BGC Retreat

BGC Boardgame Retreat 2011 – Day One (Game Three)

by jack208
GAME THREE brought out the best of the recent arrivals with AUTOMOBILE and NAVEGADOR claiming the top buzz while some of the older games HANSA TEUTONICA, LUNA and POWER STRUGGLE all making their impressions on their respective tables. Find out who lead the Retreat scoreboard after three rounds of semi-competitive gaming.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three

Game #3 would be the last game for the day, wrapping up the first day’s proceedings and marking the half way point of this retreat. As such we tend to pick the “best” games to be played for this round and not surprisingly, AUTOMOBILE (whom I considered one of Wallace’s best design) sat proudly at Table #1 while NAVEGADOR (another of Mac Gerdt’s strong game) waited on Table #2. The other three games are equally good boasting a line-up of HANSA TEUTONICA, LUNA and POWER STRUGGLE.
BGC Retreat 2011 @ Port Dickson
Game Title
jun yet
lee ching
bgc ainul
swee wan
Hansa Teutonica
sk wong
bk woo
ken yen
lee peng
jun keat
Power Struggle
lc wong
The line-up of the gamers for GAME #3 are listed above; after two rounds of competing over various tables. You may want to read the previous sessreps (Game 0-1, Game 2) if you have missed them.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Game 3 / Table 1: AUTOMOBILE
Martin Wallace is an enigmatic game designer. He can deliver solid games like Age of Steam and Brass, yet in the same turn churned out turkeys like Tempus and Byzantium (to name a few). Perhaps they are not as “turkey” as we think but merely some “design-in-progress” which Wallace probably fine-tuned them into the more perfect games later (eg how Age of Steam was a revision of few of his earlier designs).
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Automobile is in many ways one of his finest (certainly my fave among his better games). The reason is simple. Automobile is simplicity in the delivery of the game design unlike his other equally good games like Brass, Age of Steam, Liberte – all good but there are so many fiddly stuff in their rules, you can get frustrated at times trying to remember them all.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Setting up the board for teaching the rules of Automobile
In this game, you start in the early days of the automobile industry in the USA and aim to make your fortune riding on the automobile wave, starting perhaps with low- to mid-price production before moving up to the high-end luxury models.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
We’ve a very interesting match-up for this table (all coincidental obviously) when two couples were paired off against each other. On the left was Jacelyn & Junyet, while on the right we have the Pang family – Lee Ching & Teddy (seasoned attendees of our Retreat).
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
These four are all heavy gamers – obviously as otherwise it won’t be easy for them to get to Table #1 – and with one of Martin’s best games on the table, it’s a very interesting match-up.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Teddy was the first to fire his warning shot across the bow, “Hey young upstarts. Want to meedle into our lucrative car business ar? nah.. take that!” LOL
Undettered, Junyet & Jacelyn quickly ramped up their production capacity to match the Pangs and competed fiercely with them via distribution channels and promotions.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Lee Ching: “OMG Teddy, they are really serious and are now stomping on every one of our dealers.”
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Teddy: “Okie okie.. Let’s try to maintain our “calm, smiling outward demeanour” while we try to work out a game plan. These young guns are serious. But continue “smiling” hee..”
In Automobile, the mechanic fits well with the theme… you build factories, newer factories – yours or your competitors – will eventually arrive to obsolete yours. Shutting down your old factories is an option – but an expensive one. How often can you shut down old factories and rebuilt new ones? All these eat up your capital expenses… and at the same time, you need the moolah to put into your production. Less cars produced meant lower sales/profit.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Jacelyn: Junyet ar.. you produced so many cars, can sell or not?
However over-production will cost you – and I’ve experienced how a badly timed over-production literally took me out of contention in one of my Automobile sessions – yet if you produce conservatively, you won’t be in a position to win the game. Such difficult decision is one of the hallmarks of a great game.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
In the end, it was a “tie” of a sort with Junyet winning this match but Teddy claiming the runners-up spot. Lee Ching was actually leading in the mid-game as her well-timed production (which matched the market demand) helped  her lead in terms of cash-flow. Junyet took a few well-timed risks to move ahead.
The result meant Junyet now leads the Day One Scoreboard with 12 pts with Teddy close behind with 9 pts. Let’s see how the other tables fared.
Game 3 / Table 2: NAVEGADOR
Table #2 featured another fave game of mine – NAVEGADOR. This is by no means a new game as some might lead you to believe. We already have this game in-stock since March 2011 and it has seen a few plays at OTK Cheras and elsewhere (notably the Taipan group).
NAVEGADOR is Mac Gerdts (founder of the Rondel system) latest game. Me – and a few OTK regulars – are fans of his rondel system where your action is determined by moving around a rondel (err.. It’s not called a “rondel” system for no reason la) and no dice. 🙂
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
We’ve the full complement of Gerdts’ rondel games – starting with the introduction of his very first rondel game ANTIKE back in 2005, to the arrival of the best in his rondel series IMPERIAL a year later. HAMBURGUM came in 2007 but while the theme is interesting, it seemed to lack something (which we heard the Hamburgum: Antverpia expansion fixed) and I believe NAVEGADOR came from an improved design of Hamburgum (to some extent).
Click here to see the full list of rondel games from our webstore.
Note: We just brought Antike back to the OTK Cheras table last Friday. But boy.. was that session an EPIC struggle till 4:30 am… haha. Save that for another sessrep. 😛
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Kareem, who has played NAVEGADOR at OTK Cheras was designated as the rule-teacher. Oh wait.. yes I need to add that Kareem was not a “bully”. 😛
Navegador is set in the 15th century when shipping was the dominant trading route, and as such expert navigators were high in demand. The Age of Exploration took many ships thru the rich trading routes of Africa, India and China.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
The four Navigator-wannabes.. sorry I think it should be three Navigator wanna-bes and one Navigator bully. 😛
This game offers a few paths to victory and while shipping (ie. building ships and sending them exploring all the way from Lisboa to Nagasaki) appeared to be the dominant strategy, it is NOT the only way to win. Shipping, if executed swiftly, aggresively and with high urgency can close down the game so quickly the others won’t know what hit them.
Kareem is not a “bully”.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Nurul falling in love with the high seas….
It’s easy to see why many love this game. Beautiful game board, wooden pieces, rondel (no dice) and the romanticism of the age of exploration….
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
The long-arm of Kareem…. everythingsss mineessss
Kareem opted out from shipping and instead focused on building – factories, shipyards and churches – which acts as the counter-balance to the obvious shipping strategy. In many ways, this is similar to Puerto Rico’s successful pairing of shipping-vs-building strategy.
And Kareem is not a “bully”. 😛
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Nagasaki (right-most) is the end destination for all. Red and Green appeared prepared with a fleet of ships ready to undertake the dangerous task of sailing towards the rich spice-land of Asia.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
As the game came to its conclusion, everyone’s tense and were standing up…
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
I heard this game ended with a large gap at the top… someone (right) was romping away with 120+ points (that’s one lap around) smoking the others with his hot-trail. LOL.
Wait.. What were we saying about Kareem? Oh yes.. he’s not a “bully”, tsk tsk.
Yeah unfortunately Navegador – which has no luck element in it – is a game where an experienced player can hammer those new to the game. But do not let that detract the fact this is a very solid game, and certainly in my opinion one of Mac Gerdt’s best rondel games (and second only to IMPERIAL).
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Nurul: My preciousssss…..
Nurul (above) and Kareem won this session and shall join Junyet and Teddy on a treacherous climb up K2 next. Kareem’s win here took him to 12 pts, tying with Junyet at the top of the scoreboard.
Game 3 / Table 3: HANSA TEUTONICA
While everyone’s raving about AUTOMOBILE and NAVEGADOR, the game brought up for Table #3 is not any lesser being a 2010 Spiel des Jahres Recommended and 2010 Golden Geek Boardgame of the Year winner.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
The game can appear “dry” as it’s more focused on the mechanic rather than theme. However the game presents you with such diversity in choices that you never felt time passed while playing this game. And it does play in a very short time.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Indeed, this table actually ended their session way ahead of the others!! Perhaps rumours of another “bully” caused a quick ending. 😛
Emil won this game, and together with Lester they’ve a date next at the pirate-infested islands of Jamaica with Elizabeth Swann. 😛
Anyhow, this group – while waiting for the others to finish – started another game – SURVIVE, ESCAPE FROM ATLANTIS, which is a semi-coop cutthroat game.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Since this game is part of tomorrow’s session, I’ll leave it till later to provide some in-depth coverage. For now, I’ll just leave it with some nice pictures of gamers thoroughly enjoying themselves in the game…
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Game 3 / Table 4: LUNA
How shall I begin to describe LUNA? 😛
We first played this in OTK Cheras on 27 May (thanks to Kareem for reading the rules) in a session that left our OTK regulars with befuddled looks. 😛
BGC Meetup - Luna
Heng: OMG: 3am is not the time to pull out a game that gives you 14 different possible actions in every turn!
The game is hmm.. actually NOT that complex. And while the 14 actions may paralyze our thinking, in playing you are most likely looking at 3-5 options at any one time. You do still have the full 14 possibilities to think of if you are planning your moves ahead but most times, your choices are narrowed to a few more viable moves.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
In this game, all of you aspired to be.. uhm, Moon Priestess? 😛
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Kareem teaching LUNA – hey, wasn’t he teaching NAVEGADOR earlier?
… soon, the time has come: Our worshipped Moon Priestess Luna will choose the Order that will decide her successor. To be worthy before Luna’s eyes, my Order sent me on a trip to our Holy Isles.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
The four who aspired to be worthy before the Moon Priestess… (from left) BK, Jun Keat, Lee Peng and Ken.
This is Stefan Feld’s latest game – and most of us enjoyed his earlier creations such as In the Year of the Dragon and Macao. LUNA appeared to be his most complex game yet.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
The game drops you right into the middle of the “story” – and not at the beginning – hence the moment you start, you are presented with 14 actions – all viable. So which one do you choose? Aargh!
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Six islands and one main island make for a LOT of analysis paralysis!
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
The game is played over just 6 rounds, but it won’t be until round 3-4 that you begin to understand some of your actions ie WHY you did this and not that. LOL. I believe if one persevere and do a few more sessions of this game, there’ll be a very interesting game in it.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
In this session, Ken was the one who most impressed Luna (if you asked me, I think his ear-ring did the trick) while Lee Peng was next. BK and Jun Keat will need to survive Atlantis next. 😛
Game 3 / Table 5: POWER STRUGGLE
Most assumed we chose the “least good” game for Table #5. Not so. There’s a method to our selection of games but it’s certainly not based on whether the game is good or less good. In fact, only the good games get picked to be played in our Retreat. 😛
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
And if you think Table #5 always have the “inferior” games, this session would prove you wrong. 😛
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Four “normal” employees aspiring to be the best they can in a company that’s corrupt from top-to-bottom. Will they remain “honest” after this power struggle?
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
In this game, you worked your way up the food chain in the company, becoming Dept Head then Division Head.. And eventually joining the Board of Directors and hopefully pull in enough of your cronies so as to get yourself elected as Chairman.
And in the process, a few honest productive employees may be sacked to further your ambitions. Ah well, to achieve great things require sacrifices and as long as you are not the person sacrificed, who cares! Sack them! LOL
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
One negative thing about this game is that it can be difficult to teach as it has many “small” rules. Took me a while to go thru the rules with this group. The upside is that once you’ve played one round, the rules would make sense and easy to remember.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
LC Wong was the first to be corrupted – or perhaps he was ALREADY corrupted – as he explained to Daren how to go about bribing others.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
I was told while LC and his lackeys (left) abuse their positions of power in the company with impunity, Janette (right) remained honest-with-thyself and fought desperately to maintain her integrity as she attempted to do things HER WAY, the right/honest way. Can she survive in such basal corrupt environment or would she be drowned eventually by the lure of easy-gain?
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Even Jonathan joined in the act, cackling loudly as he sacked another bunch of productive employees just so that he can join the Board for a higher pay-off! Being productive gets you nowhere here…
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
The gamers in this table were so visibly enjoying themselves, others dropped by to see what’s happening. 🙂
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Wong clearly enjoyed this session tremendously… after all, how would you feel if you can be downright bad-ass, carry out dastardly deeds, set ppl up to be screwed, and still be crowned as the winner!
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Jonathan and Wong (left) won this game, while Janette (below right) was left rueing whether she got the short-end of the stick by being honest and playing by the rules.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
More photos for GAME THREE

BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Scoreboard after Game Three. Scores in the 3rd number (red).
With Game Three completed, we conclude our first day of the Retreat with Kareem, Junyet and Lester leading the scoreboard. Junyet was the most impressive performer as he had stayed at Table #1 throughout all three games and won all three! Kareem was the best “climber” as he moved from Table #4 in Game 1 to Table #1 at the end of today.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
Can Junyet hold his position tomorrow as the stronger contenders have now floated up to Table #1? 😛
We broke for dinner (which was on own arrangement) and to put it briefly, dinner was a disaster for our group where we did “El Cactus and the Mexican Dory” game in which there was tremendous analysis paralysis turning a 30 min game into a 2+ hour drag that ended up with the “wrong dory for wong” (hey it kinda rhymes!!)
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
We should have just gone for this dinner option (below)?!!! Haiz.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
At least the other groups fared better with their dinner options.
A quick snapshot of the other games in-play during Day One though not as part of the official rounds. We’ve already mentioned SERENDIPITY and RACE OF THE GALAXY earlier, and SURVIVE: ESCAPE FROM ATLANTIS was also played.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
With the card sharks around, you can certainly expect to see more card games on the table. INNOVATION (above) described as a Civ-card will always hit the table whenever you see Kareem.
BGC Retreat 2011 - Game Three
The colorful GLORY TO ROME (above) is another fave card game of his (Kareem).
We also saw WASABI in play on the other table but I forgot to take any pics of that so I’ll just leave you with a picture of the gamebox instead. J
BGC Retreat 2011 @ Port Dickson
Overall we had a very mild AFTER 8 GAMING (compared with our previous Retreats), mostly due to the big letdown from the dinner; killing our momentum. L
For tomorrow’s DAY TWO GAMING, we’ll be starting with some not-seen-often games such as K2, Jamaica, Havanna, Cafe International and the already seen Survive: Escape from Atlantis. Start Day Two’s sessreps here.
BGC Boardgame Retreat 2011 Announcement (click here)
BGC Boardgame Retreat 2011 Photo Albums – Game Zero, Game One, Game Two, Game Three
BGC Boardgame Retreat 2011 Sesseps – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (this report)

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