Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tuesday 19th September - McMulti

Originally uploaded by coljen.
Well I have been on holiday this week. Havn't been away anywhere just out for days. Went to Brighton on Monday and had fish and chips on the pier. So, I should have plenty of time to get to the session, but no, got the time of the train wrong so was a bit late and forgot my glasses. Ready made excuse for what followed, that and the lousy dice rolls a la Settlers. It always seems I get really bad dice rolls in these games, nothing to do with bad play on my part you understand.
Richard's choice, so following a trend he has seemed to set he chose McMulti an oil based theme game from 1974. Richard's recent choices have included Railway Rivals and Nautilus, both older games. Each player has there own playing area on which they can purchase various bits of equipment, drilling rigs, refinerys, petrol stations or nodding donkeys. You have crude oil and petrol. You can refine the crude oil and turn it into petrol and sell it on the market. You roll 2 dice and place them on your playing areas grid and if you have equipment on those lines you can activate it. It also affects the players to your left and right. The victory condition is the first player to make a billion dollars. Hitting the drilling rigs enables you to change them for a nodding donkey which pumps 2 barrels of crude if you hit them subsequently. First one is 10 million and each one after that costs an extra 10 million. Getting these early (and cheapest is a good thing). I had 14 rigs and never hit one until the price was about 80 million. Richard had clearly played this before and covered his grid so that eventually whatever was rolled he hit. I started off pretty well in last position and stayed that way for the whole game, still I was a pretty good banker.....yes I said BANKER. During the game there are rumours that are only triggered if certain doubles are rolled, and the one which taxed all the equipment you had on your board certainly stirred things up when I rolled the double 3 to activate it. Everyone took a pretty big hit, but Richard managed to keep most of his equipment. I think it was pretty obvious for a while that Richard would win and when he declared that he had the required billion we all had one more turn each. So everyone sold everything they could to maximise their money. In the end Garry wasn't that far behind with Steve in third and me a lonely fourth.

Final Scores
Richard 1179,000, Garry 1040,000 Steve 585,000 Colin 183,000

Next week is Steve's choice and I know he hates dice :)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tuesday 12th September - Shark

Originally uploaded by coljen.
Richard couldn't make it tonight, he was in Birmingham. So Steve, Garry and myself sat down to play a game of Shark. This game is from 1987 and originally published by Flying Turtle, Garry had the 1991 edition from Ravensburger. Neither he or I had played and Steve had played but a while ago. This is a stock trading game a bit like Acquire. You can buy and sell shares in each of the four companies at the beginning or end of your turn, in the middle you roll two dice one normal six sided and one with the four colours of the companies and black and white. These rolls determine which company you affect and where on the board you can place the marker. If you roll black or white you can choose which colour to place. If you place the marker next to others of the same colour this causes the share price to rise. If a larger chain of markers is joined with another chain of a different colour that is smaller the smaller one is removed from the board and the share price takes a hit equal to the number of pieces removed.
This I found out to my cost later in the game. I had built up a good holding in blue , red and yellow and was probably in the lead when Steve rolled exactly what he wanted and joined a large yellow chain with a not so large blue one. The share price dropped 7 points and I had to pay 120,000 to the bank. Ouch, that effectly ended my contention to win the game. I could kick myself because if I had seen it coming I could have sold all my blue shares and had a very healthy bank balance. Ah well, next time I shall be more aware of the board position. Steve had done that very thing when red was looking a bit vulnerable and sold his entire holding in that colour. So in the end Steve won by a mile, but we all enjoyed the game and I will have a better idea of how to play it next time.

Final Score (Money plus share value)
Steve 404+130 = 534
Garry 26+221 = 364
Colin 102 + 153 = 255

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Tuesday 5th September - Cleopatra (at last)

Originally uploaded by coljen.
OK, so after last week's train problem, we finally made it to give Cleopatra and the Society of Architects another outing. We have only played this once before and I was the one fed to the crocodiles and I was determined not to be croc food again. This Days of Wonder game upholds their tradition of first class production values, the game is a wonder to behold. There was some speculation that this game was all glitter but no gold but I think our group begs to differ, finding a substantial game beneath the gloss. The mosiac garden is a game in itself and an integral part of getting rid of those pesky corruption amulets (CA). A cost I found out in our last game having built nothing in the garden.
Basically you are collecting resources and artisans to complete various sections of Cleopatra's palace, the more you build the more talents you receive, and talents = VPs at the end of the game. I was determined to get something in the mosiac garden and concentrated on building there first. Putting one of my Anubis statues there to claim the sanctuary. Richard as always was pleased that the hand limit was 10 cards and he still managed to exceed that, paying for it by collecting some CAs. I was trying to be very careful and not picking up CAs. The way the deck of cards is shuffled, half face up and half face down, gives you some interesting choices at the market stall. In the end I managed to build an obelisk, pair of sphinxes, and a doorframe connected to 7 sections of wall which gave me a healthy bank balance. Richard had managed to grab 2 sanctuaries which gave him the ability to get rid of 11 CAs at the end of the game. He needed that because he was picking them up like nobodies business. The priest's offering is an event that in our games has not been very frequent, in the first game it happened only twice, and in this game it looked as though it wasn't going to happen at all. Steve had used the Scribe to delay it by taking a die off of the altar. But eventually it did occur, I didn't know what to bid really, I had a healthy store of talents so I bid 12, just beating Richard who bid 10. Another 3 CAs discarded!!! We were quite near the end of the game now and Steve built the last bit to advance Cleopatra to the door of her palace.
After taking CAs for any tainted cards in hand we counted our CAs, Richard was the most corrupt by far and became crocodile food. We all thoroughly enjoyed the game and it will probably come onto the table a bit more frequently now. That said with Essen looming it will probably come behind the haul the Billygamers return with :)

Final Scores
Colin 54, Steve 48, Garry 40, Richard Eaten