November 14th, 2018: It’s Been an Age

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Yehuda, Shlomo

Nothing like a board game on a rainy day.

Mr. Jack: Pocket

I showed up a bit early with some 2-player games, we had time for a round of this with Kevin as the detective. After three turns only two characters were left, but I managed to keep it going until turn 6 when a well placed rotation left me with no way to hide the innocent suspect, and only 4 hourglasses.

Stone Age

Yehuda – 114, Kevin – 97, Zevvy – 94, Shlomo – 49

Yehuda went first for fields and population, and he and Kevin got a lot of tools too. Kevin also began expanding eventually up to 7, while I expanded to 6 early with the help of a food card, and 7 later on. Shlomo was the first to build, but he only bought one card the whole game, and began to starve later on. While Kevin didn’t build as much he had a lot of cards, but so did Yehuda. Yehuda also began building a lot near the end of the game. On the final turn I had a chance to catch up but needed all four resources, requiring several good rolls–none of that happened, but in the end my Shamans gave me 21 points so I almost caught up with Kevin.

While it might be nice to have a more advanced worker placement game, this is so easy to teach and play that I’m not sure it’s time for a change. Yehuda had some expansions for Star Realms which we’ll have to try out next time.

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October 30th, 2018: Tea Time

Crew Members: Zevvy, Carl

Star Realms

First round I got Junkyard very early, and then focused on Yellow. Carl had a lot of good Blue in his deck, but I had trashed all my scouts and vipers and by the time he started getting powerful cards I had dealt too much damage. Money was fairly scarce this game, and the discarding caused by my cards made it hard to catch up.

Second round, I got a lot of cheap Blob early on. Carl got some powerful cards like Mothership, but rarely got to play them as his deck was filled with all the factions. Outposts were rare this game and so a few rounds undefended against my Blob armies led to a quick defeat.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

This caught Carl’s attention from my shelf, as he is a long time Civ fan. Choosing randomly, I was England and Carl was India. We both started with Natural Religion. My army scouts allowed me to build Hanging Gardens fairly quickly with Animal Husbandry, and I built my second city at the start of turn 3, getting Military Tradition. While my military grew, so did my resource collection ability. Carl invested in Logistics early on to fend me off, but was brazen enough to attack me as well, even with my two Shipyard bonuses and larger standing forces. The result left us both weakened militarily, so I began investing in culture, considering my ability to build wonders was greatly aided by my many armies in Forests.

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Chivalry assisted in getting me culture, and I had a few coins from Pottery and Great Men. Carl obsoleted Stonehenge, but I replaced it with Louvre. Hanging Gardens was replaced by Angkor Wat. Thanks to Ecology Tech and investing in the Arts, I was able to advance fairly quickly up the culture track, while Carl tried to route his resources towards coin production. I was pretty far ahead at that point though, and it didn’t take long for me to reach a cultural victory.

Ultimately, the board game’s foray into breadth of systems rather than depth in a few left Carl disappointed by the game. Considering how many versions of both the board and video game there are, everyone can find something that suits their tastes.

October 20th, 2018: Transliteration

Crew Members: Zevvy, Odel

Cooperative word game in Hebrew? Look no further!

Codenames: Duet (Hebrew)

Odel had a great first clue giving me three words (she didn’t even think of Mustard as Yellow), but after that it was tough for us to find connections our first game. I was proud of my recall of some seemingly obscure words. Our second game went much better, we got many words with no mistakes, but towards the end I couldn’t guess one word. Turns out the word I was looking at was “Golf” but I read it differently (Hebrew script without vowels), not realizing it was a transliterated English word.

This game, and word games in general, probably have more of an appeal for Odel. She and I were pretty into it, but the focus required was a bit draining. I do think we will play again sometime though. We went through all the words and there were only a couple that I didn’t recognize.

October 13th, 2018: Brown People

Crew Members: Zevvy, Sruly, Noam, Shlomo, Meira W.

Sruly brough back one game with him from the US. I think this was the first game I played after making Aliyah, and hadn’t played it since.

Puerto Rico

Rules were explained briefly and we began. After a couple turns the flow was clear, and everyone set off on their goals. Sruly got a large Indigo plant early, and he and Shlomo competed for most of the quarries. I got a small market and got a few coins from Noam picking trader, but he was trading coffee. I invested early in the Factory and had four types of goods, but in one round all the Tobbaco plants were bough before my turn. I did get some shipping early on and locked a boat with Sugar which only Shlomo and I produced. Later though I chucked several goods I was unable to ship. I considered investing in Warehouses, but saved up for a Wharf instead, which was great since I could always ship my corn. I only had a small Indigo, small Sugar, and Coffee Roaster, but won the game with 50 points, thanks to Guild Hall and Customs House proving 5 bonus points each. The game ended by running out of colonists, since people were obsessed with picking Mayor when it would provide them with three colonists.

Even Noam liked this game, and was a close second with 46. Amazing what people will enjoy if they are willing to get over the first few minutes of confusion.

October 10th, 2018: Ends of the Spectrum

Crew Members: Zevvy, Yehuda, Shlomo

A few of us all happened to be free tonight, so we play a couple games.

Dark Mages

This is like MTG style cards but with DND dice rolling at every turn. Yehuda and I played a test game, most of our spells missed, so we introduced an auto-hit Cantrip. One critical hit did most of my damage, and even after Yehuda hit me, I used healing potions every turn or dodge to stay at maximum, but without Ring of Arcane we were limited in the spells we could cast.

For our second game we added some rules, like being able to discard a card (or two?) to cast a spell one level higher, but with only the dice of your actual arcane caster level. Made a little difference to Yehuda who had great armor but no caster level. Yehuda critical hit Shlomo for 36 damage early on, making him the target until eliminated. I was infected, but it wasn’t that bad, and there is so much healing in the game. We had a fun redirection of my level 4 Fireball, but the game ended with me stealing Yehuda’s Black Hole card and using it on him for instant death.

Mottainai

Still not sure the best way to approach teaching this, especially if people don’t read the help cards or pay attention…but after a few rounds without Powers, they started to get the flow somewhat. Shlomo tapped out but Yehuda and I played a game, and once he got an idea of what he wanted to accomplish it was just about asking which tasks would allow him to do that. He got a stone work and a lot of paper works, while I just got cloth works and one paper work. I sold two cloth and he sold two stone, and we both had two backorders, but Yehuda got a metal work from Poem and won 16 to 11.

Dark Mages could be expanded upon, we thought of special powers for some of the classes that could give more choice and more variety. If you just want a quick excuse to roll dice the game provides that, but if you want some choice on your turn there need to be more options how to use the cards.

Mottainai on the other hand, like Innovation, continues to be interesting despite its simplicity.

October 8th, 2018: Patch at Work

Crew Members: Zevvy, Avisar

Okay so we had a team building day at work by the lakeside. I had patchwork in my backpack leftover from the weekend, and it looked interesting enough to a co-worker to play it.

Patchwork

I started off with a hole and specific shapes I needed, and Avisar understood the rules quickly and beat me to the first two patches. Finally I had a chance to pass, forcing him to move just before the next patch, allowing me to get it and complete a big chunk. Avisar had better income at first too, but he began passing more frequently, and I filled in a lot of my board. In the end I had no more pieces that would fit, with 7 holes. Avisar had 15 holes, final score 24 to -13.

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Jenia thought it was an interesting game and is considering buying it. He likes that it doesn’t take three hours to teach.

October 4th, 2018: New Game

Crew Members: Zevvy, Shlomo, Yehuda, Eitan

People were in the area for a quick game late Thursday evening, and Yehuda had some new games with him from Icon.

Spynet

Richard Garfield does it again, with clean mechanics that create an enjoyable tension. Shlomo and I got an early lead in Yellow until Eitan got a funded level 4 guy and dominated that for the rest of the game. Shlomo was able to slow down Yehuda a bit at first, but he soon took over Red. Eitan and Yehuda controlled Blue for a while even with a single Agent, and my level 5 blue Agent was removed quickly. In terms of missions, it was close at the end, I think we completed 10 and the other team 11. Both Eitan and Shlomo misunderstood the multicolor mission, but in the end Yehuda and Eitan won by two points.

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The team interaction wasn’t what I thought it would be, but I imagine with more plays the team that plans better can see more success. Yehuda’s other game, Dark Mages, looks really cool, hopefully we can try it soon.