Billabong Boardgamers
 

Billabong Boardgamers October 11th, 1998

Present: Roger, Dey, Doug, Alan, Julian

Previous session report

Doug Adams writes:

A Sunday session designed to catch-up on some of the games that we can't fit in on a weeknight. At one stage it looked like it would just be Dey, Julian and myself playing Empire Builder, but then the phone started ringing... (Doug writes: Guilty!).

FOSSIL

Roger 96
Doug 55
Dey 38

Dey and I had enjoyed a two-player game of this the previous night, but were keen to try it with three. Doug obliged. The three player rules are the same as the two player we are used to: a 7x7 grid, two full fossils removed, all '3' fossil pieces removed, and slightly different scoring. I managed to complete a couple of fossils, in particular the one I had been collecting seriously, and was able to shoot ahead near the end. Quite a few pieces were left (unobtainable) at the end. Playing three player makes it difficult to plan ahead, as the chances are that both stones will have been moved by your turn. There is however, still ample opportunity for cunning play at that time.

Roger's rating: 7.5

IRON HORSE

Dey 76
Doug 73
Roger 50

First time for both Dey and myself. It was interesting to encounter one of the desktop published games that I have been reading about. The production values were quite acceptable! The board consists of a XxX grid which players place their trains around the outside of (X trains each). Players take it in turns to play geomorphic tiles anywhere in the grid. The tiles contain track sections, each side having an entry and an exit point. The object is to create the longest possible tracks for your trains and cut short your opponents tracks. Once a track is "complete" (either by running into the edge of the board, or into the middle) the player scores a point for each square the track passes through. Once all trains have been scored (which will occur when the last tile is played) the game is over.

Despite the fact that she won (possibly abetted by the master tacticians Alan and Julian who arrived during the game), Dey had a lot of problems with the spatial aspects of the game. I also found it very hard to work out the best place to play a tile. Between the three of us we managed to miss spotting that a number of completed tracks were complete and that certain trains should have been scored. I think this is a game you have to play to see if it's your cup of tea. Try playing it in a distraction free environment, especially one free of excitable Jack Russell pups called Bacchus. I quite would certainly like to play it again, and might revise my rating with some more experience.

Roger's rating: 6.5

EL GRANDE

Alan (winner)
Julian -14
Roger -24
Dey -29
Doug -35

The second German game Dey and I bought (after Settlers). With the exception of a two-player game we played for the purpose of rules familiarisation, we'd waited until now to play it. We played using the English cards from Rio Grande.

After the first scoring round, Bacchus (who had been allowed to stay at the request of Julian), was shown the red-card and bundled off to my parents' place. Things settled down with Alan and Julian way out front, and the rest of us vying for third place. Alan has played EG half a dozen times now, and seems to have a good grasp of the strategy. He certainly managed to pull away from Julian in the end game, however this may have owed just as much to the actions of Doug, Dey and myself. What I really like about this game is the interdependence of the decisions that need to be made each turn and the corresponding positives and negatives of each decision. I now feel I have a very basic grasp of the game, but want to play again soon to experiment with some of the potential strategies.

There was also some discussion about the English card text. A couple of us felt that on one or two cards there was some potential for confusion. This may be due to inconsistencies, rather than actual errors, in translation. In all cases "Ihre Mitspieler" is translated correctly as "Your fellow players". However "jeder/jedem Mitspieler" is sometimes translated as "Each player", implying that the active player is also affected by the action.

Roger's rating: 7.5

GUILLOTINE

Doug 14
Dey 13
Alan 10
Julian 10
Roger 6

Alan 23
Dey 21
Julian 17
Doug 11
Roger 10

Doug bought along this newish card game from WOTC. The cards are great to look at, and genuinely humorous. The humour matches the lightweight, but enjoyable, nature of the game. The players take on the role of executioners, gaining points by executing the nobles queued up at the guillotine. By playing a variety of action cards, you can manipulated the order of nobles in the queue, attempting to grab the choice pickings for yourself, while leaving the other players with the dregs. A good fun filler.

Roger's rating: 6.5

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