Thursday, December 01, 2011

Raanana and Jerusalem Sessions Report


Participants: Daniel, Laurie, Ellis, Peleg, Tal, Jon

Back in the group for the first time in a few weeks. The games are currently held at Laurie and Daniel's house, so that they don't need to get a babysitter.

Finca: This game was set up and being explained as I arrived. Tal's eyes were glazed over, so I took her place. Daniel and Laurie played as a team.

Like the first time I played it, the game feels pastoral and mathematical, despite the pretty board and nice wooden fruit bits over which Laurie sat adoring. I don't mind it - not very high praise, but not damning either - and the calculations aren't that great, unless you want to start calculating what each of your opponents plans to do, which you really should but which I couldn't be bothered. As a result, I lost out on my final delivery.

Daniel and Laurie played slowly, but they also won by over 20 points. I came in last (actually Peleg left mid-game).

Dominion: We played with cards from the base set only, and it wasn't an inspiring set: Moat, Workshop, Bureaucrat, Gardens, Remodel, Thief, Laboratory, Library, Mine, Witch.

Actually, a Thief/Workshop/Gardens combo might have done well. But note that there are no extra buys and only Laboratory gave an extra action, and that only one. I played with the most Labs, with Moats, Gardens, and Remodels. I won by some 6 points over second. Ellis did poorly; I think he needs to play it more.


Participants: Gili, Eitan, Jon, Estzer

My first play at the JSGC in quite some time, I just happened to have to be in Jerusalem on Wed evening. Knowing that Estzer cane from Hungary, I brought her a game that I received from someone while I was in Hungary but which contains no English instructions. I hope she will be able to translate the rules for me (BGG has been no help in this regard).

Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix: I had played this at the Dallas games group on the night before my first BGG.con, and had been interested in picking it up ever since. It's rare to find a mid-weight strategy game that works well for up to six. It worked fine with four, too.

I read the rules briefly, but messed up a few of the rules, without any detriment to the game. For one thing, I allowed people to move cars in any order, rather than in the order listed on the card. This provided more, rather than less decision making, so I don't think it was a bad thing, but also made more cards more useful. I also allowed people to immediately play a movement card together with a switch card and had the switch card expire right before their next turn. Apparently this is a good thing, as none of us would have been willing to sacrifice a turn to play a switch card, otherwise.

I also had the last round give a double payout, bit Eitan (who was leading before the last round) objected to this after the fact, since it makes a lucky swing of events in the last round too punishing.

Our biggest objection to the game was that people whose car had already finished (and sometimes even those whose cars had not finished) had too much kingmaking power on the final results. In the case of players whose cars have all finished, I could solve this by having them play their cards randomly and the cars moved in the order on the card (which is how the game is supposed to be played). However, this doesn't address all kingmaking situations. It remains a flaw in the game, perhaps a small flaw if you go into the game accounting for this.

Otherwise, we all enjoyed the game experience, though I lost very badly. Gili won.

Hearts: I wanted to teach Team Hearts, but it turns out that Estzer hadn't even played Hearts, so it was enough for her to learn just the rules for the regular game. We played two hands; in the second hand we played with teams, but didn't use any particular passing conventions.

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