Gamers: Ken (wolfx), Allen (blownfreaks), Yee Ling (crabzai), Cliff (cliff), Ian (shrapnel), Cheryl (cmun), John (johnlim) & galfren, Phuah, Ooi, Lim, Wai Yan (neu), Heng (ayheng), and Jeff Au (jack208)
Games: Imperial, Hey China Moon, That’s My Fish, Ice Flow, King of Siam, Perudo Dice, Stone Age and Le Havre
Location: Old Town Kopitiam Cheras Google Map
Date/Time: 9 January 2009 (Fri) 8.00 PM – 5.30 AM
Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ Old Town Kopitiam Cheras 9/1/2009
by ayheng & jack208
|JAN9 MEETUP R1|
The 2nd meetup of 2009 at OTK. For this session, some of our old-timers – Ian (shrapnel), Cheryl (cmun) and their frens John Lim & his girlfren – made an impromptu appearance at Old Town Kopitiam. Haven’t seen shrapnel & cmun since our Angkor trip last Nov.
|HEY THAT’S MY FISH|
After a quick dinner, neu started a game of Hey That’s My Fish with shrapnel and cmun…
Was told Perudo Dice (aka Liar’s Dice) was also played in this table….
On the other table, ayheng was getting the rest into Imperial with quick rule briefing. We just did Imperial last week (read last week’s sessrep) where we played using the standard rules of Investor card and starter bond distribution. In our forum we discussed about trying out the “No Investor Card” variant which we were told plays 10 times better!
ayheng’s session report follows, with some additional notes/thoughts from jack208.
It’s the 1900s, and Imperialism is in full swing. Unbeknownst to the six great Imperial nations of mighty Europe, five great manipulators, puppeteers, shadowy secret society figures have step forth to steer the fates of the nations.
jack208: Some notes on our No-Investor-Card variant. We played without the Investor Card (ie. the Investor space only pays out dividend to shareholders if it’s landed on) and all players get 18m and can freely invest in the bonds (one bond per nation).
Investment is only allowed when a nation’s marker lands on or passes the Investor space. Beginning with the player controlling the nation, he can invest (or upgrade) one bond of the active nation. Players not controlling any nation can invest (or upgrade) one bond of any nation.
This variant is slightly different from the official No-Investor card variant where players can invest at the end of each turn! We actually played this (2nd) variant next week (ie 16-Jan). Watch for that sessrep for my opinions on which variants play better.
The mysterious jack208 (above), master puppeteer and cameraman, invested in Russia (purple), Austria-Hungary (yellow) and Italy (green), reserving some cash and laying low for the opportune moment to strike.
Cunning wolfx (above), invests in Italy, France (blue) and controls Germany (black).
Wise crabzai, takes control of Italy and Russia to put some pressure on Austria-Hungary.
Mysterious blownfreaks, takes hold of Austria-Hungary and France.
While I (ayheng), Imperial narrator, invests in Austria-Hungary, France and controls England (red).
jack208: In a 5-player game if we play without the starting fixed-bond distribution, all players get 18 million (instead of 13m) and we each get to invest optionally one bond in each of the 6 nations; control of a nation going to the investor who made the largest contribution.
In this game, I was contemplating control of Austria but then decided to just opt not to control any nation and watch how the game develops and find out if it’s better to jump in for control of a nation once things started moving. Hope this explains why I opted for no-control at game-start.
The stage is set and the game begins. First order of the day: the Factory action. Probably a case of group think, but it is best to be conservative.
Next step: Production. Very predictable.
jack208: While everyone seemed to take Factory as their de facto first move (is this the Settler role of Puerto Rico?) the choice of the first factory among the nations was interesting. While the others went for balance (ie. army vs navy); England and Austria chose to specialize in naval and land forces respectively.
England is always an enigma and while it’s not the “weakest” nation as most perceived it to be, it’s also a hard nation to play well though I’ve seen rhyen ran a very strong England once. 😛
England’s choice of having a naval base as her first factory indicated she wanted to fight for control of the sea while Austria’s third army base implied there could be an infantry rush in the Middle East.
I watched Austria’s development with much interest as blownfreak invested 9m to control Austria (and out of money as he also sunk in 9m for France) while I gave 6m to Austria and has 6m cash remaining.
Ok, here’s where things start to get interesting. England skipped the first maneuvering to go on a second production.
Although this seems like a good idea and the extra sea power seems effective in battling France and Germany, the fact is that England still can’t take on both countries at one go. Next time I will recommend to do a land factory as the 1st factory action.
jack208: What England did was the Double-Rabbit move (ie produce twice then only move). I can’t remember if rhyen used the same start but he did have good control of the seas around England. I wouldn’t discount this move so quickly… may need to explore a bit more. Ada potensi. 😛
jack208 did a hostile takeover and took over Austria-Hungary (above) by upgrading his 6m Austria-Hungary bond to 12m.
jack208: This was precipitated by Austria opting to form a strong land forces (with possibly two productions in-between maneuvers) that’ll rush out to grab control markers in neighboring provinces, which would drive her taxation level to 9 or 10m – and more importantly a personal performance bonus of 4m. hehe
England did the first taxation (below) followed by everybody else.
Austria-Hungary ended up ahead and profiting a very happy pirating jack208.
jack208: Austria actually did even better than I expected (all blownfreaks’ good work haha). It managed to tax eventually at 11m (+6) which meant I pocketed a cool 6m bonus for my additional 6m investment. 🙂
England goes on another production spree.
jack208: At this juncture, I thought England were doing pretty ok continuously pumping out new ships from her shipyards and making it difficult for France to get control of the English Channel. At the same time Germany has already taken control of both Belgium & Holland meaning France need to consider going south for her expansion (or risk a drawn-out naval battle with England which she may not win).
Followed by everyone else. It’s an arms race!
Italy (crabzai) took advantage of war between England and France to expand.
jack208: wolfx also took the same opportunity to do first mover advantage up north with Germany (below) and controlled Russia from easily moving out to the Scandinavian. I think wolfx’s Germany was the key to preventing the Russo-Italiano combo (crabzai) growing uncontested too early in the game.
jack208: This is what happens when a nation chooses to pay out dividends (Investor action)… those greedy investors are in it for the money only la! :p
blownfreaks takes back Austria-Hungary, can he manage to use Austria-Hungary and France to get Italy under control?
England tries to maintain sea supremacy.
And tax ahead again!
However the taxation is too low, nobody gives England a second look. jack208 instead determines Italy to be the best investment and takes it under his control.
jack208: This was one of the key moments for me as having control of both Italy and Austria (back) allowed me to expand east & west-wards putting pressure on both Russia (east) and France (west).
crabzai let go of Italy and consolidates on to Russia.
As blownfreaks was busy defending Austria-Hungary, I stole France from under his nose.
Which resulted in an economic and military cooperation between England and France.
jack208: Now this was when I felt that the game was slipping away from me. Italy-Austria were strong but England-France can be powerful as well since a strong England-France could meant Italy-Austria are sandwiched between Germany-Russia. Not a good place for me to be. 😦
This was what I feared.. with England no longer a threat to the French, they started moving south.. and soon were standing in the Western Mediterranean Sea and directly threatening Italian’s bases.
jack208: By now, blownfreaks has gone into Investor mode and started spreading his investment across the nations.
jack208: A good move by wolfx (below), buying up France bonds hoping to gain control of France and use it possibly to hit back against England which has been a thorn in his Germany.
Sadly the cooperation doesn’t give immediate benefits to France. In fact, France has to withhold taxation to fend off Italy and Germany!
The final run-up to the end. Both England and France are behind due to constant pressure from Germany and Italy.
This is me (ayheng) pondering my last move.
This game I did not do too good due to the fact that England wasn’t well invested for a quick payout. The Factory action also had to be skipped due to lack of funds. England ended dead last while France managed to end first through a last desperate move. However the move still wasn’t enough to win the game.
Austria-Hungary changed hands several times during the game but it was jack208 who made the most out of it from the taxation bonus. I also used Austria-Hungary in a final takeover to delay Italy’s final taxation and let France win. blownfreaks benefitted from this late French surge to power past an Italy-focused jack208.
Germany and Russia went relatively unchecked and helped wolfx and crabzai respectively to finish in a good position.
Which meant I was dead last! Oh well, at least I learned something to hatch better schemes for the next Imperial session.
jack208: I made two terrible mistakes in the end-game. Firstly I didn’t remember to check if others can take over either my Italy or Austria. I’d both set-up at the Investor step for me to launch Italy (since I was heavily invested in this country) into the Taxation step – even at the cost of 2m – to end the game strongly.
However ayheng intervened by upgrading one of his Austria bond to take over control of Austria. I could still end the game with Italy but for mistake #2 which was to leave a sizeable Austrian army that could harm Italy which ayheng ruthlessly used to suppressed the Italian factories.
Hence I could still get to Taxation for Italy but would not have enough tax points to end the game. Italian bonds would still have stayed at 4x credits (as-it-was). 😦
ayheng’s original report on this Imperial session is also available from his blog space http://aikyong.com/2009/01/28/imperial-otk-9th-jan-09
While Imperialism was going on strongly at our table, the other table completed their Hey That’s My Fish game and moved on to their next game – China Moon.
Supposedly a game for young children, but dun let those cute frogs fool you! This game is full of screwage factor as everyone attempt to get their frogs to grab, or steal those lotus flowers from you.
It’s also a game that’ll appeal easily to ladies (guys, take note)….. 😛
However do not let those lovely smiles lure you into a relaxed state…. as shrapnel found out to his frustration as he has to get deep into AP (analysis-paralysis) mode in order to salvage his game after his froggies were given the chipmunk treatment by cmun, LOL
|KING OF SIAM|
Phuah’s group arrived as we were finishing Imperial, and after a quick dinner they started a 3p King of Siam.
|OTK ROUND 2 – LE HAVRE|
As some of the R1 gamers called it a nite, Phuah’s group continued with their 2nd game of King of Siam with shrapnel, while the Imperial gamers moved on to Le Havre. Later Stone Age, Ice Flow and a second game of Le Havre were also played.
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