BGC Retreat

BGC Boardgame Retreat 2013 – Game One (Day One)

BGC BOARDGAME RETREAT 2013 – GAME ONE (DAY ONE)
by jack208

EXCERPT
It’s now time to get into the Retreat proper with the first scoring round in Game One where seven new/recent games were featured; ORIGIN, PACKET ROW, MARS NEED MECHANICS, PERGAMON, PELOPONNES, AMONG THE STARS and AFRICANA.

IT’S TIME TO KEEP SCORE….

After everyone’s received their seating position (from Game Zero), it’s time to kickstart the Retreat proper with Game One where we started keeping scores for each player. While we have always been mindful to avoid turning the Retreat into another competitive event, the inclusion of scoring after each game does help to maintain some level of excitement & tension among the participants.

After all we still need a way to determine who gets to take home the special copy of MOUNT EVEREST boardgame we brought back all the way from Essen as the top prize for this Retreat. 🙂

image

Over 80+ games were brought to this Retreat – most of them from Essen Spiel 2013 – and game selection has always been an important part of our Retreat planning. Not all the games we brought would end up on the Retreat tables – some are meant as backup / alternatives – but they are all available for play in the After-Eight session.

image

Above: The games are mostly Essen Spiel 2013 releases and Retreat participants would be seeing most of them except for the smaller boxes but they are always welcome to take them out for a spin during lunch or dinner break.

Props to our gamer community for helping to bring along some of their games to share in this Retreat. Though the BGC Library has a great selection of games (I’ve personally lost track of how many games in our library but it’s probably easier to ask which games we do not have rather than which we have :P) it’s always good to have the support of the extended gamer community to augment our selection of games.

image

Retreat Game planning using sticky notes, a nod to CK’s obsession with all things Agile & Lean in his worklife. 😛

image

This year we were better organized with a custom-made Retreat scoreboard – thanks for the great job, waiyan. Hopefully we’ll see the gamers’ decorations on the scoreboard as we progressed along the games.

We’ve seven tables for this year’s Retreat – the most tables we’ve ever had in all our Retreats – and we anticipated challenges in game selection & teaching. Hopefully we’ll gain useful learning experience from this in our post-Retreat retrospective and improve in our next event.

This was how everyone’s lined up at the starting line for Game One.

Table Game Title P1 P2 P3 P4
1st Pergamon wong raymond meng ian tan
2nd Among the Stars heng ken ivan sera
3rd Peloponnes damien edmund chee ho laiwah
4th Africana francis seh bee lan ka wee
5th Origin bgc / wy matthew khim thomas
6th Mars Need Mechanics see kei lili dith zhen
7th Packet Row darryl ong dc shu wen sonia

There’s probably a feeling of a heavy Civilization feel to the selection of Game One, and maybe you are not wrong. Peloponnes is an obvious Civ-like game, while Among the Stars and Origin carried Civ-theme. Pergamon and Africana are more towards archeology / adventure theme but do evoke Civ thoughts. The similarities were merely coincidental. 😛

image

Above: Gamers settling down over seven tables to commence Game One.

GAME ONE (DAY ONE)

GAME ONE – TABLE 1: PERGAMON

I first heard of Stefan Dorra over his early games like For Sale and Bucket King, while waiyan would say she knew him thru Pick Picnic and Turn the Tide, both popular games with her Boardgamekids.

  

Above: Some of Stefan’s earlier titles

PERGAMON was Stefan’s 2011 release and one that’s a deviation from the usual lighter fare that comes from this designer.

image

Rules debate before starting the game… hahaha.

image

PERGAMON is an archeology / excavation game (not unlike Thebes and Mykerinos which were played in our 2011 BGC Retreat). In this game, you are tasked by the Royal Museum of Berlin to excavate the ancient site of Pergamon.

image

The Excavation site containing the “finds” that the players would fight over. Your objective is to put together the best finds to assemble the best collection for display in the Pergamon Museum (below).

image

imageimage

After about 60 minutes of fighting among themselves to excavate the best finds, Wong (left) and Meng grabbed the first two positions of this table and would remain in Table 1 for Game Two…

image

… while the (always) fashionable IanTan and Raymond moved on to Table 2 for Game Two to continue his LEGACY (figuratively speaking).

PERGAMON received limited distribution and is already OOP (out-of-print) at the publisher’s level therefore Boardgamecafe.net is not able to carry stock of this game. You may still be able to secure a copy on eBay if you are keen on archeology / excavation games.

GAME ONE – TABLE 2: AMONG THE STARS

Artipia Games – from Greece – is one of the new wave of successful non-German (or US) publishers that’s marking a mark in the boardgaming scene with their unique take on game design.

Artipia releases their new games mainly thru Kickstarter and while Among the Stars was their 2012 release, we’ve also picked ARCHON one of their 2013 Essen Spiel releases as one of the games in future game round in this Retreat.

image

Above: The full range of ARTIPIA game titles on display at Essen Spiel 2013

image

This looked like a “hot” table with everyone having played AMONG THE STARS. It’ll be one competitive game where speed is of the essence.

AMONG THE STARS (AtS) play similarly to 7 Wonders, from a card drafting and playing mechanic point of view. However Among the Stars added a few more layers beyond what 7 Wonders have to offer.

image

In AtS, you are constructing a space station and competing with the other players to build the greatest station of them all, to take your alien race to prosperity (and survival). The “structure” of your space station is a key element of this game (unlike 7 Wonders where there is no structure to worry when growing your civlization).

image

Nice plastic space ships as your scoreboard.

image image

Ken (wolfx) and Ivan won this round, and would be looking forward to GLASS ROAD in Table 1 next.

image

Sera seeing stars in Among the Stars? hehe

GAME ONE – TABLE 3: PELOPONNES

A Civilization game that plays under an hour? Yup that was what Bernd Eisenstein promised us when he came out with PEOLOPONNES.

image

Alrite this is not a Civ game that provides you with an epic story arc (but those games would take upwards of 2 hrs to conclude). Bernd designed this as an auction game with the flavour of Civilization ala the period of Peloponnes.

image

Damien explaining the game rule to the rest. PELOPPONES at its heart is an auction game. Peloponnes play just over 8 rounds. In each round everyone gets to bid. Obviously the highest bidder gets to pick the tile of his choice to add to this Civilization. Some tile ie buildings have a cost to build so you do need to be mindful of your building resources since without the right amount of resources, you still can’t pick that building even if you are the highest bidder.

image

Each new tile changes the balance of your Civilization’s inhabitants, land and buildings; and brings new abilities and/or special functions. Like most Civ game, you seek to acquire the “right” tiles to build the most effective engine for your Civilization (which is represented by the player board).

image

The Bidding in this game is very brutal. You only get one chance to decide on the amount of bid – and thereafter if you are outbid, you either move your bid to another tile where the current bid is lower (and hopefully there’s such tile(s) to move your bid to) or retract your bid.

Retracting your bid means you do not get to purchase a tile this round. Given there’s only 8 rounds and the tiles are essentially your Civ engine, not getting a tile in a round can be a serious setback.

Then there’s the Disaster event that may happen at the end of each round. Depending on the type of Disaster tile, you’ll need to lose/spend certain resources to avert the disaster – or face the consequence of losing more building/tile from your Civilization.

imageimage

Edmund and Laiwah emerged as winners from this table, and shall be looking forward to join Raymond & Ian (from Table 1) to play LEGACY for next round.

imageimage

Above: Nail-biting action in Pelopones for Chee Ho (right) while Damien was all focus-n-intent. 😛

Interestingly, Chee Ho & Damien who’s moving to Table 4 in the next round would get to play another Bernd Eisenstein game released in Spiel 2013 ie ARTIFACT. And yes, it’s another (partly) auction game.

Peloponnes - Reprint 2014

PELOPONNES was published & sold by Bernd’s own company Iron Games based in Germany. My copy – and Damien’s – were sourced direct from Iron Games. I understand Bernd has since reprinted this game early this year so if you are looking for a copy, do check out Iron Games website.

This game can be played solo – for the interest of those gamers looking for solo games.

GAME ONE – TABLE 4: AFRICANA

While the first three games presented a mix of ancient (Pergamon & Peloponnes) and futuristic (Among the Stars), the 4th game in Game One – AFRICANA – brought us closer to contemporary times – Africa in the 19th century.

image

Above: CK teaching the game AFRICANA at Table 4

AFRICANA has the expeditions / artifact theme but plays more towards a Ticket-to-Ride-ish feel. The game is played over a map of Africa, divided into two halves – north & south.

image

Like Ticket to Ride (TTR), you set out on expeditions around Africa (to travel, you need to spend travel cards) attempting to complete as many expeditions as you can. Each expedition successfully completed earns you money and VP.

image

The four competing for expeditions in Africa – (from left) Bee Lan, Francis, Seh and Ka Wee.

Like Ticket to Ride, actions you may take in your turn are very simple. Three actions – 1) get more travel cards, 2) buy adventure cards or 3) move explorer. You may also join an expedition. Joining an expedition is not an action; as long as you have your explorer passing or stopping at the start city of the expedition, you can join it.

Taking Travel Cards
To get around Africa, you need to pay with travel cards of a matching symbol (of the destination city/town). You can travel as far as you wish as long as you have the necessary travel cards to pay for each leg.

image

Above: Spending three travel cards to move along 3 tracks on the map.

Travel cards spent are discarded – so it’s a form of currency in this game – except for Travel Assistant cards – which act as a joker type of travel card. Travel Assistant cards are not discarded but instead returned to your hand.

Buy Adventure Cards
These cards provide you with specific locations in the map for you to explore. On completion, you’ll gain an artifact (collection of artifact sets for end-game scoring).

image

Joining Expeditions

Expeditions are not unlike the “tickets” in Ticket to Ride. Each expedition has a start and end location. To join an expedition, your explorer simply needs to be at (or have passed thru) the start location.

image

Unlike tickets in Ticket to Ride, expeditions are openly shared (above) ie all players can join the same expeditions but ONLY ONE player will complete that expedition (ie the first to reach or pass thru the target/end location).

image

Above: Blue & White explorer markers are placed in Serengeti to indicate they’ve both joined an expedition that started at Serengeti. We should have placed the explorer markers on the Expedition card itself (rather than the map).

Since an expedition can be only completed by one party, it’s a race – and often a tense one – as the players scrambled to be the first to compete an expedition; and enjoyed it’s completion bonus and also end-game VP.

image

This session took longer than we expected. It ended with Ka Wee and Raymond (above) winning this game to join Sera & Heng (from the Among the Stars table) in a game of BRUGES next round.

image

.. while Bee Lan and Seh got the chance to play a Kickstarter game BYZANTIO.

Africana

If you enjoy Ticket to Ride, you definitely want to check out AFRICANA as it plays similarly to TTR. This game is available from our webstore (click on pic above).

GAME ONE – TABLE 5: ORIGIN

We’ve so far not yet featured any Essen Spiel 2014 games in first four tables of Game One. Until this table.

Origin

ORIGIN was one of a trio of MATAGOT releases in Spiel 2013 that caught our attention (the other two being CORTO and EXPEDITION: NORTHWEST PASSAGE).

image

ORIGIN, one of the first Essen Spiel 2013 games played in this Retreat – on Table 5 from left Boon Khim, Waiyan, Matthew and Thomas.

image

In ORIGIN, the evolution of tribes happened by either Speed, Strength or Color. They may also migrate across regions. You intend to capitalize on this evolution by ensuring your villages have the right / best mix of tribes to gain the corresponding rewards or achieve objective cards (for VP).

image

The REWARD BOARD containing rewards in the form of Action Cards (yellow), Permanent Abilities (orange), Objectives (purple) and Innovation tiles (brown). You get to choose a reward based on the color of the territory you have just played (ie moved or added new village) in the current turn.

image

Reward cards on hand. You get to play one of each color (ie max 3 cards) per turn.

image

Since the rewards given to you is based on the color of the territory you have just played, your choice of strategy would affect how you choose to expand your villages on the board.

image

Lots of player interaction in this game since you need to plan your board move (migration / evolution) based on other player’s positions.

image

Thomas and Waiyan won this evolution of their tribes, and would be joining Chee Ho & Damien in Bernd Eisenstein’s ARTIFACT (another Essen Spiel 2013 release) while Matthew & Khim went to Waterdeep and became Lords.

GAME ONE – TABLE 6: MARS NEED MECHANICS

MARS NEED MECHANICS was a 2013 game and was released pre-Essen via Kickstarter by a small publisher Nevermore Games.

image

Above: Aanemesis explaining the process to earn a place in a mission to Mars.

image

The game is about collecting sets of components in your hand and trading them for more cogs (ie money in this game). Player with most cogs at the end of the game wins.

image

Each of the components were traded actively in a demand-supply market. The more active a particular component was in the current round, the more it’ll appreciate in value. Likewise an inactive component drops in value. Ouch… you don’t want to be holding too many of those.

image

Lili appeared to be all-in for boiler. Let’s hope boilers were fetching good price then.

image image

See Kei & Zhen emerged with the most cogs for this session and gets the chance for trust & betrayal in BYZANTIO.

image

Lili would be joining Dith at CAFE MELANGE next.

GAME ONE – TABLE 7: PACKET ROW

This table features another Essen Spiel 2013 releases – PACKET ROW from White Goblin Games. There were two White Goblin Games titles played in this year’s Retreat ie Packet Row and ARTIFACT (which would be played in Game Two).

image

Above: Gamers in Table 7 getting themselves sorted out for the game – from left Shu Wen, Darryl, Ong DC and Sonia

image

PACKET ROW is at his heart, a push-your-luck game. You play the role of a trading company, and need to acquire resources from the four boards in play – Docks, Market, Bank and Guildhall.

image

There are cards available you can pick up from each board. Some have a cost to them, most of them are free. The active player (and this role shifts clockwise each round) decides which board to start the action. Each player in turn order may then select a card in that board. Active player selects last.

If you do not see a card you need in that board (since everyone gets to pick only one card in each round), you do not have to pick a card – and pass. And hope the active player would select another board.

If the active player selects another board, everyone who has not taken a card gets the chance to choose one card from this board (or pass).

image

However (and this is where the push-your-luck element comes in) the active player may then decide to take a card in the current board. If he does so – and since he goes last in turn – the round ends. And if you have not picked a card by now, you would have lost the opportunity to take a card (and put yourself in a disadvantage since the cards form your early resource & income engines).

image

Sonia won this round and would be moving to Table 6 next with Darryl, while Ong DC and Shu Wen remained in this table for a Cafe Melange experience. 😛

Packet Row

It’s a quiet gem of a game, not receiving much attention since this game is not even widely distributed in the USA. It plays best with 4 or 5. We still have some copies left in our webstore (click on game box above) if you are looking to buy a copy for yourself.

GAME ONE RESULTS

That wraps up the first session for Day One. Seven games played; three of them 2013 releases (Origin, Packet Row, Mars Need Mechanics) and the rest not so widely available games (Pergamon, Peloponnes, Among the Stars).

image

Table Game Title P1 P2 P3 P4
1st Pergamon wong raymond meng iantan
2nd Among the Stars heng ken ivan sera
3rd Peloponnes damien edmund chee ho laiwah
4th Africanna francis seh bee lan ka wee
5th Origin bgc / wy matthew khim thomas
6th Mars Need Mechanics see kei lili dith zhen
7th Packet Row darryl ong dc shu wen sonia

Here’s a brief look at the Scoreboard as it stood after Game One.

image

While there were now scores given to gamers if they win the game, our World Cafe Format arrangement was also designed to rotate the gamers among themselves so that everyone hopefully gets a chance to play with everyone else – and make more friends (or enemies, haha).

GAME TWO NEXT?

image

Some of the new Essen Spiel 2013 games (above) scheduled for Game Two. But first the gamers took a break for  coffee,  and also checked in to their stone hut accommodation for the weekend before we resume with Game Two of Day One.

GAME ONE PHOTO ALBUM
More photos from GAME ONE available in our Game One Facebook album

image

GAME ONE PROMO

Due to most of the Game One games not being widely distributed, only a few are available for purchase from our webstore. Quote us “BGCR2015-20” to enjoy a special 20% discount (from retail price) for the listed Game One titles below (while stocks last). Offer valid until 15 Aug 2014


Related Links

Past BGC Boardgame Retreat reports

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s