BGC Meetup 25/6/10 @ Old Town Kopitiam Cheras – Pony Express, Cutthroat Caverns, Le Havre, Agricola Meetup Report @ Old Town Kopitiam Cheras 25/6/2010
by jack208
Gamers: Alvin (alvin) & frens, Heng (ayheng), Henry (rhyen), and CK Au (jack208)
Games: Pony Express, Cutthroat Caverns, Agricola Farmers of Moor and Le Havre
Location: Old Town Kopitiam Cheras Google Map
Date/Time: 25 June 2010 (Sat) 8.00 PM – 6.30 AM
Alvin who has been gaming with us at OTK are back here for his summer break (from his UK studies). As promised, he brought his Pony Express and Cutthroat Caverns to be introduced to the OTKers.
BGC Meetup - Pony Express
Alvin introducing us to Pony Express
While Pony Express is a recent game, I’ve heard of Cutthroat Caverns a couple years back; as a very interesting cooperative game that has a nasty element to it. Since it’s not from a publisher we carry, we didn’t have it avaialble widely here and thus didn’t have a chance to playtest it.
BGC Meetup - Pony Express
Back to Pony Express, this is similar to Dice Town in many ways even down to the components of the game such as dice, dice cup, gold etc. The game itself is very different though. While Dice Town is based on each player throwing their own set of dice and trying to assemble certain poker hands to advance themselves along the game points, Pony Express is race to the finishing line… with some distractions in-between. Hehe
BGC Meetup - Pony Express
The start of the Pony Express line…
In this game, on the active player’s turn he throws a set of 5 dice and then calls out the poker combination in his dice throw (still hidden underneath the dice cup). The other players have to either call his bluff or accept his call (which allows him to move the number of spaces according to the poker hand combination). If his bluff is called, he may lose a turn, or the player who called the bluff wrongly gets to spend a turn in jail (miss one turn). Interesting twist on the liar dice.
BGC Meetup - Pony Express
Phuah peeking at his dice roll before calling out his combination…

The novelty in this game must surely be the “flick-to-hit” mechanic which is used whenever two player duel each other, or a player encounters the Indians.
BGC Meetup - Pony Express
Red and White dueling each other across the board… Red is about to “shoot” (flick)

Note: In the picture above, Blue is laying on the ground to indicate he’s spending a turn in jail (hehe)
In the “flick” duel, you have the two opposing cowboys standing on opposite end of the gameboard and each take turns “shooting” at the other. The “shot” being a flick of the dice across the board. If your die-flick hits the other cowboy, you win the duel. If it hits someone else, then you losses and are penalised with gold losses.
BGC Meetup - Pony Express
Our “champion” flicker about to shoot in a duel….

Indians encounter is the same flick mechanic except this time you are flicking the die against the three Indians, also standing on the opposite side of the board. This element of the game introduces lots of laughter!!
BGC Meetup - Pony Express
While the World Cup was going on (see those ppl at the back? They were watching WC2010), we seem to have our own world cup here as the gamers tried to “save” the die flick in a duel! LOL
Note: It’s reminding me to start introducing Subbuteo back to the local gaming crowd.
Our game has a great finale!! I was in last position for a long time before a few well-timed rolls moved me up to the front. However Red (alvin’s fren) was the first to arrive at Pony Town and he gets three turns here waiting for a challenger ie someone to arrive at this town.
BGC Meetup - Pony Express
Red at Pony Town waiting for the victory celebration…. which never came! LOL

If there’s no challenger, Red wins. Otherwise Red duels with the challenger till last man standing. Ayheng played a few good  tactic cards to prevent me from getting into Pony Town, and he then gatecrashed Red’s party to set up a climatic duel – in which hengy outshot the Hotshot Red to win the game!
Overall, a great party game (of dice) and if you like Dice Town you’ll probably like this and vice versa. Thanks to Alvin for bringing  this and Cutthroat Caverns to OTK.

Cutthroat Caverns is a game of adventure, where the team encounters monsters of various degree of nastiness.The monsters are strong and thus needs the cooperation of everyone to take him down. Yet the spoils go to the player who executed the killing blow.
BGC Meetup - Cutthroat Caverns
Understandably this then sets up something similar to Munchkin… where you want your buddies to help you yet at the same time you are trying to prevent them from getting the spoils (which equals VPs). As you can imagine, there’ll be lots of screwage in the game.
Be warned though. You need to come to this game with a very open mind and not fret too much of being screwed by your gamer buddies as this is the “nature” of this game! If you can’t take getting picked on, go and play something else. 😛
BGC Meetup - Cutthroat Caverns
Your character with your “kills” (in this example the Ripper) which contributes to your VPs

In our adventure, many of the adventurers were screwed early on by gosh-I-dun-remember-who (hehe). As they were struggling with their health points and cursing high-n-low, the game was coming to an end… with two players tied on point (but not likely going to survive till game end) and opening the victory to any of the surviving member who can bag the last monster!
… if they survive. 😛
BGC Meetup - Cutthroat Caverns
Phuah and rhyen on talking terms with each other before they started stabbing each other in earnest.. LOL

Screwage cards were now being played here and there… with gamers hitting on other gamers more than they attacked the monster. LOL. In the end, everyone succumbed to their injuries and therefore there was no winner to this session. L
I think some of them need to understand what a “cooperative” game means… hahaha.
With all the Round2 kakis around, we are bound to continue our gaming past midnite. Next to come to the table was Le Havre. While waiting for its expansion to arrive here, we did another 4p standard game.
In this session, even though the Wharf was an early building the late appearance of the Shipping Lines and Cokery, none was doing Shipping as their primary strategy.
BGC Meetup - Le Havre
Built by the mayor of Le Havre
Phuah has amassed tons of resources… but surprisingly he didn’t built much. Instead rhyen went on a building spree to take the game. His building scores alone (sans the bonus and ship points) was around 120.
BGC Meetup - Le Havre
Phuah with plentiful of resources
Ayheng was having lots of problem getting wood… at one point in time, he was so frustrated he was about to sock rhyen!! LOL
BGC Meetup - Le Havre
ayheng: Here you go rhyen. Taste my 1-feet punch! 😛
There was a special building in this session which allows player to sell unlimited hide+leather for $7. That saved my hide (literally speaking) as it allowed me to sell enough stuff to clear my loans. I guessed it did for rhyen too (as both of us were the players who’s heavy into using loans) and while I’d two iron ships, rhyen didn’t even have a ship until late in the game.
In the Le Grand Hameau expansion (available in our webstore soon), there are lots more such special buildings that allow player to sell things without having to use the Shipping Lines. I suppose this is to balance the advantage of Shipping strategy. Can’t wait to test the expansion cards!
We ended the night with a session of Agricola Farmers of the Moor. I enjoy Agricola more with this expansion as I felt it does help make the game not so samey in terms of approach. The fact that you need to consider heating up your house will make players think carefully whether they are going to build two rooms in their first Build or focus on upgrading their house to clay/stone earlier.
BGC Meetup - Agricola
The farmer’s wife waiting for her turn to perform some farming….

The downside is that there’s a whole lot more things for you to think about and balance, and certainly should not be introduced to a first time Agricola newbie.
We concluded our gaming at dawn!! Wow… it’s 6:30+ am when we said goodbye to each other. Been a while since we’d this “4AM Syndrome”.
What’s this 4AM Syndrome thing?
Usually after a gamer has done a session that last till 4-5am for the 1st time, he’ll start to experience “slowdown” around him…. His brain, after having gone thru intense and sometimes deeply aggresive and violent gaming activities (like kena Hotsun or FTP) will develop a certain brain activity pattern which when placed into our normal 9-5 routine life, makes some things especially gaming-related websites appear to l.o.a.d…s..l..o..w..e..r.
It’s a phenomenon that brain specialists are still studying now…. and to date there’s no known cure. However one of the doctors involved in the study did mention that more frequent exposure to the root activity (ie. gaming till 4am) helps to desensitize the brain and helps to lessen the syndrome. It has also been documented that some afflicted gamers have their 9-5 life restored to some semblance of normality….  as long as they keep up with their weekly 4am gaming routine.
There’s a group called “4SA” (4am Syndrome Anonymous) which gathers at Old Town Kopitiam every Fri to provide “therapy” for this particular situation. They’ve been known to help 4SA ppl successfully desensitize their brain to normalcy.
Till next week, enjoy your boardgaming!

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