This week’s long run: clear skies, birds and unbearable heat

Started out earlier than last week, because of the heatwave we’re experiencing now, but still had a hard time running, especially during the last kilometer. Last night’s 5k was also difficult, as it was super humid outside. Breathing water while running is no fun at all.

Started out a little after 6:00 AM, to clear blue skies.

Since I set out earlier than last week, I did get to see some birds out and about. This little egret is a Tel Aviv Port regular, waiting for unlucky fishermen to throw it their little fry.

Near the halfway point I saw a hoopoe, with its unmistakable crown, poking around the grass for insects. It’s our national bird, which is a bit funny, since hoopoes generally migrate to Israel on during the summer.

8 km done and dusted. I had to stop a lot, drink a lot of water, and stop twice to top up my water bottles from water fountains, it was so hot. I’m pleased I got my run in, but I can’t wait for cooler weather. It’s only the beginning of July and the blast furnace that is August still lies ahead… 😅

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This week’s long run: clear skies, birds and unbearable heat

7 Wonders Duel: A Board Game Review

Finding board games that are great for two players is more difficult that you’d think. Two player games tend to have very simple gameplay, as trading, cooperating and complex card tactics are difficult to build into a game for just two. This is especially pronounced in games that are two players or more. They either don’t have special rules for two player gameplay, and then you’re sure for a duller game than a four player game, or they create complex “dummy” players or partial decks that end up never really simulating a multiplayer game. The game ends up not being as fun.

7 Wonders“, a wonderful strategy board game, has a two player ruleset that makes use of dummy players. It doesn’t work great. The trading element is huge in this game and just doesn’t work with two players, and the game becomes much less complex when you only have another player’s strategy to worry about. You end up spending most of your time thwarting the other player, or just trying to barrel your way into as many easy points as possible. Red and green cards take the biggest hit out of this kind of gameplay. That’s a shame, because the game is gorgeous, very clever, and very fun and interesting to play, especially if you enjoy strategy games.

So I was very happy to find out that Asmodee came out with “7 Wonders Duel“, a “7 Wonders” game rewritten for two players.

The basic “7 Wonders” rules are the same. Each play tries to rack up as many victory points as possible. Blue culture cards give you straight victory points. Yellow commerce cards give you gold, resources, or more favourable trading rates. Brown and Grey cards are resource cards, and are much rarer than in the original “7 Wonders”. You are going to find yourself really squabbling for resources, or spending a lot of gold on them. However, it’s in the Green science cards and Red military cards that the game truly differs.

Green and Red cards can bring in an early victory condition, but unless the other player is really inexperienced, I doubt that it’ll happen. They are more interesting precisely because you don’t need to rack up a large amount of them to make the other player sit up and take notice. Two Green science cards with the same symbol on them allow you to pick a bonus chip from the top of the board, each one giving you a significant advantage.

Red military cards make the red marker advance towards the edge of your opponent’s board. At first you gain victory point on them, then they start to lose gold, and finally they can lose the game outright. You’ll tend to spend the game near the middle of the board, but the Red and Green cards are what make you more engaged with the other player’s strategy. If they’re racking them up, you need to start playing defensively, or you’re going to lose pretty quickly.

The game still goes on in three ages, and you still benefit from building wonders – especially those that give you an extra turn or more resources. You can still chain buildings – gaining free builds if you’ve built an earlier building with the required symbol. Especially with Red and Blue cards, you’ll want to keep on eye on what you’re opponent has, because in this super resource constrained version of “7 Wonders” a free build is a big help. Trade is with the bank only, which means that you can always trade – but trade gets more expensive if your opponent has the resource you need. Guilds are as powerful as they are in the original game, and wonders are even more important – and if your opponent builds his four first, you can only build three of your four (there are only 7 wonders after all…).

 

“7 Wonders Duel” is about 30-40 minutes play time, with another 10 minutes to setup and pack it all up. The box is super well organized, and while not compact, can totally slip into a backpack quite comfortably – unlike the huge “7 Wonders” box. It’s a game with engrossing tactics, very beautifully made and fun to play. Each turn is quick, so there’s very little downtime, and you can’t just focus on one aspect of the game (Wonders, Greens, Blues, Reds or Yellows), or you’ll very quickly lose. Even though there’s no trading with the other player, you are constantly looking at each other’s builds, trying to figure out and thwart their strategy, and changing your in response, so there’s no isolated play possible – a huge plus over the two player version of the original “7 Wonders” game. This gets a big thumbs up from me.

7 Wonders Duel: A Board Game Review

This week’s long run: clouds and sunshine

Managed to leave the house earlier than last week, but still not early enough to entirely skip the heat. Thankfully it was a windy day, so the heat wasn’t too unbearable, which meant that I could speed up my run a little bit.

The clouds were gorgeous, edged with morning light. It almost looks like a winter morning (Tel Aviv winters aren’t very grey and rainy) because it was so overcast.

There’s usually a lot more wildlife around the park, but since there are more people out this time of year (running, walking, doing yoga, playing with their dogs), only a few ducks and geese were around the boat docks.

8K done today, 4k done yesterday, and it looks like I won’t have time for a proper run tomorrow, so rest and stretch day it is. That’s the floor of one of my favourite coffee places, by the way. My machine is on the fritz and I haven’t had to fix it, so I’ve got to schlepp a bit for my brew nowadays.

This week’s long run: clouds and sunshine

Midweek 5k run: Chinese festival and Te❤️iv.

I usually run with my running group midweek, and then I rarely have time to stop for photos. This week was crazy in terms of scheduling (as will next week), so that meant either running by myself midweek or giving up on my runs, and I am NOT bailing on my runs. They help me keep grounded and sane in this crazy time.

There’s a new sign on the Tel Aviv Port deck, and I really like it:

Get it, Te-love-iv?

There was also a very colourful and very popular Chinese food festival in the Port’s farmer’s market area. I got slammed in the face by a Chinese dancer waving long ribbons around, but it didn’t hurt, it just made me decide to circumvent the festival on my run back.

The lifeguards still leave their posts way too early, but that doesn’t deter people from swimming in the sea. A little over 5k done and dusted, with some hill repeats in the middle. I hate hill repeats.

Midweek 5k run: Chinese festival and Te❤️iv.

Quick Gongfu Tea Session

I didn’t feel like breaking the tea table out for a gongfu session with all the fixings, but I really felt like some Shu pu’er, so I improvised a quick tea setting. This is my Shu Yixing teapot. I have two more teapots that I’m now prepping to be my Oolong and Sheng teapots, to replace the lower quality teapots that I’ve used so far.

The tea is from the Chinese Tea Company in Portobello road, London and it’s fabulous, like all the teas that I get from there.

Quick Gongfu Tea Session

A Glimpse into How I Journal

I like my journals to be filled with little sketches and bits and pieces that I collect here and there (labels, business cards, etc). It brings the entries to life, especially when I read through them later on.

So for instance yesterday I created a 3 minute sketch of a group of ladies enjoying themselves at a local cafe:

And here’s today’s page, about to be filled with notes:

So if you go to lunch somewhere, remember to grab their business card so that you can stick it in your notebook later.

A Glimpse into How I Journal