Thursday, August 26, 2010

August 25, 2010

Participants: Jon, Elijah, Michael

Ah, the low attendance days of summer. Hopefully soon to be over. On the other hand, Michael (Elijah's father) was able to attend, when he usually can't.


Elijah 26, Michael 21, Jon 17

First play for Michael.

Kingdoms: Village, Smithy, Market, Secret Chamber, Swindler, Wishing Well, Baron, Bridge, Sea Hag, Outpost

For some reason, though I draw randomly from all 77 kingdoms, I have yet to pull more than 2 cards from Seaside for any game, and usually it's 1 card.

This game went slowly, and we ended by running out of three decks: Village, Market, and curses.

I thought that Village / Smithy / some Markets would do well, but, in fact, I rarely ever got to more than 4. I eventually got some Markets, but it was no use. Somehow, Elijah killed with Baron and Bridge, while even Michael outdid me with a Baron and an Outpost.

Elijah 34, Jon 30, Michael ??

Kingdoms: Bureaucrat, Market, Adventurer, Steward, Baron, Ironworks, Upgrade, Treasury, and two others.

I thought I had a good chance of winning this one, taking Steward to trash away everything but the silvers I got from Bureaucrat. After that, I trashed all my other cards, including my Ironworks which seemed to have no particular use. But I ended up with the same number of Provinces that Elijah had, while he still have his Estates. Treasure is a no-brainer over Market. I don't remember what Elijah took, however.


Jon 9, Elijah 8, Michael 6

First play for Michael. We played to one less than the recommended end point, as usual.

Michael made the mistake of building a temple too close to me, even after given fair warning. I sacked it, and he played catch-up the rest of the game. Elijah and I pretty much raced each other the rest of the game, but I was positioned for the clinching points quicker than he was.

Friday, August 20, 2010

August 18. 2010

Participants: Gili, Elijah, Jon, David K, Avraham

Small game group, since it's August. Game night was at Gili's house.

Age of Empires III

Gili 96, Jon 95, David 95, Elijah 93, Avraham 60

Just one game took the entire evening, from around 7:40 until 11:20 or so. I'm pretty sure most other game groups finish games more quickly than we do. Yeah, we have some AP, but it doesn't seem like THAT much.

First play for Avraham and Elijah, second for David, third for Gili, and fourth for me.

The end scores are all pretty hazy. Several final or interim decisions might have changed them. Also, I tried to discover a province with four colonists twice, once in each of the last two turns, and failed both times. If either had succeeded (which was overwhelmingly in my favor) I would have won; then again, I could simply have waited until I had six colonists on the last round and try only once, with guaranteed success. So this was also the result of a choice, only I didn't know how many points I needed exactly to win.

If they don't do anything to change the board depending on the number of players, worker placement games are optimized for the maximum number of players. In our case, for five players. Though the game was long, it didn't drag much and was pretty interesting the whole way. Elijah, as well as the others, enjoyed the game.

Gili played with heavy soldiers, killing off other colonists here and there; I finally put a stop to her killing mine with some soldiers of my own and then the defensive building that gives you a soldier in every area whenever you're attacked. I don't often say this, but this game could actually use just a tad more conflict.

David had very strong income with tiles and ships, and also a lot of missionaries and the bonus for missionaries. I had strong income with tiles, too, and I took the first building first, which was the one that gives $20 so that you can then go and buy two more buildings; it's always the first one chosen, so it may be somewhat broken. I think it's less broken in five players, because you don't necessarily get to pick your next building already on the first round. Still, there is one that gives $5 per round which I don't think of as broken, so I don't know what the fix would be.

I also had a captain in the discovery box each round, and played for as many of those as I could. Elijah and Avraham also did several discoveries. Avraham neglected everything else, including income, which is why his score was so low. He had a merchant every round, however.

We discovered that we were playing one rule incorrectly: that an area only scores once there are at least three colonists in it. This prevents areas discovered right before a scoring from counting during the scoring. I don't know how I feel about this rule.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

August 03, 2010

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili, Gili child, Binyamin, Rivka, Zvi Yehuda, David K, Avraham

Game night was moved to Tuesday again, since I was expecting to be out of town on Wednesday evening. Being summer vacation, several attendees brought their young children with them. Also, as has happened a number of times in the last year or so, I didn't take any notes, so this report will be somewhat hazy.


Binyamin, Rivka, Zvi Yehuda, Gili, Jon

Nile is a new game from Minion Games. The publisher sent me a copy to review, which you can find soon on Purple Pawn.

In the first game, we forgot to mix in the used Flood cards with the discarded cards. Binyamin still insisted that we quit after the second run through the deck. He wasn't impressed with the lack of control or meaningful decisions.

The younger kids liked the game and wanted to play again.

David 2/3/3/3/3, Jon 1/2/2/3/4, Avraham 0/3/3/3/4

I thought the game might be less random with perhaps with more meaningful decisions in three player rather than five player. It was a bit better, but not especially. This time we played an entire game through. Turns became rather repetitive, and were not too engaging. Occasionally we had to make a semi-meaningful decision between two options. It's possible that we missed some strategies.

Actually, in retrospect, none of us tried a strategy of building up many cards before playing, which might work. Possibly I would try the game one more time to try that out.

But, as I said, the game is quite random, and wasn't too engaging, so I'm not sure I will. However, the younger kids still enjoyed it.


Binyamin+, Rivka, Zvi Yehuda, Gili, Nadine

Binyamin won. They played an easy variant.

Magic: the Gathering

Jon+, David+

David and I drafted from an uninspiring set of cards. I ended up with solid White, no Blue, but an equal number of support from the other three colors. After assessing the worth of the colors, I ended up with White/Green and a splash of Red. My mana curve was terrible, as nearly everything I had cost 4 to cast. In the two games I played, I drew perfect mana distribution, but rarely ever saw a Green card.

David played Black/Red, and, as usual, his most annoying threat was a Black pump creature.

In the first game, I brought out solid white cards and eventually hit 8 mana. David was just too slow. In the second game, I didn't get to 8 mana and I spent a lot of time tossing little guys in the way of a big Black creature. Until I got out the Droning Bureaucrats. David's Black creature didn't allow him to attack with any other creature, so all of his other guys were useless. And my Bureaucrats canceled his Black creature every round, but at the expense of using up 5 mana each round. Which put us at a standstill for several rounds.

Finally, just to relieve the tedium, I disrupted the stalemate, but it ended up with me tossing out some more fodder, him killing his Black guy so he could attack with his other creatures, and him finally overrunning me.

Naturally, my very next pick would have allowed me to kill his last guy, and possibly come back. However, by that point, he also had more things to cast and we were only about 5 cards from the end of the deck, so I might just have decked myself in the end.


Binyamin, Rivka, Zvi Yehuda, Avraham

I taught this to all of them. Binyamin prefers Age of Steam or Railroad Tycoon, and wasn't impressed with this game, a decision he made before he even started playing. For whatever reason, they all stopped the game after two rounds.


David 18, Jon 17, Avraham -3

Although I usually enjoy this little game - one of the better filler games - I found this session even better than usual. At several points I felt like there were some tough and important choices to make, and that I had some control over the results. This is largely due to it being a three player, rather than a five player, game.

We play with the chips all randomized and in random piles, so you never know what color or number will come up next on a pile. I chose to dump early in order to collect a few early high valued chips. David caught up fairly quickly, however. In the end, we both had dumped the same amount, but, because he was the one to end the game, he had a point more than me in chips. If it had made it to my turn, I would have taken the chip and won, instead.

Race for the Galaxy

Binyamin+, Rivka, Zvi Yehuda

Binyamin at least had played this before, though he asked a number of rules questions to me during the game. He won, of course.