June 13th, 2018: Two Players

Crew Members: Zevvy, Yehuda

Just the two of us today but after a long day at work that’s just fine.

Patchwork

Wanted to start with something light, and introduce this Uwe puzzle game as a prequel to Feast for Odin…I won both games, but Yehuda did better the second game. While there were some opportunities to pass strategically to gain or deny a specific piece, usually it wasn’t worth it if you could just buy something, even sub-par.

7 Wonders Duel

In this game it’s clear that more passing means more turns wasted. First game we randomly divided Wonders and Yehuda got four with the extra turn ability. He also got a lot of resource cards while the reserves showed up late, and I couldn’t buy much. By the end he was leading in Science and MIlitary as well, though it ended in a Civil victory 64 to 51. The next game I rushed production of the Lighthouse for 6 coins, but it didn’t really help at all…while I did build all four wonders, I took the Urbanism token but never had the chance to use it’s secondary ability (coins for free upgrades). Once again I was way short on coins, but could usually afford things except paper…in the end it was closer than I though until Yehuda got the Wonder and Science Guilds, reaching a score of 70 to my 59.

Pixel Tactics

We continued from our last match, removing the leaders we used (me–Scientist and Vampire, Yehuda–Priestess and free recruiter). I chose the Mascot leader and Yehuda had the Paladin (free move / clear). My initial through his defences was met with simple restructuring, though I was able to cover my leader well with the Mystic’s self healing. Yehuda had his Berserker up front dealing heavy damage but with no Intercept my Gunner got a free hit on his leader. We both hit each other with Trapper and were running low on cards. Eventually I ran out of Intercept cards as well and couldn’t protect my hero so well. Leaving him open though made Yehuda a bit over confident, and while he got me down to 1 HP I had a chance to strike back. In the end he dealt fatal damage but I struck back with a Dragon Mage boosted Gunner from the rear, dealing 10 damage reducing him to 2 HP. If I had my Assassin (the next card!) or even one more action to recruit to the rear and make a free melee attack, it would have been a simultaneous rout (but I think I would have had one more hero at that point).

I really like 2-player games–less down time, easier to plan, no gang-ups…that’s something I’d be happy to do more often.

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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…

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!

September 15th, 2016: Rough Draft

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

Patchwork

I arrived first and played a round of Patchwork with David W. I took a lot of risks leaving some holes which I did manage to fill, but David got the 7×7 bonus first. Though I only had three empty spaces at the end, David managed to fill in all but six with his last move, and won by two points.

Farkle

After David T. showed up we played a round of Farkle, with David W.’s usual luck giving him a big lead. With the house rule of continuing the previous player’s turn, David T. was able to ride the wave a bit while I was not, and neither of us could not overtake David W. before he topped 10,000.

Impulse

Our second time trying this game, this time with four players. We were still constantly checking the rule book. Though I lost my transports early, I had a good plan and mining operation going. David M. got some points trading, and David T. built up his fleet. After an hour only a few turns had gone by, and when David T. lost most of his cruisers in a tie battle we decided to move on to something else. Unlike other Carl Chudyk games we’ve played, players can actually be eliminated here, and the number of actions each player takes keeps increasing, making it feel much slower than Innovation or Mottaini.

7 Wonders

David W. was Babylon and got a lot of Science points, but he and David M. had to contend with me as Rhodos, defeating them in military each round. David T. as Alexandria managed to overtake his neighbors in military in the final round but my combined points from Military and my Guilds as well as the cash I got from my neighbors put me in the lead even over David W.’s scientific progress.

Las Vegas

There were some lone high bills in the early round, and competition between David W. and David M. left only one on top. David T. and I were tied in the middle rounds, and while David M. did his best to get revenge, David W.’s luck with the dice won him the cash he needed to stay on top, though David T. and I were not far behind.

June 21st, 2016: From Riches to Rags

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

It was so hot, but David W. brought over some new games to distract our minds.

Isle of Skye

David W. – 85, Zevvy – 84, David M. -71, Nima – 59

Scoring takes place in four categories over six rounds. Players buy and sell tiles each round to add to their clan, trying to maximize the points they will score. In the first round both Davids forgot to save money for buying land and were forced to buy their own tiles while Nima and I did business with each other. The second scoring category was “squareness”, which I had trouble with until closer to the end of the game. I think everyone managed to get at least one boat and lighthouse combination for the third scoring, worth 3 points each. But the 4th scoring was 5 points for every farm, lighthouse and tower, which David W. had been preparing for. Luckily I managed to complete a second set just in time, and ended up getting a lot of points for those rounds. David W. had a lot of oxen that weren’t being scored, but in the last round got a tile scoring points for his oxen. After counting points for leftover coins, he overtook me by one point.

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Las Vegas

David M. – Victory with $410,000

Throw your dice and try to win big, choosing a number to invest in! If you have the most of a specific number  after five rolls, you get first dibs at the cash on the associated casino. But in case of a tie, no one wins. After the first round Nima and I both had a solid lead, and I didn’t do bad in the second round either, picking up $70,000. David W. didn’t do so well so he had more fun trying to force ties so people would lose money. The addition of ‘neutral’ dice made every roll interesting and put more pressure on close matches. Despite heavy opposition (especially from Nima), David M. ended up winning a lot of money the last two rounds, bringing in victory.

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Patchwork

Zevvy – 7, David M. – 4

David M. stuck around to play a 2-player game that David W. brought. It was an interesting game where we take turns adding pieces to a quilt, trying to leave as few holes as possible…it’s a lot more fun than it sounds though. The game starts off kind of slow, but by the end we usually had more than enough buttons to buy more expensive pieces. I managed to pick up the 2×1 piece that I needed, and though David got more of the bonus patches his quilt was left with more holes at the top than mine. He did have higher button production, but bought a lot of expensive pieces near the end, so I won by three buttons.

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I think next time we need an ice-cube or swimming pool themed game.