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.