BGC Retreat

Euro Game Retreat ’06 – Event Report #1 (7/10/06)

Sixteen gamers gathering thousands of feet above sea level, over two days and one night, and the opportunity to play a pool of 28 of the best Euro boardgames over 7 rounds of competitive play… where? when? how? Read about this in the very first Euro Boardgame Retreat conducted back in Oct 2006. Like what you read? Then stay tune for the next Boardgame Retreat coming soon in 2010, brought to you by! 🙂

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Event Report #1
by jack208

Gamers: Edwin, Shaun, Jen Fai, Denise, Richard, Chris, Melissa, KP, Ryan, BK, Melody, Teddy Pang, Heng, Alvin, Rob Street and Jeff Au

Games: Heck Meck, Caylus, Antike, Tikal, Railroad Tycoon, Samurai, Through the Desert, RA, Ticket to Ride, China, St Petersburg, Niagara, Thurn & Taxis, Santiago, Cosmic Encounter, Pirates’ Cove, Settlers of Catan, Torres, Elfenland, Pompeji, Cafe International, Power Grid, Acquire, Elasund, Reef Encounter, Tigris & Euphrates, El Grande, Puerto Rico, Primordial Soup.

(Buy these games from our Web Store)

Games on Special Menu: Dune, 1856
Games on Preview: Project X

Location: Genting Awana
Date/Time: 7-8 October 06 (Sat/Sun)


(reported by Edwin Wong)

28 award winning euro games + buffet lunch, dinner, breakfast & tea breaks with snacks + the cool mountain air of the Awana Golf & Country Club + a great bunch of social/casual gamers = TONS OF FUN!

Yes, we did it! Our 1st Euro Game Retreat (well, not really the first, but the previous two were private events)!

We were happy to see gamers from different groups (mostly private) come together to meet each other, as that was the primary objective of the retreat. So, with new gaming friends found, we are already looking forward to the next retreat, where we hope to meet gamers from our neighboring countries as well.

The retreat kicked-off at 900am, with gamers randomly seated over 4 tables, and playing the “ice-breaker” game – Heck Meck (aka Pickomino)

All the winners then moved to Table#1, runner-ups to Table#2, etc, which would represent their starting table position. 28 games were then played over the next 1.5 days, banded by playing time, and graded by complexity (Table#1 would play more complex games than Table#4). After each round, the top two were promoted to the higher table, while the bottom two were relegated to the lower table.

Round #1 – Caylus (table#1), Antike, Tikal, Railroad Tycoon.
Round #2 – Samurai, Through the Desert, Ra, Ticket to Ride.
Round #3 – China, Saint Peterburg, Niagara, Thurn&Taxis.
Round #4 – Santiago, Cosmic Encounter, Pirates Cove, Settlers of Catan.
Round #5 – Torres, Elfenland, Pompeji, Cafe International.
Round #6 – Power Grid, Acquire, Elasund, Reef Encounter.
Round #7 – Tigris & Euphrates, El Grande, Puerto Rico, Primordial Soup (not played)

By 100pm the next day, everyone had learnt a few new games, made new friends, and looking forward to 2007 Euro Game Retreat!

The participants also had a rare opportunity to preview “Project X”, which is due to be released at Spiel06 next week. Look out for our review, which we will post separately.

Day One 0900-1800

reported by jack208

Day One started with all gamers making their own travel arrangement to Awana with everyone expected by 830 AM. Breakfast was served for those who did not manage to take theirs… and after some welcoming and intro among the gamers, Edwin kicked off the event with a welcome speech and a walk through of the gaming agenda for both days.

Edwin doing his kick-off speech

The sixteen gamers shall be grouped into 4 tables of four gamers; with each table seeing a different Euro Game being played for a total of 7 rounds. Hence we are looking to play 28 of the top/popular Euro Games within this 1 1/2 day retreat! The downside of course is that you may not get to play your favorite Euro Game (well, I didn’t get to play Puerto Rico which is one of my faves). The upside is that you get to learn many new Euro Games!

Some of the Euro Games lined up for this event

In order to determine starting table order (since we have no official ranking of Euro Gamers in M’sia hehe), a round of Heck Meck (a.k.a. Pickomino) was played with the gamers ranked by their scores (roasted worms) in that game.

One of the 16 gamers – Rob Street – was only able to come in the afternoon, hence we have a pool of 15 gamers to rank. Names were drawn from a hat and gamers were randomly grouped into 3 tables of five each.

Table 1 saw (from left) Teddy, KP, Ryan, Shaun (hidden) and Richard vying to be the king (or queen) of roasted worms
Table 2 has (from left) Edwin, Jen Fai, Alvin, Heng and Denise furiously throwing dices to grab worms!
Finally in Table 3, we have (from left) Chris, BK, Melody (partially hidden), Melissa and Jeff (not in the picture at all coz taking photos mar!)


After about 20 minutes of dice-fest (hmm… what a way to start the Euro Game fest – with dices!) the scores were tabulated and we now have the following table groupings:

Round 1 – Table 1: Caylus

Table 1 doing Caylus (from left): Teddy, Richard, BK and Heng

This table has the privilege of playing the IGA 2006 Award Winner – Caylus – and rated one of the most complex game on Boardgamegeek…. One of the wonderful thing about this retreat is that you have someone who knows the game teach you the game rules before you start your game. I think everyone agrees that learning a game from someone is so much easier (and less brain-racking) than having to read the rulebook yourself!

The eventual winners from this round are (surprisingly two newbies to this game!) Teddy and BK who shall remain in this table, while the other two gamers (Heng and Richard) moved down to Table 2 in the next round.

Round 1 – Table 2: Antike

Table 2 doing Antike (from left): Jen Fai, Jeff, Chris and Edwin (picture (c) Alvin)

Ahem, yours truly were drawn to this table – Antike being one of my fave games! I’ve Edwin, Chris and Jen Fai for company in this game of racing for Victory Points (VPs) in a Civilisation-like type of game. I was the Persian, Chris was the King of Arab while Jen Fai commanded the Greek armies. Edwin controls the tribe that runs around in loin clothes (Phoenicia).

Both Chris (left) and Edwin having megalomania thoughts…

The Persians and Arabs adopted a more peaceful but know-how driven approach to grow their civilisation while the Phoenicians were running amok in the southern part of the world in their loin clothes until the Greek sailed down from the North to check them.

In the end, the Persians (Jeff) won the game thru investment in superior technology while the Loin-men sorry I mean the Phoenicians (Edwin) did not do too badly as they came second proving that their expansionism strategy did have some merit.

This meant Jeff and Edwin moved up to Table 1 next to fight for the honor of their Samurai clans, while the other two (Chris and Jen Fai) have to move down Table 3 to appease the Egyptian Sun God RA.

Round 1 – Table 3: Tikal

Table 3 saw a Roses vs Thorn exploration in the Mayan jungle of Tikal (from left): Ryan, Denise, Melody and Melissa

The next table saw an interesting game of jungle exploration for the control of the riches of the Mayan temples in the game of Tikal, the 1st of the “Face Mask” trilogy of games that comprises Tikal, Mexica and Java.

This was a game that pitched three beautiful ladies – Denise, Melody and Melissa – against Ryan, current Malaysia Champion for Settlers of Catan.

The Msia Champion of Catan vs the Ladies of Tikal

Alas this was not Settlers of Catan…. and the three ladies were anything but nicey in their gameplay. hehe.. Ryan was ruthlessly defeated by the three smiling ladies.

Denise and Melody were the richest jungle explorers and thus earned the right to move up to Table 2 next for some cute pastel camel trekking through the desert. Melissa joined Ryan to move to Table 4 to spend their tickets to ride across USA.

Round 1 – Table 4: Railroad Tycoon

Table 4 saw three tycoon-wannabes (from left): Shaun, Alvin and KP.

In the 4th table, we have three gamers (instead of four as Rob was still in KL!). This was the table of tycoons (or at least tycoon-wannabes) as three fight over the western USA to build their railroad empires and the right to be called the Railroad Tycoon!

I heard this was a very closely fought match with Shaun claiming 2nd place by just one VP more than KP! Kudos to Alvin and Shaun who shall joined Chris and Jen Fai to welcome the Sun God RA.

Round 1 Results

i. First two winners of each table move up to the next table (except Table 1) while the last two gamers move down to the next table (except Table 4)
ii. Winner gets 3 points, 1st Runner-up 2 points and 2nd Runner-up 1 point.
iii. Number in brackets denote the gamer’s current accumulated points at the end of this round.


Alrite… after 2 hours of good gaming, some won some lost… the 15 gamers went to their respective new tables to begin Round 2 where Knizia fans would be pleased to know that three of Reiner Knizia’s games were chosen for this round!

Round 2 – Table 1: Samurai

Table 1 saw Samurai in play (from left): Edwin, Teddy, BK and Jeff (not in picture)

Samurai (the 2nd game in Knizia’s tile-laying trilogy of Tigris & Euphrates, Samurai and Through The Desert) was chosen for Table 1 in Round 2. One of the few Euro Games that scale beautifully from 2 to 4 gamers, this is a game of political influence in the Shogun era of Japan where as Shogun of our own Samurai clan, we seek to spread our influence to be the one who finally controls Japan.

I’ve played Samurai a number of times and most of the sessions were quite fun and fast.. however for some reasons, this game not only took longer than expected (it clocked past the 1.5 hr mark) but it was also very tense especially towards the end when each gamer were doing their utmost best to make sure they can secure the necessary majority to remain in contention for the game.

In a 4-player Samurai game, at most only three gamers would be in contention at the end of the game as you need a simple majority in one of the three factions in order to qualify for final scoring. If you do not have majority, you are out of the game. Since there are only three factions but 4 gamers, there will always be (at least) one gamer who will be kicked out of the scoring at the end of the game.

And I suppose everyone’s trying to avoid being *that* gamer! Gosh……

Finally after much huff and puff and lots of (friendly) name-calling, starting with

“Eh, your turn la”

to “Ooi Uncle, your turn to move la”

and eventually deteriorating into
“Alamak, Grandpa…. your turn la, quickly move la”,

the game finally came to a conclusion with Edwin winning the battle for control of Japan, and me coming second.

Both of us remain in Table 1 to meet the next challengers in another feudal battle but this time in the Middle Kingdom of China. BK and Teddy, after the stressful battle moved down to Table 2 for some Russian vodkas in St Petersburg.

Round 2 – Table 2: Through the Desert

Table 2 were Thru the Desert (from left): Denise, Richard, Heng and Melody (picture (c) Alvin)

Table 2 saw the second Knizia game in play – Through the Desert where cute pastel camels are the attraction! Due to the cute pastel camels, this is a game that favors the fairer gender unless our Al Ahmed (Nick Chew) is playing in which case, he’ll sapu (sweep) the game! But since Al Ahmed is busy in the lowlands (i.e. KL city), this game was a more open affair…

In the end, Melody and Heng won with their superior camel strategy (hehe) to earn the right to move up to Table 1 to meet Edwin and Jeff in the Middle Kingdom (China) while Richard & Denise (the hubby/wife combo) moved down to Table 3 to flex their muscles kayaking up and down Niagara Falls!

Round 2 – Table 3: RA

Jeff teaching the game of RA (picture (c) Alvin)

Next on Table 3, we have yet another Knizia’s game, his often talked-about bidding game of RA. In this game, you are Pharaohs seeking to build a rich and cultured civilisation in Eygpt. Each gamer has three Sun Tiles (ie the bidding currency) to bid for the various gold, buildings, civilization, pharaohs, and farmland. Smart use of your Sun Tiles especially the lower-value ones is a much-required skill if you wish to do well in this game. It’s a very simple game to learn yet some of the underlying strategies can be “hidden” until you have played this game a few times.

Table 3 paid homage to Sun God RA (from left): Shaun, Chris, Alvin and Jen Fai.

After a few rounds of chanting RA Ra Ra, Alvin and Chris managed to accumulate the most Victory Points in this game and will get the chance to visit St Petersburg next, while Shaun and Jen Fai have to settle for a trip to learn about Germany’s postal business.

Round 2 – Table 4: Ticket to Ride

Table 4 saw Alan Moon’s famous game Ticket to Ride (from left): Ryan, Melissa (hidden) and KP.

Table 4 is the only exception in this round that does not feature a Knizia favorites. Instead it brought to the table one of the most popular game and IMHO the best gateway game (to intro newbies to Euro gaming) – Alan Moon’s Ticket to Ride! This game is the Spiel des Jahres winner for 2004. The USA edition was played and we saw a three-player battle to build the largest and richest railroad connections among Ryan, Melissa and KP.

Ryan emerged victorious with KP in 2nd place therefore both of them will join Richard & Denise in their Niagara adventure, while Melissa remains in this table to explore Germany’s postal routes.

Round 2 Results

The gamer standings after two rounds of gaming. After two rounds of gaming, Alvin lead the standing with 6 pts with Edwin, Melody and Jeff sticking close to him at 5 pts.

i. First two winners of each table move up to the next table (except Table 1) while the last two gamers move down to the next table (except Table 4)
ii. Winner gets 3 points, 1st Runner-up 2 points and 2nd Runner-up 1 point.
iii. Number in brackets denote the gamer’s current accumulated points at the end of this round.


With the conclusion of Round 2, it’s Lunch Time and the gamers adjourned to Rajawali Restaurant to fill up their stomach to prepare for an afternoon session of more gaming! The afternoon session shall resume with Round 3 which features the following games – China, St Petersburg, Niagara and Thurn & Taxis. Two Spiel des Jahres Winners in this round (Niagara 2006, Thurn and Taxis 2006)! We also expect to see the arrival of our 16th gamer – Rob Street – who unfortunately has to join in at Table 4.

Click here to read Euro Game Retreat Report #2
Click here for more photos of the Euro Game Retreat 2006 – Day 1 & Day 2

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