Tag Archive | taluva

August 12, 2009

Participants: Jon, Binyamin, Tzvi Yehuda, David, Avraham, Moshe, Har-El, Miryam, Elijah

Binyamin brought his son Tzvi Yehuda, and David brought his son Avraham and two nephews-in-law (or something like that) Moshe and Har-El. Meanwhile, Miryam is a first-timer who had played Settlers of Canaan somewhere and was told by her relatives that she should check out our group.

Tonight’s session was somewhat disorganized, owing to my being home late from checking my daughter in to the hospital in preparation for a tonsillectomy, and owing to having asked Binyamin to check out my mezuzah’s, which I then had to reattach to all my doorposts during the first twenty minutes of game night.


Binyamin, Elijah, Tzvi Yehuda, Miryam

First play for Miryam.

I set everything up and was all set to take my first move, when Binyamin told me that I had to put the mezuzah’s up right away. I grumbled, but I took a Silver and then put my cards down. David Klein then played for me after he walked in. He took Throne Room (the card that let’s you double an action), and then put the cards down. Then Binyamin picked up my cards to finish the game.

Unfortunately for him, Silver and Throne Room are two ridiculous cards to take on the first plays, and he spent the next five rounds playing catch up. Miryam liked the game.

Jon, David, Binyamin

And we played another game of this later in the evening, to close game night. David started slowly, but was eventually drawing his entire deck each turn (Throne Room and Smithy, Village, Festival) [DK: What makes this more impressive is that the deck had over 30 cards in it and I still pulled the whole thing!]. Binyamin is the first to play the Black Market. His most important purchase was Witch, which gave him the game. That’s probably always going to be the best result of Black Market.


David, Avraham, Har-El, Moshe

First plays for Har-El and Moshe.

Cosmic Encounter

Jon, Moshe, Har-El, Elijah

Elijah., as usual, pestered everyone to play Cosmic. I thought it would be a decent choice for Moshe and Har-El, but I was wrong: a) Har-El didn’t read English too well, though he spoke it well, and b) Har-El’s disconnect between what he wants the rules to be and what the rules are prevented him from grasping the rules. So he constantly tried to put more tokens in the cone than he was allowed, played extra cards, give cards to other people, make unbind-able deals, and so on. He found the game overly complicated. Can’t argue with that.

We played one power each: Mind, Ghost, Prophet, and Crystal. Prophet was the strongest power, so Elijah got ganged up on early.

La Citta

David, Miryam, Avraham, Binyamin, Tzvi Yehuda

David taught this to Binyamin, as he wanted to learn it. First play for everyone but David.

I’ve had a good time every time I played this, but acknowledge that there are some problems with the game: the luck of what cards are available on your turn, and your dead cities that feed people to other people’s success. These haven’t bothered me terribly, and I imagine that there is some way to fix the luck of the card draw, if we decided it’s necessary.

Unfortunately, these guys really weren’t happy with the game, owing to the above problems. So much so that they unanimously decided to abandon the game half-way through.


Jon, David, Binyamin

I taught this to David and Binyamin. It’s a decent filler, very spacial and calculating. Not too many rules, but I always forget one or two important ones when I teach it. šŸ˜®

Furthermore, there are a few rule problems that come up every time, such as can a temple be used to join two small settlements, ending with a settlement large enough in which to play a temple? Can you split a settlement such that a temple remains alone? And a few others like this.

I have to make rulings on these issues each time we play. Otherwise, I find it to be a fun abstract game with a little luck in the tile draw (which can be solved with a pool of available tiles, and upcoming tiles visible).

Winner’s Circle

Elijah, Tzvi Yehuda, Avraham

The younger ones played this to round up game night.

April 29, 2009

Participants: Nadine, Hershel, Abraham, Jon

Game night at Nadine’s house following Yom Haatzmaut. I arrived last.


Jon 3/1, Hershel 2/1, Avraham 2/0/+, Nadine 2/0/-

I suggest this as an opener, as I’m still exploring it, it’s not too long, it’s pretty, and it’s elegant. First play for Abraham.

I think I played one more time than either Hershel or Nadine, and this is my type of game, so I was able to plan several rounds ahead in certain areas, while the others were still exploring the possibility space. Toward the end, the others colluded to see if they could stop me, but every place they could hurt or stop me was protected.

Abraham picked the game up well and would have done better, but he forgot one of the rules which meant that his master plan couldn’t come to fruition. I suspect he won’t make that mistake next time.

Everyone enjoyed the game for what it was. I have yet to play it with less than four players; the extra turns for each player would make a significant difference, I believe.


Nadine 30, Jon 29, Hershel 24, Abraham 24

Suggested by Abraham, and enjoyed by all. The set of card contained no attack cards and Gardens to boot. There were ample extra actions to go around. So the game ended reasonably quickly.

Abraham tried a unique strategy of using all of his extra buys to acquire coppers, and then buying several Gardens. But because of the length of the game, he could still make them only worth 3 each by game end, which was not enough. I thought I was doing well, but I also knew that Nadine had 2 Provinces before I started buying mine, so although I caught up, it wasn’t quite enough.

Jon 32, Nadine 24, Hershel 23, Abraham 22

We had Gardens again, but this time no extra actions, and no extra cash, except for Militia. To make matters worse, we had Thief, which made buying Gold’s nigh impossible; in fact, no one did.

I think someone got to 7 cash twice in the game. Instead the Duchies wet first, and I finished the Gardens while Nadine finished the Estates. Hard to work with Gardens when someone is stealing your cards all the time, but I managed to steal enough back to make my Gardens each worth 3.


Jon/Hershel, Nadine/Abraham

Hershel hadn’t played in many years, and it turns out that even when he had, he didn’t use any sort of bidding system. Abraham is very much a beginner. So we did a lot of learning. Hershel and I made two partials and set our opponents in a partial. They made one partial.

It’s Alive

Jon 49, Nadine 42, Abraham 27, Hershel 22

Abraham suggested we play this, and Hershel wondered if I wasn’t already sick of it, but I’m not. In fact, I’m still trying out new strategies.

Jack the publisher seems to feel that you should never buy on your turn, and I tried something like that, but it’s not always practical. In any case, I won not because of any strategy, but because I drew all three 10 cost coffins (and one villager). Nadine drew a coffin and no villager, while Abraham drew both 4 and 6 villagers. I ended with no cash, while Abraham had more than he could score.


Jon/Hershel 535, Nadine/Abraham 265

We taught this to Hershel who liked it. It’s certainly less brain-intensive and more forgiving than Bridge.

I started with a Tichu, but lost most of the points: 115 to 85. They won most of the point in the next round, too: 140 to 160.

I bid and made Tichu again, but we actually ended with a -15 score to their 115: 235 to 265. I keep saying that Tichu is more important than points, and it is, but I guess you do need to look out for points.

Hershel ventured a Tichu on the last round and he made it. My hand was equally good, so I went out second, giving us a final victory.

April 13, 2009: Games Day

Participants: Jon, Koby, Zohar, Itamar, Oren, Nadine, Elijah, Gili, Hershel, Adam, Abraham, Binyamin, Tzvi Yehuda, Hannah, Yoseph, Yael, Dekel, Rachel A, Bill

Koby, Zohar, and Itamar arrived from the Rechovot group. Oren is also from that area. T”Y is Binyamin’s son, and Hannah is his mother. Yoseph came to our group a few times a while ago, and Yael is a good friend of both mine and Rachel’s, who came to the group before it became an official group. Dekel is a friend of Zohar’s. The rest are group regulars.


Elijah 45, Yoseph 43, Itamar 39, Yael 30

First play for Yael and Itamar.

Cosmic Encounter

Elijah+, Yoseph+, Adam+, Nadine, Zohar

First play for two of them, I forget which. Double powers seems a bit much for a first play, but I don’t get to set the rules. A triple win.

Binyamin+, Dekel+, Elijah+, Adam

First play for Dekel. Another triple win, this time against a lone defender.


Itamar 24+, Koby 24-, Zohar, Oren

Itamar won on the tie.

Koby 36, Jon 27, Binyamin 25

Jon 54, Nadine 42, Gili 21

Nadine started straight off for the Duchy’s, which I warned her wouldn’t work. She did better than I expected, however. I trashed a lot of coppers and silvers to get golds.

Fairy Tale

Elijah+, Oren, Nadine

First play for Elijah and Oren. Played as filler, and I think interrupted before finishing.


Binyamin, Jon, Hannah, Gili, Tzvi Yehuda

Binyamin taught this to all of us (except Tzvi Yehuda). I had been interested in learning it, as it is a sequel to Antike, a game I very much enjoy. We ended up quitting the game after a few turns our of a combination of boredom, annoyance, and frustration.

It looks like the core of the game is interesting, though very long. Our major problems were situational: Hannah and Tzvi Yehuda really don’t speak any English, so translation had to go back and forth all the time. Also, this didn’t seem to be Hannah’s type of game, and she was slow to learn every rule, and could make no decisions as to what to do on any turn. Tvzi Yehuda also hed to be reminded all the time when it was his turn.

The other major problem, to me, was one of the major mechanics of the game. Unlike Antike – and nearly every other game in the universe – where each player does their best on a turn by taking their turn. Turns are taken by the countries on the board, not the players. The player who currently controls the country plays for that country. Therefore, some players take more turns than others, and it’s quite likely or even probable that a player will quite literally have no turns to play. The player can still react a little on other player’s turns.

Binyamin tells me that this doesn’t detract from the fun that some people have in the game; I’m guessing that it’s possible, if difficult, to win this way. But in my book, it violates a core rules of fun in a game: equal participation and involvement by all players, or at least the possibility thereof. It’s just plain a NOT fun mechanic, to the point that, added to the other frustrations that were going on, I was really annoyed.

I may try the game again later, perhaps with four players, all quick players and all English speakers.


Elijah++, Adam

Elijah+, Dekel

Yoseph++, Elijah

Dekel brought a prototype of his game Pivot, an abstract game with pieces consisting of twin pegs connected by rubber bands. Looked interesting, and played very quickly.

Power Grid

Itamar 15+, Adam 15-, Hershel 14, Jon 13, Koby 12

First play for Hershel. We played on U.S. without the southeast. Adam dominated the entire west for most of the game. I started in the northeast and quickly got crowded. It was anyone’s game until the last two turns, as usual.

Zohar 17, Tzvi Yehuda 15, Hannah 14, Yoseph 13

I hear that they accidentally played on all six regions. When they realized their mistake midgame, they closed of one of the regions, but couldn’t close another one. First play for at least someone.

Puerto Rico

Jon 39, Gili 35, Rachel 32, Nadine 32

Gili hadn’t played in a while.

Jon Rachel Nadine Gili
Round 01 Settler Builder Mayor Craftsman I start with quarry and leave a corn to Rachel. I build a Small Indigo first round, and accidentally take an indigo when Gili crafts, forgetting that I didn’t have indigo fully manned. I sheepishly put it back when I remember.
Round 02 Builder Trader+ Prospector+ Captain+ Early trade for Rachel. I build Small Fashion District (2/1 trade indigo at +2).
Round 03 Prospector Craftsman+ Settler+ Mayor+ Rachel also has a Small Fashion District, but she never gets to use it since I always do. Nadine already has a Tobacco going.
Round 04 Mayor Builder+ Craftsman Trader+ I forgo Builder+ since I need more colonists and have nothing to build.
Round 05 Captain++ Settler+ Prospector+ Trader My captain prevents Rachel from trading again, I think. Gili took Trader five times during the game. I begin to realize that I can’t compete in victory points and so have to end the game early with building. I eventually get Factor and tobacco, and never get corn.
Round 06 Trader Mayor+ Builder+ Craftsman+
Round 07 Builder Captain+ Prospector+ Trader
Round 08 Settler Craftsman+ Builder Mayor+
Round 09 Trader+ Captain+ Mayor Prospector+
Round 10 Builder+ Settler+ Craftsman+ Trader Gili trades coffee, as she does several other times during the game. She had a coffee monopoly, and eventually a coffee boat. I build my first big building. Gili builds a Wharf that she only uses once.
Round 11 Builder Prospector+ Captain+ Trader I build my second big building.
Round 12 Builder Settler+ Craftsman+ Captain I build my 11th space. Gili builds a big building.
Round 13 Builder Mayor+++ Captain Settler I would have taken Mayor; Rachel then would be unable to buy and man a big building, because I would buy my last building at the same time and fill up my board. To take pity on her, I agreed to buy if she would mayor; I needed Mayor to man my two big buildings. I ended with 4 shipping points, but many more building points.


Itamar 12+, Koby 12-, Zohar, Oren, Hershel

First play for many of them. Koby loses on the tie, again.

Binyamin, Tzvi Yehuda, Hannah, Abraham 12+

Race for the Galaxy

Abraham 67, Jon 41

I played this at the same time as Power Grid, and it’s not easy. For some reason I tried some military might, but Abe beat me down with 6 6-point developments.

Koby 41, Itamar 27, Binyamin 21

Binyamin usually does better than this.

San Juan

Gili 40, Nadine 38, Jon 37, Elijah 35

We hadn’t played this in a while. The game desperately needs expansion sets. Close game, as you can see. I spent time trying to find 6-pointers, only to realize that Nadine was holding on to one, and Elijah had buried one in his Chapel. As usual, the players who built the most 6-pointers scored highest.


Jon 103, Elijah 95, Yoseph 90, Adam 84

I was happy to play this, as usual. First play for Yoseph. I concentrated more than the others and paid higher for things when they were worth it. Adam caught on to the valuation, and was fierce competition for me. Don’t know why he didn’t score higher.

Stone Age

Abraham 205, Tzvi Yehuda 134, Gili 131, Hannah 127

Someone else smudgily wrote these scores down, so I don’t know if they’re accurate. First play for some of them. This is a game I very much want to try, but haven’t gotten to it yet. It’s on the buy list.


Jon+, Koby, Itamar, Hershel

First play for everyone. Koby was looking forward to playing it. Afterwards, he thought it was nice but not worth buying. I liked it a lot.

Another game with very few rules, but very interesting implications. And beautiful pieces.

Nadine+, Bill, Gili

I taught this to them and left them to play it, only to discover that I forgot to tell them that you couldn’t build more than one temple in a settlement. They had to start again. Nadine thought it was good, but not her type of game, which I predicted. Still, she says she would play it again.

Tigris and Euphrates

Nadine 7/7/8/8, Adam 6/6/7/9, Hershel 6/6/7/7, Zohar 4/4/4/5

First play for Hershel and Zohar. First win for Nadine, I think.

Year of the Dragon

Oren 96, Zohar 95, Elijah 92, Nadine 84, Gili 75

First plays for Oren and Zohar, and they won, too. I think second or third play for Elijah.