Sunday, October 31, 2010

Four Games and a Funeral

We had Abraham and Sara over for the weekend. At the same time, Nadine invited several local gamers for a gamers' lunch. So the weekend was filled with games.


Friday night after dinner, Abraham and I played against Nadine and Sara. Sara had played two hands prior to tonight's game, and she was iffy on the game. She got into it tonight and enjoyed it.

I'm seen as a better Tichu player in these parts, so Nadine joked that her team would only need 500 points to win while we needed 1000. We took a commanding lead with me making two Tichus and a double down hand, starting us off at 540 to 60. Soon it was 810 to 90.

Then a strange thing happened. Nadine, who has probably only called Tichu two times ever, called Tichu three times straight. In the first two hands, she and Sara went double down both times, giving them +600 points. Now it was 810 to 690. Unfortunately, she missed her third Tichu (I had almost called it, but I was lacking one round's control). I then had an embarrassingly good hand, with all four aces, two kings, two queens, and the Dragon. In the final two rounds, we finished them off.


Emily and Eitan had never played this, and I was happy to teach them. Abraham and Bill joined us. Abraham has a history of aggression in this game that does not actually lead to his winning.

I ended up as Greece in the middle of the board and first player. I nearly always start with gold or marble, but this time I started with iron to see what would happen. Since it was a five player game, I was a little more concerned with space. Everyone diversified nicely over the next few rounds (Emily and Bill shadowed each other for a while).

This is another game at which I tend to do well, sometimes winning by three or four points. In this game I was sweating a lot harder. The Know-hows were shared by all the players and the others were keeping pace with me. At one point, I was one point behind. Oh no! Luckily, not for too long.

I pulled ahead by building a third temple and leaping two levels in sailing (for one point), which made my massive fleet now in range of several temples. I would have left conquering a temple for the final point I needed, but Abraham built too many ships too close to me, and I didn't trust him not to attack me. I took out most of his ships and one of his temples. After that I only needed one more point to win and I didn't care what the others did to my cities. I was one or two rounds from winning in either of several different paths. The others could have delayed me if they had made a concerted effort, but that would have left the field open at random to any of the other players and they still could not necessarily have gained two points before I got my last. Scores: 7 to 5, 5, 4, 4.

Castle Panic

I didn't play this, so I can't tell you about it. However I head Nadine enjoying herself. She apparently likes cooperative games. Castle Panic can be played as straight cooperative, cooperative with a single winner, or one against the rest, so it offers some flexibility with regards to taste.


Played after shabbat with Abraham and Sara. This is a game that Abraham and I like, but the others don't so much.

Abraham appeared to be pulling away rather sharply with the intermediary points. It was hard, but I managed to cut some of his islands off from him. Although I could see that Sara and I were on larger islands near the end, I feared that it wouldn't be enough to catch him.

In the end, however, we all ended up with 30 points. Abraham won on the tie, for having used less dinosaurs.

The Funeral

I'm pretty sure that there were several hundred people there, and by several I don't mean 2 or 3, more like 6 or 7. We packed the hesped hall, out into the parking lot,. People stood outside around the sides of the building trying to hear through the windows.

The hespeds didn't start until 10:15 or so, and several Rabbis, friends, and relatives spoke. Frankly, I think three hespeds is sufficient, and could have done without a few of them. The most important were the first - a young Rabbi who knew RivkA well (forgot his name) - and her brother, father, and husband. Moshe (the husband) spoke with a mix of anger, grief, shock, and loss. You had to have had a hard heart not to have been shedding tears by the end. He could have gone on for some time, too.

Near the very end, someone - I think responsible for the funeral hall, but possibly a member of another funeral party - accosted us to tell us that we're taking too long and have to leave. Apparently another funeral was scheduled for 10:30, and it was now already 11:20. As it was late, crowded, and threatening to rain, I didn't stay for the actual burial.

I must have seen 1/3 of the people I've ever met from my twenty years in Israel at that funeral. From every walk of life, from every disparate circle, from current friends and acquaintances to people I haven't seen in ten years. And we couldn't really socialize. It was like a room full of random Facebook friends.

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