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.

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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.

December 30th, 2017: WWII Ends Early

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin, Asher, Nemoy, Joseph, Shachar

Kevin is a big fan of the Civ video games, but I don’t have the patience for it. I do have the patience for several hours of the board game, and that’s exactly what we did today…we were joined by Asher who heard we were playing a 4X game and swallowed the red pill.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

Our first game I was England, and Kevin was America. But we were brought together by a common cause, since Asher was Germany, and building up military. Fortunately, Germany was slowed down by a lot of water, while England dominated the seas and America was off building things bigger than they need to be. Since last time I played I didn’t touch culture at all, I turned towards Pacifism and built Stonehenge as well–a wonder that’s actually in it’s real-world location.

It did take about an hour to set up and explain enough to a point where we could even start, and was a bit overwhelming at first. After a few turns though everyone got the hang of it, realizing that while you have many options each turn, you have just as many you can ignore. Unfortunately Asher had to leave when Shabbat ended, so we didn’t get very far in our first game.

Kevin stuck around for a one-on-one, this time Spain vs. The Arabs. I was a little scared by Spain’s rapid expansion and exploration in the beginning of the game, and I wasn’t making much use of my culture abilities at first. But once we got some technologies out I quickly sped along the culture track. Spain definitely expanded more, discovering the Golden City and building a 3rd city as well as finding a city state. But I had a good engine going producing enough culture to advance a few spaces each turn, the trade cost reduced by my coins and Ecology, culture reduced by my Endowment for the Arts.

When it became clear that I would win in a few turns, Spain turned its interests to Economics, finding coins wherever possible and building banks in all her cities. On a final decisive turn, I invested, drawing a Level 3 event. Spain went first though, and harvested resources to get a coin with Pottery–but was stopped by Primetime Tv! In a last desperate attempt Spain got some Level 2 event cards, but the last coin was just out of reach as the Arabs advanced the last two steps to a Cultural Victory.

While some of the starting bonuses are better (England is kind of lame…), each Civilization can definitely use it’s advantages and discoveries to find a unique path to victory. I bought Technologies in both these round that at first glance wouldn’t interest me but it all depends what you need. Definitely glad I got to play this again, and hoping to play more in the future. Just have to find patient people with several hours to spare…

P.S. Also played Gloom and 4-P Scrabble on Friday night. Despite the last player getting 33 point adjustment, the player who scored the 71-point bingo still won by 4 points. The Brit tried to spell British slang and I got away with spelling ‘goy’ but not ‘goyish(e)’.

Update: Turns out we missed the rule “city management resource” effects on tech can only be used once per turn. I definitely got culture faster than I should have, but at the end Kevin was also using his coin effects multiple times (at least on the last turn).

February 25th, 2016: Let’s Start a War

Crew Members: Martin, Zevvy, David

Martin had us over to play Nations. I though that since Martin and I knew how to play already, and David would pick it up quickly, it wouldn’t take too long. We were there for over six hours…and it was awesome. We also added some expansion content.

Nations

Zevvy – Korea: 41, David – America: 39, Martin – Mali, 32

There were very few military options in the first age, so I led in military and wars while Martin and David competed in books and we all began developing our empires. Martin appointed Sun Tzu as his leader, giving him two turns in a row each round. I built Solomon’s Temple which gave me a point at the end of every age as long as I don’t lose a war, which I managed to make use of throughout the whole game. David had a lot of stability which protected him from the wars and some bad events.

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The dynasty cards made a huge difference, allowing me to put resources into storage and recover from bad events. I built a synagogue because I felt I had to, but I never used it…and almost built over it with a mosque. For a while I was the only one with colonies, but David got some in the third age and Martin picked up some powerful colonies near the end of the game. The last few rounds saw a huge arms race, with Martin building enough submarines to max out his military. David’s Democratic Republic caused havoc with our dynasties and got him a lot of books. In the last round I managed to build the Statue of Liberty and pick up Florence Nightingale, who protected me from losing several points by not being able to feed any of my workers.

The final tally was very close, and any number of small changes would have allowed America to come out on top. Until next time, all hail the Korean Warlord!

We did take a break for an hour in the middle, but it’s still a long game, even if you know what you’re doing. Lot’s of fun though.