Billabong Boardgamers
 

Billabong Boardgamers - 7th December, 1999

Present: Debbie, Roger, Alan, Craig, Greg, Doug, Janet, Bernie

Previous session report

Doug Adams writes:

Joyous events abound at Billabong, David celebrating a milestone birthday, and a few hours later, the birth of his daughter (who's already online :) Understandably David was absent, but the games went on....

With two tables of four going all evening, I managed to get in on both games of Vinci. Here's a quick report on the second game...

VINCI

Roger, Doug, Craig, Bernie

Roger started down in the Middle East with a nice Port/Agriculture combination that proved such an earner, he didn't put the civilization into decline until the last few turns of the game! Craig, the new player here, was excited by the prospects of his Specialization/Slavery, and cut a swathe through the centre of Europe in a quest for conquered pawns (at 2VP's a head). Bernie began his game with mines, and managed to do very very well by taking and holding 3 mines. It proved so successful, Bernie was out to a massive lead by the midpoint of the game.

Doug had begun with Medicine and was left alone for several turns, achieving some nice expansion across Northern Europe. Bumping into Craig's slave empire was a bad idea as calls of "look how many pawns he's got!!" could be heard. Doug's gentle, forward thinking medicinal empire was savaged and it was time for a little declension.

However, alarming things could be seen on the VP track. Bernie had a huge jump on the field. Roger was in stasis with his 11-13 points per turn agricultural empire; Craig was wringing the last slave out of his pawns with his empire that really went 2-3 turns longer than it should have. Doug seized the Field General/Mines combination and went Bernie hunting before it became totally embarrassing.

A couple of turns of Bernie-cull applied the brakes and saw him stagger up to 97 points, still 10 clear of his nearest competitor. Bernie used his few remaining pawns to good effect, split Doug (who had a remote chance of catching Bernie, very remote), and got to 105. Doug was the nearest competitor on 95.

Bernie: 105
Doug: 95
Craig: 87
Roger: 74

The game played in 75 minutes....I like it more and more. A very strong 8 for me. Clean basis system, and the chits combine beautifully. I better sign off as I feel a poem coming on...

FOR SALE

Finishing the evening off with a new game to Bernie and Craig. They liked it sufficiently to suggest an immediate repeat game. Every time I play this game I rediscover just what a great little game it is.

Game 1:
Doug: 66
Craig: 65
Roger: 52
Bernie: 37

Earlier in the evening, Debbie was in on game 1 of Vinci....

Debbie Pickett writes:

VINCI

Greg, Debbie, Doug, Alan

After making a house rule that no more than four players participate in any one game of Vinci (we all prefer games that don't drag), we discovered that there were enough players to make for two games. Since Doug is the only one to have a copy of it, Bernie, Roger and Craig would have to wait for us to finish.

This was a first-time play for me, though I'd read the rules before so managed to get going pretty fast. I started with the civilization traits Mountaineering and Field General, and quickly took over vast quantities of Western Europe. Doug started in the Urals with Mountaineering, Greg in the Caucasus with Mining and Fortification, and Alan - in true Viking style - in Scandinavia with Farming.

I was among the first to decline, after taking a healthy lead with my military strength, taking Specialized Espionage and busting through Greg's now-declining fortresses into the heartland of Europe. Doug also declined and started afresh in the northeast with Agriculture and Farming. Greg's new civilization - Field General and Militia - had cost him a lot to start, but was now reaping rewards. Almost no one was willing to attack him, obviously enough. Alan was pushing through mid-Europe with Revolutionaries, catching up so much that I was now in last place, taking a beating for trying to quash Greg's lead. It did work, and by the time Greg was forced to decline his empire, Doug had formed a very nice Iberian civilization with Coinery and Astronomy, and was raking in the points. In the end, Doug managed to win, with Alan making a daring dash for the finish, Greg's new civilization barely getting started, and me bringing up the rear.

Game 2:
Bernie: 66
Craig: 57
Doug: 53
Roger: 47

My rating:
It has just a little of the feel of games like Civilization. It probably lends more to other games of the genre that I haven't played. Importantly, because the slow parts of such games - trading and bargaining, buying advances and moving up to fifty tokens - are all removed, the game moves along pretty quick. It rates 8 from me, which means a game that I wanted to play again as soon as I'd finished, and will probably want to play again frequently.

ANDROMEDA

Janet, Alan, Greg, Debbie

Our two groups of four switched, and we chose to play Andromeda. We were going to play 6 Billion, but David wasn't present, after the surprise birth of his daughter on Monday. So we at least kept with the space theme.

I honestly don't know what to think of this game. Everything I say about it has an accompanying "but". After a first playing, it just seems too random. I know that there is a lot more skill in the trading phase than I probably give credit for, but I'm not sure if it can counter all the randomness that otherwise comes up, or if the game is long enough for the central mean theorem to balance out the effects for all players.

Again, I don't have the scores handy, but I know that Greg won comfortably due to some fortuitous trade post establishing, followed by a bewildered me, with Janet next and Alan suffering from some bad luck several times coming in last.

Greg: 75
Debbie: 64
Janet: 56
Alan: 48

My rating: Right now, this one earns a 6. I may change my opinion once I have played some more, and decided if the game clicks for me.

Greg Hallam writes:

FISHY

Alan, Janet, Greg

This was an end-of-evening filler, playing with my newly purchased copy. Fishy is an Alan Moon design, published by White Wind. It consists of a board picturing a barrel with five levels, a deck of cards, and six sets of incredibly cute wooden fish. It's actually three games in one but all three use the same mechanics.

Fish are set up in different levels of the barrel, according to the particular game being played. Each player plays a card from her hand and they are revealed simultaneously - cards allow you to place or remove fish from the various levels. If players reveal the same card, the effect is either reduced or nullified.

In the first game, "Rotten Fish", the object is to stop your fish sliding to the bottom of the barrel, the second, "Fresh Fish", the object is to acumulate valuable fish, and the third "Fresh Fish' requires you to score points by placing all your fish in the barrel.

All three are quick, simple games of bluff and anticipating what cards others will play, though the third game proved the most interesting. Three players worked, but the games really need at least four or more. Very light, but a fun filler. Alan won the first and second games, Janet won the third and decided she liked it a lot!

Janet Ford writes:

David and Goliath

A filler which we played while waiting for the others to finish the first game of Vinci. We only managed to get three hands played before Vinci finished....

Janet: 135
Roger: 128
Craig: 122
Bernie: 105

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