Gamers: Angelo (angelo), Phuah (phuah), Lim (lim), Ho (ho), Allen (blownfreaks) and Jeff Au (jack208)
Games: Samurai, Acquire, Agricola and Brass
Location: Old Town Kopitiam Cheras Google Map
Date/Time: 6 February ’09 (Fri) 8.00 PM – 7.30 AM
Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ Old Town Kopitiam Cheras 6/2/2009
While most people would have returned to work in this week (from the long Chinese New Year break), most are still likely to be busy with CNY dinners and other engagements. Initially I’d thought there’s not going to be any gaming session tonite, until Phuah smsed me saying that his group is coming down. Oh great!
blownfreaks was the first to arrive, with a German colleague – Angelo – who’s not yet heard of Settlers of Catan but enjoys boardgaming. He’s in town on work matters and would be leaving for Germany but today he’s invited to sample the joy of euro gaming! 🙂
It’s always good to welcome a new boardgamer.. and what better game to start than with Knizia’s Samurai which plays very well with 3 people, and easy to get into. The only “difficult” part might be understanding the scoring.
Haven’t played Samurai for a long time so it’s good to see it on the table again. I remembered playing a very tense Samurai at the Awana Euro Game Retreat in 2006. That game really drew out the flavor of the fight for control of Japan. 🙂
In Samurai, you are fighting to have control of the influence of either of the three factions in Japan – the farmers (rice fields), the politicians (high helmets) and the monks (Buddhas). Control of both factions win you the game outright, while control of one would allow you to contest for the position of Shogun ruling over all of Japan.
Angelo was very quick to pick up the game, and in fact our scores all tied at 5 with each of us controlling one faction. blownfreaks mentioned Angelo would have won the game by the tie-breaker (ie player with the most “all pieces” captured wins)
By now, Phuah and his group has arrived. We now have six and blownfreaks happened to bring his Acquire (50th Anniversary edition) along. There are not many 6-player games that’s as good as Acquire. No better game to intro Angelo further into the Euro Gaming addiction. hehe.
The proliferation of new startups early in the game (see below) made it difficult to keep control of any one chain, and everyone needs to be on their toes to identifying which chain(s) would be candidates for early mergers and which would be keepers for end-game.
jack208 and blownfreaks fought for control of Sackson but alas after our initial “rush”, everything went quiet on this counter until almost end-game (where I actually lost control of the minority stake to Ho, duh! Oh well, I did get control of Tower… you can’t win them all)
Towards end-game (see pic above), three chains were safe – Tower (Jack208/Blownfreaks), Sackson (Blownfreaks/Ho) and American (Angelo/Phuah) – with two smaller chains (Imperial and Continental in top right) waiting to be merged with one of the three.
Game was won by Phuah who didn’t even control any of the end-game counters (Tower/Sackson/American). He made his money from the early (and frequent) mergers of the counters and being the minority shareholder for a couple of the end-game chains.
|AGRICOLA – Session #1|
After a delicious appetizer (Samurai) and sumptuous main course (Acquire), it’s time to serve Angelo the creme-de-la-creme dessert – Agricola!
We’ve seem to wean off this game lately, with Le Havre and some oldies coming back into the tables but lately we are seeing Agricola back in vogue!
Playing 3-player Agricola for the first time and the immediate thing I notice is the scarcity of clay. There are two clay action cards but each yielded only a single clay! Aiyoh…
I appeared to have drawn a very good combo-set of Occupation and Minor Improvements (see below). Sadly I couldn’t maximize them and I think with an over-focus on playing these cards, my entire game went down the kitchen sink! 😛
Would be interesting to see if those cards above are at all good for combos. Perhaps a solo game using those cards can shed me some light. 😛
After Agricola, Angelo has to say goodbye for the evening. He did say he enjoyed the evening’s menu of Euro Gaming and will definitely be coming back for more the next time he’s in KL. Oh yeah, another convert to euro boardgaming! Kudos to blownfreaks for his active canvassing…
|AGRICOLA – Session #2|
When a game is back in vogue, playing it once is not enough right? So Agricola came back to the table for the 2nd time in the same evening. This time it’s another 3-player game with jack208, Phuah and Lim.
I’ve bought the vegemeeples add-on which was shipped together with my Le Havre a few months back but haven’t played it with my Agricola set. This evening the vegemeeples were added to the set and I’ve to admit the animeeples and vegemeeples improve the playing experience.
Lim building three pastures; both good for storing the few types of animals the farm can rear and also for end-game VPs. However he didn’t manage to use all the other unused spaces but it was just his first game and I’m sure being the experienced gamer he is, that’ll pick up over time.
I went for the cooking heath in this session, and less obsessed with my Occupation & Minor Improvement cards. I did play my fair share of them cards but spent more time on balancing my other resources and farming matters.
I blogged about the L-Deck (also sent together with my Le Havre purchase) earlier (click here to read). As mentioned in that blog entry, half the cards in the L-Deck are in German! Aiyoh… should have gotten Angelo to translate for me!!
Thanks to aanemesis for teaching us this game (a few weeks back) and while he whooped us back then (sessrep still pending), I find the game challenging and always keen to bring it back to the table.
When we did the learning game with aanemesis, it was a 3-player game (Brass can play four). aanemesis did mention it’s best with 4 as the fight for the board will be so much tougher.
Anyway there’s only 3 players for R2 tonite so it’ll have to be 3p Brass. 😛
Phuah jumped on to the resource strategy, quickly building coal mines for us to use (which will score VPs for him once we’ve exhausted the supplies in his coal mines) while Lim and jack208 focus on setting up cotton mills to sell.
jack208 focused on the top part of the Lancashire (above) while Phuah & Lim were slogging it out over southern Lancashire (below). A plus point for this game is that I did not see any distinct advantage for me (jack208) even though two of the three players in the game were fighting over the south while I built at the north. Not all 3p games carry this balance.
To a certain extent, the choice of location – and industries – we based our strategy on will be dictated by the location/industry cards we draw to our hands.
This was one of the “random” element I dread (before playing the game) but after playing it twice, I do not find it too unbalancing or random. Sometimes you may not get a good card draw – or the location you need – but you can always work around it, or as most good businessman (in particular during the Lancashire period) do, they just switch to their Plan B.
In this session Lim was focused on shipping cotton, while Phuah was very into providing resources for our thriving business. He built the most coal mines and iron works, and managed to tap into quite a good number of VPs from this approach.
The other observation was jack208 took two $30 loans while lim took one $30 loan but phuah managed through out the game without loan. I notice phuah tends to do well at optimization games like this and Age of Steam (also by the same designer, Martin Wallace).
With only 3 shipyards; two were built by jack208 and one by phuah so Lim who perhaps have focused a bit too heavily on cotton mills missed out on the good VPs provided by the shipyard.
4-player Brass, anyone?
|AXIS & ALLIES – The Big Report!|
From what I’d thought were no-session tonite, we ended this session at 7.30am! Ah well, just in time for breakfast rhyen would used to say. 🙂
What’s next? Stay tuned for the BIG sessrep of our first session of Axis & Allies 2004 Edition between ayheng and jack208! If you can’t wait, enjoy the photos of our A&A session here.
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