Driving to Victory

automobiles

Azriel, Rosalynn, Peleg, and Sheer joined me for the last pre-Pesach playing session, and a good one it was.

We started with Automobiles, a game that combines deck-building with a racing boardgame. This was new to Azriel and Rosalynn, but they were quickly up to, er, speed with the game mechanics. Azriel loves combinations, and was happy to do as many of these as he could, even if they weren’t the best for his chances of victory. Rosalynn, Peleg, and I competed to be second to last, as Sheer had decided he wanted to win from the back and stay in last place as long as possible. Come the final lap, Sheer made his break for the front and we all chased him. But a bad draw meant that Sheer’s bold stroke fell at the last hurdle, and I was first pass the post.

We finished the night with a combination of Dominion: Adventures and Dominion: Intrigue. It was very definitely my night, as I built up a stack of gold cards, and nobody else’s combinations got anywhere near to my buying power often enough. (I think most of the other players were still in shock from me winning the last game, as my previous efforts at it have been awful.) So, I managed the rare event of winning the second consecutive game of the night. Hopefully everybody else still enjoyed it…

Thanks to all who came for making another great night of gaming.

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Build that wall!

alhambra2

No, not a political commentary, a game session report…

This week, while Sheer fought the traffic, Azriel, Peleg, Rosalynn and I warmed up with a game of Dominion: Intrigue and Alchemy. One of the cards – Masquerade? – generated curses, and these made for a slow middle game. Azriel kept plugging away at his Golem cards, and Rosalynn had a useful combination too, so both of them scored well. Peleg was put off his stride by Sheer arriving, and the pair of them combined to achieve the lowest score I have ever seen in such a game: eleven points. Considering they started with three, and I gave them three – it’s a long story- that’s bad. Real bad. I guess it shows that too many cooks do spoil the broth. Oh, and I won. (Tee hee.)

Sheer got his revenge when we switched to Alhambra, a game tasking you with building a palace, where the length of your palace wall is as important as the gardens and buildings within the palace. He won. I had a dreadful start, but recovered well enough to finish up second, the others just behind me. It was a first time outing for Azriel, and he usually wins, but not this time. Rosalynn seemed to have a good start, but then got caught with the wrong cards at the wrong time, and she was not able to buy enough. Peleg had also done well, but seemed to lose ground in the third phase, and the game definitely ended at the worst time for him.

Thanks to all who came. Great fun.

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Eighth Wonder

7 wonders box top

This week’s session started off with Azriel, Rosalynn, Peleg, and Sheer joining Susan and me for a game of Resistance. Then, with the box top opened, the players decided they didn’t want to play that, but instead wanted to play 7 Wonders. So, 7 Wonders it was. And Resistance went back into the box. Somebody spare a thought for poor Resistance’s feelings…

In the game, Azriel’s combined military and blue building strategy was good, but not good enough. Peleg got off to an awful start, but ramped up when the guilds came out, and did quite well. But not well enough. Susan crushed everyone in the blue buildings category, but only that category. Otherwise, almost no points. Not enough points. Sheer’s approach was hard to work out. His score, consequently, reflected that. Shame. My blue buildings and guilds worked reasonably well. But not well enough. Rosalynn creamed us all. She cornered the market in green cards, and that alone was a top rated score. The extra bits and pieces she picked up elsewhere confirmed her as the deserved winner. Azriel was close behind. Nobody else was…

After that, Peleg and Sheer went one on one in Hero Realms. I think they finished a couple of games with one win each.

Azriel, Rosalynn, Sheer and I played a couple of games of Dominion: Intrigue mixed with Dominion: Alchemy. Azriel got his revenge with a win in the first game. I managed to win the second, despite the appearance of the dreaded (hated) Possession card.

And then it was time for bed.

Thanks to all who came for making it another great night of gaming.

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Back from the brink of defeat

hero-realms

With regulars Peleg and Sheer tied up in important Mossad business, it was left to Azriel and I to enjoy ourselves at this week’s game session.

Azriel chose Hero Realms to start, and we then played a couple of games using a variety of the expansion character packs. Unfortunately for Azriel, in each case I was able to thin my deck down to the better concentration of high power cards before him, and so won.

Next up we switched to 7 Wonders: Duel, one of my favorite two player games. I explained the rules to Azriel, and off we went.

The game is played in three rounds.

  • I murdered Azriel in the first round.
  • I absolutely killed him in the second.
  • And I smashed him for most of the third round.

Unfortunately for me, this game has a couple of instant victory conditions. One of these is a military victory. I had ignored the military cards, but foolishly left Azriel needing only one more military point to beat me. However, I could see the cards – we were down to the last three or four – and knew I could stop him from getting the last military card. But, silly billy me forgot the Wonder cards. Azriel had one Wonder that gave him the one military point he needed to give him the win. That will teach me. Well played, Azriel in coming back from the brink of defeat. I may have crushed you to pieces, but you truly won.

Another fun night. No wonder it takes me ages to get to sleep after the high of a games night.

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Voyage of discovery

"There will be trouble ahead..."

“There will be trouble ahead…”

This week’s session was devoted to the single meaty monster of a game that is Amerigo. ┬áIt’s a discovery themed game, with a neat action mechanism involving wooden cubes and a cardboard tower, and an action wheel. Players compete to best settle the new land and exploit its resources.

This is serious, hardcore gaming, not for the fainthearted, and not for those lacking in stamina, grit, or fortitude. Despite that (Ha!) Azriel, Peleg, and Sheer joined me, and took part in a memorable gaming experience.

First, Azriel is a gaming great who misleads his opponents by asking questions about stuff that has already been explained. And while his competitors are subconsciously ignoring him as a threat, he is consciously building a winning combination, and a chunk of victory points. His play was stupendous – in the amazingly good sense – and he took the other three of us to the cleaners. He raced ahead, lapped us all on the scoring board, and smiled sweetly throughout.

What was particularly stunning about this was that this was Azriel’s first ever play of the game. In something of this complexity, most people take at least a few game turns, if not a complete game, to understand what is going on. I did try and help Azriel with some of his early decisions, but would probably have been better giving myself some decent advice. Anyway, for a first time play, Azriel was making a mockery of the game’s tough reputation.

At this point, Peleg and I were reduced to spectators. But Sheer, who should never be discounted, refused to give up. And his pondering, slow decision making resulted in an astounding collection of victory points that brought him right up to the same as Azriel’s momentous score. According to the game rules, Sheer was the winner. According to the players, Azriel was the winner. Both played well, and despite the late hour, the fatigue, the dehydration, and the hunger – I mean, they ate almost none of the biscuits! – everybody had a good time.

If you are a serious gamer, and want a top end challenge, I thoroughly recommend Amerigo. All I can say, is thank Heaven we don’t do that every week.

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Shabbat Gaming

Last Shabbat, down south with the Berkeleys in Metar, we squeezed in time for one game among the eating, chatting, and sleeping. Anne, Gillian, Peter, Yoel, Susan and I played one game of Viva Il Re! (in English it is marketed as King Me), a light hearted game of bluff and counter bluff. It’s about getting your candidate to be king, and killing off the competing candidates. It’s easy to explain, quick to pick up and play, and doesn’t ruin relationships when you stab people in the back.

After two rounds of rapid play, Peter was the winner. Gillian, I think, came second. She killed the most candidates I think, but the strategy did not quite pay off. Anne and Susan were straight up in going to promote their own candidates, and could not escape the killing machines out there. Good fun.

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We don’t need another hero

takenoko

This week, Azriel, Peleg, and Sheer joined me, as we welcomed Hero Realms to the group, and had another bash at Takenoko.

First off, the latest addition my collection: Hero Realms. It’s a development of Space Realms, and is a kind of supercharged Dominion – a deck building game – where you get to slash, kill, destroy attack your opponents while trying to fend off their assaults. In the standard game, each player starts off with 50 Life. Once you are down to 0, you are dead.

We played two multiplayer versions where the first dead player (so to speak) ended the game, and the player inflicting the fatal wound gets to claim the win. Sheer won two of these, knocking out (I think) me in one game, and Azriel in another.

Then we played a team version with Sheer and Peleg beating Azriel and me. That one dragged a bit, possibly because the suggested format gives each team 75 Life instead of 50. Just when I thought we were mired in a slow, slow draw, Sheer and Peleg broke the deadlock. As it happened, Azriel had built up a decent deck, and if we had lasted just one more turn, we would have won. So many near things…

In between we had played Takenoko, with Azriel wiping the floor with us. He seemed to be getting victory points every turn, no matter what he did. Quite an achievement.

Thanks to all who came. It was fun.

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The Panda, the Jewel, the Potion, and the Artist

takenoko-splendor

So who can guess what games we played this week?

At one end of the table, I explained Takenoko to Azriel, Gillian, and Yoel. Azriel and Gillian picked it up, but poor Yoel was struggling a bit. I tried to help him out, but it was too little, too late, and he still finished last. Gillian won, and at least I have the excuse that my score would have been more of a challenge if I hadn’t done the decent thing by supporting Yoel. But that would be unfair, as Gillian truly trounced us all, so she deserves full credit for the win.

Then I explained Splendor to Azriel, Gillian, and Yoel. This was a perfect example of how some people ‘get’ a particular game, but just cannot ‘get’ another. From struggling in last place, Yoel quickly got into his stride here, and finished first equal with me. It was very tight – a sign of a good game, played well -and Gillian and Azriel were only one or two points behind.

At the other end of the table, Peleg, Rosalynn, Sheer, and Susan played a nice combination of games too. First up was one of my favorites, Dominion: Alchemy. They rattled off three games of that with wins for Susan, Peleg, and Sheer. Susan’s win was notable because they found out afterwards that Sheer had been misinterpreting one or two of the action cards in his favor, but still hadn’t been able to defeat Susan in that round. Well done Susan!

Then, they moved on to a little cracker in the name of Modern Art: The Card Game. Once more they got through three games, with wins for Rosalynn, Peleg, then (in a two player Sheer v Peleg confrontation) Sheer.

We then had a short debate about who would drive Azriel home. I forget who lost and who won, but Azriel did get home safely…

Thanks to all who came for making it a good night of gaming.

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It’s all alchemy

alchemy-sanjuan-splendor

This week’s session saw us run through three different games in the one night.

First up, Azriel, Roslynn, and Sheer came long for a couple of games of Dominion: Alchemy. ┬áRoslynn won the first, and I think I won the second. I think, but am not sure. Why am I not sure? Because it’s so unusual for me to win a game of Dominion. But I either won it, or dreamed I won it, or have some kind of false memory syndrome. Anyway, two games of Alchemy, and that was that for Azriel and Roslynn who called it a night then.

By that time, Peleg had eventually finished work and joined us. The three of us played one game of San Juan and one game of Splendor.

San Juan was more of a challenge, with Sheer winning (47 points), Peleg second (38 points) and me well back in third (31 points).

Spelndor, however, was a complete blowout. Peleg and I might as well not have been there. Sheer got to the finishing line with 18 or 19 points, and Peleg and I had only 2 or 3 points apiece. A Sheer masterclass. I am still not sure how he did it, but he definitely did it. Well done Sheer.

Thanks to all who came.

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The Power and the Adventure

dominionadventuresandpowergridcardgame

To start with, Azriel and Sheer came along and we played a three handed game of Power Grid: The Card Game. As with the previous outing for this new purchase, the scores were tight. Sheer and I finished with the same score, just ahead of Azriel. Sheer won on the tiebreaker. Continue reading

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