Billabong Boardgamers - 1st September 1998
Doug Adams writes:
Down at Janet and Doug's tonight saw the arrival of a new Billabong member, Roger Smith. Roger had discovered the Billabong webpage, as well as David's Board Not Bored Games page, and it was great to see a new face!
Roger was first to arrive so we broke out this quick filler. The three of us managed to get a lot of goals onto the table very quickly, and a couple of rounds of Draw 5/Play 3 saw Roger take the game. Half way through, Donna had arrived.
Doug's rating: 6
Durch die Wueste
This was my first four player game of 'Sausage', and it worked well. There is certainly a lot more going on here, and I decided early to only concentrate on two camel colours, and hopefully take the 10 point bonus in each of these colours at the end of the game.
Donna went for areas early in the game, but a mistake saw her adding camels to Roger's caravan. It wasn't until a couple of turns later that we'd realized what had happened. The easy solution was to just swap caravan leaders, and this put Donna in control of one half of the board. To counter this, I wasted a couple of turns by heading Donna off, and neglecting my strategy.
I ended the game by exhausting purple, happy to have secured longest blue and lemon. It wasn't enough.
Doug's rating: 9
There was still no sign of Alan and Julian, so we went for something quick in this Knizia dice game. Okay, it's not his greatest work, but I like it and as a quick risk taking game, it works. The basic idea is you roll a pair of special dice - your total is read high-low, so a 4 and a 3 is read as '43'. There is a '7' on one or the dice, and each dice also has an "X" on them. On your turn you roll the dice - you can keep this roll or keep rolling to get a better score. If you roll an X after your initial roll, your turn is over and you must retreat down the scoring track. If you roll double 1, 2 or 3 you are allowed to advance up the scoring track. The twist here is how far do you push your luck?
If you are happy with a roll - let's say '51', you can stop and put the dice on a rung on a scoring ladder. This ladder has 6 spaces labelled 0 to 5. If the dice go on the 2 rung, and they are still there when your next turn comes around, then you can advance two spaces. But how are they removed? An equal or higher roll, by another player, can be placed below you dice on the ladder, removing all equal or lower dice above it. First to 21 points wins the game. I liked it, probably because I won ;-) but there is uncertainty right up until the end.
Doug's rating: 7
Alan and Julian had arrived by this time so we decided to try a six player Show Manager. I was a little tentative about down time in yet another six player game, but thankfully this one does not suffer - it rattles along. In this game Julian and I ran down our cash very early and had to borrow. My Pan Pipes Productions put on a great Ballet in New York that wasn't topped, but it reduced my borrowing potential to Lear, which I savaged to raise some cash. This enabled me to take 2nd place in Queenie, which I think Janet topped, which cost me the game. The endgame was chaotic, with five players all trying to put on Wolf. Alan's early Wolf production really paid off, as the rest were very crappy! In fact, if he'd played it in New York instead of Troisdorf, he may have won the game. The drafting board must have been cleared fifteen times, as well.
Doug's rating: 8
Donna was on the verge of leaving so we hurtled through a fast game of 6 Takes! Not much to report here, apart from my stunning performance on the third hand where I took just about every pile to earn 38 points and end the game (and it wasn't deliberate!).
Doug's rating: 7
One of my favourite games, right up there with Palmyra in the "underrated Knizia" game collection. This is a game where you must bet on certain outcomes with the higher risk paying more. Each time you place a bet, you reveal a bit more information as to the final outcome. Good stuff! With five players you are only holding seven cards so the early bets are a shot in the dark. The bets have to hit as you only have 3 bets per round.
The first two rounds saw me score heavily in Hats and Big Bens (trust me) which gave me the lead but not by that much. By round 3 all I needed to do was push Tea Cups into the scoring region to end the game, which was what I wanted. Alan thwarted me there, pushing the game into round 4, during which I ensured would end the game by betting double on success or failure of Tea Cups. The worry for me was I'd score low and could be overtaken. Luckily it didn't happen :)
Doug's rating: 9
Six games played - a good night! Great to see Roger here and take learning five new games on the chin. Hopefully we'll see him and his wife next week at Julian's.