Shanah Tovah

Happy New Year!

To everyone, fervent wishes for a year of peace, prosperity and good health. And improved driving on the roads in Israel. (But I’m not holding my breath.)

car accident

A close encounter of the Tel Aviv kind.

Peace in our time

In today’s (Friday’s) Jerusalem Post, there’s a simple, direct, clear and unvarnished explanation why Israel is not to blame for the breakdown in negotiations. It’s here and it’s worth reading. But, if you cannot be bothered, at least take the editorial’s conclusion as being a summary of the position:

As we approach Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, it is only natural to engage in self-reflection and self-criticism. An integral part of Jewish culture is the acceptance of personal responsibility for one’s actions and the need to repent for failures so that they are not repeated. However, in the case of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, there is little, if any, room for self-recriminations. If peace depended solely on Israel, it would have been attained long ago.

New applicant to join the UN

This snapshot from today’s Jerusalem Post web site, unintentionally highlights the bizarre nature of the world we live in.

Hell on Earth

There are two assumptions I make, based on this headline: (a) Heaven’s application cannot be far behind, and (b) the skill of the apostrophe is sadly lacking in the Post’s online editorial team.

Sunset in Netanya

It does feel a little strange being Raananagamer and living in Netanya, but until our new home is finished* that’s what I have to do. I’ll miss Netanya. Sunsets like this are simple, beautiful and calming. And if I’m lucky, there may even be better pictures to take before we move.

*The story of our new home is not ready for publication. But it’s worth waiting for.

Session Report – 6 September 2011

Contributed by Yehuda.

Participants: Jon, Abraham, Peleg, Ellis

Some others were hoping to make it, but in the end they couldn’t.

Seven: Card Game

Abraham 3, Jon 2, Peleg 2

Another game I was sent to review, the review will go up on Purple Pawn in time. I warn publishers before they send me games that I’m a harsh reviewer, and I try to turn down games that I know I won’t like. This one came through anyway.

It’s a souped up version of Go Fish. Instead of all items in a set being the same, there are seven different items in seven different sets and you have to ask for the item by name, but only if you have an item in that set already. There are also about 20 special ability cards. A few are bad (reveal immediately), but most are good, and you can only play good one per turn.

I’m not a fan of Go Fish, and neither were Abraham or Peleg. However, they both appeared to enjoy themselves while playing the game. Abraham even took my copy home. Peleg didn’t think he would play it again.

Glory to Rome

Jon+, Abraham, Ellis, Peleg

First play for all the other players. Maybe I should have, after all, not played with the building powers, as is suggested for the first play. I am pretty happy with this game – so much so that I ordered the new edition with nicer graphics – but I think that the Forum ruins the game. I don’t mind broken combinations, because there are usually several, and at least everyone feels like they are still completing for the original goal. But, when you do well and play well, and then a card says that the game is over and the win handed to the player who drew and played the card, it’s a letdown.

[Ra’anana Gamer: Agreed!]

There are ways to combat a Forum, unless it is played and completed on the same turn and near the end of the game. And if these ways come into play, the building isn’t necessarily broken. It is simply broken sometimes, and that’s too many times for me.

[Ra’anana Gamer: Agreed, again!]

Oddly enough, despite my concern that I would turn them off the game, I was the one to play a Forum. The other players had plenty of time to work against me, and did so to some extent. In fact, they could actually have ended the game by taking the remaining foundations, but, for some reason, they didn’t. I ended with a Forum victory when there were two foundations remaining.

[Ra’anana Gamer: I tried to take the remaining foundations, but knew it was only going to punish Yehuda and benefit Abraham. In other words, I was well out of contention.]

Which brings me to another note: I play with one change to the rules: each player can only be building, at any one time, three buildings. This restriction only actually hampered someone once during our game. [Ra’anana Gamer: Guess who?] I created the change, because I thought the game play devolved when every player started six buildings all at once, and ended before pretty much before anything was built. However, I note that, by restricting the number buildings you can build at a time, I am decreasing the ability of the other players to stop the Forum. So I may have to rethink it. [Ra’anana Gamer: I wonder if the potential for a fast finish is, in fact, intentional.]

Another possible change I am thinking of is having the game end as soon as one player completes one building of each color.

The rest of the game saw pretty balanced play, with no powerhouse combos brought into play. Ellis wasn’t too keen on the game. I’m not sure how the others felt. [Ra’anana Gamer: I would play it again, but it’s not going to be a favorite. Peleg wasn’t that keen either. ]