BGC Merdeka Meetup 31/8/2010 – 18TN, Scepter of Zavandor and Small World

Boardgamecafe.net Merdeka Meetup Report @ Old Taste Cafe, SS15 31/8/2010
by jack208
Gamers: Lester Lim (lester), Alvin Kee (alvin), West Teo (west), YM Chang (ym), Evonne, Kareem (kareem), Nicholas Lim (niclim), Jackson Chin (jackson), Marcus Lau (friedricetheman), Sheena, Henry (rhyen), Ainul (aanemesis), Wai Yan (waiyan) and CK Au (jack208)
Games: 18TN, Scepter of Zavandor and Small World
Location: Old Taste Cafe, SS15
Date/Time: 31 August 2010 (Tue) 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
An impromptu SMS asking if there’ll be an 18xx sessions on Merdeka Day prompted this last-minute call for a meetup at Cassian Kitchen, our popular new café in Subang.
Unfortunately, I made the mistake of not checking with Cassian whether his café will be opened for business. Turns out they are closed every Tuesday. Duh! A quick Plan B and we finally ended up at Old Taste Cafe, just down the same road as Cassian Kitchen. Just as well, since we’ve 15 gamers attending this rather last minute meetup!
Given the theme for the day is 18xx gaming, the first game to get to the table surely has to be an 18xx game. J It’s been awhile since even I did any 18xx gaming so it was really good to be able to see those familiar terrain map, railway tiles, share certificates, etc on a gaming table.
BGC Meetup - 18TN
Jack208 teaching some 18xx newbies on the basics of being rail baron!

A group of five quickly gathered at the main table, wanting to find out more about this much-talked avout 18xx series. The best way to learn the 18xx series is to be taught the rules for a beginner 18xx game, and in this respect the 18TN game (covering Tennessee & Kentucky) fits the bill perfectly.
The game map is quite small, there are 6 companies and it can take up to 5 players. It also plays fairly quickly with normal session even among all beginners not taking more than 3 hours (as it has an end-game timer with the $300 EPS trigger).
BGC Meetup - 18TN
Aanemesis taking over my position after he’d done the rule teaching on
Scepter of Zacvandor
BGC Meetup - 18TN

In 18TN, L&N always start (since it is the only company that’ll run even with 20% floated. In this session, L&N was initially floated by Alvin but he miscalculated the amount of money needed to be able to retain control of it and lost the President cert when I bought the 4th share. J
BGC Meetup - 18TN
The 2nd company floated by West. Here he quickly sold his private co to GM&O to allow one extra free tile lay

West started the 2nd company GM&O with assistance from the others. One key point to note in a 5-player 18TN game is that no one can start a new company on their own in SR1 (with the exception of L&N), which I think is a very nice way to introduce them to the concept of “you help me, I screw you later” which is prevalent in 18xx… LOL
BGC Meetup - 18TN
The railway network grew “slowly” in this session becoz of a mistaught rule from me. I forgot that each company gets to lay two (not one) yellow tiles in Operating Rounds (ORs). Hehe…  My bad.
BGC Meetup - 18TN
Aanemesis quickly getting L&N to its 2nd train. In 18TN the train rush is “muted” at the beginning by restricting each comp to buy only one train of each type. It’s a good way to ease newcomers to the “train rush” event later.
BGC Meetup - 18TN
The 3rd comp SR was started by YM
BGC Meetup - 18TN

Aanemesis being the most experienced 18xx players in this session, quickly got himself a 2nd company.
BGC Meetup - 18TN
This is probably close to the 5-train rush moment… when everyone became “kan cheong” (excited/nervous) and started standing up… LOL
BGC Meetup - 18TN
Kareem getting antsy over his options, and stood up to get a higher helicopter-view of the map.
BGC Meetup - 18TN
The railway network built rather slowly (due to my mistaught rule on yellow tiles) but even then, the network looked so pretty and organized in the picture above! I suppose “incompetent engineers” don’t work at Tennessee no more. 😛
BGC Meetup - 18TN
This is West Teo (left) first game of 18xx while Alvin (right) has done a few other 18xx games such as 1856. Good to get the Taylorians into this 18xx game system.
BGC Meetup - 18TN
This is the moment in time just before the last 5-train is bought and the availability of the 6-train which will trigger the train-rush. Aanemesis has two companies each having trains that will be retired when the 6-trains are purchased.
BGC Meetup - 18TN
I was informed the Illinois Central was “cleaned out” of whatever cash it has and then dumped to kareem, seemingly with 2 “useful” trains but both of which will be retired by the 6-trains. tsk tsk tsk oh such unscrupulous person! I can’t even imagine myself doing that in an 18xx game *wink*
BGC Meetup - 18TN
YM’s SR doing well all this time with two 3-trains but both facing the sunset with the imminent arrival of the 6-train.
BGC Meetup - 18TN
The GM&O – is this ran by West? – has a permanent 5-train and some cash so looks like it’s in not-too-bad shape. J
BGC Meetup - 18TN
From the stock market, it appeared most of the companies were withholding dividends and their share prices were very far below-par and GM&O plunging into the yellow/green zone.
BGC Meetup - 18TN
This is the 6th – and the last – company available to float/start which will then buy up the first 6-train and trigger the train rush. It’s inevitable… just embrace it. J
BGC Meetup - 18TN
IC’s share value is right at the bottom of the barrel (oh dear)… this probably wiped out all the investment made by its shareholders. I noticed even L&N’s share price has plunged… that’s likely due to heavy selling (probably by unhappy shareholders haha).
I was not in this session so I can only comment on snapshots of the event. I think aanemesis will put up a better report on this 18TN session.
For those of you who wished to know more about the 18TN game, here’s the link to a past sessrep written by me that provided a very detail write-up of the 18TN game itself
While 18TN was going on at one table, another group of five gathered at the 2nd table and was taught by aanemeis a rarely seen – but very good – game, The Scepter of Zavandor.
BGC Meetup - Scepter of Zavandor
This was a game that rhyen complained he didn’t finish when he last played it at Mage Cafe, and he’s determined to finish it this time! 😛
BGC Meetup - Scepter of Zavandor
Jack208 (right) looking like blur-sotong after getting a 2-min crash course in this game!

Scepter of Zavandor – while I said it’s a very good game – has a small issue of understanding how everything needs to come together in order for you to know how (or rather what type of gemstones) to build your income engine with.
BGC Meetup - Scepter of Zavandor
Jackson (left) looking like he understood the game very well. 😛

The game is your usual Euro fare of building income engine and then switching halfway to a VP engine. The game has a “long playtime” mainly due to it’s intricately woven income engine framework…. you need to get a few pieces together before you can get a good income engine purring purrfectly.
BGC Meetup - Scepter of Zavandor

Above is my Zavandor board where I’m using Sapphire (blue) as the typical income source; that’s before I can get my “knowledge” ramped up high enough to be able to produce rubies (the most expensive of all gemstones)
BGC Meetup - Scepter of Zavandor
This is how the Books of Knowledge (or in other words, Technology Tree) look like. Part of the game challenge is trying to figure out which knowledge path is most suited for your character – yes each player do get a unique character with slightly different strength & weakness.
BGC Meetup - Scepter of Zavandor
Rhyen (top left) complaining that people “whine” a lot in this game…

.. And at the end of it all, we still did not get to complete this session of Scepter of Zavandor! So looks like rhyen’s unfulfilled desire for gemstoning will have to wait till the next session. 🙂

Marcus also started a session of Small World with Sheena and her friend. I didn’t take any picture of that table but I und aanemesis took some pics of that game. Will upload that and update into this report later.

BGC Meetup - Small World

Till next week, enjoy your boardgaming! 

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