Dave Farquhar 1955 - 2004 - Mike Siggins (for Counter #26)
6 Billion Comments From David Farquhar(published with permission)
My review record for Counter has so far mainly consisted of games on which I cannot objectively comment, due to having been involved in their testing and development. This time is different. I cannot comment objectively as Dave Coutts, the designer, is my brother-in-law. Dave and I brought each other up on games over the last twenty odd years, until he decided to waltz off to Oz. Seeing a gap in the market he created BNBG as a sideline to import German type games (and Counter). He has now branched out into game design and publishing in the shape of 6 billion.
So what sort of shape is it? Fairly unusual, I would say. Physically it is square, and about two inches deep. In play it comes somewhere between a family game and a gamers' game, with elements that will please both.
The reviews will have given you a good idea of what the game is about, and how it plays, so I shall stick to giving you my thoughts on the game. Firstly, in physical terms it scores very well. I like the board, the only drawback being the mixed manner in which the planets are displayed. Graphically it is very appealing. The cards are fine, and I think Dave was least pleased with the plastic markers, which are a little fiddly. Overall then, physical quality and appearance are good.
So what about game play? I was initially concerned by some apparent oddities in the rules during our first game, but it turned out we had missed a few significant points. Overall 6 billion plays smoothly. It is a little long for my taste, and without the high tension that tends to make a game for me. There is though a fair bit to think about, and a few innovations. The game has been very well thought through, and differences in planets brought out.
I found 6 billion needed to be played through once, so that players could see the affect of their actions throughout the game, and how the scoring worked. Subsequent games were much smoother, and everyone grasped the possible strategies with relative ease.
6 billion is a good solid well-developed package, with some neat ideas, of which Dave should be rightly proud.
Further comprehensive information, including examples of play, is available on http://members.optusnet.com.au/bnbg6billion/6billion.htm
DAC: 28th March, 2001. Just a couple of points on game length - there are a number of Variants which reduce game length without spoiling the feel of the game. Also, as these 2-player Reports indicate, the game can be played comfortably by 2 players in an hour.
Dave Farquhar's comments were written soon after 6 Billion™ came out (1999). Dave has been my brother-in-law for 20 or so years, but is also a recognised contributor to Sumo and Counter magazines and works closely with Reiner Knizia on boardgames such as Lord Of The Rings.
By all means disregard Dave's comments if you're uncomfortable with the fact that he is my brother-in-law.
DAC: 10th September, 2004. Sadly Dave passed away this year. Mike Siggins said it all in this article for Counter #26.
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