Billabong Boardgamers Xmas Report December 7th, 1997
Present: Julian, Jack, Robert, Darren, David, Tina, Doug, Janet, Judy, Gay, Neil
Julian Clarke writes:
This report comes from Julian, as it was held at my house, & I was there pretty much all the time & others weren't.
Darren arrived at 11am, & as we weren't really expecting anyone at any particular time we went straight into the first game. This was my long (12 years) awaited copy of Metropolis.
Players : Julian, Darren, Jack (9) & Robert (7).
Being the only one to have played this before, & many times at that, though it was a long time ago, I thought that I should win fairly easily. There was one rule however, in the translation on the Games Cabinet, that we did not use to play. This was that unbuilt lots could be traded. Several lots were traded early, leaving Jack with a clear run at the Supermarket. Robert, though was getting bored at he really couldn't see what he was trying to achieve, & needed quite a bit of cajoling into finishing the game at all. He was however, clearly in a dominant position, having a concentration of counters in the 30s, 50s & 80s. He ended up with a full strength hospital & a-one-short-of-full-strength in the centre. Julian managed good accommodation / school / shop combinations in the 10s & 60s. Darren was spread thinly, with a factory here & apartments there etc.
It was unfortunate that Robert was not really interested, having waited so long to play this again, but nevertheless, I enjoyed it, & am looking forward to playing again.
We were just setting up a Settlers (which Robert knows well & enjoys), when David & Tina arrived. There was a lot of chat, lunch being barbecued (yes it's summer here). Darren then had to leave & Doug & Janet arrived. Jack & Robert opted to play computer games & crash dummies respectively, & Tina preferred to sit out. This left the other 4 adults to play Rette Sich Wer Kann (Every Man For Himself) known to most as the lifeboat game.
RETTE SICH WER KANN
Players : Doug, Janet, David & Julian.
This is probably the most vicious game I own. David made a confusing move early, by finishing a boat in which he had no interest, but then explained that as none of us three would put a leak in it, he might as well get it out of the way. After this David started, on most votes, to declare his intention prior to revealing the votes. This was a very canny move, as it encouraged anyone else, who might gain something from it, to support it in a vote. However, as the game progressed, & more men drowned, Captain's hat markers were being spent, leaving Janet & I with 2 each, Doug & David without. any left. Judiciously not using these, I still managed to catch up to Doug, who had benefited most from David's early 'altruistic' move. Late use of the hats got me over the line.
David & Tina had to leave now, so as Jack really wanted to try Entdecker, that's was next.
Players : Doug, Janet, Jack, Julian
I didn't really get a good feel for the way this was going. Jack certainly committed lots of his red markers into islands on the board where I kept getting routes pushing back into the edge. I felt very much behind at half-way, with Janet & Doug well advanced. A couple of swift large islands caught me up, but left me without any further prospects, whereas Jack caught up & still had good alternatives available. In the end, I was a couple of points in front, before the discovery chits were counted. Jack & Janet both had 6, Doug & I both had 4. so Janet & Jack moved on their 6, leaving me behind. Doug or Janet may be able to give a better report on this than me.
Doug adds: Well, I got swamped in the second half of this game. I was conscious of picking up discovery chips in this game and not getting left behind on them. I was doing quite well in the early to mid game but Robert and Julian came out of nowhere and I was left lagging. I had a so-so chance to get back in if I'd drawn a 3 land sided tile late in the game and built a settlement. The tile didn't come up and Jack got the points I may have. I must admit, Jack played a great game, and was fully aware of what was going on - something that surprised me. Good for him!
We were only 20 minutes into this game when Neil arrived, but as Jack had specifically requested it, we continued to its conclusion.
DRUNTER & DRUBER
I then started up the barbecue for the children's' tea before they had to return to Mary's house, so the others, (Robert was by now playing Monster Truck Madness & RAC Rally on the PC), moved onto Drunter & Druber. Everyone knew this already, except Neil. I can't comment on the play of the game, as I only saw snapshots, as I came in from cooking, but roads were hemmed in early, & a very defensive game was played, or so it seemed to me.
After we all ate tea, Judy arrived, followed soon after by Gay, I took the children back & we then all sat down to a final game. Being 6 players strong, we wanted something light, & Neil suggested Family Business, that he had brought. clearly, the mechanism for the game was passing clear over the heads of those who hadn't played it before, so we just dove in & played. I was dealt only contracts, only ever saw contracts, did not have a turn until 5 of my gangsters were already dead, & was out first, & very quickly. Doug followed me (he still had 6 left when I lost), then there was a steady attrition rate, with early leaders being picked on, & evening up moves being made. Eventually, Gay won.
We called it a day at that point. It was perhaps, in retrospect, not the best way to have organised it, but at least it happened. Because of the children needing alternative forms of entertainment it needed to be at my house. However, it probably would have been better to make it shorter, so more people were around concurrently. Nevertheless, it was nice to spend a bit more time chatting that we usually allow ourselves.