BGC Retreat

BGC Boardgame Retreat July 2010 @ Genting Highlands

BGC BOARDGAME RETREAT JULY 2010
by jack208
 
EXCERPT
Beside organizing free & open boardgaming meetups regularly in the Klang Valley, Boardgamecafe.net have always been keen to get everyone together once in a while for a weekend retreat of boardgaming! After a very successful retreat back in 2006 (which was co-organized with Imagine Games), Boardgamecafe.net now brought you our very own (first) BGC Boardgamecafe Retreat which was held at 6,000 ft above sea level in Genting Highland’s First World Hotel (GICC).
 
BGC Retreat 2010
 
There’s nothing more gratifying to a boardgamer than to be stucked in a place for the entire day with the company of like-minded boardgamers ….. and a room FULL OF EUROGAMES!!
 
BGC Retreat 2010
 
Some of the games were newly minted arrivals just days before the Retreat such as Cyclades, Giants, Homesteaders, and Le Havre Grand Hameau. And our Retreat participants get to play these brand new games here first! 😛
 
BGC Retreat 2010
 
The gamers shall play a series of different games at 3-4 tables over 4 rounds, all within the same day in a semi-competitive mode. And the winner (in points) stands to win a brand new copy of the just-arrived Homesteaders!
 
BGC Retreat 2010
 
THE DETAILS
Gamers: Teddy, Lee Ching, Wong LC, Wolfx, Cristiano, Rob Street, Swee Nee, Lester, Arm, Heng, Li Li, Aanemesis, Waiyan, Jack208 and special guests Mukesh and Feliks.
 
Games: Duck Duck Bruce, Rat-a-tat Cats, Sleeping Queens, Three-of-a-Crime, In the Year of the Dragon, Stone Age, Manila, Homesteaders, Endeavor, Giants, Alhambra, Wasabi, Priests of RA.
 
Games on Special After8 Menu: Race for the Galaxy, Battlestar Galactica, Age of Industry, Le Havre, Dune.
 
(Buy these games from our Web Store)
  
Location: Genting First World GICC
Date: 17-18 July 2010 (Sat/Sun)
 
Without further ado, let’s dive into the session reports!!
 

 
 
 
GAME ZERO
Instead of randomly seating people into tables, we always start our Retreat with a “Seating” game ie. one that’s light and fast to play yet provides a method to organize the gamers into the starting tables. For this year, we decided to do something different and introduced children games as our Game Zero. Hehe.
 
BGC Retreat 2010
 
The following games – Duck Duck Bruce, Sleeping Queens, Rat-a-tat Cat, and Three-of-a-Crime – are not what you would considered as eurogames the local boardgamers would be familiar with. I would even wager most of them are hearing and playing these games for the first time in this Retreat!! 😛
 
However these are all staple diets for our BoardgameKids game sessions where waiyan’s young students get to play these games in their weekly boardgaming sessions.
 
(Boardgamekids is an upcoming “boardgames in children education” spin-off from Boardgamecafe.net. Start “liking the BoardgameKids Facebook page if you are interested to find out more about this exciting initiative of ours.)
 
The table below showed how the tables were organized for Game Zero; 13 gamers with me sitting out to facilitate the event. Someone has to keep score, take photos and generally make sure the event kept moving forward, right? 😛
 
Table
Game Title
P1
P2
P3
P4
P5
1st
Sleeping Queens
waiyan
robstreet
swee nee
wonglc
wolfx
2nd
Three-of-a-Crime
arm
aanemesis
ayheng
lili

3rd
Rat-a-Tat Cat
teddy
lee ching
cristiano
lester

 
IBGC Retreat - Sleeping Queens
 
Table 1: Waiyan taught Rob, Swee Nee, Wong and wolfx (hidden by Wong) the Sleeping Queens game.
 
BGC Retreat - Three of a Crime
 
Table 2 saw Arm teaching Three-of-a-Crime to Heng, Li Li and aanemesis. Heng & Li Li liked the game so much, they actually bought a copy from us. He told me the game would be very good for their family gaming sessions. 😛
 
BGC Retreat - Rat-a-tat Cat
 
Table 3 saw Teddy showing the game of Rat-a-tat Cat to Cristiano, Lee Ching and Lester
 
BGC Retreat - Rat-a-tat Cat
 
Hmm.. Not sure if they are playing the game or just watching Lester perform his latest magic tricks!
 
BGC Retreat - Three of a Crime
 
Above: Analysis paralysis in a children’s game (hehehe)? Am sure rhyen will have a field day if he’s around!
 
BGC Retreat - Rat-a-tat Cat
 
In spite of their supposedly simple mechanics, some of these children games are pretty good fun for us adults to play as a warm-up to the actual boardgaming sessions later.
 
BGC Retreat - Three of a Crime
 
Finger pointing a-galore as each player attempted to be the first to accurately guessed the three partners-in-crime!
 
BGC Retreat - Sleeping Queens
 
Two of the tables finished as scheduled but the last table on Sleeping Queens were taking an inordinately long time to finish what would have been a 10-15 min session. The rest who had finished theirs simply gathered around that table to see what’s the commotion about. LOL.
 
BGC Retreat 2010
 
Some of the other “children” games brought but not played.
 
Finally after much laughing, hustling and edging, the Sleeping Queens session ended, and the gamers took a short break while I organized them into their new tables for the proper gaming sessions (ie the ones that matter in terms of scoring) beginning with Game One.
 
I think the gamers enjoyed this session of “different” but refreshing out-take on boardgames.
 

 
 
 
GAME ONE
Okay.. now the serious gaming starts (but then again ,when you get analysis-paralysis even in Three-of-a-Crime, you really can’t say when the serious gaming started). 😛
 
BGC Retreat - In the Year of the Dragon
 
We chose some of the older recent games to kickstart the semi-competitive rounds. The idea of getting gamers to a retreat such as this is to expose them to some of the older favourites which can sometimes be drowned by the deluge of new games.
 
Table
Game Title
P1
P2
P3
P4
P5
1st
In the Year of the Dragon
robstreet
ayheng
wonglc
cristiano

2nd
Stone Age
swee nee
li li
lester
arm

3rd
Manila
waiyan
wolfx
aanemesis
teddy
lee ching
 
ROUND 1 / TABLE 1 – In the Year of the Dragon
Table 1 is usually the most competitive table in our retreats and as such it attracts the most “heavy” of the three games in each batch.

In the Year of the Dragon is what many would consider a “depressing” game. You start this game all smiles and hopes… but as the months (game turn) progressed, you stared at famine, disease, barbarians and even the Emperor of China won’t take kindly to you if you cannot pay his taxes. Life sucks and not many games exemplifies this point better than In the Year of the Dragon.
 
BGC Retreat - In the Year of the Dragon
 
And should you survived all the disasters thrown at you, you still have to contend with cutthroat fellow gamers who ain’t going to give you an inch or breathing space. Haiz…
 
BGC Retreat - In the Year of the Dragon
 
But the thing is… all these gamers told me they enjoyed this game very much!! I think secretly most eurogamers have streaks of macho-sadistic personality in them. LOL
 
BGC Retreat - In the Year of the Dragon
 
For some reason, in this session everyone WAS jostling to be in front of the player turn order. Looks like Kiasu syndrome took over and nobody wanted to be the last in turn order. Here yellow was the most Kiasu of all!
 
BGC Retreat - In the Year of the Dragon
 
In this session, both Rob (below) and AyHeng pandered better to the Emperor’s wishes and they were allowed to remain at Table 1 while WongLC and Cristiano were “deported” to Table 2 next round. Hehe.
 
BGC Retreat - In the Year of the Dragon
 
Heng was the winner for this round.
 
ROUND 1 / TABLE 2 – Stone Age
What looks as beautiful as Pillars of the Earth, plays fast, has cool worker placement mechanic, and appeals to the ladies? Oh, it also has dice but is not random. Wait.. Did I just mention “dice” and “not random” in the same sentence? Ah.. I did. 😛
 
That’s Stone Age for you, a popular game in the “lighter fare” category and one of the better gateway games of recent years to join the ranks of Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride.
 
BGC Retreat - Stone Age
 
There’s an interesting “Starvation” strategy in this game, where you can choose to go without food (ie not feed your people and not have to worry about begging (take that, Agricola!)) but more importantly starvation can be a good means to an end (here). I think that’s why so many ladies like this!!
 
BGC Retreat - Stone Age
 
For this table, we have two ladies pitted against two gents. On my left, we’ve the beautiful ladies Swee Nee and Li Li….. while on my right, we’ve the *cough* hunks Arm and Lester.
 
And uhm.. who’s that dude in the middle? Hahaha. How come he’s so free gey-bohing (busybody) here? I thought he should be at some other table??
 
BGC Retreat - Stone Age
 
Arm, scratching head, “I thought CK told me this is a one-hour game…”
 
My thought was this session took a whole lot longer than it should. In fact, among the three games in this round, this game was the last to finish (even later than In the Year of the Dragon). But everyone enjoyed their Stone Age session and from feedback, it’s becoming one of Swee Nee’s favorite game.
 
BGC Retreat - Stone Age
 
Arm and Swee Nee were the winners from this table and they moved up to Table 1 for the next round which shall see them pitted against the Emperor’s fave sons Rob & Heng in the new darling game of the Lehman Bros, Homesteaders.
 
Lester and Li Li moved to Table 3 next for an interesting game of erecting Moais in Easter Island.
 
ROUND 1 / TABLE 3 – Manila
This is regretably one of the few games I would love to have in my collection but did not have (as it went out-of-print at the publisher’s level). It’s a very good game that’s lightweight and enjoyable.
 
BGC Retreat - Manila
 
Set in the pirate-infested islands of the Philippines, you are locals in Manila who smuggled shipments on fragile-looking punts from neighbouring islands into Manila, speculating on which commodity will strike gold and at the same time trying to avoid the pirates that lie in wait to plunder your boat.
 
BGC Retreat - Manila
 
We’ve five gamers in this table all vying to become the next “punt tycoon” from Manila. At its essence, it’s a bidding game but it’s structured such that you get to cushion your speculation with various other investments for eg “investing” in the pirates hoping they get to plunder one of your competitors’ boat (where you’ll get to share the spoils).
 
BGC Retreat - Manila
 
I was not at their table when the above happened but there’s an EMPTY boat sailing up to Manila? Looked like a real cutthroat game for this to happen! 😛
 
BGC Retreat - Manila
 
Teddy (above) putting his hands down to lay claim to Manila…. All mine! All mine!
 
BGC Retreat - Manila
 
Wolfx (in black) won this game in spite of Teddy’s raucous shout of “All Mine” – and I heard he did it comfortably but then again it WAS his game (boo!). Wolfx moved up to Table 2 together with Lee Ching (seated next to wolfx) for their new Endeavor challenge!
 

 
 
 
GAME TWO
After the first round, you have the winners of Round 1 converging at Table 1 making it a “Hot” table that brought intense competition, while the mood was more genial in the other two tables. This is one of the interesting aspects of our retreat… you get some intensity and you also get lots of friendly gaming spirit. While our Retreat scored each player as they progressed thru the games, it’s friendly enough that some players do not really care about their scores and immersed themselves thoroughly in the games and enjoy!
 
BGC Retreat - Homesteader
 
Table
Game Title
P1
P2
P3
P4
P5
1st
Homesteaders
ayheng
robstreet
arm
swee nee

2nd
Endeavor
cristiano
wonglc
wolfx
lee ching

3rd
Giants
lester
li li
waiyan
aanemesis
teddy
 
ROUND 2 / TABLE 1 – Homesteaders
This game has been the talk of OTK gamers even before it got to the Retreat… with one of the OTK regulars crashing thru all world records in indebtedness. The slippery slope between borrowing just-enough money in order to gain the most return, and going all the way into insolvency is so deliciously balanced in this game that I’m sure IMF privately admire it’s design. At OTK, we fondly named this slope the “Slope of Rhyen” in honor of his new IMF benchmark.
 

BGC Retreat - Homesteader

 Above: Looking on was one of CK’s colleague, Feliks who’s here on project matters all the way from Poland.
 
BGC Retreat - Homesteader
 
Swee Nee’s the only lady swimming with all the sharks in this table. You can see how intense she was. J
 
BGC Retreat - Homesteader
 
Finally as the game came to a conclusion – Rob and Arm retained their winning streak here – it’s all smiles as everyone heaved a sigh of relief having survived the slope of rhyen.
 
ROUND 2 / TABLE 2 – Endeavor
A relatively low profile game from last year (2009) and one that I bought on a hunch, it has however exceeded all our expectations and has became one of the faves of OTKers. Obviously it’ll get it’s share of play time in this Retreat.
 
BGC Retreat - Endeavor
 
Carrying the age of exploration theme (though some may argue it’s a little abstract), yet plays quickly under 2 hours. This game packs a lot into the short playing time, and has endeared Lee Ching after her first play here. Well, she did win this game after all.
 
BGC Retreat - Endeavor
 
Demonstrating that this game is indeed the “fastest to play” among the three games on the table for this round, this group finished their Endeavor session way before the other two tables (Homesteaders, Giants) and they even put in a couple of Taluva sessions (below) while waiting for the other two tables to finish.
 
BGC Retreat - Taluva
 
TALUVA – a very beautiful but cutthroat game. One of wolfx’s favorite. Haven’t play this for some time, though. J
 
BGC Retreat - Taluva
 
Wolfx continued to bemoan his bad losing streak as he yet again moved down to Table 3 next. LOL
 
BGC Retreat - Endeavor
 
ROUND 2 / TABLE 3 – Giants
The last game of this round – and one of the most visually striking among the three – was GIANTS, a recent release from Asmodee.
 
BGC Retreat - Giants
 
Five players play as tribe leaders, and they competed to be the one who lead their tribes to glory and fame by erecting the best-looking and imposing Moais in Easter Island (if Moais can be “best-looking”).
 
BGC Retreat - Giants
 
The game board is beautiful, it has lots of miniatures and compared to the cardboard tiles of the other two games – Endeavor and Homesteaders – this is a photo-favorite!
 
BGC Retreat - Giants
 
I’m not going to admit I was not biased but this game has more pictures of it taken compared to the other two. 😛
 
BGC Retreat - Giants
 
Statues of Moai lining up the coast of Easter Island with the five tribesmen hard at work…
 
BGC Retreat - Giants
 
The game itself is semi-cooperative since everyone should be working together to form a network with their kayu balak (logs) since it’s a limited resource shared by all.
 
BGC Retreat - Giants
 
I was actually afraid the gamers might not enjoy this game since this was one of the new arrivals (that arrived just a couple days before this Retreat) and I didn’t have the time to properly learn the game. Therefore the teaching of the rules was done rather haphazardly.
 
Should do a proper session back at OTK next time.
 
BGC Retreat 2010
 
We’d a short tea-break before moving on to Game Three. Food!
 

 
 
 
GAME THREE
We were running a little behind schedule at this point, and I was not hopefully that we can complete two more rounds (game three and game four). So I sounded out to the participants that this could very well be the last Game Round for today before we break for dinner.
 
Table
Game Title
P1
P2
P3
P4
P5
1st
Alhambra
robstreet
arm
wong lc
lee ching

2nd
Wasabi
ayheng
swee nee
aanemesis
lester

3rd
Priests of RA
wolfx
cristiano
waiyan
li li
teddy
 
BGC Retreat 2010
 
The grand prize for the day, a brand new copy of HOMESTEADERS.
 
ROUND 3 / TABLE 1 – Alhambra
Since this is likely to be the last round of gaming for today, the players in this table went into “serious” mode as this session would potentially decide the winner for the brand new Homesteaders game. Plus bragging rights. J
 

BGC Retreat - Alhambra

Alhambra is usually played as a light gateway game but these gamers were really turning the game into an intense competition!
 
BGC Retreat - Alhambra

Finally – after much battling on the gardens of Alhambra – Rob Street (below) made it out successfully to be crowned as the Champion of 2010! Well done, Rob!
 
BGC Retreat - In the Year of the Dragon

ROUND 3 / TABLE 2 – Wasabi
While the first table were focused on a fight-to-the-death for the throne, this table took on a more lighter mood with the delicious Wasabi on the menu.
 
BGC Retreat - Wasabi
 
This game has cute green wasabi cubes instead of dices… yet aanemesis was struggling to get to grips the technique of making chomp chomp wasabi. hehe
 
BGC Retreat - Wasabi
 
It’s a really beautiful game, and one that most ladies enjoy playing. This game should see more playing time in our regular meetup sessions.
 
BGC Retreat - Wasabi
 
BGC Retreat - Wasabi
 
BGC Retreat - Wasabi
 
Swee Nee swept all before her as she wasabi-ed her way to victory over the three gents!
 
BGC Retreat - Wasabi
 
ROUND 3 / TABLE 3 – Priests of RA
Another unique feature of this Retreat is it’s mix of old and new games. While Alhambra was a 2003 release, Wasabi was a more recent 2008 game. However on table 3, we brought out another hot-off-the-plate new arrival PRIESTS OF RA which is a re-implement of Knizia’s 2002 RA.
 
BGC Retreat - Priests of RA
 
I’ve always enjoyed RA and while the rule scoring might seem confusing to newbies, the Sun God bid tokens remains an interesting auction mechanic from Knizia’s RA.
 
BGC Retreat - Priests of RA
 
Priests of RA attempts to streamline the scoring system to make it easier to be understood for beginners. Gameplay-wise, it’s similar to RA.
 
BGC Retreat - Priests of RA
 
If you like RA, you’ll like this game as well. If you hate RA’s bidding mechanic, it’s not likely you’ll enjoy this too. 😛 
 

 
CONGRATS!!
After almost 8 hours of semi-competitive gaming over 12 different games, we concluded our session for the day with a tabulation of the scores.
 
BGC Retreat 2010
 
Rob (below, left) won the first prize with his 11 points though Arm was a close second at 10 points.
 
BGC Retreat 2010
 
The “world café” format where players move up and down the tables ensure all players remain “in” the running for the prize until the last game of the day.
 
BGC Retreat 2010
 
And to ensure everyone “wins” at our Retreat, we gave away some lucky draw prizes of the brand new Le Havre expansion. And even a consolation prize for finishing “last”!  🙂
 
BGC Retreat 2010
 
The customary group photo!
 
TIME TO REFUEL
After a long day of gaming, it’s time to sit down for some chow, to refuel our stomach. We split into two groups; one group going to the Nasi Kandar restaurant while our group settled for the Vietnamese Restaurant.
 
BGC Retreat 2010 - First World Genting
 
It was also wolfx’s birthday (dude to the right below) so a few of us bought him his b’day dinner!
 
BGC Retreat 2010 - First World Genting
 
Food was a-plenty and yummy….
 
BGC Retreat 2010 - First World Genting
 
After taking care of food… it’s time for the highlight of the Retreat; the AFTER 8 GAMING sessions where you get to play those long-hours, rare, usually OOP and often complex epic games!
 

AFTER8 GAMING
You do not come to a boardgame retreat so that you can bum around in the evening at the poolside or casino or (aghast!) golfing. You come to events like this becoz you want to spend the entire day BOARDGAMING!!
 
Therefore besides eat/sleep, sorry.. I meant to say beside taking time out to eat (sleep? Wat’s that?) you want to spend the rest of your hours gaming….
 
That’s what we did. We parked ourselves at OTK Genting (haha.. yeah there’s Old Town Kopitiam everywhere) and the early junkies started with their RACE FOR THE GALAXY.
 
BGC Retreat - Battlestar Galactica
 
A group soon converged on Battlestar Galactica and hope that a change of OTK location would help the Human’s pathetic OTK Cheras record against the Cylons.
 
BGC Retreat - Battlestar Galactica
 
This was one of the early Pegasus expansion play in Msia and with a few more new characters plus the Battlestar Pegasus in play, how did the humans fare?
 
BGC Retreat - Battlestar Galactica
 
Eerrmm…… redlining already?
 
BGC Retreat - Battlestar Galactica
 
Surrounded by enemies on all sides…. looked like the pathetic record continues…
 
BGC Retreat - Battlestar Galactica
 
Yet surprisingly… the Galactica led by Pegasus Commander Cain/Ken (above) managed to successfully made one final jump after reaching Kobol! All hail Cmd Ken!
 
Btw that dude sitting behind Ken (wolfx) was a Cylon! LOL
 
BGC Retreat - Age of Industry
 
Elsewhere we saw AGE OF INDUSTRY (courtesy of Allen Sam) in play. AOI is to BRASS what Railways of the World is to Age of Steam.
 
BGC Retreat - Le Havre
 
LE HAVRE was at the other table. But without the new expansion LE GRAND HAMEAU.
 
BGC Retreat - DUNE
 
Lastly we wanted to do DUNE but as the rules were sketchy and the night was getting to morning, we decided to call a good night to everyone. After all, the Humans did prevail in Galactica. Let us go to bed with such good memories….
 
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!
This is what you get from our Retreat! A full day’s gaming from 9 am to 6 pm; Buffet Lunch (with generous helping of durians!), two coffee breaks with snacks, one BGC Retreat t-shirt and lots of friendly gamers to play with! Plus you also get a Retreat voucher worth 40% discount from our webstore (applicable to ALL games).
 
You might also want to read AyHeng’s report on this Retreat
 
 
LINKS
BGC Boardgame Retreat Announcement (click here)
BGC Boardgame Retreat Photo Albums o Game Zero o Game One o Game Two o Game Three o After8 Gaming
 
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