Billabong Boardgamers - September 21st, 1999
Present: Roger, Craig Mc., Alan, Debbie, Tina, Janet, Doug, Donna, Julian, Jack, Robert, Glenn, Bernie
Doug Adams writes:
Clan Clarke invaded tonight, led by Julian along with his mother, and two sons - Jack and Robert. Add to that our solid numbers and a boisterous evening resulted.
Jack, Bernie, Robert, Glenn, Julian.
Alan, Doug, Craig Mc.
A new game to Alan, who being such a good player in general was ruthlessly tossed straight into the Master version of the rules. The Master score card was the 5/15/30 for having knights on exactly 4/5/6 castles after each respective scoring round. It created a very interesting game.
Craig took the bull by the horns in the first round by removing a solitary single block castle via a card. This reduced the number of castles to seven and suddenly made the optional 30 point bonus just a little more difficult. On top of that, Craig was directing most of his energy into dominating the board with a castle in the centre of the board. During the course of the game it grew to a surface are of 17, with 8 stories eventually being built on it. The effect of this was to cramp the surrounding castles, and ensure they would be mere bit players. Alan and Doug were forced to get into this giant castle early, or watch Craig romp away with the game.
Scoring after round 1 was Alan, Craig then about 10 back, Doug. All bonuses were paid out. Doug moved the King to a tricky location where he'd already qualified for the 10 points second round bonus. Alan jumped in immediately, however Craig ignored it and concentrated more on his Empire State Building in the centre of the board. A bit of a scramble ensued for the 15 point/5 castle optional scoring bonus which both Craig and Alan picked up. Doug let this go, as he was sitting in 6 castles and decided to wait out for the 30 points at the end, rather than risk jumping off for 15 with the risk that he couldn't get back in. You know the saying: "30 in the hand is worth 45 in the bush"!
The third round saw Craig about to go down 30 points to Alan and Doug, as it was impossible for him to pick up the 6 castle bonus due to his own monstrous creation. Craig therefore attempted to go up, eventually getting his castle to level 8, while Doug and Alan tried to match him, finishing at level 7. With no chance of the King bonus being paid out in the third round, it was simply down to "could Alan defend his lead?"....he could.
Marvellous game, very tight, hard to see how it was going to fall. Touching a 9 for me. The master rules really make the game. Now the questions:
How do you add in master bonus points? The rules are pretty clear that each player adds their castle points, THEN each player adds king bonus points. Is master bonus points simply another step in this process? Due to the "leapfrog" nature of scoring, this could be important.
One basic and one action set saw a tricky-yet-playable track constructed, and 8 big kids lined up for a three lap race. The starting grid was:
Poll: Roger Smith
Julian got off to a terrific start, and led for 2 laps of the race despite early pressure from Roger and Doug. Debbie was a constant pressure in fourth for the first half of the race and that must have got to Roger, who cracked like an egg and Doug and Debbie got past. Julian was caught late on the second lap by Doug, who swooped past on the second to last turn and took the flag. Following him over the line were Julian, Debbie, Bernie, Roger. The others were DNF, but not without incident. My highlight was Julian's mum, Glenn, driving a very wide car and holding up Bernie for half the race!
Rating: 1 - fatally flawed game, definite catch the leader problem with huge potential for King making! Just kidding, it's a hoot.
AB DIE POST
Doug, Rob, Jack and Glenn bought out this light game for a trial flight. The theme is air races where you have to tool up your aircraft and run the gauntlet of storms around to the finish line. If you take the fast track, you could get burnt a lot more by the storms, compared to the slow and steady route. The "do it fast" nature of the kids, combined with surprisingly fine weather, saw this game finished in three races.
Jack: Finish +2
Doug's rating: 5 - leave the brain at the door and put your goggles on!
One of several rowdy games of Knizia's dice-fest saw Rob leave the start line last but finish first. A game that is usually dismissed as being "too luck based". Geez, why does *everybody* I play this with spend the whole game laughing? A classic closer....
Rob was clutching a copy of this and making Bambi eyes at me, so I taught him this game. We played one hand and didn't tally the scores. Rather cagey remarks from Grandma who was watching (Grandma Clarke gave me every indication of being an excellent player) saw this hand being pretty balanced. With several Billabongers apparently "pretty hot" at this game, I'm proposing a Lost Cities tournament to see who is "best of the best". If anyone's interested, let's do it!
Debbie Pickett writes:
Roger, Debbie, Tina, Janet
Herr Fossil (Klaus Palesch) has come up with a trick-taking game with a twist in Sticheln. It seems to bear a little relationship to Schnšppchen Jagd in that trumps vary for each trick and only exist once someone has played an off-suit card. In Sticheln, every off suit card is a trump (except for zeroes), which isn't always a good thing: cards of one nominated suit score negative their face value, while other cards all score +1. (We eventually got this rule right, so my record score of 151 got scrubbed as a miscount, darn it.)
The first round was pretty even between us all, but in the second I managed to force Roger to take a great wad of his negative suit and he went phenomenally negative. In the same round I managed to land a big positive score. After that it was up to Tina and Janet to catch up to the leader, and for Roger to catch up to zero, which he just did by the end of the game. A bit of a learning curve for us but by the end we had it.
Final scores: Debbie 56, Janet 43, Tina 40, Roger 0
My rating: 6 (which for me means something I'll play if I'm in the right mood)
Roger, Donna, Janet, Tina, Debbie
Donna joined in for a game of Exxtra while we waited for another table to finish. I started fast early but by the end of the game I was last; Tina (for whom this was also a first playing) went nice and steady, taking no risks, and comfortably romped it in by five points. In order after Tina came Roger, Donna, Janet and me.
My rating: 6. This one's lots of fun if you don't want to have to think too hard.
Roger, Julian, Bernie, Debbie
Catch a bargain! This game grows on me the more I play it, and it has some pretty perverse strategies. I managed to land a huge pile of nines to the end of the game and cleared them all out at once, for a huge treasure stack and a reasonably small trash stack. In the end it was pretty decisive.
Final scores: Debbie 11, Julian 4, Bernie 3, Roger 2. This was just not Roger's night!
My rating: 6. (I like 6, it's a good number.)
Before Tina and I had to catch the Buffy Express, we managed to fit in a quickish game of Res Publica. I was first to meld both villages and cities, but Bernie managed to grab the next three cities through good trades. Julian was stuck with four of a kind for more than half the game, and though he managed to make a break for it at the end it was too late.
Final scores: Bernie 30, Debbie 29, Roger 24, Julian 17.
My rating: I'll break with tradition and give this a 5. There is a distinct runaway leader problem in this game.
Alan Stewart writes:
Janet, Tina, Alan, Donna, Craig
We'd all played before, so knew what we were doing, sort of..... Only 1 losing bid, and the game took about an hour.
Alan: (+15) 36/48/(+40) 121/128/128/(+30) 186/(+30) - 239
Another game just played to a time limit.
Tina: (+10) 21/(+50) 93/(+10) - 122
A first time played for Craig. In the first round only 2 bears were in the positive scoring section; in round 2 all four bears scored positively; and in the last round only 1 bear scored positively. (6) indicates who got the finishing the round bonus.
A close game before the last round, where Craig really cleaned up with the green bear!