Billabong Boardgamers - 25th January, 2000
Present: Doug, Alan, Tina, Debbie, Craig, Bernie
Alan, Doug, Craig, Tina, Debbie
A filler game to kill some time while waiting for others to show up. Tina and Debbie had somehow missed the seemingly 50+ games we had of this when it first hit Billabong, but picked it up very quickly.
Alan, despite having a hate-hate relationship with this game, had a very strong 2nd round and whipped out three pizzas. That proved just a little too tough to match!
Alan: 6 (3 cards)
Doug's rating: 7
Janet arrived from a driving shift at the Australian Open and joined us for a game of Inkognito. I think Bernie picked this game up at Essen, and it is the boardgame version of Mini Inkognito.
The two games are very similar - you have one of four identities, and have to find your partner, determine their mission and accomplish your goal. However, instead of playing cards to arrange meets, you move one of your four figures across the game board. Movement is performed via a large shaker that displays three coloured balls. Blue balls mean a river move, red means a land move, yellow is either, white is a lost move, and finally black means move the ambassador.
If you meet another player you can demand three cards from them. The cards will be information about the player's identity and what they look like. They can be tall/short, stout/thin, and the figures on the board match these aspects! So one of your four figures on the board is actually "you".
The usual process of deduction takes place and after a few meetings, things begin to fall into place. However, unlike the cardgame, you only hand over information to the person who's met you. You do not EXCHANGE information. Alan and I quickly found that if you get a lousy run with the shaker, you waste turns with no information coming into your hand. Janet and Bernie had some very good early turns and had deduced most of the information before Alan and I had asked three questions!
It was with some surprise that, when I met up with Bernie on the board, he passed me his mission card. Either he knew I was his partner or he was being characteristically friendly! :) I played my cards close and decided to deduct a bit before making firm friends with Bernie. (Bernie obviously knew who I was, I had no idea who Bernie was).
A few turns later I knew what figure Bernie was on the board, but still wasn't sure who he was. He seemed pretty friendly towards me so I was beginning to suspect he was Fiddlebottom (I was Bubble). He confirmed it with another meeting so it was simply a matter of accomplishing our mission. The mission is determined by cross-referencing our two mission cards, and ours meant that we had to get Fiddlebottom (Bernie's short playing piece) to space 5 to win.
After I met Bernie and confirmed that he was in fact Fiddlebottom, I relocated his piece (you do this after you meet them) close by me. As fate would have it, it was right next to space 5! Bernie, having no idea of my mission letter, didn't know what we had to do to win. He deduced that if I put that figure next to space 5, that must be our mission!
Bernie proudly moved his figure onto space 5 and announced our "win". But....he didn't move his Fiddlebottom piece, it was one of his others. You have to shake hands to confirm the win, but I wouldn't as I knew that wasn't Bernie, but it was too late, we'd blown it! Game to Janet and Alan by default!
We both realised we'd messed up. Bernie knew who I was on turn 1 because I'd passed him Fiddlebottom/Bubble. As he was Fiddlebottom, I had to be Bubble - he'd found his partner. I should have recognised this fact when he got so friendly, and we could have had this won by about turn 4!
I do like this game, and the boardgame version leaves the cardgame in the dust. Lots of evil potential to do the dirty on other players, intrigue, plots, etc. Much more evocative than the cardgame where you simply have to find out a phone number. The downside is the luck of the shaker, where you can be totally shafted by a bad run (I even rolled three whites - no turn at all!). Still, as I found out, it's a team game and your partner can help you if they work out you're the partner for them.
Doug's rating: 7
Janet writes: Re: Inkognito. Alan and I could have won outright but we just didn't. I tried to sit my piece right next to him, by red road or by blue sea, but it didn't seem to help. But if Alan had have landed his piece on one of mine, we would have won pretty quickly. We'll take a win though even if it was by default :) Next time...
An interesting trick-taking game from Adlung. Players are dealt a hand of cards, then must bid 1 to 3 cards on various facets of the hand they are about to play.
Face value of the bid cards are summed to determine which wins each category. After each has been bid on, you have your rules for the coming hand. The player who bids the fewest pips earns the most bidding bonus points, with each other player picking up fewer bonus points (4/3/2/1 in a four player game), and so on.
Tricks are played out in standard format, however minor trumps do not have to be played to major trumps. Double points are paid out (8/6/4/2) to trick winners, based on the hand rules. The game lasts a deal each, points are totalled for the win.
During the first hand, the game felt very random. You may have a terrific green/yellow hand, and get that in as major/minor trumps. However, it may then get shot down by having the rules bid to fewest tricks, reverse card rank! I was thinking "wow, less control than Edison & Co."; (Same designer), but then it all began clicking, and by the end of the game I suspect we were all enjoying the game quite a bit (well, perhaps Tina wasn't!).
I seemed to have a terrific 3rd hand when everything fell into place, edging me into the lead. I decided to bid the absolute minimum in the fourth and final round to pick up the 4 bonus points, fleshing out my lead. That worked, and I took second place in the trick taking round (6 points) to stay ahead of Alan's late finishing charge.
Doug's rating: 7. May go either way, but I really enjoyed this one. Gonna grab a copy.
Debbie Pickett writes:
Debbie, Craig, Tina
With Tina plagued by bad luck, she was out of the game by round two. I tried very hard to keep important tiles from Craig, and almost succeeded. As usual, the sun bonus (to Craig) decided the game.
Debbie, Craig, Tina
This set-collecting game has turned up for a couple of weeks at Billabong, and this time it got played. The passing of cards makes it quite confusing the first time it's played.
For three players the game has a good amount of control; I wouldn't recommend it with many more.
With a number of groups in the 4 to 6 range, I managed to reach the required 30 points first, with Tina not far behind. It came down to one round.
My rating: I actually prefer this over Bohnanza. Sure, it's random, but then a filler shouldn't be a big brain drain. I give it a 6.
Debbie, Tina, Craig
We played two rounds of this silly game waiting for the other table to finish Inkognito.
Not Final Scores:
Tina 7 pizzas! (4 cards left)
This low-production-run game from Cwali is about making connections. Two rounds into the game we discovered the correct rules to the game, and it played much better from that point on.
The basic idea of the game is to move a pawn, collect a cube, and then optionally spend any cubes you may have collected to lay down routes between the tiles that make up the board. This is more insidious than is first apparent. It takes a couple of games to figure out that the most direct connection between cities isn't always the best thing to do.
I ended the game by taking the last orange cube, and there were two capital cities to count. One we were even on, but the other was almost strictly Bernie's domain, and he won comfortably.
My rating: I give it a 6. Intriguing, but I don't yet know about its replay value.
Tina, Craig, Doug, Debbie
Doug and I continued our typical poor form in this game despite some apparently good moves early on. I've long since given up trying to win at Medici.