Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Raanana Session Report

Participants: Abraham, Sara, Jon, Tal, Rochelle, Tanya, Laurie

Rochelle brought another new player, Tanya.


Avraham/Sara 80, Jon/Tal 20 We played only one round of this. The hands were unremarkable and no one called Tichu. I went out last. Laurie arrived midway and looked on.

Ticket to Ride

Sara+, Rochelle, Tanya, Tal

A girl's game of TtR. I didn't see what happened. Here's Abraham:

Rochelle and Tal started off in the middle of the map, with Tanya focusing on the east coast and Sara on the west. Competition for the routes was light, and everyone seemed to finish their original tickets with only a little trouble. Everybody drew more tickets to complete, but no one seemed to draw tickets that fit their existing networks well. Rochelle and Tanya realized near the end that it could be expedient to get points just by claiming routes without relevant tickets. No one completed all of their tickets. Rochelle helped Tal in this regard by blocking one of her needed routes in the final round. Sara got the Longest Route bonus, and Rochelle got the Most Completed Tickets bonus. Sara won, with Rochelle not too far behind in second place.

Stone Age

Avraham 180+, Yehuda 150+, Laurie 110+

I hate dice. Every once in a while I'll play a dice game just to see if my feelings have changed. I find this game dull, except near the end when specific point avenues are calculable. And all because of the dice.

I tried a starvation strategy, and it did pretty well. It would have done even better if a) Abraham didn't specifically thwart me on several occasions taking cards that were ok for him but much better for me, and b) I didn't make a few missteps, choosing higher valued goods only to dump them as resources for cards, anyway. And the set collection mechanic doesn't work; even if you collect the entire set, it's still only 8 points a card - less than the 10 or more points that many other cards provide. And you're not going to get the whole set, because you have to wait for very specific cards as your set nears completion. as opposed to other cards that have many copies.

Abraham adds: After some discussion on what to play, we settled on Stone Age. Laurie, who had never played before, was impressed by the components but was skeptical about the role of dice in this game. Yehuda was willing to play anything, and furthermore, was willing to give Stone Age another chance despite previous bad experiences. Yehuda went for a starvation strategy, while I focused on the food track. Laurie, who was trying to figure out the optimal way to play, was influenced by our strategies and tried an occasional starve strategy while also advancing on the food track, which is not a viable winning strategy.

Yehuda, although sitting in front of me in turn order, often did not choose the options that would gain him the most points as his first choice, to which I would scoop up opportunistically to thwart his plans. This greatly reduced the level of enjoyment for Yehuda, but I view as proper play in any worker-placement game. I won with a score of 180 something with Yehuda roughly 30 points behind in 2nd place. Laurie enjoyed the game, and although Yehuda was agitated by my style of play, seemed content with the feasibility of the starvation strategy.

I was happy that the usual complaints of “whoever rolls the highest wins” did not surface at the end and that my victory was more from choices than chance.

I (Jon) will note that I had a number of good rolls, while Laurie had a few bad rolls as well as a number of poor, wasted choices.


Sara+, Tal

Tal played this with Sara while waiting for us to finish Stone Age.

Abraham: Sara offered to play something with Tal while we were finishing up Stone Age. Tal chose Jaipur because it looked pretty and nice, which it pretty much is. Sara won the first and third rounds, and Tal won the second round. Both the first and third rounds were decided by fewer than five points.

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