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.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

May 21, 2008

Participants: Jon, Bill, Nadine, Jonathan, Sergei, Daniel, Max, Binyamin, Ari

Bill came back even though we didn't have a quorum for role playing again. Luckily, he plays board games, too. Max came a few times before with Jack (who only came a few times). Max and Jack were running a Russian-speaking game group in downtown Jerusalem for a while, but it petered out. Max brought with him Daniel and Sergei.

Robo Rally

Ari+, Jon, Binyamin, Jonathan, Max

This was a first game for Max and Binyamin. I picked a single board and a single flag. But it was the Maelstrom board, nearly entirely covered with concentric circles of walkways moving at different speed and depositing into a central pit. And the flag started out on one of these walkways, so moved one space each phase, too.

Needless to say, it looked like it was going to be wild and fun. For some reason, I calculated that the best way to get to the flag was to skirt the opposite direction to the walkway's movement around the edge of the board and then try to rush in. Ari, instead, jumped onto the faster moving walkway which took him right opposite the slower moving flag in one turn. He won on turn two.

Jon+, Nadine, Sergei, Bill

Later in the evening we played again. This was the first play for Sergei, and second (?) for Bill.

We also used a single board and flag, but a simpler one, and the flag was stationary at the far corner. This time I won in two turns, by virtue of having hands full of Move 2 and Move 3 cards in both turns.

El Grande

Nadine 122, Daniel/Jon 104, Sergei 103, Bill 98

This was the first game for Sergei and Daniel, I believe. Daniel unfortunately had to leave after the second scoring round, so I took over while also playing Santiago.

When I took over, Nadine was well ahead of every other player, so she obviously neglected to inform them that she usually wins big time and they should all gang up on her. By the time I got there, it was too late. On round 8 she took an interim scoring opportunity which essentially sealed the game.

Round 3 scores: Nadine 37, Bill 37, Sergei 41, Daniel 35
Round 6 scores: Nadine 89, Bill 73, Sergei 74, Daniel 77


Jon+, Ari

After Ari won the first game of Robo Rally, we played two more rounds to see who would come in second. To keep Ari occupied, I played Saikoro with him.

It's still a lovely game. I had no trouble cornering Ari for the win, as it was his first game.


Binyamin 72, Jon 62, Ari 45, Jonathan 43, Max 43

I love this game and have wanted to get it out for a long time, but I haven't had the opportunity since some of the other club players don't like it. But, with a new audience, I was finally able to do it. This was the first play for Max, and second plays for Ari and Jonathan.

Both Binyamin and I got in on an early potato field, while I also got an early sugar field, and he got a later pepper field. He had one more guy on the potato field, however, and managed his cash just a bit better, so as to earn a victory.

Race for the Galaxy

Binyamin 23, Jon 18, Nadine 18

Yes, very low scores, entirely because Nadine built low cost buildings on every single building phase, ending the game in some eight or nine rounds. Nadine knows the brown building strategy and isn't happy when she doesn't get those buildings. Binyamin says that he has tried the game with variants where you build up to twenty buildings (instead of twelve) and increase the vp chips, which he likes better than the standard game, as it ends too quickly.

It's Alive

Sergei+++, Jonathan+, Max+

When they finished playing this, I thought they had played only one game and I asked their score. When they said that Sergei won with three, and Jonathan had one, and Max had one, I was confused, until I discovered that that was the number of games they had played, not the point counts. They played five games back to back in the time it took us to play Race for the Galaxy.

And after all that, Max said that he found the game somewhat repetitive. I'm guessing they liked it enough to play it five times, however.


Jon/Max, Binyamin/Nadine

We got in two hand of Bridge at the end of game night. This was Max's first plays, and he kept comparing it to games he was familiar with.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 14, 2008

Participants: Jon, Jonathan, Nadine, Yitzchak, Dylan, Ari, Bill

We're back to a weekly Wed schedule after the various hagim. Also, Bill returns from the U.S. for a few weeks, to try once again to introduce us to the joys of roleplaying outside of D&D. Ari has been with us before, but not for a long time.

It's Alive

Jonathan 60, Jon 52, Nadine 49

I introduced Jonathan to the game, and we played the advanced version. Nadine got all the Villagers, while Jonathan seemed to get all the coffins. Nadine still completed her board first. But in the end, Nadine only scored 49, even with the 5 point bonus, while Jonathan scored a hefty 60: 44 on his board, and 16 coins.

Robo Rally

Jon+, Jonathan, Nadine, Yitzchak, Dylan, Ari

We weren't sure how long we wanted to play this, since we were waiting for Bill to come and start a roleplaying session. So we chose a single board and a single flag. And each robot had an option, two of which were very painful (if they shoot you, they switch your program for theirs/they push you instead of damaging you). What could go wrong?

Turns out nothing, for me. I saw that the game could be won in three turns with perfect cards and play and no interference. Somehow or another, I actually did it. The whole game went three turns, which was an hour.

On the very first turn, my cards were Move 2, Move 2, Move 1, Turn, Turn. I almost left them like this, when suddenly I realized that it would be safer to start with a Move 1 rather than a Move 2, so I switched cards 1 and 3. That was the key to winning. Everyone else went in front of me and I just shot them or pushed them. If I had done it as I had originally planned, someone would have fallen behind me and eventually shot or bumped me.


Dylan 17, Nadine 16, Jon 5

I'm amazed I got a score above negative, actually. It didn't seem like it for a while.

I came up with a variant for the game right before playing. I mixed up all the chips upside down, stacked them into four stacks of seven, and then flipped them right side up onto the four cards. We knew what the top chip of a pile was, but not what the next one was going to be. Colors and numbers were completely randomly ordered.

Turns out to be a blast. The scores are higher, since more people can acquire 5's, which makes the game more interesting, and not simply who takes the last chip, which is often what happens. Give it a try.


Ari 103, Yitzchak 92, Jonathan 71

Jonathan's first game. I didn't see what happened.

Universalis / Children of Fire

Bill (GM), Jon, Dylan, Nadine

CoF is a light roleplaying system based on angels which you can download for free. Dylan and I had pre-made characters. Nadine claims that she had made one once when Adam had been planning to run a session, but either she never gave it to me or I couldn't find it. So she had to come up with a character as we played.

Universalis is a points base storytelling experience where it costs you points to introduce items or events that change the story, or to interrupt. The point was to create the setting for the CoF game. The whole things took about twenty minutes, during which I was trying to wrap my head around my first non-D&D RPG experience. In the end, the story setting was pretty much what Bill assumed it would be.

In, CoF, the three of us angels were sent down to Wichita to examine why a lot of prayers have been coming up to heaven, as well as complaints about strange abuse cases, crop circles, and loss of memory. I think we're supposed to think it's aliens, but obviously it's some sort of demon activity.

My character looks a bit like Dream from Sandman, but with a wolf motif and always has a wolf with him and a rod that can glow. I am distracted by the suffering of animals over humans, which I hammed up a lot. Dylan's character is a short portly guy with a glass eye. And Nadine's character looks like a 17 year old girl with blue hair and weird colors (think Delirium from Sandman). We made an impressive looking group. Wherever townsfolk ask what we're doing in town, I just say that we're here for the sci-fi convention.

So far, we're hitched a ride to a motel, heard some complaints from the townsfolk. Then we scouted out at night and I rescued a 16 year old boy from a crazed dog (or vice versa, depending on who you ask). That's it for two an a half hours. We got interrupted a lot and had fun.