Billabong Boardgamers - 8th September 1998
Due to the rare occurrence of the moon leaving the ecliptic and sittingi n the house of Murphy, the hideous combination of Billabong night and system problems at work at 4am combined to give me 3 hours sleep. I'll try and get this as close to English as I can.
The now travelling Billabong show this time travelled up to Julian's new place in the inner Melbourne suburb of Brunswick. Donna and Alan were absent, at a SciFi club meeting, but Rodger returned this time bringing along his wife, Dey. I guess we must have behaved ourselves enough last week for Rodger to return!
David bought along a pile of goodies for me, the latest Games Games Games magazine, a copy of Was Sticht? as well as a copy of Ransom, before he sells all his stock to list members ;)
I would have been happy curling up on the couch reading the latestG3, especially as Julian was starting to read out my comments on various games from the letters section, but gaming beckoned.
My diabolical plan of stuffing my gaming bag with four and two player games failed again - my fault, I put Elfenland in the bag as well. So, six players, six player game....let's play Elfenland.
This game was new to Rodger and Dey. Rodger had heard of it and indeed had an order for it placed with David. We explained the rules and played a sample turn to demonstrate the game, then launched into the real thing, despite Janet's grumbles (she had a great sample turn!).
The first thing that became apparent is with six players there is precious little of the board that doesn't have a transport chit on the routes at the end of the placement round. In round one I got very lucky with a couple of placements by other players helping me, and enabling me to use my chits for further down the road. My best turn to date in this game saw me net seven cities. Dey did well with six, followed by David, Julian and Janet with five, and Rodgerwith four.
I was expecting to get logged to high heaven on round two, but I was left alone to grab another six cities for thirteen after two rounds. THAT started to get some attention, and I got logged on three of my possible routes on round 3. This enabled Dey, David and Julian to close in. Round four was going to be tight.
It was tight, I was dealt three dragon cards and thought that I may win this yet. But I had some trickly navigating to do - I had to get that city on the one way road, the desert city north of that road, then back to the east side of the map and home. Julian was happily jumping in and claiming any dragon chits, which didn't bode well for me, as I wasn't going in his direction. I decided to forsake the one way city, jump into the desert city on my one dragon chit, and out again immediately, then pig, unicorn and elfcycle my way home for 19 with two cards over.
Not to be, Rodger and Dey had kept their logs back to be the last players holding them. My log had gone on one of Julian's mountain dragons, only to be met with "doesn't matter, I can go one of four ways anyway". Rodger's log went in the middle of the board, annoying Dey and Janet. Dey's log went on my desert dragon - "Waaah!". I therefore needed four dragons to get in and out again, couldn't be done as I wouldn't get home....so I raced home for 18 cities. Julian had been calling it his game for half of turn four, and he was correct.
Results (cities/penalty/cards remaining):
Doug's rating: remains an 8 but as with a lot of these six player games the down time is a ... downer. Ahem. The game took 90 minutes to explain, play a sample turn, then play the whole four turns, so I guess it isn't too bad.
Hase & Igel
Rodger, I think, requested this game, which is one of Julian's favorites. The rules were explained to Dey and Rodger, who picked it up a heck of a lot quicker than I did when I first played it. We played with the variant (Julian's house rule) that each player must have under 20 carrots to finish, rather than 10 times the position they are finishing in. Julian says this is the way he was taught, so maybe it's a rule in an earlier edition. The German rulebook with the game had the 10 times finishing position, interesting!
I was playing fifth, David sixth and not looking too happy about it. I remember my first game of this, playing sixth and only half understanding what was happening and felt the game was awful. David played it much better, realizing he had no hope waiting for the early lettuce squares to free up, struck out for the second half of the board and the wide open spaces.
There was a lot of early jostling for the first two lettuce squares. I plonked down on the first carrot square I could find, and accumulated 10 per turn until the lettuce was free. This took three turns, I think. I jumped in and dropped my first lettuce for 60 carrots - nice.
Even nicer was the second lettuce space was open as Julian left it and I could claim it from David and Dey. Claim I did for 50 carrots (David having moved on in disgust). I moved on and spent a happy period on the 'back straight' picking up good carrots at the 1/5/6 spaces, dropping back for more carrots and denying carrots to Julian in general. All good vegetable fun.
Meanwhile in the lead, Janet and Rodger were battling it out. Janet had performed small jumps around the board which, while managing to drop the lettuces (or lettii, as Rodger put it, of course everyone knows they were a Gaulish tribe), was strapped for carrots to finish with. David was up this end of the board as well, trying to drop lettuces. Dey was amassing carrots at the back at an alarming rate, then made her move to the front.
On my turn I could see I needed two turns to get home. If I had ten more carrots I could have finished from 16 spaces out. My only chance was to land on a hare space, draw a card and hope for a 'move again'. Nope, I had to drop back to the previous carrot space, which nobbled any hope of finishing next turn as I had to draw more carrots to make up lost ground. In the meantime, Dey had taken the game.
Results (Carrots left):
Doug's rating: 7