Billabong Boardgamers - 25th April, 2000
Present: Alan, David, Janet, Doug, Steve
A new game to David and Steve, only played for the first time at Billabong last week where it was very well received.
This game was interesting as it was a clash of different strategies. Alan and Steve went "elephant" and claimed a majority of the region disks. Janet went the "palace network" route and did it very effectively, building up a 7 or 8 region network by the end of the game (and only 1 palace away from linking 11 regions). David went for a mixture, taking what he could, but losing out several times via committing cards but coming away with nothing. Doug tried a "wait and see" strategy to see what came his way early - this morphed into palace network (6 regions by the game end), and a few tea commodity chits, and a 10 card hand to cash in for points at the end.
On the scoreboard, Janet and Alan spent most of the game dicing for the lead - Alan via his elephants, Janet via networked palaces, +2 fortress chits, and the +2 special card. Janet jumped away in the last two rounds as she added to her network, and Doug came booming home with his monster purple hand to tie Alan for second.
Doug's rating: 8 ... really interesting game, pushing a 9.
David Coutts writes:
Janet, Doug, Steve, David and Alan
We were all familiar with the game, though past 5-player games of Ra were hard to recall... There was some discussion about lack of control with more players, but it still makes for an entertaining game. The opening round saw relatively high scores of 8 or more for Doug and myself. Steve was definitely playing the Monuments strategy, Janet easily secured most Pharaohs, but then lost out by having no civilization tokens.
In Round 2 Alan began to challenge Janet's Pharaoh lead and had some modest success accumulating Monuments, Steve accumulated more Monuments but suffered the minus 2 for least Pharaohs. With everyone out and 2 Ra spots left, I risked drawing more tiles and quickly drew the 2 Ra's... I only scored 3 this round. Janet played the round with the 1, 2 and 3 sun tokens.
In Round 3 Steve scored his monuments whilst still coming last in Pharaohs (Janet got that gain). I managed some excellent draws to boost my monument bonuses significantly. Janet suffered the minus 5 and Alan just pipped Doug for the plus 5 sun bonus.
Same Merry Men as before... (though some were not so Merry by the end...)
Doug had brought along yet another light card game which I wanted to play because of the theme. The idea is to collect a hoard comprising cards from 3 suits, plus money cards. Players can either just draw a card from 3 face-up cards, or draw 2 cards and do 1 or more actions. The face-up cards are then replaced.
To rob from the Sheriff you must play 3 consecutive cards of the same suit, putting the highest value card in your hoard and discarding the other 2. To rob from another player (no honour amongst thieves...) you either play 3 cards of the same value but from each of the 3 suits (to which there is no response!), or 3 cards of the same value with 2 from 1 suit and 1 from a second suit (to which another card of the same value, played by the intended victim, prevents the theft). If the theft succeeds you put the target card from your opponent's hoard in your hoard.
The big problem came due to a misinterpretation of one rule in the English translation (by Mik Svellov?) - once 3 cards of one suit are in your hoard then they are safe. We played that all subsequent cards were therefore safe, but NO - each complete set of 3 is safe. Hence, with 5 "Hat" cards, 3 are safe and unsafe (not 5 safe!!!!).
Maid Marion makes an appearance as a guardian angel sort of figure, protecting a player from being robbed twice in row... But with 5 players (it plays with 3 to 6) this will be less effective than with 3 and doesn't seem particularly well themed, in my view.
In our game this meant that the whole thing just bogged down and became quite tedious after the first few rounds, as players tended to only add to there safe suit in their hoard. Er, Alan suffered dreadfully from not drawing the right cards, and not being able to raid our "safe" hoards... we all suffered dreadfully, too (from guilt at Alan's suffering, not to mention the constant wailing...).
Anyway, Doug has since been advised that we played it wrong (which is what we suspected but just wanted to string Alan along.... just kidding!). I think it would be an OK game and would play it again (although how many "OK" games do we have between us, and who needs another one?).