Prosperous Gaming

At last the chagim are over, and a return to some sort of routine was possible. So, what better way to celebrate than restarting the regular games sessions? Newcomer Avri joined Azriel, Peleg, Rosalynn, Sheer, and me for some across the board action.

At the faraway end, Avri, Peleg and Sheer played a thrilling game of Automobiles. (At least, it sounded thrilling.) I believe Sheer won, though there were a couple of great runes celebrated by the others in the run up to the finishing line.

Then the terrific trio switched to R-Eco, with Sheer and Avri fighting it out to their mutual destruction, leaving Peleg to survive for the win. He’s a mean recycler is our Peleg!

At my end, Azriel, Rosalynn, and I played Dominion: Prosperity. Azriel won that by a single point. His combination was not that efficient, but did allow him run through his deck virtually every turn, with more than enough money to keep buying victory points. Rosalynn and I seemed to get caught with dud hands jammed up by these same victory point cards, but sadly not enough of them.

Then the same three did a quick game of Splendor. Just as I was about to get my ducks in order (or cards in this case) Rosalynn claimed the win.

They retired, and I joined Avril, Peleg, and Sheer for a closing game of Reibach & Co. The lead went from player to player in the three scoring rounds, but I lucked out the best and managed a win by a couple of points. Luck, of course, played its part. The others refused to agree with me that it was the ultimate game of skill. Spoilsports!

Thanks to all for coming and making the night.

May your games always be good fun.

The Magnificent Seven

This week we were seven. (You would never have guessed, if I hadn’t told you, would you?) Azriel, Nechemiah, Laurie, Peleg, Rosalynn, and Sheer were in attendance, with Nechemiah slightly delayed by an over long commute that seemed to go on and on. So we started with six and a game of the excellent 7 Wonders.

It is a different game – still very much enjoyable – with that number, but I always take too long to adopt to the change in pace and scoring opportunities. Unsurprisingly, I was in contention right from the start – for the wooden spoon. I won it, easily. Peleg (who dislikes the game, but bravely plays it without complaint) beat me by a fair bit. Rosalynn (64 points), Laurie (66 points), and Azriel (68 points) were right up there, but just could not keep up with Sheer’s pace, and he won (78 points) with a combination of a big military and big guild score. Rosalynn deserved some kind of consolation, as she scored a whopping 54 points just from the science cards. Wow.

After that, Nechemiah joined in, and we split four and three. Nechemiah, Rosalynn, Sheer, and Peleg played the classic Acquire. Sheer won that. They followed it up with R-Eco, with Rosalynn getting her revenge.

The pack is about to be broken by Mr Blue and Mr Blue.

Meantime, Laurie, Azriel, and I played the newcomer Flamme Rouge, a light bike racing game with cool cards and pieces, giving each player two riders to get round the track. Laurie won that. However, although the game only awards a win to first past the post, using a house scoring system, Azriel would have tied for most points over the first four finishing. My racers were fifth and sixth…

Susan made us into a foursome, and then we played Dominion which I managed to win, so some consolation.

Another terrific night.

A Grand Start

Azriel, Laurie, Rosalynn, and Sheer joined me in our last session.

We started with El Grande, a classic area control game. Everyone had played it before, but wanted a rules refresher. Then, off we went.

In the very first round, Sheer took advantage of an excellent opportunity by grabbing the first place action, and scoring 20+ points. The rest of us struggled to get to close to double figures…

From then on, we were all playing catch up. Slowly, but surely, we did catch up. (Well, some of us…) It appeared that one of the side effects of Sheer getting such an early, obvious and large lead, was that the other players – not just me! – were happy to use every reasonable opportunity to do him damage and cut away at his score. Azriel and Laurie were doing OK, but seemed to miss out on decent scoring chances. There is an element of luck in the game, and here it did appear as if they suffered from a dose or two of bad luck. Meantime, Rosalynn and I were the closest contenders, and a right thrilling finish it was. With the last score of the last area in the last round, I found myself as the winner by a point or two from Rosalnn and Sheer. An epic struggle. Based on that, if I ever get the chance to grab a big early lead, I won’t!

We then moved on to R-Eco, a card management game that I either do brilliantly well in, or badly. That night it was my turn to do badly. Laurie wasn’t doing too badly, but Azreil, Rosalynn, and I were definitely struggling. It was no surprise that Sheer won. The rest of us were pretty close to one another in our low scores.

After the others had departed claiming a need to go to bed, Sheer and I played 7 Wonders: Duel. That streak of luck that can seemingly turn a game came my way, as I collected lots of resources and lots of victory points. I was crushing Sheer. Of course, the inevitable happened, and with about half a dozen more cards to go to the end of the game, Sheer picked up enough science cards to claim a scientific victory. I was robbed! Great play by Sheer.

Thanks to all who came for making another great night.

On our way to Timbuktu


After a gap because of my UK trip, we finally had a home game session, with Azriel, Peleg, Roslynn, and Sheer joining me.

Peleg was first and so we did a quick two player game of Hey that’s my fish. Then Azriel and Roslynn arrived and we did a four player game of it.

Finally Sheer turned up, and we moved on to the main event of the night: Timbuktu.  I was the only one who had played it before, so first up was the rules explanation.

In this game, you start with a number of camels loaded with goods. Each round – one per player – thieves steal some of the goods. Each player knows where one of the thieves will strike, and during the round gets to know where two more will be. Also, all players know the potential combinations of where the thieves will be. So, you have to move your camels – with imperfect knowledge – and hope to get to the end of the rout with the most valuable cargo. Your moves are limited, but you can expand your Each good (there are five types) is worth as many points as lost and stolen goods of that type.

Roslynn seemed to get things sorted out the best, and right up until the last round was well ahead. Unfortunately for her, the last round went wrong, and Peleg turned out to be the winner. Tough luck on Roslynn, but well played Peleg. Azriel and I were well behind, and Sheer was neck and neck with Roslynn.

We finished with R-Eco, and Azriel pretty well cleaned our clocks.

Thanks to all who came for contributing to another fine night of gaming entertainment.


The Governor will see you now


This week, Nechamiah, Peleg, Rosalynn, and Sheer joined me for a two game session.

We started with a warm up by way of R:Eco, a card (hand management) game built on a recycling theme. Sheer and Peleg were the contyenders in this one, with Sheer pulling ahead in the last couple of rounds for the win.

It did the job, making us flex our gaming muscles before the main event.

And what a main event it was. We played Puerto Rico, which all of us except Nechamiah had played before. However, he had played San Juan, so was well versed in some of the basics, and he quickly assimilated the rest.  (I was especially impressed by how quickly he got to grips with the different building powers. This was unusually so for a first time player.)

One challenging aspect of Puerto Rico, especially with five players, is that the choices other players make can well and truly sink your bid for victory.

For example, there were several occasions when Peleg lost out because somebody else chose the Craftsman role (to produce goods) in a way that left him short of goods. As another example, there were also several occasions when I lost out, because somebody else chose the Captain role (to ship goods and claim VPs) that scuppered my plans to sell the goods for lots of money. Finally, there were occasions when Sheer lost out, though in his case it was for several different reasons. His usual high level of playing skill just was not delivering the goods, as it were.

You will notice that in the preceding narrative about people losing out, I have omitted Nechamiah and Rosalynn. That’s because, on the whole, they brilliantly avoided being adversely affected by the play going on around them. That translated to a fine second place finish by Nechamiah, and a smashing, crushing win by Rosalynn. Quite an impressive result. Well done to Rosalynn. And commiserations to the rest of us!

Another good night of gaming. Thanks to all who came to help make it so.

Shabbat gaming

"A gun free environment. Sorry Tomer."

“A gun free environment. Sorry Tomer.”

We had a good selection of games and gamers on Shabbat afternoon, running through Star RealmsAlhambra, Suburbia, and several games of R-Eco. 

No takers for Dominion, which was  a bit of a surprise.

A few takers for the Dalmore 15, Dalwhinnie 15, and Auchentoshan Cooper’s Reserve 14, which was not a surprise.




Shavuah Tov, everyone!

PS: I had the Talisker. It was good, too.

A grande session

This week, I welcomed John, Peleg, and Sheer to the regular games session.

John was running slightly behind schedule, so Peleg, Sheer, and I played R-Eco. This short, filler game of card management, has hidden depths, and is a great example of simple and effective game design. It’s also easy, fun, and engaging. Although I was the only one who had played it before to any real extent, neither Peleg nor Sheer had any problems. Thirty minutes later, the game was over, Sheer winning by a small margin.

John joined us for a classic encounter of El Grande. I say classic, but I was the only one who had played it before, and that advantage was too big to prevent me winning. However, Peleg gave it a good go, and was pretty damn close.


El Grande is a game of area control – you get VPs for controlling areas by having the most pieces there – with several great add-ons. For example, you each have a set of cards numbered 1-13 to determine turn order. But you lose each card after you play it, and no player can play the same card as another player in the same round. Getting the right turn order also affects how many pieces you can bring into your starting area. As for taking pieces from your starting area on to the board, that depends on the action card you choose. There are five of these, each with a special action and an allowance of 1-5 pieces to go from your starting area to the board.

There’s also the king piece that determines where you can play pieces, and where you cannot. (Moving the king – done by an action card – is one of the key skills in the game.) And finally, the castille, a wooden tower that scores as an area, and then allows you to send your pieces to one area on the board. Great fun.

Both Sheer and John were soaking up the atmosphere, and getting to grips with the nuances of the system. (Or, to put it another way, they were not always choosing the best scoring moves!) I expect we will play this again, as everyone enjoyed it, and seemed keen to try out a different approach next time around.

After that, we played Dominion. This was a random setup selection that included Militia, Spy, Moat, Market, Village, Library, Council Room, Chapel, and Chancellor (I think) and set up a good, even game.

Sheer got a great Village and Market deck. John and Peleg never seemed to settle on their strategy, and both suffered because some bastard – ie me – played  a lot of Militia.  In the end, my Militia and money strategy paid off, and I was the winner.

With Peleg’s departure, we finished with a three handed game of Take it Easy. Both Sheer and I thought we had done OK, and John was disappointed. Of course, John won… This is another neat filler game. It does not have the depth of others, but is a really fast game, and keeps you involved with every turn.


Thanks to all who came for making another great games night.


This week’s gaming session saw David, Laurie, and Yehuda join me for Power Grid and R-Eco.


For a change, we played Power Grid on the Italy map. After a surprisingly extended discussion about which of the areas on the board to use, we finally decided on the north, and set about the task of building up our grids.

Incidentally, David had not played this before, but Yehuda’s usual, excellent rules presentation got him off to a decent start, and he soon cottoned on.

There is one luck factor in the game: the availability of power plants. Yehuda has a house rule that tempers this somewhat by disclosing the next power grid in the queue. It’s a good rule, but we went without it. Probably the house rule favors the more experienced players, so it helped David not to use it.

Indeed, although Yehuda was doing well, both David and Laurie had built excellent power grids.

In the end, because I could see the game was slipping away from me, I became the kingmaker by triggering the game end when I could not possibly win. That took the victory away from Yehuda and gave it to Laurie, just ahead of David. I gave myself a moral victory having managed – for the first time in a long, long, time – to build a network of 17 cities. OK, so I could only power 7…

After that, a shot of the excellent filler R-Eco which Yehuda used to get back to his winning ways.

Thanks to everyone who made it a good night.

Back to the games


It was great to get back to regular gaming, even if my play suggested I was still (mentally, if not physically) on the other side of the world. David, Peleg, Rochelle, and Yehuda were the nice people welcoming me back. (Thanks!)

First up was the increasingly popular Hansa Teutonica. Yehuda did a refresher of the rules – Peleg was the only first timer – and off we went.

Yehuda streaked ahead, being first to build up the number of actions. He supplemented this by grabbing most of the bonus chits.

I established a decent city bonus that paid up as people built up their actions, but was not otherwise successful.

First timer Peleg, slowly but surely, built up a nice network of cities. He picked the game up quickly, so will be getting no hints, help, or mercy next time around!

Rochelle played the role of spoiler too often. She blocked a lot of routes, and did well in getting her forces on to the table. Unfortunately, she was not able to convert that into points quickly enough.

David was still trying to find his way towards a winning approach here, and probably tried to do too many things. A bit more sharpening of the focus is all he needs.

The turning point in the game was when Yehuda used a bonus chit to bump poor Rochelle’s pieces of a  route that would have claimed the +4 action bonus chit. He then took it, and kept up the pressure by using the actions to immediately snaffle another bonus chit and lost of points. Ruthless.

The rest of us could not keep pace. Well played, Yehuda.

We finished off with a game of R-Eco, with the two card sharks – Rochelle and David – getting their revenge. Peleg, Yehuda and I were down at the bottom of the heap, and Rochelle beat out David for the win.

It’s great to be back!

You play games?


A casual conversation by Sarah-Lee with some of her friends produced the radical revelation: they played games. Some more than others, but they played. And so, this week’s gaming session featured newcomers Erez, Omri and Yoni. Sarah-Lee, Laurie, Susan, Yehuda and I made the numbers up to eight.

Yehuda, Laurie, Erez and Yoni played Lords of Waterdeep. Yehuda was the only one who knew it, and he did his usual excellent job of explaining the rules. From what I saw from the sidelines, it looked interesting and enjoyable, and the players were all focused on the task at hand.

I think it was Erez who said he thought it had not very much to do with Dungeons and Dragons (which is what it says on the box front) but that made no difference. It was just a good game. Yehuda won, but there were smiles all round at the end.

Just out of picture, Yoni,  Erez, and Laurie watch Yehuda stab them all in the back at the same time!

Just out of picture, Yoni, Erez, and Laurie watch Yehuda stab them all in the back at the same time!

Omri, Susan, Sarah-Lee and I played Dominion first. Omri picked it up quite easily, but none of us could match Susan’s play and she won, again. Susan has an amazing winning record at this game. We really must hunt down more of the expansions.


Next the same four played Through the Desert. Again, no problem for Omri. This time I won, though just by a couple of points ahead of Sarah-Lee.

Susan dropped out and Omri, Sarah-Lee and I played R-Eco. Again, Omri did well, In fact, so well that he won!

Thus ended another great night’s gaming. Thanks to all who came.