Tal asked to play Scrabble in the evening, which is odd, as she is not strong on vocabulary or spelling, yet. But she wanted to play without points, just words. I played for style.
The next day we played Colossal Arena, because she was bored and because I wanted to try it out. It was a first play.
Knizia has made yet another simple game of choices. Do you play a card for a secret bid or use it for the battle? Do you play early and risk having your creature's strength lowered, or play later and risk the round ending before you play at all?
The game didn't seem to work so well two players; it ended in a tie, and most likely would do so again. The problem is that there are not enough bidding and scoring opportunities in the game; only five bids per person. That's probably ok for a four or five player game, but not so much for a two player game.
It's hard to tell if there is any strategy in the game or if it is all simplistic tactics. Definitely worth a few more tries. Also, we screwed up on the spectator cards; these should really say "Spectator" on them, somewhere, but they don't. I don't know why not.
In the afternoon I also played Puerto Rico with Rachel, and then we played another game later at night. I won the first game 54 to 53, and she won the second 63 to 59. In the first game I got out a strong Large General Workhouse/Factory combo; it doesn't always work, but when it does, it works nicely. In the second, I didn't get the LGW, and I'm still not sure how I lost, although Rachel's Large Business definitely hurt.
So many Jews go to shul only one day a year on Yom Kippur. I definitely recommend that if you only go one day a year, go on Simchat Torah. ST is a great combination of singing, dancing, wildness yet holy joy, everyone getting called up to the torah, kiddush in the middle of davening, and a fervent yet beautiful prayer for rain.
For our sixth hakaffah, we all dance out of the shul and down the street to the Sephardi shul. Some segments of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews have had their differences over the course of Israeli history (none violent, thank God), but on Simchat Torah we burst into their shul with our torahs, singing and dancing. They carry ours (cloth covered and held by stick rollers), we carry theirs (covered by a large wooden round box), and we dance and sing together. We kiss each other, shake hands, shout our songs (e.g. "The Holy One, Blessed be He, we love you!" - repeat x 60), and then return to our own shul again.
It's a sweet thing. While we carry the torahs back and forth in the street, we dance and sing around them, as King David danced and sang when the holy ark was first transported to Jerusalem.
P.S. Havel Havelim is a blog carnival about Israel and Judaism, and the latest one is up here and here. Some nice links to other blog posts of Jewish and/or Israeli interest.