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.

The infamy of alchemy


This week, I was joined by Azriel, Peleg, and Sheer, and we started off with a couple of games of Alchemy, one of the Dominion expansions sets that none of us had played before. We used two recommended deck setups with the basic Dominion cards.

In the first game (without Peleg, as he arrived late), it was a tussle between Azriel and Sheer, with me trying to keep out of the way (unsuccessfully). Azriel was gifting Sheer and me tons of Curse cards. Meantime Sheer used the Possession card to steal the benefit of several turns of mine for his own use. It was no surprise that this nasty, nasty card was responsible for him edging out Azriel. Even Sheer didn’t like the card. Well done Sheer!

We had better luck with the second set, with Peleg now joining in. The scores were much more even, though Azriel’s combination had done enough to get him the win. Well played Azriel!

The cry went out for a short game to finish, so we played Take It Easy! Azriel hadn’t played before, but quickly picked it up to get a decent score. Sheer doesn’t do well at this game for some strange reason, and he played true to form. Peleg did well, but lost out to me. Sorry Peleg. It was close.

Thanks to the three guys for another great games night.

“Intrigue, intrigue. Will we ever get to out-trigue?”

Sorry about the headline. I was feeling in a stupid mood. I have this damn cough, and it is energy sapping to the point of frustration and beyond. Anyway, can you guess what game we played this week?


Nechemiah, Rosalynn, and Sheer came along, and we played Dominion: Intrigue, San Juan, and Take it Easy.

Dominion: Intrigue

While Nechemiah and Rosalyn await their own copy of Dominion to arrive, they have been keen to get up to speed with the game mechanics. So, both were glad to play, even although this has a completely different set of action cards. They did reasonably well, but were hindered by one or two rookie mistakes. Sheer built himself a great deck, allowing him to play all his cards every turn, and generate enough money. But it was only one buy per turn, and he was a few turns behind. I stuck to a mix of money and simple action cards. I had a decent lead, and although Sheer cut it back, he could not quite catch up.

San Juan

Another popular game, with everyone being familiar with it. We all went our own sweet way in trying to amass the right cards, but Sheer’s combination of 6 point cards was too strong for us all.

Take it Easy

Two quick games of this were the closing action. In one I drew and called the pieces. In the other, Sheer drew and called the pieces. I got lucky and won both games.

Thanks to my three guests for making it another pleasurable gaming evening.


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.

Taking it really easy [updated]


Sheer and I kicked off this week’s session with a friendly game of Star Realms. (Friendly meaning I let him win…) It was a close match with both of us down to about 10 points of Authority (life) before he struck his dastardly killer blow. As I said, it was a friendly game…

Moving rapidly on…we started our main game when Laurie and Yehuda arrived. Previously, we had been playing a lot of Amerigo. In this week’s session we switched games, but kept with the discovery theme by playing Endeavor.

This is a worker placement game with the usual central challenge: too many things that you want to do, and too few workers (or actions) to get them done.

My black pieces had been attacked, but a few survivors held on.

My black pieces had been attacked, but a few survivors held on.

Unusually for me, I had paid attention to previous winning strategies used in the game by Yehuda and others. That stood me in good stead as I slowly, but steadily, built up my score.

Yehuda, surprisingly, seemed to lose his way mid game. He claimed it was because I had attacked him, but I only took one card from him. OK, maybe two… His strategy was to focus on buildings, and I thought it meant he had less flexibility. He thought otherwise, but I don’t expect him to repeat the strategy.

Yehuda's board, just before the final round. Good, but not good enough.

Yehuda’s board, just before the final round. Good, but not good enough.

I’m not sure what Laurie’s strategy was, except to stab me in the back to no good effect. Usually such loses throw me off track, but I avoided cheap shots at revenge and stuck to my plan. In the end, I think Lori scored well enough on cards, but elsewhere rather lost out.

My board lacked decent buildings.

My board lacked decent buildings.

Well, if I had been paying attention, Sheer had gone one better and taken notes. His strategy was to steal, I mean take, as many bonus chits as he could. He was very focused and easily squeezed the rest of us out. Pretty soon, his position was very strong, and he reinforced it. In the end, he won by ten points ahead of me. Yehuda and Laurie fought for the bottom two places with Laurie claiming the wooden spoon.

We finished the session with a couple of rounds of the simple and fun Take it Easy. [Updated] Sheer and I won one apiece. Yehuda and I won one apiece.

Another good night. Thanks to all who came.

Session Report – 24 May 2011

First there were four

Take It Easy

Moshe, Shlomi, Peleg and I started the night with a game of Take It Easy, a light, easily accessible, tile playing game. The newcomers took to it well and Peleg and I were well beaten; Shlomi finished ahead of Moshe.

Then there were six


Abraham and Laurie joined us for a shot at the classic Medici. My first round was a disaster and I never recovered. Shlomi was in the same boat as me, just not quite as bad. Peleg worked away quietly, but in the last round lost out to some quietly effective play by Laurie and Moshe. These two finished second equal, with Abraham’s well-timed move taking him into the winning position. Well played Abraham. (He even had time to explain to Laurie about her options in one turn, which were to his detriment. Kol hakavod.)

We played another Knizia game: Formula Motor Racing which saw Shlomi win the first race, ahead of Abraham. Moshe won the second race ahead of Peleg. Overall joint winners were Moshe and Shlomi with Abraham and Peleg not that far behind.

Then there were five

Peleg had to leave at this point. Last up was Metro, a deceptively easy tile laying game that can also be cruel and unforgiving. Abraham and Moshe got into a bit of a tussle for the lead, but were so busy concentrating on each other, they forgot about everyone else and ended up last equal! Laurie and I managed a respectable score, but were well beaten by Shlomi. Well done, sir!

A good night’s gaming. Superb.