Tag Archive | samurai

KinneretCon November 2017

Our third Kinneretcon. A large contingent from our Jerusalem group – Jon, Saarya, Lorenzo, Nadine, Chaya Bluma, Haley, Gili, Eszter, Binyamin, Cliff, Netanel, Mishi, Rafaella. Thanks to Roee, we played in an airy upstairs room with windows, instead of the basement.

Above and Below

I had seen people playing this at previous Kinneretcons and wanted to try. I’m not sure why I wasn’t impressed, the gameplay is fine. I don’t really like the story aspect being mixed in, the story part isn’t that interesting and disrupts the game while you read. You roll dice for success in explorations, but can injure your people for extra points. Lorenzo wisely took a re-roll two card, which helped him. Our scores, were close, except for Lorenzo. First play for all except Gili. Lorenzo 49, Roee 40, Nadine 39, Gili 38

Clans of Caledonia

I wanted to play this because I read that it was in bgg.con Hot Games. A very pretty and complex game about clans in Scotland, with nice wooden food and animal components. Cliff laughed when I told him you expand on hexes, get resources, trade in the market and fulfill contracts. I like that some of the clan representatives are women. Ortal, who had played once, taught it to us – Roee and David. I selected my choice of clan benefit, MacKenzie, a whiskey distillery, picking out of three, based on the clan of a fictional character in the Outlander books. This turned out to be a pretty good benefit, mainly giving money, which helped at the end of the game with buying and fulfilling contracts. I found out at the end that my starting goods had been random, independent of the clan, so I had been lucky to get a whiskey which started giving me money right away.

I knew there were variable round scoring tiles, but I forgot to pay attention early on, so barely got any of those points, and I didn’t even try to use any of the port bonuses. I pretty much understood the placement scoring even though I forgot about it. I upgraded shipping one level but didn’t use it. I thought I was doing poorly, as did the others, actually I was doing poorly. I didn’t have the goods for my first contract – I didn’t realize how hard and expensive it would be to make bread, I thought using wheat, which I was already producing for the whiskey, would be efficient, but it’s the opposite, it’s easier to produce something else. It took me two rounds to buy them at the market because I only had two merchants, so I fulfilled that contract on round three, of five. David thought that he could toss a contract, he hadn’t noticed that I had a problem due to that too, you only get one at a time and can’t discard it, he had already obtained goods for a new contract so that hurt him.

After fulfilling my first contract I was able to use my whiskey money to buy contracts, and managed to get ones that required whiskey, which by the end of the game I couldn’t use for income anyway. I also noticed, when Roee used the benefit, that you get a free contract for emptying a row; I had emptied my whiskey row a while ago, so got a free contract. I fulfilled four contracts in the last two rounds, pretty much catching up on contracts, and unexpectedly got the most contracts bonus of twelve.

Roee understood the game well, competing with Ortal for the placement bonuses, first place is eighteen. I made some placement mistakes, but the worker, production, and upgrading mechanics weren’t that hard to understand. I didn’t even realize there was a ranking mechanic til the end, the ranking of the import goods which are contract rewards change based on the number of each, but I don’t think knowing affects play much, because you mainly take contracts based on which one you can fulfill. I got 44 points for one good that I had on contracts, ending up second. Ortal had around 120, I had 100 and Roee 99, and David a bit less. I like the game, but it will take me several plays to understand how it all works.


I taught this. Partly selected for Lorenzo, who is Italian; he kept trying to figure out who the families were. They caught on and liked the game. I did mainly books, Lorenzo had a lot of men. Lorenzo 158, Effi 137, Nadine 131, Yossi 114


A great, fun filler which I learned last time. I taught it twice, and played it once, and won.


I played two rounds at one point. The game was a big hit with everyone.


Jon taught it to four people including CB, but two people who listened to the explanation decided not to play, so Haley joined and learned it. We all did pretty well, but Jon is always faster. He had the advantages of being off to the side, and being first player, but as he said, he would have managed to win anyway. I get better as I play more, but don’t play often enough. It’s a very elegant game.


Lorenzo taught us this Italian game, using his pretty cards. It’s a trick-taking partnership game similar to bridge, without bidding or trump, and suits of 10 cards. The game is fine, but we had a hard time telling the suits apart due to the similarity of the artwork. Lorenzo offered to switch to regular cards, but we liked the challenge, and almost had the suits down after the two rounds we played. In addition, Lorenzo plays counter-clockwise.


First play for all. A nice-looking abstract, with a lot of depth. Spatial, I played mostly tactically.

6 Nimmt!

We played a round of this game, I didn’t realize it was 6 Nimmt!, which I’ve heard of, we were playing with the Hebrew version which has a different name. Cute light game, pretty random.

Lorenzo’s other plays:

Rococo – Lorenzo 74, Gilad 63, Yossi 38

Edge of Humanity – Tal 11+ (He won the tie on more survivors) Lorenzo 11-, Effi 10, Pini 8 (the creator)


3 games. First was won by the renegade, Saarya was imprisoned for 3 rounds and never played. The second match the bad guys won, outnumbering the sheriff. Last game sheriff and deputy killed all after a long battle with Saarya.

Mazal tov to Cliff for winning Argent!

– Nadine

Jon’s report:


A wonderful game with simple, elegant graphics (with one or two niggling problems) and elegant gameplay: buy cards and play cards for points and abilities, and buy cities and workers to allow you to play the cards. Cities also give bonuses. That’s pretty much it, but it works very well, with a worker-taking mechanic and the additional payment of time counters – most actions use up two slots on your action track – the worker you take and the time counter to pay for it, but some require you to take two time counters. You can either take them as two time counters, using up a third slot on your actions, or as a double time counter which then turns into a single time counter the next round, effectively meaning that you use up the second slot on the next round instead of the current one.

I played by buying very few cities, but in the end I had to buy some in order to play certain cards. I did okay, but not as well as the winner by a good distance.

The complexity is about the same as Hansa Teutonica. I loved it. Unfortunately, it is a limited run game until or unless it gets reprinted.


A ridiculously over produced game with cartoons, rulebooks and action strips instead of a board, two massively sculpted pieces and cards. All for a pretty straightforward and annoying “take that” abstract game of collecting coins, only a few of which you can collect during the game, and the rest of which go back and forth like a yo-yo until someone who is marginally ahead decides to end the game. Last player is at a disadvantage, and no compensation is given for it.

In my game, I stayed away from the pool of points available at one end of the board, but I was still a target for some reason, and I was down to 0 points on the board in round 4 out of 6.25 (with two permanent points collected). I complained about this. Then I finally spent a little time thinking about what to do about it, tossed some cards and took no actions in round 5 to get better ones (since I could hardly lose my position any further by that point), and played all my cards in round 6, netting me 18 points. The player after me (who was first player) ended the game; he had 19 points, I had 20, and everyone else had less.

Bleah. I’m not a fan of “take that” mechanics, and this didn’t change my mind. It didn’t help that the explanation for the game took a few repetitions to understand. But it has pretty pieces.

I also played:

Age of Industry – taught this to various people, and while the game is still dry, they enjoyed it.

Antike – see above

Crokinole – see above. Lots of people played this, and several talked about buying it.

Slap Deck – a few times

No Thanks

Sticheln – I think it’s okay, but the people around me whined a lot.

I taught Power Grid

I saw the sunrise over the Kinneret: very pretty.

August 01, 2007

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Binyamin, Zvi Yehuda, Ben, Yitzchak, Rachel A, Gili

A comfortable evening of games. Nadine did some game hopping. Every time a game opened up that she liked more than the one she was playing, I took over for her and she switched to the new game. Binyamin tried to do the same thing without any luck.


Zvi Yehuda+, Binyamin, Jon, Gili

Samurai is a Knizia tile-laying game that I have been avoiding simply because of the little Buddha statue pieces, which irk my religious sensitivities. Binyamin bought the game and solved the problem by taking sandpaper to each of the little round pieces.

You place tiles with numbers and pictures, and whenever a space with a piece is surrounded, the person with the highest valued tiles of the appropriate piece type surrounding the piece takes it. Placing tiles that affect multiple spaces, joker tiles, and two special effects tiles make the game tactical enough.

It’s pastoral like Through the Desert, but I think a slightly better game. TtD was nice and simple, but nobody really loved it. T&E is a heavy weight game, of course. Samurai is lightweight, but possibly more interesting.

Unlike these other two games where the scoring was neat and interesting, the scoring here is the one thing I don’t like about the game. It is convoluted and arbitrary. One other drawback is the easy possibility of giving things away to your LHO, which makes your RHO feel rather frustrated.

Zvi Yehuda won mostly due to luck. I played senselessly, as it was my first game and was just experimenting with the pieces. I expect I will do pretty well in this game hereafter.

El Grande

Nadine+, Gili, Binyamin, Zvi Yehuda

Nadine took a commanding lead early on, and the other players resigned after the second scoring phase, rather than drag on the game.

Lost Valley

Nadine, Zvi Yehuda, Binyamin

Nadine taught this to Binyamin and Zvi Yehuda. We discovered that we had gotten a number of rules wrong the last time we played, the most major of which would have extended the game a bit longer to good effect.

Since the river ended very quickly, the game ended up being rather short. A shorter game means more luck. Binyamin complained about the luck in the game for the whole game.

Puerto Rico

Rachel 54, Ben 50, Yitzchak 43, Nadine/Jon 42

I took over Nadine’s high shipping point but otherwise pathetic position as she switched to El Grande. I wasn’t able to make up the money differential and so lost rather decidedly. Rachel swept to another victory with Discretionary Hold and Factory.

Power Grid

Yitzchak 1, Jon 16, Ben 14

In this rather unusual game, I did everything counter-intuitively and ended up losing by a hair. I raced ahead in cities that I couldn’t power after the first several rounds.

In a three player game, goods are rather scarce, and coal and oil essentially ran out while garbage and nukes hit the 1 to 3 cost range. Only then did we start switching.

Being ahead in cities, Ben and Yitzchak were somehow convinced that it was within my power to end the game by building too many cities. As a result, they bid fiercely over some high powered plants, trying to convince each other that they should get the plant or I would win. For instance, Ben bought the 30 for 99.

I didn’t feel like I was anywhere near winning, but I admit that I got all of my plants, slowly but surely, with almost no fighting.

In the end, Ben and Yitzchak had more capacity in plants. But Ben ran out of money to build cities. Yitzchak had just enough to build to his capacity in cities, plants and fuel. I lost to a single mistake in the last round.

I replaced my 5 triple coal plant with a 7 triple garbage plant, instead of replacing my 4 double garbage plant. The reason that I did this was because I thought that if I left myself with coal/oil requirements, then Ben and Yitzchak could buy out all the fuel before I could get any, which was true. However, I didn’t realize that if they did that, they wouldn’t have had enough money left over to buy cities.


Binyamin, Zvi Yehuda, Nadine, Jon/Ben

Ben or I (depending on whose turn it was in Power Grid) played with Nadine against Binyamin and Zvi Yehuda for a few hands.