Billabong Boardgamers - 4th August 1998
The five of us were all there at about the same time tonight so there was no early fillers - just straight into the heavy stuff! I readily admit I'm a poor cards player - I just can't concentrate for an entire game, hand by hand, on what's played, although I try. I find this an excellent game, with a lot going on. And while I still haven't quite picked up the trick of good bidding, I enjoy the game immensely. Some highlights were:
Julian partnering Doug to make the first contract (3 card colour). Alan and Janet picking up a 3 card colour contract. Janet and Alan combining again to make a killing with 1's over 7's on a 5 card contract that was way underbid. Janet and Donna missing out on a 3 card red over black contract and going down.
At this stage of the game Janet, Alan and Julian were all threatening to take the game, but didn't want to partner each other! In an effort to deny Janet taking going Chief, Donna chose me in a sacrificial hand that we lost going for 5's over 6's in a four card contract. All this did was get two of the three leaders over the line.
Fun game, rating remains an 8.
This Billabong favourite always seems fresh, and is always welcome when it comes off the shelves. I've never won this game at Billabong, and was determined to buy canny and not waste money. Tactically, I'd try and hold my buying back late in each round and concentrate on 2 or 3 commodities only. Well, that was the plan....
Plans changed for me on round one when the '10' card was turned up when I had control of the deck. I decided to adjust my strategy on round one to go for one or two commodities and try to take the 30 bonus for highest goods value. That worked, and I was strong in the gold commodities (never know what they actually are - grain?). The spread of scores after round one was very tight, maybe 5 ducats from first to last.
Round two saw me abandon my strategy by picking up a load of gold commodities very cheaply - alas they were low values too which meant I didn't earn a thing in the value bonuses at the end of the round. However, I had got the gold into the '10' bonus area on the commodity log, but had nothing in the other commodities. Donna and Janet leapt away after round 2, with Alan up there as well.
Round three strategy was to go for a high good value bonus again, and pick up the last gold I needed to earn a '20' bonus there. Well, I didn't get the final gold, which in the end cost me the game. I got the '10' early and tried to be greedy. I let one low value gold go and never saw another one. Alan had filled his ship with 23 value in goods, and I was holding 14 with two holds full. I went for the 30 and got it, but it cost me the game.
Excellent game - rating hovering between 8 and 9. The first game where I've felt I've had a chance at the win.
Hols der Geier
Something mindless after the numbing intensity of the first two games, and it was a riot. I don't know how many vultures Julian claimed by playing the highest card but having the lower four tied on him. Still, he scored higher than I did, so who am I to talk!
One thing that's been noticed is how good Donna is at these sorts of games. She cleaned up in 4 games in a row of For Sale a few weeks back, and did it again here....rating: 8 Now, while Donna is good at these card counting type games, I've had a private belief that I do okay at the cash/business games, having taken out Tycoon, Shark and Acquire at Billabong, so it was with inner delight that I saw....
...being taken off the shelves after a long break from the game table. I feel this is an underrated game, with the 'buy 5 shares maximum' rule creating some very tough decisions. The random nature of the dice can see the board change markedly in the four intervening turns before you get to play again. You have to guard against being hosed by cunning selling of shares combined with some risky speculating on your own turn....
Our game saw yellow dominate the board early and never let go until near the very end. Everybody got on the yellow bandwagon and it seemed to jump to an index price of $12000 very quickly. Then green got going in a few areas and red started contesting yellow in area one. I've never seen the board poised so delicately, with a die roll either way meaning large penalties for affected parties.
Donna and Janet looked to be strong players here, with Doug and Julian not far behind. Alan seemed to be holding equal shares in each, which I suspect is not the path to victory - you have to go with some colours and back your luck, inwardly praying you'll get a chance to sell if vulnerable to attack.
The horses pulling the yellow bandwagon must have keeled over, as red was setting up for a brutal attack that would have had the yellow investors paying tens of thousands. I jumped the yellow ship first hoping to roll red to take the others down. Donna and Janet got a chance to jump as well, which was a shame, as they were leading. Janet shot yellow down 4 points and hit Alan and Julian badly, effectively ending any chance they had.
The end game saw lots of very careful speculation before a last turn play by Doug saw him buy 5 yellow for $50000 and roll yellow. Placing the last yellow marker (thus ending the game) netted him $18000, which proved crucial:
Interesting game, which I think Donna or Janet should have won 30 minutes earlier if a yellow had been rolled when the index was sitting on 14 (the game can end if any index marker reaches 15). Extending the game helped me and it was really only a wild speculation on the last turn that tipped me over the line. Julian made an interesting comment after the game - he really likes the game, and can see exactly what he needs to do very clearly, but can't translate it into cash. I feel the same way, but can make cash - no idea why....
Still a great game, but drops a notch to 7....a bit too long last night but still great fun...