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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June 16th, 2018: 60% of the Time

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin

It works every time. These games, that is. Always fun.

Innovation

Back to basic innovation. Optics gave us both four points but Metalworking failed and Kevin got the 1 achievement. I managed to snag the two using pottery a few times in a row, but Kevin got Democracy early one and had points for the 3, 4, 5 and 6. I managed to force him to cover his 6s with 4s so he hard a hard time getting to 7, and I finally made it to 7 first, scoring lots of points with Perspective. We also vied to be the first to meld an 8, which I also got, having 40 points. But it was only a matter of time before Kevin would claim Empire or Wonder, I was one castle short for Empire. I used Empiricism over and over hoping to get lucky, but Kevin just used flight to splay up and claim Wonder.

Castles of Burgundy

We played on the same board, but with two players things are more limited. An early tech giving silver for gaining workers let Kevin also buy a black market mine, having two mines by the end of Year One. He also got more useful goods through shipping, while I had the green castles and useless technology. A lot of workshops came out but I used the workers pretty quickly. We missed the rule about not having two of the same building in a city but it wouldn’t have mattered much. Having no way to get silver, I was unable to use the black market until Year 3. I picked up some pigs but each round the animals that came out were completely different–again with two players, fewer animals to choose from. In the end Kevin scored around 180 while I was down around 140.

I heard Castles is excellent two players–while it’s definitely faster, I think it will shine more when we have different maps. The setup made it obvious that having access to silver first meant earlier black market access, meaning more tiles overall.

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.

May 20th, 2018: To the Last Breath!

Crew Members: Miriam, Daria, Zevvy, Nissim, Kevin, Lily, Elisheva

After a late lunch folks played games.

Ca$h ‘n Gun$

Daria, Nissim and Miriam decided to try something new, and had a blast. Daria got the godfather token and wouldn’t let it go, claiming loot every round. Even so, I had a decent amount of loot, but she still won 269 to 215 to 150 to 55. Nissim unfortunately got shot a lot, and though he healed up and survived, didn’t have much loot. Even still, he said this was the most fun game he’s played in Givat Shmuel. Impressive. Miriam had most diamonds, and also had to heal from two wounds, but made it to the end. We did not play another round with powers though.

Innovation

Kevin and I played Innovation while the rest had what sounded like a lot of fun at Codenames. First game we added Cities of Destiny, and Kevin got a bit of a runaway game, as well as the Legend Achievement. I forgot about Endorsing until pretty late in the game, and it did allow me to get Wonder via splay and some other interesting effects, but I couldn’t catch up with Kevin’s lead.

Next we played with Echoes, and again Kevin got the lead though I claimed the 1 jsut before he stole all my points. Homing Pigeons kept me pretty low in points, but I got Destiny by Foreshadowing a lot with Liquid Fire, though Kevin got Supremacy with Novel. Fortunately, I stole Printing Press, drawing a purple 7 and jumping to Genetics level 9. This got me Bio-Engineering which I used the next turn to score Kevin’s leaves, reducing him to 2 leaves against my 3, claiming victory while he just needed the 6 achievement.

Sentinels of the Multiverse

Miriam joined as Naturalist with me as Fixer and Kevin as Parse against Citizen Dawn. She got out Blinding Blast and Tears early, neutering our hands. Combined with her many Ongoings, it seemed hopeless. Fixer has no Ongoing control, Naturalist didn’t have Crafty Assault, and Parse only had Data Mining. By the time Parse got Segmentation Fault, we were all nearly dead. The Atlantean Throne room kept us alive a bit, but Parse got hit just as we were getting going. Fixed point led to Fixer and Naturalist having two styles / forms out for a bit, until Devastating Aurora ruined our setup. Not long later I was hit, despire Naturalists tanking. Still, Naturalist managed to survive until another Fixed point, and combined Crocodile / Gazelle began striking Dawn as fast as she could. Dawn was at 27 when the Aurora’s showed up again at the end of her deck, once again resetting our build up. Before Naturalist could get out enough defenses to survive until the next Fixed Point, she just barely was killed, leaving the Victory to the Citizens of the Sun.

A lot of people (myself included) got to enjoy new games this weekend. So often do people refuse to learn new games, but so rarely have I seen someone regret learning once they’ve committed to do so.

May 15th, 2018: Cardboard Rectangles

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Yehuda

So there was board games with no boards and pizza with no beer. In Israel we eat pizza off of cardboard rectangles. We also play games with cardboard rectangles.

Sentinels of the Multiverse

We were K.N.Y.F.E., Setback and Argent Adept against Wager Master in Megalopolis. Wager Master opened with several conditions that weren’t Wagelings, but flipped after a few rounds while we got set up. I set up the Lyra with Inventive Preparation and Alacratous Subdominant, allowing everyone to play more cards. Knyfe used her Battlefield Experience to get us an early lead, while Setback Cashed Out a few times keeping us healthy, before Looking Up and punching the Villain down as well. The problem was, Who Are You Fighting? was face up with no direct way of flipping, so we couldn’t reduce Wager Master to zero. The Plummeting Monorails hit him a few times, but the blows to us became significant enough to destroy the rails entirely. Close Quarters and Rooftop Combat upped the damage we were taking, and Wager Master flipped back just as we were on our last legs. An Impossible Quandary left us all at less than 5 HP, but gave us the opening we needed to finish off Wager Master with the insidious Condition face down, one round before he would have finished us off.

Innovation

My deluxe copy finally arrived, so we tried out Artifacts of History. While others got artifacts before me, I had an early lead thanks to Oars and got the 1-4 and World before anyone else had much. The level 3 Relic changed hands a few times, but I got an Artifact which gave free achievements if you reveal a red 6, which made me win the game before we even really hit level 7.

Second game Kevin and I played without Relics, but still to 7. Again I got a runaway start, partly thanks to Sibidu Needle. I also got the artifact from last game claiming the 6 right before Kevin started his comeback. Splaying got me the Wonder, but Kevin denied me the 7, 8 and 9. His point lead threatened to end the game and we almost drew an 11 a few times thanks to certain effects. In the end a random meld from Robotics gave me the Empire achievement, not long before an 11 might have been drawn after Kevin attacked my score pile with Rocketry.

Setup and take down was definitely increased, but I don’t even think my pre-set rack design for storing the cards will really help that much. We spread the cards out in a long array since table space wasn’t an issue.

May 5th, 2018: Time Well Spent

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Avi, Yehuda

Innovation

Friday night ended late but Kevin and I played one round before heading home. Kevin got more points than me quite fast, but I jumped ahead in tech. I managed to edge him out of the 2 and 6, but was then no longer able to prevent him getting a 7. He had 5 achievements, and then got Empire after a random meld.

We started another game before lunch but didn’t get to finish.

Space Race: The Card Game

Finally got to try this out. Seemed like there were never enough available cards in the Universe. I got some breakthroughs thanks to Neil Armstrong, while Simcha dominated Technology and got a breakthrough near the end. Despite tons of face-down cards, Kevin had Carl Sagan letting him choose what enters face-up, but was unable to get cards worth enough points. Would take a few plays to figure out how to better combo in this game, but I don’t know if it’s worth the time.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

Our first four player game, Arabs, Japan, India, Romans. Kevin and Avi were neck-in-neck on the Culture Track for a while, until Kevin started investing and racing ahead. I invested in Military forcing Kevin to try and defend. I did attack his capital after being put in Anarchy twice, and lost with a tied Combat Score. Yehuda snuck from behind researching tech and using Education to fill his pyramid. Only due to Mass Media and a spy he traded me earlier could I stop him. Kevin tried to attack a guy I left on his outskirts by building there, but lost also in a tie. My culture card prevented his moving his larger force. Avi attacked Yehuda but also lost, so we both had enough to research Space Flight at the end of the 9th turn.

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Despite what I’ve read about tech victory, this game showed that it can be rushed, especially with Education or Japan. The knowledge sharing cards are necessary to speed things up, and without Charles Darwin I wouldn’t have had enough Trade to research as quickly. Arabs were very close to culture victory, and India just couldn’t move as quickly, considering Arabs advance for free by investing–Counterfeiters slowed them down.

Had to take an 1.5 hour break after Shabbat, but still we started setup and teaching Yehuda around 4 and finished at 1130. Time well spent.

April 30th, 2018: Head to Fish Head

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy

There’s something relaxing about some one-on-one gaming, and that’s just what the doctor ordered.

Innovation

Although Kevin at all stages had more cards than me, I used Pottery to claim three early achievements while he had just one. The only resource I had more of was leaves, which protected my score pile. Kevin used Experimentation several times, searching for a useful level 5 card. By the time he got anything to score with I had four achievements, then used Industrialization to get Monument and control Factories. With no way to stop me, I grabbed the 6 achievement on my next turn.

Terra Mystica

My first time teaching this, but after a few actions Kevin was already planning every move (even before starting too actually). I was Alchemists though I never used my points-to-coins power. Kevin was Swarmlings, and his ability to upgrade to Trading Posts for free was huge boon in this 2 player game, allowing him to get power and posts without being near me. I got some power from him in the beginning by being near his Stronghold, as well as my own Stronghold one time boost, but later in the game Kevin dominated power while I had more coins than I needed usually. In the end we both got two towns, though I got my second one in the last round for 5 extra points. Kevin was ahead on the cult tracks except fire, but I connected all my buildings with shipping. The last round I claimed the 7 Coin power action before Kevin, which may have prevented him from building a third town. In the end I won, 148 to 121.

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Terra Mystica even with two players was a blast. Because each move was back and forth, I was heavily invested in each decision my opponent made, and since it was just two of us, I didn’t mind if turns took a while, since moves could be planned with precision. Certainly a different experience than with four players, but still very enjoyable. For Innovation, I think next time we have four I will suggest the team game.