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.

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June 27th, 2018: I Need a Hero

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Yehuda

Life is doom. Of course Arkham is in Massachusetts, my home state.

Arkham Horror: Innsmouth

We added the innsmouth section and character story cards. I was Tommy the Cop, Yehuda was the Waitress and Kevin was the Violinist. While I wanted to get Deputy asap, I first got money so I could go to Innsmouth. Kevin joined me and he sealed a gate while I was one clue short and merely closed one. Bad shuffling made most of the mythos cards open in innsmouth, until we shuffled a bit. When I was ready to head back I got sucked in again. I got blessed in the Halls of Celano but lost it right a way, while Yehuda was Cursed which caused him to fall to some tough monsters. With only two gates sealed and more opening, we didn;t have time before the Ancient One (Twin Horror) awakened. Yehuda used all of Kevin’s clue tiles since he had Fight skill, but as first player was the first to be crushed. I got a lot of hit in using my Shotgun and we faced the second stage where the Ancient One was now Physical Immune. Kevin took Yehuda’s spells and gave me one, but overall we had fewer dice now. When I was devoured though it did fulfill my story of being a hero, removing one Doom Token and giving 5 more clues to Kevin, but it wasn’t quite enough and we lost with only 4 doom tokens left–one more round and we might have made it!

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Still looking for a fourth. Found someone with Eldritch Horror so maybe that.

Frebruary 14th, 2018: Monster Sale

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Yehuda

We managed to get one more game in before Kevin heads off to vacation.

Arkham Horror

We played against the Old One that introduces super nasty masked monsters–powerful foes that we could never truly be rid of. With only three investigators, I wasn’t sure about our chances. Our rich girl and working photographer did manage to grab some early Elder Signs from the curiosity shop, which gave us a couple early seals, while the Salesman was on monster hunting duty, and built up a significant stock of ‘trophies’ to sell off later. Rich girl Jenny acquired quite a number of male allies, who were all eager to help but it was her motorcycle that finally helped her get around. No one was very magic oriented, though Yehuda’s enchant weapon did come in handy. After our initial success though, clues were harder to come by, so we spent a decent amount of time increasing our skills and stocking up on supplies, or visiting the hospital and asylum to stay in shape. My healing stone brought me back from the brink of unconsciousness and insanity, and when we were ready to go we finally sealed off the final few gates. We almost won by closing all the gates, but a delay in the Other Worlds prevented an early victory. Becoming Deputy of Arkham restored my income though and another trip to the curiosity shop paid off with an Elder Sign. The terror level never even reached three, and this was the first time no one was devoured (though we had some close calls). This left us all with quite powerful characters in the end (though all blessings had been lost, they helped while we had them).

Still haven’t become a member of Silver Twilight Lodge. Something to try maybe for next time.

February 8th, 2018: One Man’s Sanity

Crew Members: Aaron, Zevvy, Kevin, Yehuda

There are many activities puny humans engage in to try and stave off existential doom. I don’t know what everyone else was doing, but we chose board games.

Arkham Horror

Though Kevin and Aaron were both sucked into gates almost immediately, things went pretty smoothly this game. Yehuda and Kevin both managed to get Elder Signs early on, though a close call in the Outer Worlds almost got Kevin devoured. Sure enough, he was devoured, but not before sealing at least one gate. I made it through an Outer World fairly quickly with 5 clue tokens, but continued failing to seal a gate and eventually settled for closing it. For the most part we were very lucky and able to clear the streets of monsters, terror only rising once. Aaron got a free blessing and managed to seal a couple gates, though he spent some time recovering in Arkham Asylum and the Hospital. Sealing the gates also made room for Gypsies to move in and steal his mystic powders… Kevin sacrificed his dog to stop a rumor, and it wasn’t long before we sealed up the last few gates for victory. There were many close calls, but the negative environment effects seemed to come just after they would have been more devastating, and we finished with a final score of 17, with 9 unspent monster tokens.

If you can’t hear the music, the dancer looks like a madman.

January 31st, 2018: Haven’t Got a Clue

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Yehuda, Avram

The fate of Arkham was left uncertain last time, so we convened once again. Because certain doom is way more satisfying than uncertain doom.

Arkham Horror

The horror threatening to awaken was the possibly racist named Shub-Niggoroth. With the temptation to dabble in dark magic in exchange for clues, my Psychiatrist was immediately devoured, but Ashcan Pete stepped into take over. Yehuda proved that looks and money aren’t everything, when your spray of Tommy Gun bullets does nothing against creatures from beyond. Trapped by a ghost in the Hospital until he could be rushed to the Asylum, Yehuda’s character was devoured at the end for not having a monster trophy.

Kevin was armed to the teeth but got sucked into a gate before gathering enough clues. Avram had some victories as well, but spent most of his time stuck in the Other Worlds as well. His two gate trophies did manage to solve the rumor that was spreading terror, but closing gates was not as helpful as sealing them would have been. Kevin did relieve me of my curse, but by then the doom track was nearly full.

The final battle, though futile, showed the Old Ones that humans don’t go down without a fight. Kevin’s arsenal allowed him to take out a fair chunk of health from Shub-Niggoroth, while I slowed him down with a ward and Avram chipped away, until Kevin was devoured and Avram got a few more hits in before finally being devoured as well.

So we were all devoured, and on top of that, the church took my only dollar!

 

January 15th, 2018: Make America Great!

Crew members: Jonathan, Zevvy, Ariel

I ended up free tonight, and called into the void. Ariel was also looking for a game tonight, and I asked Jonathan if he’d be down for Nations, even after our 7 hour game on Shabbat. Of course he was!

Nations

Ariel – America: 47, Zevvy – Egypt: 46, Jonathan – Vikings: 29

The first age showed zero military cards but many raids. As Egypt I started with no military, so I had to buy the war and not much else. Though Pillar of Hercules gave me a temporary +7, so that was quite opportune, but Jonathan’s Viking powers still kept his military lead intact. Ariel’s strong starting production kept him flush with resources for the entire game, until the very last turn when he actually ran out of food.

The second age actually saw no raids, so heavy reliance on raids for stone the previous round left Jonathan with little income. He got some nice bonuses for stability though, and Sun Tzu let him double action, while Ariel’s Buddha let me make some key moves before him, and we competed a bit for architects. At least one round my private architect came in handy.

While I led in books in the early rounds, I soon had to shift my focus elsewhere (like Stability for Genghis Khan), and Jonathan and Ariel overtook me. I definitely took workers faster than others, and Suleiman gave me another two, but for a while I had not enough stone to deploy them. One of my wonders let me buy stone, which was super helpful throughout the game.

Ariel had a nice combo that gave him a ton of stone for upgrading buildings, and in the final round his upgraded buildings gave him tons of books and points. Jonathan didn’t manage to upgrade his buildings that much and lack of resources saw him often passing well before the two of us, though the last round I passed first for a point on the Forbidden Temple. Jonathan did manage to fill out his wonders in the last round, with Titusville and Ford Motor Company combo-ing nicely.

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In the end it was down to one point, but the distribution made this a particular interesting game. Until next time, America was Made Great Again!

This game is more forgiving than some, but can still be punishing if a person doesn’t have the flexibility to change strategies. That’s why I like the dynasty addition, although so far very few people have ever changed–it seems being dynamic with your workers and upgrading at the proper intervals is more important.

January 11th, 2018: A Mystical Evening

Crew Members: Vered, Snir, Zevvy, Ariel

When Ariel posted that he was looking to play Terra Mystica, it didn’t take long to gather a crew together. I heard about this game first from my brother actually, and have been wanting to play it since. And with Vered feeding us throughout, I can’t think of a better place to have shared this experience.

Terra Mystica

Ariel: Chaos Magicians – 115, Zevvy: Halflings – 108, Vered: Witches – 105, Snir: Swarmlings – 99

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In the beginning, the land was empty. But that would soon change. Ariel, Snir and Vered kind of bunched up in the middle, while I sandwiched them on the surrounding islands. My isolation put me off to a slower start in terms of economy, but I also wasn’t paying for power so I was ahead in points early on. It was only later that I realized how much power can help, but it never became the focus of my engine. Snir spread out early with his many workers, and Vered built a town straight away to benefit from her point bonus. Ariel started with less map presence, but his Temples zoomed him up the cult tracks and provided other great bonuses. I did manage to secure the Wind Cult which benefited from round-end bonuses early, while Snir was ahead in Water and Ariel in Fire. As we hit the mid-game mark though, money became rather tight in general, but there were alternate means to get anything, if you’re willing to pay…

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As the game neared the end, the options for advancing on the cult track were pretty much used up, so it was about maximizing bonuses whenever possible. Vered built her second town while I tried to Terraform and Ariel and I built as many Dwellings as possible. Ariel and Snir got a lot of points in round five for building Trading Posts too though. The final scoring gave Vered a boost due to being the most spread out, but in the end Ariel pulled ahead with a decent lead, and the land was ruled by the Chaos Magicians.

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Innovation

So I brought some small games, but small doesn’t mean not complex. Innovation is best learned with two players I think, but we were four and dove right in. Vered actually managed to get the first achievement, but not many scoring cards were played which made the game seem kind of slow. I used Gunpowder a bit, but by the time I got the second achievement people were quite literally ‘at sixes and sevens’. Vered’s Pirate Code began to slow me down, but some Chemistry and Electricity let me run away with the game for the 3 and 4 achievements. Ariel had decent splay and Empiricism, but it would’ve taken some time to activate it. I do think the game is best with 2 or 3, like Mottainai.

Usually when I post these I change the time so it matches the date in the title. But a successful game night always bleeds into the next day–Snir even stayed for some one on one Agricola virtual food growing. Or maybe for some real food.