Billabong Boardgamers

Billabong Boardgamers - July 6th, 1999

Present: Dey, Roger, Craig Mc., Doug, Janet, Craig, Alan, David, Bernie, Debbie, Tina, Wally

Previous session report

Doug Adams writes:

Solid numbers again tonight. I was half way through teaching Bernie, Debbie and Tina the rules of Tikal when internet friend Wally Zenkteler arrived. Wally is from Adelaide, and in Melbourne on business. We'd never met face to face, but had traded and swapped rules from time to time. It was nice to meet him at last - next time we'll actually play a game together!


After our game of Tikal (see Bernie's report) Debbie and Tina wanted to play Elfenland, a game Bernie and Doug both have played several times and enjoy. Bernie and Doug took turns in explaining the rules, something that isn't going to happen in the future, as both Tina and Debbie seem to have an uncanny knack of grasping a game immediately, and then winning! :) We played without the Elfengold expansion, but with home cities.

Doug was pleased with his five city opening turn, however his jaw hit the table when Bernie played all eight cards for eight cities. Doug's head followed his jaw when Debbie played out an identical move to Bernie for eight cities also. Doug's ego was mollified by Tina, who kept her opening move down to 5 cities. :)

Bernie and Debbie, although opening with 8 cities, had moved in such a way as to split the board in two, leaving themselves a lot of ground to cover. On turn two Bernie or Debbie placed some chits to head into that "dead end" city below the desert, which Doug took as an open invitation to "log" it with a hindrance chit. Debbie retaliated with a log of her own that knocked Doug's turn two move of 5 cities back to three - *grumble*.

Turns three and four turned out to be a struggle between Debbie, Tina and Bernie. Tina had a great turn 3 (or 2, can't remember) to put herself in contention. Doug picked up five cities on turn 3 to leave himself seven to collect on turn four, with a nasty split.

The logs of Bernie and Tina came out on turn four, which denied Doug two of his five planned cities and made his final turn much simpler. Scores came out as:

Bernie: 18, home, 1 card
Debbie: 17, home, 1 card
Tina: 17, home, no cards
Doug: 16, "kinda" home, 5 cards

"Kinda" home means when Doug was explaining the home cities rules he locked the example city into his head as his home city, and never bothered checking his own home city card! When he proudly flipped over his home city card to prove he'd made it home, he was rather stunned to see he was actually five spaces from his real home. Bernie, great guy that he is, allowed Doug's score to stand at 16, rather than 11, as he'd played the whole game without looking at his real home card. Memo to Doug: get more sleep Monday nights....

Doug's rating: 8


Doug, beaten at Tikal and embarrassed at Elfenland, was absolutely terrified when he sat down with trick-taking demons Dey, Alan along with newcomer Craig McBride to play Was Sticht. Trembling fingers took the 2/3/4 trick tokens, as well as the least tricks token. We agree to play until 11pm, our closing time, with most tokens achieved winning.

Craig dominated the opening trick by easily accomplishing his "maximum" tricks token, with the other three players, including dealer Dey, missing out. The other hands became a bit of a blur as my pager went crazy, going off three times in 20 minutes with problems at work. However, I recall making the 4 tricks, 3 tricks, and minimum tricks for 19 points, while Dey made "no yellow" and 1 other token. Alan read the cards well to make "no red" easily. Craig made 1 other goal, but I don't remember what it was. I spent 15 minutes during the game on the phone to work, and didn't jot down specifics. Apologies.

Scores (5 hands):
Doug: 3 tokens
Dey/Craig: 2 tokens
Alan: 1 token

Doug's rating: 8

Janet Ford writes:


This was a very enjoyable game, with six players crowded around the table. However, a recurring problem was it was very easy to see adjacent players hands of cards! There was no downtime at all playing this game, and we played for four rounds as it was getting close to finishing time. David was playing efficiently with only a few cards in front of him, but they were big scorers. This game was a first for Wally, however he caught on quickly. A great game - I really like this one.

David: 43/86/68/34 = 231
Bernie: 85/33/52/28 = 198
Craig: 38/69/60/20 = 187
Wally: 56/46/34/33 = 169
Janet: 60/47/26/27 = 160
Roger: 38/46/27/42 = 153

Alan Stewart writes:


Dey, David, Wally, Alan.

A new game for Wally, who was visiting from South Australia. He seemed to pick it up quickly, though the `double trump' suit caused some early problems.

Fairly cautious bidding, mainly under-bidding, then finally a losing bid at the end.

Dey 55 - 79 - 118 - 154 - 173
David 4 - 65 - 74 - 87 - 123
Wally 62 - 62 - 70 - 81 - 50
Alan 19 - 74 - 138 - 198 - 234


Wally, Alan, Dey, David

Another new game for Wally.

The first turn was fairly even, with no-one striking out alone. It ended with Alan and David in the same town, and Dey and Wally in neighbouring towns.

On turn 2 Alan placed a log to disadvantage Wally and Dey, but Wally retaliated and logged Alan. These were the only logs played during the game.

The third turn saw fairly small gains for everyone.

In the end David won fairly easily. Only Wally didn't make his home town.

David 18
Dey 15
Alan 15
Wally 14 - 1 = 13

Personally I thought the fact that I only saw 1 raft card in the whole game (received during the 4th turn) hampered my travelling. The second hand of cards - 3 dragon, 3 elfen cycle, 2 troll wagon while I was in the desert didn't help much. I was also only able to play 6 cards per turn, not having enough for a final caravan, or useful ones at the end. David appeared to get the better `using other people's tokens' breaks, while Dey and I had to pretty much pave our own way with tokens. Still a good game, and played in about 1 hour.

Roger Smith writes:


Roger: *37* + 25 = 62
Doug: 17 + *30* = 47
Craig Mc: 8 + 16 = 24
Janet: 20 + 17 = 37

A quick couple of hands while waiting to see what the numbers were going to be like. According to Doug we should just track the hands won, not total scores as I have done above (in which case he and I won a hand each)! Last time I played I didn't manage to get my three stacks, so my strategy this time was to make sure I did that even if the stacks were smallish.

Roger's rating: 6.5


Cards + (cash-loans) = total score

Roger: 71 + 19 = 90
Janet: 45 + 3 = 48
Craig Mc: 53 - 120 = -67
Craig L: 37 - 160 = -123

I have been taking this game along to Billabong every week for the past few months. With the abandonment of Ricochet Robots, finally it seemed that its time had come. Given all the positive feedback LR has been getting, it was not surprising that we all thought it a good game. The mechanisms are very tight and well balanced. Craig Mc commented that it was good to see a game that had obviously been well playtested. The first turn saw two Craig Mc and Janet taking 20,000 and 10,000 loans giving them some reasonable bidding power. Craig L and myself took loans on the second turn. With one or two exceptions, the board opened up from south to north over the course of the game. There was nearly always a cargo move that gave some profit to the mover. However Janet and myself profited most in the early game, and Craig Mc in the latter third. The dice were rolling high: there were only a handful of cases where links weren't successfully built, and only one case where a build was delayed to the next turn (due to Craig Mc's cash flow problems). More than anything else, the scores above reflect how successful we were at debt management. Craig L, and to a lesser extent Craig Mc, got into spiralling debt cycles very early in the game from which it was impossible to recover. In contrast, Janet and I were paying off loans in the last few turns. This was very much a learning game: I have a feeling some of the early bids were way to high (like my successful bid of 21,000 for one link) and I'm also sure that anyone who has played before will keep a closer eye on their loans.

Roger's rating: 7.5

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