BKOA Games Night

Saved for another occasion

With the help of Peleg and Sheer, I hosted a games night for Beit Knesset Ohel Ari. I had no idea what the response would be, and while I would always prefer more people to come along and play games, those who did come appeared to have a good time. (I am open to correction, folks…)

“This is a game of survival!”

We started things rolling with The Walking Dead to get everyone into the mood. After counting up the bullets we had one survivor: Helena. A fine win to start the session.

After that we split into smaller groups.

Splendid action with Splendor

Sheer hosted Shelley and Stuart and Rosalynn. He led them through one game of Splendor (won by Rosalynn) and then Reibach and Co (won by Sheer).

This was a well fought game

Peleg hosted Emma, Naomi, Azriel, and Nechamia. He led his merry crew through Ticket to Ride Europe. Although Peleg won on points, we awarded the win to Naomi because it felt right. Emma picked up a prize for – I think – trying to complete the longest route in a five player game of Ticket to Ride, a tough, tough challenge.

Decisions, decisions

Meantime, I hosted Richard, Laurie, and Helena. At this table we played Alhambra. We had a bonus because Richard was able to give us some of the secret Jewish history of the real Alhambra. Absolutely fascinating. Unfortunately, I won according to the rules of the game, but I awarded the prize to Laurie.

Some happy prizewinners

That was it. Good fun (I hope) and a chance to spread the word: playing games is great!

Count the money!


This week, Susan and I were joined by Azriel, Nechamiah, Peleg, and newcomer Yair.

Yair was a latecomer (by arrangement) so the first five of us settled down for a quick game of Ticket to Ride: Europe. Peleg won this, but it was a close, close game, with everyone within one or two scores of one another. Great stuff.

Yair joined us, Susan departed, and we tackled Acquire. Peleg and I had played it before, so I explained the rules and off we went. It didn’t take long for players to understand what was going on, though by then most had lost track of who bought what shares.

I had a reasonable idea that I was doing well, especially when I secured the biggest shareholding in the biggest chain. When it came to the final counting of the cash, Nechamiah was closest. Then he recounted and discovered he had more money, so he was the winner. (Yes, I recounted my own money too, but my pile did not grow!)

We finished with a session of Codenames that we called after one round apiece to the respective teams.

Thanks to all who came for another good night of gaming.


Goodbye John


Bittersweet night as Amiram, Peleg, Sheer, and I said goodbye to John as he prepares to return to home back in the USA. He’s been terrific company, and we will miss his ever pleasant disposition. But we live in hope that he will return.

So far as the games are concerned, here’s what happened.


We started with No Thanks (aka Geschenkt) which is a handy light filler in which you try to avoid collecting cards by paying coins. Unfortunately, you only have a limited number of coins. John and Sheer struggled with the idea, first time around, and I won quite comfortably.


Then onto a favorite, Ticket to Ride: Europe. Sheer pulled off a surprise sudden ending of the game that smashed any chances Amiram, Peleg, and I had. However, John’s completion of an incredible ten tickets meant he was right up there. It was only the longest route bonus that edged Sheer ahead so he could claim the win.


Next up, Ivanhoe. This was new to everyone except me, but it is not a difficult game and play was soon well under way.  The highlight was seeing Peleg race ahead to three tokens. (Four are needed for the win.) Then, in a stroke of genius, John changed the color of the combat round so that Peleg’s fourth win was invalid because he already had the color. That stroke, however, allowed Sheer to win. Everyone – except me – was in with a chance, and there was a lot of laughter round the table as fortunes ebbed and swayed.

Finally, back to No Thanks. This time John managed to avoid buying too many cards and so won his final game in the group. Way to go, John. It’s been fun having you in the group.

And goodbye.



This week’s session started with Amiram, Sheer, Susan, and I engaged in a game of Dominion: Intrigue. (Susan generously dropped out part way through to allow John to play.) We used one of the recommended sets, but probably did not play it to its full potential, as we shied away from over using the sharp attacking cards.


Amiram built up a lot of money, but took too long to buy Victory Point cards. I was in much the same boat. John got into a bit of a rhythm and seemed to be doing well. However, Sheer was doing that little bit better, and he claimed the win. Well done, Sheer!

Sheer then repeated his success, this time around with Ticket to Ride: Europe. John, Sheer, and I all had big ticket scores, and Amiram missed out on those. He had done well on on board scoring, but had taken a couple of tickets he could not complete.

Last up was Reibach & Co. This was a return to classic fun, and after a rapid game, John was the winner. Well done, John!


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

Acquiring a win


This week’s session saw newcomer Amiram, John, Sheer, and Yehuda join Susan and me for a varied night of gaming encounters.

While I waited for Yehuda, I setup Amiram, John, Sheer, and Susan to play the classic Ticket to Ride: Europe.

Amiram was the only one completely new the game, but he picked it up well, and wasn’t that far away. Poor John, who had played the app version was rather cut up by the human players in the real game! Susan had the most tickets completed, but Sheer’s combiantion of tickets and longest network meant he was the winner.

Yehuda and I played Netrunner and Tash-Kalar while the others finished off their Ticket to Ride game. We scored one win apiece.

Susan retired, and the remaining five of us played Acquire. I think both Amiram and John were new to this game, but again both picked it up well. Indeed, John did so well I think he finished second, with Amiram, Sheer, and Yehuda close behind. But I got the win. (Don’t ask me why, but there are some games I know I will do well at, no matter what. Acquire is one of them.)

Thanks to all who came for helping make the night great fun.

Shabbat Gaming

Susan and I introduced some novices (Avi, Sharon, Brian, and Adelaine) to gaming with a post Shabbat meal session of Ticket to Ride. I ran the game – dealt with the rules, help, and so on – but did not play. That made things go a wee bit faster.

Susan won, but just. What was gratifying was the apparently positive response. At the start, complaints about complexity and fear of the rules. At the end, complaints about strategies not working and fear of not getting finished! So, there may be more gaming recruits for future sessions.

Shabbat gaming

Not a good hand!

Not a good hand!

Over Shabbat, Susan and I introduced Shosh to Ticket to Ride: Europe. We setup at one end of the hotel lounge, with Susan rearranging the furniture to prove to me there would be enough space under the less than brilliant light.

The other handicap was the waitress who delivered Susan’s tea by depositing it slap bang on the game board…complete with saucer stain. Thankfully, a quick wipe with a napkin, and both the board and my state of mind were restored to some semblance of order.

Shosh picked up the game quickly enough, and motored her way through her supply of trains, bringing the game to an earlier end than I would have liked. Unfortunately for Shosh and me, Susan was continuing her fine run of form, and with several completed tickets ran out a winner by a decent margin. But the next time…

Long route home


This week’s session started with Amir, Susan and I playing Dominion, while Ben and David warmed up with Battle Line.

Susan has been unbeatable at Dominion, and her winning streak continued in this game. All Amir and I could do was watch… Meantime, David won at Battle Line.

Laurie joined us, Susan dropped out, and we turned to 7 Wonders. Last time out, newcomer Amir won a novice victory. This time, unfortunately, it was not to be.  Ben, David and I were outclassed by Laurie who won by a big margin with a blue (victory card) strategy, backed up by a couple of great Guild cards.

Amir left us to get ready for his early start, leaving Ben, David, Laurie and myself to enjoy a cracking game of Ticket to Ride: Europe.

David insisted on drawing cards blind. He kept picking up locomotives (wild cards). He was so successful at doing this, at one point he held a near monopoly and severely curtailed the other players’ building efforts.

David also said he was doing this to mimic my strategy, as seen in previous games. Well, I can only say that my strategy did not include picking up so many flipping locomotives. At least, I was never that successful!

Ben was quietly sticking to the task at hand. He didn’t know it, but some of his route building made things trickier for me in the bid to build the routes I wanted.

Twice in succession – for the 8 and 6 train routes – I decided not to build routes, but get some spare cards in case the tunnel draw went against me. And on each occasion, Laurie seized the day and grabbed the damn thing ahead of me.

So, Laurie was doing well, and I was falling behind. However, when the end of the game arrived and we totted up everything, Ben had won a fine victory. It was a very tight game. Ben won the longest route bonus by only a whisker. If anyone else had claimed that bonus, they would have won instead of Ben. David’s decision to take an extra ticket almost gave him the win. Again, he just missed out on the longest train bonus. Laurie had been stymied by a shortage of locomotives (ahem) and yellow cards.

It was a good win, and a great contest. Well done Ben!

Thanks to everyone for coming. As usual, I was buzzing at the end and struggled to get to sleep. If only I had played…

To your stations


This week’s gaming session started with Dominion (Amir, David, Susan and I) and Battle Line (Laurie & Rochelle). I don’t know who won the Battle Line, but Susan – again – reigned supreme in Dominion.

Then all six of us played 7 Wonders. Amir was the only one who had not played it before. Did he pick it up quickly? Well, in a sort of tradition, he became another first time player that won. Impressive. Rochelle had probably been in the best position to break the tradition, but was one card away at the end. Laurie and Susan did OK. I was well in last place. What about David?

Ben arrived too late to join in the next game, so David showed off his multi-tasking skills by playing 7 Wonders and Battle Line (with Ben) at the same time. He also came quite close in 7 Wonders, so maybe he regrets playing two at the same time.

Susan and Amir dropped out then, one to take up knitting, the other to get to bed in preparation for an early start the next day…

The remaining 5 of us played Ticket to Ride (Europe). Rochelle easily scored the most tickets, but not enough points. I regret to report that I won this.

Thanks to all for coming. A great night. I just need to figure out a way to beat Susan at Dominion!

The magnificent seven

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

Guess how many were at this week’s session? (Sorry. No prize for the right answer.)

Before everyone arrived, Peleg, Yehuda, and I played Geschenkt (aka No Thanks!). Fun, fast, light, and a win for me. Hooray!

Then the seven were a four and a three. (I’m a dab hand at arithmetic.)

The fab four – Laurie, Peleg, Rosalynn, and Yehuda – tackled Puerto Rico. All except Peleg had played it before, but I rather fancied him to enjoy it. One key skill in the game is deciding what role to take when it’s your turn, and that is an opportunity to damage to your opponents. However, it didn’t connect with Peleg and he struggled a bit. A shame. Laurie seemed to be doing well, and Rosalynn was certainly enjoying herself as she had worked out how to get a nice production line going. Inevitably though, master gamer Yehuda won. Well done, Yehuda.

Meanwhile, the terrific trio – Judy, Shuli, and I – played Ticket to Ride: Europe. It was a first time experience for Judy and her route planning was less than successful. But, she did revel in blocking me in the later stages of the game, so I suspect any replay would be a different situation completely. Shuli completed her routes, but wasn’t ambitious enough, so her scoring was hampered. Regrettably, this was a situation where my extensive experience of playing the game was enough to give me a win.

After some retirals, the last game was Ticket to Ride: Nordic. This was a chance for revenge which Peleg grabbed with both hands, racking up a fine win. Well done, Peleg.

Thanks to me for hosting!