Under observation


David, Sheer, Rochelle, Susan, and I started with a five person session of an old classic filler game, Reibach & Co. Essentially, you are trying to collect sets. You either want a monopoly, or the biggest number of cards in a set. There are Jokers and double point cards, and a ticking clock scoring mechanism that adds to the tension. It’s fast, fun, not too serious, and has a fair chunk of luck. (You can tell I won...)

Chen had arrived to watch. Yehuda had arrived to play.

David, Rochelle, and Susan went off to play Dominion. Susan’s unbroken run of wins came to a dead halt courtesy of David, but by the end of a three game session everyone had claimed a win, and everyone looked happy.

Sheer, Yehuda and I went for the rather meaty Age of Industry, using the variant Japan board. It took a long, long, time for Yehuda to explain the rules to newcomer Sheer, but he must have paid attention as he did rather well. Very well, in fact, for a first game.

The one standout feature was that we burned up all the coal and iron assets, and so were unable to finish off the cards. We may have got something wrong, but it was not immediately obvious. Anyway, I had the most points just ahead of Sheer and Yehuda, so I think we played it fine!

A good tonic for the week. Thanks to all who came.

It takes ages


Different strokes for different folks, so the saying goes. And when it comes to racing games, there could not be a clearer example of a difference in gaming tastes. With my Glasgow gaming group, race games were popular. Sure, Formul De took a while, but Turf Master was a real favorite and Devil Take the Hindmost was a well liked filler. Of course the legendary Lamont Brothers’ various race games got an occasional outing as well!

Gamers in Israel, it appears, are different. They don’t like race games.

In this week’s session I tried, for the first time here, Devil take the Hindmost. It received a rather flat welcome from Ben, David and Yehuda.

We played 3 laps of an 8 lap race, and that was enough to see that it wasn’t going down well. My domination of the race probably skewed my perspective of it, though…

Anyway, Laurie arrived and we settled in for a session of Age of Industry, a well liked and well played Martin Wallace game.


Yehuda was struggling with his health, feeling somewhat off color. I don’t think he should have chosen the yellow pieces. But, although everyone had played this before, he did a sterling job of explaining the rules to refresh everyone’s memory. And so, off we went.


Laurie set about building up her network of train routes. Ben struck out on his own for the southern parts of the board. David patiently built up his pieces, and delivered some nice consignments. Yehuda was being even more patient, and taking his time to work towards building bigger VP tiles. I had to change my strategy because of what was going on around me – five handed this game an be a bit tight – but was reasonably happy.


When we got close to the end, Yehuda was in the position to end the game on his own, or extend it by one turn. I think he extended the game mistakenly, as it turned out not to be to his advantage.

When the game did end – with Ben making sure it happened – the scores were Yehuda 20, Laurie 21, Ben 24, David 24, Ellis 24. A three way tie! Unfortunately for everyone else, there is a tie break of turn order and that gave me the win.

It had been close. It probably goes to show how well crafted the game is. We are sure to play it again, as it’s definitely one of these that even when I know I am out of contention, I enjoy playing. And so far as everyone else is concerned, it’s not a race game!

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.)

Who is the most nefarious of all?

[Crossposted from the Ra’anana Boardgames Group blog, here.]


Laura, Laurie, Rochelle, Yehuda and I gathered round the table to look in awe at the Pastiche game box, then ignore it while we played other games…

First up was Nefarious, only Yehuda and I having played this before. Everyone else picked it up quickly – though I think Rochelle would have preferred to not only pick it up, but throw it away as well – and play proceeded smoothly. One of the rule twists we drew limited the cash in hand by forcing each player to round down to the nearest 5 coins (if he had 5 or more) at the end of each round. That prolonged the game and possibly also contributed to a reasonably tight finish. Although Yehuda won, at least two of us were one turn away from a better finish. The game did not get a great reception – especially from Rochelle – but I would play it again. It’s dry, but easy, and the rule twists add some sparkle.

Next up was the meaty Age of Industry. Only Laura was new to this. Laurie was intent on trying out a new strategy, despite Yehuda’s best advice. Unfortunately, while the strategy as a lot of fun – how she enjoyed collecting those loan cards! – it didn’t work. Yehuda, true to form, won just head of Laura, Rochelle and me. Again, a tight finish. This time Laura and Rochelle were less than impressed with the game, so it may be a wee while before we see it again. I like it and hate it in equal measure. I cannot play it for toffee, but enjoy watching other people’s strategies.

And then it was time to go home.



This week’s group session started with Yehuda teaching the card game Hearts, but the partner version. It kept us occupied until newcomer Laura turned up, and we settled down for a session with Martin Wallace’s Age of Industry.

Yehuda, Laurie, and I had played this before. It was new to Laura and Rochelle, and so many of the earlier turns draaaaaagged while they tried to get their head round the mechanics. Then, many of the later turns were not much faster while they tried to work out their best scoring opportunities. But they plugged away and did commendably well – matching each other’s score.

Guess who has cornered the iron and coal market?

Guess who has cornered the iron and coal market?

I was pretty sure after the first couple of turns that Laurie was ahead; she bolstered her position by blocking me, and sidelining Yehuda. I was unable to break free until it was too late. (Part of the trick in this game is balancing the need to draw the right cards, with working on the cards you have. It’s not a balancing act I am any good at.) By the time I had my setup the way I wanted, the game was over.

Pretty purple pieces

Pretty purple pieces

Yehuda made a much better recovery, and came within two points of Laurie at the end. However, Laurie was not to be denied and so claimed (she said) her first win at this game. Well done, Laurie.

[Cross posted from the Ra’anana Boardgames Group site.]

Yellow to go first

[Also posted at the Ra’anana Boardgames Group site.]

One of the measures I have in determining if a game is a good game (in my subjective opinion) is whether I enjoy playing it, even when I’m losing. Since I get plenty of experience of being in this position, it’s a helpful measure.  As you may have guessed, in last night’s session – when we played another game of Age of Industry – I was losing, badly, and had ample opportunity of assessing the game. My conclusion: it’s a good game. Continue reading