Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gaming with Bro and Co

Just to catch up, last week I played Anagrams with our resident expert, who again wiped the floor with me (and two other players). She's just amazing; she calls out a word., and as she is collecting the tiles she
s already transforming the word into another one.

This weekend I went to my brother's. His kids are still young and insatiable players. Friday night after dinner we played some Progressive Rummy. My mom won. Sat after lunch I taught two of them how to play Thunderstone; they had already played Dominion many times. They are sharper than they look, understanding all the rules immediately, except for how to add the attack values. I suspect that this was due more to laziness than from an inability to understand the rules. I won the first game handily but the second game was closer.

Thunderstone takes a ridiculously long time to set up, and the two games took a long while to play, after which I was pretty much spent. Still, I taught and played a few rounds of No Thanks ( I won the first game handily but the second game was closer), and then a hand or two of three-player Bridge. Around me, kids were playing other card games with various types of decks as well as Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers. I also heard calls for Cosmic Encounter, but we didn't get to it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ticket to Ride 2

On Friday night I introduced another non-gaming family to gaming with Ticket to Ride. I guess I chose TtR over Settlers of Catan because it plays for five, is actually easier to explain, and I sort of like it a bit more now than I used to (still not as much as SoC).

It was a success. I won the game by 8 points by virtue of having the longest route, and because one of the other players couldn't complete a 20 point ticket.

This morning I got a text from them asking me where to buy the game in Israel (unfortunately, I don't think you can right now; even if you can, it's almost twice the retail price, which is three times the store price in the US).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ticket to Ride

Tal, Saarya, and I took our annual pre-Passover mini family vacation last weekend. We vacation before Passover because the rest of Israel vacations during Passover and everything is too crowded. Also, during Hol Hamoed there js Games Day, and I usually work the rest of the time.

We stayed at Nuriel Fruit and Guest Rooms in She'ar Yashuv. The place is run by Miriam, a friendly and helpful woman who tries hard to accommodate your every need. She doesn't serve any meals (no breakfast), but she will give you milk, the rooms come with tea and coffee, and you can pick fruit from her trees. We picked a dozen grapefruit, and Tal squeezed them into juice for us to drink over the weekend.

She'ar Yashuv is a small moshav a few meters from the Banias spring. You can walk from the moshav upstream past Snir and to the falls, which is one of the prettiest in Israel. I'm pretty sure you used to be able to swim in and around the falls, but there are no swimming signs everywhere now. You can walk out the front gate of the moshav to Tel Dan, which is nearly across the street. It's a short drive to Kiryat Shemonah.

The moshav's synagogue is small, and there was only barely a minyan on Sat morning. One interesting thing about the synagogue is that the parochet has the usual gold and silver threaded stitching, but in addition to depicting symbols of the tribes of Israel they show two helicopters, in commemoration for the 1997 helicopter crash that occurred right above the moshav.

On Thursday we stopped for dinner at El Rancho, a nice restaurant that was way overpriced (but we used a groupon for half off). Friday we bought groceries and ready made food in Kiryat Shemonah for the rest of the trip. Then we visited the Banias springs and falls.

Friday night we played Ticket to Ride, our first time playing the game together. I think Tal and Saarya had both played the game at friends' houses. Tal nearly didn't complete any tickets, but she finally managed to sneak a route through the center of the map. I picked what I thought would be a series of tickets that, after completion, would lend themselves to matching at least one new ticket when I came around to drawing new ones. Alas, only one of the new tickets came even close, and I still have to build two routes (4 and 5) to get it.

Saarya fared better in his new ticket draw and even drew new tickets a second time. He ended up not completing one of the final tickets he drew, but he still won the game. We were all within 15 points of each other with Saarya leading with 125 points or so.

The next day we mostly slept. Tal beat me in a game of Gin Rummy. I think I called Gin once.

Sat night we drove Saarya back to his base (he had to be back on Sat night, for some reason) and headed home, taking  home three soldiers from Saarya's base who were headed our way.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Vacation Plans

Saarya, Tal, and I are heading up to the north Galil and Golan for the weekend for a little r and r: hiking, dinner, B and B, etc. Saarya is out for the week, but has to be back on base near Metullah on Sat night (seems odd to me, but that's the army for you).

Games Day in Jerusalem is the first day of Hol Hamoed, Wed Mar 27.

Tal and I can do some travelling in November. I am strongly considering BGG.con as part of my travels, but I'm not 100% sure yet. We can pretty much go anywhere in the world that we want for a week or two. I would love to go somewhere where we can stay with someone (giving us a local contact for ideas of what to do and saving on hotel expenses). Other than that, the world is our oyster.


My vacation style does not involve relaxing, nor tourist or historical attractions (ok, if I went to Paris, I don't think I could pass up seeing the Louvre). I like to meet people, walk down side streets, hike near forest/water, browse country craft shops and garage sales, sit in cafes, take pictures of the street signs, meet local gamers, listen to live music and watch live theater. And I need access to kosher non-dairy food.