Billabong Boardgamers - 31st March 1998
The 'core' of the group here tonight. For most of the evening we split into a group of four and a group of two. Alan should be chiming in here with the Lounge Report, which involved Halunken & Spelunken, Code 777 and Billabong. Meanwhile, David and I retreated into the kitchen for some two player games.
What ? A Consim game at the Billabong Boardgamers ? It was a surprise to me when David waved this at me and said "let's go". I've often been curious about this game and it certainly has it's fans, and several home pages, around the internet. David has often told me it's one of his favourite games ever, and wanted to show it to me. Tonight was the night.
I must admit, I was a bit dubious - for all the praise I've heard I thought it was an only slightly less complex sibling of Squad Leader. My fears increased as I wasn't taking in a lot of what David was explaining to me. But once we started playing, I suddenly realised that this was a rather playable beast that only gets as complex as the scenario you choose. We played the introductory scenario "A meeting of squads", or something like that, and I managed to fluke a win by advancing one of my groups to within one move of David and secure the area. I enjoyed it.
Doug's rating: 7 .. initially.
Caesar & Cleopatra
The first time this has been played at Billabong, although I have played several games with Janet. The rules were quickly explained and off we went. From very early on I suspected both David and I had drawn the Senator faction for our secret mission objective, which meant most of the game was taken up with trying to influence the faction. David won that battle, while picking up some nice cheap cards from other factions as well. I did fairly well in the latter stages, but this was David's game.
Doug's rating: 7
The lounge crew had finished their games by this stage so we all grouped together for a6 player game of...
David had picked this Warfrog game up at a local store sale and had bought it along to play almost as much as I'd bought Um Reifenbreite. Stockers just doesn't have that "play me" look about it, which is a pity because now that we've tried it we realise there is a pretty decent game in there.
The components are a bit lack lustre and a splash of colour on the cards and cars would have worked wonders in aiding recognition of them.
Six cars are involved in a race - the race order is determined by the relative positioning method of such games as Formula Motor Racing and Roadkill. Each player gets dealt a hand of 9 cards, and each round a card is played by each player onto the 'racetrack'. The track is just four spaces on a small playing mat. The information on the cards is simply a picture of a car, and a number. You can only place cards on top of cards with a lower number (numbers range from 1 to 4, you can put a 1 on a 4). After each player has played a card, the cards on top of the four piles are examined to see how the cars mover elative to each other. The positions are adjusted and then each player in turn can placea bet on the betting chart as to how the race will finish - ie. they are betting on who will come first and second.
Betting can only be conducted on the first 6 rounds, the remaining 3 rounds are simply trying to get your cars to the front by the playing of the cards in your hand.
The race ends after the 9th round is played and no player has any cards left. The front two cars are first and second in the race and players who bet on them get paid. You are supposed to run several races but we only had time for one race.
Race winners (with official Billabong sanctioned nicknames): Skull, Spiky, Batman, Road neck, Pete Perfect, Custom car.
Results of betting:
Doug's rating: 6 ... with potential!
Alan Stewart writes:
The Lounge room - Alan , Janet, Julian, Donna (David and Doug were playing 2 player games in the kitchen).
HELUNKEN AND SPELUNKEN
Janet read through the rules and explained this game. We decided on the Robber Jack version. There was some initial confusion to sort out, but after rereading the rules we went with the player who controlled Jack got any cards he picked up as he passed other players, but they didn't get the one from the tavern he ended up on. They also chose which card the victim lost.
Donna controlled the robber for the first round and placed him where she could land on the same space and thus reclaim her bid card. I tried to land on the robber space in the second round, but Donna played the same value movement card so I couldn't move. Julian seemed to grasp the game mechanics the best and went on to a comfortable win. It was downhill for me from round 1 with low cards and never able to control Jack to get any cards back. Events like playing my 7 movement card to stay 10 ahead of Jack, and then he moves 11! Aaaaargh.
Julian 110, Donna 90, Janet 68, Alan 52
I'll write this one off as a learning game and hope to improve next time. I need to see what other people are likely to do, and adjust my strategy accordingly.
Donna really likes this game and requested it. Everyone had played it before except Julian, but he picked it up quite quickly.
Janet's first rack was 3 blue 7s, but she guessed it correctly. Later in the game Donna had 3 7s on her rack, 2 blue, 1 yellow. The first time I've seen the same number 3 times on a rack.
Everyone got their first guess correct. Then Julian got a guess wrong and Janet leapt ahead to 2 correct. After a few reshufflings, I think there were a couple of incorrect guesses, Donna and Alan guessed their second rack correctly.
Finally Alan guessed his third.
Alan 3, Donna 2, Janet 2, Julian 1
It was a very crowded quarter of the board at the start. Julian had placed a few wayback to go for the big leap, and Donna was in a cluster. Everyone got one kangaroo across the stream in their first 2 turns, and the field started to spread out. Donna looked behind, but then had 3 turns where her back markers completed almost a complete circuit in a move. Janet got the first kangaroo across the finish line, followed by Alan, but they both still had one kangaroo to cross the stream for the first time!
Julian was concentrating on moving up his back markers and as Janet and Alan moved their backmarkers forward, and pieces were removed after finishing, it was hard to finish. In the end Alan got down to his last piece which started moving 1 space at a time towards the finish. Eventually a chance opened and with 8 jumps (the first 2 were backwards), it reached the finish and won.
Alan 5, Janet 3, Donna 2, Julian 1
This win didn't feel as easy as the scores look!