Sunday, July 28, 2013

Shabbat Gaming / New Rule For It's Alive

I spent shabbat with my good friends David and Yael. Shira, their nine year old daughter, was also home. David is a semi-regular at the Jerusalem game group.

We started the evening with Shira telling me that she wants to play a great game with me that she has called It's Alive; she went goggly-eyed when I told her I had created it. We played the basic game after dinner with a new rule change:

The following new rule is an official variant for the game of It's Alive, and will be the standard rule in any new editions. On your turn, you can - instead of buying, selling, or auctioning the top card of the deck - buy a card from someone else's graveyard directly to your board. It costs the buy value + the sell value of the card. You can pay this cost using any combination of cards and/or coins. I.e.:

Card valueCost from grave

This replaces the entire double step procedure of first paying to bring the card to the center of the table and then buying, selling, or auctioning the card.

In the basic games, this means that cheap cards are nearly always bought from graveyards, and expensive ones more frequently. In the advanced game I suspect that duplicate cards will be auctioned more frequently and expensive cards fetched from graveyards more frequently.

We played the basic game and Shira won.

After this, David and I drafted Magic cards before bed. The next day we played with our decks. I had to play three colors and I was feeling pretty vulnerable with my deck because it had nothing against fliers except for a Serrated Arrows. I lost the first game quickly because I didn't draw more than two lands. But I won the next two games with one of those level up white guys who gives all of your other creatures +1/+1 . David didn't get many fliers out, and the one that he got out I killed with the arrows. So I basically won because I had the big white guy; when I drafted it, it was choice between him and an equipment that you could use to tap an equipped creature for any color mana.

We drafted again and played again, and this time I lost two games, both with large buildups, and once again I had nothing to take out his fliers.

On shabbat morning before lunch, Shira taught me Thirteen, a game that we played with a whole mess of cards from various decks, though I suspect that it should be played with two standard decks of playing cards. Shuffle both decks, including the jokers. Each player gets thirteen random cards face down in ordered slots, numbered one to thirteen. The first player picks a card and places this card face up in the slot corresponding to the card value (A is one, K is thirteen), then reveals the card that was face down in that slot. He goes again using the newly revealed card. This continues until he reveals a card that corresponds to a slot that is already revealed. He then discards the unusable (for him) card. In case you didn't notice this part of the game is exactly like the solitaire game Clock.

The second player takes the discard if he needs it and proceeds the same way. Otherwise, he draws from the top of the deck and proceeds the same way. Play continues this way until one person has finished his board. He sets aside the last revealed card to use in place of a draw on any later turn that he desires. He shuffles all of his cards in with the deck and the discard pile, deals out twelve cards (one less than the previous round) and continues. If he draws or reveals a King, he can't play it obviously.

This continues until a player has only one card left and then completes his board, whereupon he wins. Jokers can used for any card, and if you draw a card that goes into a slot with a face up joker, you can replace it and reuse the joker somewhere else.

There are two choices in the game. 1) when to use a card you set aside from a previous round. 2) where to place a Joker, the significance of which depends - very slightly - on what cards your opponent has already revealed. These choices are not significant.

Shira won, with some jokers to spare.

Later in the day we all played Cities and Knights of Catan. Shira needed some help understanding the cards and occasionally deciding where to place roads and settlements. She won this, too.

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