Thursday, December 25, 2008

December 24, 2008

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nadine

A small gathering on Hanukkah.


Jon 65, Gili 62

Our second game was very close. Gili had some good card-drawing engines, which are essential in a game where access to cards is a premium. I managed to win on the bonus turn after Gili hit 60.

Taj Mahal

Nadine 65, Gili 54, Jon 46

Approximate results. I wanted to play something older; I was getting tired of only newer games.

Three-player gives a better chance for connections, which Gili took advantage of. Nadine and I fought over commodities. Nadine had the upper hand. I managed to make mine count by only battling over the ones I needed, but I never had the card capacity that she did. In any case, that left Gili free to pursue her connections in peace, but they weren't connected in a good enough order.


Nadine+, Jon, Gili

First play for Gili, second for Nadine, third for me. Mexica is another game that I loved when I played it at BGG.con but fell flat once I got it back home.

It has a few problems with it. The action point chips are simply a bad mechanic; I can't think if anything else to say about them.

The "end round triggers and then the game is played until the last person takes his turn" is also a bad mechanic. I don't mind a set number of rounds so much. And I don't mind a set number of rounds if the order the players play in each round is variable, such as the auction for turn precedence in Tikal. But in Mexica, fist player has a huge advantage in selecting the better province chips, and no such comparable advantage is given to later players.

In general, I still like the rest of the game, but neither of my opponents did, which made for an unhappy game experience. They were happy for it to be over. I suspect that this will eventually get traded away.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

December 17, 2008

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nadine

Very light attendance, which was just as well, as I had gotten sick earlier in the day and needed to cut my activity short. I suggested that they play an additional game after I went to sleep, but they opted to leave.

La Citta

Gili 35, Nadine 33, Jon 27

Nadine's first play. I was rather hazy during the game, so I'm not surprised to have lost. Actually, it began to feel a little too much like work in rounds 4 and 5. Gili had the first successful influx of citizens, and I never really recovered from that, although I did steal a few from her on the other side of the board later.

I almost managed to get a second city to score for me, but I was vastly shy in food, so instead had to spend my last actions building more farms instead of little arches. Nadine stocked up to the gills in food, ending with much more than she needed.

Nadine thought it was a good game.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

December 10, 2008

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nadine, David K, Avraham, Adam, Binyamin

Welcome back to a few irregular regulars.


Jon 63, Gili 49

First play for both of us, I taught this new game to Gili who liked Odin's Ravens. Jambo is in the same niche of two-player light games.

Jambo is a card game for two. Each player starts with a six space market and several cards. The market contains six types of goods. The main cards have 3 goods on them and two numbers: the smaller number is how much the goods cost if you buy all three at once, and the larger one is how much you earn if you sell all three at once. So the essential mechanic of the game is getting the cards to match up correctly.

A whole lot of other cards do special actions, like add more space to your market, start an auction for some cards or goods, take something, swap something, cause your opponent to discard something, and the like.

Each round you get five actions, of which you can only add to your hand one card. We found this to be a very harsh limit, and it provided a slowdown for us in midgame after we both had basically nothing left in our hands. Hand management is therefore very important.

It was a nice game, about as nice as Odin's Ravens was the first time I played that. I still like OR, but I don't usually suggest it. We'll see what happens with Jambo.


David/Avraham, Adam/Nadine

They played this as a starter game.

La Citta

Jon 35, Avraham 25, Gili 20

First play for all of us. This is a nice game, reminiscent of other games, but not quite like any other. You build cities by adding various buildings to your cities using money or actions or both. You need to add quarries to increase you money supply (or take an action to get money). You need to add farms to increase your food supply to feed the people on your buildings. You need to add markets and fountains to allow your city to grow beyond a certain point. And you need to add buildings in three different colors for two reasons: 1) at the end of each year, people move from cities with less of one of these colors to cities with more of one of these colors, and 2) a city scores at the end of the game if it has at least one building of each color.

In the first place, your actions are limited, so you have to make trade-offs. This is nicely done. And in the second place, having extra people is more buildings and more power, but if you exceed your food production, you are hit hard. That makes acquiring extra people dangerous. In fact, forcing other players to take your people is often a tactical powerhouse of a move. Quite the opposite of common sense, but nicely in keeping with the theme.

The board and bits are pretty, if a bit much and over-produced for what was really necessary. It's a nice game, and I look forward to playing it several more times soon.

In our game, I realized a bit ahead of Avraham how more people is not necessarily better. Especially on the last round, where too many people equals a lot of negative points, I made sure to keep some extra food around. In fact, Avraham tossed me an extra guy and I had exactly enough. I also had the most cities. Gili was drained too much by Avraham's nearby cities and so had the opposite problem: not enough people and room.


Binyamin 47, David 36, Nadine 29, Adam 23

First play for Binyamin and Adam, and look how well Binyamin did. I heard a lot of voices saying that while Agricola is a nice game it is simply too long. Well, with new players it is definitely longer. My last games haven't been too long, but it takes four or five playings before you get to that point.

Again, a plowed field strategy beat a stone house strategy.


Jon 8, Avraham 0

I taught this to Avraham. I was thinking of selling this (or sending it to my secret santa recipient) since no one around here wanted to play it (i.e. David doesn't want to play it). And it's true that there's a different type of luck factor in the game, but Magic also has a tremendous luck factor in it; most of our Magic games end by mana screw, after all.

Once a Netrunner game gets going, it's always a great game, regardless of what cards come out. The only thing to watch for is if the runner has no icebreakers of the type he needs. Then he's in trouble.

In our game, I messed up the rule for activating Nodes, but even so it was an excellent bit of fun. Well, for me, as I won. But Avraham liked the game, too, and will play it with me again if the opportunity arises.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

December 03, 2008

Participants: Gili, Jon, Nadine, David K

Game night was at Gili's, who had to stay home and watch the kids. Game night was interrupted by a small accident with the sink in the bathroom. It broke and spewed hundreds of gallons of water over the floor before we managed to turn it off from outside the apt. Then we did a little mopping. Exciting.


Jon 113, David 98, Gili, Nadine

First play for all of us.

Hacienda is a deluxe version of Through the Desert. Each round, you place tiles on the board trying to balance reaching as many markets as possible (instead of oases) and securing long routes. The added feature to Hacienda is that you have to buy your tiles: slightly cheaper if you pick them randomly, but in any case the ones you really need might not be available, which adds some luck to the game. You have to balance placing tiles to earn money vs placing to earn points; but often these were the same action.

In our game, money was not that tight, so the latter is not much an issue. A tighter money game might have made that part more interesting.

The seemingly main path to victory, which is the one I chose, is to connect to as many markets as possible; you earn a triangular bonus for each connection, so 10 markets is 55 points. It's also the main way to get money. You get a lot more money if you invest more tiles at each market, but you get far less points. And you don't really need that much money.

The second problem is that a route length of 3 or more is worth 2 x the length of the route. Only one type of route is counted, and there's no bonus for having a single route of length 6 versus 2 routes of length 3. That made the large route strategy slightly less effective than the one of getting to every market. Of course, if everyone simply tries to get to every market, the game is balanced; but it is a little less interesting.

The third problem, and it's now the second game where we've hit this problem, is that the game end triggers after someone does something, and then the last player gets the last move. This is simply a bad game mechanism. The idea is to give all players an equal number of turns, which is a decent idea. But when some turns are spent planning and others placing, the person who triggers the end game has the power to end it right after you planned. That makes planning for players earlier in the starting order very difficult. The advantage they got for going first doesn't make up for it.

Games should avoid this mechanic, and instead go for a) ending after a set number of turns, or b) ending on the turn after the end condition is triggered, or c) the game goes around until it gets back to right before the person who triggered the end game.

Despite these problems, the game is slightly less dry than Through the Desert, and quite enjoyable if you like route-planning and light mathematical games. We'll definitely play again.

In our game, as I mentioned, I promiscuously hit every market. I was light on cash, but I still had two land routes with four tiles, which gave me emergency cash when I needed it. I didn't buy any haciendas, but they were not worth enough points overall.


Jon/David 300, Nadine/Gili 0

We played one hand of Tichu while we were also playing Hacienda, which annoyed me to no end. David bid Tichu, and both of us went out first.


David 38, Jon 36, Gili 30, Nadine 29

We played this one, even though it takes a tad too long for a game group such as ours: close to three hours. We started by drafting occupations and then minor improvements. We used all the cards.

Nadine had a nice card that allowed her to add a family member whenever she added a room, which she used to add two family members at once. She was unprepared to support them, however, and spent a lot of the rest of the game struggling for food. She ended up getting two begging cards as a result.

David complained about his occupations and minor improvements, and then ended up playing 5 occupations and 3 minor improvements, nearly all of them in the first half of the game. They gave him so much wheat and vegetables, that we actually ran out of wheat coins. [DK: Actually Jon missed a few. I played two minor improvements in the last round, and 1 occupation in the round before. In toto I played 12 out of my 14 cards!] 

Gili played a balanced strategy with a lot of sheep. She also played an annoying card that required anyone who wanted wheat to pay her a food when they took it, which made gaining wheat no immediate benefit food-wise for the other players. She only got to three family members, which hurts.

I wanted to do farming, but I only ended up farming vegetables, playing a single occupation and a single minor improvement, both of which boosted vegetable acquisition and production. Otherwise, I focused on building a stone house, expanding my family, and acquiring major improvements for the points. I almost had to beg in the last round, but I ended up selling my cow instead (for a loss of 2 points, instead of 3). I had 10 bonus points, but still lost to David's fields, veggies, grains, and family members.

So far in all the games we've played, an active farmland beats the stone house route by just a few points each time. Unfortunately, to get an active farmland requires the right minor improvements and occupations, which makes that avenue only available to those that get them. If only one person gets the right card comboes, the game is going to be a lot easier for them.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

November 26, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, David K, Avraham

No Gili, but Avraham came, so we still had four. Maybe I need to advertise again?


David K 9, Jon 7, Avraham 6/7, Nadine 4

I bought this game knowing it wouldn't really be my type of game, but hoping it would appeal to some of our players who might want more in the way of civilization/conflict games. It seemed something of a hybrid, which had worked ok for Wallenstein.

I figured that David would win, and when Avraham came, that he would come in second. Turns out I was right, although I came in second, barely.

Antike uses a nifty "rondel" mechanic which forces you to take a spectrum of actions in sequence unless you pay to skip some. And the game is not about conquering territory, though that is helpful, but about acquiring victory points, which is more about resource collection and management. Some of the victory points are easy, and then you have to figure out the quickest path to the rest of the points, while not incurring aggression from your neighbors. That means a) laying low, and b) not building too tempting a target. Turtling is prevented by the fact that you simply must expand and build temping targets if you're going to get the resources you need.

One of the biggest problems I have with conflict games is the negotiation aspect tends to play the same in all games: some have it, and some don't. I tend to burn out quickly and then have no chance for the rest of the game. A partial solution for me to to insist on enforcing agreements made by players. In other words, I will only enjoy the game if, when two people make a non-aggression pact, they are bound to hold it. War gamers like to break pacts and laugh about it. I simply don't enjoy playing games like that. If people want to play that way, do it without me.

David and I made a non-aggression pact for the entire game, which worked to both of our benefits, but, of course, even more to his. Nevertheless, it allowed me to enjoy the game. Avraham and I almost made a pact close to the end of the game, but we couldn't work out the details.

Nadine didn't quite grasp the conflict mechanisms, so had problems building the resource engine she needed. I let David take a better position on the board, and that left me having to deal with Avraham, the aggressive neighbor, while he had time to expand his kingdom. Still, I remembered fairly early on that victory points were the point of the game, not aggression, and I headed for the Known-Hows early, gaining several before David swept in and started doing the same.

Avraham was too aggressive in the early game. It took a coordinated effort by all three of us to prevent his winning too early, which occupied too much of his time.

David liked the game, after some initial hesitation. I liked it more than I expected too, so long as the house rule about pacts is in place. Avraham really liked the rondel. I'm not sure about Nadine's feelings.


David/Nadine 400, Jon/Avraham 400

We played three hands to wrap up the evening. I considered calling Tichu in the first, but decided against it, which was a good idea. David and Nadine both went out first.

In the second hand, I called Tichu, but a series of unlucky card positions let David go out first. 170 to them, 30 to us. In the last hand, I was seriously considering calling Tichu again, bu Avraham called Grand Tichu, to give us a chance of winning. Naturally, I was easily able to go out first this time, but had to work hard NOT to go out first. Avraham managed to pull it off in the end, and I went out third. 270 to us, 30 to them, ending the game in a tie score.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

November 19, 2008

Participants: Nadine, Gili, David K

Still a small group of good friends.


Jon 21, Gili 17, David 16, Nadine 15

We spent some time looking at the new games, wondering which one to learn on the fly, before I remembered that I kind of learned the rules to this already. Also, it would be a quick game. Or, it should be a quick game.

Trias is a lovely little game of drifting tiles and migrating dinosaur herds. There is nearly no luck, but a small level of chaos, as the other players will make moves that derail your plans.

The drifting tile mechanism is simply awesome. Islands are created, reconnect, split, and so on in lovely patterns, in ways that give fantastic opportunities for tactical play. Elegant. There is also ample room for strategy, as you have to decide whether to form your own areas or infringe on others. Proper first placement is critical for this.

Like Dvonn, on first play the beginning of the game seems very random. As the game went on, and I "got it", I can see now how little randomness there really is. Unfortunately, my fellow game players either didn't "get it", or didn't find it very interesting. They complained throughout the game and were happy to see it end.

I thought it was excellent, as you can tell.

David started spreading out before everyone else, which made me realize how limited my areas of control were. So, rather than reproducing like everyone else was, I spread out. As a result, I had babies left in my supply for most of the game, while the others ran out. That's when we realized the tactical opportunities to kill off your babies, so you have more to place. But only one player actually managed to do that.

We had an amazingly large island at one point, but it eventually split. Even so, I won the game by controlling a land mass of 10 hexes.

The game may be even more fun if you add special genes like the ones in Evo and Primordial Soup.

Year of the Dragon

Nadine 103, Gili 102, David 102, Jon 82

I would like to say that YotD is kind of a dull game once you realize that you have no chance of winning, which was the fact in my case. However, Nadine and Gili also thought they had no chance of winning, as David took strong books and jumped over 20 points ahead by the last round. We were all resigned to his victory.

In particular, I knew I had no chance of catching up, as I had taken a similar strategy of "books", but David was always going before me, and, though I could pay to take books once in a while, I couldn't catch up.

The board layout didn't help with this, as the plague was the second to last event, so I had to keep the stupid medicine men the whole game. And the tax collection was last, so using my last bit of money for books meant sacrificing people; I did it anyway, netting a few more points than I lost.

But Nadine and Gili played different strategies, ending the game with 18 people points and 15 buddha points in Gili's case, and twenty people points and 12 buddha points in Nadine's case. David ended with only a single person.

The tallies were then David at 102, Gili and Nadine at 100. Then Nadine and Gili cashed in their final chips and money, and Nadine eked out the victory. A rousing finish for them. But not for me.

Race for the Galaxy

David 41, Nadine 40, Jon 38

This game somewhat annoyed me with its ability to run out with quick building by one player. I decided to simply let that be and play with that, anyway. Once I accepted it, the game was a little more enjoyable, because I wasn't playing against the nature of the game, but with it.

As a result, I didn't score too badly. I had 3 6-cost buildings out, although they each only gave me around 4 points. David was able to consume twice for 10 points each time. Nadine was close behind. Luckily, she didn't get her "Brown strategy" going.

All of us are still convinced that the Military strategy can't really compete.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

November 12, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili, David K

Small groups are ok if they're good friends and quality gamers. Still, I wouldn't mind the group growing again.


Nadine 35, David 34, Jon 27, Gili 21

Fourth play for me, second play for everyone else. David loves the game. Gili likes it, but requested that we play something else next week. Nadine also loves the game, although she's still clinging to the idea that Puerto Rico must be better, somehow.

For my part, I do think that Puerto Rico is better, but only once you add variable buildings. Why? It's a little shorter, a little more elegant, and I simply like Puerto Rico's role mechanics better than Agricola's placement mechanics.

Furthermore, I'm still a little bothered by the "2 points for this, 2 points for that" aspect that takes up the last few rounds of the game. One other thing that kinda bothered me, although I am willing to accept it as part of the design, is the imbalance of the Occupations and Minor Improvements, as well as how often you simply can't play a Minor Improvement when you are allowed to (Start Player and Family Growth).

I've tossed about a few ideas on how to rectify all these issues for me, without seriously destroying the nature of the game, and my current idea is to add Prestige cards ala Princes of Florence. The idea: whenever you are allowed to play a Minor Improvement, you can instead opt to draw a Prestige card. Prestige cards give you 4 points at the end of the game for most sheep, most stables, most food, etc..., or 3 points if you're tied.

This allows you to make somewhat more interesting decisions at the end of the game, and also give you something to do when you can't play a Minor Improvement.

In our game, I built a strong base in the first two stages, but forgot entirely to ensure an adequate food supply. As a result, the remainder of the game I was scrambling for food while Nadine and David pulled ahead. David got the first family expansion, while Nadine has a card that let her take family expansion even when somebody else had, which was huge.

Nadine also had synergistic cards that gave her tons of stuff for planting and sowing. She didn't build her home much, ending with only 3 wooden rooms, but she ended with 4 points in fields, grain, vegetables, and so on, which was as much as David's full stone house. Her additional bonus point gave her the victory.

Gili and I were shy in all sorts of areas, and Gili also never got her house fully expanded or her fifth worker.


David+, Jon, Nadine-

I played this once at the last BGG.con and loved it. I taught it to Nadine and David.

It's definitely in the family of Tikal and so on, which unfortunately is not really the type of game that either David or Nadine likes a lot. Especially later in the evening. And they both suffer from a bit of AP, which can drag the game out a bit. Otherwise, it looks like the game should move fairly quickly, quicker than Tikal.

This time around we also ran into a few game design problems which I didn't notice during my first play. We're not thrilled with the way the turn ordering works, in that the first seated player can never respond if someone else finishes the game. Unless we read that wrong, it seems that the game always ends with the player who went last, not with the player to the right of the one who ends the game. Which is a problem, especially if you can't use your accumulated action tokens.

The second was the accumulated action tokens, which isn't broken, but makes for silly game play. The rules seem to indicate that you can take two per round, but can accumulate as many as you want and use them all in one turn. I would change this to being able to hold no more than two at a time.

I still very much enjoyed the game, but David wasn't sure and Nadine said it wasn't her type. It's always frustrating to bring home a game and not get a good response, but that's the way it goes. Maybe others in the group will like it more.

We all finished pretty close to each other, David 8 points more than me, and me 8 points more than Nadine. We got a rule wrong about building districts around the center sacred area.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

November 06, 2008

Participants: Jon, Avraham, Gili, David K

New shipment of games arrived, so we played the most anticipated one.


David 42, Jon 41, Avraham 34, Gili 23

This is my second play and the first play for everyone else. I spent some time reviewing the rules. A few minor rules I learned during my first play turned out to be incorrect. During the game, we also found a rule change here or there, and occasionally I would describe a rule only to be misunderstood. Most of these occasions were not too significant. At least, the mistakes we all made were more significant.

Everyone loved the game, which I suspected. David especially.

Everyone, including me, thought I was doing ok, but in the end I still lost to David by one point. Sucks. Here is the scoring breakdown:
Fields2421Avraham was the field and pasture king. I built an early field, but did nothing with it until the end of the game.
Pastures2312Avraham used all of his fence posts.
Grains113-1David did a late plowing.
Vegetables121-1I spent rounds 12 and 13 getting one of everything. See below for commentary on that.
Sheep131-1Gili missed a lot of basics, as you can see.
Unused Space-1-1-1-6I got caught with a lot of this in my first game, and was lucky enough not to do so this game. Gili wasn't, as you can see.
Hut10286I had a full house of stone. Avraham never had more than two rooms, even though he got two extra people at the end of the game who didn't need rooms.
Family1512159I considered getting people to be my prime mission. See below.
Bonus841013I got three from a bonus card that rewarded you for having 5 people at the end; David also got the bonus. My five were from some improvements. Most of mine sucked. Avraham was the occupation king, which were nice and all, but obviously to the detriment of getting any actual farmwork done, other than plowing and fencing. David got more major improvements than I did. And Gili played a slew of minor improvements, all supporting each other, but nothing else came together for her.
My primary strategy was to ensure that I had 5 working family members, which did fairly well. David realized the same thing and was only slightly behind me in building a family. I think failing to do this will hurt you significantly.

My major complaint about the game last time was the end-game where you spend two to three rounds simply acquiring one of everything, since everything you don't have one of is a two point differential. The idea of a balanced board is not bad, but the idea of balanced end-holdings doesn't work quite the same. It's not like you score whatever you have the least of. You simply need one of everything. That makes the last few rounds of the game somewhat dull and anti-thematic.

After my first game, I realized that I would have to play many more games to see how this really worked out. My inclination was to simply drop the -1, thus making acquiring one more of something the same as acquiring the first of something. But that seemed like a hatchet job for what needed a scalpel. Furthermore, it might actually make things even more boring.

After this game, although the last few rounds were still a little dull in this way, I was still bothered by it, but somewhat less so. I knew a bit more about what I was doing, and I already knew that I would be doing it. But it also still seemed like a problem. I'm thinking that a possible solution would be to give a bonus for specialization. E.g. most vegetables = 2 points, most sheep = 2 points, etc. That way, you still have to balance, but you're not forced to pick up one of everything, since you can also get the 2 point swing bonus from something you have a lot of.

I'll play the game a few more times the regular way before trying it, though.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

October 29, 2008

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nadine, David K

A quiet game night.

Carcassonne: the City

Nadine 133, Gili 111, Jon 89

I used to have Hunters and Gatherers, but I gave it away as no one was playing it; I thought maybe this new version could spark a renewed interest.

Gili was ok with trying it, while Nadine was much more guarded, claiming that Carcassonne is exactly the sort of game that she's bad at. Both of them took a very long time on each of their turns, seeming to forget from round to round how the scoring or tile placement mechanisms worked. I grew a little bored.

Despite this, I lost by a large margin. My mistake: I tried to save my towers for larger scoring opportunities, but the game ended before I could use them. The same with my meeples. In other words, the game ended before I could utilize all my resources.

I'm still less than thrilled with not having to match tile color areas, like you have to in H&G. In contrast, I like how a less than useful tile can at least be added to boost one of your wall meeples. There were a couple of rule questions; I'll head over to the Geek to check them out.

In the end, I liked the game, but I wish my opponents would have played faster. And I don't think either of them really liked it. I hope to have the opportunity to play it with others.

Power Grid

David 19, Jon 18, Nadine 17

Three experiences players, we played on the northern areas of the Benelux board. Despite a mistake or two, we all ended up close to each other near the end of the game. Nadine and I survived only by buying out the fuel and plants David needed to end the game two rounds in a row.

The game manipulations we needed to use to extend the game were antithetical to the game's theme, and, while amusing, were also somewhat annoying. I began to feel that the game is basically silly.

Other things that annoyed me, this time: that you have to keep calculating connection costs. The game would play similarly, but quicker, if all connections were a multiple of 5: 0, 5, 10, 15, or 20. And the auctions, as well.

Final game scores were nearly entirely due to the luck of the timing.

Monday, October 20, 2008

October 19, 2008: Games Day

Participants: David, Avi (David's son), Mace, Shachar (Mace's son), Koby, Gili, Jon, Gilad, Nadine, Elijah, Binyamin, Rivka (B's wife), Tikva Shira (B's kid), Zvi Yehuda (ditto), Devora (ditto), Iska (ditto), Adam, Amir, Omri, Roee, Rudo, Yosef, Michael (Elijah's dad), Saarya, Rachel

A pleasant games day. Amir, Omri, Roee, Rudo, Gilad, and Koby all came from the coastal areas, which was nice.

We used both sukkahs, and sometimes had to look for extra chairs. At night, we also had to find a light for the other sukkah and finally managed to get it plugged in.

I took notes of the games played, but worse notes than usual, and I fear I might have missed a game or two. Here's what I got:

Cosmic Encounter

Mace+, Shachar, Elijah, Binyamin, Adam

I think that was the list. Several of these were new players, yet they still played a six player game, double powers, comets and asteroids, and what looked like half the flare deck.

Mace got to four bases fairly quickly as Prophet / Loser, but was then ganged up upon. The game then extended for another three and a half hours, until Mace finally managed to win in the end, anyway. Other powers in the game included Pentaform, Vampire, Plant, Mirror, and others.

For Sale

Binyamin and family played this.


Adam 38, Michael 24

This took them a while on a full board. Michael is somewhat better than I am, and so proved a closer match for Adam.


David 45, Gilad 44, Gili 39, Koby, Nadine

Koby brought this game and taught it to the others.

Lo Ra

This is Nadine's Jewish themed version of the game Ra. Played in the other sukkah.

Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation

Adam (dark)+, Binyamin (white)

Frodo was stomped to death by the Balrog while trying to pass through Minas Tirath.

Zvi Yehuda wanted to play this later in the day, but no one had time to explain the English to him.

Louis XIV

Michael 52, Yosef 51, Elijah 49

First plays for all of them, they all really liked it. Good thing we still have Nadine's copy around. It may see more play again.

Magic: the Gathering

David+, Jon

David and I got one draft and game in, and e beat me as usual, even though I played a four color deck and wasn't mana screwed, and he played a three color deck and was.

Mission: Red Planet

Rudo 54, Omri 47, Jon 36, Nadine 23

This is an are control game from Bruno Faidutti, and has his characteristic elements of chaos and bluffing. Which, unfortunately, I don't like, although I like Bruno Faidutti.

You have ten rounds, scoring after rounds 5, 8, and 10. You have four ships active at any one time going to 10 different areas of Mars, and holding between 2 to 5 astronauts. And you have 9 character cards, that let you a) add astronauts to one or two ships, and b) do a special action, including moving your astronauts, swapping an astronaut, and redirecting or blowing up a ship. The latter two, in particular, are the most chaotic parts.

Lastly, you have bonus points for a mission, or can put secret cards under many of the areas, so that, at the end of the game, that area scores nothing, or double, or gives some other random bonus. More chaos.

Each round, each player selects one of their characters and then turns it over in turn order, like Citadels. You only get your cards back if you play character 1.

Nadine and I lost mostly because we didn't understand the vast importance of the areas with more points, which exponentially accumulate in latter scoring rounds (I somehow thought they would be linear). So we didn't fight for them more.

It's not a bad game, and certainly not as annoying as Assassin, but I still screwed Nadine out of her moves twice at the beginning of the game, which was probably not enjoyable for her.

And there's no reason for it. If the cards are played like El Grande, instead of like Citadels, and if the cards placed on regions are placed open instead of closed, the game looks to be vastly more fun and interesting.

Mr Jack

Nadine (Detective)+, Jon (Criminal)

I survived with three suspects until round 8. I only had an unseen Jack in one round, and Nadine had to ensure that I didn't escape, preventing her from discovering anyone that turn.

Nadine then accused the right person, and not entirely at random. One of the three she had eliminated with a card from the red guy. And one of them she thought I had been positioning more for exit than the other.

Notre Dame

Yosef+, Gili, Saarya, +/Jon

I took over for someone in round four, but I forget who.

Power Grid

Shachar 17, Jon 16, Elijah 15++, Avi 15+, Mace 15-

We played on the German map, missing the south coast. Aside from the western area, prices were pretty expensive. All of us except for Mace started on the western shore, anyway.

Larger plants came out fairly early, and I snagged my entire plant needs before anyone else. Still, because I was behind in cities, I was producing less money, and so everyone else managed to catch up with their plants and building. In the end, I simply couldn't build more than Shachar owing to less cash. I'm still not quite sure how that worked.

Elijah and Mace were up to 14 cities when we were all at 12 on the last round. They had a bidding war over the only plant that would let one of them win, but it went too high for either the winner or loser to win. If it hadn't Elijah could have won after all.

Puerto Rico

Rachel 64, Jon 58+, Adam 58-, Nadine 56

Rachel was convinced she wasn't going to win when Nadine and I took second big buildings and Adam secured her first. She and Adam both had Harbors to Nadine and my Factories. But she played on anyway, taking a Discretionary Hold, something I probably should have taken.

It was all very close, but Rachel managed to ship 43 shipping points to my 21. Yowza.

Race for the Galaxy

Nadine 54, Gilad 40, Roee 29

First play for Roee.


David 12, Avi 7, Mace 7, Shachar 2, Koby -1

The opening game. Played again at least once later during the day.


Zvi Yehuda 9++, Binyamin 9+, Amir 9-, Adam 8

No further info.

Settlers of Catan

Yosef 13, Elijah 6, Gili 5

Yosef won every game he played tonight, I believe. They played to 13, but it didn't help.

Shadows Over Camelot

Zvi Yehuda, Tikva Shira, Omri, Roee, Rudo, Avi

First plays for all but the first two, I taught them and then hovered around a bit to help them start. Luckily, Nadine was also sitting nearby and could fill them in on a few rules that I forgot, as well as help Avi on his first game.

Taj Mahal

Yosef 65, Gili 59, Elijah 28

First play for Yosef. Nadine and I looked over in mid-game, and Gili had a 20 point lead. We said that they should just concede, although Yosef did have a handful of cards.

Well, it seemed that Yosef was more persevering than we realized, making a dramatic comeback.

Tower of Babel

Yosef, Rivka, Devora, Iska

First play for Yosef, and Devora and Iska are very small kids, so I'm sure they weren't experienced players. I don't know any more about the game.


Rivka, +, +

Rivka played this shape game with two of her kids.

Year of the Dragon

Nadine 128, David 108, Gili 102, Gilad 81, Koby 72

First plays for Gilad and Koby.

Omri 107, Nadine 105, Rudo 102

First plays for Omri and Rudo.

Monday, October 06, 2008

October 05, 2008

Participants: Jon, Elijah, Nadine, Gili, Avraham, Tal, Rachel

A game night on Sunday to avoid all the holidays.

Reels and Deals

Jon/Avraham 100, Gili 84, Tal 80, Nadine 66, Elijah 55

Avraham came in the middle and joined me. First play for Gili and Elijah. Nadine would like to say that she now believes that luck so determines the game that she has no desire to play it again. Despite it's faults, I still like it, as did Gili and Avraham.

Nadine and Avraham both believe that a much better game could be made using the cards. The biggest problem is the end game condition, which is just bad. I haven't got a solution to that. As for the luck of the draw, particularly with the scripts and finding the needed talent to fill them, we all feel that a common pool and auctioning them off would make for a better game.

In our game, Elijah only drew small scripts, and though he finished two, they didn't do him much good. Gili got frustrated a number of times, but still ended in second place with her cash reserves, which made her feel better. We would have beaten her by only one point, but gained an entirely unnecessary additional 15 point bonus for finishing the game.

Cosmic Encounter

Jon+, Elijah, Avraham

First play for Avraham. We played single revealed powers. I played Sorceror, Avraham played Filth, and Elijah played Mutant.

It was a very quick game. They couldn't dump their hands, so I was able to walk through to five bases while they couldn't draw new cards to stop me. I had additional help from the Wild Queue, which let me change the cards that Elijah drew as Mutant, and Wild Filth which let me prepare for my fifth base in Avraham's system, if necessary (which it wasn't).

Year of the Dragon

Jon 100, Nadine 99, Gili 91

I played this simultaneously with Cosmic Encounter. Second play for Gili. I usually lose to Nadine by one point in the end point scoring of Buddhas and remaining people, but somehow managed to win by one point this time. Nadine made one mistake which cost her a Lady, so that was probably it.

I tend to play with only three house at two levels each, six figures, two dragons, one or two late Ladies, and strong book usage in the last several rounds. I also take one early firecracker, and as little as I can of rice, money, and medicine.

Mr Jack

Avraham (Detective)+, Elijah (Criminal)

First play for both of them. Elijah managed to survive until the beginning of the seventh round. Both really enjoyed it.


Nadine+, Jon, Gili, Elijah, Avraham

Jon+, Nadine, Gili, Elijah, Avraham

Elijah only had a small amount of time, so we played this. First play for Avraham, who liked it a lot. We all did, except Nadine thinks it's only so-so. I lost the first game, and won the second game, by un/lucky draws on the last card.

Puerto Rico

Jon 61, Nadine 51, Rachel 50, Avraham 50

We roped Rachel into playing this at the end of the evening. First play for Avraham with alternate buildings.

Rachel and Avraham had the Harbors, and Avraham had an early coffee monopoly and a Discretionary Hold, but somehow didn't get them all to work well together. Nadine and I had Factories. I could see early on that I was going to lose the shipping war after I chose Factory instead of Harbor, which Rachel chose right after me. Later on I chose a coffee to make a full five goods, instead of a Discretionary Hold to eke a few more VPs.

Turns out to have been the right move, as I ended the game with three big buildings. I had only 16 shipping to Nadine's 25, Rachel's 28, and Avraham's 35, but I had 26 building points and 19 bonus building points, while Nadine had 20/6, Rachel 15/7, and Avraham 15/0.

An interesting game, as usual.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

September 24, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Avraham

Still low attendance. I must be doing something wrong. Publicize more?

Reels and Deals

Nadine 103, Jon 100, Avraham 61

Reels and Deals is a light card game with a movie making theme. The core mechanic of taking scripts and adding directors, actors, and effects to them before releasing them for points is like Traumfabrik. Like Traumfabrik, people come in star and non-star versions.

There are six types of cards: Scripts, Directors, Actors, Actresses, Producers, and Enhancements. In M:tG parlance, Producers are Instants, while Enhancements are Enchantments.

Each player starts with $12.

Each round you have three actions, which can be any of: draw and play a script (once per turn), draw another type of card, play a person (costs $2-$8), toss a person into the common talent pool (gains $2-$6), auction a person in the common talent pool (blind bids), play a Producer or Enhancement, or toss a card for $1.

Unlike Traumfabrik, you don't play people directly onto scripts. You accumulate them in your private pool. Only when you cash in a script do you decide which people to use to fill its requirements. You must spend all three action points to cash in a script, which nets you usually between 20 and 60 points, as well as $0 to $15.

Producers gain you points, money, steal money or points, draw extra cards, interfere with other player's actions, and so on. Enhancements must be played either on a specific type of person or on a script, and generally add points to the value of the item on which they are played. Each person added to a completed script adds points to the net value of the completed script.

The people and scripts are all thinly-veiled parodies of real people and movies, which some people might enjoy. Nadine found some of the illustrations and captions sexist, stereotypical, and mildly offensive.

The game is played until one person completes his second script, at least one of which is a "feature" script. Each other player then gets one bonus turn to play.

Reactions: While seemingly insubstantial, RaD is actually a fairly nice game, a solid filler. The core mechanics are fun. The decisions you need to make are not terribly difficult, but they are meaningful. You have to keep track of a lot of interacting parts and things change quickly. It's a card game: luck plays a hefty role. This keeps the game moving. All in all it should take about 30 minutes to play for three players.

We only played once, so it may be that we don't know exactly what we are doing. But there were a few problems.

The biggest one was that the vast majority of points will be scored from your two scripts. And the game ends one round after someone plays his second script. And you have to use your entire turn to cash in a script. So if your second script isn't ready to go the moment someone else cashes in his, you've lost. That's not really an enjoyable way to end the game. It may be that we undervalued playing even bad cards to our private pools, just so that we could be ready for such an event.

A few of the cards were not well balanced. One card stole 3 points from every other player and added it to your score. In a five player game, that's a 15 point swing on a random card. Another card let you draw two cards. Since you paid an action to draw that card to begin with, it seemed like a waste of a card. I would have made it draw three cards.

A few of the rules also needed clarification. For instance, some scripts included "an enhancement" as a minimum requirement for release, but we weren't sure if that meant an enhancement played directly on the script (probably) or if you could count an enhancement played on one of the people used in the script.

The game would also be more challenging if, when playing a person, you had to immediately choose to which script to play him. A private pool didn't seem to be as interesting.

In our game, I completed my second script first, netting me a 15 point bonus. Nadine was able to finish her second script off on her bonus turn, but Avraham wasn't, which put him out of contention. Nadine's money reserve at the end swung the game.


Avraham 32, Nadine 26, Jon 11

First play for all of us. This role selection in this card game is nearly identical to the Citadels role selection. I didn't like Citadels, mainly due to the Assassin, and also due to the rather dull game play. Verrater is better.

Each player has an allegiance which flips whenever he takes the Verrater (Traitor) role. There are twelve keeps laid out in a circle, and in each of the 8 or 9 rounds, two neighboring keeps of differing allegiance will fight. Their strengths are valued as the inherent strength of the keep, plus added resources played by allies players, plus added strength played by certain roles. Highest valued keep wins, losing keep changes allegiance, and all players allied with the victorious keep gain vp's.

Naturally, the fun comes from playing the resources, the possibility of some of the players having chosen roles that add additional strength, and the possibility that one player is the Traitor whose resources will switch sides at the last moment.

Other roles let you gain additional resources, place resource or vp producing cards, or become the player who selects where the battles will be.

Verrater is obviously best played with 4 players. In the three player game that we played, two against one was simply inevitable victory. Furthermore, less variance in the roles occurred simply because only three of the six were taken each turn (plus one not available each turn).

It's fun. If you make a bad mistake like I did on turn 4, you are pretty much sunk for the rest of the game. But it was a really, really bad mistake. Note: don't take the Traitor when you are going to be the first one to commit resources to the battle. Take it when you will be the last one to do so.

Avraham took a commanding lead due to my mistake, and kept it the rest of the game. That gives the game a slight kingmaking effect, which is a small drawback. Again: our first play, and next time we'll play with four players instead of three.

Puerto Rico

Avraham 53, Jon 46, Nadine 39

First play for Avraham, so we gave him advice and attacked each other, which led to him winning. Nadine had a coffee monopoly, Factory and Harbor, but she didn't draw corn until the end of the game. I traded nothing but sugar, but I managed to keep pace with the shipping. Avraham had the other Harbor, and good tobacco sales, so equaled the shipping but ended with a second big building to my one.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

September 17, 2008

Participants: Gili, Jon, Hillel, Avraham, David BarLev

Attendance is still down, but 5 is a game. Avraham brought a first-time comer, David. David hasn't played any of these games, but he's pretty game smart and picked them up quickly.

Odin's Ravens

Gili 13, Hillel 9

Gili taught this to Hillel and they played while I was finishing my dinner. Hillel won the first round 6 to 3, but then Gili trounced him in the next two rounds.

Princes of Florence

Avraham 62, Jon 61, Gili, Hillel, David

First play for David and Avraham. As usual, I lost the game by 1 point, owing to the winner having had good luck with a Prestige card. Well, not necessarily good luck, as he bought the card on the first round.

Despite my warnings, Recruitment cards went undervalued. I thought I did a good job picking up two and two Jesters, but Avraham managed the same feat with less cost, and got a Prestige card as well. David and Hillel both had several Builders, and Gili took a balanced approach. David also had two Prestige cards. David and Gili scored over 50, and Hillel around 40 something. So it was a fairly close game.

Tigris and Euphrates

Avraham 7, Jon 5, Hillel 3, David 2

First play for Hillel and David. Avraham had read a strategy article about the game online, and it turned out to have been mine.

Everyone else started the game with King/temple, while I started with two leaders, followed by two more leaders on my second play.

I (rightfully, perhaps) got picked on, and unlike my previous game, never seemed to have the tiles I needed. I barely saw a red tile during the game, and my last five turns I couldn't pick either of the two colors I needed to save my life. On my last turn, I finally tossed 6 tiles, drawing one tile I needed and ending the game.

We had intensive conflict, which is normal for four players, but also two mid-game monuments which is rarer. There were no super-sized kingdoms, and more than half of the disasters got played.

David held onto the red/black monument for most of the game, but he didn't collect anything but red and black points. Avraham gave him some of those points, forcing me into losing conflicts with him, while gaining position for himself in the process. Despite red and black scores above 15, David only scored 2.

Everyone seemed to enjoy it. David and Hillel were still struggling with the implications of the moves at the end of the game, and said they would need a few more games to grasp it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

September 10, 2008

Participants: Gili, Nadine, Hillel

I was in Hungary, so Gili hosted game night at her house. This report was written by Nadine.


Gili, Nadine

An abstract where you try to place 5 in a row, and can rotate quarters of the board.

Princes of Florence

Gili, Nadine, Hillel

Gili won by two points, Nadine came in second. Hillel played 7 works to our 5, but only built one building. He had two Jesters after two rounds.


Gili, Nadine, Hillel

Nadine won by one point, Hillel was second, his first play. He tied with each of us after the first half to get most pyramids on both sides of the river. Gili got a lot of extra farmers and 8 incomes, and for her bribe items at the end of the game took one card, which was a bonus card she needed.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

September 3, 2008

Participants: Jon, Gili, David K, Nadine, Tal

Low attendance, for some reason. Summer over? School starting?


Nadine 56, David 55, Gili 35, Jon 33

Scores are approximate. Nadine and David almost tied, but Nadine had one last point from her cash surplus.

Second play for me and David, first play for Nadine and Gili. Nadine complained a lot, and in the end said that she didn't like it too much. Gili thought it was a fun game and looked happy to play it again sometime. I concurred. David finds it ok. Note the correlation between doing well and not particularly caring for the game.

Last time I played I concentrated on the technologies. This time I decided against concentrating on them, and in any case the other players severely blocked my attempts to create connections with them. In the meantime, Nadine had five technology connections.

I also decided not to try too much for the bonus tiles. David ended up with four of them, and tons of corresponding buildings, which gave him some twenty points in bonus tile points.

David also secured many of the goods producing factories, which is what I was looking to do, but somehow didn't get to doing. But then he thought he ended up taking too many of them, even in the latter part of the game. It could be that the good producing buildings are more key at the beginning than at the end. That's what seemed to be the case, anyway.

So what were Gili and I doing while Nadine and David were mapping out nice strategies (Nadine denies doing so, but she did, anyway)? Floundering around, mostly. It seems that a balanced strategy doesn't work so well.

Nadine adds: Industria, like many games, would be fine if we didn't have better games around, and there's not really a buildup as there is in PR.


David/Nadine+, Jon/Tal

David opened with a Tichu, and they also ended up with all 100 points. I made a Tichu later, but had -10 points, so still lost ground. As we were losing by over 200 points, I decided to call a Grand Tichu, but couldn't quite pull it off. And I shouldn't forget to mention that David played some excellent card play during one of the hands. Perhaps he can describe it.

Race for the Galaxy

Jon 40*, David 33, Nadine 30

I have the same problem with RftG that I have with Lost Valley: it is easy for one player to push forwards and end the game early. It makes the game rather boring. There has to be a mechanism to prevent this. You can hasten the end of the game in Puerto Rico, but not quite as egregiously.

In our game, we all decided that the military starting world is too weak, so we ditched it. This meant that no one played military worlds at all. Which is another problem, although since we always need cards for tossing, not too bad.

My score is actually not correct. I realized close to the end of the game that a building that I built that was giving me 2 VP for consuming was really supposed to give me 2 cards. That changed not only the VP scores, but how I would have been playing the roles. Ah well.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August 27, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Tal, David K, Avi, Hillel, Mace, Rachel

Mace returned from Australia this morning, so was kind of out of it. David brought his son Avi back.


Nadine 18, Jon 16, Tal 3

Second play for Tal. We played with the random chips variant. Nadine says that it's a lot of luck, but there sure was a lot of thinking going on for a luck game. I know that I had numerous tactical choices to make during the game.

I was the only non-dumper which was worth 4 points, but it was not enough to beat Nadine's high powered chip collection.

Notre Dame

Nadine 58, Avi 46, Mace 45

First plays for both Avi and Mace. Mace was zonked, and Avi is only 10 or so [DK: 8] and speaks English only so so. That they did as well as they did is amazing.


David 64, Hillel 62, Jon 55

This was our first play. I've tried to get the game out before, but the closest we ever came was learning the rules. I had forgotten all of them by now, and I had to relearn them as we set up.

In fact, I got them all wrong time and time again as we played. By the middle of the second set of cards, it was obvious that so many things had gone wrong that the final scores weren't going to mean much. Nevertheless, we forged on to the end of the game.

In addition to getting the rules wrong, we had no idea what was flying in terms of strategy. We had no idea how to value the auctions or tiles. Only as we neared the 2/3 point, did we begin to get a grasp on what was going on.

It's actually a darn good game. Aside from the rather strange auctions, there are a whole lot of different little strategic options to pursue, and they all fit together rather well. My only complaint is the auctions itself. There's an unfortunate problem of two players being able to ruin the auction for the third without suffering much in the way of consequences. Perhaps this will clarify as we play more times.

I used up my money too quickly, and found it hard to recover. I still eked out a decent result. I concentrated on the technologies, which were flush with points, but not enough to cover for the lack of resource production. Meanwhile, David and Hillel had resources covered nicely. It still ended up close. I will definitely play again.


David, Jon, Hillel, Ari

First game for Hillel. We got about halfway through this game before David and Ari had to leave. It looked like David had a pretty clear lead, but who's to say. I wasn't doing too shabbily, either.

Puerto Rico

Jon 64, Rachel 52, Nadine 51

Nadine and Rachel selected the buildings, and chose a few combinations that I would never choose. We played with Harbor, Commodities Exporter (which is a Harbor for indigo and sugar only), AND Aqueduct. That was my strategy, and it did pretty well, as you can see. Didn't hurt having a tobacco monopoly, either.

Only Nadine took Factory, and she ended with two big buildings and a late Harbor. Rachel started in third position, and netted a lot of early victory points, and more with a Discretionary Hold.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

August 19, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Elijah, Zack, Gili, Hillel, Avraham, David K, Saarya

Game night was a day early, owing to a conference I'm attending tomorrow night. We didn't have a chance to test my prototype. Zack attended last year, but his family went back to the states. He's here for a few weeks, but tonight will be his only game group appearance. Elijah also returned after a long absence.

Year of the Dragon

Nadine 101, Elijah 97, Hillel 92, Zack 83

First game for all but Nadine, who had to explain it a few times as players slowly arrived at the club and needed to hear the explanation from the beginning.

Nadine writes: Zack lost points due to getting the least explanation due to coming late. I only won because no one [else] had played before.


Jon/David 84, Avraham 74, Gili 58

We played about half the game and then I got up to let David finish my position when he arrived. I'm not thrilled about the game anyway.

I gave David an ok but not thrillingly good position. He promptly made a mistake in his inherited position and lost ground. And yet, he still won the game. Go figure. This was Avraham's first play and he underestimated the importance of Green/Blue buildings. Gili missed out on the second and third castle scoring (she had one house in the last castle section; none in the second).

Cosmic Encounter

Elijah+, Saarya+, Hillel, Nadine

Hillel's first play. All of them were a little rusty and came to me with rules questions. Even so, they made several mistakes, throwing into question the game's results. For instance, they played the Vacuum as the one who selects which tokens the other player loses, which is deadly. Elijah and Saarya won on a joint comp/comp.


Jon/Avraham 1025, David/Nadine 875

I opened with a Grand Tichu, which I made, and we both went out first to boot. A 400 point lead. I called and made Tichu again. Then David began to call Grand Tichu and Tichu, and after several rounds, we were only ahead 60 points. I won the last game with a Tichu, and that settled it.

In every hand, David and I had our cards down first; of course, being Avraham's first play, and Nadine dividing some attention in the first few hands with Cosmic, this was understandable. In nearly every hand, either David or I called Tichu or Grand Tichu; Avraham and Nadine never called it. And in nearly every hand, David and I went out first, leaving Nadine and Avraham to play for third. Too bad David and I weren't teammates.

David made a Tichu where both Avraham and Nadine had bombs and he didn't. His Grand Tichu was also helped by getting passed cards to complete both a bomb and an inside eight card straight. I had a single bomb, on the last hand, which I broke up to play a 10 card straight, followed by a three of a kind. I was left with a 9. David eventually played an 8, letting me go out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 13, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Amir, Hillel, Binyamin, Rivka, Dov, Hannah, Saarya

Binyamin brought his wife Rivka, and parents Dov and Hannah again. Amir returns for his second attendance.

Prototype: Vacation

Jon, Nadine, Amir

I tested a prototype, but it definitely needed some work. And Nadine was distracted, too, and didn't give it her full attention. No more to say about it now.

Princes of Florence

Binyamin 62, Rivka, Dov, Hillel, Hannah

They played on the new edition with the pretty board. The new edition also includes some sort of expansion character cards which I didn't get to see. I'll look them up on BGG. Everyone other than Binyamin scored under 50.

Puerto Rico

Amir 54, Nadine 49, Jon 48

First play for Amir, so we gave him corn and a lot of advice. Naturally, with my blocking Nadine from fully utilizing her Harbor, Amir won. Nadine had Harbor, I had Factory, and Amir had both. Amir could have more fully benefited from Wharf, but his taking Harbor prevented me from taking it, which would probably have given me the game. And Nadine scored two early coffee trades and blocked a coffee boat. Amir got a late tobacco monopoly, but he never got to trade it, he shipped it a few times, though.

Blue Moon City

Jon+, Binyamin, Hannah, Amir

First play for Amir, and second play for me. I had essentially forgotten how to play, but it's not a difficult game to pick up. I don't think it's terribly deep, although there are many different options to try and I haven't tried them all.

Still, it's enjoyable and fairly well-balanced, and I would play again. I'm usually a fan of area control. In the end, it came down to the difference of one crystal between Binyamin and me, which is essentially random.

El Grande

Saarya 95, Nadine 92, Dov/Amir 82, Rivka/Jon 82, Hillel 81

First plays for Dov, Hannah, and Hillel. Dov and Hannah had to leave early, so Amir and I took over for them after BMC.

We warned everyone to attack Nadine or she would run away with the game, and that's what they did. As a result, when we joined the game, Nadine was far behind. 6th round scores were: Amir 66, Hillel 65, Jon 61, Saarya 59, Nadine 43.

As you can see, however, she managed a fine catch up during the last third, nearly winning the game.

We flipped over every card that allows you to send other player's caballeros back to the provinces; I never knew so many of these cards existed in the game.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

August 6, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Tal, David K

Small game night again, perhaps because it's the nine days.


Jon, Nadine, Tal

We knew David was on the way, so we played some casual Scrabble for a while, without keeping score. When you play without keeping score, the board opens up tremendously, as point-worthless but pretty six letter words are placed with impunity. My first word was a seven letter word, actually.

Year of the Dragon

David 109, Jon 102, Nadine 91

Once again I was doing ok throughout most of the game, and once again I lost by a few points at the end. Which only goes to show that my strategy is not sound.

I'm ok with the game, and I'm willing to play, but it doesn't thrill me. For some reason, Notre Dame, to which this game has been compared, feels a little more fun to me, even though this game offers slightly more control. I think it's because Notre Dame offers actual areas to control and routes to travel.

David chose early Buddhas and managed to stay well ahead on the turn order track the entire game, while Nadine stayed well in the back. Scores reflect this.

Tigris and Euphrates

Jon 8/9/9/9, David 3/3/4/5, Nadine 3/3/4/5

A bit of a slaughter as you can see, and a fairly quick game. David started in the middle, I started on the east, and Nadine in the north west.

Near the beginning of the game, David put down two green tiles in his kingdom, I had three greens and three blacks in my hand, so I put down the two blacks. I decided to lure him into a trap by not putting down ANY greens in the hopes that he would attack me. Sure enough, he attacked me when his kingdom had four greens and mine had none. I tossed my four green tiles, and that ended that.

The game descended to another all out external conflict when there were only three treasures left on the board. I prepared as best I could for the conflict, but I got very very very lucky, not only in terms of what I drew, but in terms of how the conflict actually unfolded.

David triggered the conflict in an act of desperation. Because of how he created the conflict, there were three conflicts, in red, green, and black. And because of how he created the conflict, I needed EXACTLY one green, three black, and two red tiles to win all three conflicts. And I had EXACTLY one green, three black, and two red tiles. And to top it off, I could still get the last treasure on my next turn.

I figure I have used up my luck for the rest of the year.


Jon, David, Nadine.

We played one round of Boggle while waiting for Tal to join us for Tichu. I think I eked out a small victory.


David/Nadine 1000+, Jon/Tal 205+

In the first hand, it looked like my luck was still around. David played three consecutive pairs and I was able to top it. Then Nadine played a straight and I was able to top it. But to no avail. They both went out first.

In another round, I made it down to my last card, but it was a 2. Tal was already out, and David on my right knew I had the 2, because he passed it to me. So he led a 2, and passed everything that Nadine on my left played. In this way, Nadine went out, and then control passed to David, and he went out.

By the penultimate round, Tal and I were losing 5 to 995. I called and made a Grand Tichu (despite not having a bomb and David having one), but it didn't matter much.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

July 30, 2008

Participants: Nadine, Jon, Binyamin, Zvi Yehuda, Amir, Hillel, Yitzchak

Last minute change of plans forced the game night to Nadine's house. Amir came for a first visit, although he's moving to Modiin so won't be back much. Hillel has come once or twice before. Yitzchak also won't be coming back much more, as he's now engaged again (mazal tov) and moving to Ramat Beit Shemesh.

Year of the Dragon

Nadine 108, Jon 107, Amir

I don't remember the exact scores. Nadine was convinced I was going to win. I felt like I was doing ok, but I was severely behind in end-scoring points, and I figured Nadine would catch up to me. Lo and behold, she did, and won the game by one point.

YotD is a good game, but it's pretty balanced and mechanics-oriented. Constantly losing people makes for a nice tension element. In our game, I opened with the Double Dragon, which I'm not sure is the best opening move, actually. Later on I used the triple book a few times, ignoring the ladies and the builders. Nadine and Amir took early double dragons as well, and some ladies. Nadine's ending monks were what did me in.

Texas Hold'Em

Binyamin, Jon, Zvi Yehuda, Hillel

Zvi Yehuda wanted to play this, and Binyamin pretty much cleaned up. We played with a 1 token ante and a 5 token maximum bet for each hand (after which all cards were simply revealed). Z"Y bet high a few times in weird ways. I simply pulled crappy cards. I'm not a big fan of this type of poker, anyway.

Hillel took over for me when he came, as I was playing this and YotD at the same time.


Binyamin, Zvi Yehuda, Hillel

This is a new game from Ystari which Binyamin brought. I didn't see much of it. Binyamin claims it's a deeper version of Mykerinos.

Alexander the Great

Binyamin, Zvi Yehuda, Nadine, Jon

This is another new game which Binyamin brought. It's a hidden resource allocation / area control game with somewhat vicious mechanics (tied players receive nothing, first player loses resources equal to 1 + the second player's resources).

I played this simultaneously with Princes of Florence, so this may be why I found the game wholly uninteresting. In an hour, we progressed through 2 of 6 epochs. The decisions were very heavy calculations - not based on high math, but based on wrangling the mechanics to benefit you: "If I go here, I cause a tie, which means no one loses anything, so when I go here and lose, she'll lose resources, so that I can go here and win, and we'll both gain 3 points overall."

It felt excrutiating to me, but overall I think it's probably a good game. There's tons of strategy and tactics, and little in the way of luck, so many of my group will probably like it. You have to learn the patterns to enjoy it.

We abandoned the game after the second epoch, with Binyamin in the lead.

Princes of Florence

Yitzchak 58, Jon 57, Hillel, Amir

First time plays for Amir and Hillel. PoF remains an excellent game, but my luck remained poor. I thought I played an excellent game. I picked up 2nd and 3rd jesters on the last two round at dirt cheap prices, and won best work in both rounds. The third jester boosted a bonus card, and secured me my prestige card (6 points).

For all that, Yitzchak had two prestige cards worth a total of 15 points, and ended up beating me by one point. Sometimes I don't know why I bother.

Both the newbies played very well, although they both had a bunch of builders and lost (by less than 10 points), so there you go.


Binyamin/Zvi Yehuda, Jon/Nadine

We played Bridge for several hands, and my highest hand was 10 points. Most of my hands were 6 or under. I still ended up as declarer three times, making two of the contracts.

Aside from the first hand where Binyamin opened 3 hearts and his partner bid 4 NT and they made a slam, the rest of the hands were all partials. One was even passed out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

July 23, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Binyamin, Tikva Shira, Zvi Yehuda, Dov, Hannah, Gili, David K, Avraham, Tal

Back to a higher attendance level although five of the attendees were Binyamin and his family. T"S and Z"Y are Binyamin's children, and Dov and Hannah are his parents. Nadine is back from vacation.


T"S 15, Z"Y 12, Jon 5, Dov 3, Hannah 2

I taught this (in broken Hebrew) to all the others, and they picked up fairly easily. I got lots of chips, but tossed out lots of cards. As usual, the players with the 4 and 5 chips took the game, which is one of the problems with the game, and the reason why I prefer playing with all the chips randomly stacked on all cards in even-sized piles (game is over when the last chip is taken from any pile).

Notre Dame

David 52, Gili 51, Dov, Hannah, T"S

Gili taught this to Dov and Hannah while David drove up. Obviously a close game for the two most experienced players.


Jon, Binyamin, Z"Y, Nadine

Heard a lot of good things about this new cooperative game, and Avraham had left us a copy, so we read the simple rules and tried it out. As in many cooperative games, it tends to be dominated by one player who tells everyone else what to do if table talk is allowed. Best to play with no talking.

Pandemic is a light game, with theme enough, though not a deep one. Cubes are put onto the board representing virus outbreaks, and when a city gets more than three it spreads to neighboring cities. You have limited actions to move around removing cubes, and collecting sets of cards to implement cures. You lose the game if too many of one cube is on the table, or too many outbreaks occurred (similar) or too many rounds have elapsed.

The lesson learned, as we expected after playing Shadows Over Camelot, was that the Traitor aspect of Shadows Over Camelot is a huge bonus for the game. The board as your enemy is just not quite as intense a conflict if everyone can be counted on as your friend.

As far as strategies and tactics, there is a nice amount going on, where you have to decided which outbreaks to tackle in which order, and how to use your limited cards to best effect.

It was interesting enough, and I would play again. By the way, we all lost when disease spread out across South America.

Vegas Showdown

Jon 41, Avraham 39, Nadine 35, Binyamin 35, Z"Y 31

We don't play this enough, partly because the random effects each round detract from the game more than they help. If we could see the next five effects that will be coming into play, it would be somewhat more strategic.

Despite this, it's an excellent game of money management and auctioning. I won the last few points with my red diamonds, which I never expected to actually come in useful.

Settler of Catan

David, T"S, Gili

This game was started and abandoned, I believe.


David, Hannah, T"S, Gili

David tried to teach this, but only Hannah was interested in continuing after one hand.David/Avraham 375, Jon/Tal 325

We played this later in the evening as a session closer. We managed to get in five hands.

I generally maintain that the points on the cards taken in are not significant compared to Tichu effects and both team members going out first. I'm usually right, but not this time.

In the first hand, we had 20 and our opps 80.

In the second hand, I called and made Tichu, but our trick point count was -20, giving us net points of 80 to our opps 120.

In the third hand, David called Tichu, and we all laughed. It turned out that his was the only hand at the table that didn't have a bomb. My hand was particularly good, and I went out first without too much difficulty. But with the trick points, we gained 25 while they lost 25 (-100 +75).

In the fourth and fifth hands, Tichu wasn't called. Each pair went out before the other, netting each team 200 points. And we had to call it a night.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

July 16, 2008

Participants: Jon, David K, Gili, Saarya

Two guests! As much as the combined number from the last two weeks. Why, at this Fibonacci rate, the whole planet will be at my group by the end of the year!


Jon, Gili

Gili and I played half a game while we were waiting. I was ahead a bit.

Notre Dame

David 57, Jon 55, Gili, Saarya

Saarya's first play. I played a very balanced game, ignoring the VP track but putting two into Park. In the very last round, I ran out of money and couldn't buy the last favor, costing me the game. David skipped Notre Dame in the last triad, but took the last favor of 3 VP for each 3 populated province for 10 points (with Park). He also had his VP track going, so I avoided passing him VP track cards, but didn't use them myself.

Saarya concurs with the rest the rest of us that a tad more control would be slightly better.

Cities and Knights of Catan

David 11, Gili 5, Jon 5

My rule is that I'll play this game with an alternate win condition: that you win if you have five more points than second place. Keeps the game from going on too long, and makes jockeying for Longest Road somewhat more interesting at the middle of the game.

I had 4 points more than either of them near the beginning, owing to defending the island once and having Longest Road. David stole my knight, so that he then collected three defender points while I stalled for resources. I beat Gili out to a wheat port, but, though situated on an 8/5 wheat, never got to use it. David won the game when he took Longest Road from me.

David feels that a better alternate rule is that you win if you are four points ahead of second place, not counting Longest Road (he doesn't like the LR jockeying, and anyway the point is to prevent a won game from dragging on).

Magic: the Gathering

David++, Jon

We drafted for decks, but I drafted far too many rather than too few creatures, for once. May lack of utility made me unable to pass his defenses, while he had a few spells that could pass mine. My lack of red mana in the first game, and then slow start to green mana in the second, didn't help.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

July 09, 2008

Participants: Jon, Avraham.

Another game night alost didn't happen. Avraham called and came a bit late, but everyone else seems to have disappeared.

Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation

Avraham++, Jon

I taught this to A, and he beat me twice, as Black and then as White. And he was still wresting with the abilities, too.


Jon+, Avraham

I taught this to A, and was happy to win so as to make up for my defeat in LotR:tC. He enjoyed the game.

Tigris and Euphrates

Jon 14, Avraham 4

And I taught this to A, too, and won by a compfortable margin, as you can see. We played on the entire board, although sometimes I play two-player on a reduced board. I started in the river delta, and built a massive kingdom with Green and Black. We had very few external conflicts; I think only two the entire game, and they were small ones.

We built a few monuments, and kicked them back and forth for a while with internal conflicts, but I ended up with control, and even abandoned one of the colors later as I didn't really need it. Basically: I was gaining fast, and he wasn't doing enough to disrupt me.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

July 02, 2008

Participants: Jon, David K

Where did everyone go?

I know that Nadine is in America.

Magic: the Gathering

David++, Jon+

I pulled a stack of cards that I think I collected from my recent trip to Toronto. It had no artifacts and a lot of cards that were built to interact with artifacts, so during our draft, we kept tossing out cards and replacing them with ones that at least had possibility. As a result of this tossing, I picked a few direct damage spells about which David was unaware.

I built what i thought was a decent deck: 4 or 5 direct damage, including X spells, two creature removals in white, and enough creatures to hold off whatever he could throw until I got my damage out. Unfortunately, even when I draft well, I still can't seem to beat David.

The first game I lost because I didn't draw a second land for ten turns or so. I won the second game the way it was supposed to be won. The third game I sat waiting for a while holding his creatures at bay, but eventually he got his 4/4 flying dragon past my defenses and I couldn't keep from dying long enough to pull out both kill cards (I toasted him for 10, once).

Power Grid

David 21+, Jon 21-

We played on the Italy map, which we almost never use. But we played in Northern Italy, which is hardly like using the map, really. 2-player PG works, but the fuel really runs out, and it's all a matter of timing in the last round or two. I feel like I played better, but David won owing to holding the right goods versus a plant that came out at a certain time, and he only won by a few dollars, anyway.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June 25, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Yitzchak, Jonathan, Avraham, Sarah, David K, Tal

Avraham came once before, and he brought his fiance Sarah (for real).


Jon, Tal, Nadine, Jonathan

Having just blogged about Tichu, I decided to get some people to play it. Tal is always up for a game, and she always pauses dramatically before she has to play something bad. Nadine doesn't care for Tichu, as it's strictly luckier than Bridge, so why bother playing Tichu?

Tal and I were trailing when other people arrived and we broke to play some regular games.

Puerto Rico

Yitzchak 53, Jonathan 51, Nadine 40

Jonathan's first play, and Nadine taught the game in her usual way.

Nadine writes: Jonathan should have won. I should have shipped instead of Mayoring which would have given me the same three points but blocked Yitzchak because there was only one ship. I had Fortress, Yitzchak had Custom's House, so he would have had only 49. Jonathan had 3 big buildings and a coffee monopoly; I had only the three lower goods.

Race For The Galaxy

Nadine 38, Yitzchak 37, Jonathan 30

I have no info about how this game went, but if Nadine won, it must have been with brown cards.


Avraham 103, Jon 101, David 100, Sara 89

This was Avraham and Sara's first play. This is another nice game that I'd been wanting to get it out onto the table for a long while, but which too many people prefer not to play for some reason. Our game was incredibly long (four hours), but it felt only a bit too long. Three hours would have been just fine (two even better, of course). The length was due to some distractions, some very long thinking, and learning how to play for the first time.

Four players is a very crowded game experience, and I didn't have nearly enough guys or tents on the board, but I still did ok. Most of the scoring comes from finding the clever tactic; the remainder of the time you're putting your tendrils out hoping that that opportunity will come.

The highest scoring temples only went to 8.


David+++, Jon

We drafted. I thought my deck was decent. I get the feeling that I'm just a sucky player.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

June 18, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Jonathan, Gili, Yitzchak, Shirley, David K

Gili and Binyamin were absent last week attempting to teach some non-gamers how to play Settlers, apparently without much success.

Princes of Florence

Jonathan 63, Nadine 62, Yitzchak 61, Gili 58

I set this up, but then moved to another game and Nadine took my place. The scores are really close, as you can see, and this was Jonathan's first game.


David 116, Jon 68, Shirley 68

Shirley's first game. I generally don't like playing this, as it takes too long and is too fiddly. And, when you know you're losing, you get to know that for a few hours. That's what happened here. I had a nice second round, but the Provost kept knocking out everything I wanted to do, and David was just miles ahead structurally by mid-game.

At one point, I had the decision to move the provost back up 1 to 3 spaces, but I was only considering the space nearest to the Provost, and what would happen if David moved it back to that spot. I decided that the space didn't matter enough, but I would let David decide. I missed the fact that he could move it three spaces, knocking out two of mine. It was a 10 point loss for me (no building in the castle, no favor) and a large loss in momentum, too. And it hurt Shirley prettily, too.

It was just a matter of how much he would win by. A lot, as you can see.

Notre Dame

Yitzchak 71, Nadine 58, Jonathan 56

Another first game for Jonathan, but he didn't fare quite as well (though decent enough).

Magic: The Gathering

Jon+, David+

We simply cut 60 cards for each player from the stack of remaining unplayed cards, eliminating a few of the duplicates. Without drafting, one doesn't feel like one has as much to do with one's own success. In this case, David had the better deck. Building and playing still have a lot to do, but not enough.

I won the first game only because David was stuck at two lands for nearly all of it. And it was still close.
[DK: Well close is an exaggeration. I was holding my own, which was very surprising for only two mana over many many rounds. Jon neglected to mention that my two mana was after a mulligan down to 6 cards since my first draw was mana short. And this was with a 40 card deck with 17 mana.]

The second game wasn't a walkover for David; I managed to bury three of his creatures. But he had more ways of delivering the pain than I did.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

June 11, 2008

Participants: Jon, Max, Sergei, Nadine, Avraham

A bunch of regulars were out teaching games at some sort of other event. Avraham is a new guy who lives nearby and who's just getting into board games.


Jon 38, Nadine 29, Sergei 21, Max 18

Those scores are approximate, since I didn't write them down when the game ended. I've always found this game to be fairly enjoyable, if not stellar, but I enjoyed this session more than most. Maybe because I won.

Max and Sergei were first time players. Sergei emptied his hand fairly early, winning the first two battles, as well as the fourth, but then having and empty hand for the rest of the game. He tried to win one more battle with a five card hand that was full house; when he lost the battle, his hand was literally empty.

I came in second in some of these battles, and then won the key ones I needed. I remembered mid-game that the Dogs can be used to form a simple straight flush with low cards, which helped win one of them.

Power Grid

Nadine 14, Jon 13 (142), Max 13 (130), Avraham 13 (86), Sergei 13 (74)

This was a first play for both Avraham and Sergei. They took to it well enough, although Avraham thought it was a bit too long. We played on France, without the northeast area.

I started alone in the south, Max in the east, and the others fighting around Paris and suburbs. I remained undisturbed until mid-game. The game eventually came down to who could buy the best plant capacity. Max started off with the most in the end-game, but and incremental plant I bought allowed Nadine to buy a better plant with which she was able to win the game.

It's Alive

Avraham+, Nadine, Jon

I introduced Avraham to this game. We first tried the basic version, which I lost soundly. It's really quite different in strategy from the advanced version. It's slightly better in one sense, in that the lower cost tiles are also beneficial. But it lacks a certain depth.

Avraham 49. Jon 46, Nadine 41

And then we played the advanced version. I ended the game, but I couldn't beat Avraham's coffin laden board. I don't think I even pocked any coffins in the game.

We tried two variants: 1) Buying out of the graveyard for two coins instead of face value. This didn't work, as it made the Villager cards less useful. 2) Combine coins and cards for when you could use cards. This had the effect I knew it would, making cards simply feel like cash, which I don't like.

As far as I'm concerned, the game stays the way it is.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

June 05, 2008

Participants: Jon, Binyamin, Nadine, Gili, Bill, Shirley, Ari

Shirley is Bill's wife, come to the group for the first time. Binyamin won every game he played tonight.


Binyamin+, Jon

Nadine opted to sit this out, which I believe she has come to regret seeing as how long her Puerto Rico game ended up taking.

Mykerinos is actually an elegant game. When I first played it, I thought certain moves were fairly scripted, but this is not the case. It's definitely a game of tradeoffs, all the time. Unfortunately, in the fourth and last round, decisions really are sort of scripted, since nearly every move is a simple math calculation (in two player).

I haven't played this in a while, whereas Binyamin had. Therefore, I forgot a few rules and was blindsided by them when they came up in play. For instance, at the end of the game I forgot that after one person passes, the other players have only one more turn. I kept thinking that the other player can play himself out. This made a real difference.

I knew, but kept forgetting as I actually played, that control is for quadrant, not per board. As a result, I completely screwed up the first set of placement actions. I insisted that we stat again, since having played with the wrong goals in mind, I had lost every single quadrant. I restarted the game after the next two placements again, because I started out doing it again. Only on the third try did I finally get it.

I still lost by a great amount, because I neglected the library. That was totally my fault, however.

Mississippi Queen

Binyamin+, Ari+, Jon -2

I had played this only once, but the rules were fairly easy to remember. The only fuzziness was, when you pushed another player, did you drop speed as well as movement, or only movement?

It was a close game, not too long, and worth playing again.

Race for the Galaxy

Binyamin 36, Jon 35, Ari 31

Binyamin is convinced that the game is simply too short, and should be extended to 20 buildings and a lot more VPs. I am convinced that, if not the winner, then the losers are fairly well known by turn five, making any game extension simply more torturous to them.

Meanwhile, I'm convinced the, while there are multiple paths to victory, some people are going to draw a cohesive set of cards, and some aren't. The former have the potential to win, while the latter don't. Which makes the game torturous to the latter, anyway. But then, I can't explain how David K and Binyamin always seem to beat me. So I really need to study some strategies before I make any final conclusions.

To appease Binyamin, I thought we would try that the game ends when someone has built 8 devels or 8 settlements, and not simply 12 cards. And we added 12 more VPs. I think 10 would have been the better number, as the game was still nearing its end as Binyamin dumped 1 point devels nearly every round.

To me, any game where the end can be "hurried" when someone is ahead is problematic. It's what sinks Lost Valley as a game, too.

Power Grid

Binyamin 17, Ari 15, Jon 14

We played in Central Europe, and with the new deck of power plants. And, as usual, with the top four cards of the power plant deck face up (but still accessible only in order). We played in the three Eastern provinces. I started in the middle of the board, which squashed my expansion and that was nearly that. I had more capacity two rounds before the end, but less cash, and so I couldn't solidify my capacity and buy the fuel I needed and also buy the eight or so cities I needed in the last two rounds.

Binyamin adds: We totally forgot about the -1 discount for garbage [in Wien]. I had the 21 plant - 3 garbege for 5 cities - for at least 4 rounds and didn’t take any discount. That might have made an absurd change, as if I had more money and as I thought Ari has lots of money. I might have tried to go for a 7 plant and not finish the game, which would have been wrong, of course, but I didn’t know that. Interesting thought, how a bit more money could actually make me, maybe, be lose the game.

Puerto Rico

Shirley 57, Nadine 44, Bill 40+, Gili 40-

During the time it took us to play half of Mykerinos, Mississippi Queen, Race for the Galaxy, and Power Grid, these guys played one game of Puerto Rico. It was Shirley's first game, and Bill's second game. Shirley really loved it, and winning by a mile didn't hurt.

She ended with 36 shipping points and Custom's House. Bill had some good shipping, but no big buildings. Otherwise, I don't know what happened.

Nadine adds: I enjoyed Puerto Rico even though it was very slow. Part of that was for multiple explanations, which I don't mind. Bill got a Wharf near the end. He had enough for a big building afterwards, but it was too late to mayor it. Shirley was third and had a Sugar monopoly for a long time, Bill had early Tobacco, and got a Factory. Shirley had Harbor which gave her a lot of points. Gili produced Coffee and Indigo only. I had a Factory and Wharf and Coffee.

Bill had 3 corns and shipped 5 corns on his wharf at least twice, he also had a small warehouse.

It's Alive

Shirley 57, Nadine 53, Bill 45

Again, Shirley's first play and Bill's second. Assuming that Shirley finished her board first, it looks like she won with the board completion bonus.

Nadine adds: I finished my It's Alive board first, because I always pretty much play the basic version, but it wasn't enough this time. Shirley had the some score in Puerto Rico and It's Alive, and won all her games too, though two isn't the same as 4.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

May 28, 2008

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Bill, Gili, Binyamin, Max, Sergei, David K, Yitzchak, Dylan, Rachel A

A bustling game night. We discovered that you can't do role playing in the same room as board gaming.

It's Alive

Bill 55, Gili 47, Jon 33

First play for Bill, so he was happy to win. He ended up flipping four of the six coffins and no villagers, while I flipped four of the six villages. With brutally unfair luck as that, it's hard to compete.

Notre Dame

Binyamin 64, Nadine 47, Yitzchak 45

They played this as an opener, although it's kind of long as an opener.


Binyamin+, Sergei

First play for Sergei.

Dungeon Twister

Binyamin, David

Binyamin introduced this game to David, who decided to forfeit mid-game, as he really doesn't care for the combat mechanic of blind bidding.


Max 22, Jon 30, Gili 35, Bill, Sergei

First plays for all but myself and Gili. Gili pulled an inside straight. The second time she needed an inside straight, Sergei was forced to ruin her (and his) plans as he had no cash to push off the card. Max enjoyed the game and plans to make a copy to play at his own group.

Universalis / Children of Fire

Bill (GM), Jon, Dylan, Max, Gili

Nadine opted not continue last time, and we thought rightly that Gili would join. She did, but the setup took too long for her, or she was just too tired, and she left before ever really doing anything. Max stuck around for longer, but it appeared that he was not really into combat-less role playing, as he kept trying to kidnap or cast spells on humans, which is not the point of the CoF theme. He also bowed out mid-game.

Dylan and I meanwhile had a good time, and owing it to just being the two of us and our previous first experience, we made some story progress. Cthulhu or space aliens or some combination are sexually attacking the teenagers of Wichita trying to get them, or to get, pregnant, for some reason.

Princes of Florence

Yitzchak 76, Nadine 69, Sergei 65

I think this was Sergei's first play.

Race for the Galaxy

David 43, Binyamin 42, Jon 30

I don't seem to have a handle on this game yet, as not only do I keep losing, I lose soundly. We were originally going to play a longer game with more VPs and building capacity, but I could already tell mid-game that the end result wasn't going to change significantly so there wasn't much point. I may have been wrong, but I think that extending the game essentially swings the game to the VP producers.

Magic: the Gathering

David+, Jon

I dealt each of us 60 random cards and we built decks without knowing if we would play. In the end, we squeaked in a game.

The game was kind of a slog. Both of us has unblockables, and each was able to do roughly two points of damage per turn. Unfortunately for me, David started his damage earlier. Near the end, when I could finally take out his attacker, he was able to counter my spell. And that was pretty much that.

Puerto Rico

Sergei/Jon 61, Nadine 59, Max/Jon 53, Rachel 44

This was first plays for both Max and Sergei, but they had to leave near the end of the game to catch a ride with David. I took a basic look at their boards to help finish the game, and I mostly crafted and shipped them to victory.

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