Billabong Boardgamers - June 20th, 1999
Present: Roger, Janet, Doug, Craig, Donna, Alan, Julian
Doug Adams writes:
A three player Ra, requested by Donna, to start out with. Roger and Doug joined in. I really like the way this one works with three players, there is certainly a lot more control over your destiny here. In our game Roger jumped out to a pharaoh lead by taking 5 in the first epoch, and joining Donna in claiming useful points via Nile tiles and bonuses. Doug didn't pick any points up in round 1. Round two saw Doug make a move with a set of four civilization tiles (10 points) as well as some nice Nile tiles, while round three saw some careful bidding to secure the five point bonus in sun tiles at the end of the game. Donna had collected two "three of a kind" sets in her monuments to gain some nice points and edge past Roger.
Doug's rating: up from 7 to 8. You cannot relax in this one, every decision requires some thought and watching the play closely certainly helps you when it comes around to your turn. Good game.
MYSTERY RUMMY: JACK THE RIPPER
Roger, Doug, Donna and Julian sat down to a four player game. The four player game certainly has a different feel than the two player game, with a bit more strategy based on current scores coming into play. It took us six hands to get someone past the 100 point barrier, probably due to the "Ripper Escapes" closing the first two hands, minimising the other players scores.
We were not sure about one rule. Does the "Ripper Escapes" card only earn the player who plays it 35 points, or 35 points plus scenes, victims that they've played? The rule can be interpreted both ways, but it seemed to make more sense to add played victims/scenes onto the the 35 points.
Doug's rating: 8, the more I play it the more I like it. Dubious subject, excellent game.
Donna and Doug split off for a Lost Cities, Donna's first go at this one. I am feeling very apologetic as I had my best game yet of this one and felt rather as if I'd tossed Donna to the wolves. Still, I thought about all those games of Medici and For Sale she'd beaten me at, hardened my heart and kept at it. We played four hands, but I'd scored well in all five expeditions on hand four we didn't bother tallying them.
Scores to the third hand:
Doug's rating: 9, one of my top 10 Knizia's and his best 2 player game (miles ahead of Tor, easily ahead of Nuba, Mole Hill, etc).
Donna and Doug managed to play one hand of this while the big Acquire match was finishing up on the next table. Donna went out with Doug on about 1 point. It wasn't scored.
Alan Stewart writes:
The first Sunday session I have been able to attend.
Craig, Janet, Alan
The first time I have played this. I think Craig had played it once before, and Janet had played mainly 2 player games. Fairly straight forward, though I forgot the `no 2 gavel cards play in a turn' rule one time when I tried to go out. In the first hand I should have melded a wild card and gone out early. Though Craig finished that hand with a `Ripper escapes' play. The second hand finished very early, when I played the same card, only about a quarter of the way through the deck! The following rounds were more conventional scoring. In the end the game took 5 rounds.
Final scores : Alan 115, Janet 77, Craig 73
A fairly light game. I didn't see much strategy with my first play, except for getting cards out of your hand, and using victims to get more cards early on was worthwhile.
Craig, Janet, Alan
I'd played this once before, and I think Janet had played it once or twice. A new game for Craig.
I didn't use a bastion to stop Janet getting her first church duchy, but did use one later on the 2 square after she played on the 1 square next to a church.
Much more use of bastions this game than in my last one. I seemed to know what I was doing this time, and did the only take over of duchies in the game. Three take overs in all. The final one gave me the archbishop card, and in the last move of the game I used its powers to convert one of Craig's tiles, forming my 7th duchy, which was worth 9 points! It was a duchy which was bastion-my knight-Craig's knight-bastion next to a 4 point city. Neither of us had been prepared to let the other get it.
A lot more room with a 3 player game, compared to my earlier 4 player game, and with less take overs.
I want to try this with 5 players sometime.
TAKE IT EASY
Alan, Doug, Julian Clarke, Craig
A first time at this game for Craig. His score improved each round, but he should do better next time.
What can I say? What was looking like my worst hand (game 2) was saved by the very piece I wanted coming up last!
(Apologies to Doug for my inaccurate adding up of the final scores on the day and giving him the impression that he had won.)
Roger Smith writes:
We played with open stock holdings and concealed money.
This game is a favourite of fellow Billabonger, Greg Hallam. Although it was pulled out at his request a few weeks ago, I didn't manage to get in on that game. I've only played it once before--with a group of Greg's friends--some 10 years ago.
This is a game that definitely favours those who have played before. That said, Julian, a veteran of several games, bemoaned the fact that he *always* comes last. As an effective newbie (I couldn't remember anything about my previous game), it took me 1/3 of the game to even vaguely work out what was going on, the next 1/3 to begin to see some strategies, and the remaining 1/3 knowing I'd left it too late to do anything about it. I'm looking forward to another game soon to explore the strategic possibilities I'm sure it offers.
Roger's rating: 6.5/7
Janet: 39 + 59 + 46 = 144
Janet and I played this as a filler. Despite what you see above, this was actually a pretty good game for me. Dey normally thrashes me by much more than this :). I made one fatal error by discarding a card I needed to the board (hoping to pick it up again next turn) and watched in dismay as Janet picked it up instead. The desperate desire to play this more and more seems to be dying off somewhat (due to Mystery Rummy perhaps...) nevertheless, this is a very fine game.
Roger's rating: 8