Billabong Boardgamers - 14th March, 2000
Present: Doug, David, Karen, Craig, Alan, Debbie, Tina
Debbie Pickett writes:
(Debbie, Alan, David, Tina, Doug)
This Reiner Stockhausen game has been getting a little bit of play at Billabong lately as a good opener. Craig and Karen showed up while the game was underway so we shunned them and kept playing to the end. (All right, it was mostly because they had all greasy hands from the takeaway chicken they'd brought for dinner and so cruelly taunted us with.)
The first round saw Alan grab a bunch of assets, with me focussing on cash and the others doing pretty Ok too (but that was the other end of the table and I couldn't see). By the end of Round three, Alan and David had bucket loads of assets, and the expensive kind, too. Poor Doug was apparently channelling space aliens who didn't know the rules, and got himself some very bad cards, which the rest of us cashed in on, literally.
For some reason we decided to play five rounds of this game, though I later found out that with five players you should only play four rounds. As it turned out, the fourth round was the critical one, and the fifth one ended in something of a farce as the leading players agreed to simply match each other's plays so that they were tied.
Final scores (in $100000 units):
My rating: Still a solid game, after my huge effort of three playings. I award it a 6.
DIE SIEDLER VON NÜRMBERG
(Tina, Debbie, Alan, David)
Someone, I forget if it was Alan or David, hadn't played this game before, so after a quick explanation (during which I learned that I'd got some rules wrong) we were underway. This is a pretty diabolical game to explain the rules of, because there is just so much to cover. But David and/or Alan did fine. We started with the initial set-up given in the rule sheet.
Alan made a quick start in settlements and workshops, but Tina was close behind. I was lucky to get some ore which I quickly spent on making some armour and thus bucket loads of gold. Then, suddenly, we were all trying to build city walls and towers, with Tina out in front. This ended up being enough for her to win the game, taking the 4-VP prestige card from me (to be fair, I'd just taken it off of her).
My rating: Still a very well-rounded Settlers variant, with more depth than the original. I give it a 7.
(Karen, David, Craig, Debbie)
I suppose I deserved to get a complete whipping some time this evening, and T-Rex was it. Karen continues her winning streak with first-time games.
I still can't classify this game - it doesn't feel like a trick-taking game to me, and its resemblance to games like Frank's Zoo is just as tenuous. This troubles me greatly, because my brain needs to analogise to work. At least David pointed out to me that Civilization has the same square-your-winnings rule, which made me feel a little better.
Both Craig and I fell into the trap of having only comet cards in our hands at one point, so we watched helplessly as our hand sizes dwindled to nothing. Sheesh. Meanwhile, Karen was doing wonderfully with almost her entire deck in her hand. In the end it really was down to Karen or David. The eggs didn't come up for David in the last hand so the end result was no surprise.
My rating: This game is still new to me, so it gets a 7, with the understanding that it will probably go down slightly with repeated playings.
Doug Adams writes:
Tina, Alan, Doug
A three player game midway through the evening. I like this number best with Ra, with the four Sun tiles allowing you to better sculpt a hand of tiles. Our game felt close but Tina was always picking up what seemed like very good hands of tiles. A lucky claim late in the game gave Doug 19 points (3 gold tiles! and 2 monuments that completed sets of 3) to get close, but not close enough.
Tina: 58 Doug: 48 Alan: 28
Doug's rating: 9
Tina, Alan, Doug
A couple of hands while waiting for an adjacent game to finish....
Doug's rating: 7
Doug, Alan, Karen, Craig, David
With 20 minutes to go Alan broke out Mu while I was out of the room. Just when I thought we were actually going to get away without playing it! When I returned I saw a hand already dealt for me and it was only with tremendous effort I fought back the stomach cramps and forced myself to sit in on this terrible game (Doug + trick taking games = something not pretty). Still, it improves if you simply fling cards into the centre of the table and not worry about the result, and funnily enough I had half a chance of winning if I could be bothered bidding. However, it was 11:30pm and they were lining up for yet another hand when my need for sleep overrode my need to be polite (everybody else appears to have jobs where they can get out of bed at 9am, not 6am!) and I announced I had to leave. Not quite sure how I ended up with the report duties! :)
David: 146 (close to winning, but lost out by a couple of triangles on
our last hand and took a hit)
Doug's rating: 2^2
AUF HELLER UND PFENNIG
Craig, Karen, Doug
The scores have long been condemned to a rubbish bin, but this was a new game to Karen (our running joke is to NEVER let Karen play a game a second time) and Craig. After warnings of the evil mathematical nature of the game, and the nasty plays, we jumped in.
Karen and Craig naturally started a bit cautiously, none too certain how the game was to play out. Doug saw some juicy opportunities in round 1 to place lucrative markets on the board, and then as if by magic, light bulbs appeared over Craig and Karen's heads, and the next two rounds were very intense.
Karen came out by far the best, steadily making money each round despite Doug's best efforts to place some negative tiles up against her markets. It became very much a game of tit for tat as Karen responded in turn, resulting in Doug taking -20 or so in the second and third rounds.
Results: Karen, Doug, Craig (don't remember the scores)
>From memory the other table were playing Die Siedler von Nurnburg, and getting closish to a result, so we dragged out this wonderful little Knizia bidding game, again new to Craig and Karen.
The idea is you bid from a set hand of cash and try and acquire luxury goods, of which there is one of each valued between 1 and 10. However there are a few evil cards there which will steal or devalue your goods, so you have to bid to avoid those! The ultimate weevil is that the person with the least cash at the end of the game cannot win, period, whatever value goods they own.
We hurtled through our game, and I'm a little hazy on the details, but I do remember Craig playing most of the game with a thief in front of him waiting for the next purchase he made. Karen was playing a solid game but picked up a "half" card to devalue her goods by 50%. It left Doug in the lead, who had to play a careful endgame to ensure he didn't bomb out with least cash.
Results: Doug, Craig, Karen (I'm not even sure if that is correct! :-)