Tuesday, August 11, 2009

10th Aug 2009 Session Report: 1st Ever Mass Gaming Session, Well Sort Of...

I have always desired to organize a boardgaming gathering at my place where multiple games run simultaneously. However, it has been difficult to find a regular time slot which is convenient for my friends and thus most of my gaming sessions have been restricted to a series of single games. I figured that this public holiday, I would attempt to get more over for games and in the end, there were 8 of us in total. However, different ones came later in the day so it took awhile before we got the second 'table' going.

Alhambra (Van-132, Ben-125, Me-115)

We started with Alhambra which was part of the trade of Twilight Struggle. I have heard good things about it as a gateway game. It didn't disappoint...I think. I realized that quite a number of turns were just spent taking currency and the game didn't get interesting for me till I started having difficultly piecing my estate together with the various buildings purchase. As the game progresses, the choice of buildings to buy takes on a different dimension as one needs to not only consider the building type relative to the number owned by your opponents but also whether its walls can fit nicely into your estate. All in all, a fine addition to my collection despite me getting routed in the game. Van won the inaugural game with 132 points while Ben and I had 125 and 115 points respectively.

Railroad Tycoon (Me-64, Van-59, Weilong-43, Xiumei-42, Ben-28)

With 5, I brought Railroad Tycoon to the table, desiring to see if there would be more conflict with an additional player compared to my first play. It wasn't much better and I suppose the sheer size of the map does allow you to largely build up your own network of tracks without much disturbance. I managed to dominate much of the north-east despite Weilong's presence, which gave me a lead I didn't relinquish. I rushed for the starting goals and managed to complete the major line from Boston to Washington.

I opted to keep the Major Lines in the deck this time round to avoid overwhelming the new players. The only rules I changed were for the auction and railroad cards. We played the auction so that the first player to pass would start last and so on. Only the first player had to pay his/her bid but the last player from the previous round would have to start the bidding. As for the railroad cards, I only revealed cards equalling the number of players together with the 3 starting cards, and introduced 2 new cards per turn. I didn't want the new players to be discouraged by all the information they had to read right from the start so as to allow them to familiarize themselves with the mechanics of the game. The game took about 2 1/2 hours which wasn't too long for 5 players but I would have appreciated something heavier for the time invested.

Meuterer x2 (Xiumei - 34/33, Me - 33/32, Lijie - 30/23, Ben-15/27)

We proceeded to split into 2 groups after RRT. I introduced Meuterer to my group while Van played Glory to Rome with Mun, Fang Ting and Weilong. Xiumei complained during the rules explanation that they were hard to follow and promptly went on to win both games, pipping me by a point in both. Playing this time with the correct rules, I noticed how the psychological aspect came into play. Choosing whether to reveal your conflict cards during the play of ware cards can be an important decision in garnering support or serving as a bluff. The order in which one plays his/her ware cards can also be important in ensuring the Merchant is left for you. While my issues with the game expressed in the earlier thread remains, the game has moved up a notch in my book regardless.

Glory to Rome (Van - W, Weilong, Fang Ting, Wai Mun)

Didn't hear much of the game except that Weilong and Van were both vying for a victory by Forum, which Van succeeded in finally.

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