Tag Archive | year of the dragon

Hannatoncon

Gili drove me, Eszter and Binyamin to Kibbutz Hannaton on Friday morning. A few people were already there, and many arrived soon after.

New game trends – Plants, lots of plants! Fruit, herbs, gardens and more. Maybe replacing farming.

Friday

Walnut Grove

We started with this, new to Yuval and Binyamin. Eszter won, beating me by one point. She made a mistake at the beginning, she thought she had a yellow farmer and board, but she had a blue one, and only realized it after setting up to produce yellow, and having returned her tiles. I had her switch to a yellow farmer instead of redrawing tiles. Everyone enjoyed playing.

Lewis & Clark

I had played this at bgg.con, and just remembered how slow it was to move up the river, which is the point of the game. It’s actually not so slow, especially by the end of the game when I understood how things worked. I wasn’t as behind as I expected to be, the other two were almost tied at the end. It’s a nice game which requires a lot of thinking and planning, with hand management, worker placement and deck building elements.

Herbaceous

My new favorite filler, though it is pretty light. After I learned it I taught it to several people who also liked it. Beautiful artwork, quick to learn and fun to play. Competitive set collection, you can take sets when you want, but can’t add to them later, so you want to maximize before other players take things.

Splendor

I had heard a lot about this award-winning game, mostly complaints that it was too light. I was pleasantly surprised, it’s a very nice game, one of the best for its length, which makes sense considering how popular it is. Easy to learn, and quick. I learned in a two-player game, we stopped for dinner, but she was close to winning, and I wasn’t. I played again later, a 4-player game with experienced players. I won on my turn, but the others all had an extra turn, and another player tied with me. The tie-breaker is number of cards you played – but we were tied again. I had set myself up to get two nobles in the hope that one would work out, I managed to get both, frustrating Zoya who was trying for the same ones.

Dr. Eureka

A brain and dexterity speed game. I wasn’t good at it, but it’s fun. Binyamin really liked it, and did well. People played it a lot.

Isle of Skye

I like it better now that I understand it. (And I’ll be able to see how it resembles the actual scenery this summer.) I was in last place the whole game, which gave me a lot of extra money, which I used to buy my own tiles. I hadn’t realized scoring and placement aspects and left a hole that no tiles matched. On the last round, two tiles for sale fit, and I was first to buy. One of them even closed off two scoring tiles; I ended up coming in second.

Mutant Meeples

A nice and original game. I couldn’t think fast enough, but it was after midnight. Binyamin liked it.

Walking around, I pointed out a few move options for a new Five Tribes player after she tried to land on an empty tile, but then saw that she understood the game and could do OK on her own. That made me realize how much I wanted to play the game.

Saturday

Five Tribes

So I got players to agree to Five Tribes starting off in the morning. One player was new, he did well with a combination of two assassin djinns – use the assassinated piece, and assassinate two. He got two tiles twice with it, but then the reds ran out. Maria had a djinn that let her place on tiles with meeples. Dima got 25 points one turn, and blocked me on a card I needed. I was doing cards but then stalled when the ones I needed weren’t available, and I didn’t  have much else, no djinns. Then the seventh and eighth cards I needed came out and I got them, and then at the end the last one came out. But there weren’t many moves left at that point, and I couldn’t land on a buy two tile. The new player took two cards, which let me get what I needed with a buy one tile. The whole game I thought I was behind, but was thinking how much I liked playing anyway. In the end I somehow won by around 30 points. I was second in yellows from a late move which helped, and no one else did a lot of cards.

Year of the Dragon

All new players, who had a hard time with the unforgiving nature of the game. We warned Maria about rice and disease, but she wanted fireworks, and did Yuval. They had around 7 each time, with a disagreement because we ran out of firework pieces. I said you can’t run out, so we used extra people to represent two tiles for Yuval. Maria hadn’t realized that we were doing that, she thought she would be ahead until his move. So we did let her redo her move to take fireworks, for 8 vs his 7. I’ve never been in a game with so many. She ended up losing all her people and palaces, ending with one palace level, but she did a good job compensating with dragons, and didn’t do too badly. People also built a lot, somewhat related to rice events being late. I won by a bit, even though I made mistakes and was down to four people at the end. The players understood the game but it is really hard, and hard to enjoy losing people. Dima did well, close to the end of the game he asked what happens when you don’t have space in your palaces for a person you take, I said that’ what everyone’s been doing the whole game, replacing people.

Fabled Fruit

They wanted a light game after that, so someone explained Fabeled Fruit, by Friedemann Friese. It’s a nice game and fun to play, good for a light game but a bit much to set up as a filler. Kids would enjoy it. We played two games then stopped, even though there is a nice mechanic of new cards and placement options coming in all the time. Dima won both games.

Broom Service

We spent a long time learning this, including starting the first round over because I misunderstood movement options, or they misunderstood my question about it. We stopped after two rounds. The main mechanic is trying to guess / deduce if other players have the same cards as you. Sometimes you know, like if they’re out of cards, and sometimes you’re guessing. The mechanic is fine, but not interesting enough to carry a whole game for another five rounds.

Tobago

I haven’t played this in ages. Someone else came over to explain it which took a while, but after that it went well, all new players except me. I lost three treasure cards because of the skull, I still came in third out of four. They agreed that our house rule makes sense, no skulls.

Eszter’s best new game – Insider. I saw people playing it on Friday, and on Saturday when I came in a group was engaged in a serious discussion that sounded normal, until I realized they were playing this, social deduction.

Gili’s best new game – Rococo and Grand Austria Hotel.

Binyamin’s best new game – Grand Austria Hotel, Insider, Rococo, Impotek, Isla Dorado, Istanbul, Eureka, Isla Dorado.

I’m not used to people dropping in and out to the extent they did on Shabbat, and almost everyone left before Shabbat was out. After playing the Kinneret miklat, we all appreciated a nice room with windows. It started raining Shabbat afternoon so we closed the windows by the games, but ended up moving them away. Then the electricity went out, but it came back on not long after. Most of the participants were at the previous two cons, so it’s great to see and play with the same friendly group.

The Jerusalem bridge ready for President Trump.

More Puerto Rico

Techelet brought her friend Tikvah, who is also in the Beit Shemesh group.

Master Gallery

Yael 82, Aaron 76, Nati 72, Gili 70, Nadine 69

A light filler while waiting. I had played once at Gili’s. It’s engaging, but a lot of luck. I had the fewest cards each of the four rounds because I didn’t get any that give extra cards and the others all did. Nati pointed out that then I end up with more card choices, but he agreed it’s not worth it.

Puerto Rico

Tikvah 53, Techelet 47, Nadine 45

They had both played, but not in a while. They did things we don’t usually do, but I know things tend to work anyway because it’s such a great game. They both had factories so were crafting to get money, even if they had to toss 6 goods. Tikvah got a warehouse and a harbor, and a tobacco boat, and took a tobacco plantation so that Techelet couldn’t get hers going. I was the only with coffee, but after trading once took a ship. I had a harbor and took a wharf instead of the first big building, but they were way ahead of me in money, Techelet had two large buildings, and Tikvah had Customs House. A good game.

Year of the Dragon

Gili 112+, Aaron 112, Yael 98, Nati 89

A tough game, first play for Nati and Yael. At the end, Gili told Aaron that rice would give him an extra point over taking money, he wasn’t clear on the conversion ratio, but she said he can’t win by one point. He did, but then they realized he should have one less, so it was a tie. Gili looked up the tie-breaker – ahead in turn order. She was barely ahead, on top of his piece.

R-Eco

Yael 11, Nadine 9, Nati 5

Nati 18, Yael 8, Nadine -3

Yael was waiting for her parents to pick her up after the theater, I said they may as well wait inside. And may as well play a game, first  play for both of them. In the end her parents decided to go out to eat instead of picking them up, but we got to play R-Eco. They both liked it, Nati said he thought it would be different second time, but said there wasn’t really more strategy. I had good luck in the first game and didn’t dump so got 4 points, next game I had bad luck and Nati good luck, sitting in front of me. Yael calculated to end the first game at the right time when she’d win.

January 11, 2016

Participants: Nadine, Jon, David, Elad, Preston, Aaron, Schneur, Tchelet, Eszter

Nadine hosted.

Magic: The Gathering

David+, Jon

David continues his winning streak. I had a sucky deck.

R Eco

David 11, Nadine 5, Elad 3, Jon -3

First play for Elad. I had one of each color chip, I think.

Amerigo

Jon 146, Schneur 138, Preston 136, David 86

First play for all but me. David made some early errors based on misunderstanding the rules and was disheartened thereafter. As usual, everyone thought the cube tower was cool, but questioned about how it affected planning.

Year of the Dragon

Elad 105, Nadine 95, Tchelet 87, Aaron 85, Eszter 70

First play for Elad and Tchelet, who appear to have done well. Elad managed to get 3 double dragons, which is nearly unheard of. He got 10 points in the last round.

Lo Ra

Aaron 41, Nadine 36, Elad 30

Elad did poorly in the first two scoring phases, but made a decnt comeback in the last.

Tichu

Jon/Schneur 960, David/Preston 240

First play for Preston, who did a great job. David lost an early Tichu which put them in negative points for a few rounds.

 

Sukkot Games Day 5777

20161020_165201A lot of attendees with more new faces than usual.

Thank you to everyone who helped set up and clean up, a big help. Thank you especially to David for taking care of the long food order. We ordered from Pollo Loko for the first time. David had them read back the names for each item, but the order came without any names, missing one item, and without silverware or napkins. When David called to complain they said people need to request those. You would think with a large order they might ask if we want?

Antike

Yael+, Eszter, Binyamin S, Avi, David E

20161020_145719Bang the Dice Game

Sheriff Yael, Bandits+

Shariff Yael, Deputy Binyamin S, Bandits+

Bridge

Avi / Nadine, Ben / Jon

20161020_170415We played one hand before switching to Tichu, Avi made the 3NT that we bid.

Empires: Age of Discovery

Gili 104, Shnuer 94, Aaron 70, Arie 50

Castles of Burgundy

Gili 242, Yuval 206, Avi E 180, Yedidya 129

20161020_121905Gili taught this, first play for the others.

Codenames

Jon: I taught this to David C, Avi Einot, and Yokhay, and they all liked it. In the first game, Avi and I gave clues, in English to David C and Yokhay, which didn’t always go so well since they are Hebrew speakers and we are English speakers. In the second game, Avi gave clues to me in English and Yokhay gave clues to David in Hebrew. Sometimes they switched to English in order to give a clue that is one word in English but two words in Hebrew.

Five Tribes

Eszter  138, Dov 129, Tal 114, Nimrod 107

Gold West

David 115, Eszter 98, Nadine 81

Eszter taught us. Then when we saw Ezra wasn’t playing a game, she taught it again to him. After being interrupted by dinner, Ezra ended up leaving, but we finally played. I didn’t get all the rules right away, even when I did, I didn’t like the resource movement mechanic. Eszter helped us with recommendations, David liked the game.

Hawaii

Gili 104, Binyamin S 90, Eitan 86, Emily 70

20161020_225519It’s Alive

 

King of Tokyo

Avi+, Nadine, Gili, David, Yedidya

I killed Gili, David and Yedidya, but then Avi killed me to win.

Lo Ra

Nadine 35, Shneur 27, Aaron 20

New to both, they liked the game. Before counting most and least money, Shneur had 32, Nadine 30.

Magic

Jon++, David +

David says Jon is on a long winning streak. Jon: David and I drafted cards and I ended up with a relatively tight deck that had some fliers and creature control, but nothing else spectacular. In the first game, I drew as well as I could have, but I had limited land after the initial opening hand and David took me down with bigger creatures.after killing my fliers. In the second game, David was entirely mana screwed, with a hand full of blue cards and no blue lands. In the third game, I was able to eke out another win where both of us had average draws.

Nefarious

Ben didn’t win, I don’t know who else played.

20161020_145800Pax Pamir

Gili, Cliff, Shalom, Refaela

Gilli and Cliff won together.

Phoenicia

Jon, David, Avi, Aaron

Jon: David made one strategic and one tactical mistake in the penultimate and ultimate rounds. Avi thought it was too hard to catch up once ou were losing (although with more experience, hopefully no one will be losing by too much). I taught the game again to David, Avi, and Aaron. I hadn’t played it in a while, and we are not sure that we got the action card availability mechanics correct. David took a wide lead in the middle of the game and held it, but he spent one 20161020_170126round too long building up his infrastructure. I used that one round to gain a huge amount of victory points; that was the penultimate round. On the last round, he neglected (forgot) to deprive me of a card I used to keep my lead. While I would have gotten almost as many points anyway, it was a mistake.  

Scythe

Ofer

 

Signorie

Ben 154, Nadine 133, Assaf 120

20161020_170110First play for Ben, second for Assaf. Ben complained the whole time that he wasn’t getting the game, and about his limited possibilities, though of course he did well. I don’t think he liked the game despite winning. He’s right about the luck elements, such as which flag tiles are available and which ones you need. Assaf did well with marrying daughters into cities, he placed them all in one city which limited his end game bonuses, which lost him 8 or 12 points, and he didn’t invest in many white discs. I concentrated on the book track, not enough to beat Ben’s training of sons – and he also got points from the book track.

Slap Deck

Jon: I taught this to several new people and played several times. Many people liked the game a lot, especially David C (guy from my work who came for the first time), Avi Einot, and Yokhay Liot (the last two guys are new to me and I met them at the end of the evening).

20161020_105552Smiley Faces

Gili, Yuval, David, Avi

Steam

Jon 55, Nati 52, David C 52, Yael 47

Jon: first plays for Yael, Nati, and David C, who all liked the game. I invited them to gang up on me, and they did some of the time but not all of the time. They also all played very well, but I managed to get a 2 or 3 point lead by mid game and just managed to keep hold of it until the end.

20161020_170142Tzolk’in

Eliezer 68, Alan Greenspan 66, Michael 61, Ofer

Tichu

Avi / Nadine, David / Yedidya+

Avi / Nadine 915, David / Ben 1050+

Avi and I had a pair of kings overtaken by a pair of aces twice, ruining our plans.

20161020_212706Jon / Yechiel 1195, Aaron / Shneur 605

Jon: I played with Assaf’s friend Yechiel from Kokhav Hashachar (first play) against Aaron and Shnuer (first or second play). Yechiel made some beginner mistakes, but played very well for his first time. He even called Tichu twice (made it once). I called it three times and made it twice. In one of the times I made it, Aaron on my right played his second to last card (a 7) and I called Tichu, which shocked him. I played an 8. Luckily for me, my partner played his K so Aaron could not play his last card, which was a K. I overtook my partner’s K with one of my aces, played a long straight, then a full house of Q’s over aces, and then got out with the dog.

In another interesting hand, I pulled in my opening 2 aces, 3 Q’s. 3 tens, a straight 2 to 6, and the phoenix. David and Avi’s advice for passing was to pass one 10 to each other player, but I decided to pass the 2, 3, and 4. I got back 2 4’s and the dragon, making an easy tichu. Aaron also called and made or lost some tichus. At one point, one hand took us from 795, and them at 105, to us 695 and them 405, and then us 695 them 605. But those two hands were their only streak. In the next hand it was 995 to 605, and then 1195 to 605.

20161020_170110Year of the Dragon

Nadine 105, Ben 96, Shneur 81, Assaf 79, Ezra 76

New to everyone except me, Ben had played once. This is a very hard game to get on the first play but they all did well, especially Ben. Assaf jumped ahead of me in turn order before the game and took a dragon, I took one on the next round. Ezra started with Books but couldn’t maintain it, no one else focused on it either. Ben had a lot of people, but was slower with round points. I did single building for a while until I finally took a builder. I took a Monk at the beginning for turn order, and was unexpectedly able to keep him til the end of the game. I got one double one, Ben had two double ones.

20161020_132939

Bang the Dice Game

Passover Games Day 5776

2016-04-26 15.30.45A fun day, with 23 people playing at peak time in the afternoon, more people came later after some had left. Mazal tov to Ofer and Michal on their one-week wedding anniversary. Thank you to everyone for recording scores, bringing snacks and games, and moving furniture, and to Gili for some of the pictures.

Adastra

Binyamin Z 58, Devora 35, Alan 26, Yiscah 24, Michael 19

Agricola

Roman 36, Ron 25, Assaf 21, Eli 9

2016-04-26 14.18.55Roman taught them. Eli is not a Eurogamer, Ron liked the game and did well for his first play, as did Assaf.

Bridge

Binyamin Z/Nadine, Devora/Yiscah

Binyamin helped everyone with instructions on how to play optimally. On the last hand, he bid 1NT. I had 13 points, 4 hearts, and AKx of spades and wanted to bid 4 hearts, but he said I should bid my honorless 4-card club suit. We ended up in 4 hearts; he made 7, he had 5 hearts and the queen dropped. So he asked Ben for his opinion on whether he should have gone to small slam, Ben basically said yes. He said he would have bid 4 hearts like I wanted to, unless he was playing with Binyamin, in which case he would know he had to bid the clubs.

Bora Bora 

Gili 188, Jon 178, Avi 121

boraboraJon: I decided to try this one more time to see if it was as finicky as I recalled or if it was just that my first play was overwhelming. I remain convinced that the game should have been streamlined and a few mechanics taken out. I WAS less overwhelmed, but I don’t think I will play it too often.

First play for Avi; he shared my sentiments, and by the time we were halfway through he wanted it to be over. We stuck it out. I thought I was doing OK, managing to build a building every round by the skin of my teeth, which should have given me a tidy sum. Unfortunately, owing to the luck of my first mission draws, I was a single tile shy of competing my last mission, which lost me at least 10 points. Gili finished all of her missions but was one shy of finishing her buildings, she beat me by 10 points, and I’m not sure how she beat me. If I ever play this again, I am going to try building all my tents, just to see what happens.

20160426_205142Castles of Burgundy

Binyamin Z 238, Nadine 205, Ofer 151

Jon: I taught this to Ben, Binyamin, and Ofer. Ben got bad luck with his rolls and was thoroughly sick of the game by the end of the first phase; he was perhaps too tired to figure out how all of the buildings worked, and I don’t really blame him; the iconography is not terrible, but it’s not great. On the other hand, Binyamin really liked the game and scored pretty highly.

I was happy to take over for Ben instead of playing Frank’s Zoo. Binyamin had placed the same buildings in the same area, and I let him do it again to finish a section because he had taken the building based on playing that way. I got good yellow tiles – the 3 bonus for colors of tiles sold, and the play the same building in areas, that Binyamin should have had, but it wasn’t enough to beat Binyamin’s yellow 4 point bonus tiles for 2 buildings, and his first place in several colors.

694fddfa-504b-487f-8275-f27ec404b3a5Eldritch Horror

Gili, Roman, Yonatan, Avi, Noam, and Alan beat the game in this co-op.

Frank’s Zoo

7af56e6b-146e-4240-b398-00d4bef946f4Michal 9, Devora 7, Binyamin R 6, Yiscah 4

Yiscah 25, Binyamin R 14, Eszter 14, Devora 13

Guildhall

Eitan 20, Emily 13, Ofer 10, Michal 8

guildhallIn the last turn Eitan got two series of dancers. Eitan said he exploited a loophole which allows combining extra actions with additional card draws.

Homesteaders

Jon 64, Michael 52, Avi 44

Michael had requested the farming game with the apples ahead of time, Jon realized which game he meant.

Jon: I taught this to Avi and refreshed Michael’s memory of the game. It was a nice experience for all, as I remember, but in the end my experience gave me the edge. The end scores were pretty close, however.

Lo Ra

Eli 25, Efrat and Yossi 17, Eitan 9, Ron 1, Emily 1

At least they all had positive scores. Our house version of Ra with a Biblical theme.

Lords of Waterdeep

Avi 133, Gili 122, Noam 116

Second play for Avi and Noam.

2016-04-26 21.16.49Magic

Jon: David and I drafted and we both ended up playing colors that we weren’t expecting. David played BRG and, while he got out a lot of his strength, it didn’t seem to be enough. I played BWu, with many fliers and some control cards. In the first game, my fliers took him down. In the second, I started with only one mana. I tossed a creature to get my second, which was luckily the right color for me to cast a spell that let me pay life for 2 more cards. I got out one more, a mana unicorn, and that was enough to get me started until more flowed in. We traded some kills, we both played a few big creatures, and then I took some of his out and he resigned.

Mundus Novus

Devora 95, Ofer 59

Devora +, Haim 41, Guy and Gilad 19

noblemenNoblemen

Binyamin R 92, Yosef 91, Eszter 90, Nadine 74

Eszter has the game but hadn’t played. Yosef taught us, he had read the rules but never played, so we looked up things as we went, and of course played a few things wrong. The cards were in German but it doesn’t matter because it’s just the card title, no text otherwise, we had the rules in English, and he taught in Hebrew. The game pieces are beautiful, and it’s a nice game. I forgot to do one or two things which led to my having no moves for about half the game, because I was out of tiles and money. Everyone else had tons and couldn’t understand it. I forgot to place one guy when I build a castle, which would have given me a few more tiles. I did have bad luck with tile drawing – I had three down, and every time I drew three more, which is limited to once per the three rounds, none were the forests which let you draw more tiles. I also forgot that the point of the purple churches was to get cards, which also would have helped me get more tiles. So the problem seems to have been my playing, and not the game. The theme is well-integrated as you have masquerades to increase your rank, but it resets twice per round.

2e6ead30-2c26-4939-9d4a-a31aa192eae7Notre Dame

Yiscah, Shira, Haim

Power Grid

David 15/17, Roman 13/14, Ksenia 11/15

2016-04-26 12.22.22David taught this to Ksenia who we all enjoyed seeing on her visit from Poland. We were going to use the German side, but three regions didn’t seem balanced. I left to play 7 Wonders Duel before we started, and after Ksenia and others came.

R-Eco

Devora 15, Yiscah 10, Binyamin Z 4

First play for all of them.

7 Wonders

Emily 54, Yonatan 54, Noam 51, Ofer 43,Michal 42, Eitan 37

2016-04-26 12.42.117 Wonders Duel

Yosef 88, Nadine 75

I had wanted to try this. It’s more interesting than 7 Wonders, with a similar theme and feeling, but still a lot of luck. When you select cards, it opens up new cards for the other player/s. I made mistakes with this a few times early on, and a few other mistakes. Yosef is experienced so he gave me advice. I thought he’d end up further ahead than he did. There are three ways to win; I was in a good position to win with military, two away, but the cards worked out for him, and he took advantage to block me. He was able to take the last card he needed to win in green, but preferred to keep playing and count points, he said otherwise the points are a waste. Counting points seemed complicated and time consuming, he did it. We played in French, his main language and my first one.

signorieSignorie

Binyamin R 150, Eszter 128, Nadine 127, Assaf 115

New to the others. Binyamin was competing with me for the lead most of the game, but pulled ahead at the end. He caught on well to what he needed to do. Eszter didn’t realize she should pay and get points when placing daughters, but we gave back the 5 she had paid for points with the bonus and back paid for all her placements, which gave her more points and caught her up to near me; she passed me by one at the very end. Assaf only had three helpers, Binyamin had the most.

Slap Deck

Avi++, Jon+

Jon: I taught Avi how to play this, and he really liked it. We played three times, he won twice. He asked to play it again several times when I wasn’t available.

83bda1f1-e1d1-4cde-b231-ac9cdab63769Suburbia

Jon 134, Binyamin 114, David 11, Ben 110

Jon: I taught this to Ben, David, and Binyamin. David like it and wanted to play again. Ben seemed to like it, too. Binyamin didn’t like it, because there is nothing to do when it is not your turn and the other players’ turns took too long for him. It’s true that there is not much to do on your turn, and not much in the way of player interaction or interfering with other players (other than taking the building he wants), but I think the game is fast enough and interesting enough to be good; I actually really like it.

Even though I had the highest income at the start, I was cash shy for a lot of the game. Binyamin took early greens but he ended up with negative income and no money, which made many of his last turns useless; even lakes couldn’t bring him enough cash not to lose them, and he couldn’t save money to buy income generating buildings. David also had a lot of cash, from the building that doubles lake income, which he then doubled again (for triple). He made use of his cash finally in the last third of the game hovering near the top of income and reputation until the last round. But it was too late, and he had no bonuses. Ben and I each made two bonuses, and Binyamin made three. On the last move of the game, Ben handed Binyamin his third bonus in order to take around 14 points himself.

Tichu and Where’s Tichu?

Avi/Nadine 375, Jon/David 225

We started the day with this. My favorite Tichu partner, and players. When David said maybe the teams aren’t fair, Avi said we like playing together, and I said it’s worth losing for the times we do manage to beat such good players. First hand I called a Tichu and made it. The others asked me why I called it so early, at least a hand before I played my first card, and I said because I always forget to call it if I wait. On another hand Avi could have gone out first, but wanted to give me a chance to play so we could go out first and second, but neither one of us ended up going out first, he should have just gone out. Jon thought about calling a Tichu but decided not to. One game he did well, but would have done better if he had remembered that he had passed David the Dragon and therefore knew where it was. We stopped when more people came, which I had said at the beginning would be our strategy.

Jon/Ben 735, David/Assaf 565

We couldn’t find Tichu among all the games people brought, which were stacked on shelves, couches and tables. Whenever I asked if they had looked somewhere they said yes. I know things slip between my couch pillows, so I looked carefully, and found it with a few others small games behind a back pillow.

Jon: We taught Ben and Assaf how to play. Ben picked it up quickly; Assaf took a bit longer, but they both seemed to enjoy it (it helped Ben’s enjoyment that we were winning). Ben was my teammate. David called and made 2 grand tichus, including one on the opening hand. I called and made regular tichu on the second hand. Even when our opponents made tichus, they always seemed to end up with the short end on points, so Ben and I did very well.

Ticket to Ride

2016-04-26 15.30.55Shira 123, Yiscah 121, Devora 109, Haim 98

Year of the Dragon

Shira 112, Ben 105, David 86, Haim 95

David taught this to the others, and then proceeded to do much worse than he usually does. They were all close in the number of people left at the end.

 

March 30, 2016

Participants: Jon, David, Binyamin, Gili, Nadine, Aaron, Haim, Francis, Eszter

Haim is a newcomer who lives nearby. He came to check us out and hopes to come again, maybe with his wife sometimes.

Magic: The Gathering

Jon+, David+

We drafted. R and W gave me 21 playable cards. I chose U flyers as a splash. My deck was all flyers or cards that make you fly, or direct damage, or completely prevent him from blocking for one turn. I thought it was pretty good, although it had no mana prisms and no extra card drawing, so I was likely to stall or crash with a mana problem. Meanwhile David played W for the first time in a long time, as well as G and U.

I had a mana problem in the first game (no Plains), and my other cards were the ones that prevented him from blocking. He flew over and pinged me, even though I took out two of his creatures with a Fireball. The second game I had no mana problem and everything flowed well. I stalled a little bit, but as long as he couldn’t touch me I could wait him out until I had enough firepower to overrun him in one turn, which I did.

High Society

Binyamin+, Jon, Gili-

First play for Binyamin and Gili. Binyamin was distracted during the game, and Gili had a hard time wrapping her head around the “least money loses” rule. Gili was too aggressive and she lost, I was too conservative and I had almost no points. So Binyamin won. I don’t think Gili liked it.

Libertalia

Jon 86, Gili 73, Francis 63, Binyamin 62, Eszter 52

This is a medium weight game, kind of a cross between the 3×6 card play of 7 Wonders crossed with the screw your neighbors feel of Citadels. I hated that aspect of Citadels but I enjoy 7 Wonders.

Each player starts each round with the same numbered cards. You blind bid one each round. Lower numbers play their card effects first (which can sometimes assassinate a higher valued card) and then the higher valued cards take first picks from available chips. When two players play the same valued card in a round, each card has an an initiative number; supposedly these initiative numbers are distributed evenly among the player colors, but they are fixed on each color’s cards. In practice, the highest valued card always nets around 5 points and the lowest around -3. But there were exceptions, and sometimes the bad chips can be turned to good.

This game has a lot going for it, and it mostly seems to work well. I started poorly and didn’t see how I could do better. Then I realized how even the “bad effects” of the chips can be either neutral or even good if you combine certain card effects and chips in certain ways, and that made it more enjoyable. Nevertheless, as the game went on, I also realized that I was frustrated at the near-complete chaos and lack of control.

I don’t believe that there is control in blind bidding and “bluffing” games, both of which are fancy ways of implementing “total luck unless your opponents are idiots”. In this game, your reward depends slightly on how well you play, but mostly on whether  your opponents play things that totally screw you. And if anyone managed to make progress, your opponents can gang up on you.

A more worrying problem is that the players have different fixed card values. These are supposed to be balanced, but I found that there are certain cards that are far more valuable to be played in the first or last rounds of each phase, and therefore more critical to have the “better initiative”, while other cards are equally valuable when played in any round, and therefore initiative on these cards is irrelevant. Unfortunately for me, the Yellow cards had the poor initiative on the cards that actually needed them, and good initiative on cards that didn’t matter. So I was at a disadvantage if I played sensibly.

As you can see, I won anyway, despite not playing sensibly. This is because everyone else was also playing for the first time. Yellow’s biggest screwage was with the Monkey card, which would have totally screwed me if more of my opponents had decided to play them all in the last round of the phase, but only two of them did. There was nothing in our game that could have stopped them, although certain cards possibly could have if they had come out the right way for me.

As I said, the game isn’t bad because it’s medium weight, and some people will like the luck of flipping up the cards and then winning by luck or losing by luck (which is what happened to Estzer). I think that the game might more interesting played using El Grande type bidding mechanics, where each player plays cards in turn openly, and you can’t play the same card someone else played. Some of the powers might have to be altered a bit and rebalanced for this to work.

Year of the Dragon

David 120, Aaron 112, Haim 102, Nadine 92

First plays for Haim and Aaron. Around turn 9 I saw David had more than 80 points while everyone else was down at around 40 or so.

Nadine writes: David had two double dragons, I had a single one, the others had more than one double each. I had the fewest people at the end, four, tied with David. I made several mistakes, one extremely stupid because it was totally avoidable. We thought David was more ahead than it turned out. I’m taking credit for how well Aaron and Haim did on their first play, they liked the game a lot.

Trains and Stations

Francis 50, Gili 33, Eszter 31, Binyamin 27

First play for everyone. Binyamin says that I wouldn’t have liked it because it has too many dice.

Tichu

Jon/Aaron 955, David/Nadine 345

David disputes the final score. Aaron is still a newcomer, and on his last turn, while trying to make a Grand Tichu, he played a card and then hesitated before playing his bomb (he was trying to remember the rules) to take it and then exit. While he was hesitating, David played his last card to go out. I told David to take back his last card and let Aaron go out. So there you go.

I also made a Grand Tichu.

 

 

 

 

Sukkot Games Day 5776

Participants: Assaf, Avi, Avraham, Ben, Binyamin R, David, Eszter, Grisha, Jon, Michael, Nadine, Nisan, Ofer, Rafi, Shalom, Tchelet, Yair, Zev

20150929_122525Thanks to everyone who came and brought snacks and games, and helped with the session report.

Best snack – A giant dark chocolate bar with almonds

Best traveler – Ofer, who drove in from Haifa

Most popular new game – Guildhall

Amun Re

20150929_161225Avi 49, Assaf 42, Yair 37, Binyamin R 32

Bridge

Jon, Avi, David, Assaf, Ben, Nadine

Jon played one hand of Bridge with Assaf and Avi; Ben bid and made 3 Diamonds. I wanted to play, but Jon kept telling me to stay in my Castles of Burgundy game and that I could play later. But David and Avi were going to be leaving soon, so after Jon got into another game I went over to play, mainly bidding, and letting dummy finish defending hands, and my partner Avi play an (overbid) hand.

Carson City

Ofer 42, Assaf 40, Nadine 38, Binyamin R 36, Eszter 28

New or almost new to Ofer and Assaf. Binyamin R lost two early duels due to terrible dice rolls, therefore having no buildings on his plots until the third round, but still managed to do well at scoring points. Assaf spent a lot of money at 10 to1 but still did well. He took the most plots, with 11, taking some randomly which only helped in end game and victory points, not in building income.

20150929_162251Castles of Burgundy

Shalom 191, Nadine 185, Avraham 179, Grisha 145

I taught this, new to Grisha and Avraham. In the second to last round, Shalom and Grisha needed to leave, and I started playing bridge but coming back for my moves. Avraham gamely took everyone’s turns, selecting their best moves. We used the standard boards. Shalom had a good animal section.

Dixit

20150929_132128Avraham 34, Grisha 25, David 24, Michael 23, Gili 22, Shalom 22

With two sets of expansions my sister brought me this summer, everyone enjoyed seeing new cards. Avi played while playing Hawaii, if he wasn’t available, I played for him, also while playing Hawaii. When Michael arrived we let him take over. A lot of singing clues, a fun and lively game, new to some including Michael.

Five Tribes

Nadine 166, Avraham 132, Shalom 115, Grisha 109

First play for all of them. They did well catching on, but didn’t always see the best moves. I collected yellows and cards, no one else had a set of more than 4, I had 7. I only got one jinn which I got for points, Shalom had 3. He wasn’t able to fully take advantage of his which had good synergy relating to assassinations, but he couldn’t assassinate every turn. Shalom and I had one camel left at the end. Avraham made good blue moves, getting around 24 twice. We mostly bid low.

Gloom

David -135, Gili -45, Grisha -40, Shalom -20

I don’t know if high negatives are good or bad.

Guildhall

Gili 24, Eszter 18, Ofer 16

Hawaii

Avi 120, Assaf 109, Nadine 91, Yair 81

I taught the game. Avi had 5 villages and scored 2 for spears, I had 9 fruits and both fruit bonuses, but only won the round points once, and didn’t have boats.

20150929_161039Lords of Waterdeep

David 128, Jon 117, Ben 116, Zev 115, Tchelet 113

Jon: First play for Zev and Tchelet, second for Ben I think. Very close, as you can see. Ben didn’t score any major quests, but he gained 28 points from completed quests at the end. David was second with 16, I had 12. David and I scored several nice points from buildings. Zev scored at least two of the 25 point quests.

Magic

Jon: David and I drafted but only played one game, which I won. Nisan and David, and Nisan and I, started drafting and making decks, but didn’t play.

20150929_152643Mincha

No problem getting a minyan, Yona and his friends were rehearsing for their second performance at the Amos Winery at the end of the week. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE2738C53160F7E98

Notre Dame

Gili 65, David 47, Grisha 37

New to Grisha.

Princes Of Florence

Eliezer 74, Ben 68, Nisan 43

Nisan: I ran home to bring it and played with Ben and Eliezer. Tight game all the way for Ben and Eliezer, while I dropped out of contention by round 5, having overpaid too often at auction and not cashed in works for money. Ben and Elizer each played some 6 works trading profession cards back and forth and exhausting the recruiting cards at auction (I got one that was used successfully). For round 7 both Ben and Eliezer needed to play two works to win, but Ben had only one in his hand. Eliezer (who had two, already) outbid Ben for the last recruiting card to seal his victory. Though Ben played a 34 pt work and received best work bonus it wasn’t enough to catch Eliezer.

Suburbia

Jon 110, Eszter 89, Ofer 85, Binyamin R 69

Jon: I won. Eszter said she didn’t like it as much as the Castles of Mad King Ludwig and Ofer didn’t like it because it was too much numbers and not enough theme.

20150929_215729Tichu

Nisan/Eliezer 725, Ben/Jon 375

Jon: First play for all of them, although Nisan had heard the rules before. Ben and I started off with two successful hands, which increased Ben’s enjoyment, although he still felt there was too much luck (a typical and mostly accurate response by a new player). Nisan bid and made a grand Tichu on round 3, and then they both bid and made Tichus while Ben and I had mostly sucky hands. Many bombs flying around, though.

20150929_16102520150929_132109Tzolk’in

Gili 70, Eszter 58, Michael 50, Ofer 36

Earlier, Ben, Rafi, Tchelet and Zev played half a game after I got them started, it took them too long and they didn’t like it, the opposite of Eszter, Ofer, and Gili’s enthusiasm for it.

Year of the Dragon

Nadine 113, Gili 88, Avraham 82

We played with my new expansions from Jon’s Alea Treasure Chest that he finally went through. We used the Wall expansion, but modified to exclude any penalties. It helps the game a lot, with an additional action card with a choice of actions, providing more options which you want; especially helpful for new players. I used my princess and building strategy, I also had a double dragon, giving me 6 points per round pretty quickly, and later 9. I managed to keep a lot of people, relatively. Gili made a mistake early on and ended the game with no people or buildings – she didn’t get any rice the first famine. She got a double dragon first turn, and then successfully focused on the book strategy. She easily maintained first place on the turn order track, Avraham and I alternated second place a few times, but I otherwise I was last. But the last two rounds Gili lost even her book people, which did it. I also had buddhas.