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!


August 2nd, 2016: Just Desserts

Crew Members: Nuri, David T., Zevvy, Juliana, David M., Phil, David H., (Finbarr)

We had quite a full house tonight, and Nuri graciously fed us Napoleon cake, Waffle cookies, and Hobgoblin. But like Hansel and Gretel, we would soon learn the truth about The Black Witch (Nuri’s beer), and not everyone would survive….


We played concept while waiting for people to show up. For some reason we had a hard time guessing Juliana’s word “Karaoke”, but David T. saved the day. He also guessed my “Crossword Puzzle” and Nuri’s red, religious drink–Wine, of course…

Betrayal at the House on the Hill

Since we had a lot of players we went with Betrayal, and pretty soon we were exploring this creepy house. David H. lost his batteries and while looking for some help got taken to the basement with Nuri and her dog companion, where they met up with Phil. The Haunt was delayed quite a bit, but shortly after I swapped out with David M. the Haunt began. Nuri was the betrayer, and had voodoo dolls of each of us. We had to find the dolls before Nuri killed too many of us. After giving each player a clue, she also revealed that all the necessary rooms had been discovered, but it was still a race against time (and Nuri’s psychotic desire to now kill all her former friends). When all but one doll had been found, David H. gave dynamite to Juliana who tossed it into the room with Nuri and David M., but while it finished of David, Nuri was still breathing. The game ended at that point with half the players dead, though technically Nuri had to kill more than half, it as quite a long and spooky game.

Sushi Go

Game 1: David H. – 34, Zevvy – 26, Nuri – 25., Phil – 24, David M. – 19

New players picked this up pretty quick, and David H. had a breakaway with Dumplings, while Nuri and I fought over Sashimi and both lost out. David H. also managed to get one pudding, saving him from -6 points at the end and winning with a good lead.

Game 2: Nuri – 39, David M. – 35, Phil – 34, David H. -25, Zevvy -24

Most of the pudding got used up early, and I gave David M. the last pudding, but Nuri still won, having gotten Sashimi and the Squid Wasabi combo, as well as some Dumplings. In the last round David h. and I had a Maki war which he won, and though he was stuck with the least pudding  he still had more points that I did.

David T. spent most of the night helping us make characters–as of now we will have a Wizard, Druid and Warlock–a spell heavy group.

February 24th, 2016: Gardening – In Space!

Crew Members: Zevvy, Roman, Martin, Liz, Dima, David, Max

Even with short notice we had a good showing, and though our first game dragged on my roommate Max was finally able to join us for our second game.

Space Station

Roman  – 10, Zevvy – 10, Dima – 9, Liz – 9, David – 8, Martin – 6

Gameplay elements similar to Alhambra, players add modules to their space station and score points for having the most modules of each color. The game is played over 6 rounds, but points are doubled in the last round, which ended up being the deciding factor in the final score. David built a lot of Military modules in the first year, and everyone managed to get some points except myself and Martin. I screwed myself over the following year with a Global Economic Crisis, since everyone else could still afford at least one module, while I did nothing. I also played an Uneventful Year, slowing everyone down, especially Roman. Martin played a Launch Delay one round, also slowing me down. But until the last round, Martin and I were both doing pretty poorly with 4 points, while everyone else had 6-9 points. However, being in last has its merits, as everyone ganged up first on Dima and damaged many pieces of his ship, then on Liz and David. Though it was our first time playing and we missed some of the rules at times, in the end the double points just barely brought myself and Roman into the lead.


The most entertaining module is probably the ‘Garden’ – spend one crew and 1 MC to receive two crew members. This is the kind of Garden that makes it so that there are more people.

Betrayal at the House on the Hill

With six players we decided to play this game again, since it’s pretty easy, and different every time.Before the Haunt, everyone had very successful rolls, and many of us increased our stats somewhat. The Haunt revealed me, the Father, as the traitor, plotting to turn my friends into fertilizer for my creeping vines. Most of the other explorers were in range of being grabbed by vines, but they succeeded in creating the plant spray on the first attempt. By the next round, most of my Creepers were destroyed, though one of the managed to eat Ox Bellows, who ventured too close. Meanwhile my character was also killed, but the explorers had to find and kill one more Creeper to win. A bit more exploration revealed a sixth creeper which was promptly sprayed, granting victory and safety to the surviving explorers.

This is the kind of Garden that makes it so there are less people.

So far I don’t think we’ve ever had seven simultaneous players, which would force us to split up into two groups for most games. Even with six players, games where every takes their turn separately can drag on, especially when we are all learning a game for the first time. Though the chaotic fun of games with many players is a plus, there may be a balance which changes depending on the game and the general mood of what type of game everyone wants to play. Fortunately there is no shortage of games nor good people to play with, and after four months we’re still going strong.

February 15th, 2016: ‘Junta-ed’ House

Crew Me bymbers: Zevvy, Martin, Liz, Albert, David, Dima

Though Nuri wasn’t feeling well, she let us borrow a haunted house game which was perfect for the six players we had tonight. We did not play in the dark using pentagram candelabras, but it was still fun.

7 Wonders – Duel

Zevvy – Victory (Science), Martin

Martin came by early and we played a quick game of 7 Wonders. In the first Agewe both picked up a lot of Production buildings, and I picked up 3 different Science buildings. In the second Age, I though I would succeed in building a large Military, but Martin succesfully countered with the help of his “Strategy” token. Martin built several Yellow buildings and had quite a lot of money. Fortunately I was able to build my wonders, which were worth a good amount of points. In the third Age, Martin was actually close  to achieving Military Victory, but I managed to hold my ground. I bought a fourth Science building, revealing a face down card which was a fifth Science symbol I did not yet have. Martin was distracted by a valuable guild, and I picked up the Science cards along with the “Law” token, sneaking in a Science victory. Having never witnessed such a thing, Martin was not thinking about the possibility. Had we played the game to its completion otherwise, Martin would have won by at least 10 points.

Betrayal at the House on the Hill

Zevvy  – Professor, Martin – Young Boy, Albert – Young Girl, Dima – “Flash”, Liz – Woman, David – Other Woman

We started exploring the house, when Albert was bitten, and the floor collapsed beneath me and I fell into the basement. Dima found a Spear and a Bell and went upstairs to workout. Liz also fell into the basement via the Coal Chute, and shortly afterwards the haunt began. The scenario: Liz was the traitor (as predicted by Martin), and she had buried our friend alive in the basement. Dima used the Spirit Board to immediately divine our friend’s location, and as I was in the basement I started digging, successfully. Everyone else slowly made their way to the basement, while I struggled with my Bloody Dagger to fight Liz, who soon overpowered me. Lost in the dark in the Statuatory Room was not so safe for me, but Martin was more interested in safe-cracking than helping a poor old misogynistic Professor.

Despite some unsuccessful digging attempts, Liz had taken quite a beating. Though she was shortly done away with, it wasn’t long before our friend died in his final subterranean (or sub-pistachio, as the case was) resting place. We did not save our friend, but we preemptively avenged his death. Now we know–the woman is always the traitor.


In honor of David’s Venezuelan heritage, we played a game where greedy Golpistas compete for dominance in the Banana Republic. Martin began as Presidente, and after wa got used the game decided he was amassing too much power and had to be taken down. Dima became Presidente and actually almost won, but Dima and Albert both had to leave before we could finish. Albert had become Presidente, but despite his spy network David too the role for the last round. It’s a pretty funny game–students can even sign a petition, but it has no effect.


Star Realms

Martin – Victory, Zevvy

This is a cool deck building game with a currency element similar to Dominion but totally different game play. I build a few Blue buildings early on, but Martin got way ahead of me in Scrapping with the Red buildings.My Blue Buildings were increasing my HP significantly, which can go above the original 50. While I upgraded my Blue cards and tried to begin getting some Red, Martin went with Yellow which aimed to make me discard cards, crippling my effectiveness. Martin also had several nice bases in his deck, and my Attack forces soon became unable to handle it all. Finally the game reached a point where Martin was dealing damage faster than I could heal, the inevitable result being his victory.

We played quite diversely themed games tonight. Though there isn’t a Junta style game modeled after the American election system, my family does have a real-estate game back in Boston called ‘Trump’. Other than his picture on the cover, it doesn’t have much to do with Trump. It wouldn’t be fun to play games with him–he’d probably buy the House on the Hill and turn it into a Hotel-Casino.