Billabong Boardgamers
 

Billabong Boardgamers November 30th, 1997

Present: Doug, David, Janet, Alan, Julian

Previous session report

Doug Adams writes:

An afternoon session at Doug and Janet's place. It was open invitation but four players were needed to get a good game of Euphrat & Tigris off the ground.

Euphrat & Tigris

David and Alan appeared first, so we had our four players. We decided to play this now as we were unsure as to who would be arriving later. The rules were explained to David and Alan, and we started.

This game is actually quite difficult to describe, in terms of what actually happened on the board. It's basically a tile laying game with each player trying to build victory points in 4 areas - farming, trading, religion and leadership. Points are earned through laying tiles and winning conflict.

Well - what happened ? It's hard to say, as victory points are accumulated behind a Modern Art type screen, so it's hard to nominate who is winning. From my perspective, I had a strong hand of blue (farming) and green (trading) tiles throughout the game, and picked up good points throughout. But that counts for nothing as your final score is your *weakest* area in terms of victory points. I was really struggling in religion and leadership (red and black), and had a bad game in terms of drawing the red religion tiles.

There were some notable conflicts - David seemed to take an immediate dislike to my farming leader in a predominately "David" kingdom and had 3 attempts to remove me. The one time I did hold 3 religion tiles proved handy in staving off one of David's attempts. Another attempt involved a kingdom merge, but I was holding 5 farming tiles then and staved off that attempt as well. David finally removed my farming leader, and managed to build two monuments in 'his' kingdom late in the game.

On the other side of the board, Alan was entertaining himself by merging kingdoms and making Janet and I resolve our conflicts. Kingdoms merged, then flew apart again with frightening speed. As a result of this late in the game I had all 4 leaders off the board - so in order to salvage something I placed a King out of the way and tried to bolster my weak areas of leadership and religion.

Eventually the tile bag emptied (after about 90 minutes - not bad to teach the game and play it), and the scores were (remember the best weakest score wins):

1. David:  7 (blue), 8 (red, green, black)

2. Doug:   6 (green), 7 (blue, red), 10 (black)

3. Alan:   5 (red), 7 (blue), 9 (black), 14 (green)

4. Janet:  4 (black), 6 (green, blue), 10 (red)

I think David was surprised to win, as I was to get 2nd. I think everybody enjoyed this game, I certainly did. Our main priority is to have another game with Julian ASAP, as he wants to play it as well.

Elfenroads

Julian had arrived and had watched the last 10 minutes of Euphrat & Tigris, then we broke out Elfenroads. Janet was planning to go off to the gymnasium at this stage, and we were discussing what to play. When Elfenroads was suggested, suddenly the gymnasium became a lot less attractive - thus we had a 5 player game going!

Julian was the only beginner here, but as Airlines is one of his favourite games, he didn't have any trouble in grasping this one. Why ? I feel the two games share similarities in the way you have to juggle a path with a card, along with whether an elf/airline can use that path.

The early game saw David and Julian head off to the mountains, while I stayed near Alan in the forests around Elf City. Janet made a slow start on turn 1. Alan perceived David and Julian as the early threat and there was a consistent outbreak of falling trees in the mountains (i.e.. hindrance chits) on turns 1 to 4. David wasn't particularly impressed and promised vengeance on Alan!

Because of the hard going in the mountains, Doug and Alan took the lead by visiting most of the villages on the bottom of the game board. Janet was always about 3 villages behind the bunch and was struggling to have an impact on the game.

Then David and Julian made their moves to the front on turn 6 - David especially made a dramatic move from the mountains up near Doris Castle down to the '6' village on the bottom left hand corner of the map. This took in at least 6 villages and put him in the lead.

At this stage I was stuck in the desert - this seems to happen every time I play this game, and I was in trouble. I was planning on going into the mountains, but I thought I'd pick up the rest of the villages in the lower right corner of the map. Luckily others were interested in that area too so quite a few Giant Pigs were available down there to use. This enabled me to visit the remaining cities I needed down there, leaving just the mountains, which I reached on turn 7.

Meanwhile on turn 7 Alan had made a fast trip through the mountains and ended up in the desert. He was in front again with only 5 cities to go. If he could get clear of the desert, 3 of his remaining cities were in easy reach. It wasn't to be, as Alan needed a troll-wagon to get clear but one didn't come up for auction. He was stuck and didn't move on turn 8.

I got very lucky (I don't think the others know this yet) by drawing a dragon and magic cloud on turn 8, of which I was holding 2 cards of each making them 'log proof'. That complemented the 2 rafts and 2 troll-wagon cards nicely, which enabled me to pick up 5 villages through the mountains on the last turn to take the game. I suspect Julian could have threatened the win, but Janet placed a log chit across a unicorn forest path which halted him there.

The final scores (in terms of cities to go were):

Doug   3 (32 gold)

Alan   5 (17 gold)

Julian 5 (7 gold)

David  6 (20 gold)

Janet  9 (16 gold)

I won an Elfenroads - my life is complete :)

It was pushing 7:30pm at this point, but we went for one more game ...

Die Siedler Von Catan Seefahrer - Die Funf Isleln

No one in our group had played the Seefahrer expansion so we were all learning here. We went for the 5 player scenario that seemed to be the quickest. This is basically a trade scenario - you get bonus victory points for building shipping lines to islands that you don't start on (i.e.. foreign islands) - and first to 12 points wins.

Boy did I have a bad one, so I won't talk about that. The early game saw Alan build a strong shipping line out to a foreign island, that earned him the longest road card (it becomes longest trade route in the Seefahrer game). This caused a lot of robber activity at the '8' ore hex that Alan and I were sharing - which caused about 7 ore to be lost to me.

Janet adds: ...and I'm sure David will agree with me that the '6' ore that was visited by the robber was rolled more than the '8' with the robber!

David and Julian came back strongly in the middle game, thanks to a dearth of 8's and an abundance of 6's being rolled. It ended up with Julian actually having 12 points but missing the victory. He had to wait until the turn came around to him again so he could play his 3rd Ritter to earn the largest force card - this along with a victory point card gave him the necessary 12 points and the game. It played in about 75 minutes. The scores were:

Julian 12

Alan   7

David  7

Janet  5

Doug   5

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that I have no idea how to play this game :) Janet adds: Me too!.

Anyway, that's it for now. Next meeting on the 2nd of December, for a 2 player games evening.

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