December 29th, 2015: A Flight of Fantasy

Crew Members: Zevvy, Roman, David, Dima, Liz

In a convergence of the timelines, Dima and Liz were able to make it to a meeting of the Haifa Board Games Crew.  Dima had formerly organized Thrusday afternoon game time (before leaving to start a new job and have baby…no excuse…), in which Liz and I had both previously participated, playing Carcassone, Iota, and Hanabi. Liz had also joined for impromptu Friday night games (Scrabble and Jungle Speed), but this is her first time at an official meeting. And what a fantastical meeting it was.

Munchkin

Dima, Zevvy, Liz, David, Roman

We began with Munchkin while waiting for Dima and Liz, who both showed up just in time to join. After a few rounds, it became clear that we were more the businessman type adventurers than the moster-slaying type, trying to get the best deals on trading treasure. Liz was particularly vindictive, raising the possibility that she was actually a monster and not an adventurer. Of note was when Roman caused 3,872 Orcs to wander into combat against Dima with the Insurance Salesman, only to have to face them himself due to Dima’s apt use of a Transferal Potion. At least Roman wasn’t stomped to death, though I’m sure the Insurance Salesman would not have given up his pitch. We stopped with everyone around level 5. Keep an eye out for Bigfoot, he will make you lose your hat…

Sentinels of the Multiverse

Zevvy – Fanatic: 7, David – Tempest: 11, Roman – Captain Cosmic: 13, Dima – Chrono-Ranger: 13

Villain – Baron Blade: DEFEATED

Environment: Mobile Defense Platform

A time traveler on a mission to stop the Moon crashing to Earth. It’s not Link from Majora’s Mask, but Chrono-Ranger, the time traveling cyborg cowboy! Along with an angel, an alien, and an energy wielding super-human, they did battle with the nefarious Baron Blade in his own hideout–the Mobile Defense Platform.

Baron Blade began with an Elemental Redistributor, but we handily destroyed it along with his first Defense Platform. The environment played a shield generator…protecting itself. Baron Blade activated his Backlash Field, but despite the reactive lightning bolts, Chrono-Ranger decided we needed to take Blade down “By Any Means” — adding +1 Damage dealt to the villain. With extra damage and support from Captain Cosmic, we swiftly stopped the lunatic from fully dislodging the moon from its orbit.

But Baron Blade was not finished–he escaped into his Mechanized Vengeance Suit! Not only that, he caused a Devious Disruption! Not wanting to lose our setup, we took a whopping 9 lightning damage, which destroyed all the Constructs as well. It was now a matter of time.

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Chrono-Ranger decided enough was enough. Double checking to make sure Bigfoot was nowhere near, he put on his Hat, and grabbed his Compound Bow. Blade fought back, but in the end he went down like a brick underwater. Our heroes were battered, but victorious. Or so they thought…

The Terra-Lunar impulsion beam did not pull the moon into the Earth, but did disrupt the orbit enough to affect the tides. This near environmental catastrophe has attracted the attention of a powerful alien being, who has decided that he will save humanity the trouble of destroying the world, and help speed things up a bit…

Will our heroes be able to stop this new villain before the Deadline?

Dominion

David – 43, Zevvy – 35

Village, Chancellor, Trade Route, Spy, Vault, Jester, Council Room, Goons, Adventurer, Bank

David stuck around for a bout of Dominion, which we had been trying to play for some time. The most dominant card by far was Goons, and 35 of David’s points came from his many plays of two or three Goons at a time. With Village and Council Room adding cards and buys, David tried to buy out three stacks to end the game before I could catch up. As evident by the scores, he succeeded. Goons is a fun card, but it has a tendency to overshadow other interesting cards and choices.

Despite the fantasy-heavy themed games we played today, a lot of practical discussion was had as well. I continue to Marvel at the (DC) power of board games to bring people together.

December 23rd, 2015: The Cake is Not a Lie

Crew Members: Nuri, Zevvy, Josh, Roman, David

So far there has been פנים חדשים, a new face, at every meeting. My roommate Josh joined us for a game, a drink, and an introduction to Finbarr.

Sushi Go

Nuri – 54, Josh – 50, Roman – 48, Zevvy – 36

Back in the day we ate sandwiches and played Gamewright’s Slamwich. Now it’s all about sushi. We taught Josh and Roman who picked it up quickly. Josh scored high in the first round, completing a Sashimi, Nigiri, and tying with me for Maki. Roman had some dumplings and got out a lot of early pudding. I didn’t pay too much attention to Nuri’s cards, but she had some Tempura. Next round I failed to get three Sashimi, as Josh scored high again with two Squid Nigiri.

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In the last round there was a ton of Maki, and Roman easily won those six points with seven Maki rolls. It seemed Josh was the winner, but in the final tally, he lost 6 points by having no pudding. Having even one pudding would have tied him with Nuri, who would have split the loss with him. Rookie mistake – always save room for desert!

(If you don’t eat your Sushi, you can’t have any Pudding!)

Pandemic

Roman – Contigency Planner, Nuri – Scientist, David – Medic, Zevvy – Researcher

We played with 4 infection cards, since everyone had played the game before. Roman started with Government grant, giving us two research stations for easy transport. There were no Yellow disease cubes, but many Black and some Red. We drew our first epidemic, but with Forecast we were able to stall and minimize the damage. Fortunately, we cured and eradicated the Red disease quite handily, but drew two more epidemics in quick succession, leading to some unavoidable outbreaks. David kept things under control and we had removed two Black cities from the discard pile, which was crucial.

Nuri managed to get four Black cards and cured that disease. We had few blue cards, and no real presence in the Yellow countries in order to swap cards. As the Researcher, I kept drawing Black and Red cards after they were cured, so they were only good for travel. Though there was only one epidemic left in the deck, we had to watch the number of cubes, as well as figure out how to get all the cures before the deck ran out. We hatched a plan to get David five Yellow cards, but we were still short on Blue. With eleven cards left in the deck on my turn, we had one round left to win, and realized that Roman would have to cure the Blue disease.

Then our heroes stopped to eat some Dragon-shaped Lemon-cake.

When the epidemic hit, we had fortunately had time to reduce all cities down to at least two, except the new city that got hit, Baghdad. Not to take any chances, I went to treat it, at the expense of giving away my blue card. Luckily, Roman drew the Airlift event and a Blue card, allowing him to fly Nuri to his city, grab the card, and find the cure, with one card left in the deck. Had we not played with four epidemics, the deck would have run out. (Though we would likely have found the cure earlier without having to worry about breakouts as much).

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Cthulhu Fluxx

It’s like regular Fluxx…only with more Doom! The first few rounds, Nuri and David only had goals, while I got out a couple Investigator Keepers. The ‘Play 2’ rule came out, so we were just playing our hands until ‘Draw 4’ appeared. The card ‘Cosimc Instructions’ came out, which forces players to put out any ‘Un-Goal’ they have, but no one had any. Rules were reset, and Nuri seemed to have a plan, with the Necronomicon and the Elder Sign, though that Goal had been discarded, perhaps she could have returned it. But planning ahead in Fluxx is never a sure thing. She played a card which brought back ‘Cosmic Instructions’, so on my turn I had to play my ‘Un-Goal’ which causes Doom to win if the Necronomicon or Fungus are out, which they were. Though ‘The Feds’ could have taken out the Fungus, the Necronomicon wasn’t going anywhere. Doom wins!

As important as it is to save the world from disease (even Tehran), our heroes learned their lesson about saving room for desert. Finbarr insisted on getting some attention as well. It is by his power alone that Doom is barred from entering this material plane. And by power I mean saliva.

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December 15th, 2015: When Nations Collide

Crew Members: Zevvy, Martin, Roman

After a few weeks hiatus, the crew is back in action. Though we did meet to play some ‘vidja games’, nothing beats old cardboard and plastic. Martin was finally able to make it, bringing Swedish cookies, a Swedish game, and his good old Swedish self.

Nations

Zevvy – Egypt: 47, Martin – Greece: 44, Roman – China: 37

Martin taught us the game, which is mostly a worker placement game but with some interesting twists. Every round there are events which are easy to forget, but which have quite potent effects. As the game progresses, the cards get more powerful, but the upkeep costs go up. Despite this, one need not worry about getting left behind, as there are many areas in which to specialize and the focus of your empire can be changed quite quickly.

As Egypt, I had no military to start, but quickly picked up an elephant. Combined with my pyramids, my early upkeep costs were quite high, and I was short on resources. Roman quickly pulled ahead in books, and Martin began developing wonders and better resource production. I wasted some gold and turns on advisors which I either lost or which gave me no benefit. I did build the Sphinx early, which ended up being very helpful as I built more wonders later in the game.

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Roman stayed ahead in books, and I mostly ignored them. With more players, having the most books can be worth many more points. In general, I had the most military and went first often, which occasionally was very helpful. This allowed me to get some powerful colonies, combined with the Big Ben wonder, netting a lot of points in the end. Martin built many wonders as well, and ended up hoarding a ton of resources. Roman was hit by a few nasty events, limiting his ability to upgrade his production somewhat.

Though I started with low books and stability, in the end I had very high levels of both. After final production I had 45 books, but actually had the least military, even at 24. I also managed to overtax my population thanks to Suleiman the Magnificent, which gave me the most population for the Statue of Liberty wonder.

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After the final tally, it was very close. In fact, the difference was 3 points, which is how much I got from my starting Pyramid wonder. Unfortunately for Roman, the Chinese would have to wait several centuries before their empire would ascend over their rivals…

This one game took us 4 hours to learn and play to the end. Martin described it as a ‘medium complexity’ worker placement game, and I agree. I think we’ll need to plan an all-day games day if we hope to play one of his ‘high complexity’ games.