Monday, June 14, 2010

Games at Keshet Yonatan / Nahal J'ilabun

To the weekend shabbaton with my synagogue, I brought an assortment of games for all occasions: Antike (as a Risk-replacement) and Dominion for the boys, Pit, Scrabble, a deck of cards, and some other light games for the adults, Puerto Rico for Rachel, Nadine, and me.

We didn't get to play all of them, but I didn't expect to.


I've won the respect of the boys enough to get them to try Antike. Thanks to the combat nature of the game and the elegance of the rules, they got into it. I opted to stay out and only guide the turns.

The brilliant rondel was a source of frustration for the boys, who often wanted to get iron, arm, and maneuver all on the same turn, but it was also grudgingly respected already by mid-game. It took them all a while to figure out that points were to be gained from more than just building and moving armies, but the game also elegantly guided them in that direction. So it was all good.

Still, the game played out quite differently from the ones I usually play. For one, one of the boys got beaten down quite badly after neglecting to protect any of his cities. He never recovered from this, but he still said that he liked the game. The boy who did the beating won the game. With his massive number of cities, he spent three turns gaining 6 of each resource, and then a fourth gaining six more cities. After that he built a string of temples and destroyed those of his neighbors.

It all looked ideal, but it was actually very close. One other boy was just a few ships away from destroying two temples on his last turn, which would have given him the victory.


That was all they played. I took a nap, and when I woke up they had managed to find some girls staying in the field school who were willing to follow them around while they all discussed what they should do.


The adults played on Saturday night. With two other non-gamers, I tried Parade, but it didn't go over that well. While Parade has barely any rules, the implications were too confusing for one of the players, and not interesting enough for the other.

Finally, we played two games of Scrabble, one four player and one three player. The four player was a close affair that Rachel might have won if I hadn't brought only the Third-edition Scrabble dictionary with me. The other two players, both non-gamers, were overwhelmed by our modest Scrabble prowess and unfamiliar with any of the ridiculous Scrabble words. Rachel tried to end the game with QI, but the other players wouldn't accept it because it wasn't in the dictionary (it's only in the fourth-edition).

One of the non-gamers played truly pathetically, such as playing an R onto PURE to make PURER, with no bonuses. The other one played better, but had poor racks with lots of I's, and so wanted to try again. He, Rachel, and I played in the second game.

The second game I got ridiculously good tiles, including both blanks, Z, K, X, a few S's and all of the D's. I extended QUOIT to QUOITED, landing on a triple word score, placed TAX onto a triple words score (with the T turning HIS into THIS), and bingoed with a hand containing EGATION; I was looking for an N, but eventually found a free L. Their scores were close to each other (a few points), and I was impressed with his dogged determination.

Pictures and Thoughts

The weekend was lovely, as was the company of my fellow synagogue members.

This was a small pool created from a tributary spring that feeds into the Sea of Galilee.

Around this pool, though not entirely captured in my picture frame, were religious Jews, non-religious Jews, Haredi Jews, Bedouin, Christian Arab, Moslem Arab, and American Christian. Some rode in on dune buggies, some drove in, some hiked in, some smoked, some barbecued, some wore modest clothing, and some wore swim trunks.

The whole scene was a as cosmopolitan Israeli as one could ever expect to see, and it was all unremarkably peaceful and pleasant. Because that's what happens most of the time in Israel.

Rachel, the dolphin. Rachel is swimming 3.5 kilometers across a chord of the Kinneret this Wednesday, to raise money for Sadnat Shiluv.

Sadnat Shiluv encourages maximum integration of special people into the community. It works with children from kindergarten and elementary school until young adulthood. Currently, its only hostel houses six young adults and offers them a place to live, work, study and lead an independent life while being an active part of the Rosh Tzurim community.

Around 100 women will be participating, each of whom must raise at least 2,000 NIS. Rachel's entrance fee was sponsored by my employer, Tech-Tav Writing and Documentation Services.

Some of our synagogue members relax on a hike in Nahal J'ilabun.

Nahal J'ilabun

Nahal J'ilabun

Me (note the flower in the hair)

More pictures on my Facebook profile

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