July 10th, 2018: Istanbul, of Course!

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy

A shorter, smaller meeting, but necessary after a long day.

Istanbul

Finally getting to try this out. We played the short paths setup to learn the game. While I seemed to have an early lead with the Great Mosque tiles, after four rubies I slowed down, while Kevin had a good route with his full wheel barrow and the markets. In the end I grabbed the sixth ruby while he was still two turns from getting his sixth at the small mosque. He did go to the fountain twice, so otherwise it was super close.

Our second game was randomized, but the post office and black market touched near the Small Mosque, so I got the Red tile right away and began “gambling”. I only went to the fountain once and had 4 gems before Kevin had one. He did get three pretty quickly but I did a double Gemstone Dealer action and then got the sixth without too much effort.

Might be interesting to try the Neutral Assistant variant next time if we don’t have more players. Want to explore the base game more before adding coffee or letters.

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June 13th, 2018: Two Players

Crew Members: Zevvy, Yehuda

Just the two of us today but after a long day at work that’s just fine.

Patchwork

Wanted to start with something light, and introduce this Uwe puzzle game as a prequel to Feast for Odin…I won both games, but Yehuda did better the second game. While there were some opportunities to pass strategically to gain or deny a specific piece, usually it wasn’t worth it if you could just buy something, even sub-par.

7 Wonders Duel

In this game it’s clear that more passing means more turns wasted. First game we randomly divided Wonders and Yehuda got four with the extra turn ability. He also got a lot of resource cards while the reserves showed up late, and I couldn’t buy much. By the end he was leading in Science and MIlitary as well, though it ended in a Civil victory 64 to 51. The next game I rushed production of the Lighthouse for 6 coins, but it didn’t really help at all…while I did build all four wonders, I took the Urbanism token but never had the chance to use it’s secondary ability (coins for free upgrades). Once again I was way short on coins, but could usually afford things except paper…in the end it was closer than I though until Yehuda got the Wonder and Science Guilds, reaching a score of 70 to my 59.

Pixel Tactics

We continued from our last match, removing the leaders we used (me–Scientist and Vampire, Yehuda–Priestess and free recruiter). I chose the Mascot leader and Yehuda had the Paladin (free move / clear). My initial through his defences was met with simple restructuring, though I was able to cover my leader well with the Mystic’s self healing. Yehuda had his Berserker up front dealing heavy damage but with no Intercept my Gunner got a free hit on his leader. We both hit each other with Trapper and were running low on cards. Eventually I ran out of Intercept cards as well and couldn’t protect my hero so well. Leaving him open though made Yehuda a bit over confident, and while he got me down to 1 HP I had a chance to strike back. In the end he dealt fatal damage but I struck back with a Dragon Mage boosted Gunner from the rear, dealing 10 damage reducing him to 2 HP. If I had my Assassin (the next card!) or even one more action to recruit to the rear and make a free melee attack, it would have been a simultaneous rout (but I think I would have had one more hero at that point).

I really like 2-player games–less down time, easier to plan, no gang-ups…that’s something I’d be happy to do more often.

June 5th, 2018: Hitting the Table

Crew Members: Zevvy, Yehuda, Kevin

Kind of last minute but we decided to play tonight.

Star Realms

Mostly Blob and Machine cult available at first, but then Yehuda got a few Trade Federation bases. He held off on attacking at first while building up a powerful set of bases and Machine Cult ships, though my Blob slowed him down I couldn’t do much damage to him after breaking the bases. While my deck was thinned to ten cards Yehuda dealt the finishing blow before I could start cycling every turn.

Stone Age

Interesting game with 3 players. The tools and fields were almost always filled first, except later when I tried to rush the game end on a building stack we had been taking from every round. I expanded to six workers in round two which was probably premature, despite the seven food civilization card. Some early “free” gold allowed me to score four gold on a building, which I did again on the last turn of the game. Almost every round though I sent two guys to food, which consistently got me bad rolls. It was still fairly close, I had 25 points from tech but only shamans, while Kevin had several farmers and won with 148 to my 134, while Yehuda broke 103. No one had any starvation rounds.

Pixel Tactics

First round I had the Scientist leader for an extra action and Yehuda had the Priestess leader for extra attack power after each round. The extra action let me draw a bit before acting, making sure I was prepared for an opening. As soon as Yehuda left his leader unguarded for one round, I played several orders and dealt a bunch of damage, and ended it shortly after he got his third attack boost.

Second game I had Vampire while he had the Free Recruiter. I started with a strong combo of placing the Templar up front, which when attacked could strike back for large damage and healing. I kept the Templar alive in the back row then swapped him to the front again, but eventually he fell. My next plan was to nuke Yehuda’s back row before placing my Assassin in the back, but I mistakenly placed my Gunner to the Unit and it all went downhill from there. Still, I dealt a bit of damage to his leader and stayed alive for a while, but in the end couldn’t cover my leader and couldn’t heal him before it was too late.

Roommate thought Stone Age looked interesting and asked what it was like. I told him to join but TV is more interesting I guess…

May 30th, 2018: Holy Nation!

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin, Yehuda

Since we were all here at the same time I was in the mood for a longer game.

Nations

Food was tight at first, especially with Yehuda as Vikings. I got Colleseum and Hanging Gardens early, while Kevin as Poland got lots of books. Once I had overstocked food I started taking workers, and Himeji’s castle helped provide stone. Genghis Khan kept Yehuda in revolt for a couple rounds until I was forced to switch leaders to Elizabeth to prepare for war. Kevin lost 5 coins to Blackbeard which sort of incapacitated him for a round. Final scoring I had 46 and Kevin and Yehuda tied at 30 something.

I guess an hour per player is realistic. Not sure what my ideal player count for this game is.

May 17th, 2018: Too Quick

Crew Members: Zevvy, Shlomo

It’s been a while since anyone in the other group was available, and we were supposed to be three, but Orit couldn’t make it in the end. But I’ll never turn down games.

Set

Having refreshed a bit with this game over Pesach against my sister, I was able to win the first game by a large lead. Many of the sets involved difference in all categories, which I find easier sometimes. The second game Shlomo got a good start, and the result was much closer, me winning by only 3 sets.

Kingdomino

Having picked this up a while ago because I heard it was quick to learn, teach, and play, for all ages, we gave it a go. It’s tile laying in its simplest form, yet interesting enough even with two players. I won 36 to 30, but I’m sure next time we could both score much higher. There are additional scoring rules suggested but they all seem like unnecessary ‘win-more’ effects.

One Deck Dungeon

We continued our campaign as Paladin and Archer, this time against the Yeti. As usual, the early game was tough, but our skills from the last two rounds helped out. I excelled at traps while Shlomo had combat abilities, but we saw almost no 4+ exp encounters until the second floor. I had a good variety of Dexterity abilities, while Shlomo had a mix of Magic and Strength, so we handled almost everything pretty well. We did have to use up our potions after a couple rough encounters, but faced the boss at Level 4 with one potion and 3 skills and items each. The first round against the Yeti I had to discard a lot of dice, but the rest were good rolls and we covered all boxes. The second round we had to take some damage, but over-killed the Yeti by two points.

Sentinels of the Multiverse

We played as Sky-Scraper, Haka, Nightmist and Unity against Kaargra. She entered the arena right away, and the villains got an early favor lead. Then Nightmist used oblivion, resulting in a chain reaction of claiming Titles to do more damage to defeat more enemies to gain several favor in one blow. This left the heroes a bit battered, but Haka also had The Seeker, and we could usually kill any Gladiator that came out. Kaargra was catching up though, and Unbreakable, so with Provacator Tarnis protecting her it was still a race to defeat her before 20 favor. Once Sky-Scraper went huge and Unity got some bots, we took her down with over 30 favor just in time, the Villains falling a few short of victory.

Every time I think I’ve played all my games, I forget something…Castles of Burgundy arrived from China today, hopefully will play over the long weekend.

May 15th, 2018: Cardboard Rectangles

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Yehuda

So there was board games with no boards and pizza with no beer. In Israel we eat pizza off of cardboard rectangles. We also play games with cardboard rectangles.

Sentinels of the Multiverse

We were K.N.Y.F.E., Setback and Argent Adept against Wager Master in Megalopolis. Wager Master opened with several conditions that weren’t Wagelings, but flipped after a few rounds while we got set up. I set up the Lyra with Inventive Preparation and Alacratous Subdominant, allowing everyone to play more cards. Knyfe used her Battlefield Experience to get us an early lead, while Setback Cashed Out a few times keeping us healthy, before Looking Up and punching the Villain down as well. The problem was, Who Are You Fighting? was face up with no direct way of flipping, so we couldn’t reduce Wager Master to zero. The Plummeting Monorails hit him a few times, but the blows to us became significant enough to destroy the rails entirely. Close Quarters and Rooftop Combat upped the damage we were taking, and Wager Master flipped back just as we were on our last legs. An Impossible Quandary left us all at less than 5 HP, but gave us the opening we needed to finish off Wager Master with the insidious Condition face down, one round before he would have finished us off.

Innovation

My deluxe copy finally arrived, so we tried out Artifacts of History. While others got artifacts before me, I had an early lead thanks to Oars and got the 1-4 and World before anyone else had much. The level 3 Relic changed hands a few times, but I got an Artifact which gave free achievements if you reveal a red 6, which made me win the game before we even really hit level 7.

Second game Kevin and I played without Relics, but still to 7. Again I got a runaway start, partly thanks to Sibidu Needle. I also got the artifact from last game claiming the 6 right before Kevin started his comeback. Splaying got me the Wonder, but Kevin denied me the 7, 8 and 9. His point lead threatened to end the game and we almost drew an 11 a few times thanks to certain effects. In the end a random meld from Robotics gave me the Empire achievement, not long before an 11 might have been drawn after Kevin attacked my score pile with Rocketry.

Setup and take down was definitely increased, but I don’t even think my pre-set rack design for storing the cards will really help that much. We spread the cards out in a long array since table space wasn’t an issue.

April 30th, 2018: Head to Fish Head

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy

There’s something relaxing about some one-on-one gaming, and that’s just what the doctor ordered.

Innovation

Although Kevin at all stages had more cards than me, I used Pottery to claim three early achievements while he had just one. The only resource I had more of was leaves, which protected my score pile. Kevin used Experimentation several times, searching for a useful level 5 card. By the time he got anything to score with I had four achievements, then used Industrialization to get Monument and control Factories. With no way to stop me, I grabbed the 6 achievement on my next turn.

Terra Mystica

My first time teaching this, but after a few actions Kevin was already planning every move (even before starting too actually). I was Alchemists though I never used my points-to-coins power. Kevin was Swarmlings, and his ability to upgrade to Trading Posts for free was huge boon in this 2 player game, allowing him to get power and posts without being near me. I got some power from him in the beginning by being near his Stronghold, as well as my own Stronghold one time boost, but later in the game Kevin dominated power while I had more coins than I needed usually. In the end we both got two towns, though I got my second one in the last round for 5 extra points. Kevin was ahead on the cult tracks except fire, but I connected all my buildings with shipping. The last round I claimed the 7 Coin power action before Kevin, which may have prevented him from building a third town. In the end I won, 148 to 121.

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Terra Mystica even with two players was a blast. Because each move was back and forth, I was heavily invested in each decision my opponent made, and since it was just two of us, I didn’t mind if turns took a while, since moves could be planned with precision. Certainly a different experience than with four players, but still very enjoyable. For Innovation, I think next time we have four I will suggest the team game.