Billabong Boardgamers November 6th, 1997
Present: Julian, Doug, David, Alan, JanetPrevious session report
Our second meeting for the week as Julian and David were unable to attend the previous session. As my car is in dry dock, our house was again the venue.
Groo - The Game
The expansion deck had arrived yesterday, and David hadn't played this game yet, so we set it up while waiting for Julian to arrive. Some of the cards in the expansion are certainly interesting, and expensive to bring into play. Our game saw Alan reach 7 victory points but he had to survive the leftovers phase - David couldn't harm Alan, but I could play the wild card (can't remember the name) to gain 2 Groo heads - this was swiftly followed by the "Groo destroys 3 buildings" card and the game was open again. David closed the game out shortly afterwards. I have a feeling this game may be a filler favourite for a while yet.
No, you're not reading Tuesday's report. Julian had arrived by now and he and David wanted to try this out. Again we used Emanuel's variant from The Games Cabinet and again we had a great game. Early in the game Alan and I turned over the "?" chits frequently and they all were bad events! I think there were about 6 of these that turned up before a good one appeared. The largest island in the game was being formed early with Julian having 2 forts on it, and pretty keen to finish it. I managed to afford a settlement on the island whereas nobody else could. The island closed which gave me some nice points but I was out of gold. The game evened up with David and Julian closing in on me, while Alan was quite a way back, but with all his scouts down - ie. he was ready to pounce. The end game saw David with 6 discovery chips that couldn't be caught, and I thought the game was his. But I managed to get a lucky 2 space island down to go 6 ahead. The game ended 2 tiles later with David and I tied. Julian took 3rd, with Alan in 4th. This is fast becoming a favourite.
I'm sure everyone reading this will be a cricket fan ;-) so I'll go into the game in great detail! Seriously, this is a very good little game, basically an abstract card game, but the final simulation of a game of cricket is amazingly accurate. It's fairly obvious that some serious playtesting went into this to balance the game in favour of the batsmen, but no to the point where it's completely hopeless for the bowler.
We played the game in partnerships, David and Doug vs Alan and Julian. Alan won the toss and elected for his team to bowl first. David and Doug went on the attack in the early overs and scored some good runs. The bowling tightened up considerably in the middle overs but a late flurry of scoring saw the score at 2 for 60 after 10 overs.
Then it was David and Doug's turn to bowl, defending 60 runs. There appears to be a slight advantage (maybe Alan and Julian would disagree with the 'slight') in batting first, as the hand can be altered considerably when the batting side begins to bowl. Some good early bowling in Alan/Julian's innings saw the scoring restricted, and the the final flurry saw them end up with 2 for 41 after 10 overs. Victory to David and Doug by 19 runs.
It was pushing 10:30 by this stage, and Janet had arrived home ready for a game. Julian had to leave, but Alan and David were well entrenched so we broke out MQ (I'm sick of typing Mississippi).
Janet and Doug made the clean start past the first pier, while Alan and David got involved in a bit of a struggle for the first pier passenger. David missed that passenger, while Alan was the victim of a nasty shunt that forced him to do a wide circuit of the island heading mainly in the wrong direction.
Meanwhile Doug and Janet had bumped each other once, but it hadn't stopped them picking up passengers. Janet was in the lead when another bump put her in a small bay and slightly stuck, or so I thought. No so, all hands shovelled coal in the ... coal thingy (tender ?) and she took the lead again. Well, when I say lead I neglect to say David had wound his speed up to 6 for 3 turns and kindly found out which was the river wound for us with a brilliant seat-of-the-pants display of river navigation - pity he still didn't have a passenger!
The real race was between Janet and I, heading for home, while Alan back in last was steaming up with half a chance of taking a place of us. A beautiful straight run over 3 tiles appeared and Janet and I went for it. Janet was decreasing speed from 6 to 4, but when she saw my evil "I'm going to bump you" grin she stayed at 6, which proved her undoing as there was no way she could decelerate in time to finish. This resulted her in performing a wide sweeping move, which resulted in all the people on the pier at the finish getting rather wet!
The results were: Doug, Alan turn+2, David t+5, Janet t+7
That rounded out a good games evening. The next hour was spent talking games, and as usual it only seemed like 10 minutes. As the clock ticked midnight I had to kick David and Alan out lest their car turn into a pumpkin, and Janet and I had to get up at 6am to go to work! Sorry guys, I could have talked all night but work is work!