Billabong Boardgamers - June 8th, 1999
Present: Roger, Dey, Donna, Alan, Janet, Doug, Bernie, David
Doug Adams writes:
Nice turnout tonight with Donna returning for a surprise visit. Hopefully we'll see more of both Alan and Donna after the World SciFi Convention in September.
An entertaining opener with Dey, Bernie (who was giving us lessons on how to pronounce the title correctly), Janet and Doug. The only highlight was Dey's greed :) as she took by far the majority of cards during the game. Cash ins were rare early and the result was the last two hands were only two tricks each.
Janet, Dey, Bernie and David played again later in the evening:
Janet: 14-10 = 4
Dey: 16-10 = 6
New to David, with Janet, Doug and Bernie having the vast experience of one game behind us. Doug managed to remember the 10 credits each rule at the beginning of the game. The game improved for me as I had a much better idea as to what was a good batch of tiles, and what they all meant to various players, this time around. David picked up the scoring system pretty quickly and played well throughout.
I am finding this a very hard game to report on as I really don't remember who was collecting what, and reports of this are going to be rather dry. It's a game that will take a few plays to determine how best to structure your purchases to both score points and minimise damage via the penalties.
We played again later in the evening, this time the players being Roger, Doug and Alan. This was Alan's first game, and our first attempt with three players. I really liked the three player version, with four bids there seemed to be more control over your destiny and scoring seemed easier. Roger won, from Doug, then Alan.
Doug's rating: 8 .... I haven't quite connected with this one yet. I certainly don't feel like I'm an Egyptian trying to navigate through the ages, but then again I didn't feel like a 16th century Italian buying goods in Medici either!
We were just setting up Rheinlander for David, Bernie, Janet and Doug to play when Julian breezed in to make it a five player game (Tikal was an hour away from finishing on the other table). I went to make a coffee/pit stop and when I returned Julian had breezed out again! Our five player Rheinlander was four players again.
This was new to Janet and David, but the appeared to pick it up quickly, seeing the similarities to both Euphrat and strangely enough (although I see it now), Acquire. With three games under my belt, my strategy this game was towns towns towns! However, the initial card draw only saw one potential town available so it became a case of creating duchies where I could. The other players were similarly affected, with nobody dominating towns, and the archbishop card changing hands a couple of times before settling on Janet.
Last weeks game saw only one or two bastions (blocking devices) played, however this week there was a severe attack of paranoia with bastions springing up everywhere. The two notable 'hot spots' where the island (the 30's) where David and Bernie were having a power struggle as well as a bastion building contest; the other spot was over at the infamous 3/4/5/16/17/18 strip where Janet built up a sizable duchy that was threatening two of David's. David linked his two together to make it more defensible, and try as I might, I couldn't those two duchies to join (I wanted David off the board - he had 5 dukes on board at that point).
Bernie ended the game just as offensive options were becoming difficult to find. Janet hadn't used the archbishop's power at all during the game, but held the card (+5 points) to the end.
I enjoyed the game, it was still engrossing but the interaction was down on last week. I found it very hard to build up a power base on the board, with Bernie evicting me from my planned strongpoint early in the game. Still, I was pleased I managed to hang on to be close to the other players by the end of the game.
Doug's rating: 8, down from 9, still very good. In trilogy terms, I place it ahead of Samurai, but behind Sausage (just) and Euphrat.
With time nearly up for this evening, we had a quick hand of this Knizia real-time card game. I've owned this for about 12 months, and it was played for the first time on Sunday. It looks like the game may be popular - Alan won our only hand.
Roger Smith writes:
A new game for Donna and myself. Another example of great artwork on cards, but not really having enough time to look at it and appreciate it. There doesn't seem to be all that much skill in this one, other than judging when to stop turning cards. I'm also sceptical about whether or not it's worth going for the 10 different card combo.
Roger's rating: 6
Another fun game with the skill element being memory and the ability to quickly process information. No surprise that Alan won both games! We did have a rule wrong in the first game - collecting three stacks each (as you would in a four player game) instead of four.
Roger's rating: 7
My second time playing this, teaching three newbies. It REALLY helps having played before. The others had fully caught on to the strategy after a few turns, but perhaps too late for them. For me Tikal is a perfect example of a really well integrated (if not realistic) theme. Both games have come in just under two hours. With forewarnings there has been little dawdling in our games, but I can see how this could be a problem with a group of slow players. We hope to try the auction rules next time. As much as I like this game, I don't see it winning SdJ as it is NOT a family game by any stretch of the imagination. That said, I haven't played Union Pacific or Giganten yet.
Roger's rating: 9
My second game, and first three-player. I thought it worked really well with this number. My high score reflects the fact that I understood the scoring enough to accumulate some points from monuments. I can see the similarities to Medici, but I think I might end up preferring this game. The swapping of auctions disks it a great mechanism.
Roger's rating: 8.5