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Thoughts from the EGG head

My slightly skewed view of the boardgame world from Eugene, OR.
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My Personal Highlights from EGG Game Day

Chief EGG Head
United States
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So last weekend was one of our big EGG game days. We had a nice turnout close to 50 people which is pretty good considering the weather is still nice and there was a home game for the Ducks.
Here is a geeklist of a few of the games played there.
Unfortunately the game day runs from about 9 am to Midnight or so and there is just not enough time to play all the games I want. I did get to try a few games that were new to me so that was great.

So to start Andy had requested another game of Medici. Medici is a great opener because it scales well and as at previous events, we sit down and begin explanations and a few more people start to straggle in to the game day. We can easily add them to the game since it plays well with 3 all the way up to 6! Medici also has the benefit of having a relatively short rules explanation. For Sat we had a nice table of 5. I can't quite remember who all played but we had a fun game. The last round the scores were pretty close and it came down to Robert and I and the last 3 tiles to be divided between us. Robert had 2 spots on his boat open and I had 1. He took the two tiles leaving me to draw the last one. If it was a spice I'd reach the 10 bonus spot. If it was a 4 I'd tie for second the most valuable cargo, a 5 I'd tie for first. A pause, and I reached into the bag and drew a... 4 spice! Better to be lucky than good sometimes

I had a play of Quarriors! next, if anyone is looking for a copy contact me. Luckily right after this I finally got to try Titicaca. Since I'm a bit of a Cwali fan girl, I'd been interested in trying this one out. In fact, I had been dutifully carrying the game to all the game events over the last several months but it hadn't hit the table yet. I'd been distracted by Lancaster, Pantheon and the like recently.
The game is played with a modular board with the key features being a number of different landscapes and numbered lakes. Most Cwali games tend to be on the abstract side and this one fits the mold with the theme being tribes trying to take control of the land around lakes.Each player has houses of one color to represent your tribe and starts with "money." The money here is designated by weapons your tribe has shields, knives, spears and bow and arrows.
Each player also receives 2 temples and the start player gets the start marker.
Starting with lake #1 players then blind bid to take possession of a field/landscape around the lake. In bid order the players then choose and claim a field. All bids are paid unless you did not have a field to play on. After you claim a field you put fences around it-making borders between it and the adjacent landscapes, lakes count as borders. This is then a new country. Then you may merge your new country with an adjacent country if the landscape is a different type than already exists in that country. After that you may cause 2 other, different, adjacent countries to merge provided the will both have a new type of landscape and you have presence in one of the countries. Finally you may build a temple in one of your fields either the same or adjacent country. Temples are used to break ties. After a few turns the board may look something like this

Scoring occurs after lake 5 and lake 10. You score for money and countries adjacent to lake 5 in the first round and lake 10 in the second round. VP are given for each country. The player with the most houses of each land type in the country gets VP equal to the number of fields. The player with the most houses gets VP equal to the number of lakes bordering the country. Ties are broken by houses with the most lakes adjacent plus temples.
After lake 5 and lake 10 weapons are received equal to the total number of houses plus 3x the number in the longest chain of houses of your color.
After all fields are claimed final scoring occurs like after the lakes but in addition you earn 1 pt for each house and 3 points for each house in your longest chain. All countries are scored.
I am not a huge fan of blind bidding but it's relatively painless in this one and if you don't get a field you don't pay. I thought the game was pretty interesting. it takes a play to see how the scoring works and to see the merging of countries. I liked how the players can determine to some extent what the countries borders will be you also have to play somewhat tactically as well. Look forward to playing it again.

I also got to play one of my all time favorites Brass. The really fun part was that we didn't play the standard board but we played one of the fan based maps, Catalonia by
Jordi Ferrer
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Doug had printed up the map and cards for Catalonia and Anna joined in for the game. I am pretty impressed with how this map plays. It has all the tension of Brass but the focus of the industries feels very different as the designer followed the history of the area. Our game ended with fairly close scores I think we were all within 10 points.
A few of the differences are instead of canals, roads are built. In the road period you are allowed to build multiple industries in a city as long as they are level 1 industries.
If they are higher level then the usual rules apply. The distant market can only be reached through Barcelona. Cotton mills along rivers get a 2 dollar discount for hydro-power (we kept forgetting this in our game). You can sell as much cotton as you want to the Peninsula as long as you are not connected to any unflipped ports.
Those must be used first. Coal and iron tend to be scarce on this map. This map is a great change up from the standard board while keeping all the good parts of the game. I was inspired to print out my own copy for more plays. Just waiting on the cards now. I would highly recommend it for any Brass fans out there. Defintiely thumbsup and thanks so much to joffgracia for posting it.

I also had the opportunity to play another fan based map but this one was for Age of Industry. By the way, I don't recommend playing Brass and Age of Industry on the same day if you can avoid it shake, it can make your brain melt trying to keep it all straight!
I have tried playing AoI as a 2 player game a few times and while interesting it certainly loses a lot of the tension you crave, especially in the end game. There are just too many cards and too many locations to build letting you reach a point where everything has been built. I've been eagerly awaiting someone to come up with a specific 2 player map and
Claude Sirois
Quebec City
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has done an excellent job with his Great Lakes map for 2 players. I had printed out this map as soon as I saw the file and couldn't wait to try it.
I think the removal of a color and the other cards really gives the right balance to the map. In addition each player removes the level 0 factiory and one of each level coal and iron.
There are a few interesting differences. Each round is considered a season in the year and player order changes at the end of the year. During winter no ports may be used only markets and distant ports connected by rail. Also there are 2 randomly chosen color zones which provide an extra $3 when a industry tile there is flipped.
The iron works in Northern Ontario can be built for only $1.
In our game the two profit colors were blue and green and it just so happened I built mostly in the blue in the west and Bryon in green on the east. We both built an early shipyard to get access to the coal and iron. I forged ahead into factory goods and cotton mills and Bryon built more shipyards. Bryon kindly built a rail link to Northern Ontario and I managed to drop an iron mill there on my turn. Later Bryon built coal in the south. Both coal and iron were overbuilt at least once during the game. These resources are plentiful with the shipyards built but in the end game coal was a bit short and it was very expensive to build rails. Our final score was 53 to 44. A big thumbsup for this map and a 2 player game. Thanks so much to klode for posting it.
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