Tag Archive | slap deck

More abstracts than usual

Sagrada

Nadine 35, Gili 33

Very pretty game, as billed. It’s abstract, with similarities to Azul, but much harder. It’s unlikely that you can play your last dice legally, much less get points. Sometimes the card actions can help. They didn’t help Gili much, I didn’t try them, which saved me 3 points so I won. I like the game because it’s relatively short, even if it gives me a headache.

Azul

Elad 97, Moran 87, Jon 77

First play for Elad and his wife Moran.

Tigris and Euphrates

Elad 7, Moran 6 7, Jon 6 6

Jon said first time he’s lost to new players, but it was very close.

Trajan

Gili 142+, Haim 142, Nadine 128

Gili won the tie because she was ahead in the Senate. The game usually balances well, so I played poorly. Gili had tons of cards, for 18 points. The bonus tile both of us needed didn’t come out in the game, we would each have gotten 12 points with it. Haim had a lot of extra actions, which helped him.

Slap Deck

Jon, Elad, and Moran played several rounds.

Trias

Elad 55, Jon 52, Moran 26 or so

First play for Elad and Moran.

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Advanced Tichu

Magic

Jon+, David+ in close games.

Hawaii

David 126, Jon 105, Elana first play

David won with all kahunas, and the boat and surfer bonus tile.

Amun Re

Era 1
Sara 16, Lorenzo 12, Nadine 11
End of game
Nadine 48, Sara 41, Lorenzo 38

First play for Lorenzo and Sara. Lorenzo said afterwards that he doesn’t like auction games. It was close, and they both made minor errors due to misunderstandings.

Slap Deck

The Hawaii crew played this while waiting for us to finish Amun Re. They all won at least one round, new to Elana.

Tichu

David/Nadine 1110, Jon/Elana 690

Elana would have bid and made a Tichu (all four aces and Dragon and Phoenix) but somehow Jon had 15 cards to my 13 so we called a misdeal. She should have called Grand, she had all but an Ace, and would have made it, and Jon had a good chance of going out second. I’ve never seen Jon have so many bad hands. On our first hand, I called Tichu, then Jon called it also. David said later that meant his hand was likely to be stronger than mine, which makes sense. David played an Ace, so I didn’t go over with my Dragon, though I had no idea what he was doing. David’s plan was to go out, and hope that I could go out second for 200 points, instead of risking losing the Tichu. David forced Jon to play 3 Aces over David’s 3 jacks, with one card left. I should have passed Jon’s lead to try to let David go out first instead of playing my Dragon, which Jon bombed with Kings, then went out. A whole new level of Tichu for me. David thought I made a mistake on another hand when I passed him the two, but he understood when I explained that I passed two fours and the two, though I ended up not being able to call Tichu. Elana plays well for a new player, though she’s not as new as she seems, I met her for the first time tonight, but she’s been coming for a while.

 

November 15, 2017

Participants: Jon, Haim S, Nadine, Gili, Aaron, Lorenzo, Klara

Klara is a new attendee from Germany, volunteering in Israel. She is quite an experienced gamer.

Troyes

Nadine 47, Lorenzo 45, Aaron 34

First play for Aaron and Lorenzo. Nadine forgot a few rules, but in the end the only one she forgot entirely was that you can only use one time cube at a time.

Nadine writes: Lorenzo used Archer well. I forgot or didn’t know that you can only use one time cube per turn. I think it only happened once: Aaron turned a white to three yellows, then added two to each cube. Lorenzo added two to each die several times, but I think he had only modified with flipping, which is allowed. Lorenzo had the worker bonus card, so he was using six or seven dice. I was down to four dice, until I replaced one of his on the last round, after which the event card where you have to pay for each worker in the yellow building came out, so he lost one less coin. The “lose two influence” card was in a effect for a few rounds, which made it hard to get workers to place on cards.

Lorenzo used the Archer to good effect; it lets you roll dice to place cubes on any event cards. I fought the cards because that was my bonus. They both realized this, even though they didn’t know that I usually don’t fight cards. I got a lot of money once from a red card, with which I bought points on a yellow card (not the cost 15 one). Aaron also did this. They both understood the game, even though they said it’s a hard game. It took Aaron a bit longer.

Village

Klara 62, Haim 56, Jon 53, Gili 43

Second play for Haim, and second play in a long while for Gili and Klara who had to relearn the rules. I made one change in the rules: you MUST take a cube every round, even if you are using the Well. This made the game FAR better, in my opinion, since taking the Well does not any longer give free turns to other, random, people.

I did a combination of Council/Market and dying, while Klara did a combination of Council/Market and Church, which turned out to be slightly better. Haim did travelling and church, earning no Market points. Aaron tried a relatively balanced strategy, a little of everything.

It’s Alive

Jon 50, Aaron 47, Haim, Klara

First play for Klara. Haim and Klara ended up drawing all but one of the coffins, and Aaron drew the last one. I don’t remember Haim and Klara’s scores, but Aaron triggered the game ending and I won.

Slap Deck

Jon+, Haim+, Klara

First plays for Klara. We played twice.

Tichu

Jon/Haim 1035, Nadine/Aaron 665

This game went on for far too long (until 2 am). It took some 16 or 17 hands. Haim and I had sucky hands. Once in a while Haim made what I thought was a questionable play, but in the end it was often the right one (or at least the only option he had). Finally I had one or two good hands near the end, including one where I called Tichu over Nadine’s Grand Tichu, and both Haim and I went out first (for a swing of 500 points). Then we got to 980, and then to 990, and finally the game.

September 27, 2017

Participants: Jon, Haim, Nadine, Lorenzo, Noam, Chaya Bluma, Eli G

First time attendance for Eli, a young lad who lives in Har Nof. Also first time for Lorenzo, although he came previously to my house to play on shabbat.

Glen More

Lorenzo 67, Jon 60, Haim 52, Nadine 39

First play for Haim, second for Lorenzo, second (and probably last) for Nadine. This is not Nadine’s kind of game, as all of the decisions are spatially based.

Lorenzo enjoyed it, and I like the game a lot, although I admit it’s better after you have played a few times to get the feel of how it works. Haim took to it well, although he ended up taking too many tiles.

Yinsh

Chaya Bluma+, Noam

First play for both of them, both of them really enjoyed it.

Noam+, Jon

We played a game later in the evening. I started out winning. But my second disk removal gave him his first, and then he sneaked in two more, the last right before I would have taken off my third.

El Grande

Lorenzo 133, Nadine 125, CB 109, Haim 96

First play for all but Nadine. Nadine may have met her match, since Lorenzo is a nuclear physicist who seems pretty on the ball. On the other hand, Nadine claims that her winning streak is in five-player games [ed: not true]. Everyone enjoyed it.

Trias

Jon, Noam, Eli

First play for both of them. Eli arrived late and had to leave early, and I thought we could finish this in an hour, but they decided to try to scheme to see how to take me down (which I encouraged). They didn’t succeed at it, but Eli had to leave before the game was over, so we’ll never know.

Part of the reason it took so long is that they kept trying to do things that the rules did not allow and then kept expressing a desire that the rules would be different to allow them to do these things. That’s the game!

Crokinole

Jon+, Noam

I had a shutout over Noam.

Slap Deck

Noam+++++, Jon

Noam won five hands straight against me, earning a combined total of over 100 more points than I earned.

May 24, 2017

Participants: Jon, Yitzchak, Haim S, Aaron, David K, Nadine, Gili, Evan, Haim B, Josh

Yitzchak is an old friend who is visiting Israel and comes once every few years. Evan is Nadine’s nephew, visiting from northern California. He just graduated Berkeley and will be moving to Seattle, where he plans to look for game groups. Haim B and Josh happened to be in Jerusalem, one visiting from LA, one from Tel Aviv.

Slap Deck

Jon, Aaron, Haim S, Yizchak

I taught Yitzchak and Haim how to play. We played two quick games.

Nefarious

Evan 22, Nadine 21, Aaron 20

First play for Evan. They played while waiting for Gili and a new player to arrive; when two new players showed up they split into two groups of three instead of playing Princes of Florence. Twists: +1 point per card. And something about paying minions to invent.

Five Tribes

Nadine 171, Aaron 149, Evan 149

Nadine writes: Aaron helped Evan analyze in Five Tribes. Evan had 10 yellows when the 3 point djinn came out. Aaron convinced him to bid 12, and didn’t overbid him, but it would have been worth bidding 18 for a move where he got two more yellows and could buy the djinn. I had 7 cards and some good board spots, though not the most. Aaron ran out of camels which ended the game, I had 3 left. The cards stalled when I had 7; Evan had 5. Aaron was second in yellows, I had 5 whites at the end. I took money twice, and bid low and went last a lot, though we mostly didn’t bid a lot.

Notre Dame

Haim B 61, Gili 47, Josh 46

First play for Haim and Josh.

La Citta

David++, Yitzchak+, Jon-, Chaim S–

We played four rounds out of six. First plays for Chaim and Yitzchak, while David and I hadn’t played in a long time. Chaim got blindsided and wiped out when he lost a central city. This is a very punishing game that can wipe out your chance of winning if you are careless. Otherwise, you have to balance winning and losing. Early mines, which David had in plenty, are game-changing. Not surprisingly, the other person who had a fair shot of winning by the time we ended also had a good income. I had a very small income; although I understood the rules better and wasn’t entirely wiped out, I wasn’t doing anywhere near as well.

All of us had a problem with the card turnover. Often six or seven of the cards are useless, which means taking a mildly useful or useless card simply reveals a good one for the next player. Worse, some basic actions that you need to stay competitive or at least climb out of your hole (or at least keep you from being bored for the last hour of the game) are simply unavailable. There MUST be a way to gain people, at least temporarily, if the cards don’t show up for it.

We played around with a few suggestions for how to fix the card issue, and David’s seems best: put coins on unused cards (for some definition of unused. And always make buying people an option, I think. I will look online for some variants.

Nadine: You should have believed me, and we should have checked our house rules: Pay one coin to replace all cards.

San Juan

Evan 35, Yitzchak 34, Gili 34, Haim S 34

First plays for Evan and Haim. Gili removed the expansion cards before playing.

 

Tichu

David/Jon 605, Nadine/Aaron 395

We ended early since it was getting late. A lot of bombs and some interesting hands. On one hand, I called Tichu after David was down to one card. I would have made it if a) Nadine didn’t have 2 bombs, and b) David didn’t decide to just go out after I ducked Nadine’s first high card play after her first bomb: I had three cards left: Dragon, 9, and Dog. I was waiting for her to play a single card lower than the 9. David thought I was stuck and could not go out. Unfortunately, even if he had not decided to go out, I still wouldn’t have made my Tichu because Nadine had her second bomb.

I called and made a Grand Tichu on a round where Aaron also called Tichu (for some reason). And then he set David’s Grand Tichu on the following round. So we went up and down in score a lot.

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.

KinneretCon Fall 2016

Nadine and I, and others from Jerusalem, went to KinneretCon for around 30 hours of gaming on the Sea of Galilee. This was their second event, and they are planning more. Both times the event was held at a kosher hostel. Basic rooms hold 2 to 4 people and edible (if not glamorous) full board is provided. It sits 100 meters off the lake shore, which is nice; I didn’t see too much of the lake, but my kids did some swimming.

Around 30 to 35 people were around, about half of them religious.

Games played by either me or Nadine:

Amerigo

I taught this to three others, and we had a good time. Unlike the last time I taught this, where the other players loved the cube tower, this time the other players were a little unsatisfied with the cube tower and would probably prefer one of the “bag drawing” variants. I lost by a few points, if I recall correctly.

Antike

I taught this to four others, and, as usual, stressed that they should concentrate on points and not get lost in the mechanics. And, as usual, I won (by one point, instead of my usual two points). Also as usual, we played to one point less than the recommended value. I think everyone liked it.

Next time I play I might use the new tech chart from Antike II.

Castles of Burgundy

Nadine writes: I taught this to three other players who picked it to play. They did well, I didn’t win. I did help them, though I mostly gave advice on request or when they didn’t understand the implications. I forgot to tell them that a six could become a one, until I used it late in the game. Two players, including the one who won, had 5-tile regions with all the same animal. They all really liked the game.

Goldwest

A multi-player solitaire straightforward game of taking tiles and scoring points. The tiles you can take – or other actions you can perform – relay on how you distribute cubes onto your action track, but that’s somehow less interesting than it should be. There is nothing to do until your turn again, and you can’t really plan between turns.

But, as a filler (if you play quickly), it’s okay as a pastime and there are often a few options to consider each turn.

Imperial Settlers

Another so-so game, which I didn’t like mostly because it had a take-that mechanic but also a runaway winner problem. One would think that the person doing “take-that” would at least target the leader, but circumstances don’t always favor this, which just makes it more frustrating. There are cards you can play that simply counteract anything that one of your opponents does every round, making it nearly impossible for them to progress. Frustrating.

Otherwise, the game would be okay, with lots of cards and resources and a deceptively large number of things to do during each of the five rounds. I was ahead in points until the last round, but I knew I was losing by a large margin to my LHO already in round 2, and there was not much I could do about it.

Isle of Skye

First play for me. This is a game played over five rounds, where you get to add 0-3 Carcassonne-like tiles to your tableau each round. Each player gets three tiles, assigning money to two of them and discarding the other. Each player can then buy one of the other tiles from someone else, giving him or her the money and letting them keep their money. After all players have bought one tile or passed, you pay any money on any of your remaining tiles and place these tiles and the one you bought (if any) into your board. Then you score based on certain scoring tiles, each of which apply to three rounds of the game. Some tiles also provide income, but everyone gets at least 5 coins each round.

That’s it. It plays okay, and Eszter and her son liked it a lot. I liked it, but it lacked some kind of spark for me. The best part of the game was that one of the scoring tiles gave you points for money left in hand at the end of the round, which provided a good decision for whether to try to get money from others or try to place more tiles. But this scoring tile is only used if it is drawn for the game; I think the game will be even less interesting without it.

Mombasa

Nadine write: A large, long complicated game. But interesting and good. Two extra players were learning it with us, so one of them ended up helping Eszter and one helped me. We each understood different rules, so it took both of us to figure out moves. We ended up doing really well, partly inadvertently, we came in second, only losing to Roi who taught it and did really well. It has varied mechanics – company shares, worker placement, area control, hand management. Also an award winner, 2016 International Gamers Award, and Spiel de Jahres Recommended.

Nefarious

I taught this to four others. We played with the twists: a) you get have +five points if you have five cards at the end of your turn; b) if you build an invention worth more points than any previous invention, you get +2 coins. Both positive twists, which are good.

I walked to victory here, stumbling only for two rounds when one of my opponents made everyone else discard two cards.

Prime Time

A clunky-looking game about TV scheduling which is actually better than it looks. I had to leave after the first half of the game, and I suffered during some of that, but only because I made colossally bad plays and my RHO made even worse plays.

But it actually worked well and looked intriguing after I got the hang of it, and I would like to try it again.

Red 7

Nadine writes: A fun light game, good for 1:30 am. It took us two games to catch on to how to plan your turn. Binyamin S won the first game after teaching it, I won the second game. A 2014 Golden Geek award winner.

Slap Deck

I taught and played this a few times, but the response was muted (which is unusual).

Space Cadets: Dice Duel

Nadine write: Each team frenetically rolls dice, over and over, simultaneously, in a race to get missiles, offense, defense, movement and shields. Our team wasn’t as good at understanding and assessing when we’d win an attack, so we lost a lot of missiles. It also took us a while to get all the rules. Towards the end, our opponents attacked us quickly right after their previous attack; they were surprised that we had gotten a shield up so fast. So was our team, good work by our shield player. We were far behind and conceded the last point.

Takenoko

Nadine writes: Another award winner, especially in France where it was published, 2012. Great art, colors and components, extremely well done. Nice theme which is well integrated with the gameplay. A light game which plays quickly and is easy to learn, fun to play despite the luck factor. The person before me ended the game when he placed his seventh point card, he had 28 points. The other players then all get a last turn. I had 24 points, and several cards which would give me more than 4 points. But bad luck meant that I couldn’t play any of them. I didn’t roll rainfall or tokens, couldn’t move the gardener, and picked another card which didn’t work. I ended up tied with Zoya for second place. The player who won played well, but drew at least two point cards which he could play immediately because the conditions were filled.

Tichu

Tal and I played against Nadine and Yoval. Tal played well; I bid and lost a Tichu and a Grand Tichu, and I wasn’t happy about either of them (the Grand Tichu loss was not really my fault; I played poorly on the Tichu). After that Tichu wasn’t called by anybody very often, and we eventually lost after many, many hand by 1005 to 895.

Voyages of Marco Polo

Nadine writes: Roi and David wanted to play this, so I taught it to them. It’s a good game, I’m just not good at it. I made a mistake with the rules which did make a difference, but Roi would have won anyway. And I would have lost anyway. We placed trading posts on the way, not just on our last stop. We played the beginner version with the recommended characters, but selected goal cards.

Walk the Plank

Nadine writes: You’re pirates being chased by sharks, and you detach arms and legs from your large plastic person when the shark catches you, after losing your 4 limbs you’re out of the game. The main mechanic is selecting a number that no other player selects, otherwise you can’t move. I got eaten, though late in the game, in two games.