Thursday, February 25, 2010

February 24, 2010

Participants: Nadine, Gili, Abraham

First of three game nights at Nadine's while I'm in the US. Session report by Nadine:

Gili and Abe arrived at about the same time.

David & Goliath

Abraham+, Gili, Nadine

Gili+, Abraham, Nadine

Abe had never played David and Goliath so we played two games. Abe won the first one by a lot, Gili won the second one.

Cuba + expansions

Abraham 73, Nadine 70, Gili 70

Then we played Cuba with the expansion buildings. Abe bought one of them on the first round, that lets you trade 5 different non-cube things for 9 points. I had the sugar-rum-points buildings.

Abe had a lot of money and cubes, he won the political influence every round except the last two. The second to last round Gili won and selected the card that lets you only produce one resource, so Abe couldn't get the resources to use the building, so he didn't use it all game. The market had been cleared out by political cards. He was able to ship, and still won.

Final score Abe 73, me and Gili tied at 70, I had two coins. We had talked about her keeping a coin for a tie breaker during the bidding, but she wanted to select cards. We could have each done a few things differently.

The game seems very well balanced because it's usually close at the end, after my two games. It's fun, not too long, with interesting choices that seem to matter though almost all my choices were worth 2 points. Abe beat me in number of useless cubes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

February 17, 2010

Participants: Jon, Gili, Claude, Binyamin, Nadine, David K, Mace

I had some last minute work to finish. Claude is a local designer of simple but interesting wooden games who has come before, and also, coincidentally, a friend of Gili's. He introduced a number of his own new games.

Claude Game

Mace, Claude, David+, Nadine

I forgot the game name. The game was like Mastermind crossed with Liar's Poker, and I didn't get to play it. The game was enjoyed by all the players, however. From only looking at the game, I'm not sure that each player, if sufficiently highly intelligent, should not be able to win siultaneously.

Each player secretly gets a role, and based on the role must either "always tells truth", "always tells lie", "alternates truth and lie", or "say whatever he likes". Each player is also given a card in one of four colors and with one of four numbers that all other players can see.

On a player's turn, he flips over an unused card from the 16 casrd deck, and then asks one of a set number of questions about his own card in relation to the flipped card: is it the same color? same number? and a few others. The other players, from LHO around, answer the question by placing their yes/no disks along a track, like a Mastermind track. The question asked is left visually beside the answers (using a simple code system). When you think you know what your card is, you reveal, and either win or lose (actually, I don't know what happens if you lose; do the others keep playing?)

Like Mastermind, it's more of a puzzle than a game, except that the "say whatever he likes" guy has more to do ... and also, we believe, has somewhat more of an advantage (will probably figure out his card one round before everyone else). And, though the board has a dozen track spaces, chances are that no more than 6 will ever be required.

It's the quietest game I've seen since Princes of Florence. Lots of working things and figuring.

Claude's games now have a website, which I will fill in here later.


David++, Jon+

We drafted Rochester draft again, though (as per comments on the previous Magic session) I may mix up the draft next time. we both ended up with White/Green/Red, since that's what came out. David only lost the second game because he reckelessly went full out on the last round, instead of attacking with half his critters, and then finishing me off the next round. The third game was close, at least.

Power Grid: Factory Manager

Nadine, Binyamin, Mace, Claude (part)

This was way too complicated for Claude, and he had to leave early, anyway. Nadine had to read the instructions to teach the game as she didn't remember them from the one two-player game we had played. This is always a painful way to learn a game, especially one as complicated as this one. I don't know the results.


David+, Jon

David had never played this, and he enjoyed it, as I suspected he would. He was a little unsure of the depth, since he beat me, but I convinced him that it's easy to mess up, even with experience.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February 09, 2010

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nadine, David K, Binyamin, Abraham, Sara, Eitan, Emily

Game night moved to Tuesday night owing to a wedding on Wed.

Dominion + Intrigue + Seaside

Nadine 36, Gili 31, Jon 30

When Treasure Map shows up, one has to decide whether to go for it early or try something else. Last time I played with it, Chapel was also available, which made the decision easy. This time we had Warehouse (draw and discard three cards), which was nearly as nice, though not quite. Nadine and I both went for it, and she scored it well before I did. Which makes the game a little too reliant on luck.

Truth is, I should simply have bought a third one and I would have done better, so I really have myself to blame.

Gili went without it, taking Festivals, Feasts, and Mining Villages, which we also got to eventually.


Binyamin, David

Binyamin took this game home to learn and then taught it to David. Binyamin said it would take five minutes to explain and fifteen minutes to play, but it seemed like it took fifteen minutes to explain and five minutes to play. David didn't look too enthused about playing it after the explanation, but since they were waiting for us to finish our game of Dominion, they went ahead.

There is apparently some tactical depth to the game, but I didn't hear either of them raving about it. Still, I'll have to try it eventually.


Eitan, Emily

When they arrived, they played this twice. When I first got the game, I thought the box was excellent, but recently I've noticed that the dice don't really tumble properly if you just shake the box (like they do with Boggle). Eitan took the dice out and dumped them over the board. Still a nice game, though.


Binyamin+, Jon, Gili

This game is deceptively simple and coddling, which is probably why Nadine likes it. Something nice is always happening to you, even if you're not winning. After a few plays, however, you realize that you need the nice things to happen to you faster than they do to the other players.

Some of your initial strategy depends on your opening hand. Gili said, at the end of the game, that her hand was particularly crappy, which is why she didn't manage to claim any factions on the first round, and subsequently lost the game. I'm not sure how accurate this is. It would have to be really, really crappy, and there must also be no way of remedying the situation on the board, which doesn't seem possible in a three player game.

Binyamin and I both started strong. I think I even may have started a little stronger, but I didn't control both factions that I needed on the second round, so I didn't get the Tribune until the last round of the game. Meanwhile, Binyamin ended up with control of five factions in round 3, which is unbelievable. Gili had ten cards for control of one of the factions on turn two, and, no surprise, she kept control of it until the end of the game.

The game ended after turn four, which seems to be about normal; it's a quick game, even with the most "difficult" requirements.


Abraham+, Sara

Abraham taught Dvonn to Sara when they arrived, and Abraham won narrowly.

Stone Age

Sara 140, David 116, Abraham 115, Nadine 62

While I mocked them for rolling dice, they all seemed to enjoy playing this. They ended about the same time as we ended Tribune.


Jon 36, Binyamin 34, Emily 31, Eitan 26

First plays for Emily and Eitan. First win for me. This is another game that rewards multiple plays, and I'm starting to grow on it. It also looks like it cold use expansion buildings, like so many other games with special ability cards.

This is the first game where I didn't worry too much about getting early people. I think that paid off, because placing people is expensive. I got an early Dyer and then something to boost my production. The first few rounds we all started off about the same, but I eventually burst forth from the pack with my Dye House, followed closely by Binyamin. Emily also kept pace with victory points, but not with production, and so couldn't quite make the final push.

Eitan fell massively behind in production, but got both of the Shipyards, and so was poised for a late game comeback, but couldn't come back enough.

Le Havre

David, Abraham, Nadine

Last time we played, David claimed an early debt strategy would be good, and so attempted to implement that this time. But they played for two hours and only made it halfway though the game, and so gave up when it began to get late.

Nadine and David both find the game fiddly. David likes the game well enough, but I think likes Agricola more. Nadine definitely likes Agricola more, while Abraham likes Le Havre more. So it taiku.


Binyamin, Abraham, David, Nadine, Jon

Abraham played a few hands with Binyamin against David and Nadine, and then I played a few hands with David against Binyamin and Nadine.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

February 03, 2010

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Mace, Gili, David, Bill, Abraham

Stormy weather. Mace was going to be in Tel Aviv, but came to play instead.


Nadine+, Bill, Mace, Gili

First play for Mace, possibly first play for Bill. I don't know what scenario they played. Bill was a close second.

Le Havre

David 145, Jon 113, Abraham 106

It's always nice when there are more players, since I have a better chance of getting out games that I love but some others don't. Abraham likes Le Havre, too, and this was David's first play.

It's a strange game to teach, what with building and buying and the strange and difficult procedure involved in buying ships. It's an awesome game, however, and we've still only played "the quick" way, without special buildings. I think I'm finally ready to graduate to those.

One mechanic that kind of bothers me is the way that someone can "hog" a space if they take resources; I think it would be nice if they had to remove their piece from the building they currently occupy to do that. Maybe that's actually the rule and I missed it.

David was thoroughly confused as the game started, but by the end he was getting the hang of it. So much so, that he was the first of our group to realize that one should actively NOT take food early game and instead take debt. This saves actions for you to generate lots of food in later parts of the game. None of us did this, but it seems sound in theory.

And of course he won. Abraham always seems to be doing well early game, but then is totally out of sync later on. I plod along merrily, but never seem to get a ship, which I should probably do, if only for the food reduction. David seemed to be a bit behind, but he gained massive energy and steel late in the game, bought the big luxury liner and another steel ship and shipped steel.

Pillars of the Earth + expansion

Gili, Mace, Nadine, Bill

Nadine writes: Gili won, Mace was second, first play for him, second play for Bill. [Ed: First play of the expansion for everyone]

The expansion seems to make it harder, or maybe it's just being less familiar with what can happen, such as bad events and that some craftperson/exchange cards being out of the game. Bill could look at the events but wasn't able to avoid the last one because Gili went there before his guy was drawn.

I had a card that let me select the initial two cards for sale, so I took the first player position a lot which hurt Bill because I started on his turn where he would have been first. I couldn't use that ability in the last round. Mace did well too with a lot cube production.

Apparently there was one card which prevented all special ability cards, and it was played in the last round. It made the game a bit anti-climactic.

Magic: the Gathering

David++, Jon

David and I drafted as usual from random cards acquired in the last few years. I remarked on the lack of synergy as we were drafting, but in the end I somehow acquired around ten Kithkin, at least one of which gained +1/+1 for each Kithkin that attacked.

In fact, as I drafted, I specifically chose cards that gave bonuses for various reasons. I had an equipment that gave +x/+x for each attacking creature, and another creature that gained +2/+2 if a creature was brought into play this round. So while my deck looked small, it had some buildup potential.

That's what happened in game 2. On turn 5 or 6, I attacked with five creatures, some of which were pumped to +8/+8. I won.

Unfortunately, I lost the other two, as usual. The first game was very close. David had a champion creature out, +7/+7 with some added boosters to become +9/+9. I had him within 2 points, but finally ran out of defenses as I drew a slew of lands. In the third game, my deck didn't have synergy, and he flew over me with a pumped creature several times.

Still fun.