July 14th, 2018: I Hate the Market!

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin, Shlomo, Josh, Yehuda, Simcha, Layla

Got to make use of some great games this weekend. Mission accomplished.

Istanbul

After dinner, Kevin and I thought to play a quick game of Istanbul but it caught the eye of others and we easily got 5 players. After a brief overview we dived right in. I went for the Yellow mosque tile, Kevin for the red. Shlomo went last but was able to get a wagon upgrade early. He also got the first gem by from the dealer. Josh deftly navigated the market and did quite well upgrading his wagon and makign some efficient deliveries. He hit 2, then 3, but Kevin hit 4 just as I got my second. Thinking I had no hope of catching up, we at least slowed Kevin down by occupying the Gem dealer. He set out instead to finish his wagon but I used a bonus to sell at the small market and get my fourth at the dealer–the green token was stolen by Josh. I was one coin short from finishing my wagon but Shlomo had sent his family to the dealer, giving me just enough to finish my wagon. Kevin finished as well, but his payment to me made me win the tiebreaker with cash, though he had 3 goods and a bonus card.

Impulse

I brought this thinking the space theme would interest more people, while hoping it wouldn’t get past four. With three people, Yehuda and Layla picked up the game pretty fast once I cut down my explaining. Layala got an early lead refining and mining a lot, with Green planets adding benefits. We had a lot of Execute actions in the impulse, not a lot of movement. I caught up by Trading a bit, but Layal sabotaged my fleet. Yehuda made first strike against me, but I got swift revenge. Though I traded some more and go to 16, in the end it was Layla’s refining the pushed her well over 20 points, claiming the win without a fight.

A Feast for Odin

Yehuda – 106, Zevvy – 100, Layla – 84, Simcha – 72

We were able to start this without too much explanation, and after me giving suggestions how to get started, pretty soon everyone had things they were trying, and deciphered the action spaces themselves. At first people stripped the mountains, then Yehuda used his ore to plunder early and often. Layla began whaling while Simcha had a hunting bonus and got some ships. I drew Animal Breeder and so got a bunch of animals around round 3, but it was only later that I converted them and got a bunch of blue good froms overseas trading. Simcha took Iceland and Greenland–great boards which gave him some oil and income but he was unable to cover them that much. Towards the end he upgraded a bunch of cows, but though he had almost ignored the home board until then, was able to cover a decent amount. He emigrated four Knarrs though, but had too much negative on the exploration. Layla finished her home board but didn’t have anywhere else, so her last few moves couldn’t make that many points. Yehuda also filled his home, and had his own emigration of three longboats. I had a bit of everything, covered my home board but had some negative on Bear Island and my Longhouse. It was a closer ending than it had seemed, and each little move mattered in the end.

I wouldn’t play Impulse with more because people would get bored between turns, yet I still want to play TI3 one day…slowly building people up, Games are like stepping stones, that’s why I have so many…at least that’s what I tell myself so I don’t notice the hole in my wallet…

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July 7th, 2018: Thank You, Come Again!

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin, Avi, Nechama

Avi requested Civ, and so it was. I really though he would win with Military, but that’s not  quite what happened in the end…

Innovation

Kevin and I played Innovation after dinner, using my new 3D printed card holder, which saved table space. I got 1 and 2 with Agriculture and Metal Working. Kevin used Pottery for 3. Canal Building helped me get 20 points but I forgot to take the 4 as it was hiding behind the box of cards… then Kevin started using Statistics to empty my score pile. He also had Gunpowder so I lost most of my Castles. Kevin got 5 and 6 but Bicycle got me 27 points, then I managed to get the 7. I used a lot more “exchanging” then usual. I had five achievements but Kevin managed to hold the line using Physics and Electricity, returning cards and keeping anyone from melding higher tech. I hoped maybe to get Empire, but my castles were hidden…and I gave away Encyclopedia which could’ve melded my score pile. Eventually I got Industrialization and was about to get Monument when Kevin stole my top Yellow card, but this revealed Domestication giving me the Castles I needed.

Once again, 2-player base Innovation was exciting, tactical back and forth. Expansions are nice for a change, but not needed. Setup for them is much easier now though.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

I was India, Kevin was Spain, Nechama Egypt again, and Avi Germany. I opened with devote to the arts for first step on the track. Atilla’s Village was near me but Avi ended up getting it, while I built a city. I only collected one or two huts the whole game, and no villages. Kevin as Spain got off to an impressive looking start, exploring and building for free. Nechama started with Hanging Gardens so was good for figures, but for some reason didn’t fight her barbarians or build a city until several turns in. Avi spammed military but by being nice and trading with him he didn’t raid me early on. Kevin also had military buildup. Fortunately he skirmished with Nechama and I fortified my city so I had no figures to attack. Also my first great person was Leonides, giving me +4 and +8 if attacked by stronger opponent, so I wasn’t a completely easy target. Wonders went faster than usual, and when Big Ben showed up I got it and then Education and started rushing tech victory. Still sure someone would attack me, but no one did so I got Flight and bought two planes. I also built the UN which prevented culture events affecting me. I got cards that let me change social policy a couple times which was also critical. Isaac Newton filled in a spot on my pyramid and I finally got Space Flight just before Avi was ready to invade a Capital. I did use my “any resource” ability a few times as well.

Even though Spain seems OP, the disadvantage is that everyone wants to gang up. The military tension in this game also made it feel like there was a lot of interaction and politics, and while I usually don’t like too much politics it was very thematic–pitting my opponents against each other, “currying” favor and being pacifist as Ghandi.

I mentioned the “tie-breaker” suggestion where we play out the turn to the end. Avi then could have won by Military victory, but I wasn’t there for the final battle which he says he lost, though he didn’t draw as many cards as he should have, so maybe he would have won.

I also recently played Galaxy Trucker with one totally new person and one familiar. We did level one and two flight but the new player still felt lost. It’s odd, either I can’t teach this game well or can’t present it well, or people just aren’t interested. The familiar player likes this though and is building faster, though I still need a handicap or something.

June 16th, 2018: 60% of the Time

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin

It works every time. These games, that is. Always fun.

Innovation

Back to basic innovation. Optics gave us both four points but Metalworking failed and Kevin got the 1 achievement. I managed to snag the two using pottery a few times in a row, but Kevin got Democracy early one and had points for the 3, 4, 5 and 6. I managed to force him to cover his 6s with 4s so he hard a hard time getting to 7, and I finally made it to 7 first, scoring lots of points with Perspective. We also vied to be the first to meld an 8, which I also got, having 40 points. But it was only a matter of time before Kevin would claim Empire or Wonder, I was one castle short for Empire. I used Empiricism over and over hoping to get lucky, but Kevin just used flight to splay up and claim Wonder.

Castles of Burgundy

We played on the same board, but with two players things are more limited. An early tech giving silver for gaining workers let Kevin also buy a black market mine, having two mines by the end of Year One. He also got more useful goods through shipping, while I had the green castles and useless technology. A lot of workshops came out but I used the workers pretty quickly. We missed the rule about not having two of the same building in a city but it wouldn’t have mattered much. Having no way to get silver, I was unable to use the black market until Year 3. I picked up some pigs but each round the animals that came out were completely different–again with two players, fewer animals to choose from. In the end Kevin scored around 180 while I was down around 140.

I heard Castles is excellent two players–while it’s definitely faster, I think it will shine more when we have different maps. The setup made it obvious that having access to silver first meant earlier black market access, meaning more tiles overall.

June 9th, 2018: Party Games

Crew Members: Nechama, Sasha, Zevvy, Simcha, Orit, Adam

No heavy games this weekend, since I was walking across town. But I finally got to play Codenames…I feel like I’m always missing out to play some Euro.

Sushi Go: Party!

Started with four players and the original Sushi Go set. Orit went for dumplings every round, while I managed some Wasabi Squid combos and competed with Nechama for Maki. I also got Sashimi a couple times and won with a lead, though Adam had the most desert. Once we switched to three players though it became more cutthroat and we used Eel a lot, leaving some players with minus points each round. No one really like the Temaki round when one hand was entirely Temaki (my bad shuffling). I got a lot of points with Soy Sauce, but the last few rounds with fruit Nechama managed to win each time by a few points. Spoon was confusing also and we didn’t really enjoy it.

Codenames

First we played me and Adam against the others, and I kept using my extra guess to help the other team. Next Simcha and I played as a team and got some good clues no one else understood. It was close and the other team had some luck as well as some obvious mistakes but Simcha managed to win no matter what team he was on.

I also had a close game of Star Realms with Simcha before Shabbat, he had a lot of bases but I had a lot of Blob and the round I got my Blob base I dealt a huge blow, finishing off the next round before he could rebuild.

June 2nd, 2018: Not Historically Accurate

Crew Members: Zevvy, Avi F., Nechama, Kevin, Orit, Leora, Adam, Shemtov, Nick, Jonathan

Full house, and full afternoon.

Codenames

From what I understand, Leora Orit and Jonathan consistently won against Adam Shemtov and Nick, but their antics were a lot of fun for everyone.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

I was hesitant to start this, but after randomly choosing the Greeks made my goal to end the game as fast as possible through economic victory. I wasted my first round taking Navigation, since Kevin and Nechama both took it as well. Kevin built great lighthouse and had more trade than he needed the rest of the game, never getting level III tech. Everyone but Nechama took Pacifism to start, but eventually she caught up in culture. Unfortunately, Kevin attacked her and stole her spy right before I revealed my plan to end the game. At that point everyone focused on making me lose coins, but I was prepared with several culture cards and spies of my own to cancel most of their attacks. I was slowed, but managed to end the game with Pottery and Printing Press. I also had a printed coin in my outskirts and two from great people. Avi had planned to attack Nechama’s capital, and I just learned of an advanced tie-breaker which plays out the end of the round, which probably wouldn’t have mattered this game but could be relevant and more fun in future games that come down to the wire.

7 Wonders

We had six players, Leora caught on faster than I’m used to having to explain things, which was refreshing. Unfortunately for me too, since she overtook in me in military despite me being Rhodos. Avi also did well for his first game, raking in a lot of coins as Ephesos and 51 points, but Nechama had 52, Leora 53, and Kevin 58 thanks to Science as Babylon.

Sentinels of the Multiverse

After Shabbat we did a quick game against  Kismet as Fanatic, Ra, Nightmist and Tachyon. Though Kismet destroyed our initial setup, Nightmist managed to survive though paid a lot of hit points to Banish the many Jinxes. Once taken care of though it wasn’t worth stealing the Talisman so we focused on attacking, and Tachyon’s Hypersonic Assaults kept us in good health. A few strikes from Absolution and the Staff of Ra and it wasn’t long before Nightmist dealt the finishing blow with a Heedless Lash. Amulet of the Elder Gods also redirected some chemical explosions, making Kismet’s choice of fighting us in the Industrial Complex not so lucky.

I’m always happy when a big box game hits the table. Avi said he can’t wait a full week to play again, but our schedules don’t always align. I imagine the game will only become even more interesting now that we are more familiar and exploring more Technologies that haven’t been used previously.

May 26th, 2018: May 26th, 2018

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Simcha, Nechama

Technically this is a write-up of games played Friday Night / Shabbat Day, but the Friday Night game took place mostly on the 26th.

Terra Mystica

This was the only game I brought to dinner, realizing that at 11pm its unlikely that we would play. Nechama insisted and everyone agreed, thinking we might be done by 1am–not too bad. I was Changelings, Kevin was Halflings, Simcha was Dwarves and Nechama the Auren, her first time playing–I recommended Witches but Auren we’re prettier? Idk. Simcha had played before once or twice a while back.

Kevin got the first town and an early lead. We all had a clump of dwellings together while our other dwellings were all separated. Kevin expanded his second town in the top corner, while Simcha eventually connected his tunneled dwellings to make a town in the round with the bonus. Nechama also managed to spread out a bit and got two towns by the end, though she and Simcha contested over some space. Most of my points were earned by building and entire town of dwellings during the bonus round with a favor tile for 4 points each. So while I got first for most connected buildings, it was still a close final score between me and Kevin around 120, and Simcha and Nechama around 90.

Galaxy Trucker

We finally got to play a full three rounds. While Nechama still was last to finish her ship, she made sure to have as few exposed connectors as possible. In the final round she got 25 points for selling goods, enough to pull the lead. Simcha lost some goods to a meteor shower, but overall the game did not take as long now that people are more familiar with the parts. Still, had we accounted for the timer, everyone else’s ship would have been only half built. Maybe next time we’ll add missions just to make it more interesting.

Innovation

Played a few rounds of this throughout the day. One game was with Figures, quite confusing, though the most balanced overall–we all had 5 achievements when the game ended by emptying the 10s. Nechama had 65 to my 55 and won, but it was still quite interesting. My Rivalry decree slowed down Kevin, and Albert Einstein is how I got to 10 to end the game.

One Artifacts game ended too fast when I used Shroud of Turin to get three acheivements. Our next one ended when I had 5 achievements and used Self Service–win if you have the most achievements.

I think we also played an Echoes game but I don’t remember. That might of been our first game after lunch at which point I was still probably under the influence…

Some other people played Settlers.

May 19th, 2018: I’m Ron Burgundy?

Crew Members: Zevvy, Nechama, Orit, Cal, Kevin, Jonathan

Indeed, castles of Burgundy happened. And other games.

Castles of Burgundy

Since it was everyone’s first game, we all played on Board 1. Orit went first and Cal last, but the two of them took most of the early ships. Cal got a tech that gave points for each good type sold. I got three mines in the first year, along with a tech that gives a worker for each mine, but Nechama started a massive pig farm. Though I seemed to have an early lead by filling in all my Castles in one turn, Nechama zoomed ahead with pigs (and goats), and it wasn’t until year 4 when everyone caught up around 150-160 points. But as I filled in all my cities I pulled ahead again, as Nechama ran out of viable scoring options. I also began my boats, and on the very last turn of the game I was first player. After post game scoring I had 220 something, Nechama and Cal both broke 200 and Orit wasn’t far behind around 180.

7 Wonders

First round Necham chose Halikarnassos and got 58 points, but Kevin beat her with 59 as Olympia, taking a lot of blue cards. Orit was close with 52 thanks to tons of Science, but lost a lot of military. Jonathan was Giza B, but didn’t build past wonder level one, and I had 50 points as Ephesos B, with one science set.

Next game I was Giza B and bought all my resources cheap from Jonathan as Babylon B. Kevin was Rhodes but got attacked quite a bit, and only built his wonder in age III. He built a ton of blue though, but I got the Magistrate’s Guild for 11 points. Nechama had decent science but was competing with her immediate neighbor Orit as Alexandria. Jonathan completed a set thanks to his wonder. I played an Arena after finishing my wonder though getting many coins, and in the end had a huge lead with 70 points.

Kingdomino

Played a few rounds of this the night before with Nechama and Orit, and this time Jonathan joined. We didn’t use any special scoring. The night before my final round I got 44 points for a massive lake. With 4 player all the tiles were used, so I actually saw the distribution. While the decisions aren’t as involved as Isle of Skye or Castles of Burgundy, this game provides tile laying satisfaction with minimal commitment and effort.

While I was out for a bit they played Yaniv also. I am very glad to have experienced Castles of Burgundy–it’s a game I bought without having played, but purely based on recommendation. Cal said he’d definitely play again, and of course Nechama won’t stop playing a game until she wins at least once