Pesach 2018: Game Summary

Mostly played games with my sister, though I tried to teach Mottainai to my brothers, they weren’t interested. One brother learned Impulse and we had two good games. The first one, he didn’t send any ships to the sector core until I already had a head start there, and I managed to get six points from trading two Size 3 blue cards in one go. The next game, he built up a huge fleet and attacked me 7 vs. 3 but I had two reinforcement cards and despite the size of the fleet he was defeated. Still, he liked the game.

I played several rounds of Star Realms, and often times the overwhelming “base” strategy dominated, though Blob focus seemed to win a lot as well.

My sister did really well at Splendor, forcing me to even rethink how quickly I go for level 2 and 3 cards versus building up mines.

Our few games of Machi Koro were enjoyable, and usually pretty close, but still coming down mostly to luck of the dice.

We did okay in some rounds of Hanabi, and got 19 in a game with our third cousin who is used to playing only Chess.

The most interesting games were our Innovation games. In one of them, my sister and I were racing for final achievement, and she had almost 50 cards tucked and splayed on her board, using Industrialization to get Monument. Our game with the cousin, his first time, was also close with achievements, but as the 10s pile thinned, my sister pulled ahead in points. To prevent her victory I coordinated with the cousin to set off Fission, and after a few rounds picking up the few remaining cards, he actually won, 17 to 16 to 15.

We also played Spit, Rummy 500, and Set, as well as Sushi Go: Party with the base cards and one round with Menu, Eel, Fruit, Tofu, Onigiri, Uramaki and Tea.

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March 16-17th: Can’t Spell Wine Without Win

Crew Members: Jonathan, Kevin, Zevvy, Nechama, Orit, Sarah, Yehuda, Lea

Games are fun. Some are even more fun when you’re drunk.

Stone Age

A new game easily attracts the crowd. We only had room for 4 though, but Orit acted as my consultant. Since it worked out well for me with 2 players, I went for field then extra worker. But with more competition 4 players, I ended up having to hunt quite a bit, and lost 10 points once. I did build some decent buildings and while I only had two tech, I had a variety of builders, shamans, farmers and tool makers. Jonathan had a lot of buildings but very few civilization cards until the end of the game. Kevin had a lot of wood and a lot of civilization cards but didn’t get any of the expensive buildings. Nechama was only a few points behind me in the end but couldn’t feed her workers either.

Sushi Go: Party

Menu was Temaki, Special Order, Soy Sauce, Green Tea Ice Cream, Tempura, Dumplings.
While I was ahead in points the first round, everyone else nabbed all the Dessert, which I had put too many cards in the deck anyway. In the final round the Dessert made the difference, with Yehuda pulling ahead in the final count. We didn’t even make it through round two because everyone was tired. Yep, just tired.

Innovation

Shabbat afternoon Lea was brave enough to play Innovation with me and Kevin. Sure enough, the beginning of the game was confusing but by the end she figured it out. Kevin and I were mostly competing for achievements though so Lea thought she had no chance, but with both me and Kevin stuck at 5 after some tense moments, scores started to change quite rapidly. Lea almost had 20 lightbulbs but Kevin had Empiricism. The game ended when I activated Software, scoring 40 points and claiming Universe and the Level 9 Achievement just before Kevin could. Kevin may have gotten the Monument though and we missed it.

Hanabi

Lea and I played Hanabi. She picked up right away on the balance of giving hints vs. discarding, and we made no ‘mistaken plays’. I had 3 fives though and was only able to get one out by the end, since we waited a long time for the first Blue 1. A final score of 19 for a first game is pretty good.

You don’t need alcohol to win at board games. But it can help…

March 10th, 2018: Classic Crew

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

With this trip to Haifa the blog retains the rights to its original name. Some new and some classic games with some classic folks.

Mottainai

Friday night we had some time before dinner, so I finally got to play Mottainai with someone. Even games where one person rushes, the score can be unpredictable thanks to back-orders. I almost had a turtle victory in one game, but it was faster to just end with a bunch of paper works. David did win the last game, where I had a ton on my craft bench but no time to sell. Very happy to have played this.

Stone Age

David – 187, Zevvy – 187

I picked this up from AliExpress cheap, knowing it was a classic but never having the right chance to play it. We played this before lunch while waiting for David T., and it was a blast. I managed to get fields and extra workers early, and more points off the first building. David seemed to be ahead in Green Tech cards but by the end I had 7 out of 8 and he had 4. I also had a lot of builders so the race for buildings brought the end of the game rather than cards. Turns out my instructions have a bad translation, and we should have put out more cards. Also missed the rule that resources count 1 point each, but didn’t affect the great fun of the game play. Definitely need to teach this to more people now that I know how to play.

Innovation

We also squeezed in a game of Innovation. Clothing helped me rush the first two Achievements, after which David stole my points and got to 3 and 4 before me. In mid-game, I used Coal and Canning to get 5 and 6, but destroyed most of my cards in the process. It was a tense back and forth race to get 7, but David managed to hold me off and get it first, even though he was stuck on level 5 tech for a while. Astronomy did give me the Universe Achievement though, so I only needed one more. And another particularly successful use of Astronomy got me level 8 tech with enough points before David could slow me down again.

One Deck Dungeon

After lunch we switched to co-op mode. David T. played Mage and Alchemist, I was Warden and David M. was Slayer. For most encounters, one of the magic users teamed up with the Warden or Slayer, and we made it through the first floor of the Phoenix’s Den with little damage. Things got trickier in the second floor, but since gaining a potion heals in this version, we never had anyone with more than one damage counter. The only poison we got was from fighting Rock Wyrms. We each had 3 items and 3 skills, and just barely made it to level 4 before the final boss fight. The first round against the Phoneix did see some damage being dealt to the Alchemist and Slayer, but each of the 4 rounds we managed to strike back as well, finishing off the Phoenix with one final blow.

Hanabi

We player 3 quick rounds of Hanabi towards the end of the day. First round we got all the 1s right away, David T. starting with several. After two mistakes were made though, and red and yellow cut off at 3, we were limited on the progress we could make, and ended with a score of 18. Second game saw three early mistakes so we just started again. Third game was our best, though we didn’t get Yellow until very late, we got two colors to 5 quickly, followed by a third and then a fourth. Yellow stayed at 2 because I had the 3 and 5 but the deck had run out. Final score of 22 though is quite good.

Also played some Spaceteam with 3 players, involving much yelling and surprise to David’s roommate when he return home. Good times.

January 27th, 2018: Un-Nameable Title

Crew Members: Zevvy, Yehuda, Elad, Kevin, Avram

I guess this blog has become more about any time I personally end up playing board games, rather than some sort of specific crew. But that’s fine, because we are many.

Hanabi

Yehuda, Elad and I played Friday night, and started off very strong, except in white. We made some mistakes in the mid-game, but managed to get a couple 5s at a critical moment. The final round we missed one more 5, but a final score of 19 for a first game is not bad.

Star Realms

Yehuda picked this up right away, though we kept forgetting the Outpost rule. The first game a lot of expensive cards clogged the market, and while I had some good ships Yehuda had many bases. After taking a beating I managed to get a good strike in between Base plays, but just when I thought I was done for I smashed the bases yet again and made a final push before Yehuda could recover. Our second game I trashed very heavily and overran with Machine Cult and Blob.

Shabbat Day we played another two games I think, and one game Yehuda overwhelmed with Blob while my Trade Federation couldn’t heal me fast enough.

Dominion

The first game I got an early Bishop which helped my trashing, and I managed to trigger my Magic Lamp eventually for gold, which in turn activated my Legionairre attack. Yehuda was able to Mine most of his treasures but bought a Bishop late, so my engine was already ahead. Guide came in handy a few times for both of us though.

Next game had some events, ‘Plan’ which we both used to Trash when buying Nobles, the only real card drawer. Coin of the Realm made it easier to not get stuck, and Count was an interesting card which helped Yehuda trash many of the curses he got from my Soothsayer. This game was closer but while Yehuda had more Nobles and a Duchy, I won the Province split 5-3.

Arkham Horror

Yehuda was finally able to bring over this granddaddy of Mythos themed games. Kevin came over and Avram showed up just in time to join as our fourth. Even without my starting blessing, I got pretty lucky as Sister Mary and picked up a bunch of clues early on. We had a lot of Monster Bursts in a row, so while Terror increased, most of the monsters weren’t in our way. Kevin as the Professor finally managed to defeat one particularly strong monster with the help of the Shotgun, but lost many clues doing so. Though he did seal a gate with an Elder sign, removing several monsters.

Avram as the Magician had quite an arsenal of spells, but before he could go monster hunting was sucked into a gate, forcing several turns to be spent in the Outer Worlds. I used a gate Trophy to bless him but we both lost our blessings the same round, making things even more difficult. Yehuda had some good items, but was knocked out and driven insane, setting him back a bit, though he managed to start rebuilding his arsenal of spells and items quickly thanks to his ability to choose Events.

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With the Doom track more than half filled and only two gates sealed, we weren’t in the best position, but unfortunately ran out of time in the real world.

So many games, so little time…we plan to play Arkham Horror again though, and now that Avram lives closer it should be easier to coordinate game nights on this side of town.

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…

January 6th, 2018: Unfinished Business

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin, Chaim, Jonathan

Played some games Shabbat afternoon. The day is short, the task is large…

Hanabi

Started playing before the meal because these things never start on time. Two new players, we had to repeat some clues, but we’re doing pretty well on all fronts except Yellow. Didn’t get to finish though.

Nations

Played for over 2 hours, got through 5 out of 8 rounds. I almost got stuck without coins but a well times event got me out of the rut. There were some aggressive military maneuvers. I checked the rules after Shabbat and was correct that Stability only offsets loss from wars but not events, and the events took their toll. Still, it’s not too hard to come back when you get 3 free resources each round, but we didn’t finish after Shabbat.

Some people were playing Settlers–they have at least expanded to Cities and Knights, but since they usually don’t finish a regular game they weren’t even close with this one. Some people commented on Nations as they walked by, and if people we’re actually interested I’d love to teach…but when the comments are things like, “What’s this? A game with no dice?” then I know the term ‘strategy game’ will fall on deaf ears (thought there is randomness in the game due to cards…). The rule book isn’t any longer than Settler’s and there is less text on the cards than C&K. But I don’t know anyone else who actually read the Settler’s rule books–most people just play by oral tradition, which of course leads to arguments and a hodgepodge of house rules, which are fine depending on what the people you’re playing with are looking for in a gaming session. Just means Settlers has been around long enough to become the Monopoly of Euro games.

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…