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.

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May 31st, 2016: Danger? Sorry, I was tuning my magical Lyra…

Crew Members: Zevvy, Nima, David W.

Today we go to dangerous places. Because those are always more fun.

RoboRally

We played on the Chop Shop, a map with upgrades, lasers, and scattered pits. Some poor card dealing left Nima in a pit on more than one occasion, and after the third time his poor robot was out for good. I got stuck among the lasers going in circles, but managed to power down in time before exploding, though at one point all my registers were locked. David somehow managed to actually hit all four flags, making this the first completed game of RoboRally I’ve played, albeit with a small number of people.

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Forbidden Island

David – Messenger, Nima – Explorer, Zevvy – Navigator

Nima hadn’t played this before, but ended up as the hero. David and I sat in our comfy offices while Nima braved to dangerous waters of Forbidden Island, collecting 3 out of the four treasures while the Temples sank around him, swimming to safety while David and I plotted comfortably. Getting the last treasure required me to do some actual legwork, and I was the last one back to Fool’s landing before we flew to safety.

Sentinels of the Multiverse

Zevvy – Argent Adept, David – Ra, Nima – Expatriette

Villain – Kismet: DEFEATED

Environment: Pike Industrial Complex

 

Our heroes caught up to Kismet in the dangerous Industrial Complex. Grabbing her Talisman early allowed us to get lucky with the environment, taking out the mutated rats as they showed up. In the dark corridors, Expatriette could not find her guns at first, but soon lit the halls with an SMG and some Lightning Rounds. While Ra kept Kismet at bay, Argent Adept removed her jinxes while setting up his instruments. When the music room was all set up, Ra began with the pyrotechnics, and pretty soon Kismet was just another pile of ash to be washed away by the irradiated cyclohexane.

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Lessons learned? Being the fire god in a room full of dangerous chemicals is better than being a robot in a room full of lasers.

January 6th, 2016: Curses!

Crew Members: Zevvy, David, Dima

I wasn’t sure if people would make it tonight, but David showed up with some coke (the brown kind) and Dima showed up with some chocolate (the brown kind). We played some games.

Dominion

Zevvy – 32, David – 29

Chapel, Cellar, Hamlet, Trade Route, Fortune Teller (Bane), Young Witch, Monument, Horse Traders, Bureaucrat, Quarry, Venture

It was a pretty low powered game, with Venture being the only five-cost card. I thought I could pull off the ‘trash-your-deck -except-Venture’ chaining strategy, but my luck with Chapel was not as good as David’s. I also suffered from curses as David opened with Young Witch and Chapel, while I opened Silver and Chapel. In the end it worked out for me though as my Monument counteracted the curses and I eked out the win.

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Dima – 36, Zevvy – 28, David -17

Cellar, Watchtower, Woodcutter, Talisman, Quarry, Farming Village, Monument, Tournament, Witch, Festival

As opposed to last week, tonight was not David’s night. The game began with people buying Witches and Watchtowers, though Dima got a head start on this with a 5-2 opening. At first David seemed to be doing the best, and was the first one to buy a Province. With Tournament on the board,David seemed in good shape. But with no trashing other than Watchtower, the curses began to add up, and even with Cellar after Cellar, it was hard to get a good hand going.

Dima meanwhile had no specific strategy at first, but bought many Monuments which turned out to be very helpful and allowed him to get points without filling his deck, and he began buying Provinces too. I was also able to get a few Provinces, but in between my hands were pretty lousy. I did win a Torunament, but took a Duchy instead of a Prize since the end game was near.

I bought the last few Cellars, and David bought the last Festival to end his misery. In the end, Dima won by a clear margin.

Enzymania – Demo

I spent a few minutes demonstrating a game I’ve had a vague idea about for a long time now. It is based on everyone’s favorite subject, Enzyme Kinetics! I am still sifting through some possible mechanics, but essentially the players use Enzymes to convert abstract molecules, trying to maximize the concentration of those molecules which will give them points via their ‘Membrane Protein’. It still needs a lot of fine tuning. And readable cards that I didn’t just make a few hours before the meeting…

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Forbidden Island

David – Messenger, Dima – Navigator, Zevvy – Explorer

Dima had played Pandemic before, so he picked this game up quickly. But as Forbidden Island is designed for a younger audience, the randomness is a little less polished which forces the players to bend over backwards sometimes to save Fool’s Landing or some other important tile. We played the ‘Island of Shadows’ setup, a 6 x 4 grid, instead of the default setup.

Collectively we started with four Earth Stone cards, and picked up that treasure right away. We drew two Water’s Rise pretty early, which slowed us down, but meant we didn’t have to worry for a while. David and Dima divided the Fire and Water treasures among them, and I picked up four Wind treasure cards in a few rounds.

Moving around was the hardest part, and we even had to fly David to the Tidal Palace and back using two helicopters because it had become isolated. Dima’s navigation combined with my diagonal movement did allow me to move quite far, and we picked up the other treasures without delay. The deck reshuffled and we struggled to maintain a land bridge back to Fool’s Landing, but then we drew two helicopters, one to fly Dima to the Landing and one to fly home, all four treasures in hand.

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I realized many of the games I have require some setup and take-down time, so it might be good to get some quicker games to have on hand for when someone needs a fix. It’s definitely a better addiction than chocolate or coke (the white kind).

November 23rd, 2015: One ‘Ell of a Story

Crew Members: Zevvy, Roman, David, Neta

What a provocative title! It will all become clear soon enough. As clear as the herbal tea which filled our glasses, provided by  one of my illustrious roommates. We also had beer-battered peantus (קבוקים) and an assortment of chocolates.

Story Cubes

Zevvy: Alien Abduction, Serial Killer

Roman: Innocent Escapee, Depressed Russian

Neta: Old-Man-Turned-Adventurer, Illiterate Visitor to Africa

David: Stupid Prince, Fish-Turned-Sheep-Turned-Man

We began with a game brought by a new member, Neta. Story Cubes is an improv/imagination game. There are 9 cubes with various images and many ways to play. We took a suggestion from the instructions, rolling 3 cubes at a time and telling part of a story. We were enchanted by the tales of the stupid prince, the abducted sleepwalker, and the illiterate traveller. We felt the sorrow of the innocent escapee who was killed by a wayward arrow, and the fish-turned-sheep-turned human who discovered the meaning of life just before death. We were horrified by the deeds of a baby serial killer, and discovered the true cause of the Russian plane crash: a depressed Russian returning from Egypt whom, having the batteries die on his $200 Tetris device, angered a fellow passenger to the point of strangling the pilot. [That was a very long sentence].

All in all it was very entertaining. A repeating image which caused confusion throughout was the cube with an ‘L’ on it, variously interpreted as the rural ‘Ell’ inn, a door in the back of a cave, and a Tetris piece. Little did we know its true meaning would be revealed in the next game…

Forbidden Island

Roman – Pilot, Neta – Engineer, David – Explorer, Zevvy – Navigator

Same designer as Pandemic, but simpler mechanics. Players are adventurers working together to steal the four treasures of the Elements and escape the Island before it floods!

The game began well enough. Neta started with a Water Card and immediately drew two more, receiving a fourth from David. By her next turn she had claimed The Ocean’s Chalice. Roman protected the Fool’s Landing from sinking while David and I funneled our Fire Cards to Neta who claimed The Crystal of Fire after being helicoptered to the Cave of Shadows. But the Island was beginning to flood faster…

David had collected several Earth Cards, which he gave to Roman who claimed The Earth Stone. We needed to keep the Howling Garden from sinking, and maintain a connection to Fool’s Landing for our escape. Racing against the pace of the flooding, I managed to collect four Air Cards and acquire The Statue of the Wind. But we were forced to use our last helicopter, which would require us to draw another one with which to escape the Island after a reshuffle. With the Water Meter one tick away from Doom, we maneuvered everyone but Roman onto the Howling Garden and used a Helicopter to fly us all to Fool’s Landing. We now needed to draw a Helicopter before drawing another Water’s Rise, or game over. The odds of drawing either were 1:6.

The first card…was a Helicopter! As long as we made it to Roman’s turn, he could fly to Fool’s Landing and we could Helicopter away! The second card….was Water’s Rise! The Flood Level maxed out and we were left to our doom…

But look at the formation of land on which we made our final stand! What could it possibly mean?

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As it happens, Neta lives literally across the hall from me. And she has been part of this group all along, though with a different name on Facebook. A happy surprise for us all. Technically, her door is across and slightly to the side…kind of like a ‘Γ‘…