Thursday, December 30, 2010

December 29, 2010

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nechama

Slow game nights for some reason. A pity, because I have new games to play.


Jon 58, Nechama 44, Gili 44

Such as Dominion Prosperity. I played with 5 cards from the basic set and 5 from Prosperity, and included Platinum and Colonies. The Prosperity cards included 3 treasures, a 5 cost card that gave curses, and the 7 cost boosted upgrade.

The set is fun and interesting, which is what I expected it to be. The addition of colonies meant that getting to "only 8" was now not good enough, although it was still better than "only 7" was before Prosperity. It also raised the expected number of end-game victory points. However, I now have Intrigue, Seaside, and Prosperity, and I am not interested in Alchemy or any other expansion for a long time. It will take years to play through the cards we already have.

Unfortunately, this was (equivalently) the first play for Nechama, who struggles with English and is not a fast game learner in general, so in retrospect a first game with several complicated cards was not my best choice. The game took 2 hours.

I love trashing cards, especially when I can Throne Room and do it twice in one go. I didn't get to 11 often, but I traded some Provinces up to Colonies. Gili thought she was much further behind than she was because she didn't get any Colonies. However, Nechama actually alternated between Colony picks and garbage on alternate rounds.

Settlers of Catan

Nechama 10, Gili 9, Jon 9

I suggested this, since Nechama had played it before. However, we had to explain the rules to her as if it were her first play. This one took 1.5 hours, and Nechama was surprised at how little time it took.

Ore was in short supply; However I managed to find two complementary spots, each next to the harbor for the good that the other one produced. Gili started with an early army. We underestimated Nechama's position; she had good brick and wood and used them well to get to five settlements and Longest Road. A city and another settlement and then game.

Friday, December 24, 2010

December 22, 2010

Participants: Jon, Gili

Weird to only have one guest.


Jon+, Gili

Gili requested this, since she only played half a game with Nadine last time. After an email or two with the designer I finally got the rules right: I had thought you could add multiple cards and also get the +1 bonus when playing in an area matching the card flags and also containing your spy. The correct rules - either a single bonus card OR a +1 - made blocking easier, and thus made the special abilities of the cards stronger. Gili likes the game.

After three games, I have yet to use most of the abilities, and some of them I find rather anemic. Scratch scratch. This may be a case of group-think. There's something flat about the game. It's nice and all, and it's quick and playable, but it doesn't seem to have a story arc. Maybe I just haven't hit it, yet.

Schotten Totten

Gili+, Jon+

I taught this to Gili. Again, after downloading files from BGG, I finally played this with the correct rules: we completely screwed up the special cards the first two times I played.

We started with no special cards. We exhausted the deck, and the score was 4 Gili to 3 me. Gili's final card play gave each of us a stone.

We played a second time using the special cards. Used correctly, they're not as unbalancing as I had feared.

Race For The Galaxy

Jon 61, Gili 29

I previously thought that this was a good game marred by the ability for one person to ram through the game end, depriving most strategies of viability and the game of much of its fun. I know other games that suffer from the same problem.

When that doesn't happen in this game, as it didn't in ours, the game is quite interesting. I've never been very good at it. Which makes my blowout victory here a surprise.

I started with a first round 6 point development, the one that gives a -2 discount for all other developments. Add to that some military strength and my game strategy was essentially locked in. The rest was just fishing for cards.

Gili played something more diverse, but never got enough shipping strength to force through to the game end that way.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

December 15, 2010

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili, Nechama, Binyamin, Mace

This report is done without notes and a few days after the session, so it's pretty anemic in terms of facts. I sold off a number of games to Binyamin. Making room for a few games on the way.


Nadine+, Jon

I was sent this game in prototype form (pretty well done for a prototype, actually) to review. The game is, as of this posting, on Kickstarter.

The theme is the Cold War of 1955. Two players use card-driven mechanics to achieve political influence in 6 countries. On your turn, you play two cards, refill your hand, and move your spy. You win if you gain control of your opponent's country or if you gain control of any three countries.

The game immediately stuck in my head as "1960-lite". Cards allow you to either add the influence to the location identified on the card (or your home country or the country in which your spy is) or let you take the special action, but not both.

I sent some comments to the publisher. When I get a response, I will post a review on Purple Pawn.

Nadine and I each secured our own countries and one other. We fought back and forth for the remaining countries, and Nadine took it in a surprise victory.

Nadine, Gili

They played, but I don't think they finished the game.


Binyamin 110ish, Nechama 94, Jon 91

Binyamin brought his copy and taught us. It's a fantastic game by the creator of Antike, also with a rondel, but this time with no direct confrontation. You can only take items that others need before they get to them. It's a tight economic game, and if you don't have your engine going early, you're in trouble, like I was. I finished much higher than I anticipated, actually.

A must-buy for our group. I was planning on buying Shipyard, and now I think I need both.

Louis XIV

Mace, Nadine, Gili

I don't remember what happened, except that they all ended with the same number of completed missions.

Schotten Totten

Binyamin, Jon

Binyamin was going to buy this from me, but he didn't. I had never actually played, so he taught me. It's actually better than I expected, since Lost Cities is always held as a great two-player card game and I never liked it. This is better. Luck with the special cards plays too big a role, however. Either we didn't know what we were doing (we only had the German instructions and the symbols on the special cards are worthless, so that's possible) or we need to find a way to equalize the cards or just play without them.


Jon, Mace, Binyamin, Nadine

I don't even remember who partnered with whom.