Meetup

BGC Meetup 2/1/2009 (Part 2) @ OTK Cheras- Dominion, Le Havre

Gamers: Alvin (keealvin), Wei Yii (weiyii), Ken (wolfx), Allen (blownfreaks), Cliff (cliff), Heng (ayheng), Aw (aw) and Jeff Au (jack208); and special mention to Wai Yan (waiyan), Isabel and Yee Ling (crabzai) who dropped by to chit-chat only. 😛

Games: Imperial, Cash-n-Guns, Dominion and Le Havre

Location: Old Town Kopitiam Cheras Google Map 
Date/Time: 2 January 2009 (Fri) 8.00 PM – 4.30 AM

Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report (Part 2) @ Old Town Kopitiam Cheras 2/1/2009
by jack208

JAN2 MEETUP R2  

This is the 2nd part of my report for Boardgamecafe.net’s first 2009 meetup held at OTK. You can read about the 1st part of the meetup report which talked about Imperial and Cash-n-Guns.

DOMINION

Since some wanted to learn the game of Dominion, we decided to pull this onto the table for the next game before we start on the heavy Le Havre.

BGC Meetup - Dominion 

blownfreaks did the teaching and soon a brisk 4p Dominion was in play between keealvin, weiyii, aw and wolfx. I did listen to the briefing as blownfreaks went thru the instruction and while I did not play, I was looking into aw’s hand.

BGC Meetup - Dominion
We played using the standard deck set up 

There have been lots of discussion about whether Race for the Galaxy or this is the better game. After having played Race and seen a full game of Dominion in action, frankly I can’t understand what’s the fuss? 😛

Firstly both are very different games. Why are we comparing them? It’s like asking if Puerto Rico or Memoir 44 is the better game; the answer obviously depends on which crowd you are asking.

BGC Meetup - Dominion
In Dominion, you attempt to form a “powerful” hand from the cards above which you can purchase 

Race for the Galaxy is a point-accumulation game where you compete with the other players to draft cards from the deck hoping to get those that’ll form winning combos with your strategy. The various roles you can do lend some theme to the game but essentially, the game of Race is about cycling thru the deck as fast as you can, looking for the cards that you want and hoping you get them (hence it’s title Race).

Dominion is about hand management. You still need to build your “engine” so that you can draw/play more cards efficiently to maximize your hand.. but essentially it’s about knowing which combos to buy into your hand and managing them as well as you can.

The only similarity I can see is that both of them uses lots of cards!

I do however think Dominion has more player interaction than Race. In Race, once you’ve decided on a strategy, you just want to run thru the deck to “look” for the cards you need. What the other players do or dun do, won’t matter so much to you. Yeah, there are some occasions when you may need to change your game plan when you see a card you want being played by another player.. but in terms of interaction, it’s TFK Level 1 (ie almost of the highest order). 😛

In Dominion, there are some interactions but minimal. Some cards – Military, Witch – affect other players. More importantly, in Dominion all cards are available openly and in limited quantities. So if you want the Village, you can actually get it first (unlike Race where if you wanted a certain card, you still have to cycle thru the deck and *hope* you can draw it). In this aspect, I like Dominion more than Race.

Both games are about maximizing your own hands rather than playing against the others. You want interaction? Try Imperial… hehehe.

You might ask, if there’s always a set of 10 power cards (with various abilities) to start with in Dominion, wouldn’t this affect replayability once you understood how to combo the 10 cards. Yes and no.

Yes, in that if you know what’s the best combo from the 10 sets, this game might veer towards the auto-pilot mode. But however there are only 10 cards for each set.. and what’s to say your other players do not know the same thing about the “best combo” as you do.

If they do, then wouldn’t they go for the same combos as you are.. therefore rendering your “masterplan” useless and you then better have a Plan B, which needs to be better than the others’ Plan B.

Secondly, I understand the game comes with 500+ cards hence you do not need to play with the standard 10 cards. Mix-n-match and the game then becomes one where the person who can figure out the best combo in the shortest time wins. Sounds like a game to me. 🙂

My rating on this game? It’s fast and fairly fun card game. It’s also one where the “luck” element is lesser than RftG, and you have more control over your gameplan.

Will certainly play.. but not more than 2x per session/nite/week/month. hehe. Not sure about owning it… unless it’s to make my Top 10 Games library complete (as this game now sits at #6)

And while we are at the Top Ten, the only other game in the Boardgamegeek Top Ten that I do not have yet is Race of the Galaxy, which now sits at #10. If it drops one rank to #11 then this point becomes moot. 😛

To me, this is like San Juan (which I do have a copy, and which I do play once every blue moon). I’ll always prefer to play Puerto Rico than San Juan.. but once in a while, bring it (San Juan) on. 🙂

LE HAVRE

With wolfx around, we certainly cannot end the evening without playing Le Havre especially since the only English version of the game in Msia now is seen at OTK Cheras only. 😛

From the same designer as Agricola, Uwe (designer) seems to deliver Le Havre to satisfy the cravings of his Agricola fans who demanded less card-based roles (Occupation and Minor Improvements) and more luck-free options (ala Caylus); yet retaining some form of randomness.

IMHO I’d say Uwe delivered!

BGC Meetup - Le Havre 

Let me quickly summarize the game we did in this meetup; a 5p game with blownfreaks, cliff, wolfx, aw and jack208. cliff playing for the 1st time picked up the game pretty fast and soon he was turning his resources into building VPs quickly. Similarly aw (also his first time) was doing not too badly.

BGC Meetup - Le Havre
(From left) blownfreaks, cliff and aw looking at their options in Le Havre

wolfx as usual kept asking others to move along, play your game, dun AP (analysis-paralysis) but when it came to his turn, his brain shuts down temporarily while he APed on his moves!! LOL But he did get 2nd place.

blownfreaks was going for the Building strategy and he snapped up (I think) all the three bonus buildings which gave him about 32+ pts in bonus to win the game!!

Commented by blownfreaks
Great report yet again. Well I need to clarify something, I have indeed a ‘plan in mind’, that is to build the most cost effective building to win the game. Not as mentioned in the report as ‘blownfreaks was doing this and that and neither that’… 🙂

I think one of the good building that is seldom used by the players other than the owner is the ‘Construction’ (Use to build one/two buildings). I think I have used this building 4 times in the game and managed to build 8 buildings. Basically I have saved 4 steps in the process of doing so. I have also been eying the bonus building during the last few rounds in the games and buying the cheap buildings to maximize the bonus.

There is some sort of strategy there… just give me some credit will ya… haha

I was trying for the cattle strategy… getting hoards of them cows.. and lots of grain… but couldn’t figure an efficient way to convert them to good money (which is essentially VP in this game). Got a crappy 115 pts (which is low in a 5p game where we reckon a good score is around 140-160 pts).

BGC Meetup - Le Havre

There are 30 standard buildings that’ll always be available. However the random element introduced here is by sorting these 30 buildings into three stacks of tens. They are arranged in order of appearance by their “sort number” which basically keeps the stronger buildings towards the end of the game.

However their stacking order which is different from game-to-game may affect slightly the player’s strategy for each game (but dun think we have reached that level of experience yet for it to matter).

BGC Meetup - Le Havre 
Lots of playing pieces for this game… you need a large table to play Le Havre!

We decided to call it a nite after the mentally draining Le Havre. I reckon Le Havre will come to the table at OTK Cheras again next week since I promised wolfx that I’ll write the 1st full session report on Le Havre (from Msia) – hi wolfx!

so stay tuned for next week’s report where we intend to do Imperial Non-investor and either Le Havre or Agricola.


For more photos of this gaming session, visit our Flickr set.
For more gaming reports, visit our Boardgame.net Blog.
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To buy the games played in this meetup, visit our Web Store. We carry over 300+ games and provide prompt delivery to anywhere in Malaysia.

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