Billabong Boardgamers - May 11th, 1999
Present: Dey, Roger, Alan, Pedro, Janet, Doug, Bernie, Julian, Graeme
Doug Adams writes:
On The Table: Elfenland/gold, Mit List und Tucke, Durch die Wueste, Turfmaster, Chinatown, Mu
Solid numbers tonight, with Pedro returning on one of his all-too-rare visits to Melbourne.
Bernie, Doug and Pedro lined up to play Elfenland, with the Elfengold expansion. This is the second time in two weeks this has been played, see the previous week's report for a more detailed explanation on the game systems. Pedro and Bernie are Elfenland players (and owners!) and were thus keen to see how this expansion played out. We played with all the optional rules (ie. wizards, home cities, etc).
This game was very tight the whole way through. Pedro and Bernie put down the ideal path for Doug to take advantage of, and he picked up five cities (a perfect score on turn 1) with his opening hand of five cards. Pedro and Bernie made solid, if not so stellar, openings.
Turn two continued Doug's great run, with another three cities claimed on the only three cards he had. Who said Elfenroads was difficult? Eight out of twenty visited after only two turns! Turn three saw another four cities claimed by Doug, who was clearly in the lead, with the luxury of only eight cities to visit on the last three turns. Should be easy! Hah! Doug had blundered, being sucked into the nice paths Bernie and Pedro had been forging to take him dangerously close to his home city. This meant the board had to be traversed west to east, and back again to claim all the tokens and finish on the home city.
Bernie and Pedro had very good runs on turns four and five, and took the lead off Doug. Bernie was on 18 cities heading into the final turn, but with a nasty split making a score of 20 impossible. Pedro was looking better on 17 cities, with his remaining three nicely grouped near each other. Doug was on 16 cities, and in deep poo.
However, a fantastic draw on turn 6 for Doug created a candle in the night, a second wizard to complement one he drew as one of his two cards on turn five, along with some nice chit/matches to guarantee him three, perhaps four cities (I'm not sure about the wizards being used with the home cities in this game...). What happened? A log delayed Pedro's route out of the desert, earning him two instead of the needed three cities. Bernie's nasty split meant he could only visit one of his two remaining cities, while Doug's carefully hoarded gold reserves enabled him to visit three cities and teleport home. The scores....!
Bernie: 19 cities, 25 gold, 2 cards
Excellent game - very close, very tense. Rating: 10
Durch die Wueste
The same players, Pedro, Bernie and Doug, lined up for a game of Sausage - another one of my favourite games, and the ideal 30 minute game while the rather boisterous game of Turfmaster galloped down the final straight.
It's always my tactic in this game to try and get four of my camels at mid-points between various oases, and perhaps place an optimistic camel on it's own as an area grabber. After that, go for early oasis points and juicy waterholes, perhaps wall off an area, but concentrate on taking the longest camel train in two colours. This game pretty much panned out like that, but Bernie - who I don't think I'd ever played this against before - seemed to be on to me at every move! I was working on longest orange and yellow, when Pedro played aggressively with orange and took it off me. I was toying with trying to take longest mauve, however Bernie got the same idea a turn ahead of me and started building on it. That left blue, which I took with a single camel, and used one of the three remaining orange camels to threaten Pedro's longest orange.
Pedro had to take an orange (leaving one) to guarantee his points for that caravan, but that left me ready to end the game, prompting the odd "You bastard" from Bernie! A single blue to take the blue caravan, and an orange to end the game.
Doug's rating: 9.99 - for me, nearly as good as Elfengold/land/roads, nearly....
The overgrown jockeys had finished their chaotic (I'm going on aural input here) game of Turfmaster, so we mixed around. Roger, Doug, Pedro and Julian sat down for our first game of Roger's recent purchase, Chinatown.
Thoughts - lovely looking game, clean design, nice negotiation element and it feels 'quick' to play. I loved it! Unfortunately we started late and didn't get past turn four, but I was greatly encouraged by what I saw. I don't mind admitting from what I'd read on various forums, I wasn't expecting to enjoy this too much based on the negotiation element, however the negotiation here is constructive rather than destructive (or perhaps we are just nice guys!) and everyone felt very 'in the game'. The deal making reminded me of Bohnanza, of all things....
A quick overview of the game - there are around 85 (?) lots on the game board, with a card for each lot. Each turn you are dealt lots to bring your hand up to a limit set by which turn you are on. You are also dealt sets of business tiles, which eventually get positioned on the board over the lots. Each player simultaneously declares which lots he is openly declaring ownership of this turn, and places a chit on the board to show they own it. I think the number you declare is limited each turn as well.
Then the game enters a wheeling and dealing phase where players are trying to:
As far as I could tell, anything was tradeable - lots on the board, business/lots on the board, lot cards in hand, cash in hand, businesses in hand, etc. Once trading is complete, the business tiles can be put onto the board, which earn you money. If you have an unfinished business, you earn a substantially less amount compared to the amount earned if the business is complete. Eg. I had a '6' value business I was trying to complete, but only had five tiles on the board. This earned me $8000 (from memory), however when I managed to put the sixth tile down to finish that business, income from it jumped to $14000.
Of course, it's money that wins you the game, so the whole point of trading is to come out on top in the financial department. Trading was a bit hesitant early, as we had no benchmark against which to measure deals, but when we realised we weren't going to finish this game, we went for it. At the end of turn four, cash was:
Doug's initial rating: strong 8 - can't wait to play it again. Bring it next week, Roger! :)
Janet Ford writes:
Mit List und Tucke
I *like* this game. Players have just that bit more control than in David & Goliath because of not having to follow suit. Other than that it feels very similar to David & Goliath.
Alan Stewart writes:
Players: Alan, Roger, Dey, Janet, Graeme, Julian Clarke
Reminded me a lot of Daytona 500 (or is that Cleveland?), where you move your race cars by cards.
In the first deal my lowest card was an 8, so despite being in the outside barrier (cursed die rolls), I went for it. Played my 1 joked early, and maintained the lead for the entire race.
In the second race (no jokers), Janet played four jokers and won. My last two plays of 12, 12 got me up to second place. Would have won this if my move of 5-6switch lane-11switch lane-12 wasn't deemed illegal after rules discussion. We realised the earlier moves of 5-6switch lane had also probably been illegal.
In the third race Julian coasted to a win, and no-one else reached the finish line in the same turn. We assigned places based on that instant. But maybe Julian was the only one who scored points that race, or the rest of us had to play another turn to sort out the places. Rules comment Roger?
In the end: Alan 50 + 30 + 20 = 100 Janet 10 + 50 + 30 = 90 Julian 0 + 0 + 50 = 50 Roger 30 + 10 + 0 = 40 Dey 20 + 0 + 10 = 30 Graeme 0 + 20 + 0 = 20
An okay game, but not one I'd play too often.
Players: Alan, Dey, Janet, Graeme, Bernie
A first play for Graeme, but he picked it up pretty quickly.
First up Bernie was chief, and chose Janet as his partner. Vice Alan and company shot down the bid.
Then it was Janet's turn to be Chief, with Bernie as her partner. Vice Alan and defeated that bid.
Bernie and Alan then had a successful bid (I can't recall who was chief and vice). Then Alan and Dey just got in (I had 4 of the 2 cards, and Dey had played the fifth one). Unfortunately Janet's Vice declaration of red nearly undid the bid, as I had no red trumps to lead to Dey's 2. In the end we got 34 when requiring 33!
Last round was then declared.
Janet went for a 7 card bid, with Graeme as her partner, but Vice Dey and co destroyed that bid. Game halted due to time.
Still a very enjoyable game.
Sorry Alan, the scores were garbled...Doug