Billabong Boardgamers - March 23th, 1999
Present: Dey, Roger, Donna, Alan, Pedro, Janet, Doug, Greg, Moray, Liz, Jared
Doug Adams writes:
Billabong numbers at the new venue continue to be strong, with a potential 18 perhaps one night if all turned up at once! Great to see Pedro and Donna back after absences, and Jared returning for a second time.
On the table: Airlines, Expedition, Tutanchamun, Svea Rike, David & Goliath, Viva Pamplona
A new game to Pedro, Greg and Jared, while Roger and I had played it a few times each. I was keen to try a different strategy from my previous "merchants everywhere" efforts - big rewards, but lots of wars in the Regent Deck to nullify that. I went for a History Card strategy tonight, perhaps with an extra fief or two....
Sweden was blessed with two turns of peace that was predominately used to send merchants out, although Doug did pick up a cheap cultural personality for 2 gold. On turn three we all went off to war against Poland, inspired by stirring speeches with the hint of riches from Roger and Doug ("...you just gotta go to war...just gotta...puhleeeeese!").
Poland was easily defeated, which delighted Pedro as he had a "double booty" card which allowed him to choose two fiefs as booty - until Doug's "treason" card removed all booty won by him in a war! This after I burned down his palace, too....
Prussia was the next war fought, late in the Age of Vasa, and it was going well, with one Prussian card to defeat with three active Swedish cards still on the attack. Prussia won, thanks to some really appalling rolling on the Swedish side, mainly by Doug and Jared who had the precious three troop fief cards. This hurt, as every player had to lose a fief.
Another war followed quickly, which Doug bugged out of due to the fact that he couldn't fund the troop cost. The other players took this TOTALLY the wrong way ;-) but it proved to be a good decision as Sweden was comprehensively thumped, knocking their second and last fiefs from their control, while Doug was convicted traitor and lost his remaining fief as well.
I think I have skipped a war here, as I distinctly remember not fighting and surviving the treason roll, but my memory is awful at 1:20am, so onwards....
During the age of expansion none of the players owned fiefs so any war turn was void as there was nothing to resolve, and the game moved rapidly onwards as players strove to produce income via merchants.
Fiefs started to be purchased again in the Age of Abba (Liberty) and luckily no early wars appeared to threaten them. Doug completed a set of three personalities late in the age of Abba, but it appeared to be Jared, hero of Bretienfeldt, who was going to win - having restabilised his fiefs, trade empire and coffers.
Pedro and Doug were out of it, in fact Pedro was the victim this game, having his palace burnt down by Doug, branded and convicted traitor by Doug, losing fiefs to Greg, and incurring several other disasters along the way - the final insult was losing his hard earned province in the third age to Doug via a local feud. Doug had carefully nurtured himself up to three status points when Roger decided one of his three personalities' time had come, removing one status, then a plague wiped out a fief (the one pinched from Pedro, from memory).
We were not sure about which history cards provided status at the end of the game - I thought all of them did, but Roger had a suspicion that either Resources or Military didn't. We couldn't find it at the time, but I've now spotted that resource cards do not count for status but Jared's score stands as we played it on that understanding.
Doug's rating: 8+
I really, really do like this game. It is a wonderful match of theme meeting European design - lots of chrome via the wonderful components, with very easy and clean mechanics. My only criticism is it is very random in the swings of fortune, and planning appears to count for little. Next time I'd like to be a bit more cautious about who I play cards on, instead of "here Pedro, catch". In retrospect a few of the later cards I feel I should have directed at Jared to bring try to bring him back to the pack. Still, for a 90 minute wild and woolly game, with lots of laughs and groans, it's one of the best. I'm keen to try it with the Batalj expansion now.
I would also like to try the game with the assessment of the scores after each "Age" ends, to try and flatten out the luck a bit. I dropped from 3 to 1 in the last two player turns of the game, while I don't mind in slightest being attacked, I feel that the game is a little unfair having slogged away for 90 minutes to that result :) Scoring at the end of each age and summing them could perhaps improve the method in finding a winner.
Any thoughts? I didn't pay much attention to any discussion at the time, only playing this game for the first time in December '98.
With 45 minutes to go, and six players keen for a final game, we broke out this fun game of running with the bulls in Pamplona. With 5 or 6 players, this game works very well.
The idea is you must guide three of your pawns (your brave runners) around the streets while staying ahead of the bull. Two dice are thrown to give you your moves and you can only move two of the three pawns. This makes keeping all of your pawns ahead of the bull quite tricky, especially if you get a quick bull, like we had tonight.
The bull moves via a card deck. After each player has had a turn, the top bull card is revealed to see if the bull moves, or charges. If the bull charges, machismo points (yes, really) are earned, or lost, depending on the position of your runners in relation to the bull. On the same space or just in front is great, while behind is bad.
Machismo points are also earned for jostling other players out of your space by outnumbering them, while they can be lost for hiding on cowardly spaces or, of course, being jostled.
The game ends when the bull reaches the arena and final points are tallied to find the bravest of the brave.
Our game saw the bull leap out ahead of nearly all the runners. Lots of pushing and shoving abound in a six player game, which is great fun. Greg seemed to be suffering from being jostled, while Alan was having a lot of trouble keeping up with bull. Roger had some great dice rolling going, rolling the special arrows time and time again (giving him a lot more flexibility in his move).
The bull really slowed down late in the game, which resulted in the arena being more crowded than I'd seen it before in this game. Doug or Roger was going to win this game:
Amigo Doug: 59
Doug's rating: 7
Alan Stewart writes:
Players: Alan, Janet, Doug, Greg, Dey, Roger (also turn order)
Vertung variant played: 30 stock cards dealt out to players. 12 stock cards dealt aside to form the top of the stockpile (so no Vertungs could come up in the first turn). Rest of the stock pile divided into three, and a Vertung card shuffled into each third.
I think everyone founded an airline on the first turn. Most people founded a second on Turn 2, and Roger finished the founding with ITA on his turn.
There was a lot of stock playing early in the game, and when the first Vertung card turned up, there weren't that many tokens on the board. Of the 9 airlines, there was more than one stock holder in 2 of them. The maximum score for an airline was 4.
With the second Vertung card, there were 7 airlines with more than one shareholder, only CAL (Greg) and ABA (Dey) being the only singly owned airlines at that stage.
The third Vertung appeared quickly after the second one, with minimal stock playing between.
Some sabotage was done, and ABA ran out of expansion tokens as they had been chosen for sabotage. BOI never made it out to the `squiggly' line area.
Alan: 4/16/30 - 48
The largest airlines were GAP, ITA and HIT with 10 tokens apiece. The smallest was CAL with 2.
Alan's control of FIS and his hard work building up HIT (tied with Roger), ensured a narrow victory.
DAVID AND GOLIATH
(A chance to try this game with 6 players).
Moray, Alan, Dey, Liz, Donna, Janet (deal and turn order).
Those `18' cards were very attractive. Dey started well with 3 cards earning her 52 points! Liz seemed to keep her `1' cards well in reserve and usually picked up 30+ points on the last few tricks. There seemed to be very few hands where anyone was void the first time a colour was led. Definitely hard to control with so many players, but everyone seemed to manage a very good hand, as well as a very bad one.
Janet held on for a close win over Liz.