Billabong Boardgamers - October 12th, 1999
Present: Roger, Janet, Doug, Craig Mac., Debbie, Tina
Debbie Pickett writes::
In a relatively quiet evening by Billabong standards, several normal attendees were absent (presumably off somewhere celebrating Six Billion Day). We settled into a four-player group while Janet and Craig played Lost Cities.
Doug & Tina, Roger & Debbie
Another recent little Reiner Knizia creation, this one has the veneer of a theme about gaining power in some kind of medieval England. Needless to say, this has no impact on the play.
The table of 21 tiles is laid out with the five represented colours (each worth 5 points) stretching out one way, and the five represented values from 1 to 5 stretching out the other way (worth from 1 to 5 points). There are also ten tiles worth one for second place in each category, and a bonus tile which is given to the first side to earn two of the tiles numbered from 1 to 5. There are 50 cards, two of each colour and number. Some cards are dealt out to the players, and the rest form a stack in the middle as a draw deck.
With four players, you play as two teams (which makes for somewhat awkward play as two of you have to play on the far side of the row of tiles). Essentially this works a lot like Caesar & Cleopatra. You put a card on your side of the row of tiles, either in front of a colour tile (in which case the card's colour has to match) or in front of a number tile (naturally the number must match). Then you draw a replacement card, until all the cards are drawn and played.
Scoring runs from the number 1 tile to the number 5 tile, then each colour tile. The side with the most cards (the numbers on the cards are immaterial now) gets the tile and the other team gets the one-point booby prize if they played any card to the column.
There is a little of Lost Cities in this game too, in my opinion. The difference is that because there are ten columns to play in instead of five, it feels like you have less control over what is going on. I imagine that this game has depths that I haven't found yet, but on a first play it seemed somewhat . . bland.
Final scores: 23 each. There seems to be no tie-breaking rule.
My rating: 6.
Doug, Roger, Tina, Debbie
We then switched to a Reiner design that we knew we all liked. I don't remember playing this game with four people before, so having only three sun tiles seemed a little weird.
In the first round everyone grabbed enough tiles to leave them positive overall, with Tina investing in civilizations and Doug in pharaohs. I held back and still had two suns when everyone else had run out. Through sheer luck I managed to get two good strings of eight tiles all to myself before the Ra track was filled, which game me a healthy lead in floods and pharaohs and monuments.
Round two saw much the same happen, with everyone doing about equally. By the time round three came along, it was Pick on Debbie time, but another few lucky draws and I was out, leaving the other three to finish up. Personally, I think they were glad to have me out of the game by that stage. As it was, I was bound to be the one made to write the report.
The final standings showed Roger and me with a good spread of monuments and lots of pharaohs, Doug and me with a lot of Niles, and Tina managing to get a good lot of civilizations.
My rating: 8 - this game just seems to click for me, and I enjoy it even if it does make my teeth itch.
Best quote: "Ra plays better with three. Go away, Roger." - Doug
(You know, you almost didn't get this report . . I got up this morning to find on the floor a couple of shreds of paper which were our score sheets. I never thought I'd mean it when I say "the cat ate my homework".)
Doug Adams writes:
Midway through the evening we scoured the game crates for six player games. Show Manager stood out - a new game to Debbie, Tina and Craig, and one we haven't played in quite a while.
Roger did a great job with the rules and we were all moving happily along until Tina proudly presented a Lear show. Unfortunately, she didn't realise that you needed to match the letters up to the cast members, thus her Lear scored poorly.
Doug demonstrated to the newbies the value of clearing the cast board for $2000, and that demonstration turned Craig (especially Craig), Debbie and Tina into board clearing monsters! Wonderful to see, really, watching their cash rapidly dropping!
Craig seemed to be in a board clearing frenzy and ended up borrowing from three of his four shows (I think). Roger had to borrow against a superb 45 point ballet, dropping it to 40 in New York. Craig came in with a 45 to take top spot, borrowed down to 41 only to lose the lead to Doug with a 42.
While borrowing chaos reigned across the board, Janet was quietly slipping in with top shows in all but New York. In the end, a comfortable win....
Given the advice that we should try Hattrick with six players instead of four, we gave it a go. The game didn't seem to work as well, to me, and I think others felt the same. Roger's three strong opening hands couldn't stop Craig charging home. Lots of kingmaker potential in this one.
Craig: 8/9/3/12/8/7 = 47
Debbie and Tina had left to slay vampires, so the four of us looked around for a 45 minute four player game. Samurai seemed a good choice.
Usually there is an initial fight over Edo, but this time the players seemed content to get some good foundations down in their own quiet corners of the board. Edo suddenly blew up a third of the way in, with the pieces going to different players. As usual, I found it very hard to both track pieces and concentrate on strategy, but thought I was in the lead on Buddah's, given I'd taken four and there were still 6 out there. A late flurry of capturing saw a few Buddah's go, and the game end due to the last High Helmut being claimed. Our first double majority win, to newbie Craig.
Craig: H RRRR BBBBB
...played between Janet and Craig. Scores were tied after the first two rounds.