Thursday, August 30, 2007

August 29, 2007

Participants: Jon, Yitzchak, Nadine, Adam, Gili, Ben

Nadine returns from chu"l. She played games at Yahoo's HQ in California with South Bay Boardgamers (San Juan and Aladdin's Dragons) and met someone who had already ordered It's Alive.

Princes of Florence

Ben 79, Nadine, Yitzchak

Ben won by around ten points over Nadine and Yitzchak, one of whom had one more point than the other, but I forget which one. That's what comes from not writing down the scores.

At one point, someone here expressed a desire to be allowed to move the buildings around after they have been placed, an idea at which Adam scoffed at as unrealistic.

Lost Valley

Gili 37, Jon 29, Adam 19

Again, scores are approximate. This was a rambling and full game, with a long river, a lot of gold mined, and a lot of explored territory. Gili stole from some of the work that Adam did. That should have been to my advantage, but my lack of equipment slowed me down. I had previous experiences of the game ending too quickly and so I didn't want to waste the time in investing. Since the game lasted for some time, my lack of investment hurt.

I eventually went back and got a boat, which is really nice. Gili had a cart, which is about as nice. I think both, plus fishing rod and axe, is probably the best set of tools.

It was pretty obvious that Gili was winning already with the last quarter of the game to go. I think that the biggest negative is picking a single or double gold nugget from an event, which is nigh useless.

We still have some rule issues. Can people drop or sell back equipment, for instance? And the rules for how and where you can lay out territory are still confusing. When you are required to add a water tile is confusing. Can you collect river gold if you are on the wrong side of a river but own a boat? And other issues that keep coming up.

At one point, Gili expressed a desire to be allowed to move mines around after they have been placed, an idea at which Adam scoffed at as unrealistic.

Modern Art

Jon 537, Adam 532, Gili

I think this is my first victory. Unlike other auction games, I think this game is better with three than with four or five, as you have more control and more chances to lay down cards, instead of being at the whim of what everyone else decides.


Jon/Yitzchak, Ben/Nadine

We played a number of hands of this, and I got a lot of 4333 average hands. I also tried playing Bridge together with Modern Art, but that didn't work out too well.


Adam++, Jon

We played on an 11x11 board, and even with handicap stones, it's clear that I am just not good enough to challenge Adam, yet. I need to go back and learn some basics again.

Friday, August 24, 2007

August 23, 2007

Participants: Jon, Gili, Adam, Binyamin, Yitzchak, Saarya

Game night this week was moved to Thursday night since I had to take Rachel to the airport on Wed night.

It's Alive

Jon 48, Adam, Gili, Saarya

Requested by Adam and Gili as an opener while we waited for the other two to arrive. I requested that we play th advanced version, since we played the basic version last time.

Adam got hit by two villagers, but also got two coffins. Gili got one each. I managed to escape unscathed, only seeing a coffin when I needed it to win on my last turn. The other players were not very far advanced when I won, which is kind of unusual.


Yitzchak 94, Jon 78, Adam 68

Not my favorite game, but at least I had to do some planning and thinking this game. I won't play Caylus with more than three players, and only some players at that.

I thought I was doing well, and I would have been much closer if I hadn't lost out on one favor I needed to build my second blue building. It couldn't be helped, as others needed it too, and I had to choose what to invest in. Yitzchak had the most favors this game, and while I didn't think he used them amazingly well, he did so well enough to win handily. His last round was a perfectly planned building strategy of 4 houses in the castle and the largest blue building.

Tigris and Euphrates

Binyamin 6, Gili 5, Saarya 5

I don't know how the game went, but Binyamin insisted that I write down the scores. Gili and Saarya appear to have tied.

Princes of Florence

Binyamin+, Gili, Saarya

One again, Binyamin won by a narrow margin, and Gili and Saarya both tied right behind him.

Cosmic Encounter

Yitzchak+, Adam, Jon, Binyamin

Adam insisted on us each playing three powers. And to add to the confusion, he was the Pentaform and Binyamin was the Reincarnator. Then I went and foolishly played the wild Reincarnator somewhere in the middle of the game, which was dumb, as I had a good position and good powers. Even though I ended up with the Disease as a new power, I never had any bases with enough tokens on them to spread for a victory.

The game was pretty long and drawn out. Other than that, it was fun. We all hovered around 4 bases for a bit of time before Yitzchak won by shear exhaustion of all other cards.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

August 15, 2007

Participants: Jon, Yitzchak, Adam, Gili, Rachel A

Ah, the light heady days of summer, when most people are on vacation.

San Juan

Jon 43, Yitzchak 40

I plunked down a first turn Prefecture, which is fairly deadly in two-player. I followed it up with a Smithy, Silver, and a rare-for-me Tower. I got the three six-point cards and managed to hold on to them and build them by the end of the game.

Yitzchak had Library around building number four or so, so I kept taking Prospector to make his life difficult. Eventually he built Prefecture, Quarry, Smithy, and Carpenter. He built three big buildings, too, and one more building than me, but his Triumphal Arch wasn't as lucrative as my Palace.

Lost Valley

Gili 13, Yitzchak 9, Jon 8, Adam 8

I almost started Industria, but these guys had never played Lost Valley, and I liked the game enough to play it again. Especially since I know that some of the members who didn't come don't like it as much.

Adam went off in one direction where there wasn't much mountain gold, although he eventually mined one mountain hex for three chips. Gili went off and mined her own mountain hex for four chips, which won her the game. Yitzchak followed me around a bit, which slowed both of us down.

Eventually, I mined three chips out of one mountain, giving him the last one. He went off to find river gold.

As Gili was ahead, she explored like crazy. With the last unexplored tile placed, the river was immediately capped. No one had been exploring the river, so it was only four segments long. The game then ended too quickly for me to open up a new mine.

Everyone appears to have enjoyed the game. I'm looking forward to playing again.

"Sawmill" in Hebrew is מנסרה (mansera). "Saw" is מסור (massor). --Adam

It's Alive

Jon+, Adam, Yitzchak

Adam suggested this, and we played the basic game. I massed a lot of money at the beginning of the game. I was also the only one to be hit with Villagers, first a 4 and then a 6. Then a few more to boot, which I ignored.

Despite this, I won the game, which only goes to show you that it's possible. I kept careful count of how little money my opponents had. They never had quite so little that I could abuse them, but still. I also got a little lucky pulling the card I needed after a few rounds at the end, although I had enough money to buy it from anyone's graveyard, too.

Puerto Rico

Jon 60, Yitzchak 57, Rachel 56, Adam 40

Rachel requested this, and may even have done better if her attention hadn't drifted for a few rounds in the middle of the game. We played the standard building set.

Y: Settler/Quarry, Adam takes corn, Rachel tobacco, I take coffee. I end up with a lucrative coffee monopoly during the game. Rachel does almost as well with her tobacco.
A: Builder/Small Market. Rachel builds Small Market.

A:Trader+, after some urging from me. If he does something like Settler and then Rachel takes Craftsman+, I will Trade+. If Rachel takes Trader+ and I Craftsman+, Yitzchak has no good and won't Captain+.

R:Builder+/Small Sugar.
J:Settler+/corn. After this phase, Adam and I have coffee plantations, while Rachel and Yitzchak have tobacco plantations.

J:Builder/Coffee. Yitzchak builds Tobacco.
Y:Mayor. Now, Yitzchak will be trading tobacco, and I'll be trading coffee. Rachel has Sugar and Small Market, while Adam has Indigo and Small Market.
R:Craftsman+. I thought this was rather a bad move, giving Yitzchak Trader++ next turn and a tobacco to trade. As a result of this move, cash was high for the rest of the game.

Y:Trader++/tobacco. Of course. Adam trades indigo, Rachel sugar, I coffee. Trading House empties.

A:Builder+/Factory. While Factory was indeed a scarcer resource than Coffee, this allowed my coffee monopoly to continue for longer. Rachel and Yitzchak both build Harbor. I's at 6 doubloons, so I wait.
J:Trader/coffee. Another full round of trading.
Y:Settler+/corn. Yitzchak wanted to take another quarry, but Rachel and I convinced him that this was the reason he had been losing his last few games so badly. One quarry is more than enough, and he needed more shipping goods, especially with a Harbor (same would apply to Factory). I won the building point game, and I didn't have a single quarry (instead, I had coffee monopoly and Factory).

R:Builder/Tobacco. I built Factory. Yitzchak could not be dissuaded from building Hospice, which didn't help him during the game. Adam built Large Sugar.
J:Mayor+. I was very wary of doing this, because it filled in Yitzchak and Rachel's Harbors, and they already had goods to ship.

Y:Trader+. This time Adam doesn't have an indigo to trade, so one space is left in the Trading House.

Y:Builder+/Guild Hall. He ends up with a full Guild Hall by game's end. Stupid building. Adam and I both build Small Market. After building, I still have 10 doubloons on my board.
R:Captain. Rachel and I begin blocking boats with our trade goods.
J:Prospector+. I'm now looking at buying two big buildings, as I was flush with cash.

R:Settler+, Yitzchak takes a sugar plantation. Rachel has had a sugar monopoly until now.
J:Trader+. I fill in the Trading House with an indigo.
Y:Builder/Small Sugar. I build City Hall.

J:Craftsman+. The 5 boat had 2 coffees in it, and Adam was going to be producing coffee soon. I produced 2 coffees, but elected to not take an additional coffee as my bonus good, even though anything else I would produce wouldn't ship. I preferred leaving the boat still partially full. I took an extra corn, beginning a long buildup of corn on my Small Warehouse.
Y:Captain+. Yitzchak always prefers to Captain when he is afraid he will be locked out, otherwise.
A:Mayor. Nobody has any monopolies anymore.

J:Builder+/Custom's House. Not as much for the points it will give me, but for denying it to Yitzchak or Rachel. Turns out to give be a fair bit, after all. No one else builds.
R:Trader+. I debated not trading my coffee. Adam and Rachel were pretty much sure to get the other two big buildings before I could, anyway. I had two coffee barrels, and I could only ship one. But the other one could be left over to start another coffee ship. I decided that I would be crafting again by then, anyway. Also, I had my eye on a Wharf already at that point, as I was accumulating corn.

A:Builder/Residence. Rachel builds Fortress. I'm one shy for Wharf. I build Construction Hut.
R:Mayor+. All big buildings are manned.
J:Craftsman. I now have 7 corn. I'm totally aware that I won't get to ship them on the next Captain phase, as Adam or Rachel or both will block me. But all three ships are going to empty, and the game isn't yet going to be over, leaving me clear sailing to ship them all on the next Captain phase. My next concerns then were whether to worry about Wharf and manning it, or simply go for sending them on the regular boats. Sending on the regular boats helps cut off Harbor shippers.

A:Captain. I keep my 7 corn.
J:Builder/Wharf. For my City Hall, and just in case I can do it again.

R:Craftsman+. Rachel has since regretted this move, as others cut off boats before she could ship and the game ended due to victory point depletion.
J:Captain. I chose to ship 7 corns on a boat and block it, rather than Mayor and Wharf. This nearly doubles my victory point total for the game. Game end triggered. Adam hands me the game now by shipping his three coffees, allowing me to do the same, instead of shipping one sugar or indigo, which would have given Rachel three more victory points instead. It's true that this is a slight flaw in the game.
Y:Builder. Yitzchak fills in his last production building. I build Hacienda.
A:Prospector. Adam is already ahead in any tie situation.

Y: 26ship + 21build + 10bonus = 57
A: 19ship + 17build + 4bonus = 40
R: 35ship + 15build + 6bonus = 56
J: 26ship + 21build + 13bonus = 60

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

August 08, 2007

Participants: Jon, Dylan, Ben, Yitzchak, Nathan, Adam, Tal, Elijah, Yaira

Tal and Elijah dropped by after their play rehearsal. Tal brought her friend Yaira over, too. Nathan returned after a long absence.

I set up Industria for a quick run through the rules. It looks simple enough, and I hope to give it a complete go next time.

Cosmic Encounter

Ben+ (Demon, Sorcerer), Dylan+ (Judge, Calculator), Nathan+ (Witch, Grudge), Jon (Schizoid, Pacifist), Yitzchak (Void, Industrialist)

I took the Schizoid, a power which fills me with glee. Unfortunately, my win conditions were simply one of a series of mistakes I made throughout the game. They were: a) 3 foreign bases, and b) foreign bases not shared.

I hoped that my second power, the Pacifist, would give me a slight but not overwhelming advantage with this, because the Pacifist doesn't need allies to win battles. Also, the other players are ally happy. Of course, Filth would have been even better.

I neglected to notice that in a five-player game, I don't actually get to be Offensive player that often and that most bases are gained while allying with others. As a result, I never had a foreign base that wasn't shared.

I made other dumb plays, like not playing a compromise card against the Sorcerer, and such things.

Meanwhile, the other players asked lots of questions, but the closest they ever got to figuring out the criteria is that it involved tokens in some way. Dylan asked early on if the criteria involved where you placed your bases, to which I said no. He complained that in fact my answer should have been "yes" for that, since "the bases had to be placed on planets where other bases weren't". Ben and I disagreed.

You have to expect little problems like that to come up with the Schizoid.

Since no one could guess the criteria, and I couldn't seem to win, the game pretty much came down to getting five bases and zapping me. Dylan got five bases, and then Ben and Nathan did. Ben then Super Demoned his power onto my Schizoid. Yitzchak and I could get to four bases, but no more.

Meanwhile, the other two most abused powers, Judge and Witch, were also in the game, as well as the Void. The Void is the only power I refuse to play with in the game, not because it is too weak or too strong, but because it makes the game not fun. My fix for the Void is to change it to the Praw; tokens go to the Praw, and can be taken either from Praw to Warp, or from Warp out. Dylan and I both thought that the Judge might be too powerful, as well. We couldn't figure out how to fix it, and in any case, the fact that the judgment doesn't apply when a comp is played or the Demon is used, negates the power well enough.

While we played Cosmic, Adam and I started a game of Zertz, but abandoned it when Elijah came in.

Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation

Adam, Elijah

Adam and Elijah played at least one game of this, possibly more.

We played two games. I was black both times. We each won once. We also argued about whether Gandalf is a Maia and whether it's a waste of time to learn Quenya/Elvish.--Adam

It's Alive

Tal+, Yaira

Tal+, Adam, Yaira, Elijah

Tal introduced this to Yaira. Then Adam and Elijah joined for a four-player game. I took a look late in the second game and thought Adam was going to win, but Tal somehow pulled off a victory.

Yaira liked the game well enough.

I was about to win a few rounds before the end of the game, but then drew a villagers tile that I couldn't pay for, which set me back enough that Tal was able to pull it off. --Adam

Apples to Apples

Elijah, Adam, Tal

They played a number of rounds of this, until Dylan Adam got into some lengthy discussion with Genia about Esperanto.


Jon/Adam, Ben/Yitzchak

And we played a few rounds of this to end the night. I lost one hand by not figuring out that Ben had to have the singleton King of Spades.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

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.