Billabong Boardgamers - 28th March, 2000
Present: Doug, Janet, David, Craig, Alan, Debbie, Tina
Alan Stewart writes:
SETTLERS - CHEOPS
Alan 10 (5 settlements, Pharaoh's +3, 2 VP cards)
A lot of 7s rolled this game, consequently the game ended with all the black pyramid blocks used. Other coloured blocks built - Alan 3; David, Craig, Debbie 2
Trading routes had just reached the 8 wood and the ore hills when the game ended. No settlements built on those locations.
No cities built.
Only resource cards bought by Alan - 2 knights, 2 VP cards, and an unplayed Discovery card.
Slow to start resource wise, but 2:1 ports and access to them via gold payments can help initial builds.
Very few 4s rolled in this game, quite a lot of 10s, 11s and 5s.
An interesting variant, which may require a bit of tweaking, but played okay.
PLAGUE AND PESTILENCE
Craig, Alan, David (turn order).
Card game, with positive, "improvement", disaster and negative cards. Straight forward, though you had to remember to take a card after rolling the dice.
Fairly close with players hitting the perceived leader. All 3 players at about 120 PPs when Death ship struck (about 2/3 of the way through the deck). Alan drew the ship, instant -10 PPs.
The game ended about 3/8 of the way through the deck for the second time.
David suffered a drought (-10 PPs), then rolled a 12 (converted to 11), that wiped out his last 15 PPs, eliminating him. Craig removed Alan's improvement card. Alan played Viking Raid on Craig for -10 PPs, and Craig then lost his last few PPs on the dice roll, leaving Alan the survivor on 10 PPs.
There was no Major war - both countered by the cancel cards. 1 Minor War was fought. Each player played a Pied Piper card. At the end David had 2 "crossbow" cards, Craig and Alan had 1 each, none were played in the game.
Only 10-20 PPs separated the players throughout the game. Improvements perhaps played too early, as they were easily removed before much benefit could be obtained.
Okay as a filler.
Debbie Pickett writes:
Soon after acquiring this game, we developed a two-player version, because we liked the game so much and we were often by ourselves. In this case, we arrived slightly late to see the others involved in a game of Hattrick (I was very thankful to have missed out on that), so we decided to play our two-player Ra variant. (The sun tiles are split between players 2-5-7-8 and 3-4-6-9, and the other rules remain just the same.)
In this game I got a bunch of civilizations and pharaohs, while Tina stacked up heavy with monuments - by the end she had all five of two different kinds of monuments! I got a lot of lucky breaks and Tina was powerless to stop me, so in the end I romped home, despite Tina getting a whopping fifty points for her monuments.
Final scores: Debbie 94, Tina 71
My rating: It's not technically a two-player game, but we still like to play it two-player simply because we wouldn't play it enough if we had to wait for three or more players. Actually, the game still plays surprisingly well, far better than Medici does with two. I give this game a 7.
Tina, Doug, Janet, Debbie
After last week's near miss with this game (I almost got to play it for my first time), it was time to finally bite the bullet and play it properly. (For the record, Tina took the Boston shield again.)
I don't think that this game is destined to become an all-time favourite for me; the auction element is just too overblown, with all the different types. I'm sure that it allows for a large variety of strategies, but it doesn't really click for me. As it was, I bumbled through the game and almost won, not having any idea of what I was doing. Apart from that, there were few surprises in this instance of the game.
Final scores: Janet 505, Debbie 503, Tina 370, Doug 324.
My rating: Right now it feels like a 5-game, but that could change if it grows on me.
Craig Macbride writes:
Since we only had 5 players at the very start of the evening, we had a filler game of Hattrick, one of those games which is very easy in concept. There are three suits of cards, and you score by taking the number of cards in your largest pile at the end of each hand and subtracting the number of cards in either of the two other suits. However, being able to have 2 tricks going at once and having to try to work out what other players are trying to collect, and not collect, makes it quite interesting.
I'd seen this one before, but never played it before. I didn't think I had a chance after the second round, but Alan and Debbie collapsed in the last round.
Tina, Janet, Doug
An underplayed game at Billabong, due to a rather explosive 6 player game 2 years ago where everybody apart from David was wiped out in the first few rounds of the game. This left some bad residue vibes. A three player game is almost as vicious, but with so many more potential trains to develop lines for, early setbacks can be recovered from.
Early setbacks certainly occurred for Doug, who lost at least 5 trains to low points early. The survival instinct overrode the revenge instinct, and Doug carefully nurtured a couple of promising railways towards the lucrative centre of the board.
The endgame saw Doug out of trains first on 61 points and dedicated to defending the lead from Tina and Janet. Janet had a potentially game winning train in the offing provided the right section of link track appeared - it didn't and Doug gleefully stopped Janet from winning the game on 53 points.
Tina looked like she should be stopped as well, trailing by 7 points with her two surviving trains located in the tricky corner positions. However, a dream/nightmare tile that Doug was holding (the last of the game) allowed her to break free and gather 13 points from the corner and take the game. Groan! :)
Tina: 67 Doug: 61 Janet: 53
Doug's rating: 7
Tina, Doug, Janet
Richard Vickery posted some glowing comments about this Cheapass card game, so I picked up a few decks to try it out. It's an interesting "real time" card game that is designed ideally for two players, but does support multiplayer play.
Each player plays with a complete deck, of which there are 6 available for purchase. The decks are classed as "Easy", "Moderate" and "Advanced" and this really relates to how many different card types are present in the deck. As a game, there is nothing very difficult about Brawl.
The basic idea is to score more "hits" than your opponent, assessed when the game ends. You play your deck in real time, holding the 40 odd cards in one hand, and use the other hand to turn 1 card up. That is your hand size - 1 card. You may hold this card for as long as you like, play the card onto the table, or play it onto the discard pile. >From there on you may draw your next card from either your deck or discard pile.
Cards are played to the table onto foundations. In the two player game there can be three foundations - known as "Bases", and these are cards in your deck. If you draw a Base, you can play it to the table creating a new foundation (providing there is a slot there for it). Hit cards, in green, red or blue, are the most common cards in your deck and these can be played on EITHER side of any foundation. Once a colour has been committed to one side of a foundation, it locks it in so only hits of that colour can be played there now. Block cards, in the three hit colours, can be played onto Hits to prevent further hits being played on one side of a Base, however a Press (only in the more "difficult" decks) will unlock a Block.
The fun card - Clear - allows you to sweep a Base along with all cards on it off to the side, creating a slot for a new Base. This is your "there is no way I can win this base, so my opponent isn't going to either" card.
The last three cards in your deck are Freeze cards. These can be played on a base to Freeze it up, preventing any further play to that Base. The game ends when all Bases are frozen, and you count hits on your side of all bases, claiming the Bases you score more on. Ties are broken in favour of Base ownership.
It's an intriguing game that only takes about 3 minutes to play, real time. Those 3 minutes are spent frantically flipping through cards and trying to make split second decisions on where to play your cards. If you get ahead on your Bases, you want to get through the deck as fast as possible to get to the Freeze cards. Playing a hit card on an opponents side of a base can be a problem for them, especially if they don't have many hits in that colour, etc.
Our three player game saw 2 Bases set up between each player, and you effective play the other two players at once (ie. you have 4 Bases you can initally play to). We played one "training game" where we took turns to play cards, then tried one real time game which I thought was a lot of fun. Janet and Doug came out with 2 Bases each and Tina had 1 Base. According to the rules, Janet and Doug would play off for the victory.
While the game is not everybody's cup of tea, I'd be interested in playing a 5 or 6 player game sometime (you play the person on your right and left). As a filler or a closer, I think it would work well.
Doug's rating: 6 ... real time mayhem, but there is a game there.
David, Janet, Tina, Doug
A lightning game of Ra at the end of the evening, played in about 20 minutes, as the Vampire Slayer Express had to leave dead on 10:30. We brutally drove David through the game, called "Ra" whenever something half juicy was on the auction track, and hurtled towards a thrilling conclusion...for the winners!
Doug's rating: 9 ... exit Tina in a cloud of Ra tiles, slipping on a cape and plastic vampire fangs as she left.
Janet Ford writes:
David, Janet, Alan, Craig, Doug - using the 1-54 card variant.
Well, I was honestly most surprised to win this tonight. I'd like to thank my Dad, Mum,....
Seriously, usually when I have a low score with this game, I blow out towards the end, but tonight everything just went right the whole way through.
There was one strange method tonight that we all used in the last round. The four foundations were all stacked 5 high, all maxed out in the high 40's and 50's. This lead everybody to play out their highest cards for the last 5 or 6 rounds, with the "lowest highest" forced to take a pile and the others jump on it and build it up to five cards again for the next round!
Rather freaky and almost hilarious - it made for a funny game.