Billabong Boardgamers - August 31st, 1999
Present: Roger, Dey, Doug, Debbie, Tina, Craig M., Alan, Graeme, Bernie, Peter
Doug Adams writes:
It was a pleasure to welcome Peter Card to Billabong tonight, flying into Melbourne from the United Kingdom to attend the World Science Fiction Convention here this week. By producing a Rio Grande copy of Torres, he made several instant friends, and I've promised my left kidney to him if he should ever need a transplant :-)
Dey Alexander writes:
I was surprised that Doug agreed to a game of Lost Cities (he's clearly a more willing victim than Roger, who nowadays firmly rejects my pleas to play the game). We scored equally on the first hand (38), though Doug's was by steady increments, mine the result of several deductions. The second hand was a disaster for Doug (-5 to my 55), and his final hand of 20 was not a sufficient enough recovery to even out the scores.
Doug Adams writes:
With the embarrassment that was Lost Cities still smarting (see Dey's report above), we looked around for a filler to play while waiting for Peter to turn up. Craig, Dey and myself agreed to give this oft-neglected game a whirl.
It's light, but still fits nicely into the filler niche of Knizia games. In fact, it seemed to play better than I remembered, but perhaps it works a little better as a three player game.
Due to a lucky deal, Doug had three fives in his hand and completed the quartet on the first set of cards - +5 mice to Doug. Dey soon caught him up with five mice of her own. Craig chipped in with a pickup or two, using a couple of Jokers in the process, before the game entered a period where several Jokers were being revealed. Nobody was bidding on these Joker ridden offers, so they were discarded. The game ended soon after the good stuff began appearing again, however both Dey and Craig were caught with the most Jokers and lost five mice each.
Doug's rating: 6
My German copy of Torres was sitting in the games crate in the hope that Bernie would be attending and could possibly plough through the rules and teach us (we're so manipulative - happy 30th btw Bernie). However, Peter went one better by producing a Rio Grande copy and teaching us himself. Money was shamelessly tossed at him for a copy of the rules...to his credit he took it well :)
I thoroughly enjoyed the game but admit I only had the rules perhaps 75% understood. Movement didn't come naturally to me and I found the right moves hard to see with the three dimensions. I need to sit down and have a good look at just how you move. An interesting game, though, with lots of potential.
Debbie Pickett writes:
TORRES (Peter, Debbie, Roger, Doug)
For everyone except Peter this game was pretty much brand new. It feels like a cross between draughts, L÷wenherz, Tikal and Upwords (and this description completely fails to capture the feel of it). The rules for placing castle pieces are very clever, and from then it basically comes down to being the highest on any given castle, with other little rules to keep the game working. The knight-moving rules are bizarre but they work nonetheless. Lots of fun, and pretty to look at, if somewhat difficult to visualize sometimes.
I managed to get an early lead and kept it for the entire game, largely due to getting bonuses for being on the right level in the King's castle.
My rating: 7 - definitely deserves more playing.
Debbie, Tina, Bernie, Roger, Alan
Tina's first play of the game, which didn't harm her chances as a couple of good trades gave her a complete 6-business early on and hence the game. For the others it was pretty close, except for Alan who was having dismal luck with both cards and tiles.
My rating: for five players, 7 (worth playing once a month)
Doug Adams writes:
Peter, Doug, Roger and Debbie played the world's fastest game of Verraeter - over in about 29 minutes as Debbie had to leave. As the game was new to Debbie, Roger and Peter, the rushed play was a rather surreal experience. Doug led this game most of the way through and took it by three from Roger, despite a mix up (choosing the farmer instead of the builder late in the game).
A game that we should probably play again soon for consolidation.
Peter, Roger and Doug played a fast three player Samarkand to finish our evening off. Not a lot to report here, apart from the fact that Doug suspected Roger was about to win and decided to reach for the die on what was to be his final turn. Needing a 3 to win, he rolled a 4 - missed his load of grapes by 1 and Roger took the game.
Doug's rating: 6
Bernie Meyer writes:
Having narrowly survived both turning thirty as well as the determined attempt by one of the guests of the resulting party to get me drunk, I finally have time for a "better late than never" kind of game report....
First, a 6 player Mu cam together. Players involved were Bernie, Alan, Greg and Craig (apologies to both of you for misspelling your names, or even for getting them completely wrong --- I am no good with names at the best of times, and this last week certainly took its toll, too), Tina and Dey. Things were very slow early on, with lots and lots of lost bids (apologies to Alan --- I screwed up one of his bids by losing count of both triangles AND of which trumps were still out, giving away a winning trick), and after 5 games (all lost), the Greg and Craig were in the lead at only 85 and 83 points, respectively. At that point (Alan had just started a second sheet for scorekeeping), I was dealt 4 sevens, with absolutely nothing in the way of off-suit. I went to great lengths to conceal the fact that I wanted to play sevens, and fortunately (for me) Alan, who became vice, went with a number as minor trumps. Tina had a 9 out, so I picked her as partner, played my 4 sevens, and played towards Tina's 9. At that point, we had won the game, which didn't stop Tina from making many more triangles (Go Tina!). Big bonus for both of us.
In the next game, Alan faced a rather disastrous choice of minor trump (by yours truly) as well as a rather weak partner (Dey, who contributed zero triangles), and his bid went down like a brick --- losing by 4 cards, giving everyone else another 20 points. At that point I needed another 15 points to win; Alan picked up another bid, picked Dey as partner again, and lost by a single triangle (it really wasn't Alan's night!). The opposition-bonus combined with my triangles pushed me to 201, and thus a very weird game ended --- just a single winning bid, and that one was lucky and boring at the same time (lucky in the sense that a colour as minor would have broken it, and boring once a number was minor).
After a few people leaving, we decided to have another go at Mu, this time with 4 players, and time-limited to 11pm. Things changed drastically --- in the 4 games we got in, Alan won two bids, and I lost two. Twice we played together, and Alan picked Greg for his other winning bid, while I picked Craig for my losing one. The final score reflects this...