January 20th, 2018: A Bottle of Rum!

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Orit, Nechama, Misha, Jonathan T., Jonathan D.

Shabbat is always a fresh start. For important things like spiritual matters. Which is But also to get revenge for the outcome last weeks board games. Or at least try.

Patchwork

This was the perfect, easy to teach, quick to play game for before dinner, and various other times throughout Shabbat. I actually did very well the first game, with only 3 empty holes. The next game was more even but I got the 7 points bonus for the win.

Mr. Jack Pocket

For a few bucks from China this is also a nice quick game, though I accidentally doubled the length of the rounds. Misha managed to catch Mr. Jack in what would’ve been enough time anyway, though the game would’ve been different with shorter rounds.

Black Fleet

First game was just me Kevin and Orit. Kevin had fast loading, but his pirate ship spent most of the game out of commission. Orit’s extra cash for raiding and extended range combo-ed nicely, but I was pretty unopposed to bury some valuable treasure in the mid map and get some ‘four capacity’ deliveries. Kevin might have caught up but didn’t quite make port before being robbed of two goods before his final turn.

Second game we played to 20, Nechama joined. A navy ship kept most people’s pirates off one half of the board, so I just went back and forth delivering goods with fast loading and ending the game surprisingly quickly. In general it seems that ‘greedy algorithm’ with some slight risk taking usually works, but I guess if one player gets a breakaway unopposed, the ship upgrades provide positive feedback that needs to be balanced by a good old fashioned gang-up.

Hanabi

After Mincha we started Hanabi but didn’t get to finish, though Misha and Jonathan got the hang of it pretty quick, though we did make two mistakes early.

Some other folks played 7 Wonders and Adios Amigos, which is a game I’ve never played but looks fun, like a combination of Bang, Cash n Guns and some quick adding. Still haven’t found anyone willing to learn Mottainai…though admittedly it’s a confusing game, especially if the first thing you eat all day is several shots of whiskey and arak…

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December 31st, 2017: A Game is a Game

Crew Members: Sarah B., Shlomo, Nechama, Zevvy, Orit, Anna

I’ll tag this as a holiday meeting, since there was an inyan to davka meet on the “K’ilu Rosh Hashana Shel Melachim Gregoriim”. So there.

Beer Pong…?

Yeah you read that right. Some of these folks had never played beer pong before. Surprisingly we found a lot of possible rules–makes me suspect this too was invented by Germans (see College Humor video on German Tag). I did surprisingly well, though I think I was the only college graduate in the room…

7 Wonders

Nechama – Alexandria B: 54, Shlomo – Gizah A: 51, Zevvy – Babylon A: 44, Sarah – Halikarnassos: 41

First round I got very few resources but started my blue build up, and we all tied military. No one built wonders at all first round, but Nechama started on science which would pay off. Round two surprisingly I won both my battles, but otherwise just got more blue cards. Final round military control went back to Shlomo and Nechama, and while I had lots of blue cards, Shlomo had great guilds. But Nechama’s 31 science points snagged her the victory, while Sarah’s wonder didn’t get her great discards–with fewer players Halikarnassos gets fewer options.

Harry Potter: Mystery at Hogwarts

So I haven’t seen this game since I was a kid but Nechama brought it back from England. We played for a bit with 6 players, but as players increase, information is more sparsely distributed and the game takes exponentially longer. We played a few rounds, and based on what people asked after each other I had a pretty good idea of solving the case, but we ended early when it seemed people had enough.

Hanabi

Score: 21 (4, 5, 5, 5, 2) – Amazing!

Anna’s first game, but she picked it up pretty quick. We did explain our motives a bit as we played, and Orit made some good deductions based on the nature of the clues given. Though we did have a few mistakes, a score of 21 with 5 players is nothing to sneeze at. It’s hard since each player gets fewer turns, and it’s a lot harder to keep 5 people focused on the game and remember what each person has been told.

Sentinels of the Multiverse

Villain: Deadline, Environment: Enclave of the Endlings – OBLITERATED

Shlomo – The Naturalist, Zevvy – Legacy, Anna – Skyscraper, Nechama – Fanatic, Orit – Tachyon

Deadline opened with slowly with some Catastrophe’s, but before they could act Immutus appeared, Absorbing the blows. We Destroyed his Atomic-End Glaive handily and were dishing out the damage with buffs all around. An Unnatrual Disaster did scar us as 1/3 of the Environment was destroyed at once. Bloogo came out to protect Tachyon, but was destroyed by the next wave of Catastrophes. Naturalist switched from Rhino to Croc and while he and Skyscraper walloped Deadline, Fanatic took the blows until her final Wrathful Retribution, finishing off Deadline before he could make much of a dent.

You know you’re with good people when you spend New Year’s drinking fine wine and using cardboard and plastic to help bring imagination to life. I didn’t even have my phone with me, which is why there are no photos…

Status Update, 2017: The Memory Remains

So my last post before this was in July. I started a full time job in August, and at first my game sessions we’re fewer as my schedule balanced out. Still played games on Shabbat occasionally. In the last couple months we’ve had pretty regular meetings at Sarah B.’s place here in Givat Shmuel. David T. has even been here a couple times and his visits were marked by our introduction to Marvel’s Legendary as well as a successful afternoon of Werewolf. In the early days of working I also had cause to go Haifa a few times and got to play with David T. and David M. a bit, including Cthulhu Pandemic, Dead of Winter, and Betrayal with the Expansion.

After Gabe (my cousin) got married, the previous make-up of the Givat Shmuel Board Game Group slowly drifted in different directions. Some members of the Givat Shmuel are still involved in D&D. Though I kept up a bit with it over Skype after leaving Haifa, I don’t think the mission is continuing. I understand Exalted happened for a bit. I also remember playing Battlecon: Devastation of Indines and Thieves Guild with Amyr.

When I first started working we had a game night involving Coup, Settlers, Monopoly Deal, and maybe some other games. People had fun but I think we’re more just looking for a social thing to do that night than to find regular board game hobbyists. For most people here, they can get their game fix on Shabbat if they want.

Most times when people play games Shabbat afternoon it has been Settlers, which always takes hours and leaves people exhausted. I have got some people to play Sentinels and 7 Wonders, and a bit of Dominion. We have had some Sentinels games that needed to be finished after Shabbat.

Now a few of us are able to meet often. We started playing games including Codenames, Avalon and (to my chagrin) even Cards Against Humanity. When a new game introduction goes well and people are excited to play it it makes me very happy. Much as when Martin was bringing a new game every week, I am introducing games with different mechanics so everyon can find something they like. Dominion and 7 Wonders have also been big hits lately, and I even got to play Pictionary a few times (still my favorite game).

Now that I have a decently paying full-time job I’m okay with paying to have games shipped here, and have a few that will hopefully arrive in the mail, though Israeli customs and postal service have me keeping my fingers crossed.

Part of me was itching for some heavier games which I don’t own, and I met Aaron at a Board Game Night and we played Terraforming Mars and Lords of Waterdeep (which I had actually played the Sukkot after making Aliyah, with Yehuda Berlinger’s Jerusalem Strategy Board Game Club). Over Chanuka I quickly stopped by Roee Anuar (admin on Unbored with Bored Games) and played Mr. Jack Pocket with Zohar, as well as King Louis with Matan and someone else (Dror?). Roee has many games I would like to try and hosts on Thursdays occasionally, so hopefully I will be able to go.

Re-reading a lot of old posts gave me nostalgia for a lot of good times. I regret not writing up the various sessions I’ve had since July. Through reading I am now still drawing enjoyment from experiences I’ve had over the past two years.

I will try to commit to photographing and writing about my sessions, as this also provided enjoyment for the other attendees, creates more of a a bond, and from what I’ve seen of successful groups, encourages people to show up and get excited about the write-up as well. It allows the experience to last longer than the few meager hours a week we manage to get together.

That’s enough writing for today. I’ll tag all the games I can remember playing since July since I like seeing them in the cloud on the side of the blog.

Looking forward to creating many more lasting experiences in 2018!

January 5th, 2017: New places, new faces (and old faces).

Crew Members: Zevvy, Shlomo, Allan, Yoni

I moved to Givat Shmuel and when I found out I had a rare night with no work, I mustered a few folks for some good old Thursday night gaming. Allan has been doing an internship and I met him at a Technion Shabbaton, and we’ve hung out a couple times since. Shlomo heeded the facebook call for board games and lives in the neighborhood. And Yoni lives near by and I’ve known him for almost 15 years. I feel old saying that…

7 Wonders

Allan – 51, Zevvy – 51, Shlomo – 45

Allan as Alexandria had every resource he needed except early brick, but Shlomo was a head in military the first two rounds. I tried for an early science lead but mostly just got Tablets. I also tried to get a trade advantage but Allan made sure not to build any Cloth production. In the last age, I got a lot of Science including the Guild, and Allan pulled ahead in Military. Final score was a tie, and we also tied for coins, the only tiebreaker. Never seen that happen before.

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Sentinels of the Multiverse

Not sticking to usual format here. We played an introduction game against Baron Blade in the Mobile Defense Platform. It was pretty easy until a Devious Disruption took out most of Omnitron’s components, dealing massive damage as well. Visionary controlled the Villain trash and deck and helped Fanatic keep her Divine Focus on Baron Blade until she could Wrathful Retribution to finish off his first side, at which point we started a new game since Yoni had arrived.

Against La Capitan we did not fare as well. It took a while to get going, but once Argent Adept had his instruments her and Guise tag teamed for a lot of card plays. Sky-Scraper did not get many useful links, and Parse was doing more control than damage. Eventually La Capitan lost steam and we hit her pretty hard, but some ill-timed Villainous Weaponry and Meteor Shower a turn too late left Argent Adept incapacitated. La Capitan and her remaining crew were sure to make short work of the rest of heroes so we called it quits.

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I would like to continue blogging in the same place, and hopefully will still play in Haifa from time to time  as well. Not sure I have much time now, but will establish a crew in Givat Shmuel as well. And people will wonder why we are the Haifa Board Games crew.

 

September 28th, 2016: With friends like these…

Crew Members: Zevvy, Itay, Roy, Ludmilla, David M., David T.

Roy and Ludmilla came all the way from Atlit to play, hopefull we will see them again soon. Itay came from the room across the hall and had a great time, hopefully we will see him soon too ūüôā

7 Wonders

The first game Roy started with powerful military, Ludmilla had good trade, and I was going for science with Babylon. Itay had the Pyramids of Giza, and in the end he won by a few points, the wonders definitely helping out.

The second game all six of us played, and Roy got stuck with little money since both his neighbors had better deals from others. I had a lot of money and yellow cards, and David T. got some good sets thanks to his Mausoleum, but Itay still managed to win with full military victory as well as four cards from one science track and decent guilds.

Sentinels of the Multiverse

David T. – Extremist Skyscraper, Zevvy – Visionary Unleashed, David M. – Dark Watch Setback, Itay – Tachyon

Villain – Omnitron: DEFEATED

Environment – Insula Primalis

Though Omnitron started slow with a few repair drones and some useless Terraforming, Skyskraper’s Thorathian Monolith caused her to take a lot of hits from the Sedative Flechettes. Tachyon’s Hypersonic Assaults kept the enemy at bay while Setback and Visionary got more set up. Visionary took control of a T-Rex for a bit, tearing into Omnitron’s metallic defenses. But as more deadly drones came out, our heroes stamina was waning. Fortunately by this point, two electro pulse bombs had been diverted, and with Tachyon’s trash full of burst cards it was only a matter of time before she got her Lightspeed Barrages and finished off the evil robotics factory once and for all.

 

September 22nd, 2016: Brains or Brawn?

Crew Members: Zevvy, Yanir, David W., Juliana, Nima, David T.

Great game night, not too hot, and most of the snacks got eaten. Thanks for coming!

Forbidden Island

Zevvy – Explorer, Juliana – Pilot, David W. – Engineer, Yanir – Messenger

We played this while waiting for¬†Pandemic to arrive, as it is the same designer and has similar game mechanics. We collectively started with four Ocean Chalices, so they were delivered to me to turn in while we kept the island from sinking too much. Shortly after Yanir got two Earth Stones, but both temples were on the western edge of the island and after schlepping out there the tiles were disappearing faster. Juliana turned in the Fire Crystals and though we had enough Wind Statue cards we had to save both Temples and Fool’s Landing from drowning in one fell swoop. After avoiding catastrophe however, it was simple enough to regroup at Fool’s Landing and fly away to victory.

Pandemic

Juliana and the Davids split to play Pandemic, which I hear they were victorious. Take that,¬†evil cube shaped diseases. Science wins again (though you never know how many people died in this game before our heroes found the cure…)

7 Wonders

Nima – Ephesos B: 55, Yanir – Babylon – A: 50, Zevvy – Alexandria A: 46

We quickly taught Yanir to play and soon we were off. Nima went for early military, while Yanir got the other one, leaving me in the dust. I did have good resource production and science, and was able to build some things for free in the following rounds, though I had to play a vineyard for extra cash. Yanir stayed ahead of me with one Military since I was focused on completing two science sets. In the end, my science did not avail me, as Nima had both Military Guilds in addition to his other points. Yanir was close second, with a full science set and a lot of blue cards. I had 52 but lost six for military.

Sentinels of the Multiverse

David W. – Mr. Fixer, Zevvy – Nightmist, David T. – Omnitron X, Nima – Skyscraper

Villain: The Chairman & The Operative – DEFEATED

Environment: Time Cataclysm

The chairman is mysterious and difficult to track down, especially when hiding in the cracks between time itself. Our heroes took an early beating from his Hired Guns, but Skyscraper drew the fire while Nightmist locked down the Unerbosses, giving Mr. Fixer and Omnitron time to get set up. Omnitron’s Abaltive coating kept him well protected from the bulk of damage being thrown our way, and soon he had a few other components as well. We somewhat avoided the brunt of a Prison Break through Astral Premonition, and Fixer and Skyscraper were whacking away at the villains.

Suddenly everything came to a halt, as Fixed Point was played, rendering all cards indestructible. Immediately thereafter another Prison Break occurred, bringing out four underbosses and their respective thugs. Nightmist and Skyscraper were brought beyond the edge of death, but¬†with time stopped around us they were somehow still alive. Mr. Fixer took this opportunity to double his styles, and a punishing blow was dealt by Nightmist’s Oblivion, though even with healing from her Starshield Necklace¬†still left her and Skyscraper below zero HP.

Omnitron¬†continued clearing the thugs, and in a ditch effort engaged a Time Shift on Nightmist, playing Mist-Fueled Recovery,¬†boosting her HP up to 5 and saving her just as Skyscraper destroyed the Fixed Point, sacrificing herself to heal the rest of us a bit. By now most of The Organization had been dealt with, and the Informants were not much of a threat to Fixer’s Dual Crowbars. Another round of beating up The Operative and The Chairman, and Omnitron was ready to charge in and blow up his components, dealing the final ten damage to the nefarious Chairman, leaving his beaten body to¬†remain locked within the ever-shifting strands of time.

Sometimes you need to think it through. Sometimes you need force it. But whatever you need, a little magic doesn’t hurt–and that magic is friendship. Aww.

September 15th, 2016: Rough Draft

Crew Members: David W., Zevvy, David T., David M.

Patchwork

I arrived first and played a round of Patchwork with David W. I took a lot of risks leaving some holes which I did manage to fill, but David got the 7×7 bonus first. Though I only had three¬†empty spaces at the end, David managed to fill in all but six with his last move, and won by two points.

Farkle

After David T. showed up we played a round of Farkle, with David W.’s usual luck giving him a big lead. With the house rule of continuing the previous player’s turn, David T. was able to ride the wave a bit while I was not, and¬†neither of us could not overtake David W. before he topped 10,000.

Impulse

Our second time trying this game, this time with four players. We were still constantly checking the rule book. Though I lost my transports early, I had a good plan and mining operation going. David M. got some points trading, and David T. built up his fleet. After an hour only a few turns had gone by, and when David T. lost most of his cruisers in a tie battle we decided to move on to something else. Unlike other Carl Chudyk games we’ve played, players can actually be eliminated here, and the¬†number of actions each player takes keeps increasing, making it feel much slower than Innovation or Mottaini.

7 Wonders

David W. was Babylon and got a lot of Science points, but he and David M. had to contend with me as Rhodos, defeating them in military each round. David T. as Alexandria managed to overtake his neighbors in military in the final round but my combined points from Military and my Guilds as well as the cash I got from my neighbors put me in the lead even over David W.’s scientific progress.

Las Vegas

There were some lone high bills in the early round, and competition between David W. and David M. left only one on top. David T. and I were tied in the middle rounds, and while David M. did his best to get revenge, David W.’s luck with the dice won him the cash he needed to stay on top, though David T. and I were not far behind.