August 25th, 2018: The Best Laid Plans

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Eitan, Yehuda, Daniel

Great Western Trail

This time we were only three players, after dinner. The first employee row was one of each, I took the Engineer, Kevin the Cowboy, and Eitan the Builder. The neutral building setup was randomized and we used the ‘a’ side private buildings. Using certificates I made sure not to deliver below 8, except one Kansas city delivery. Eitan delivered to KC right away, while Kevin never did. Moving my train saved me delivery costs and I also claimed four of the Station Masters, while getting a few cows including a purple. Kevin and Eitan clogged the map with buildings, but I soon upgraded my movement. I never delivered to San Francisco, but still ended with 114 points. Kevin had 74 and Eitan had 65, constructing some expensive buildings. So far the building strategy hasn’t been the most successful, but the ‘b’ sides might affect that. Eitan did perform an extraordinary delivery to San Francisco though.

Istanbul

After lunch we started light, Kevin, Yehuda and myself with Istanbul. Kevin went for the red mosque tile, Yehuda also did some gambling. I took my time around the post office, eventually getting the yellow and blue mosque tiles. Kevin spent his resources early getting two Rubies but I soon caught up. I got the other mosque tiles for 3 resources each, and a gemstone dealer, but was one resource short from getting my 5th Ruby in the round Kevin got his. Yehuda managed to get his third in the final round.

Innovation

First time playing a team game. I finagled Construction over to Daniel to claim Empire, but Kevin wrecked the score piles with anatomy and it was a long time before someone claimed the 3. When Daniel and I had four and Kevin and Yehuda had three achievements, We were digging into the 8’s and 9’s. I claimed Empire, but it wasn’t long before Kevin set off Fission after a failed attempt. In the aftermath, Kevin got a few points, and as the decks were running out Daniel had no choice but to activate Computers. This made Kevin play Robotics, getting even more points and activating A.I., which I had though would make us win with the least points, but first it draws a 10, which ended the game before the A.I. takeover. I was wrong anyway I realize because we had Computers out, not Software, but it was an exciting potential ending nonetheless. Oddly, Kevin’s society had access to the Satellites which thematically survived the devastation on Earth.

Keyflower

We finally played this, four players. Though I didn’t have the Green Worker Winter tile I focused on Greens and workers, but passed too soon and didn’t get any Spring tiles. Kevin got a Workshop and Eitan some other wood producer, but those were the only sources of wood the whole game. Kevin also got the Quarry while Yehuda bid high for dibs on the boats. Summer I took four tiles, but Eitan got both the boats (double transport and bid any color), which at the end of the game gave him a lot of points (he got all the winter boats as well). In fall I got the Inn for more workers, and while I had the Craftsman Guild for each set, I used all my blues in Winter and got 15 points for my Yellows instead from a different tile. Eitan had the Jeweler as well, and ended with 80 something points, I had 59 thanks to Blacksmith and Cathedral, which I outbid Yehuda using Greens. Kevin mostly did Mercer’s Guild and got 54 points, and Yehuda had skill tiles but didn’t realize he needed different tiles.

Hanabi

Yehuda and I played a quick round, but blew up after getting two level 3, one level 5, one level 4, and red was stuck at 2 as I discarded both red 3’s. Yehuda had some playable fours but we didn’t have more fives and were running on one hint token at at time.

I have nothing to say in the postscript except that self-reference often contradicts itself.

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July 14th, 2018: I Hate the Market!

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin, Shlomo, Josh, Yehuda, Simcha, Layla

Got to make use of some great games this weekend. Mission accomplished.

Istanbul

After dinner, Kevin and I thought to play a quick game of Istanbul but it caught the eye of others and we easily got 5 players. After a brief overview we dived right in. I went for the Yellow mosque tile, Kevin for the red. Shlomo went last but was able to get a wagon upgrade early. He also got the first gem by from the dealer. Josh deftly navigated the market and did quite well upgrading his wagon and makign some efficient deliveries. He hit 2, then 3, but Kevin hit 4 just as I got my second. Thinking I had no hope of catching up, we at least slowed Kevin down by occupying the Gem dealer. He set out instead to finish his wagon but I used a bonus to sell at the small market and get my fourth at the dealer–the green token was stolen by Josh. I was one coin short from finishing my wagon but Shlomo had sent his family to the dealer, giving me just enough to finish my wagon. Kevin finished as well, but his payment to me made me win the tiebreaker with cash, though he had 3 goods and a bonus card.

Impulse

I brought this thinking the space theme would interest more people, while hoping it wouldn’t get past four. With three people, Yehuda and Layla picked up the game pretty fast once I cut down my explaining. Layala got an early lead refining and mining a lot, with Green planets adding benefits. We had a lot of Execute actions in the impulse, not a lot of movement. I caught up by Trading a bit, but Layal sabotaged my fleet. Yehuda made first strike against me, but I got swift revenge. Though I traded some more and go to 16, in the end it was Layla’s refining the pushed her well over 20 points, claiming the win without a fight.

A Feast for Odin

Yehuda – 106, Zevvy – 100, Layla – 84, Simcha – 72

We were able to start this without too much explanation, and after me giving suggestions how to get started, pretty soon everyone had things they were trying, and deciphered the action spaces themselves. At first people stripped the mountains, then Yehuda used his ore to plunder early and often. Layla began whaling while Simcha had a hunting bonus and got some ships. I drew Animal Breeder and so got a bunch of animals around round 3, but it was only later that I converted them and got a bunch of blue good froms overseas trading. Simcha took Iceland and Greenland–great boards which gave him some oil and income but he was unable to cover them that much. Towards the end he upgraded a bunch of cows, but though he had almost ignored the home board until then, was able to cover a decent amount. He emigrated four Knarrs though, but had too much negative on the exploration. Layla finished her home board but didn’t have anywhere else, so her last few moves couldn’t make that many points. Yehuda also filled his home, and had his own emigration of three longboats. I had a bit of everything, covered my home board but had some negative on Bear Island and my Longhouse. It was a closer ending than it had seemed, and each little move mattered in the end.

I wouldn’t play Impulse with more because people would get bored between turns, yet I still want to play TI3 one day…slowly building people up, Games are like stepping stones, that’s why I have so many…at least that’s what I tell myself so I don’t notice the hole in my wallet…

July 10th, 2018: Istanbul, of Course!

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy

A shorter, smaller meeting, but necessary after a long day.

Istanbul

Finally getting to try this out. We played the short paths setup to learn the game. While I seemed to have an early lead with the Great Mosque tiles, after four rubies I slowed down, while Kevin had a good route with his full wheel barrow and the markets. In the end I grabbed the sixth ruby while he was still two turns from getting his sixth at the small mosque. He did go to the fountain twice, so otherwise it was super close.

Our second game was randomized, but the post office and black market touched near the Small Mosque, so I got the Red tile right away and began “gambling”. I only went to the fountain once and had 4 gems before Kevin had one. He did get three pretty quickly but I did a double Gemstone Dealer action and then got the sixth without too much effort.

Might be interesting to try the Neutral Assistant variant next time if we don’t have more players. Want to explore the base game more before adding coffee or letters.