Meetup

OTK Meetup 9/9/2010 – Way Out West, Nuns on the Run, FITS

Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ Old Town Kopitiam Cheras 9/9/2010
By jack208 & ayheng
 
Gamers: Alvin (alvin), Han P.K. (hanpk), Hiew (hecose), Henry (rhyen), Heng (ayheng), Wai Yan (waiyan) and CK Au (jack208)
 
Games: Way Out West, Nuns on the Run and FITS.
 
Location: Old Town Kopitiam Cheras Google Map
Date/Time: 9 September 2010 (Thu) 8.00 PM – 1.00 AM
 
 
SELAMAT HARI RAYA TO ALL OUR MUSLIM CUSTOMERS
 
This being the week when Muslims celebrate Hari Raya Adil Fitri, and with Friday being a public holiday here in M’sia, we decided to shift our Friday meetup to Thursday.
 
Boardgamecafe.net would like to take this opportunity to wish all our Muslim customers & their families a Selamat Hari Raya Adil Fitri!
Do write and tell us about our Raya Boardgaming sessions!! 😛
 
WAY OUT WEST
by jack208
 
On eve of public holidays, we can usually expect the presence of Hiew & Han, two of the veteran gamers who usually game during weekends at Hiew’s place (you can follow their gaming session at Hiew’s blog here). Unfortunately I’ve not been able to make time to attend their sessions, especially with these couple of months being very heavy workwise (BGC and non-BGC) so I guess it’ll have to wait before I can join their weekend sessions.
 
Today Han came with an OOP Wallace game (I think between these two, they would have the complete Wallace Collection!) Way Out West. Heard about this game, haven’t had the chance to try it out, good to be able to do so tonite.
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
 
This game is likely the precursor to worker placement that gave birth to Caylus. You only get two worker action per turn and even tho’ the game takes 12 turns, it does appear a streamlined version of worker placement (well, there’s only 2 actions per round, yes?)
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
Some  of actions that can be performed; hire cowboys, buy cattles, or start a gunfight!

The game is played over 5 towns, where the players build ranches (cattles), hire farmers and also cowboys (if they need to defend their properties OR to gasak other’s properties), or build hotels & general stores to make money from the growing population in that town.
 
Note: “gasak” = Malay word meaning “to ask others to give you their properties…. with due force.”
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
Heng (orange), CK (red) and Hiew (green) were the first to settle – and squabble! – at Santa Antonia.
 
However as new towns are developed, ppl will move from the old (less profitable) towns to newer ones. The migration theme of the game is handled pretty well here.
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
 
… while at the neighouring town, Henry (blue) were in a more serious argument with Han (yellow) over some “your-cattle-eat-my-grass” (Henry) and “my-cattle-died-after-eating-your-grass” (Han) issues.  See the yellow cattle that’s terbalik? Yup, that one died of grass poisoning.
 
The lone orange cowboy was sent by Heng as a renegade. But I just think he played too many Bang! One guy against six wor? He can’t be serious rite? 😛
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
 
Heng (orange) being a peaceful person, decided to settle far far far away from all those squabbling cowboys. Ther’s a reason that town is called “Deadwood” hehe.
 
Black cubes used to mark actions taken. Some action has only one spot eg “cattle migration” and will be contested via turn order, which is done by auction.
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
 
As the game progresses – and each town’s cattle ranches are filled – ppl moved on to newer towns such as Abilene and Dodge City to search for prosperity. Dodge City (above) seems like hot property!!
 
Having a stagecoach business (see Red’s stagecoach building above) can earn you good money if it’s built early before the masses start swarming into the town. You get a $1 for every cowboys (other than yours) that arrive and leave that town. Not a bad return.
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
 
Good news spread fast! And soon the prosperity of that faraway but rich place called Deadwood started to attract the attention of others. CK’s (red) ppl soon arrived at Deadwood to share the prosperity with Heng. Hiew also sent a lone cowboy (green) to recce.. but Hiew’s cavalry didn’t arrive.
 
There’s a rule limit of a player only being able to build two buildings per city (ie. Heng’s orange has reached his building limits in Deadwood) to prevent a player from dominating a town and monopolizing the buildings. You usually only build in towns where you have significant cowboy strength since others can forcibly take away your building if it’s not well-defended.
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
 
After driving out Henry’s rowdy cowboys (who subsequently camped at Abilene), Han has full control of Kansas City. One of his cattle still remained “dead” while he has yet to drive out the pesky farmer who insist on sharing half his cattle revenue.
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
 
Henry’s posse making Abilene theirs! No question about that. And this is one of the weakness of this game – there’s no easy out to oust someone who’s that entrenched in a town!
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
 
Dodge City is still delicately balanced… but with no one preparing to pull the first trigger, an uneasy peace prevails.. And I suppose as long as everyone’s making good money, this will continue until….
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
 
An overview of the 5 towns in Way Out West and how they developed as the game progressed…. The turn marker (top) tracks how many turns have passed. Revenue is earned every three turns.
 
Note: We played the wrong number of rounds in a 5-player game. We did 12. A 5-player game should only last 9 rounds which I feel would better balance the game length and also gameplay.
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
 
Santa Atonia – the 1st town – while now long forgotten by others, have been peacefully shared by Hiew (green) and CK (red) for a long time before a BIG trouble maker named Henry came truddling in. 😛
 
Hiew started the fireworks first by attacking CK’s cattle ranches after both parties co-existed peacefully for a long time. That attack decimated Hiew’s forces but also seriously weakened CK’s cowboys. Han (yellow) took the opportunity to come in for left-over spoils but CK’s men fight to their last men and both parties were stalemated.
 
This then opened the doors for other nosey buggers like Hiew (green) (again!) and Henry (blue) to come knocking on Santa Antonia’s unprotected assets (ie. CK’s cattles and buildings have no cowboy to protect them, save for a lone Jail with a sheriff).
 
CK quickly sent reinforcements…. at one point, there were three parties in Santa Antonia, all ready to pull the trigger but all knowing the first two to start the fight will benefit the last / 3rd party. Hiew blinked first. J
 
Hiew (green) lost the battle with CK (red) but CK’s cowboys were too weakened from that fight and unable to prevent Henry (blue) taking over their cattle ranches.
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
 
What was once a peaceful old town turned into a stage for bloodsheds. 😛
 
Game ended with Heng winning this session. Suppose his early development in Deadwoods paid dividends coz by the time the others caught up with him at Deadwoods, he’d already made enough money to invest in other oopportunities.
 
What do I think?
This is a typical “Wallace-game” ie to say it has it’s good points but it also has some weak elements which appeared to be under-developed. As if, Wallace just gave up working on them and proceeded to release the game.
 
The migration theme and how the ppl moves from one city to the next as the game progresses are done very well. Auction for turn order and having very limited actions per turn are good as well. However the game favors an entrenched strategy rather than expansive approach. It’s easier to defend a building than to take over a new one as when two parties fight, the one with lesser num of cowboys get to fire first (and any cowboys killed dun get to fire back). It doesn’t reward risk-taking. I suppose if attackers fire first in a gunfight regardless of the num of cowboys (the element of surprise ma!), that might see more bloodshed! 😛
 
The “recovery” mechanism from a bad fall is not easy ie. It’s a very steep downhill slope once you fall (see heng’s comment below). This again support a passive rather than aggressive approach. For eg, Hiew attacked early… didn’t win those fights and he was left hobbling along the entire game with not much chance of a recovery. On the contrary, Heng didn’t fight much and was very selective of the fights he got into.. which helped him consolidated his positions in the towns he has major presence in.
 
There were also a few times in the game when I felt there’s nothing much for me to do – in terms of action – and passing appeared to be my “best” move! It’s still a game that I won’t mind playing again since the playing time is not long, and when the game gels together, there’s a very interesting amount of tension in your chioce of actions. 🙂
 
BGC Meetup - Way Out West
 
Here’s Heng’s take on the game.
Way out West is an early Martin Wallace design of a western style ‘worker-placement’ area control game. It is a little chaotic and has a downhill slope for the loser of the game’s shootout mechanic! As Hiew can probably attest, the shootouts really changes the players’ dominance and can cause a serious setback. Overall an old style design with a rare cowboy theme.


NUNS ON THE RUN
by jack208
 
Next to hit the table was a new game to OTK – Nuns on the Run. A fun game using hidden movement where one group of player plays as Novices who have Secret Wishes to fulfill, and another player plays as the Abbess and the Prioress (or “guards”) who’s job is to catch these novices on the run!
 
BGC Meetup - Nuns on the Run
 
The Abbess (left) and the Prioress. While I dun mind being caught by the Prioress, I’ll pray for you if you are caught by the Abbess.. She looks fierce ya? Hehe
 
BGC Meetup - Nuns on the Run
 
Henry explaining to the Novices how to do the “up-you finger action”  when they see the Abbess. Henry, shouldn’t we be using the middle finger? 😛
 
BGC Meetup - Nuns on the Run
 
Each player has a Novice character, which comes with his/her won Secret Wish. Achieve this before any other novice and you win the game!
 
A Novice can run, walk, sneak or just stand still. Each has it’s  own “noisy” level ie running is the noisiest and if you are heard by one of the guards, woe betide you as they’ll start to hunt for you!
 
BGC Meetup - Nuns on the Run
 
Here the Abbess heard a sound to her right. A high die roll is good for the guards and bad for the noivces as it meant they are making a lot of noises!!
 
The Novices use secret movement – ala Scotland Yard – where they record their movement in a Log file and remain unseen on the game board until they make noises that are heard by any of the guards. When that happens, the guard can stop whatever they are doing and starts to look for the runaway nun!
 
BGC Meetup - Nuns on the Run
 
The Prioress was making her way to the Pharmacy (up) but those giggling nuns who were trying to tail her were making lots of noises…
 
BGC Meetup - Nuns on the Run
 
There are two open-space and rather large areas that are very difficult for the novice to run across- the Cloister and the Courtyard- as they are open spaces and the guards have good line-of-sight across those spaces.
 
BGC Meetup - Nuns on the Run
 
The use of “Vanished” token to represent the last point where the guard can see the novice in their line of sight is a simple yet effective technique to help the guard narrow down where the novices are hiding.
 
BGC Meetup - Nuns on the Run
 
LOL. This is a classic case of Hiew “sacrificing” himself for the greater good of the other novices. I’m sure he’ll have wrote an interesting sessrep in his blog for this event. 😛
 
BGC Meetup - Nuns on the Run
 
The novices (alvin & heng) flanking the guard (henry)
 
BGC Meetup - Nuns on the Run
 
The Nuns on the Run players working out line-of-sight visibility with the guard (henry)
 
Overall this is a very fun game, and also light. I am inclined to agree with Heng that playing the Guard would appear more stressful than being a Novice. In that respect it’s like Fury of Dracula where there’s lot of stress (and more challenging) being a Dracula player.
 
BGC Meetup - Nuns on the Run
 
Playing this makes me yearn for Fury of Dracula! I still have a couple Fury of Dracula sessreps pending, including the climatic session played a long time ago at Times Square (bet Henry will remember that session). Let’s see if I get time to write them. 😛
 
Heng’s report on Nuns on the Run session.
Nuns on the Run was a fun romp of secret movements and cat-n-mouse between the player controlling the Abbey Matrons and the players controlling the Novices. It seems like there’s more stress for the Abbey Matrons as the Novices have a lot of ways to elude the Matrons. Henry can probably comment on how stressful it is since he controlled the Matrons.
 
You may also want to read Hiew’s report on this Nuns on the Run session.
 
F.I.T.S.
by jack208
 
We decided to wind down the evening with a light game of FITS which is Knizia’s take on Tetris. We played this last week, and thought it was a very good filler.
 
BGC Meetup - F.I.T.S.
Alvin listening to Heng’s rule explanation for FITS

Henry was packing his bag and about to leave, when we started preparing for the game. He was still around when we started Round 1 where the objective is Tetris-like ie to form a complete row for a point. Any hole/gap will result in deduction of one point.
 
I was struggling a fair bit in this Round as Henry was snickering all the while, asking me if I’d never played Tetris before. We then issued him the challenge to do Round 2 (using Heng’s set) which he grudgingly accepted, still commenting how simple Tetris is. Hehe.
 
BGC Meetup - F.I.T.S.
 
Lo and behold… Henry was so engrossed in trying to minimize the negative scores in the subsequent rounds that he actually stayed and played the whole game!!
 
Heng’s comment on FITS. 
F.I.T.S. again was phenomenal, managing to attract henry to stay back and play even though he had pick up his bag to go off. A good purchase.
 
Till next week, enjoy your boardgaming and a happy holidays to everyone!
 

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