“The train on platform one…”


For this week’s session, I was joined by Azriel, Nechamiah, Peleg, Roslynn, and Sheer, and we split intwo two sets of three player games.

Sheer taught Suburbia to Ariel and Peleg. It’s one of the many games that Sheer excels at, so it was no surprise that he won, though both newcomers did a creditable job of keeping close, and had a far better understanding of the game at the end. (It’s always the way.) I fully expect them to crush Sheer the next time they play. Or not… Anyway, well done Sheer.

Meanwhile, I taught Trains to Nechamiah and Roslynn. As this has a lot of Dominion type mechanics, and they know that game well, both picked it up very quickly. Again, I was able to leverage my prior playing experience, and put it to no good all, finishing up well behind Nechamiah, and the winner Roslynn. Way to go Roslynn!

With Peleg and Sheer heading off early to get some beauty sleep, Azriel, Nechamia, Roslynn and I played 7 Wonders. As the others discovered, it’s a completely different game with four players than it is with seven (which was how it was the last time we played it) and this time I put my prior experience to better use. Essentially my victory came down to two factors. First, I had set myself up to benefit from the third round Guild cards. Second, when the Guild cards were available, the others neither took them, nor burned them, so leaving me to accumulate all but one that were available. That having been said, the scores were reasonably close. And, were we to play again four handed, I would not expect to win – certainly not the same way!

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

The train version of Dominion


This week, Peleg, Roy, and Sheer joined me for some gaming fun.

First up was Trains, a deck-building game that takes some of the familiar elements from Dominion, and applies a railway theme to it. All the cards are tied in to the theme, and the icing on the cake is that part of your potential for victory points is achieved by laying rail tracks on a map. We found it fast, fun, and a pleasant change from just building up our decks.


The physical production standards are excellent. The graphics are clear and easy, though we did use a play mat (with a summary of build costs and icon meanings) that I downloaded from BoardGameGeek. It made a big difference, and should have been included.

Sheer and Peleg were better at understanding how the whole thing fitted together, with Roy and I relegated to the ranks of spectators (or should that be passengers?) as they fought for the win. Sheer just nicked it by a couple of points from Peleg.

Next up, the other three of us introduced Roy to San Juan. As he had played Puerto Rico, it was no time at all before he was up and running. My starting hand was a good one, and that set me up for a nice boost that I managed to keep reasonably on course. I knew I was doing well, but Sheer and I had to share the win after a couple of topsy turvy rounds.

Another great night of gaming.

The train now arriving at Platform 1 is late

Today (Sunday) was HP Software’s R&D Day – an internal corporate event, with a mix of presentations about different parts of the business, entertainment, food, and drink. It was held in the Tel Aviv Convention Center, right by the train station at Tel Aviv University. So, rather than drive, I took the train. Guess what? Today was the day there was some unplanned disruption to the service. From Globes:

Derailment causes havoc on coast line

A derailed maintenance train led to severe delays in Israel’s busiest day for rail travel.

On the busiest day of the week in Israel, when tens of thousands of passengers are making their way to work and soldiers are returning to their bases after weekend leave, Israel Railways’ timetable was disrupted today.

The cause was a maintenance train that became derailed north of Binyamina, leading to delays on the coastal line between Biyamina and Tel Aviv. No injuries are reported.

Israel Railways said earlier this morning that the derailed train had been removed, but that delays were continuing to be felt on the route. Technical staff are dealing with the damaged track.

Israel Railways stressed that other parts of the rail network were operating normally.

The delay wasn’t that bad – about twenty minutes – and I was still well on time. But the episode does highlight how fragile the transport infrastructure is in our small country.