom a favor for a particular trade or donation, and the favors were not officially enforced.

Five Tribes

Ben 146, Jon 143, Alan 114, Assaf 113

Ben went early for a set, but the cards clogged up with the wrong cards for a while. Eventually he got his set, anyway, two cards in a new set, too. It helped having the Djinn that let him use two slaves as wild cards. He also bid almost nothing the whole game, leaving him with 37 coins.

Alan ended with 49 money after taking some blue meeples, and he had 30 points in djinns, but little in the way of camels or cards and no viziers. Assaf stole my vizier majority on the last turn and had the most points in camels. I had nearly as many points as Ben in goods (57 to his 63) and decent camels, but only 9 coins in cash left.

[1] Carly Rae Jepsen, of course.

November 10, 2015

Participants: Jon, Binyamin G, Nadine, Roman, Aaron, Elizabeth

Game night moved to Tues night due to conflict. Elizabeth and her husband are staying in my house for a few days, and she was interested in trying out a game.


Jon (21 48) 89, Roman (15 30) 65, Binyamin G (12 26) 64, Nadine (10 19) 53

I was interested in trying this. First play for all except for Binaymin, who must have only played once or twice before. It’s a stream-lined version of Union Pacific: the card drawing of Ticket to Ride and the stock accumulation of Acquire. There are routes, but essentially no route planning. You add “routes” to airline companies to increase their value, and you try to acquire and play the stocks in the valuable airlines. Stocks are available from five face up cards or a random draw from the deck. One valuable stock can always be traded for. That’s pretty much it.

The game plays fairly well, and I fairly enjoyed it, although, as you can see I took an early lead (first and second scoring came very close together, for some reason) and toasted everyone else without much difficulty, even though they tried to attack me in the last half of the game. I did that by maintaining a lead in one strong company and second place in many other companies (all good ones, and with no challengers for second place for most of the game). Nadine seemed to be doing the right things, but all of her stocks were in worthless companies.

The problematic part is that much of our performance – outside the basic strategy – was luck based. Some of the stocks are rare, and the availability of a single card of that stock makes the difference between first and second place in the scoring. But the availability is determined randomly. If you take a useless stock from the face up cards and then a great one flips up, your LHO gets it. There is no penalty for taking it (like costing extra). I don’t know if this can be fixed.

The other problematic part is the end-game. It uses the mechanic “the end card is shuffled into the last 11 cards of the deck, and as soon as it is drawn the game ends”, without even giving people one final turn. So the end-game is spent in a boring way: you empty yourself of resources, and then you draw once and play it right away, hoping not to be unluckily caught with something in hand if your RHO draws the end-game card. I don’t particularly like this mechanic, and it could be easily fixed.

Aside from those two issues it is easy to understand and play. I just don’t know if those issues are too much bother to fix.


Roman 7, Nadine 6, Binyamin G 4

Nadine 7, Roman 5, Binyamin G 2

Two games, I didn’t see how they went.


Aaron 27, Jon 32, Elizabeth 43

Jon 13, Elizabeth 29, Aaron 44

Scores are approximate. First plays for Elizabeth. She liked it enough after the first play to request a second play. She picked it up fairly well, better than some of the usual gamers do.