Gamers: Phuah (phuah), Lim (lim), Alvin (keealvin), Allen (blownfreaks), Yee Ling (crabzai), Heng (ayheng) and Jeff Au (jack208)
Games: Galaxy Trucker, Bang, Santiago, 18TN, Agricola
Location: Old Town Kopitiam Cheras Google Map
Date/Time: 13 February 2009 (Fri) 8.00 PM – 5.30 AM
Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ Old Town Kopitiam Cheras 13/2/2009
|FRIDAY THE 13TH MEETUP|
This was both Friday the 13 and Valentine’s Day weekend. As usual, we carry on with our Fri Night Gaming at Old Town Kopitiam. With Phuah & Lim in attendance and this being ayheng’s non-working week, we would be looking to game till the early morning of tomorrow.
Galaxy Trucker and Santiago were called, with Bang, Through the Ages, and Le Havre being possibilities. Here’s the report of what we played for the evening.
The game Galaxy Trucker was first introduced by blownfreaks when he brought his set to OTK in Dec last year for a testdrive. Three of us – me, wolfx and blownfreaks – had a great time building our trucker ships under time pressure and then trying to survive the multiple meteroids that came crashing our way while trying to ferry goods back to sell!
This time ayheng requested for that as he wanted to sample what’s the fuss about this FUN yet expensive game. At USD74.95 retail, it’s at the TI3 price point yet in terms of component or even game length, it’s nowhere near that epic game.
Galaxy Trucker does have a lot of stuff in its box but I suppose the main reason for its high price point is due to it not getting into the mainstream publisher and imported to US from Czech.
I reached OTK to find most of the regulars were already there and as I ordered my dinner (with waiyan) I requested that they proceed with Galaxy Trucker since it’s just a 4-player game (until you get the Big Expansion which can then play 5) and we’ve 4 players who have yet to experience trucking their ships thru the galaxy. 😛
The game comprises two phases: the first where you build your trucker (ships) that’ll be sent on a journey to carry some goods back which you can then sell for a profit. Obviously there’ll be a few hazards along the way – pirates, smugglers and meteroids! – which can do all sorts of damages to your ship.
The Ship Building phase is the most frenzied (above) – and also the most FUN – since everybody builds at the same time, and the tiles used to build the ships are available in a pool that’s free-for-all to everyone! Yup, you just flip open those building tiles and take whatever you want!!
There are certain rules to follow when placing those tiles to form your ship; but essentially you need to balance your ships with thrusters (else your ship ain’t going to go any way fast), lasers (for protection against anything that’s moving towards your ships), energy generators (to produce energy bars that you need to power your thrusters and lasers), shields, crew cabins (your crewmen need somewhere to sleep/live, no?) and storage cabins for carrying cargoes.
Let’s look at some examples of what these ppl built for their 1st round.. 😛
This is crabzai’s ship (above) for the 1st round. A few lasers in front (those in purple), good amount of storage cabins with only one space for radioactive good (the storage tile in red), but powerful thrusters (five of them!). The ship seems to be quite low in terms of staffing, carrying only 6 crew.
ayheng built a rather good & balanced trucker (above)… hmm.. lasers seemed to be heavily slanted to the right-hand side (was he expecting lots of meteors coming that side?) but he’ll lose the central thruster due to illegal build before this trucker can get off the ground.
Phuah’s an analytical person… so if you ask them to knock something up under time pressure, that’s not exactly what he would luv to do. His trucker tells the same story… hehe but it did have better laser protection system though it has only one twin thrusters so it does not look like going anyway fast.
Now this is something you dun get to see everyday.. Lim must have been going on some Green (environmental) programme lately as he focused his trucker to be.. well, green. His ship is consists heavily of the green shield and the green energy generators.
In fact he has so much generators – 19 of them – that he could go to the end of the galaxy and back! 😛
ayheng had earlier asked why there seemed to be a dearth of energy generator tiles… now he knew where they went. LOL
Once your ship is ready, you set off on a journey with the other players. During the journey, you’ll encounter various challenges, obstacles and some opportunities. The trucker who best maximizes the opportunities and minimizes the hazards would stand a great chance of winning the game.
The above board tracks the ships journey and also act as a turn order sequence for the four ships. Being in front of the turn order is sometimes advantageous (eg when you encounter a planet card) and sometimes not (when you encounter pirates).
You’ll encounter opportunities like the above – Abandoned Station – where the player (in turn order) who has more than 5 crewmen will be able to collect the two cargoes (yellow, green) at the cost of losing one travel day. Good exchange if you ask me.
There’ll also be opportunities such as the Planets flight card (above) where you get to load your ships with cargoes (to sell back at base for profit). However you would want to be in front in terms of the turn order as you then get to choose first which planet to visit (as not all of them provide expensive cargoes).
The space journey is also filled with many hazards; Meteoric storms being one of them (and it seems to happen quite often). When your ship is flying thru a meteoric storm, you’ll need all your navigational skills (and most of all luck – since it involves throwing dice) to avoid getting your ship mangled or worse, dismantled!
Small meteors you can avoid easily as long as your ship does not have too many “exposed” parts. Large meteors unfortunately are more difficult to deal with, you need lasers to cut them down to sizes.
Carrying cargoes back safely to base is the key to getting good profits (and money is what wins you the game). The cargoes are categorized into the radioactive (red) and non-radioactive (yellow, green, blue).
Radioactive cargoes are the most expensive but you need special cabins (red) to hold them. Non-radioactive cargoes go from yellow (expensive) to blue (cheapest).
ayheng’s ship (above) looked like it has managed to get a good amount of cargoes to ship back. Getting them back safely however is another matter.
Uhm.. after a heavy meteoric storm, ayheng’s ship was hit by a large meteor on the port side (see above).. and things started to unravel. Problem is, once your ship has exposed parts it doesn’t travel well especially in space…
This is how ayheng’s ship ended up as it trudged back to base… not too bad except it has lost all the cargoes it meant to ship back. Amazingly 4 of its crew managed to make their way back with the ship.
Basically after Round 1, you can continue to Round 2 (rinse-n-repeat) but with a larger ship footprint. In Round 1, you build a rather small ship and it’s easy to avoid meteors etc when you have such a small footprint.
In Round 2, you get to build a ship with larger footprint.. therefore increasing the probability of getting hit by meteor along the journey. I also find that building a large ship tends to be more difficult as finding the right & matching component tiles can be really difficult.
It goes without saying the ship’s footprint will increase further in Round 3 and Round 4.
In the next round, ayheng built an almost-perfect ship. Structurally it has no exposed parts, has space for 7 normal cargoes and two radioactive goods, 6 thrusters in total and ample cabins for the crew. It has shields protecting all four sides of the ship with laser systems on the front and both port and starboard sides.
Question is – how would this ship fare on its journey?
A snapshot of ayheng’s ships halfway thru the journey, crew staying strong (the purple crew is in fact an alien who boost the firepower of this ship), and the storage cabins are almost 80% filled with cargoes. But how will this stand a meteoric storm?
The ship sailed thru a massive meteoric storm and only lost a component on its port side (see above) with the ship otherwise relatively untouched. Yeah!
We decided to do one more round of Galaxy Trucker since everyone seemed to be enjoying it. This time we built a Round 3 ships (with even larger footprint).
The above was my Round 3 trucker. Pretty good effort but not fully maximizing it as you can notice the blank spaces below which I did not make full use of. With a larger footprint, it’s harder getting the right components to build a “complete” ship.
Thought I’d a strong number of crew – after that terrible experience in the Dec 08 session where some sumgglers came and abducted 3 (and all) of my crew leaving my ship in relatively very good condition but derelict! – but a wave of alien epidemic swept thru all ships and reduced half of my crew in those cabins that were inter-connected.
Everyone’s verdict is that this is a fun filler-type game that we can bring out easily to either kickstart the gaming session or wind down after some heavy gaming. blownfreaks has ordered the Big Expansion; that should add to the fun factor!
ayheng has been bringing his Bang! set along for the past few sessions, hoping to get the seven ppl needed to do a good Bang! session. Today we’ve seven so it’s wild wild west ala Bang!
Roles and characters were dealt and Phuah was appointed as the sheriff. Deputies unknown yet but ayheng drew the Willy the Kid character (can play unlimited Bang cards) which is always a threat.
I was one of the three Outlaws so was hoping ayheng was one too. 😛 Whether you are with the law or outlaws, there’s nothing better than having Willy the Kid (the other would be Slab the Killer) on your side.
blownfreaks started by firing on the Sheriff. Obviously once the outlaws unmasked early and if you have Willy the Kid on the table, the other outlaws shouldn’t waste any more time and have to converge immediately on the Sheriff and hope to force a quick ending.
Sadly we outlaws couldn’t last long. I was done in by a dynamite (lit by keealvin, one of the deputies) while blownfreaks was brought down by a hail of bullets from the Sheriff and Willy the Kid (who’s his 2nd deputy).
With lim being the sole surviving outlaw, two deputies still alive and kicking and one of the deputy is Willy the Kid; the end is near for the outlaws and the Sheriff did prevail in this session.
After Bang! we moved on to Santiago. Another game with high screwage factor.
Not sure if ayheng will be writing something for this session. If yes, I’ll copy/paste over here later.
|18TN Tennessee & Kentucky|
The Round 2 session started with a game that we used to play quite often at OTK but have not seen the table recently – an 18xx game. This time we did the Tennessee & Kentucky map of 18TN. Will leave its sessrep to a different blog entry. 🙂
After the 18TN game (400am?) Phuah and Lim were still going strong, while ayheng decided to take his leave. The three of us ended tonight’s session with a quick 3-player’s game of Agricola.
Until next week!
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