Billabong Boardgamers May 12th, 1998
Present: Julian, David, Janet, DougPrevious session report
Doug Adams writes:
A quiet night tonight with Alan and Donna busy with the Melbourne Science Fiction Club, organising, I think, the World Convention due in Melbourne next year. I may have some details wrong here. But onto games...
David bought along this Knizia game that I'd never heard of. It's an FX Schmid card game where each player is a knight who is trying to win 4 out of 5 possible tournaments. It's a very simple game that reminded me a bit of Katzenjammer Blues. The cards come in 5 colours which represent the five tournaments. Each turn a player will open the hand with a card or cards of a colour. Play goes around the table with each subsequent player upping the bid or passing (and drawing a card). On it goes until all but one have passed and they win that colour tournament, and get to lead to the next tournament. All cards bid by each player are tossed in, so careless bidding is a real risk.
The Knizia-Quirks in this one are two special cards, the 7 shield and 10 shield. These are wild, you can play any number of 7's in a round, but only one 10. What's more, if you lose the bidding and have bid a 10 you must had back a tournament win. ie. you go backwards!
Indeed this happened in game one, when both Julian and David played a 10 in the one round. David lost the hand and had to toss back in a win, while Julian went on to take the game.
We enjoyed our first game and felt we had a better idea of managing a hand of cards, so we tried again. The second hand saw some close play with Janet and I on 3 wins each and nearing the end. The bid was for the red tournament and I was holding 16 in red cards and looking good for the game. David and Janet jumped right up to 11 in the bidding which made me think I should back off and take the next round of red when their red cards have gone. Stupid! Janet took the round with something like 12 red and won the game. She had no more red, while I could have taken the game if I'd bid everything! Them's the breaks.
We played a final game, with Julian winning this one - myself losing a win on the last hand for playing a 10 shield and losing.
Our game ratings:
This next game is another I'd never heard of before. I don't know who published it but it looked quite old. Julian owns it and warned us that he had doubts but would like to try it out. He tried it two player and found it nearly unplayable.
It's a share trading game, buy low, sell high, that sort of thing. There are 5 marketable commodities, all with a share price index ranging from 0 to 30, but starting at 10. Each player is given 8 shares of each commodity, a special mission card, some commodity cards, and $250.
A turn is quite simple. One their turn a player must play a commodity card which alters the price index in one or more commodities, up or down. They are then allowed free reign to buy and/or sell any amount of shares they want. The player declares the commodity, and how many shares they are buying or selling. Interesting here is that the chance to buy or sell is passed around the table from player to player, then if there are still commodities unsold or not bought from the initial amount declared, then the transaction is completed with the 'bank' at a worse price.
The player must then play a second commodity card to further influence the share price index, then *may* declare the special mission completed. This is a card that declares which 3 shares the player must be holding (no other share types are allowed to be held) and what their combined value is worth according to the current index price. If completed, each player must pay them $25 and the bank pays a further $100. Strange, but worth it. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that at the beginning of a players turn they must pay the bank $50. If they dont then bad things happen, but I'm not sure what as it didn't happen.
The game is played over 10 turns, and highest stock and cash holdings wins.
David won the first game in 30 seconds, as Julian who was reading the rules read out "the player on the dealers left wins". This was David, who was sitting on Janet's left. We congratulated him, told him "well played" and played a second game with the variant "the player on the dealers left begins".
Our second game saw a mistake by David during turn one in that he through he could only trade in one commodity per turn. Julian also played a poor turn, understandable under the circumstances. I managed to sell off two commodities and complete my mission on turn one. $175 to Doug and things are looking rosey.
After that things got worse as the game degenerated. Each player, on their turn managed to complete their mission (and they are supposed to get harder). As more and more cash was amassed it became easier and easier. After four turns we gave up, as the game seemed pointless - our cash differences weren't going to change markedly.
Scores at that point were:
We worked out the lead I had was simply earning the mission bonus on turn 1, whereas the others missed it.
I found the English version of this in my local game store and impulse bought it. Pangs of guilt then swept over me as I realised David sells it, so I'll have to buy Finale and Qvo Vadis off him to just be happy with myself. Anyway, we introduced Janet to it and played a game. Scores were (totalled along the way):
Julian: 0 - 14 - 27 - 35
Ratings: Doug: 7, David: 7, Julian: 7, Janet: 5
Until next week!