Billabong Boardgamers

Billabong Boardgamers January 5th, 1999

Present: Dey, Roger, Susan, Doug, Janet, Alan, David, Julian, Liz, Moray, Trevor, Mara

Previous session report

Games Played: High Society, Members Only, Medieval Merchants, Res Publica, Mu, Schnappchen Jagd, Tutanchamun, Hase & Igel, For Sale, Canyon

Doug Adams writes:

A bumper crowd tonight to open the new year, at our new venue. With 12 gamers in attendance it would have been standing room only in any of our homes so the move to Amaroo Centre came just at the right time. We had three large tables, plenty of chairs, and refreshments in easy reach. I think it's safe to assume we all got our $1.50's worth!

There is so much happening now that there is no way I can keep track of scores and reports, so Billabong reports are going to be coming in on an ad hoc basis now. I'll report/comment on games I was involved in, and hopefully others will do the same to form a report for the website.

An added bonus this week, Dey bought along her digital camera, so hopefully some images from our first night at Amaroo will be on the webpage in the next few days. Here they are!. You just have to check out the Billabong t-shirt design Dey came up with, with a mosaic type design consisting of about 30 game box covers. It looks *great*. Janet, Roger and I modelled them in one of the photos, so we'll see how they turn out.

On to reports...

Medieval Merchants

Roger is providing the official report with scores. I played in a four player game with Roger, Liz and Janet and once I'd worked out the difference between adding and extending trading networks, I loved it. Very easy game, really, after the initial confusion of trying to read the route paths across the board. I went for an early expansion into adjacent large cities, and used income generation to finance later expansion, and I tended to skip the towns. Others didn't do it that way, and while Janet and Liz looked out of the game early, they both came storming back....I liked that aspect of the game very much.

Doug's rating: 8

Roger Smith writes:

End score + (number of regions x 2) + cash = total

Liz: 34 + (7 x 2) + 0 [$9] = 48 (one escort letter left)
Doug: 33 + (6 x 2) + 2 [$47] = 47
Roger: 27 + (6 x 2) + 2 [$48] = 41
Janet: 17 + (5 x 2) + 1 [$21] = 28
In preparation for the Billabongers first game, I read the rules three times, and particularly made sure that I was clear on the difference between opening and adding branches. Based on reviews, we opted for a 4-player game, although we would have accommodated a fifth player if anyone else had expressed interest. We had no difficulties with the rules and after a few turns were starting to become comfortable with the mechanics. A few turns in, Doug took income from a "7" city the turn after opening a branch. This was the point at which I began to start understanding the game. Over the next few turns my appreciation grew for this very polished and challenging game.

Liz got off to (what we thought was) a bad start by not being able to open a city branch for several turns. She had misread one of her markers when placing her initial town, and did not have the markers to place a city anywhere in the vicinity. This meant all she could do was place towns, and continue to pick up her basic income. As things turned out, starting this way was quite an effective move. The network of towns she built up allowed her to control a fair area of the board in the later game. The second half of the game was very close with the leadership changing several times between Doug, Liz and myself. On the last turn it still appeared that any of us could win, but ultimately Liz snuck in by one point when I opened a branch in the last remaining town. What makes her win even more impressive is that she still had an escort letter left at the end of the game. One mistake I made was not to establish a presence in more regions. This is something Doug had been actively attempting to do, but was finding himself blocked out. We all helped each other out quite a bit in this, our first game (e.g. "why are you paying 52 to open that branch when you can do it for 3")? An excellent game: can't wait to try it again now I know what I'm doing!

Roger's rating: 8

Anyone know anything about Conrad Christwart's other games? A few are listed on Luding however there is no English information: - Der Wustentruck 1995 - Durchmarsch 1998 - Zoff in Buffalo 1998


Doug Adams writes:

Picked this Abacus game up from the local game store, of all places. Goodness knows how it got there. Liz, Roger and I took it for a late night spin to close out our evening (we could have played it twice given the marathon game of Members Only that finished 30 minutes after we did).

A pretty standard trick taking game, with each player having to estimate how many tricks they will win in the hand. Each trick won allows the players to navigate their canoes across a game board, which depicts a river running through a canyon. If you take a number of tricks equal to your estimate, then you get to move some extra bonus spaces.

>From round to round, the number of cards per deal varies between eight and one! We used the optional rule that skips the lower cards dealt rounds as it seemed to be rather pointless! Our game moved very quickly and canoes fairly sped around to the rapids near the finishing post. Once you hit the rapids you must get your exact estimate in order to move, otherwise you drift in the current and could end up over the waterfall! That didn't happen in our game, with Liz and myself finishing on the same turn (after some rather alarming drifting in earlier rounds) with Roger stuck about five spaces from the finish.

Scores: Liz: the win
Doug: finished same turn
Roger: 5 spaces from the finish

Doug's rating: 6

Julian Clarke writes:

Well, I'm sure Doug will have given you the good news about the new venue and the great additions to our numbers. We will be going from strength to strength over this, I hope.

Hase Und Igel

This was new to Susan and Moray, so I explained the rules that I've always played with, which are probably not quite exactly the same as any translation all the way through. However, it seems that Moray had no problem wit hall of that, in 2 games he took about 10 Hare cards and got away with it all! It is unbelievable - I always try to avoid them, though I had a go on the second game it didn't do ME much good.

Game 1:
Moray, Julian, Susan
Game 2:
Moray, Susan, Julian

For Sale

Another new game for Moray and Susan. A quick one and nothing particular to report apart from this didn't appear to be my best evening.

Game 1:
Susan: 83
Moray: 69
Julian: 63

Game 2:
Moray: 67
Julian: 54
Susan: 52

Members Only

A great game from Reiner Knizia. New once again to Susan & Moray, but Janet was bouncing up and down during the end of their Mediaeval Merchant game itching to get across to join us. So we played a test round to show how the game worked. The into the big one. Then another but the quick 20 minute ending took about 45-50 minutes, as I was leading and no-one wanted to let me win, so prevented me from picking up Hats to win the game, whilst everyone caught up with me.

Game 1:
Moray: 26
Julian: 25
Dey: 18
Susan: 18
Janet: 16

Game 2:
Dey: 33
Julian: 27
Janet: 25
Susan: 15
Moray: 14

Anyway, a successful evening with a dozen people, all of whom are exactly right for the group. I had always worried that we'd end up getting an all male student group. However, we'll see how it is after the January quiet period is over, and getting there becomes somewhat more difficult.

Alan Stewart writes:

Schnapchen Jagd

A 3 player quick game to fill in in case more people arrived.

Julian was taking a lot of tricks early, while Alan and David were doing okay, but not getting many into their positive piles. Julian took no tricks in the last hand, and managed the best discards for the win.

Julian: 21-8=13
David: 21-10=11
Alan: 18-13=5

I think we're getting better at this, as there were no negative scores in this game.


Once again an interesting game, with only 1 losing bid in the entire game. No eclats (I have still to see one in a game. Though I was hoping for one towards the end, as I would have won.)

More under bidding, though one 2 card bid came in with exactly the 27 triangles required. Towards the end it was tricky to choose a partner, as you may have been giving them the win! One strong bid in the last hand could have seen anyone win.

Mara started slowly, but came through, and was a successful chief on the last two hands. Prior to that she was chosen as a partner, because she had the least points at the time.

Mara: 225 Alan: 202 Trevor: 179 David: 151 Dey: 142


A new game for Trevor and Mara. It came down to the wire where either David or Alan could win, it just depended on the actions of Trevor and Mara.

In the end it was:

Trevor: 6 David: 0 Alan: 3 Mara: 8 in turn order. The game finished with David's move, and he won.

For Sale

Trevor and Mara learn another new game! (They were warned this would happen a lot at Billabong, but I think they enjoyed their evening. We will see if they return regularly).

Three games played quickly. Totals are for `cheques + chips'.

Game 1:
David: 70
Alan: 63
Trevor: 57
Mara: 43

Game 2:
Mara: 71
Alan: 66
David: 50
Trevor: 44

Game 3:
Mara: 59
Trevor/David: 56
Alan: 42

The third game was very close! It was interesting that everyone ended up with approximately the same number of chips each game. In the first game, the first 4 highest value cards were bought by 4 different people.

Some strange combinations came up - like one auction having the 20, 19, 18 and 17 value cheques, so everyone played a low building.

Or the 1, 14, 16, 18 buildings which was the first auction of the game.


Guess what, Trevor and Mara learn another new game!

Seating order: Trevor, David, Alan, Mara.

(All figures from memory, but here's an idea of how the game went).

  • First auction - 10. Mara is successful for about $48000.
  • Second auction - -5. Mara gets this one, but it costs David and Alan over $33000 each, Trevor a lesser amount.
  • Third auction - 9. Alan is successful for about $40000
  • Fourth Auction - x2. Trevor successful.
  • Fifth auction - 1/2. Alan takes it. Costs the others about $20000, or less
  • Sixth auction - 2. David buys it. (David still has a fistful of money cards. Trevor and Alan are down to 3 money cards each and have passed quite a few times in the bidding)
  • Seventh auction - 4. Mara buys it.
  • Eighth auction - x2. Mara buys it.
  • Ninth auction - it's the last x2 and the game ends!

Final results:
Mara: (10-5+4)x2 = 18 ($24) Ineligible to win - least cash.
Alan: 9x0.5 = 4.5 ($25)
David: 2 ($45)
Trevor: (0) x2 = 0 ($28)

Alan wins in a strangely scoring game. Thanks to Mara for taking that last x 2, as other wise Alan would have had the least cash.

We all thought Mara had won, and she probably would have if the game had gone on longer!

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