Meetup

OTK Meetup 5/11/2010 – Agricola, Kuhhandel, Railways of England & Wales, Puerto Rico

Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ Old Town Kopitiam Cheras 5/11/2010
By jack208
  
Gamers: Jonathan Soo (jonathan), Yvonne Teo (yvonne), Henry Yeo (rhyen), Heng Aik Yong (hengy), Wai Yan (waiyan) and CK Au (jack208)
 
Games: Agricola, Kuhhandel (You’re Bluffing), Railways of England & Wales, Puerto Rico.
 
Location: Old Town Kopitiam Cheras Google Map
Date/Time: 5 November 2010 (Fri) 3.00 PM – 10 PM
 
 
AGRICOLA
 
This was Yvonne’s come back to boardgaming after a long absence. She was one of the gamers from the Terasek Group, now no longer active with it’s main protagonist, Chris being based in Australia now.
 
BGC Meetup - Agricola
 
We also have Jonathan joining us for an afternoon “farming” session. We started earlier today as it’s Deepavali and today’s a non-working day for all of us in M’sia.
 
BGC Meetup - Agricola
 
You dun see some of our regulars in today’s session as they were at Allen’s place trying to rewrite WW2 history with possibly the first play in Malaysia for Axis & Allies Pacific & Europe combined! Watch out for Hiew’s gaming report (click here to read).
 
BGC Meetup - Agricola
 
Jonathan was quick to build fences to start keeping animals….
 
BGC Meetup - Agricola
 
And Rhyen being a pro yet hammering everyone with his Maid, Braggart and Ratcatcher combo. Tsk tsk.
 
BGC Meetup - Agricola
 
Jonathan’s even quicker to realize as an animal breeder, it’s good to cross-breed his animals!
 
BGC Meetup - Agricola
 
My miserable farm… think that lone sheep was a lost one from Jonathan’s stable. LOL
 
BGC Meetup - Agricola
 
Everyone works – even kids – in the land of Agricola! Child labour? What child labour? If you are old enough to feed, then you are old enough to work the farm. hehe
 
KUHHANDEL a.k.a. YOU ARE BLUFFING
 
After Agricola, we needed a quick game before Jonathan calls it a day. With 5 players and needing to play in less than an hour, Kuhhandel comes to the rescue!
 
BGC Meetup - Kuhhandel
 
Easy to teach… but newbies do need some time (until they get to the animal trade part) before they understood the game is not about selling animals. And also why it’s called “You are Bluffing”. J
 
BGC Meetup - Kuhhandel
 
Rhyen hding his bluffing face!! Boo….
 
BGC Meetup - Kuhhandel
 
Is that your best poker face, Jonathan?
 
BGC Meetup - Kuhhandel
 
Rhyen handed the game to me when he lost his piggies to me. Think he was dreaming of Railways of England & Wales then… haha.
 
BGC Meetup - Kuhhandel
 
RAILWAYS OF ENGLAND & WALES
 
Heng joined us while we were finishing Kuhhandel. According to him, the Axis stalled with the Allies… and the WORLD lives for another day! Phew….
 
BGC Meetup - Railways of England & Wales
 
We haven’t brought Railroad Tycoon RRT (now called Railways of the World RotW) to the table for a long time. Part of the reason is the large.. no, make it HUGE map that covers all of OTK’s coffee table and a bit more. 😛
 
2nd reason – and the more important one – is that the original Eastern US map plays best with 6 players. Not even 5 or 4. And we dun always get 6 players wanting to do RRT at times.
 
BGC Meetup - Railways of England & Wales
 
We only had 3 players this time, with Rhyen having to leave (for some urgent personal matter). Good number for us to test how well the England map plays for 3 players.
 
Basic RRT rules apply. We note some of the changes from the old RRT rule set.
 
1. Each player is dealt two tycoon cards and choose one. We felt this gave players some flexibility rather than be stuck with the one tycoon card dealt.
 
There’s only 10 tycoon cards provided so I presume this game plays max 5 players only (RRT can do 6 players). Looking at the map, I would also think 5 has to be the max.
 
2. There are 27 new Railway Operations card, inclusive of 3 start cards. Two are the standard “Railroad Era Begins” and “Speed Record” but they’ve removed the old “New Train” and replaced it with the “Passenger Lines” where the 4 bonus pts is given to the player who deliver 4 different color goods (as opposed to the one who first upgraded to Level-engine). I like the Passenger Lines as it’s more balanced than the New Train bonus.
 
– They’ve also removed (sensibly) the (RRT) “Railroad Executive” card which allows you to take two actions – and drives up the start player auction.
 
– Service Bounty, Hotel, City Growth, New Industry etc remains and they’ve introduced two new operations card, “Tunnel Engineer” and the nasty “Railroad Inspector”
 
– The Tunnel Engineer merely allows you to build on mountains and ridges at half-price (a different version of the Government Land Grant which works on open terrains only)
 
– The Railroad Inspector on the other hand allows you to stop another player from making a delivery! It’s not as broken as it seems as Heng pointed out, you need to spend one action (and possibly high start player bid) to take this card, and you use it to cancel another player’s one action as well. It does help you to rein in another player’s large delivery
 
3. Major Lines are no longer Operations card but now implemented clearly on the board for all to see – and plan for them! This rule can be back-implemented in RRT and should be used for all our future games.
 
BGC Meetup - Railways of England & Wales
 
We also played with the variant where players bid for turn order and the first to pass will be placed in the lowest player order. However only the winning player needs to pay. I suppose a better way is to go Age of Steam style and make all players pay for their bid amount.
 
BGC Meetup - Railways of England & Wales
 
Heng started from the southern area, off London. Turned out later he has the London Tycoon card which awarded him 2 pts for every link built out of London (earned him a total of 8 pts). Well played.
 
Note: This London Tycoon is also the one giving the highest possible bonus of 8 pts. It can be stopped easily though (if you are familiar with the game). Basically when you see a player build links in London, join the “party” to reduce his London link options.
 
BGC Meetup - Railways of England & Wales
 
An observation made – and shared by Heng – is the England map is more open and offers different options to every player. It’s not like the RRT Eastern US map where the narrow eastern channel is always hotly contested. In this map, we felt “fortune” can be made in any corner of the map!
 
BGC Meetup - Railways of England & Wales
 
The Major Lines do go a long way in terms of influencing how the network will be laid. In the map above, you can see Heng (green) going for the North-South link between London and Newcastle, while myself (red) was cutting across the West-East with the Hollyhead-Grimsby link.
 
BGC Meetup - Railways of England & Wales
 
For 3-player, game ends on 11 empty cities and that can be pretty quick since there are quite a number of cities with just one good cube.
 
BGC Meetup - Railways of England & Wales
 
Shares (ie loan) are implemented as per-RRT with one exception, you can only issue shares when you need money, and not as and when you wanted to (this is to mitigate the Richest Tycoon bonus in the old RRT). Think this is sensible enough.
 
WHAT DO I THINK OF THIS MAP?
This was just our first play of this map and I already liked it. Brings back one of our fave railroad game and a map that seems open and balance for 3-4 players. Think it’ll be too crowded for 5. If we can get 5-6 players, I suppose we can always take out the old RRT Eastern USA map.
 
The changes to the rules make them more sensible and less prone to swings of wild start player auctions or random appearance of Major Lines. While the game is still confrontational as you still need to work to deny your opponents good deliveries and bonus points, it’s not that cutthroat to the extent a player can be “locked out” of the game earlier.
 
The game does offer an Advanced Game variant where you can buy shares in train companies and earn dividends etc but here I concur with rhyen who felt if we need such chrome, then we should move on to the OTHER game system that offers this share/dividend feature and which is implemented in a much more elegant manner ie. 18XX.
 
Overall, yes we like it as it brings back one of my old favourites!
 
PUERTO RICO
 
After RoEW, Hengy was famished and as we ordered dinner, Yvonne suggested a game of Puerto Rico (one of her faves) before we call it a day. Since all of us already knew how to play Puerto Rico, it was set-up and go…
 
BGC Meetup - Puerto Rico 
 
Haven’t played 3-player Puerto Rico for a long time. Of all the player counts, 3-player Puerto Rico is the most dynamic and cutthroat, even more so than 4- or 5-player.
 
BGC Meetup - Puerto Rico
 
The early deluge of coffee (duh!) meant Heng’s choice of going with tobacco and his Hacienda drawing him two corn to add to his existing two allowed him to power past the finishing line even tho’ I’ve two Large Buildings to his one.
 
We shud do these old favourites more often! CAYLUS next? 😛

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3 replies »

  1. Got to salute Heng for forging on with ROTW and Puerto Rico after an 8-hour session of half (maybe less) a game of Axis & Allies Global 1940.

    Like

  2. Forging on is not the word since I had stamina left. however as the night dragged on, the prospect of playing a taxing 2 player game of 1960 turned me off even though I had wanted to try it.

    Like

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