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!

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July 5th, 2017: Why is that sheep drowning?

Crew Members: Gila, Zevvy, Sarah

After finally finishing my course, it was nice to be able to kick back and play some games.

Quiddler

Gila – 286, Zevvy – 272, Sarah – 242

This game is like Scrabble and Rummy. Players draw and discard letters, trying to use up all their cards to spell words. Longest word and most words get 10 point bonuses, and each round players have an extra card, so there are more words to consider. Most rounds, someone played all their cards the first turn, forcing everyone to make do with what they had. We used online dictionaries and helped each other out too, having fun and learning a few new words in the process. (Jur is British for push, and not just an alien from Omicron Persei 8).

Settlers of Catan

Gila – 10, Zevvy – 7, Sarah – 6

This was Sarah’s first time, and she picked it up quickly. Though more complex than it seems at first, many players are willing to learn and enjoy this game. Ore was scarce and Gila decided to monopolize on it, while I relied on my brick port, and Sarah expanded settlements. Later, Sarah got the Sheep port but by then Gila had raked in so much ore and was the only one to build a city that she overtook us quite quickly. I did manage to get 2 victory cards, and it was stealing Gila’s longest road that could have prolonged the game. But she was getting enough resources as it was that it wasn’t long before she was crowned Lord of Catan.

Hoping to make board gaming a regular thing again. Might actually be visiting Haifa next week, and though I live in Givat Shmuel now this group will always maintain a connection with its origins.

April 11th, 2016: Settling In

Crew Members: Zevvy, David, Dima

Everyone’s been pretty busy, I wasn’t even sure if we would meet tonight, but David came after work and Dima came for what might be his last time before he moves, so it was good to see him again before he left.

Dominion

Zevvy – 41, David 33

Trade Route, Quarry, Throne Room, Bishop, Laboratory, Harvest, Mint, Adventurer, Expand

David and I played a quick game of Dominion with a trashing heavy set. It wasn’t long before we each had 4 Provinces, but I was able to Bishop a few Expands for extra points along the way.

Settlers of Catan

Zevvy – 13, Dima – 9, David – 7

We quickly taught Dima the additions for Cities and Knights, and managed to finish the game in just under 2 hours. Many more nines than statistically probable were rolled, giving myself and Dima an early advantage over David. An early Robber placement also hit me and David pretty hard. I got two early Defender of Catan cards before Dima upgraded both his knights with a Smithy. David and Dima both had 3:1 ports which I needed, until I finally got the Brick port after settling two heavy brick spots. Dima had the Acqueduct which helped him get Brick and Ore which he didn’t make from cities.

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Towards the end we started rolling more 7s and other numbers which hadn’t come up, but the whole game not a single 4 was rolled (4 never comes up!). I managed to win after several 5’s were rolled, filling my hand with Bricks, then playing Irrigation for 4 Wheat and building a Metropolis, settlement, and taking the Merchant just before the Barbarians would have attacked.

Time flies, and these meetings help mark the weeks as everyone finds their place. Meetings  might be more sparse in the coming weeks, but we will do our best.

January 14th, 2016: A ‘Little’ Get Together

Crew Members: Zevvy, Martin, Roman, David

Martin and I both had the evening free and were going to play some 2-Player games. Fortunately Roman and David were able to join as well, so instead we decided to address the serious issue that there are people these days who still haven’t played Settlers of Catan. The missionaries still have work to do.

Settlers of Catan

David had played the base game before, but we added Cities and Knights, as well as the Gold from Seafarers. The board was set up to provide an easier introduction to the game, but this sort of backfired. At first we kept rolling 5, which left Roman with no income. Later, production was booming but with four players, people kept rolling 7 and many resources were discarded to the Robber. Not a single 10 was rolled the entire game, limiting Martin’s city development. David picked up Longest Road, but after 2.5 hours of playing, scores had not increased much (7-5-4-4), and we had to stop. We did at least get to demonstrate an opportunity to displace an opponent knight, though not many Blue cards were drawn.

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It was a harsh game, as seen from the faces in the photo above. But we drowned our frustrations in Strawberry Banana juice, and yet another player has been indoctrinated in the way of the Settlers.  Despite this meme, today Settlers brought friends together.

 

November 16th, 2015: Settling for Three

Crew Members: Abi, Zevvy, Elijah

We met this week at Abi’s apartment. Another new member, Elijah, was able to make it, and he brought snacks!

Monopoly Deal

Abi: 1-1, Zevvy: 1-1

I arrived before Elijah so Abi and I played a couple hands of Monopoly Deal. Apparently there are different ways of playing–either 3 moves total per turn, or 3 actions per turn, with unlimited other moves. We played the ‘faster’ way. The first round I took Abi’s first property, but then she got 3 quick monopolies out in a row. The second game, I got two quick monopolies. Abi apparently had many Sly and Forced Deals, but could not break my monopolies. And when she was fortunate to get her own, I played Deal Breaker and she had no counter.

Settlers of Catan

Game 1: Zevvy 10, Elijah 8, Abi 7

Game 2: Elijah 10, Abi 8, Zevvy 8

Abi had played this before and enjoyed, and we taught Elijah, he picked it up quickly. First game Abi had strong Sheep production and the port, but took a while to get going. Elijah had early control over most of the wood, and was getting lots of Ore late game. I had early control of bricks which allowed me to get my first few settlements sooner than the others. In the end, it came down to a fight over Longest Road. Elijah was able to take it from me, but at this point I was drawing too many resources to really be stopped.

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Our second game we added Seafarers, creating a board with a large island, a medium island, and a small island with a Gold 4. We decided to keep it simple and still play to 10, with no bonus points. The setup was more difficult, and wood was scarce. Though Abi had a great wood spot, her settlements were close together and easily susceptible to the Robber, which unfortunately hampered much of her progress. Elijah had good variety of numbers to start, and bought a lot of development cards. I had very few numbres to start, but after building a couple settlements had better production. I also picked up longest road fairly quickly. In the end, I was unable to build cities and scrambled for development cards. Elijah already had Largest Army (4) and was a veritable city factory, building city after city until he won with 4 Cities and Largest Army. Abi and I each had a Victory point card, tying at 8.

As the background image for this blog is based on Settlers of Catan, it’s about time we played. This was the first time my set had been used in several years, and we had to mark a Soldier as Road Building, but it was still playable despite wear and tear.