Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ Old Town Kopitiam Cheras 14/5/2010
Gamers: Nicola (nicola), Chua (CE), Allen (blownfreaks), Henry (rhyen), and CK Au (jack208)
Games: Homesteaders, Dice Town, Long Shot
Location: Old Town Kopitiam Cheras Google Map
Date/Time: 14 May 2010 (Sat) 8.00 PM – 2.00 AM
Allen received his copy of Homesteader a few weeks back and has been waiting to get this to the table. Ayheng has been busy past few weeks – and being the only one who has read the rules for this game, we have not been able to get this game to the OTK tables.
Allen teaching the rules to nicola, rhyen, CE (not in photo) and jack208
This is in essence an auction game where you as homesteaders in the early days of US of A, are allowed to bid for the right to build certain buildings on empty lands. The bid is for the “right” to build the buildings. You still need to be able to provide the right resources required for certain buildings.
The three bidding blocks for a 4-player game
The key here is there’ll always be one less bidding block based on how many players are in the game. Therefore in each round, one poor player would have to pass and not be able to build. There are altogether 10 rounds in the game. J
Buildings are “key” to the game
The buildings are the source of your resources, such as wood, steel, copper, gold and money. To get the resources, you’ll need to send a worker to work in that building. However some buildings provide “automatic” resources ie. you do not need to send a worker to the building.
The game is played over three stages – Settlement, Town and City. The first two stages last 4 rounds while the City stage is only 2 round. Buildings (unbuilt) will be phased out (and no longer available to build) when a new stage is reached.
Nicola, allen and CE in Homesteader
Resources are used to build other buildings and given there’ll be more resource types than you can realistically manage to generate yourself, there’ll need to be an option to trade the resources you’ve in surplus for others you do not have (but require). This is done via the Marketplace.
In order to trade at the Marketplace, you need a trade token which then entitles you to either buy or sell resources at a pre-determined price/return. Not all resources are sold for money. Some you can only trade for another resource for eg a gold can get you a cow in the marketplace.
Nicola in his first game of Homesteader @ OTK
I didn’t play in this session – since it only plays 4 – but I shadowed CE’s play and we quickly find out the importance of having trade tokens as they provide you with the flexibility of getting the “right mix” of resources needed to build.
The other – ahem – critical element of the game is “loans”. You start off with only $6 and a building that generates $2 for you every round but you need money to pay for I) your worker’s wages of $1/worker per round, 2) auction fee if you win the rights to build a building, and 3) buying resources from the marketplace.
The only ways for you to generate money are I) buildings which provide money, and 2) selling stuff at the marketplace. But to do (2), you need to have trade tokens – and you can’t buy trade tokens, they can only be generated from selected buildings.
We realized quickly that bids during the Auction Phase can get fierce and you may end up paying $12 just for the right to build a building. Most likely you won’t have $12 in cash. Dun worry.. The banks are close by, and their loan officers very friendly. They’ll give you any amount of loan (each loan chit gets you $2), there’s no interest per round (yah!) but you simply have to pay back $5 per loan chit at the end of the game – or otherwise “bad things” happen to you. 😛
Most Euro games that employ loans as cashflow mechanic also deduct your unpaid loan as points at the end of the game… Homesteader does something similar except their deduction is not linear but accumulative (ala Hare & Tortoise movement cost).
Loan is piling up here for our fren, that’s 11 loans in that pile…. who shall remained “Unamed” for now as he’ll go on to become Msia’s World Record Holder for Number of Loans in Homesteader!!
The loans are deducted according the sum of the no. of loans you have for eg if you have 3 loans remaining, you deduct 1+2+3 = 6 pts from your score. If you have 5 loans, you deduct 1+2+3+4+5 = 15 pts.
Given this method, it’s punitive to have too many loans unpaid, which makes for some interesting and excruciating decisions in the bidding phase.
Exercise: Can you work out how many points will be deducted for 11 loans?
The World Record holder – and the other players – has cleared out all loan chits supplied by the game. We are now using the 5-VP token to represent 5 loan chits
As the game continues and the bidding gets more vicious, the bankers continued laughing all the way to their banks!!
This is CE’s hand (below) towards game-end. There’s loan but he also has a good stack of trade tokens that’ll be able to allow him to sell his resources for money to pay off his debt.
Hmm.. Basic Strategy guide in the player shield. Strange it didn’t mention anything about not getting too many loans. LOL
Excess money is not converted to VPs at game end though some resources like copper, gold and cow are worth 2 pts each. Some buildings also give you VPs. Winner is the one with the most VPs.
Overall, I find this is a very tight auction and resource management game that can be done quickly under 2 hours. This is Alex Frog’s (BGG nick) first boardgame published under Tasty Minstrel Games (and which we do carry in our webstore).
Let’s hope Alex continues to publish more boardgames for us to enjoy!
Next wee did a quick game of dice throwing ala Dice Town.
Dice Town is about throwing a set of 5 dice in order to collect the right type of poker hands to allow you to visit some of the town’s buildings such as Bank, General Store, Salon, etc to perform the action.
Dice Town is about taking a gambit on your dice throw with some decisions on which building you wish to take the actions. A pretty good light party game that doesn’t require you to spend too much time thinking.
We concluded the evening with a quick game of the popular horse racing Long Shot.
Long Shot has always been a popular game at OTK, and it can play up to 8!
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