Sunday, September 30, 2007

Games Day: September 30, 2007


Adam - club regular
Akiba - schoolmate of Saarya's
Ari - first time attendee from Jerusalem
Assaf - first time attendee from Jerusalem
Avi - David's son
Ben - club regular, my brother
Benjamin - friend of Elijah's
Coby - gamer from Rechovot; hosts game nights there
David - club regular; old friend of mine and my brothers
Elijah - club regular
Jack - infrequent club attendee since he started his own Russian-speaking game club in Jerusalem
Jon - me
Michael - infrequent club attendee; Elijah's father
Nadine - club regular; close friend of mine and Rachel's outside the club
Richard - attends game days only; an historical bridge partner of mine; likes Settlers, but otherwise only prefers classic games such as Bridge and Go; Richard brought me a whole bunch of classic game board and books as a gift
Saarya - infrequent club attendee, since he's in sleep-away school; my son
Seraphya - son of friends of ours; first time attendee
Shachar - son of same friends of ours; infrequent attendee
Shlomiyah - daughter of same friends of ours; first time attendee
Tal - infrequent club attendee; my daughter
Yitzchak - club regular
Yuka - friend of Jack's and attendee of the Russian club

Games Played:

Bridge x many

Played as a filler and ender by Jon, Richard, Nadine, Ben, and David.


Adam taught this to Saarya, Elijah, and me. It is an elegant idea: pick tiles, place them, score points for what you've placed minus what you couldn't.

We only played one game, but I wasn't entirely sold on the idea. I really didn't like the drafting mechanism of the tiles wherein the best tiles are essentially taken in order around the table. I know I can find a better mechanic than that. And the principal of some times being harder to place than other tiles doesn't hold up, since they're all easy to place at the beginning and harder to place as you go on.

I have to read the rules myself and see if I'm missing something.

Adam won by a slight margin.

English rules are here. --Adam


One of the long games played in the last several hours of the day; around four hours, I think, for a five player game. First plays for Michael and Shachar, but Yuka and Jack know the game from their club. It was late and Shachar was beginning to fall asleep.

Jack won with 72, Yitzchak was in second with 69, Michael 63, Yuka 59, Shachar 43.

Cosmic Encounter x 2

Elijah's favorite, and he played it twice.

The first time was with Ben, Saarya, and me. I had Oracle and Aristocrat, with which I was pretty happy. Ben had been unhappy with Empath, a power which we both think is underpowered, so we changed it to be that the Empath's opponent loses twice as much for failing to make a deal, which seemed to restore its balance. In any case, Ben never got to try it out, having all around bad hands as usual. Saarya and I earned a joint win.

The second time Elijah played with Saarya, Adam, and Yitzchak. Yitzchak won as the Philanthropist/Subversive. Adam had fun with the Witch.

El Grande

Played by Ben, Saarya, Nadine, and Elijah. Ben started off ahead after the first scoring round, 44 to 39, 38, and Elijah at 23. As a result, he was attacked and fell behind. As usual, even after he was behind he still got attacked, leaving Nadine to do her usual and take a soaring victory. Elijah also made a good comeback. Nadine won with 129 to 99, 99, and 98.

Go (19x19)

One of the games Richard plays, I don't know how this game went except that Adam won.

I beat him fairly easily, although he played well. We should have played with some handicap stones. --Adam

It's Alive x 5

Along with Bridge, this was the filler game of choice for the night. Some of our new visitors asked to pick up copies. Games played include: Nadine+, Saarya, Jon; Tal+, Elijah, Adam; Adam+, Elijah, Tal; Shlomiyah++, Seraphya, Shachar. All games played were the basic version.

Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation x 4

The two-player filler game of choice, apparently. Adam played and beat Elijah twice. Elijah played and beat Shachar, and Seraphya and Shachar also played.

Lost Valley

I was still keen on playing this game, so Saarya and Adam joined me. It was Saarya's first game. Previous games I've had were very different from each other, but this one was a splash in the face of disappointment.

I couldn't make money to save my life owing to the distribution of the tiles. Saarya took a lead in finding money and the explored continuously to run out the clock, a mechanic which I didn't like last time but now really hate.

Furthermore, the arrangement of the tiles and the rule about only one player allowed on a vertex at a time allowed Adam to block and entire area of the board simply by standing and moving back and forth whenever I tried to go around him, which simply makes no sense.

I'm glad this wasn't my first experience with the game. I really like the game, otherwise, and I need to find resolutions for these problems. I think one of the best resolutions is still my first proposed alteration to the game: each player starts with 2 gold nuggets, which eliminates the catastrophe of being shut out early.

Magic: the Gathering x 3

David and I got in a draft and three games of this. Both of us had very weak hands. Even though mine was weak, I thought it did have a little synergy. Still, David killed me handily in one game, lost the second due to mana screw, and came back to win the third from being down 20 to 2. I picked well in all three games, so there you go.

Power Grid x 2

Yitzchak introduced the game to Shachar, Seraphya, and Shlomiyah, and unsurprisingly won. This is David's favorite game, so he made sure to get a game in later with Ben, Nadine, and Assaf. This was Assaf's first game, and he came in a respectable second to Ben's runaway win.

Nadine: David complained the whole game about how poorly he was doing, but we didn't believe him because he always complains and always wins. But this time he was happy that losing vindicated him.

Princes of Florence

Yitzchak played David, Saarya, and Ben, and won 64 to 60, 57, and 52. Nothing unusual, except that a glass of water spilled on the game boards and cards.

Puerto Rico

Lots of members play this online, or with their own groups all the time, so they prefer not to play it also at the club. Still, I wanted to teach Ari, a newcomer to the game. Nadine and Adam joined us. Despite my best efforts, Nadine essentially gave up early and helped Ari. Ari flourished, as a result, and he won with 57 points to my 53, with Adam and Nadine trailing.

Nadine: I helped Ari by giving advice, which he did a good job of deciding when to take and when not to. And he essentially had a Tobacco monopoly, I got my Tobacco online much later, and only traded it once, and he got a Tobacco boat early on. I didn't realize that I probably should have produced and tried to trade Indigo instead of Sugar, and gotten a Large Market.

Settlers of Catan x 2

David, Nadine, and Avi played, but they appeared to get bored of it midgame. Still, Nadine won in the end.

Nadine: Sixes were rolled very often, as were sevens. That caused problems for me and David - I had no sixes, David had a lot, but kept losing cards to the sevens, which also cleared soldiers off my tiles. Avi received three times as many cards as we did, and would have won early on if he had listened to David and used his cards differently.

Coby, Akiba, Shachar, and Benjamin played this later in the day, one game that all of them knew how to play.

The Menorah Game

There remains a group of members of my club who prefer the original themed version to the remake It's Alive. So we played an advanced game of one of these. I won with a handy 50 points to Yitzchak's 37, and Saarya's 32.

Winner's Circle

Tal was very much keen to play this, and we taught first-time players Coby, Akiba, and Shachar. All appeared to enjoy the game. Shachar won to Tal's second place.


I played this with Ari when he first came in while we waited for another game to open up. I won.

Zendo x 2

Adam taught this to Jack, Yuka, Michael, and Shachar. They played twice.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

September 19, 2007

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Yitzchak, Ben, Binyamin

Attendance is down still. Usually it goes up after summer is over. On the other hand, we are in the 10 days of teshuva, so maybe that's why. Hopefully.


Ben, Yitzchak, Jon, Nadine, Biynamin

We started and ended the evening with Bridge games. I played or Binyamin played, depending on the timing.

Leonardo da Vinci

Jon, Nadine, Ben, Binyamin, Yitzchak

Binyamin brought and taught us this game. It seems like a dead-on Eurogame, with classic theme, set collection and area control, resource management, etc.

Like successive series' of paintings, each Eurogame brings the same elements but arranges them slightly differently, each exploring a unique combination of these same elements.

We only played one round before Ben complained that his head wasn't in it, but it seemed interesting enough. Binyamin warned, however, that the game becomes less interesting as it winds on and your choices become more constricted. Prince of Florence also winds on that way without any problems, so we will have to see.

Cosmic Encounter

Binyamin:Chosen/Zombie+, Nadine:Healer/Siren+, Yitzchak:Filth/Warrior, Jon:Wraith/Phantom, Ben:Changeling/Visionary

This was a rollicking good game. I didn't want to play with rotating powers and Binyamin didn't want to play with hidden powers, so we played with two open powers each.

I love the Seeker, but I discarded it in favor of Wraith and Phantom simply because of the strange synergy of these two. Ben's Changeling became the most feared power in the game, and therefore didn't hop around much. At one point I had it and had the opportunity to Changeling with the Filth, which would have destroyed a dozen or so bases, but regretfully decided to take Siren instead which I thought might actually let me win the game.

I Sirened and won a few times, but Ben Cosmic Zapped me twice in a row! and had a third one, too, just in case. Furthermore, when I did gain my fifth base, he took it out with a Wild Void card. And then Nadine Wild Schizoided my hex away from me leaving me one further less base. Sucks to be me.

Binyamin then went on for a potential solo victory against Nadine, but Yitzchak forced them to deal with an Emotion Control, and it ended instead with a joint win by the two of them.

Even with kingmaking and ridiculous luck, this game is just so different and fun every time.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

September 05, 2007

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Yitzchak, Ben, Gili, David K, Dylan

Summer's about over and we're now back to a core group of people. A reminder: we all owe David money for dinner, as none of us had change.

Mississippi Queen

Yitzchak+, David K, Nadine, Jon, Gili

This game didn't look like much from the rules, and the "basic introductory game" looked like even less. We skipped straight to the full game. We started with three players and added others as they came in with suitable starting positions.

It turned out to be a neat and fun little planning game. I kept reading the rules and noticing things I got wrong. Since the game's rules are so simple, each little correction changed the tactics of the game for that particular turn. But the overall feel of the game itself didn't change.

There was thinking, not too much luck, yet it still moved quickly. By the end, most of us enjoyed it enough that we are willing to play again in the future. It's nice that the game can be shortened or lengthened by adjusting the number of tiles, and that handicaps are easily given.

Lost Valley

Dylan 20, Gili 9, Jon 8

This game continues to amuse me quite well, despite lots of squidgy rules issues, and despite heaps of luck that throw things around. Even with the luck, it's just fun to play. The game plays vastly different each time, and it's complicated. Again, thinking, without too much thinking.

I didn't fare well, as my fellow players turned out to be thieves. In once case, I built a mine and didn't manage to collect a single gold from it when the others swooped in and carted it off. We had a very short waterway as everyone headed away from the river. As a result, this was the first time that I bought a horse.

None of the forest tiles showed up until well after half the tiles were laid, which made collecting both food and wood at the same time relatively difficult. Dylan won having mined a mountain undisturbed relatively earl on.

Power Grid

David 15+, Ben 15-, Yitzchak 12, Nadine 9

They played on the East Coast, which should have made for a shorter game, but it wasn't. Phase three seemed to come early enough, however. Nadine hoarded all the coal and coal plants; nobody else was producing any, and she had three plants using 3 coals each.

As usual, they played with the critical variation of having the four upcoming power plants from the deck face up in a third row.


David, Ben, Yitzchak, Nadine

They tried to play a hand of this while simultaneously playing Power Grid, which didn't work too well. However, they also played with passing three cards, ala Hearts, which they found amusing.

Jon/Nadine, Ben/Yitzchak

After Power Grid, we played 4 more hands.