Billabong Boardgamers
 

Billabong Boardgamers March 24th, 1998

Present: Julian, Alan, David, Donna, Janet, Doug, Darren

Previous session report

Doug Adams writes:

Titan: The Arena

Darren, Donna and David went into the kitchen for a 3 player game of this Knizia/AH game. Hopefully some details of the action will be forthcoming, but for now all I know are the scores:

Donna 12
David 10
Darren 9

David Coutts writes:

It's a little after the event now, but I do remember leading this one for most of the game. I actually managed to ensure that Donna could not place her secret (5 point) bet, by closing the betting as early as possible on round one. Darren's secret bet wasn't secret for long when the Dragon got knocked out to groans & moans from him!. I was the only one with a secret bet, and it was on Donna's main monster! So what went wrong? Well, I bet heavily on one monster (the Titan), and Donna bet on it , too (though not as heavily as me). In the penultimate round it was knocked out, as Donna persuaded Darren to maximise his points whilst minimising mine. This gave Donna the win in a typically close Titan game. It was Darren's first, Donna and I had played before. We all enjoyed it for what it is - a little light relief.

Um Reifenbreite

I got my wish and finally got around to playing this cycling game. We played a short course but forgot to remove half the energy cards which turned the race into something rather disappointing. However, I think we all saw the signs of a good game and I certainly want to try it again properly. Love the cheating rules!

Scores:
Team Red (Alan): 128 (won the sprint)
Team Green (Julian): 123
Team Blue (Janet): 84
Team Black (Doug): 74

Doug's rating: 7

Mercator

The seven of us all gathered around for the early version of Medici, which was one of the two games in Knizia's NEW GAMES IN OLD ROME that could cope with seven players. There are lots of similarities to Medici, with the main differences being play only goes for one round, and the commodity logs are missing. Still, it was 30 minutes of engrossing play, which saw the following results:

Donna: 77
David: 76
Janet: 72
Doug: 45
Alan: 31
Julian: 31
Darren: 15

Doug's rating: 7

Zankapfel

Report from Julian Clarke

Well, there were 5 of us for Zankapfel, the game that never quite made it to the US.

With Alan a total newcomer, Darren having played once 3 player about 2 years ago, & Donna & Janet with one game apiece a few weeks ago, I was the only one who had played a lot, though never successfully. Unfortunately, that lack of success is still an ongoing situation.

I realised that for the first few turns, when you are not the team leader it is a good idea to buy apples, which I did, & though I didn't keep with the leaders, I built a good base to play on. Unfortunately, Alan & Darren made the standard beginners' mistake of picking all 4 of the first apples leaving themselves no choice, especially in view of their turn starts. Even more unfortunately for them, those picking turns resulted in tied contention repeatedly, costing them valuable cards, & several die rolls to bno avail. Alan was less than reticent in his expression of frustration at these turns of events, but we would expect no less. He was incredibly unlucky, & must have lost his top 4 cards, & about 8 points in bought dice, to achieve no apples of any reasonable value. Indeed, he even lost out on contention for low valued colours.

My early buying came to the fore & I pulled out a considerable lead, lapping Alan & Janet (on their way back round the track). However, a couple of lost contentions on important 7 pointers left my stockpile rather low, &I had to buy several times, though I usually managed to keep in position by prudent picking occasionally. Donna however, bought frequently & managed to get several hybrid apples giving her a very flexible picking option. This she used very effectively, to catch up to me, a distance of probably 15 spaces at one point.

The game came down to me being 4 squares away from the finish on the 3rd last apple, & I was Turn leader. I picked, went into contention, lost, &left the way clear for Donna to pick the winner on the 2nd last apple, whilst I had to buy.

A closer finish for first 2 places, than I expected, & I believe that this game will improve with players who know the game well. I don't expect that we would get a truly well fought game, until we have all played 6 or 7 times, to get an in-depth feel for it.

The final positions were....

Donna: One circuit + 1
Julian: 8 on Donna
Darren: 15
Janet: (1 + 1 circuit) [i.e finished on the start square]
Alan: (14 + 1 circuit)

New Games in Old Rome

Back to Doug...

David and Doug tackled a few of the games in this great compendium. I was lucky enough to pick up one of the limited edition English translations - a large, thick softcover book and a great addition to this set.

Imperium: This is a very El Grande like game of trying to score points through placement of influence chips in areas of Europe. If you get the majority of chips in an area when it is scored, you earn lots of points, with less points going to the minor placings. Quirks ? Last place scores nothing even if it's entitled to; the regions are numbered and only one region is scored per turn - the region who's number matches the current turn number. You play influence chips onto regions through cards. I quite liked this one, even though David took me apart late in the game and won 30 to 15. Doug's rating: 7 (better with 3 or more).

Senator: This is a great game - so simple. You play a Roman faction trying to position your people in the senate. They can only get their via the senate steps. The board is a grid of 5x5. The middle 9 squares are the senate, while 12 of the remaining 16 are the steps spaces. Cards are placed initially on the steps, and then pushed into the senate by placing more cards on the steps (a bit like Amazing Labyrinth, if you've seen it). Once a row or column is full, steps included, then it's 'locked' from further pushing. We played with the Caesar variant that doubles card values in the same row or column as our boy Julius, even on the steps. Great game, very engrossing. Game 1 saw David win 76 to 49, while game 2 saw Doug win 65 to 53. Doug's rating: 8

Seven Hills of Rome: Another simple game where seven cards (the hills), numbered 1 to 7 are laid between the two players. Numbered cards are played face down out of the players hands against these cards in a similar fashion to Caesar & Cleopatra. When each player has a card or cards against the same hill, the cards are revealed. You are trying to form a higher total than your opponent to take the hills. The game continues until all cards are played - each hill is totalled and the winning player claims the card. The highest point total of hills wins. We played 2 rounds, each taking a turn to go first - final total was Doug 31, David 25. Doug's rating: 6

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