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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May 26th, 2018: May 26th, 2018

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Simcha, Nechama

Technically this is a write-up of games played Friday Night / Shabbat Day, but the Friday Night game took place mostly on the 26th.

Terra Mystica

This was the only game I brought to dinner, realizing that at 11pm its unlikely that we would play. Nechama insisted and everyone agreed, thinking we might be done by 1am–not too bad. I was Changelings, Kevin was Halflings, Simcha was Dwarves and Nechama the Auren, her first time playing–I recommended Witches but Auren we’re prettier? Idk. Simcha had played before once or twice a while back.

Kevin got the first town and an early lead. We all had a clump of dwellings together while our other dwellings were all separated. Kevin expanded his second town in the top corner, while Simcha eventually connected his tunneled dwellings to make a town in the round with the bonus. Nechama also managed to spread out a bit and got two towns by the end, though she and Simcha contested over some space. Most of my points were earned by building and entire town of dwellings during the bonus round with a favor tile for 4 points each. So while I got first for most connected buildings, it was still a close final score between me and Kevin around 120, and Simcha and Nechama around 90.

Galaxy Trucker

We finally got to play a full three rounds. While Nechama still was last to finish her ship, she made sure to have as few exposed connectors as possible. In the final round she got 25 points for selling goods, enough to pull the lead. Simcha lost some goods to a meteor shower, but overall the game did not take as long now that people are more familiar with the parts. Still, had we accounted for the timer, everyone else’s ship would have been only half built. Maybe next time we’ll add missions just to make it more interesting.

Innovation

Played a few rounds of this throughout the day. One game was with Figures, quite confusing, though the most balanced overall–we all had 5 achievements when the game ended by emptying the 10s. Nechama had 65 to my 55 and won, but it was still quite interesting. My Rivalry decree slowed down Kevin, and Albert Einstein is how I got to 10 to end the game.

One Artifacts game ended too fast when I used Shroud of Turin to get three acheivements. Our next one ended when I had 5 achievements and used Self Service–win if you have the most achievements.

I think we also played an Echoes game but I don’t remember. That might of been our first game after lunch at which point I was still probably under the influence…

Some other people played Settlers.

April 27th-28th: Take Your Time

Crew Members: Zevvy, Orit, Nechama, Zoe, Kevin

Next weekend I won’t be around, so we really crammed it in today…

Innovation

Not my favorite with 4 players, but Orit was willing to read and so picked up the concept pretty fast. I just barely grabbed the 1 and the 3  with Metalworking and Currency while Kevin got the 2 and the 4. Nechama drew a lot but lost her hand to Machinery. Orit also got Engineering and destroyed many castles. Kevin’s coin monopoly let him steal many things, but not before I snagged the 5 with pirate code. It was a tense race to the 6 but Nechama let me share Coal with her, basically handing me the win.

Isle of Skye

Zoe actually joined us for this Scottish themed game as she leaves behind her Irish heritage to join the Tribe. Scoring tiles were “Ship + Lighthouse = 3”, “1 per animal on and adjacent to farm”, “3 per 3-tile enclosed region”, and “2 per tile in largest enclosed lake. This last tile gave Orit and Nechama a lot of points, whereas I completed it only in round 5 for a smaller lake. Zoe left halfway through, leaving me as last player. Nechama caught up with Orit, but in the final round I scored a lot for my scrolls, ending up tied with Nechama at over 70, with Orit not far behind.

Power Grid

Nechama’s been wanting a re-match, this time we had Orit instead of Yehuda. She learned fast but by the end wasn’t as interested since some turns took a while…Nechama tried to stay behind the whole game to be able to get first dibs on resources and building but was unable to compete once we hit step 3. Orit relied heavily on coal and the last round coal got bought out, though she only had 16 powered buildings. Nechama still had 17 powered buldings but Kevin had 18, with the Hydrogen plant. I managed to get 19 buildings though, using oil and garbage, snagging the victory.

Machi Koro

Orit, Nechama and I played this while Kevin took a break. They both got Tuna Boats, leaving me in the dust. I bought more Red and Purple than usual, but my Business Center never went off, and Orit ended it just before Nechama would have, while I still had Radio Tower and Airport to build. Had my Tax Office activated I would have slowed them down.

Galaxy Trucker

As usual when teaching we ignore the time limit, but Orit still had trouble building her ship. Nechama built a ship with no exposed connectors, but learned that finishing first means dibs on the goodies during the adventure. If first player builds a good ship then they generally will get a lot more money than the others, but in longer adventures this is mitigated as first player loses days, yet there still being time for others to collect or overtake. We didn’t have time to finish the second adventure though.

While I still have a blast with Innovation every time, I may buy an expansion (or just shell out for the Deluxe Set), since it gets played a lot and I actually people who could handle expansion content. I do like the small box and table space though. I chose Galaxy Trucker to make an actual punishment for AP, but if players barely finish it’s not much fun for me, so I don’t mind…but maybe we should stick to un-timed tile games like Isle of Skye.

April 10th, 2018: Git ‘Er Done…in Space!

Crew Members: Zevvy, Yehuda, Kevin

Back to the usual, but with more games!

Galaxy Trucker

Finally have my own copy of Galaxy Trucker! Despite the real-time aspect, everyone liked this one, though the first game was a bit rocky for the newbies. Even for myself, no matter how well constructed I think a ship is, something will find a wear to destroy it. My third level ship core got hit, leaving me with a few engines to pull into the station. Yehuda’s profits were completely lost in the first two rounds by paying for broken parts. No planets in round two meant no goods, so the only way I made money was by being in first and defeating pirates. Still, after we completed three rounds everyone had more than $1, making us all winners. Yay.

Innovation

Yehuda claimed 1 and 3 early while I got 2, but after that my anatomy emptied his score pile and the game was a crawl for a while. Yehuda was constantly ahead in tech though, but my leaf dominance kept him at bay for a while. I failed to use physics like 5 or 6 times in a row…finally it worked but Yehuda had so many resources by then that I couldn’t do much against him. However, few scoring opportunities came up, and so we competed for the other achievements. I got empire and stopped him from getting Universe, but failed to get it myself. I finally managed to get the 4, but Databases kept draining my points. Once I had more Factories I could keep Yehuda slowed, but he was drawing all the 10s and getting their powerful effects. Finally, A.I. caused the activation of Robotics which activated Globalization which by then had gotten Yehuda 30 points and Universe, winning the game over my 26 points. We both had 4 achievements.

Galaxy Trucker was one of those games I was exposed to just before moving to Israel, but I’ve since got to play it quite a bit (mostly on the app), and I have to say it’s a nice change of pace.