18xx

OTK Meetup 22/10/2010 – Rolling thru the Ages, LOTR Confrontation, 18Scan

Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ Old Town Kopitiam Cheras 22/10/2010
By jack208
 
Gamers: Jimmy Cheng (jimmy), Heng Aik Yong (ayheng), Wai Yan (waiyan) and CK Au (jack208)

Games: Roll thru the Ages, Lord of the Ring: Confrontation, 18Scan.
 
Location: Old Town Kopitiam Cheras Google Map GPS: N O3° 6.195° E 101° 44.058°
Date/Time: 22 October 2010 (Fri) 8.00 PM – 3:30 AM
 
 
AN 18XX RETURN
 
This meetup was done over a month ago. We’d four meetups at OTK Cheras in October and while I’d done a sessrep for each of the other three, I’d not done one for this. This meetup featured an 18xx game after this genre had gone for a hiatus from Boardgamecafe.net’s meetup. Therefore I’d wanted to take the opportunity to write a more detail sessrep to bring some attention back to the 18xx series. But alas, November’s activities came rushing at us and sucked up all our time.
 
To find out about our November activities which included Citadels Malaysia, Terry Fox Run, and the now famous Black Friday Sale, check out our Boardgamecafe.net Newsletter. While you are at it, why not subscribe yourself to our mailing list and you’ll get the next newsletter sent direct to your Inbox. J
 
We did 18xx back-to-back last week; firstly on the 7th (Tue) which happened to be a public holiday and secondly on last Friday’s OTK meetup. Both sessreps still outstanding as I would like to start the recent 18xx sessreps with this first 18Scan session.
 
There’s also another reason to it; this 3-player 18Scan session highlighted one very crucial aspect of the 18Scan balance between a 3-player and 4-player session (the 4-p session which we did last Fri at OTK).
 
Read on and you’ll find out more. But for now, you can assume there’ll be more 18xx related articles coming from yours truly to help set everyone in the right frame of mind for this no-luck pure-strategy business game of railroading business that’s a favorite for most of the OTK sharks regulars.
 
ROLLING THROUGH THE AGES
 
AyHeng started everyone off with the quick-to-learn and fun-to-play Rolling through the Ages. A good quick game playable in under one hour and yet gives you some feel of Civilization. But “some feel” only. To get “100% feel”, you may need to play the new Sid Meier’s Civilization boardgame from FFG which has just landed on our shores today.
  
BGC Meetup - Roll thru the Ages
 
Everyone seems to like this game. Even those who do not like games-with-dice. I suppose the dice roll here balances itself out and you don’t feel like you’ve a “bad” roll. You just got different resources.
 
BGC Meetup - Roll thru the Ages
 
The scoring pad in this “Rolling” game. We found most games are concluded with a Development rush but do watch out for the Disaster points.
 
BGC Meetup - Roll thru the Ages
 
But before you call this game “light”, it can even make a Weiqi Sifu paused for analysis-paralysis (below)… LOL. But well, he did win two of our three sessions…
 
BGC Meetup - Roll thru the Ages
 
LORD OF THE RING: CONFRONTATION
 
Jimmy has to take his leave temporary but he mentioned he’ll be back later in the night (or to be more technically correct, early tomorrow morning as in 1 am Sat) to continue with R2*
 
Which then leaves us with just two players – me and Ayheng!
 
BGC Meetup - LOTR Confrontation
 
No problemo – as I’ve brought along a 2-player game that has been earning rave reviews when it was first released back in 2006 but has been “lost” in the swarm of new releases in recent years. When it was republished recently (by FFG), we took the opportunity to import some for the local market.
 
BGC Meetup - LOTR Confrontation
 
It is essentially a variant of the popular Stratego but in this Lord of the Ring: Confrontation game from Knizia, one player plays the Dark Side (Sauron) while the other player has the Light Army (Frodo & gang). The objective is to either break-through and capture (or arrive at) the enemy’s territory or to take out certain key characters (for eg Sauron’s side wins if they take out Frodo).
 
BGC Meetup - LOTR Confrontation
 
Like Stratego, each player cannot see how the other side is deploying his armies. But unlike Strategy, here both armies are not symmetrical. This game does evoke memories of LOTR with each of your side’s character exhibiting different powers.
 
BGC Meetup - LOTR Confrontation
 
For eg. The Flying Nazgul can jump to ANY space on the board and attack any Light piece, which can gives the Light player “nightmares” as he seeks to avoid the Nazgul jumping into his Frodo. In the above picture, my Flying Nazgul jumped straight into the Light player’s base camp!
 
BGC Meetup - LOTR Confrontation
 
The game also has Combat Cards, again these cards are different for each side, which you use when in combat to determine final combat strength and/or any special powers activated for that combat round. Some of these combat cards are very powerful eg the Light’s Noble Sacrifice which allows them to take out kamikaze style any Dark pieces – even the most powerful one!
 
BGC Meetup - LOTR Confrontation
 
The game plays very fast – yet has lots of tension within that short 30-45 min of gameplay. Usually we swap sides after one round so that both players get to player both the Light and the Dark side in a session. That’s my Light pieces in the second round of my session with AyHeng.
 
* R2 = Round 2 in OTK-speak means the 2nd Round of our Friday boardgaming session, usually from 12 midnite Friday till early morning Saturday.
 
18SCAN
 
The time has arrived. The time is now. J
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
 
After Jimmy’s back around 12:30 am, it was time to pull out the highlight game of the evening – 18Scan which plays on a (small) map of Scandianavia. Jimmy’s had 18xx experience with the Weiqi Boardgamer Group so all we need is to get him up-to-speed with 18Scan differences.
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
The standard opening move in 18Scan as DSB will always start
 
I won’t go into a detailed write-up of this session – as I intend to do a separate review for each of the 18xx game we’ve in our Library – but would like to highlight some key points about 18Scan from this session.
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
 
Three public companies were floated in our 3-player session (18Scan can play 3-4 players) – DSB (ayheng), NR (jimmy) and SNR (jack208). Ayheng floated his DSB at the highest par of $100 while my SNR was somewhere in the middle with Jimmy opting for a low-par approach to his NR.
 
The implication of par value is not just the simple “how much money you get to capitalize” your company. There’s also the ROI that’s inversely linked to your par value. I’ll cover some of these basics in my 18xx articles. 😛
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
Ayheng with his DSB and Minor #2
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
Jimmy with his VR and Minor #3
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
Me with SNR and Minor #1
 
We were quick to invest in trains but we did not feel the train rush slamming up on us. We do feel it coming but it rushed in at a more manageable pace.
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
 
The 4-Train soon came (below) and rusted the 2-Trains but most companies were still coping fine…
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
 
Jimmy did have to dip into his own pocket to pay up for a 5-train but it was minimal damage to him and having a permanent 5-Train was actually a good return for his company.
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
 
At this stage, the Government-controlled SJ was formed and most of our shares were doing well except for VR which lagged a bit behind as it’d withheld dividends for a few rounds prior to the 5-Train purchase. I managed to win control of SJ but nothing too alarming and everyone felt they were still in the game even though I’m controlling two companies at this stage (with one of them the powerful SJ)
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
 
The train network at this stage of the game…
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
 
Ayheng then proceeded to float the 4th (and last) company, NSB while I quickly maneuvered both my companies to acquire permanent trains.
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
 
Jimmy on the other hand started to divest his investment and started cross-holding each of mine and ayheng’s companies. Think he’s one guy who loves to sunbathe in the HotSun. 🙂
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
 
Despite the late start, ayheng managed to successfully drove up the growth of the recently floated NSB. The chart below showed NSB giving the highest earnings per share of $38 compared to the market average of $25. Not bad for a “last starter”.
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
 
Share-wise, the early starters were rushing towards the apex while NSB was playing fast catch-up. In this game, shares can do double-jump when the company pays out dividend that’s twice it’s current market value – which I think is a very good way to reward fast-growing company.
 
Note: Can’t remember why VR lingered back in the $70-zone. I think it must have been Jimmy withholding dividend trying to get his 2nd train.
 
The train network at the end of the game…
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
 
The EPS (earnings-per-share) chart at the end of the game. Jimmy’s VR did manage to acquire the 2nd train and shot straight up to the top of the EPS chart …. but I think that came too late to be of much use to him.
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
 
The final share market value for the 5 operating companies. Both early starters (DSB, SNR) and SJ were at the top, while NSB came very close to catching up (no doubt due to the double jump). VR has lost a lot of market value…. and this is an interesting learning point. 😛
 
BGC Meetup - 18SCAN
 
In spite of me getting an early lead mid-game and opening a gap with my control of SNR and SJ, and the first to acquire permanent trains for both companies, ayheng’s 2nd company – though being the last to float – did very well to spit out high EPS for him to overhaul me in the last straight.
 
Final net worth:
Ayheng $5,204, Jack208 $5,079 and Jimmy $4,250.
 
This game is an interesting observation as you shall see later when I do a sessrep on our last Friday’s game, and compare back to this. It does prove one thing – at least to me – that 18Scan is an excellent and well-balanced game for 3-players. 😛
 

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