A fan of new Knizia games
Billabong Report: 30th May 2000
Present: Alan, David, Karen, Craig, Torben Morgensen, Janet, Doug, Debbie, Steve
Well, I always suspected they breed them tough in Denmark. As Janet and I arrived tonight, in the midst of a severe cold snap in Melbourne, we spied Karen and Craig huddled in their car, as well as David and Alan in another car. And then there was Torben, standing by the door holding a bicycle helmut!
Torben is from Denmark, working in Melbourne for 3 months. This hardy Copenhagener had cycled out from Melbourne to Chadstone, a distance of 20km, in the dark and wet conditions to join us at Billabong. What's more, he was cycling back again at 11pm! I now look on Mik Svellov with new found respect.
Debbie, Karen, Doug, Steve, Alan
We played Karen's special "Fully Imported from Seattle" copy of this game. This is a game that has only hit the table once or twice at Billabong, and it left lingering memories of dreaded tax die rolls, trying to run businesses on shoestring budgets, and going bankrupt with the greatest of ease.
This game was not really any different, but it was a lot of fun. We played with the now mandatory variant that only the first tax die roll of '0' hits - any subsequent die rolls are not counted. In fact this is almost too severe, as we lost a couple of players during the game.
Karen began very strongly - purchasing an early luxury, establishing a couple of businesses which hit often. Alan invested in Love Shack Videos, Debbie into the Shmoo hut. The trouble was they were on page 1, and were instantly covered when the pages got flipped over. Steve started the Stern Smith and Bubba business, Doug went into Spider Web Marketing.
Steve's and Doug's business, along with the Floating Craps gambling den pretty much decided the game. Steve built Stern Smith and Bubba up to a level five business, before losing it to Doug via a hostile takeover card. Steve had earlier lost another business to Debbie via the same card, so it wasn't a great game for Steve.
Karen was the first to go, after a really strong start, a couple of tax rolls hit her hard. Finally, on her turn she hit Doug's Spider Web Marketing business twice (meaning she had to pay $6 to Doug), as well as another $2 to Doug as he was holding the Protection Racket asset. (Tip: that is a very handy card!). Doug picked up one of Karen's luxuries in the ensuing auction.
With Karen gone (and the rest of us feeling inwardly guilty) we ploughed on. Several more tax rolls saw us all go to the brink, but fought back from bankruptcy. Alan and Doug were alternating the play of the Floating Craps card which continued to hit often, three times hitting twice and paying out $14 - a fortune in this game!
Another tax roll and Debbie disappeared. She was just heading off to fetch a two player game to play with Karen, when Doug won the game. A string of incredibly lucky rolls had hit the Craps, Stern Smith and Bubba (4 times for $20) and the Spider Web Marketing. Doug found himself with $30 in his hand and managed to hold it to pick up two luxuries over two turns. It was almost a shock!
Doug: 3 luxuries Alan: 1 Steve: 0 Debbie/Karen: bankrupt
Doug's rating: 6 .. one of those once a year games. A pity really, it just misses the mark, and a little more development would have worked wonders.