January 11th, 2018: A Mystical Evening

Crew Members: Vered, Snir, Zevvy, Ariel

When Ariel posted that he was looking to play Terra Mystica, it didn’t take long to gather a crew together. I heard about this game first from my brother actually, and have been wanting to play it since. And with Vered feeding us throughout, I can’t think of a better place to have shared this experience.

Terra Mystica

Ariel: Chaos Magicians – 115, Zevvy: Halflings – 108, Vered: Witches – 105, Snir: Swarmlings – 99

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In the beginning, the land was empty. But that would soon change. Ariel, Snir and Vered kind of bunched up in the middle, while I sandwiched them on the surrounding islands. My isolation put me off to a slower start in terms of economy, but I also wasn’t paying for power so I was ahead in points early on. It was only later that I realized how much power can help, but it never became the focus of my engine. Snir spread out early with his many workers, and Vered built a town straight away to benefit from her point bonus. Ariel started with less map presence, but his Temples zoomed him up the cult tracks and provided other great bonuses. I did manage to secure the Wind Cult which benefited from round-end bonuses early, while Snir was ahead in Water and Ariel in Fire. As we hit the mid-game mark though, money became rather tight in general, but there were alternate means to get anything, if you’re willing to pay…

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As the game neared the end, the options for advancing on the cult track were pretty much used up, so it was about maximizing bonuses whenever possible. Vered built her second town while I tried to Terraform and Ariel and I built as many Dwellings as possible. Ariel and Snir got a lot of points in round five for building Trading Posts too though. The final scoring gave Vered a boost due to being the most spread out, but in the end Ariel pulled ahead with a decent lead, and the land was ruled by the Chaos Magicians.

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Innovation

So I brought some small games, but small doesn’t mean not complex. Innovation is best learned with two players I think, but we were four and dove right in. Vered actually managed to get the first achievement, but not many scoring cards were played which made the game seem kind of slow. I used Gunpowder a bit, but by the time I got the second achievement people were quite literally ‘at sixes and sevens’. Vered’s Pirate Code began to slow me down, but some Chemistry and Electricity let me run away with the game for the 3 and 4 achievements. Ariel had decent splay and Empiricism, but it would’ve taken some time to activate it. I do think the game is best with 2 or 3, like Mottainai.

Usually when I post these I change the time so it matches the date in the title. But a successful game night always bleeds into the next day–Snir even stayed for some one on one Agricola virtual food growing. Or maybe for some real food.

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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!

October 31st, 2016: What’s a point?

Crew Members: David M., Zevvy

David and I played a drawn out game of innovation the other day when I went to pick up the hot plate. Every time this game is different…

Innovation

I had to write this up briefly because it was probably the lowest scoring game of innovation I have seen. Using Tools and the Wheel I got to level 3 tech quickly, which David stole, and together we pretty much skipped level 2 tech completely. I got the first 2 achievements, but that was it for a while, and eventually we began splaying our cards and just building up huge amounts of resources but no points. When one of us did get a few points, the other would remove them somehow or another. I figured the endgame would be David winning with Empiricism, which did happen, though he also got the World achievement using coins. I think he also got the 3 achievement, but no one ever topped 20 points, and none of the other special achievements were claimed either.

September 8th, 2016: Surprise Endings

Crew Members: David M., Liz, Ruby, Zevvy, Nima, David T., David W.

Innovation

David helped himself to all our Leaf cards, stalling the early game. The Score Achievements were mostly divided between two players, but the other two picked up some of the Special Achievements, advancing the game to later ages. Soon points were being removed from score piles, and I was attempting a Lightbulb Victory when Quantum Theory activated Bio-Engineering, which ended the game since I had less than three leaves, making David W. the winner with the highest current score.

Isle of Skye

Liz, David W. and David T. played Isle of Skye. David W. says it’s better with four people, and apparently won handily.

7 Wonders

I don’t remember the results of the game, just that Nima had a ton of money in the end.

Werewolf

First round I was the werewolf, but sitting on the couch with two villagers my movements gave me away to David W. The next round, as the Witch I poisoned David W. for revenge, and we still caught the werewolf. The last round, David W. was silenced and villagers were dropping. My role as Lycan confused Liz when I was killed and the true werewolf still at large. In a final decisive vote, Ruby tried to explain how as the Leprechaun he deduced that David W. must be the werewolf, but it was too late, and the true werewolf David W. voted with Liz to lynch him.

August 16th, 2016: Around the World in 3 Games

Crew Members: David M., Liz, Zevvy, David W.

It had been a while since we saw David W. and it was nice to be at David and Liz’s place so Liz could join us as well.

DuCo

Liz- 81, David M. – 78, Zevvy – 72

Martin left this game here, we played the basic version–you have one card and have to match as many shapes and colors on the edges as you can. Sounds simple, but it’s like Set on steroids. Liz managed to take an early lead and though David was close behind, Liz kept her lead until the end. I wasn’t far behind either, but every point counts in this game.

Sushi Go

Liz – 41, David – 40, Zevvy – 37

Our first game, I got a lot of Dumplings early one but David and Liz got all the puddings. Liz was uncontested for Maki a couple times, and got come good Wasabi and Sashimi combos. David managed to tie her for puddings, and after point adjustment I was knocked down, and Liz came out on top.

Zevvy – 53, Liz – 42, David – 38

The second game, Liz and I took pudding in the first round and there was no more after that, leaving David with none. Though he had the most points the first round, I got over 20 points in the last round and while Liz had the most pudding, I had too much of a lead on her, since in one round all her points were from Maki.

Isle of Skye

Zevvy – 1st, Liz – 2nd, David W. – 3rd, David M. 4th

The scoring rules were Most Money, 1 point per sheep, 3 points per enclosed area of at least 3 tiles, and most Whisky. Since eveyone else was competing for Whisky since it combos well with most money, I focused on enclosed areas, which could in theory be worth more than sometimes winning the most money or Whisky. While David W. was ahead towards the end, he was denied a lot of tiles and the final scoring plus parchment bonuses pushed me into the lead with Liz in a close second. David M. had a lot of money and usually good things to sell, but was usually behind in Whisky and tiles to use to enclose areas as well.

Innovation

David M. and I played a 2 player game of Innovation before the meeting, where my Alchemy gave David a huge lead and backfired on me, though he was ahead anyway and won 5 achievements to 1. Our next game with David W. was more drawn out and we even made it to Age 10.

There was little scoring in the early game, while David W. got a huge lead in technology. Road Building was passed back and forth but once I got some level 4 scoring cards I picked up the first few achievements. David M. scored some high level cards and picked up some more achievements, while David W. got the World Achievement and continued to tech up. When I was one achievement away form winning, we all started nerfing each other’s score piles, and I decided to try for the Empire achievement of having 3 of each resource. I began Splaying Up, but David’s Quantum Theory was giving him level 10 tech already. Finally, he played Software, forcing me to play A.I. and Robotics, and activate A.I. which ends the game and makes the player with the least points win.Fortunately, these cards also filled out the resources I need, and technically I got the achievement immediately, securing victory before the hostile robot takeover.

It was nice to play a variety of games that tell stories in their own way. It was a very nice evening for everyone.

 

 

July 28th, 2016: Innovation

Crew Members: David M., Zevvy

I went over to David’s in the afternoon for a couple games of innovation.

Innovation

In the first game, I started with both Clothing and Metalworking, giving me an early score lead. I soon switched to Sailing and though David was ahead in Tech thanks to Tools, once I got Gunpowder he was unable to keep up in resources or catch up in points before I got the first six achievements.

In the second game David got Metalworking, but it helped me almost as much as it helped him. He did get the first achievement before I did, but I grabbed the second one. However, David had all the colors and I did not, so he claimed an early Empire and managed to get the third achievement before me. Though I Teched ahead using Alchemy and Education, once David emptied my hand with Construction, I was pretty helpless for the rest of the game. I got out great tech and tons of resources, but had no cards to Score and no way to slow David down once he got Democracy which gave him at least 8 points a turn.He bought the rest of the achievements he needed and ended the game.

Although the winning player in every game I have played so far had Metalworking, I don’t think it is a deciding factor, and may be different in games with more than two players.

July 19th, 2016: Dead of Summer

Crew Members: David M., Liz, Zevvy, Ruby, Tom, David T., Roman

It was Liz’s birthday, we had cookies, and a full house for gaming–what could be better than that?

Splendor

Liz – 18, Zevvy – 15, Tom – 14, David T. – 10

I had played the app before, but the real game has very nice pieces (real people are nice too). We all stocked up on gems at first, and many of the Level One cards (mines?) were relatively expensive. I stashed away an Onyx mine which I never played, though it turns out it would’ve won me the game. David got three Diamond Mines pretty quick and had some good cards stocked away, but as the game went on didn’t have enough variety to pick up free Level Ones as quickly. Tom and I raced for one of the Nobles which he got before me, while Liz focused on Rubies and Onyx. I got a lot of 2 point cards early, but was too spread out when most of the Nobles required sets of 4. I got to 15 first but Liz beat me to the Ruby / Onyx noble while playing a 5 point card, boosting her to 18 points and victory.

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Innovation

David M.,  Ruby

Ruby had played and David had just learned the rules, so they played 1v1 while we played Splendor. I think Ruby won.

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Zevvy, Ruby, Liz

Ruby taught us how to play, and Liz went first. I got a few early points with Metal Working and picked up the 1 Achievement. There was some back and forth with Road Building and Paper, but Philosophy got me the points needed for second Achievement, and my Calendar kept me in good supply of Lvl 3 cards. Perspective got me the most points though, and it wasn’t long before I got the 3 and 4 and 5 as well, ending the game.

Zevvy, Ruby

This round was quite different. Ruby got Metal Working, though we both kept matching each other Castle for Castle. While Ruby got an early lead in points, I was able to splay all my cards and picked up two of the Special Achievements while having loads of resources. I just wasn’t getting points fast enough and Ruby kept grabbing the regular Achievements before I could. Using Alchemy, Ruby kind of slowed down my engine but also had to discard himself. As the better technologies appeared, I still did not have many ways of getting points, and Ruby just needed the 6 to win. I was able to slow him down a bit, but was 1 point short from grabbing it before him and he ended the game.

Dead of Winter

Tom, Roman, David T., David M.

They played the Cure scenario, and tensions were high trying to discover the traitor, since everything seemed to be going fairly well. A lot of questions came up, and morale was down, but it didn’t take more than a few rounds to get the medicine needed to find a cure. As it turns out, there was no traitor after all…

It’s been a while since we had enough people to split into different groups for games. We’ll see what the rest of summer brings 🙂