December 30th, 2017: WWII Ends Early

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin, Asher, Nemoy, Joseph, Shachar

Kevin is a big fan of the Civ video games, but I don’t have the patience for it. I do have the patience for several hours of the board game, and that’s exactly what we did today…we were joined by Asher who heard we were playing a 4X game and swallowed the red pill.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

Our first game I was England, and Kevin was America. But we were brought together by a common cause, since Asher was Germany, and building up military. Fortunately, Germany was slowed down by a lot of water, while England dominated the seas and America was off building things bigger than they need to be. Since last time I played I didn’t touch culture at all, I turned towards Pacifism and built Stonehenge as well–a wonder that’s actually in it’s real-world location.

It did take about an hour to set up and explain enough to a point where we could even start, and was a bit overwhelming at first. After a few turns though everyone got the hang of it, realizing that while you have many options each turn, you have just as many you can ignore. Unfortunately Asher had to leave when Shabbat ended, so we didn’t get very far in our first game.

Kevin stuck around for a one-on-one, this time Spain vs. The Arabs. I was a little scared by Spain’s rapid expansion and exploration in the beginning of the game, and I wasn’t making much use of my culture abilities at first. But once we got some technologies out I quickly sped along the culture track. Spain definitely expanded more, discovering the Golden City and building a 3rd city as well as finding a city state. But I had a good engine going producing enough culture to advance a few spaces each turn, the trade cost reduced by my coins and Ecology, culture reduced by my Endowment for the Arts.

When it became clear that I would win in a few turns, Spain turned its interests to Economics, finding coins wherever possible and building banks in all her cities. On a final decisive turn, I invested, drawing a Level 3 event. Spain went first though, and harvested resources to get a coin with Pottery–but was stopped by Primetime Tv! In a last desperate attempt Spain got some Level 2 event cards, but the last coin was just out of reach as the Arabs advanced the last two steps to a Cultural Victory.

While some of the starting bonuses are better (England is kind of lame…), each Civilization can definitely use it’s advantages and discoveries to find a unique path to victory. I bought Technologies in both these round that at first glance wouldn’t interest me but it all depends what you need. Definitely glad I got to play this again, and hoping to play more in the future. Just have to find patient people with several hours to spare…

P.S. Also played Gloom and 4-P Scrabble on Friday night. Despite the last player getting 33 point adjustment, the player who scored the 71-point bingo still won by 4 points. The Brit tried to spell British slang and I got away with spelling ‘goy’ but not ‘goyish(e)’.

Update: Turns out we missed the rule “city management resource” effects on tech can only be used once per turn. I definitely got culture faster than I should have, but at the end Kevin was also using his coin effects multiple times (at least on the last turn).

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April 9th, 2016: A Long, Civilized Afternoon

Crew Members: David, Liz, Zevvy, Martin

David and Liz have finally settled in their new apartment, so Martin and I came by for games in the afternoon…and the late afternoon…and the evening…

Scrabble

It had been a long time since Liz and I played Scrabble, and we were due for a rematch. The board remained pretty narrow for a while, and David had the most points for a word with 30, until I opened the board with the word Encore. Liz then presented David a chance to score a Triple Word, but he didn’t have anything good and left it open for me to score 66 points with the word Zero (the Z was doubled and tripled). We played until Martin showed up, but at that point I was pretty far ahead.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

David – Greeks, Liz – Arabs, Martin – Romans, Zevvy – Russians

David: Military Victory

Martin has been wanting to play this for a while, and a long Shabbat afternoon is probably our only chance to do so. The game is based off of elements from the Civilization video game series. Each nation has cities producing buildings, soldiers, and trade points as we explore the map for new locations to settle and huts and villages to conquer. Trade points are used to research tech which improves various aspects of the player’s civilization, such as production or movement speed, or various other benefits.

As the Arabs, Liz focused a lot on culture, but it took her a while to get a second city established. Martin’s special abilities also gave him a decent amount of culture. I focused mostly on military, and discovered several city-states which tied up my forces while David attacked me. Fortunately I was able to hold off David’s attacks, and mount an assault on Martin’s city. I didn’t have quite enough forces to take Martin’s capital, and decided to focus on stealing tech. But at this point David had built up his army and was still not deterred from attacking me, especially after my battles with Martin left me weakened. Towards the end, Liz was very close to a cultural victory, though David and Martin had interfered a little bit with her. But in one large attack David defeated my whole army, and had no problem taking my capital after that, securing a Military Victory. The Russian space program failed due to over extension of their Military…

After learning the rules, Civilization only took us about 7 hours. We didn’t use the Great Person’s deck or Investment deck, which add some more options for players. We were using the rest of the expansion pieces and rules, which make battles more tactical and balance aspects of the original release of the game.