Monday, September 27, 2010

September 26, 2010: Games Day

Participants: Jon, Mace, Shachar, Nadine, Elijah, Saarya, Michael, Oren, Yardena, Tal, Rachel

Small Games Day, I think because Janglo, the local mailing list that usually publicizes the event, is no longer all that effective. Still, it was fun for all involved, I believe.

Age of Empires III

Elijah 120, Oren 110, Nadine 82, Shachar 69

Played at the end of the day. First plays for Oren and Shachar. They complained about the building that gives you money from each other player equal to the number of merchant ships that you possess. It is the only building that affects other players, and it dulls the strategy of its possessor.


Nadine 44, Shachar 42, Elijah 39, Mace 35, Saarya 31

First plays for Mace, Shachar, and Saarya. According to Nadine, Saarya may have counted player numbers on cards as victory points. The game took five hours.


Jon 8, Elijah 5, Michael 5, Shachar 3

This is one of the few games I love that I also seem to consistently win. I don't expect this to last, however. I focus on the victory points, not on conquering cities and other players, and I expect to have a lot more challenge (I think this has happened in some of the games I've played) when the other players catch on to this.

I played Greece, rather then my favorite, the Phoenicians. My first play was for gold and Market, followed by a temple, some fleets to ward off players on all sides, and then Democracy. Then five cities, seven seas, and a few more know hows.

Shachar was the Phoenicians, and he simply expanded, while keeping away from my glistening three state fortress and one space in all directions. Michael was the Germans, and he spread out throughout the north rather quickly and then harassed Elijah, who played the Romans. Elijah built some monuments, and then spent his time trying to protect them from Micahel who was always threatening to conquer them.

My final act was to take the last unclaimed known how (Roads). Michael was one move away from preventing me from getting it. Shachar could have prevented it, but he was so far behind that he decided to just conquer my cities and let me win. If he had taken the know how, it would have delayed me one round, after which I could have gotten the bonus point from level two in all the know hows, anyway. (I was also threatening to conquer one of Shachar's temples.)


Jon 44, Mace 37, Shachar 17

Kingdoms: Cellar, Village, Bureaucrat, Throne Room, Council Room, Harem, Haven, Ambassador, Lookout, Outpost

More Seaside than usual, but still half from the base set. Why does that always happen when I draw randomly?

I took only a modest amount of Villagers, as well as Council Room, Throne Room, and Ambassador. Elijah managed some nice synergy with Haven and Outpost. I originally thought Lookout was weak because I thought it could be used on the cards in your hands. When I realized that you had to pick three random cards to which to apply the effect, I realized that the card sucked. I'm not thrilled with the balance on several of the cards in both Intrigue or Seaside.


Jon 55, Oren 47, Micahel 41

First plays for both of them. I misplayed twice, taking building auctions for one type of building when I was really planning to build some other type. Second-to-last round, I was locked out of the bidding, and I was not far enough on the railroad track to gain much from it. I was determined hell or high water to get something on the last round, however, which I did, and it was worth over 20 points for me (minus a point or two given up by my having to pay $9 for the privilege).

Michael snared the buildings I wanted (such as Bank) due to my bidding miscalculations, and I wasn't sure that I was winning until that last round.

Oren liked the game.

Magic: the Gathering x 2

Jon++, Mace

Mace hadn't played in a really long time (fourth edition, I think). He was rusty on a few rules. We Rochester drafted from the new cards I bought on eBay.

Our first game, we were both mana glutted, but he didn't have enough creatures in his deck to thwart me. I won fairly early.

In our second game, we entered a standoff for most of the game. However, I had already beat him down to 6 points, while I was sill at 18. Enter the Rod of Ruin on my side, versus a tapping damage prevented on his side, which meant that I could get 1 point through every two turns. In the meantime, he was hitting me for two points each turn with an artifact that required 5 mana to cycle through each point of damage that it dealt to me.

At one point I attacked with everything and cast an instant that gave all of my creatures +2/+2 and first strike, only to have him Fog. Then he attacked with the one creature he could afford to (with Vigilance; he was three points shy of killing me with a full-out assault, and would not have been able to afford the return attack), only to have me Pit Trap and kill it. Back to stalemate and pings.

Eventually, he had three creatures tapped to deal his pinging damage, I had seven creatures able to attack against his four blockers, and he was at two life. He could blast one with an instant, but couldn't prevent the remaining damage. There were six cards left in my deck.

Mr. Jack

Jon+, Michael+

I taught this to Michael. We each won once as Criminal, him on turn three (I goofed), and me on turn 7.


Elijah 20, Shachar 25, Jon 83

I taught this to them, though I think they had each played once before. My inglorious defeat was due to a tremendously bad hand and a timidity at taking cards. If I had taken more, I would have dome better.

Puerto Rico

Nadine 50, Mace 49, Yardena 48, Rachel 40, Oren 38

First play for Mace. Yardena is self-taught and has played with her kids; this was her first play with another group, and we corrected a few minor errors. I think everyone believed that Nadine was running away with the game, but it was pretty close in the end.

Nadine adds: Rachel realized that Yardena might be winning due to huge shipping, she had a wharf and factory, and harbor at the very end, no big building. I had factory and two big buildings, but low shipping.


Yardena played this with Tal for a while. They didnt' play for points, just for fun. Tal had to leave, and Rachel took over. Even so, they abandoned the game mid-way.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September 15, 2010

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

We skipped last week, the holidays wreak havoc on the game night schedule. Debbie is a friend of Rachel's who decided to join us for game night. Hopefully, she'll come again.


Jon 43, Nadine 42, Debbie 34

First play for Debbie. Brave soul. She did pretty well, too. We decided to stick to the basic set to make things easier on her (this decision was reached from experience).

Kingdoms: Moat, Village, Woodcutter, Feast, Militia, Smithy, Festival, Laboratory, Mine, Adventurer

As we said a few times during the game, many good choices. I took an early Village and Militia, but then took a few golds, which make the Village underused for a while. Should I have taken Festivals instead? I eventually took some, a Moat and some Smithies.

Nadine took Feasts, Festivals, and a Laboratory. She started with silver instead of Village. Debbie also took an early Militia and a Woodcutter. No one took Mine, though it would have been nice to get rid of all of those coppers.

In the end, I won by taking an Estate before Nadine ended the game. I had two earlier Provinces, and she thought for sure that I was winning, but I knew it was closer than she thought.


Jon/Nadine 555, David/Debbie 45

First play for Debbie. She wasn't sure how to help her partner, but she was able to play well enough after three hands.

I opened with an made a Grand Tichu, with my partner going out second to boot. Second hand, I set David in a Tichu (I was really going to call it myself) with a net result of +5 for us and -5 for them. Third hand I made another Tichu.

Jon/Nadine+, David/Gili

Later in the evening we returned to this. I don't remember the final scores, but I set David in yet another Tichu. My hands were pretty good all evening.

Pillars of the Earth

Jon 47, Nadine, Gili, David 40

Scores approximate, but I know that I beat David, the last placed player by 7 points, since if he had bought the craftsman that I told him to buy on the last round, he would have netted 8 more points and won the game. David was flush at 30 cash the entire game. I hovered around 10 to 15 as usual, but sank to 0 on the penultimate round. I was a few points ahead on the score track the entire game, however.

Which was weird, because a) I had my usual abysmal luck with the master craftsman, as usual, and so missed nearly every important selection on the board most rounds, and b) the most I was ever able to convert was 1 to 1, although I could do it by round 2 and could do it for every type of resource.

I have to admit that I finally got fed up with the master craftsman mechanic this game. It's just too brutal to lose by it (or win by it) so often for so many games. A mechanic that evens out over the course of a single game is one thing; one that only evens out over the course of many games is useless unless it's a game designed to be played many times in succession (such as Poker).

I like everything else about the game. I'm thinking of replacing the master craftsman mechanic with something like the initiative track from Year of the Dragon or with some kind of auction.

Nadine adds: Gili was ahead of me by one point so she was second, though she seemed better positioned the whole time. I agree with you about the mechanic.

No game night next week again, and the week after is Games Day.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

September 01, 2010

Participants: Jon, Gili

Hmm. Hopefully participation will pick up, now that summer is over. On the other hand, the next few weeks will be an erratic schedule.

Mr Jack

Jon (Criminal)+, Gili (Detective)

First play for Gili. Gili was slow to differentiate the characters, but she discovered who Mr Jack was by turn 7 (purple). However, she couldn't manage to jump on him by the end of turn 8.

Gili (Criminal)+, Jon (Detective)

We switched sides. I eliminated four characters by the end of turn 1, and two more by the end of turn 2, but that's how it stayed until the end of the game. Turn 8 I guessed wrong.


Jon (Runner)+, Gili (Corp)

First play for Gili. This is still a great game. It's one problem is that too much can swing on a lucky pick (raid R&D and topdeck 3 points, when you only need 7 points to win the game).

After the game, I cataloged all of my cards and added them to my Netrunner entry on BGG. They're for trade or for sale, if anyone wants. I just don't think I'll get to play it much, here.