Sunday, August 18, 2013

Gaming with Steve and Co

My college roommate Steve visited Israel with his wife Miriam and their children. I played a few games with Steve and his boys. They are familiar with old style games, like Avalon Hill, etc, and I used to play a lot of Bridge with Steve.

On the first night I saw him, we played two games of Nefarious. They enjoyed it, but not overly much. Seeing my audience, I taught them Antike. I explained that the game is about points, not only about conquest and battle, but naturally old Risk players are going to start with iron and armies, and so they did. I accumulated a few Know-Hows early, but they caught on and took the rest of them. It was neck and neck for a while. I ultimately won by diversifying to take the low-hanging points, rather than by concentrating on one track, which is slow (though one of them was producing 17 marbles every two turns near the end of the game). Oh, and the game took us to 1:15 in the morning, which was an hour and a quarter more than I wanted to stay up.

Last shabbat we got together again. Since I had to carry games to them in the center of Jerusalem, I brought some light cards games, the usual assortment: No Thanks, Parade, and Tichu. No Thanks went over well and we played twice. One of the boys (my opponent) didn't enjoy Tichu because it required thought. My partner and I lost the first hand 100 to 0, but we won the second 300 to -100 and the third 200 to 0. They also enjoyed Parade and we also played that twice.

Steve and I then walked over to Nadine's, where we also found Emily and Eitan. We played one long game of Hawaii. I taught Steve, and simultaneously refreshed the rules for Eitan and Emily. And, as it turns out, corrected a few rule mistakes that Nadine had been playing with (update from Nadine: One rule wrong!).

I'm still not sure what the best strategy is, especially with five players. Of course, the strategies will vary depending on what is cheap and who else is going for the same things. I generally aim for two boats as soon as possible with some extra foot productions; in this game, I also got extra fruit production. Since only Nadine was competing with me for boats, and since she used them mostly for high victory point islands rather than for the utility tiles that the islands provide, there was little competition for my strategy. I also had three villages with kahunas, a few bonus points for fruits, hula dancers, and boats/surfers, and a bonus of 4 whenever I scored at the end of the round, which I did four times out of five. I was usually second to last place in turn order. I ended nearly 50 points ahead of the other players, who were all within ten points of each other.

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