Billabong Boardgamers November 3rd, 1998
Present: Julian, Alan, Dey, Roger, Liz, Moray, DougPrevious session report
Doug Adams writes:
We were up at Julian's this week, with two new 'bongers attending. I see the day when we get 15 to a session to really test the seating resources! I was on the kitchen table all evening, so I'll report on the action there.
Alan, Roger and myself tackled this great Knizia game, while the others were playing Elfenland. The rules were explained to Roger and off we went on our three round spending spree.
This game was quite unlike the others I'd played, in that the card play was very positive. There were lots of contracts played during the rounds, highlighted by a four red contracts appearing in the final round. I suspect the reason for this new trend is a rule I missed in my first few games allowing you to toss any or all of your cards in at the end of a round, allowing more flexibility and tactics into your play. Also, the endgame was great, there was only one free space left for a card on my turn giving me a minute of agony deciding my best option - play a +3 green in which I was the majority holder, or play a red mirage card to nullify one of the four red contracts on the board, in which Alan held lots! I covered a contract, giving the game one extra turn which Roger used to play a mirage card! That gave Alan an extra turn to hit green...drats! Great stuff, though.
Doug's rating: 9
As Elfenland was still going, we dragged out this great trick taking game. The object here is to be the first player to toss in five 'goal' chits, where the goal in a hand is variable and consists of such things as "Win last trick", "Take 3 tricks", "Take no blue tricks", etc. The interesting thing is that trumps are hidden to all but the dealer, and the other players have to deduce what trumps are by taking turns to draw cards off the table and playing these cards as hands, with the dealer announcing who took the trick. It can be tough! The cards taken by the players are then used to play your hand out, trying to achieve a selected goal for the hand. The dealer is a special case - they try to defeat another players goal, while achieving it themselves. It's a great mix, reminiscent of Oh Hell, according to Alan.
This game was a total disaster to me, not putting a lot of thought into my pickups causing my goals to become impossible. Alan and Roger were tossing in a goal per hand while I kept failing. I thought I had a chance with a 'win no tricks' goal, but had unwittingly draw a lot of 3's where they were trumps in a '3 over no trumps' hand.
The last hand decided it, coming down to the final trick, with Alan defeating Roger as dealer enabling him to toss his last goal in.
Scores (goals remaining):
Doug's rating: 8
Elfenland had finished, sounding like a narrow win to Julian. We mixed around a bit and this saw Dey, Roger, Alan and myself sitting down to this cute Doris & Frank game, while Julian, Moray and Liz played Manhattan.
I like this game but I don't know why. It's a very simple game where you have to move your team of 3 bugs across a spiders web and out the exit space (rather oddly positioned within the web!). A spider moves once per round at the whim of a die roll, spiralling inwards or outwards depending on which way she's facing. Furthermore, on certain rolls the spider can jump sideways on the web, or spin around to face the other direction. In other words, she's unpredictable.
On your turn you are allowed to move one bug one space. Very simple, but there are some nasty tactics that allow you to push bugs around the web, quite often into the path of the spider....gobble gobble gobble.
When the spider catches a bug, she eats it and the old 'bug-o-meter' moves up one space. The bug-o-meter reflects the number of points on offer for the next bug to exit the web, as well as an acceleration factor for the spider - this factor is added to the die roll to cause her to move even further on her turn.
The bug-o-meter is also incremented when a bug leaves the web, and the final space is labelled "Ende" triggering the end of the game.
Our game saw Roger do very well early on, while Alan and myself lost bugs. Dey came storming back later in the game to take the last two positions on offer and end the game while Roger still had a bug in the web.
Am Fuss des Kilimanscharo
A light Knizia game, from Hans im Gluck's "Junior" series to close the evening. This is a game where four expeditions are trying to reach the foot of that mountain in Africa which I cannot spell. There are 100 spaces from the start to the finish, and movement is governed by three cards face up in front of the players.
The cards come in four suits of 14, numbered 1 to 7 twice. If there are two or three cards of a suit, you add those numbers together for your movement allowance, otherwise you movement is simply your highest card. Before you move, however, you must play a card onto one of your three cards OR on a player who is ahead of you, thus altering movement allowances. This is a nifty mechanic and makes up 90% of the game!
The remaining 10% belongs to a nice memory element. Players are dealt four chips each which they take turns in placing face down on the board in any spaces they like. If a chip is landed on, it is flipped up and actioned. They may be bananas (move again), lions (move back to previous village), or exchange positions with another player (yeah!).
Our game saw Roger literally bolt out of the blocks thanks to a very nice 3 card match giving him juicy a juicy movement allowance. This couldn't continue so Dey and I started hampering Roger, which allowed Alan to close. I hit some cunningly placed bananas to get me up to the back of the pack, then found a swap positions which I used to give me the lead, along with many apologies to Roger!
I was now a target, and couldn't hit anyone as they were all behind me. That allowed the pack to close again, but thanks to some nice card pickups, Alan and I shot out to the lead. The pack ran out, which led to a swift check of the rules - closest to the end wins, with higher movement allowance breaking ties. I made a lunge at a face down chit, hoping that it was bananas to get me to the finish line, but it was a lion so back I went.
In the end, we ran out of cards, with the results being:
Doug's rating: 6
That's it for the evening! Hopefully some Essen games can make it to Alan's next week....
Julian Clark writes:
Well, it was Cup Day (public holiday in Melbourne for a horse race), & I arrived back from my 4Wd trip in South Australia (beach & dune driving) at 6:10, with the first arrivals at 7:00. Naturally I was a bit out of it.
However, we had a good turn out, with Roger & Dey's friends, Moray & Liz coming over having been initiated earlier in the weekend.
I was on the coffee table all evening, so I guess I'll do the report from there.
With Liz & Moray a little dubious about the rules, we set off on our elfenwalkabout. In the first turn I picked up 6 though Dey managed 7. Liz & Moray were at the 3-5 mark, (I think). As the game progressed, it became clear that Dey & I were in front with problems on our last turns. I could have picked up 2 on my last turn but only by ending up 1 away from my destination, so chose to caravan out over a log & back over the same log - 8 cards - 1 town! Liz had managed 17 towns but was a good way off her destination.
Next Dey moved off to play something about bugs & spiders I think, while I taught Liz & Moray Manhattan. The first round saw me take a lead of about 6 or 7, as they worked out how the aggressive plays were paying off. Then moray shifted down a cog & we were history. He managed several majorities, & outscored us both each round after that!
It would seem that Moray is, should he decide to come back, going to be a very good player, as he picked up how to be aggressivley defensive very quickly. Could be trouble!