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Subject: Boardgamecafe.net Meetups rss

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C.K. Au
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Boardgamecafe.net (located in KL, Malaysia) plays regularly every Friday evening at Old Town Kopitiam from 8pm onwards till 6am the following morning!

Old Town Kopitiam in Cheras opens 24-hrs and we can game to our contend there. Free parking around the kopitiam and food is good. Plus this is one of the happening place in Cheras!

We play all genres of games (and we've more than 300+ games among our members' collections so you are more than likely be able to find the game you want to play here) from light party games like Bang!, Saboteur, Blokus to heavies like 18xx, Caylus and Die Macher.

There is no membership to come and play... just bring yourself (and mebbe a few frens) along.

We also organize boardgaming for kids and have been very active in the children gaming space. One of our recent outings was to organize a trip to a foster home where we brought the joy of boardgaming to these young children!

I've not yet blog about our Sunbeam (foster home) visit but feel free to peruse the photos of our trip here
http://www.flickr.com/photos/boardgamecafes/sets/72157612284...

You can learn more at our web-site at:
http://www.boardgamecafe.net

Our session reports will be posted here but feel free to drop by our blog site to read them (complete with photos)
http://blog.boardgamecafe.net

The link to the old blog (articles being transfered to new blog above)
http://boardgamecafe.net/community/blogs/default.aspx

To subscribe to our newsletter, send an email to newsletter@boardgamecafe.net with the Subject= "Subscribe".
 
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C.K. Au
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Some sessreps of the 2009 meetups

2 Jan 09 - Our first meetup for the year where we did Imperial (one of my fave games!), Dominion, Cash-n-Guns and Le Havre (possibly the only playing copy in KL!)
Part 1
http://boardgamecafe.net/community/blogs/boardgamecafe_net/a...

Part 2 http://boardgamecafe.net/community/blogs/boardgamecafe_net/a...

9 Jan 09 - We did Imperial (again?), Hey That's My Fish, King of Siam and China Moon
http://boardgamecafe.net/community/blogs/boardgamecafe_net/a...

30 Jan 09 - A short but heavy session with Die Macher and Le Havre in play! phew....
http://boardgamecafe.net/community/blogs/boardgamecafe_net/a...

6 Feb 09 - Chinese New Year gaming seeing Samurai, Acquire (another fave), Agricola and Brass in play
http://boardgamecafe.net/community/blogs/boardgamecafe_net/a...

Watch out for the Axis & Allies big report!
 
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C.K. Au
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Hi, some updates.

We now have moved to a new blog site for our meetup reports
http://blog.boardgamecafe.net

Some of the recent games we've played for the past few weeks in 2010
- GREED Inc
- Rise of Empires
- Factory Manager
- 18EU

GREED and Rise of Empires were likely 1st-plays in M'sia!!

For 18xx fans, there are two very detailed 18xx reports here - 18TN and 18EU.

18EU -> http://blog.boardgamecafe.net/2010/01/18/bgc-meetup-8110-par...
18TN -> http://blog.boardgamecafe.net/2009/02/15/bgc-meetup-13209-pa...

We are meeting tonight and hopefully get Imperial 2030 on the table! Stay tune for the report.. If you are on Facebook, join our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kuala-Lumpur-Malaysia/Boardgam...

Oh.. a picture of the Old Town Kopitiam (OTK) cafe where we do our gaming on Friday evening. You can find it on Google Map here http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Old+Town+White+Coffee+Cheras&h...

 
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zippy grey wedge owner
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Putrajaya
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Boardgamecafe.net has spread its wings into new areas!

In May 2010, we did our first Boardgamecafe meetup in Petaling Jaya:
http://blog.boardgamecafe.net/2010/05/23/bgc-pj-meetup-repor...

Then in June 2010, we did our first Boardgamecafe meetup in Subang Jaya:
http://blog.boardgamecafe.net/2010/06/14/bgc-sj-meetup-repor...

Maklumat tambahan: kedua-dua lokasi ini menyediakan makanan halal.


 
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C.K. Au
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RAILWAYS OF ENGLAND & WALES
Heng joined us while we were finishing Kuhhandel. According to him, the Axis stalled with the Allies... and the WORLD lives for another day! Phew....



We haven't brought Railroad Tycoon RRT (now called Railways of the World RotW) to the table for a long time. Part of the reason is the large.. no, make it HUGE map that covers all of OTK's coffee table and a bit more.

2nd reason - and the more important one - is that the original Eastern US map plays best with 6 players. Not even 5 or 4. And we dun always get 6 players wanting to do RRT at times.



We only had 3 players this time, with Rhyen having to leave (for some urgent personal matter). Good number for us to test how well the England map plays for 3 players.

Basic RRT rules apply. We note some of the changes from the old RRT rule set.

1. Each player is dealt two tycoon cards and choose one. We felt this gave players some flexibility rather than be stuck with the one tycoon card dealt.

There's only 10 tycoon cards provided so I presume this game plays max 5 players only (RRT can do 6 players). Looking at the map, I would also think 5 has to be the max.

2. There are 27 new Railway Operations card, inclusive of 3 start cards. Two are the standard "Railroad Era Begins" and "Speed Record" but they've removed the old "New Train" and replaced it with the "Passenger Lines" where the 4 bonus pts is given to the player who deliver 4 different color goods (as opposed to the one who first upgraded to Level-engine). I like the Passenger Lines as it's more balanced than the New Train bonus.

- They've also removed (sensibly) the (RRT) "Railroad Executive" card which allows you to take two actions - and drives up the start player auction.

- Service Bounty, Hotel, City Growth, New Industry etc remains and they've introduced two new operations card, "Tunnel Engineer" and the nasty "Railroad Inspector"

- The Tunnel Engineer merely allows you to build on mountains and ridges at half-price (a different version of the Government Land Grant which works on open terrains only)

- The Railroad Inspector on the other hand allows you to stop another player from making a delivery! It's not as broken as it seems as Heng pointed out, you need to spend one action (and possibly high start player bid) to take this card, and you use it to cancel another player's one action as well. It does help you to rein in another player's large delivery

3. Major Lines are no longer Operations card but now implemented clearly on the board for all to see - and plan for them! This rule can be back-implemented in RRT and should be used for all our future games.



We also played with the variant where players bid for turn order and the first to pass will be placed in the lowest player order. However only the winning player needs to pay. I suppose a better way is to go Age of Steam style and make all players pay for their bid amount.



Heng started from the southern area, off London. Turned out later he has the London Tycoon card which awarded him 2 pts for every link built out of London (earned him a total of 8 pts). Well played.

Note: This London Tycoon is also the one giving the highest possible bonus of 8 pts. It can be stopped easily though (if you are familiar with the game). Basically when you see a player build links in London, join the "party" to reduce his London link options.



An observation made - and shared by Heng - is the England map is more open and offers different options to every player. It's not like the RRT Eastern US map where the narrow eastern channel is always hotly contested. In this map, we felt "fortune" can be made in any corner of the map!



The Major Lines do go a long way in terms of influencing how the network will be laid. In the map above, you can see Heng (green) going for the North-South link between London and Newcastle, while myself (red) was cutting across the West-East with the Hollyhead-Grimsby link.



For 3-player, game ends on 11 empty cities and that can be pretty quick since there are quite a number of cities with just one good cube.



Shares (ie loan) are implemented as per-RRT with one exception, you can only issue shares when you need money, and not as and when you wanted to (this is to mitigate the Richest Tycoon bonus in the old RRT). Think this is sensible enough.

WHAT DO I THINK OF THIS MAP?
This was just our first play of this map and I already liked it. Brings back one of our fave railroad game and a map that seems open and balance for 3-4 players. Think it'll be too crowded for 5. If we can get 5-6 players, I suppose we can always take out the old RRT Eastern USA map.

The changes to the rules make them more sensible and less prone to swings of wild start player auctions or random appearance of Major Lines. While the game is still confrontational as you still need to work to deny your opponents good deliveries and bonus points, it's not that cutthroat to the extent a player can be "locked out" of the game earlier.

The game does offer an Advanced Game variant where you can buy shares in train companies and earn dividends etc but here I concur with rhyen who felt if we need such chrome, then we should move on to the OTHER game system that offers this share/dividend feature and which is implemented in a much more elegant manner ie. 18XX.

Overall, yes we like it as it brings back one of my old favourites!

Read full report here:
http://blog.boardgamecafe.net/2010/11/06/boardgamecafe-net-m...
 
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C.K. Au
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After Death Angel, our table was debating which game to play next! Too many choices for them, I suppose. In the end, they decided to brave the cube towers of Wallenstein!



Wallenstein was re-implemented by Shogun. Some rule tweaks in Shogun I felt made the game better (which I'll talk about later in this report) but map-wise, I still favor Wallenstein's Germany which is very open to attacks from all sides (unlike the longish Japan map in Shogun)



The starting position for a 5-player game. As you can see from the map, each province can be attacked from 2 or 3 sides.



The various generals were good frens before war broke out in Germany



The five action cards, selected at random out of ten, but opened face-up before each player selects their own actions. You use this action cards to determine which "action" will occur in which province. You basically use actions to 1) move troops, 2) tax a province for either gold or grain, 3) buy troops, 4) build one of these buildings (trade house, church, palace) which scores you point at end-game, and 5) attack another province, whether empty or controlled by another player.



Event cards (below) of which four are selected for each year, shown to all players and then one event selected randomly for each season. Here the Church Peace event was triggered in the Summer phase which protected provinces with Church(es) in it from being attacked.

The most famous of implements in this game is probably the Cube Tower (pictured below). Most ppl wrongly refer to this as the Dice Tower, it's not really since it's not used to roll dice. Instead we throw in color cubes into the tower and depending on the number of color cubes coming out into the tray, that determines the result of the two players in battle.



I suppose the "Dice Tower" reference is an analogy to the number of your own color cubes being the die roll for eg if wolfx has 3 blue cubes coming out of the cube tower, you can say he rolled a die of three.



Teddy's (brown) forces being encircled by Wong LC (yellow), Aycee (red) and Wolfx (blue). Teddy's armies in Osterrich were eventually wiped out but he came back late in the game to reclaim part of Osterrich from the north.



Wong (yellow) quickly established a dominance in Bayern but bad luck befell him and soon his hardwon territories were all claimed by the rival generals.



Aycee (left) and wolfx, friendly neighbours who's armies were mainly at Osterrich (east) and Kurpflaz (west) located on different sides of the board.... therefore their main beef was not each other but Wong's (yellow) troops whom were largely mobilized in-between both of them in Bayern.



Ang's (one of the Sg Long based Weiqi boardgamers) black armies were relatively quiet, minding their own business in Brandenburg and part of Sachsen but power corrupts.. and as soon as his armies grew to sizeable units, he started harrassing his neighbouring provinces.



Fierce fightings in Kurpfalz as wolfx (blue) seeked to eliminate the last of Ang's (black) troops to avoid him reclaiming the lands resulted in a few provinces that were razed to the ground, which happened as a result of players tying on the cube tower results (ie both sides have the same numbers of cubes rolled out)

This "scorched earth" policy is one rule I do not like in Wallenstein and which has been updated in Shogun. In Wallenstein, player can sometimes use the "razed to the ground" rule to purposely attack a province hoping that if battle result tied, the province is turned into a wasteland and therefore cannot be entered by any party, forming a barrier which can protect his province(s) that are situated behind the razed province.

In Shogun, the province is merely razed of all buildings and revolt markers, turning it into an empty province that can still be enter and conquered by the next army.



Aycee's (red) armies consolidated strongly in Osterrich and proceeded to build lots of churches. "In God We Trust" is their motto. J



Teddy's brown armies adopting a strong "scorched earth" policy - note the two wasteland protecting his eastern front - as he massed his troops in his southern border to continuously attack Wong, to his chagrin!

Ang's black armies were doing very well (below). In spite of his disappointment in Kurpflaz where his troops were all but vanquished by wolfx and Teddy, he has regrouped and literally controlled Brandenburg and has a strong say in Sachsen.



The green round markers you see in the picture above are to indicate the farmers' "revolt" possibility in the province. Whenever you tax a province - and you do need to levy tax on your provinces for both grain (to feed your troops) and gold (as war chest) - a farmer revolt marker is added to the province. When there are two or more revolt markers, the farmers will organize a revolt against you, and you need to send in your troops to quell it.

Every year in winter, you need to feed your troops and have them well-rested for next year's campaign. There's no fighting, movement or taxation in this phase. You do have to ensure you've collected enough grains tax over the earlier three seasons to ensure you have sufficient grains to feed your troops after factoring in "grain losses" (which is determined by one of the Event cards).



Your grain level (above) indicating how much grain tax you've collected over the months. You need one grain for each province you control.



If you do not have sufficient grain to feed your people, some of the armies will join the farmers and revolt. You then need to expend more troops to quell the revolt. The table above determines how many of your provinces will revolt (middle column) based on what's your shortage on grain (first column). The last column shows the number of farmers (green cubes) joining in the revolt.

A revolt happening at the "wrong" province can cost you very dearly... both in terms of resources (gold or grain) and VPs.

WHO WON?
The game is scored twice; in the 1st year and then again in the 2nd year (both times during the Winter phase). At the end of the 1st year, Aycee was leading the game with 15 pts and wolfx a close 2nd at 14 pts. Teddy's lowest at 9 pts.

Woflx led the pack in spite of him having a very low "grain taxation" year and was unable to feed two of his provinces leading to one successful revolt (hitting him badly as that province contained a few costly buildings). He's obviously playing for the VPs rather than just a "nice" board position.

In the 2nd year, Teddy was very aggressive in his territory expansion (each province controlled gives you a VP) and most were expecting him to come out tops. We also expected Ang to challenge strongly as his black troops strong position in the northern provinces, with most of them containing valuable VP buildings should provide him with good VPs.

When the scores were tallied after the 2nd year, surprisingly Wolfx managed to retain his lead and came out 39 pts to Ang's 32 pts. A surprise third was Wong LC - even he himself kinda gave up on his board position with control of 3 provinces only (wolfx has 3x as many) - as he scored a 28 pts. This proved that a bad board position (both Wolfx and Wong's board positions cannot be considered strong) is not a pointer to your final VPs. Therefore play for the points, not board position.

SHOGUN VS WALLENSTEIN (and can they be cross-implemented?)
I've already explained earlier in this report why I like the non-scorched earth policy in Shogun. With this, it's easy for us to house-rule Wallenstein and implement similar non-scorched earth policy in Wallenstein which would allow for more "open" play.

I also like the new scoring track board in Shogun but this is not easily implemented in Wallenstein, and neither is it a crucial change.

Player turn order is randomized in Wallenstein, and to make it worse, it's not done until after each player has selected the province card for their 10 actions. Sometimes the wrong turn order can completely screw your plan. In Shogun, they mitigated this by allowing players to bid for turn order (with gold or warchest as called in the game). This means you are not left to the vagaries of "random" to know if you go first before Mr B.

However this also means the rich gets richer and the poor gets less chance to haul in the rich.

As to whether we can implement this "bid for start order" feature back into Wallenstein, in theory it looks possible and simple. Just print copies of the turn order bidding card, and use them in Wallenstein. But I suspect provinces in Japan (ie Shogun) are generally richer (ie able to provide more tax in gold) than provinces in Wallenstein. As such without re-balancing this element, adding turn order bidding card into Wallenstein while it may solve the random turn order issue, may also introduce new issue of not having enough cashflow to move around.

IMHO, a simpler tweak will help for Wallenstein, without having to implement the full "bid for start order" function. In Wallenstein, you do the following in sequence:

1. Lay out general Action Cards
2. Plan your own Action Cards
3. Determine Player Order
4. Choose Current Event
5. Resolve Current Action

I found that if we just swapped #2 and #3, it helps to reduce the player start order randomness. Perhaps I'll house-rule this and try in the next session.

1. Lay out general Action Cards
2. Determine Player Order
3. Plan your own Action Cards

4. Choose Current Event
5. Resolve Current Action

The last two differences favor Wallenstein more than Shogun. First is the taxation level vs farmer's allegiance. In Wallenstein, if a province is only taxed once (per year) the farmer's allegiance still remains with you (which is as it should coz taxation is still a norm in any country). In Shogun, as long as you had taxed a province, even once, the farmers will turn against you. Too petty, I think.

Secondly, in Shogun when a province is attacked, ALL defending units fall in (ie get thrown into the Dice Tower) to resolve the fight! In Wallenstein, the defender can choose how many defending units to commit to the battle. This simple rule can have an impact on how battles are strategized in the game.

Both the above rules are not difficult to implement into Shogun so if you wish to, by all means house-rule them.

Read the full report here including other games played - Space Hulk: Death Angel, Pickomino and Niagara
http://blog.boardgamecafe.net/2010/11/08/boardgamecafe-net-m...
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C.K. Au
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OTK was a BANG last nite!! We took all 3 main tables facing their front door!! Three sessions were gaming concurrently... with OTK's first CIVILIZATION game in session (TQ Ho for bringing his CIV to OTK). 1841 was also brought to tempt Ho to stay. Let's see what else was in play? Nanuk, Homesteaders, Dixit, Roll thru Ages ......& 1960; Homesteaders being played 3 times!! We finally call it a nite at 7:30am this morning!!

READ ABOUT THE FIRST PLAY OF CIVILIZATION @ OTK CHERAS
To read the full sessrep inculding other games played like Nanuk, Homesteaders, Dixit, FITS and 1960 The Making of the President, click here for the full report
http://blog.boardgamecafe.net/2010/12/06/boardgamecafe-net-m...

This has to be the HIGHLIGHT TABLE for the evening! The much awaited CIVILIZATION (Sid Meier) the latest Boardgame from FFG finally made it's first appearance in OTK Cheras! We owed this to Ho (from the Sg Long Weiqi Boardgame group) who had probably the 1st copy of Civilization (Sid Meier) in M'sia and he was kind enough to sacrifice his evening time to drop by OTK to give us a session.



The gamers eagerly helping in setting up the game board for Civilization!



Ho going thru the rules of this not-for-the-faint-hearted game. The others trying hard to look like they were paying attention.



The CIV game getting started... Jimmy's so anxious he needs to stand hehe. Chin (also from the Weiqi Boardgamer Group) dropped by to observe the CIV session.



I didn't listen to the rules for this game - was busy at Table #3 welcoming a group of newcomers to OTK with Homesteaders - therefore my sessrep on this will be brief and more towards photo caption. Will see if ayheng (left above) is writing up a sessrep on this since he was involved in this session (*hint hint*).



The gameboard that describes the map and terrain for the game. It's a grid of 3x3 large tiles forming a 9-tile map that are randomized for each game to add to replayability. Each player (up to four) starts with his capital at each corner of the map.



This is the Egypt civilization played by Ang...



... while ayheng had the German civilization; strangely with the attribute of Democrazy which means they can't attack others!



Nicola and Ang mulling over their CIV moves.



Hmm.. are they playing CIV the Boardgame or some Poker Card game?



Another look at the game map. There are a few paths to victory; one of them is to take over your opponent's capital! There's also the option to nuke others! Ah...



Thanks again to Ho and the Weiqi Boardgamers for bringing this game experience early to OTK Cheras!

Finally I leave you with ayheng's short comment on the game (posted at our FB site).

Quote:
"Thanks to Ho for bringing CIVILISATION, most of us were new to the game and as a consequence, none of us really focused to push towards the game ending, thus we call it off after 4 hours. Technology seems to be the straightforward game end condition but I'm sure culture and coins can be competitive as well. Combat, once again prove to be quite the arms race, resulting in all sides diverting much resources towards building them!"


I'm sure this game will see more play time on the OTK tables soon. BGC has some copies of this hot game being fast-shipped in and we are expecting their arrival middle of next week. They'll be available from our webstore at just Rm215 with free shipping to anywhere in M'sia.


Get your copy of Civilization from our webstore now

In return, I tempted Ho with 1841v2 but too bad he has a working Saturday.. ah Tuesday is another public holiday? Dare we think "18xx Day"?



More photos available from our Facebook Album
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=253100&id=219516071301
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