Gamers: Alan Woon (alanwsl), Jamie Chen (jamie), Jacques Aw (jacques), Ken Wong (kenwong), Wey Yau (weyyau), Pak Hoe (apk), Wai Yan (waiyan) and CK Au (jack208)
Games: Aladdin’s Dragons, Battlestar Galactica
Location: Old Town Kopitiam Cheras Google Map
Date/Time: 25 February 2010 (Thu) 10.00 PM – 3.00 AM
Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ Old Town Kopitiam Cheras 25/2/2010
The Pudu group called for a Chinese New Year lou-sang dinner at Queen’s Park and with today being the eve of a public holiday, everyone agreed to adjourned to Old Town Kopitiam Cheras for a game or two.
First game to hit the table was Aladdin’s Dragons; a game that I’m sure will be a hit with this group. 🙂
We’ve seven (excl me) and with Aladdin’s Dragons supporting 5 players only; some have to sit out the game. Pak Hoe opted not to play (as he prefers to watch) while Jamie combos with Alan. We are now all set for a 5-player romp through the dragon caves. 🙂
Aladdin’s Dragons is played over three stages; the caves, the city and the palace; with the objective in this game being to acquire the most artifacts (from the palace rooms).
In the Caves, players fight to amass treasures which are the currency for this game. The City provides players with magic spells (very powerful if used at the right time), trading (where you gain two treasures) and the ability to use the powers of your artifacts twice. Finally players bribe the palace guards in order to enter the Palace Rooms and acquire the precious artifacts by bartering their hard-earned treasures (from the cave).
Aladdin’s Dragons is essentially a blind bidding game, with the player paying the highest bid winning control of an area/space which grant him/her the ability to do the privilege given by that area for eg in the picture above, four players – Black, Red, Blue and Green – were bidding to win control of the Market where the winning player – and only the winning player – can trade one of his treasures for any three from the market.
The “blind bidding” phase of the game is what appeals most to these gamers. You only have eight bid tokens to place (valued 1 to 9, with “3” omitted) therefore your decision tree is relatively simple yet there are so many things you want to acquire or do in a round and everyone seems to be wanting or doing the same thing as you, there’s a constant angst surrounding each of your decision.
Note: This group of gamers since they know each other very well, tends to seek confrontation when bidding ie. when one places a token in one of the spaces, the others will follow… creating anxiety all-around as you keep trying to fend off the competitive bids. Basically they just like to get in each other’s face and games like these gave them the perfect opportunity to do so. 😛
The game progressed fairly quickly with Alan (in white tee above) grasping the importance of the artifacts quickly and began grabbing a few early artifacts on-the-cheap (ala rhyen’s diversification strategy, also known as “curi ayam”). He was leading by 2 artifacts before the others – who were mainly fighting for treasures – got into the artifact buying act – which then made it more difficult for Alan to acquire more artifacts as everyone seemed to “get” into his way.
Nobody seemed eager to visit Aladdin’s tent for the magic spells – maybe because I’ve not yet done the English paste-up onto the magic spell cards which are still in the (original) German text, and they find it tedious to have to refer to the Magic Spell listing. Wey Yau (pictured above in green tee) was the one who did dabbled in some magic spells every now and then. Added to the fact, those spells he got very not those powderful ones…. the rest were likely not convinced going for the spells are useful.
Jacques (pictured in white tee above) were one of those who were lagging behind in artifact score – I knew as I sit just next to him and has full view of his behind-the-screen asset. 🙂 However since he concentrated all his bidding at the dragon’s caves, he has amassed quite a sizeable booty of treasures!
In the 2nd last round, Jacques literally went for broke by placing bid tokens in ALL five palace rooms! Jacques were using the purple tokens. The rest obviously did try to stop him by separately competing with him for each rooms.. but since Jacques was placing bid values of 6, 8 and 9 on the rooms, they could stop him in only one of the rooms!
Wey Yau attempted to derail Jacques with the Open Secret magic spell that requires all players to place their bid token face-up but Jacques countered that spell (with his Counter-spell artifact).
An interesting dynamic with this group is once they know someone is in the lead, they collaboratively work to bring him down. The reason is simple – in their games, there is a Winner and the rest are Losers. There’s no prize for being 2nd or 3rd. You are just a bunch of losers. So you either Win and get the bragging rights, or you join the losers pool and try harder next time.
To me, this is the best solution against “cooperation” in games like Container, Intrigue etc where if two people collaborate from beginning to end, they know they’ll likely be Winner and 1st Runners-up. But when there’s no 1st Runners-up to fight for.. you are just another loser… why would you cooperate? 🙂
Back to the game, Jacques took 4 artifacts in that round to bring his total to 8, and with the closest competitor having only 5 and there’s only 2 more artifacts to go, he was announced the winner!
Note: Btw, I’ve already done the English text paste-up to the Magic Spells… so we are ALL GOOD to go artifact hunting in Aladdin land again!
We did a session of Battlestar Galactica after Aladdin’s Dragons, but as I was busy facilitating that session – and whew… doing a session of BSG to all first-timers ain’t easy, so many details you need to take care of which made me super-appreciative of ayheng, rhyen, wolfx and the other’s work in keeping our past sessions of BSG well-organized- so didn’t take any photos.
In a nutshell, the Humans made the final leap to Earth but that’s only becoz I misdealt the Cylon’s fate by putting in only ONE Cylon card in the Loyalty card mixes aka the Wolfx Error (hehe). I dealt-in the Sympathizer card instead (which has the picture of Boomer!)
Anyway from the critical resources hitting the Battlestar in its last jump, I would think if there’s one more Cylon the Humans would be toasted as well. Sigh.
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