Billabong Boardgamers - August 24th, 1999
Present: Roger, Julian C., Alan, David, Greg, Bernie, Donna, Craig, Graeme
Alan Stewart writes:
Players: Alan, David
A first time play for David, second play for Alan.
Both of us overextended in the first hand, raising too many expeditions, one of which was very negative!
The second hand was better. Very little discarding of cards to the centre in either hand. David drew very few of the discarded cards, while I was usually taking them to prolong the game in order to try and turn negative expeditions positive before the deck ran out.
Only 2 hands played while waiting for another game to finish.
Alan 6 45
Players: First game: Alan, David, Dey
Another trick taking game for Dey to learn! After reading through the rules, the first hand went okay. When it acme to bidding, there was the agonising choice that if you wanted to nominate trumps, you usually had to use your largest trump to do it! But it's a game which rewards you for coming close with your bids.
Graeme watched us play the second hand of the first game, and joined in the second game. In this one only David and Graeme had the opportunity to purcahse wild cards. David and Dey sold all their cards, so should have had more money that Graeme or Alan. Graeme got both his bids correct, and won resoundingly.
An interesting trick taking game, but a bit shorter and lighter than Mu or Was Sticht.
Players: David, Dey, Alan, Donna, Graeme
Let's just say a vertung never came up when I had a clear lead in any railroad, so I was never in the running.
It was also a long game with the final vertung amongst the last 3 cards of the deck, so David and my UP dominance strategy didn't pay off either, as the other major lines which we hadn't invested in were worth as much by the end of the game.
Greg Hallam writes:
Played by Dey, Roger, Julian, Craig, Greg
Igel Agern ("Hedgehogs in a Hurry" ) was a new game for Craig and I, and even though I won the game, in fact it was not me that made the winning move. Confused? I was at the start of the game when we stacked up our hedgehogs (which looked like rats to me) along six tracks, each track corresponding to a die number. Craig and I were assured (I think by Julian) that there was very little strategy in initial set-up - if that was so, why were Julian, Dey and Roger jostling their hedgehogs about the starting line? A turn consisted of rolling a die and moving anyone's hedgehog (not necessarily your own!) on the corresponding track along one space. The catch is that hedgehogs can stack on top of each other, and you can only move the topmost hedgehog. Additionally, you can move one of your own hedgehogs on any track sideways one space before moving anything else. Furthermore, scattered along the tracks at random intervals are pits that trap your unwitting hedgehog until such time as all your other hedgehogs on other tracks pass him. So what initially looked like a game with few mechanics and even less strategy turned out to be a clever little game of positioning, anticipating, and cursing the die when it gave someone else a lucky break.
My memory is a little vague on the details of people's moves, as much of my attention was spent working out how to get my meandering yellow hedgehogs to sprint along the track. This was easier said than done, as the die roll provided a luck element that could upset the best laid plans. Roger had an early break, and a purple hedgehog raced to the fore, and proceeded to make its way dangerously close to the finish line. Even though winning required getting three of your four hedgehogs home, it was obvious that Roger was showing us up, so a concerted effort was made to peg purple back. This proved so successful that even though Roger had two hedgehogs home fairly early, his other's were trapped in pits or buried at the bottom of piles of hedgehogs.
My first yellow hedgehog followed Roger's fairly closely, and I had a second well positioned. Craig, Dey and Julian were steadily inching forward, though the pits had claimed a number of spiny rodents. Throughout the game Julian was frequently referred to as "The Pit Meister", which caused me some concern - did he have some secret tactic he was going to unleash upon my hedgehogs? As it turned out it was Dey who was the threat. In quick succession she raced two red hedgehogs across the finish line, and began weaving her others up the board with some very sharp (spiny?) sideways moves, aided by the rule variant we were using, which made the board wraparound. Craig and Julian attempted to stop her - by this stage I also had two hedgehogs home, and jostling each other down one side of the board, and Craig snuck a green hedgehog home. Roger's third hedgehog had by this stage climbed out of a pit and was advancing menacingly, but was being constantly checked by Julian and Craig.
Suddenly things were looking dangerous. Dey's remaining hedgehogs were one and two spaces from the finish line, and she only required a roll of 5 in her turn to win - several 5's were rolled by others, but fortunately there were other hedgehogs in the 5 track that could be moved. It was suddenly noticed that my remaining hedgehogs were slipping forward - Craig and Julian were doing their best to block me but the yellow hedgehogs had finally worked out what they were doing, and my third was soon sitting one space from the finish on track 3. Details are hazy now, but I think that by now Craig had two hedgehogs home and Julian had one.
Now it simply came down to the die roll - another 5 was rolled, but not by Dey, so another hedgehog in track 5 was moved. It was now Dey's roll - and she rolled a 3! As mine was the only hedgehog in track 3, and Dey had no hedgehog in track 2 or 4 that she could sideslip into track 3, she had no choice but to advance my hedgehog over the finish line to win me the game. So even though this is the first Billabong game I've won since ...... well, in a long time ..... I can't take full credit for my victory.
A very neat and enjoyable little strategy game which worked well with a lot of players, with the die roll providing enough unpredictability to make it an entertaining game for everyone.
Roger Smith writes:
Craig M: 102
I bought Tikal along at Greg's request. He spent some time weighing it up against Lancashire Railways, but I think Tikal's great components won through. Despite having played this three or so times before, I managed to get a couple of rules wrong. Luckily we picked these up before they had a major impact on the game.
Most of us got off to a good start collecting treasures, Julian announced he was going to try an alternate strategy, as he had not much success gaining treasure sets in his previous games. Consequently he didn't collect a single treasure in the game!