Shabbat Gaming

The perfect antidote to a three day chag, is a spot of gaming.

We started with Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition, where Peleg trounced us all – but especially last placed me – with a 100+ points in completed tickets.

We then had games of Battleline, Carcassonne, and Dominion: Intrigue on the go at the same time.

Lori and Peleg were all even after two games of Battleline. Susan won the Dominion game against Chaim and Laurie. And Yehuda won a couple of Carcassonne games against Michal and me

And after all that, we had a nice seudah. Great stuff.

Shavuah Tov!

Susan’s winning Shabbat

On Friday night, after a couple of day’s practice with the Star Realms app, I tried the game out for the first time with a live opponent – Susan. It was Susan’s first encounter with the game, but I was not surprised she picked it up, as she is a dab hand at Dominion. It came down to a single turn, but Susan managed to beat me with a great card combination, and that was the end of that.

On Shabbat afternoon, Chain, Peleg, and Yehuda joined us. We played Hansa Teutonica – a first time out for Chaim and Susan – and unsurprisingly Yehuda won. However, I was only a couple of points behind, so was well pleased. It was a tight game. Even Peleg, who probably hates the game, scored well. Chaim was doing well enough, but just lost out through not having maximized his scoring opportunities.

We finished with Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition. Yehuda scored well with the passengers but had low scoring tickets. Susan had a reasonable spread and won the game by a single point from me – despite my almost 80 points of completed tickets. Damn! Noteably, everyone completed all their tickets despite a crowded board.

Definitely a winning Shabbat for Susan.

Showdown time!


Last week’s regular gaming session saw Laurie, Rosalynn, Sheer, and Yehuda join me for a nice duo of games.

First up was Las Vegas Showdown.

Introduced and explained by Yehuda, this is an auction game with a Las Vegas casino theme. You are competing with the other players to fit out your hotel and casino complex with the best combination of money earning, fame earning, and foot-traffic generating attractions. You need slot machines, restaurants, lounges, and other features. And you need to fit them into your area. And you compete for what you and everyone else wants by bidding in an auction over a series of rounds.

On the plus side, it is easy to play, and has some subtle touches. It’s fast, accessible, and certainly challenging enough.

On the down side there is a random element that comes across as being there to satisfy a non existent demand. The random element is a card draw that can penalize or reward some players and not others. It can also affect minimum bids and the type of asset available. I don’t think the game needs it as it stands. In short, the luck element could be curbed and that would improve the game.

Returning to the plus side, the game is a good ‘bridge’ game – one that can be used with non gamers to introduce them to the hobby. Not bad.

After Yehuda won that game, with Rosalynn retiring, we remaining four turned to Ticket to Ride Marklin Edition, a first time experience for Sheer, and Yehuda.

I spent too long trying to get my most difficult ticket sorted out, and although it came reasonably right in the end, the other players had been more effective. I was never really in contention.

Laurie was in a good position, closely shadowed by the others. Sheer could not quite keep up the challenge in the closing stages. Yehuda made one of his rare bad judgement calls and tried to take extra tickets. He couldn’t make them and the penalty drove him down. Without that, he would have won. That left Laurie to claim a good win.

Update: Sheer swears blind that he won. He may be right, and it may be that my memory is fading. On the other hand, this may be a windup. On balance, he’s probably right: Sheer won! Sheer won! Sheer won! Apologies for the malfunctioning memory. I will have a word with the owner.

This is one of the meatier Ticket to Ride versions and is still easy to play. It’s also a good bridge game, but perhaps best for a second or third outing.

A good night (I hope) was had by one and all.

Bang, bang, bang for Ben


After an illness induced absence, it was great to get back to a game session with some of the usual crowd. Before the latecomers staggered in, Amir, Susan, Yehuda and I played a very light, filler game – Formula Motor Racing – which Yehuda doubled on by both hating it and winning it…

With the crew finally assembled, watered, and fed, we split into a threesome (Amir, Ben and Yehuda) playing Puerto Rico and a foursome (David, Laurie, Susan and me) playing Ticket to Ride – Marklin Edition.

All I can tell you about the Puerto Rico game is that Ben – despite totally misunderstanding one of the rules – won. Bang!

That trio moved on to Dominion. Again, being at the far end of the table, my knowledge is limited to that of Ben’s second win. Bang!

The Marklin version of Ticket to Ride has passengers, an extra scoring mechanism. We all developed our own potential scoring routes.

My mistake was going for too many small builds, and allowing Susan to cut me off from Austria. David couldn’t make his mind up about whether to compete with Laurie for the big points available in Berlin. Oh, and he misread one of his tickets. He will really want a second chance to play this. Laurie was doing well, and out in front. She got most of what was on offer in Berlin, and built nice long routes. Laurie was in the lead, and looked good. Susan was her closest competitor.

However, when it came to the final scoring, Susan produced an incredible seven completed tickets for well over a hundred extra points to add to her already hundred plus score. She won by such a huge margin that “won” doesn’t do it justice. She crushed us!

Susan and Yehuda dropped out, leaving Amir, Ben, David, Laurie, and me to finish the night with a game of 7 Wonders.

I started with lots of blue victory points and they kept coming. Amir and David had a good mix, but were both missing a decent Guild card to boost their scores. Laurie, in the last round or two, pulled out a great green and purple combination that served her very well. However, Ben, using his special power to pick one card from the discards, chose one that gave him the win by four. When I reviewed the scores, it was noticeable how close they were. By my reckoning, each of the other players was only one card away from a winning score, so it was a tight, tight, competition. But still, it was also another win for Ben. Bang!

So three wins on the night for Ben, and another for Susan. I am seeking employment as a spectator…

Good stuff, though. I cannot wait for next week.

Losing your way

[Also posted at the Raanana Boardgames Group Site.]

We had eight at this week’s session. One foolhardy group of four – Abraham, Laurie, Ofer, and Yehuda – played the Martin Wallace game Automobile. I was in the other group, so all I can report is: (a) Abraham won; (b) it took a long time; (c) the players seemed to prefer (two of Martin’s other designs) Steam and Age of Industry; but (d) Laurie liked it.

Meantime – in the same time it took for one game of Automobile – Peleg, Rochelle, Susan and I played Ticket to Ride Marklin Edition, Pueblo and Dominion. Peleg was the runaway winner of the railway game. I won Pueblo, and Susan won Dominion by one point from Rochelle (who was playing this for the first time.) Pueblo was the least popular game of the three, though that doesn’t make it a bad game. Certainly, everyone seemed to have a good time, and we are building up useful playing experience of some games that will probably keep appearing on the games table for a wee while yet.

Steaming along

[Also posted at the Raanana Boardgames Group site.]

At this week’s session, the fab four (Abraham, Laurie, Ofer and Yehuda) started off with another game of Steam.  Judging by the table talk, things were fairly tight until near the end, when Yehuda moved into the lead and stayed there and won. Ofer got some revenge for the past misdeeds of others by claiming second place. Just.

However, even with only four players, it was not a fast game, and I am not that excited about it to have to play it again. Certainly I would avoid a five or six player outing at all costs. It’s not only the length of the game I dislike, but the amount of downtime.  Funnily enough, I think I prefer the complexity of Age of Steam over Steam, but doubt it will be faster. Maybe it’s the extra auction in Age of Steam which gives the impression of more player involvement.

Meantime, the top trio of Peleg, Rochelle and I played Ticket to Ride Marklin Edition. This is a neat variation on the TTR base game, with the addition of Passengers. Each player gets three Passengers and they can score points by travelling along routes to pick up points from cities. It’s an easy mechanic to pick up, and the game rattles along. I built a good network and scored the first Passenger with a mountain of points. Unfortunately, Peleg and Rocehlle ignored my strategy, followed their own, and crushed me. Rochelle – who was playing this for the first time – beat me by a barrow load of points. Peleg, did just that little bit better to claim the win.

As the fab four were still steaming along, Rochelle and I played Lost Cities and Battleline (several games) to keep ourselves occupied. Again, these were new to Rochelle, but she seemed to enjoy them. Surprisingly – to me – she preferred Lost Cities, though she had more success with Battleline.