Sunday, July 26, 2009

Shabbat Gaming


Yael is a friend of mine and my wife's for multiple reasons. She's brilliant, beautiful, creative, and charismatic. She recently published a fantastic book that took ten years of research: Nehama Leibowitz: Teacher and Bible Scholar.

And she's also been a Settlers of Catan fanatic for the last five years or so, ever since I introduced her to the game. For a long time she didn't want to play any other games; she would only play SoC with her friends on the other side of town, and didn't come to the game group. Only recently I've gotten her to try Amun Re, which she also liked and which she asked to play Friday evening after dinner.

Unfortunately, I don't actually have a copy of the game, and it was only two of us and late (Rachel went out to walk the dog). So we played Anagrams. She was good, which is good.

Anagrams and Set are two games that I'm pretty good at, sometimes too good at. I don't like to win either of these two games by too much, as it's discouraging to play them unless you feel like you're playing with a reasonably matched opponent. If I'm winning by too much, I will sometimes slow down a bit and let my opponent catch up. I didn't have to do that with Yael.

Only these two games, really; maybe sports, too. I think it's because they're straight measurable ability based games that hit a certain area of the brain. After it's clear that you're faster than the other person in that particular area, there's really no point in continuing.

Of course, I've also met people who can beat me in either of these games; I don't mind that at all.

By the way, Yael is - incredibly - still single. Time's a-wasting, guys.

Robo Rally

I had promised to introduce Tal's friend Nechemia to a board game, and Nadine also stayed after lunch. Robo Rally was the right length of time and weight for the occasion.

I chose a simple board with a few tricky spots, and three flags. I was liberal with "reprogramming" in the first the rounds, and we played with infinite deaths and no options. It was a little repetitive, but still quite fun.

Nechemia won without ever getting a single point of damage, as he took a slightly different route than the rest of us did. Silly and fun game, if it doesn't go on too long.

Puerto Rico

Nadine, Rachel, and I played our final game before Rachel leaves for the US (Rachel will still be here two more shabbatot, but we won't be able to play on them). I switched Small Market's and Construction Hut's costs.

Playing third player, I had to decide whether to spend 2 for Small Market on round 1 phase 2. I opted to pass in favor of Construction Hut, which I would otherwise never buy. Nadine, as first player took Indigo Plant.

Round 2 then went rather crazy. Rachel took builder again, and Nadine took Small Market with her manned quarry. I took Craftsman and Nadine left me both Trader and Captain for round 3 with two coins. I took Trader and felt like I now had a decent start.

I got a coffee monopoly, and never produced more than 1 coffee and 2 corns the entire game. Nadine had tobacco, Small and Large Markets, and Discretionary Hold. Rachel had Small Market, Small Warehouse, and lots of the three cheaper goods.

My strategy was to trade coffee and build quickly. I ended three big buildings.

Last move of the game, I had to decide whether to man my third big building and also Nadine's only big building. It would give me 5 points, but I didn't know how much it would give Nadine. Or, I could take Settler and a plantation for 2 bonus points (for Fairgrounds). I opted to man the buildings.

Final scores: me 45, Rachel 43, Nadine 42 . If I hadn't manned the buildings, final scores would have been: Rachel 43, Jon 42, Nadine 38.

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