Running out of time

This week’s session got off on the wrong foot as we set up the excellent Terra Mystica, only to realize we wouldn’t have time to finish it. Instead, Azriel, Roy, Sheer, and I did a five lap version of Automobiles. This was new to Roy, but Sheer did a great job of explaining the rules and we were soon off and running.

Unfortunately, Roy ran out of time, so we crashed his car and had the three survivors battle it out.

Azriel was out in front first, and was steady, steady, and steady. He just wasn’t fast enough. Sheer and I overtook him on the second lap or thereabouts, after which we took it in turns to have the lead. Just as it was getting to the final lap, two awful draws by me meant my car was stuck and going nowehere, leaving Sheer an easy run to be first across the finishing line.

My pet hate about Automobiles is that with the wrong cubes drawn, there is nothing you can do. That luck element – supposedly – balances out. But I am not convinced. I wonder what would happen if we allowed a player to play two for one (or three for one) so that he could always trade for one or more cubes that would allow movement,

I then introduced Azriel and Sheer to Ivanhoe. This is a fine filler from Knizia, being a trick taking game with a tournament theme tacked on.

Azriel again was out front first, but was overtaken by Sheer. I caught up a little, but had burned my cards in too many lost challenges, and could not keep up with the pace, allowing Sheer the win after a struggle over the final tournament.

Lots of losses, an element of frustration, but also lots of fun.

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Two out of three isn’t bad

With Peleg and Sheer unavoidably detailed – they had an urgent meeting with their respective hairdressers – Rosalynn brought along her daughter Eliana, and we had a pleasant three person gaming evening.

We started with Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries, as it is designed specifically for 2-3 player play. Eliana was familiar with the core game, and she had no trouble picking up the differences. Play went smoothly, with Eliana crushing my hopes for victory by inadvertently – I think – blocking me off from my main ticket route. Meantime, Rosalynn nabbed the long 9 space route, and sauntered to victory. Eliana was second. I was after Eliana…

We moved on to Ivanhoe, a game which I taught Eliana and Rosalynn to play. Of course, I taught it so well, Eliana won. Rosalynn had gone in to an early lead, Eliana and I caught up, and then the youngster just kept going for the win.

We finished with Take it Easy and finally I could claim a win.

The ladies won two out of three, though. Not bad, eh? Eliana proved herself a genuine game player. They must have interesting games in that household given the number of good players there.

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Goodbye John

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Bittersweet night as Amiram, Peleg, Sheer, and I said goodbye to John as he prepares to return to home back in the USA. He’s been terrific company, and we will miss his ever pleasant disposition. But we live in hope that he will return.

So far as the games are concerned, here’s what happened.

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We started with No Thanks (aka Geschenkt) which is a handy light filler in which you try to avoid collecting cards by paying coins. Unfortunately, you only have a limited number of coins. John and Sheer struggled with the idea, first time around, and I won quite comfortably.

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Then onto a favorite, Ticket to Ride: Europe. Sheer pulled off a surprise sudden ending of the game that smashed any chances Amiram, Peleg, and I had. However, John’s completion of an incredible ten tickets meant he was right up there. It was only the longest route bonus that edged Sheer ahead so he could claim the win.

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Next up, Ivanhoe. This was new to everyone except me, but it is not a difficult game and play was soon well under way. ┬áThe highlight was seeing Peleg race ahead to three tokens. (Four are needed for the win.) Then, in a stroke of genius, John changed the color of the combat round so that Peleg’s fourth win was invalid because he already had the color. That stroke, however, allowed Sheer to win. Everyone – except me – was in with a chance, and there was a lot of laughter round the table as fortunes ebbed and swayed.

Finally, back to No Thanks. This time John managed to avoid buying too many cards and so won his final game in the group. Way to go, John. It’s been fun having you in the group.

And goodbye.

 

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Winning moves

This week’s session started with Ben, David, Yehuda and me playing the cut-throat Reiner Knizia card game, Ivanhoe. It’s a neat, simple filler game which requires a careful sense of timing to match the cards you draw. Of course, there’s a decent element of luck, but a good player will tend to win more than a less skilled player. Yehuda and I had played it before, but that didn’t stop David winning. Well done that man.

We then split into two groups. Ben, David, and Yehuda played Age of Industry. Yehuda did his usual excellent job in explaining the game to newcomers Ben and David. Both picked it up quickly, developing very different strategies. The final scores were very close indeed and there seemed to be some surprise at the table when it was discovered that Ben had won; clearly Yehuda’s explanation was effective… Congratulations to Ben for the win.

Meantime Laurie, Rochelle and I played Race for the Galaxy (RFTG) followed by R-Eco.

Rochelle was a newcomer to RFTG and struggled with the icons which the game relies on. That’s not unusual, it must be said. However, the only recognized solution is to play the game again and again. Unfortunately, I doubt Rochelle will put herself through that again; she really did not enjoy it. Laurie is way too good at the game for me to come close to a challenge, so she won by a chunk of points. Laurie deserved her win.

Rochelle had her revenge, though, taking latecomer Susan, Laurie, and I to the cleaners with a convincing win at R-Eco. A notable win for Rochelle.

And thus ended another night of fun and games and winning moves. (Or in my case, losing moves.)

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