October 30th, 2018: Tea Time

Crew Members: Zevvy, Carl

Star Realms

First round I got Junkyard very early, and then focused on Yellow. Carl had a lot of good Blue in his deck, but I had trashed all my scouts and vipers and by the time he started getting powerful cards I had dealt too much damage. Money was fairly scarce this game, and the discarding caused by my cards made it hard to catch up.

Second round, I got a lot of cheap Blob early on. Carl got some powerful cards like Mothership, but rarely got to play them as his deck was filled with all the factions. Outposts were rare this game and so a few rounds undefended against my Blob armies led to a quick defeat.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

This caught Carl’s attention from my shelf, as he is a long time Civ fan. Choosing randomly, I was England and Carl was India. We both started with Natural Religion. My army scouts allowed me to build Hanging Gardens fairly quickly with Animal Husbandry, and I built my second city at the start of turn 3, getting Military Tradition. While my military grew, so did my resource collection ability. Carl invested in Logistics early on to fend me off, but was brazen enough to attack me as well, even with my two Shipyard bonuses and larger standing forces. The result left us both weakened militarily, so I began investing in culture, considering my ability to build wonders was greatly aided by my many armies in Forests.

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Chivalry assisted in getting me culture, and I had a few coins from Pottery and Great Men. Carl obsoleted Stonehenge, but I replaced it with Louvre. Hanging Gardens was replaced by Angkor Wat. Thanks to Ecology Tech and investing in the Arts, I was able to advance fairly quickly up the culture track, while Carl tried to route his resources towards coin production. I was pretty far ahead at that point though, and it didn’t take long for me to reach a cultural victory.

Ultimately, the board game’s foray into breadth of systems rather than depth in a few left Carl disappointed by the game. Considering how many versions of both the board and video game there are, everyone can find something that suits their tastes.

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August 11th, 2018: Numba Fouw, Come Wif Rice!

Crew Members: Avi, Kevin, Devorah, Zevvy

We had a request for Civ. And we had a brave new player. Here’s what happened in our exciting 5 hour game.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

I opened Russia with Natural Religion, Avi was Spanish Pacifism, Kevin was Aztec’s (I think with Expansionism?) and Devorah was China with Pacifism. Avi explored early uncovering two Relic spaces, but while he got Atillia’s village he chose to snag two Huts from Kevin leaving me to take Atlantis. Kevin and Devorah started climbing the culture track, and Devorah turned some Libraries into Universities as her capital became wuite the culture center. I was building figures and units, and eventually was able to spy on a few Tech’s. Communism was a big help in the beginning, allowing me to establish a trade city that could still build. As the game went on, Kevin and Avi upgraded their armies a bit, while I waited, thinking to get Tech victory or military attack once I got flight. Unfortunately I had no silk to use Steam Power, but I had a few Spy resources which protected my coins from many culture attacks. Kevin had to leave a bit before the end, but set a plan in motion to get coins. It was Devorah’s Uranium in the end that surprised us, as she produced massive culture and the doubled her city actions to advance up the end of the culture track in one move (she had level two endowment for the arts and a two trade discount from Ecology). Finishing the round, I attacked and conquered Avi’s capital, but he gifted Kevin his 15th coin. By standard rules though Devorah had us beat–by advanced tie breaker I didn’t count, but Devorah still may have won (my military victory non-withstanding) as she was at the end of the culture, had 7 coins and had more tech then Kevin (thanks to Notre Dame).

Devorah said she would play again, now that she kind of knows what’s going on. It’s always worth the effort to teach a new convert. Avi is still trying to get a Victory–so that means we will likely keep playing.

July 7th, 2018: Thank You, Come Again!

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin, Avi, Nechama

Avi requested Civ, and so it was. I really though he would win with Military, but that’s notĀ  quite what happened in the end…

Innovation

Kevin and I played Innovation after dinner, using my new 3D printed card holder, which saved table space. I got 1 and 2 with Agriculture and Metal Working. Kevin used Pottery for 3. Canal Building helped me get 20 points but I forgot to take the 4 as it was hiding behind the box of cards… then Kevin started using Statistics to empty my score pile. He also had Gunpowder so I lost most of my Castles. Kevin got 5 and 6 but Bicycle got me 27 points, then I managed to get the 7. I used a lot more “exchanging” then usual. I had five achievements but Kevin managed to hold the line using Physics and Electricity, returning cards and keeping anyone from melding higher tech. I hoped maybe to get Empire, but my castles were hidden…and I gave away Encyclopedia which could’ve melded my score pile. Eventually I got Industrialization and was about to get Monument when Kevin stole my top Yellow card, but this revealed Domestication giving me the Castles I needed.

Once again, 2-player base Innovation was exciting, tactical back and forth. Expansions are nice for a change, but not needed. Setup for them is much easier now though.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

I was India, Kevin was Spain, Nechama Egypt again, and Avi Germany. I opened with devote to the arts for first step on the track. Atilla’s Village was near me but Avi ended up getting it, while I built a city. I only collected one or two huts the whole game, and no villages. Kevin as Spain got off to an impressive looking start, exploring and building for free. Nechama started with Hanging Gardens so was good for figures, but for some reason didn’t fight her barbarians or build a city until several turns in. Avi spammed military but by being nice and trading with him he didn’t raid me early on. Kevin also had military buildup. Fortunately he skirmished with Nechama and I fortified my city so I had no figures to attack. Also my first great person was Leonides, giving me +4 and +8 if attacked by stronger opponent, so I wasn’t a completely easy target. Wonders went faster than usual, and when Big Ben showed up I got it and then Education and started rushing tech victory. Still sure someone would attack me, but no one did so I got Flight and bought two planes. I also built the UN which prevented culture events affecting me. I got cards that let me change social policy a couple times which was also critical. Isaac Newton filled in a spot on my pyramid and I finally got Space Flight just before Avi was ready to invade a Capital. I did use my “any resource” ability a few times as well.

Even though Spain seems OP, the disadvantage is that everyone wants to gang up. The military tension in this game also made it feel like there was a lot of interaction and politics, and while I usually don’t like too much politics it was very thematic–pitting my opponents against each other, “currying” favor and being pacifist as Ghandi.

I mentioned the “tie-breaker” suggestion where we play out the turn to the end. Avi then could have won by Military victory, but I wasn’t there for the final battle which he says he lost, though he didn’t draw as many cards as he should have, so maybe he would have won.

I also recently played Galaxy Trucker with one totally new person and one familiar. We did level one and two flight but the new player still felt lost. It’s odd, either I can’t teach this game well or can’t present it well, or people just aren’t interested. The familiar player likes this though and is building faster, though I still need a handicap or something.

June 2nd, 2018: Not Historically Accurate

Crew Members: Zevvy, Avi F., Nechama, Kevin, Orit, Leora, Adam, Shemtov, Nick, Jonathan

Full house, and full afternoon.

Codenames

From what I understand, Leora Orit and Jonathan consistently won against Adam Shemtov and Nick, but their antics were a lot of fun for everyone.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

I was hesitant to start this, but after randomly choosing the Greeks made my goal to end the game as fast as possible through economic victory. I wasted my first round taking Navigation, since Kevin and Nechama both took it as well. Kevin built great lighthouse and had more trade than he needed the rest of the game, never getting level III tech. Everyone but Nechama took Pacifism to start, but eventually she caught up in culture. Unfortunately, Kevin attacked her and stole her spy right before I revealed my plan to end the game. At that point everyone focused on making me lose coins, but I was prepared with several culture cards and spies of my own to cancel most of their attacks. I was slowed, but managed to end the game with Pottery and Printing Press. I also had a printed coin in my outskirts and two from great people. Avi had planned to attack Nechama’s capital, and I just learned of an advanced tie-breaker which plays out the end of the round, which probably wouldn’t have mattered this game but could be relevant and more fun in future games that come down to the wire.

7 Wonders

We had six players, Leora caught on faster than I’m used to having to explain things, which was refreshing. Unfortunately for me too, since she overtook in me in military despite me being Rhodos. Avi also did well for his first game, raking in a lot of coins as Ephesos and 51 points, but Nechama had 52, Leora 53, and Kevin 58 thanks to Science as Babylon.

Sentinels of the Multiverse

After Shabbat we did a quick game againstĀ  Kismet as Fanatic, Ra, Nightmist and Tachyon. Though Kismet destroyed our initial setup, Nightmist managed to survive though paid a lot of hit points to Banish the many Jinxes. Once taken care of though it wasn’t worth stealing the Talisman so we focused on attacking, and Tachyon’s Hypersonic Assaults kept us in good health. A few strikes from Absolution and the Staff of Ra and it wasn’t long before Nightmist dealt the finishing blow with a Heedless Lash. Amulet of the Elder Gods also redirected some chemical explosions, making Kismet’s choice of fighting us in the Industrial Complex not so lucky.

I’m always happy when a big box game hits the table. Avi said he can’t wait a full week to play again, but our schedules don’t always align. I imagine the game will only become even more interesting now that we are more familiar and exploring more Technologies that haven’t been used previously.

May 5th, 2018: Time Well Spent

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Avi, Yehuda

Innovation

Friday night ended late but Kevin and I played one round before heading home. Kevin got more points than me quite fast, but I jumped ahead in tech. I managed to edge him out of the 2 and 6, but was then no longer able to prevent him getting a 7. He had 5 achievements, and then got Empire after a random meld.

We started another game before lunch but didn’t get to finish.

Space Race: The Card Game

Finally got to try this out. Seemed like there were never enough available cards in the Universe. I got some breakthroughs thanks to Neil Armstrong, while Simcha dominated Technology and got a breakthrough near the end. Despite tons of face-down cards, Kevin had Carl Sagan letting him choose what enters face-up, but was unable to get cards worth enough points. Would take a few plays to figure out how to better combo in this game, but I don’t know if it’s worth the time.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

Our first four player game, Arabs, Japan, India, Romans. Kevin and Avi were neck-in-neck on the Culture Track for a while, until Kevin started investing and racing ahead. I invested in Military forcing Kevin to try and defend. I did attack his capital after being put in Anarchy twice, and lost with a tied Combat Score. Yehuda snuck from behind researching tech and using Education to fill his pyramid. Only due to Mass Media and a spy he traded me earlier could I stop him. Kevin tried to attack a guy I left on his outskirts by building there, but lost also in a tie. My culture card prevented his moving his larger force. Avi attacked Yehuda but also lost, so we both had enough to research Space Flight at the end of the 9th turn.

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Despite what I’ve read about tech victory, this game showed that it can be rushed, especially with Education or Japan. The knowledge sharing cards are necessary to speed things up, and without Charles Darwin I wouldn’t have had enough Trade to research as quickly. Arabs were very close to culture victory, and India just couldn’t move as quickly, considering Arabs advance for free by investing–Counterfeiters slowed them down.

Had to take an 1.5 hour break after Shabbat, but still we started setup and teaching Yehuda around 4 and finished at 1130. Time well spent.

April 21st, 2018: French Economy?

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin, David T., Avi F., Nechama, Orit, Shlomo

Nechama, Orit, Shlomo and David played several games of Legendary, losing most of them until the final battle. Meanwhile, on the other half of the table…

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

I told Avi this would be a three hour commitment–it turned out to be four and a half. I tried to minimize the number of rules to explain before starting but it still took a bit. Fortunately, despite the opaqueness of the first couple turns, Avi stuck with it and soon was planning his Tech and expanding his British empire. The tiles he discovered actually created a complete water barrier around his territory, making his innate seafaring quite handy. Kevin as the French took a while to get his second city, but his first was a production powerhouse. As Egypt I though I would focus on wonders, but discovering the Ark of Covenant made me consider culture. So I dedicated my Capital to culture but halfway up the track realized I had the wonders that might even make a tech victory feasible. Though Avi did build up his military a bit, thanks to my tech I managed to appear powerful enough to defend. Avi had the Great Wall, so attack him was kind of pointless. However, once Kevin got going, he quickly went for economic victory, and got some great people to help him with that. While I probably should have rushed economic, I was one turn away from Tech Victory using Education and Isaac Newton, but due to turn order Kevin got his final coin just before Avi was ready to attack us and slow us down.

Innovation

Kevin and I actually played this while people ate desert, and Kevin kept grabbing the achievements just before me. I did get World, and finally over took him and got 6 and 7, but in the race to number 8 Kevin finally won out, despite me having some powerful 10s on my board.

Legendary

After Shabbat I also played a game of Legendary with David, it going much faster with just the two of us. We went against Galactus, but the Scheme required us to fill our decks with Maria Hill officers, slowing down his Spiderman combo. With rogue and a lot of blue cards I got some nice hits on Galactus, but the 6th scheme twist came too early before we could finish enough Maria Hill’s to buy more time. We continued playing anyway, and within two rounds would have finished off Galactus anyway, even as four out of five sites in the city were destroyed.

We all had a great time, and Avi said he’d happily play again sometime. Another friend who is a big fan of Space Opera got excited when I told him about Twilight Imperium, so when we have an entire day or something it may actually hit the table.

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).