Are you relying purely on word of mouth, macedwin? Anyway i confirm ok la this weekend. Too bad the rest of OTK not coming cept me and ayheng. zzz. And i see some potential ASH in that list. Whoopeee. But i think they're just tagging along with their bfs la. [:p] ayheng+1 is probably some paktorlogy thing going on as well.
Get more A.S.H CAMPAIGN!!
PS: Who's driving up? Can I tumpang? =D Can split petrol and toll.
[/quote]yep, i can tumpang.
an dyes, you guess right. ayheng+1 is some paktorlogy going on. Find your own AASH girls!!!
A big thanks to Edwin for organising the Euro Game Retreat! I really enjoyed it there (despite not getting to try Agricola because some people haven't read the rules [:p] ) and hope there will be many more to come. 
My favourite game: Mission: Red Planet .
Freshest game mechanics: Space Dealer .
Date: 1-2 December 2007Venue: Le Sihat Hall, Selesa Hillhomes
View from Selesa Hillhomes - cool air green hills.
You might be wondering why the hall is called â€œLe Sihatâ€, well itseems that Selesa Hillhomes is home to a regular health wellnessprogram. In fact, on the morning that we arrived, we saw a group ofpeople practicing a sort of massaging technique in an open field usingwooden sticks. Supposedly it helps with the bodyâ€™s lymphatic movements.Well, in our case, we massaged our â€˜brainâ€™ throughout the entireweekend with wooden bits, and what a massage it was!
Another view from back of Le Sihat Hall - bottom just out of view is the open field.
Contrary to speculation, the attendees of Eurogames Retreat 2007arenâ€™t all young working adults with lots of disposable income and nocommitments. In fact, the age range was like 1 to 40 years old. Thecast of characters includes: -
Madhu, Sheila and Daryl - a chess-playing family of husband, wife and son,Elaine, Elfram and â€˜babyâ€™ - another family (but stayed for first day gaming only),Sâ€™ng - Singaporean gamer who was there by default because he bugged Edwin to join last year,Airin (pronounced as I-rene) - Indonesian Chinese working in Singapore,Vivian - Singaporean hotelier working in Malaysia, also Madhuâ€™s friend,Ken - nicknamed wolfx, also bachelor searching for ASH (available single hot) girls,Edwin, Shaun, Jian Fei and Galouh - Edwinâ€™s entourage,Li Li and Heng - significant other and myself.
Participants listening attentively to Edwinâ€™s opening speech -table no.2 on left: Sheila and Heng; table no.3 on right: Daryl,Vivian, Li Li and Shaun; table no.1 in front: Airin and Jian Fei.
View from back of Le Sihat Hall - Not seen on previous picture:Madhu on table no.1, Galouh and Sâ€™ng on table no.2 (backs to camera)
All told, there were 15 of us at one time (16 if you count the baby) and 13 of us when Elaine and Elfram left. Edwin sat out for most ofthe games (poor guy!) to arbitrate on the proceedings. The result isthat there were 3 tablesâ€™ of game going on at all times with 4-5players each.
Organiser Edwin bringing out the first bunch of games.
Gaming started with light fillers. Instead of everyone doing Pickomino like last year, starters for this year were more varied:Table1: Canâ€™t StopTable 2: UptownTable 3: Die Dolmengotter Uptown was really a simple game to play and I had notrouble smashing my way to victory. Itâ€™s an abstract tile laying gamewith the objective of connecting as many of your own tiles as possible.To this end, the middle of the board is an important point to hold.There is also the secondary strategy of building a great line as quickas possible to block off your opponentsâ€™ route. In terms of complexityit is on par with Blokus but the scores would be much closer due to the mostly open nature of the game.
Table no.2 doing Uptown - from left: Sâ€™ng, Galouh, Sheila and Heng.
Closeup of Uptown.
Canâ€™t Stop is a simple dice game which some how ran long because all the players got bad dice rolls.
Closeup of Canâ€™t Stop.
Die Dolmengotter on the other hand is a classiceurogame with minimalist graphics and intriguing gameplay. Itâ€™s a gameabout druids but as Ken commented, you canâ€™t really see the theme fromthe plain boards and bits. However, that still didnâ€™t stop Li Li fromenjoying the game and commenting â€˜can we get this game?â€™ after playingit.
Table no.3 doing Die Dolmengotter - from left: Daryl, Vivian, Li Li and Shaun.
Closeup of Die Dolmengotter.
Next up is a short tea break and then a step up in game complexity:Table 1: DarjeelingTable 2: Chang ChengTable 3: StonehengeThese three games are 2007 Essen releases and Iâ€™m at table 1 playing Darjeeling.There were some rules taught wrong (which seems to be the recurringtheme throughout the retreat due to the large number of new gamesplayed for the 1st/2nd time). But that didnâ€™t stop us from enjoying thegame. The gameâ€™s premise is that the players are tea companiescompeting to produce and ship teas. Sounds like a typical produce andship game, right? Well, the difference is in the gameâ€™s all fresh andnew mechanics. The tea â€˜plantationâ€™ which the players compete on areactually made up of square tiles which when collected, can be formedâ€˜carcassonneâ€™-like into tea crates to be shipped. Very novel.
The other innovation of the game is in the concept of shipping. In Darjeeling,the tea crates shipped are not scored and discarded immediately.Instead, the tea crates shipped will generate victory pointscontinuously until newer teas are shipped, causing the old teas tobecome â€˜out of fadâ€™. The timing of the tea shipping can become criticalas players try to position their tea as the â€˜last wordâ€™ in the latesttea fad.
Table no.1 doing Darjeeling - Elaine and â€˜babyâ€™ at top joining from game#2 onwards.
Super cool Darjeeling components - the victorypoint track, shipping boats and demand slide/barometer at top - the teapickers in the â€˜tea fieldsâ€™ of â€˜carcassonne-like tea cratesâ€™ at bottom.
Did not look at Chang Cheng and Stonehenge as the Darjeeling game was the last game to end.
Closeup of Stonehenge.
Table no.3 doing Stonehenge - Elfram at top left joining from game#2 onwards.
We break for lunch before getting together again for the Third Game:Table 1: ZoolorettoTable 2: Neuroshima HexTable 3: Antler Island Antler Island is the latest game by the Lamontbrothers (Fragor Games). Known for their cute themes and cuteminiatures, the Lamont brothersâ€™ Antler Islandrecounts the tale of the mightiest Stag of them all. In this game, theplayers feed, grow an impressive set of antlers, mate with does andfinally lock horns with other stags in an ongoing â€˜king of the hillâ€™battle. The game mechanics are simple enough and the â€˜programmedordersâ€™ mechanic provides some interesting and unexpected results. Itactually reminds me of a Starcraft:the boardgame session in the programmed orders resolution.
The timing of when a stag battles to be the â€˜king of the hillâ€™ isimportant as the last stag left on the hill at the end will earn agreat amount of victory points. In our game, Sâ€™ng timed his battleswell to stay on top for the greater part of the game. However a latecharge by Vivian saw him dethroned and myself snatching the victory asboth Sâ€™ng and Vivianâ€™s stags were left licking their wounds after a bigbattle. I was kinda lucky to be able to snatch victory from the jaws ofdefeat. Overall, this game is an attractive package that plays as wellas it looks.
The visually appealing Antler Island - crazy cute stags shagging doe-ples (doe meeples)
Antler Island player board - â€˜programmed orderâ€™ tokens to the right, antlers made of brown sticks in middle.
The Neuroshima Hex game ended early and the Zoolorettogame was already in the second round. Seems like my game went over timeagain . Iâ€™ve seen/played both games before so nothing much to reportexcept that Iâ€™m considering to get Zooloretto as the game seems well received by everyone.
The chick friendly Zooloretto drawing a crowd- they are in their 2nd game, hence the attention from the othercompleted tables. Madhu seems to be concentrating hardâ€¦ this ainâ€™tchess, man!
Closeup of the Zooloretto player board - note the cutesy animals.
We break for tea again and then to the final game of the day:Table 1: ContainerTable 2: Arkadia - Blue Moon CityTable 3: Siena - HamelnThis is where Edwin made a boo-boo and made us read the rules beforeplaying. I tell you it just doesnâ€™t work (cue rantings of a failed Marvel Heroesgaming in one of my last vacation due to last minute rules readingâ€¦)Although Iâ€™m sure everyone enjoyed tearing open the shrink-wrap andpunching out the counters, everyone sat around looking politelyinterested as the rules reader struggles to read at top speed. At Table1 - I stuck with explaining Container as I had readthe rules online before. But since I am seeing the components for thefirst time it is still tough going for me. I lost Daryl during therules explanation but fortunately the adults bear with me as we got thegame up to speed. The beginning is very slow and I must say that it isbecause of the nature of the game.
Basically the players have to wear many different hats as they playdifferent roles in the supply chain. On one hand the players arefactory producers producing containers and on the other hand, they arealso the port masters, container ship captains and consumers as well(basically every other person in the supply chain). The idea that isdifficult to grasp is that in wearing the many different kind of hats,the player is generally not allowed to buy nor sell the containers fromhimself TO himself at any point. The strategy then is to find ways toget the containers you want to yourself in the most indirect manner.
The other difficult concept about the game is that there is no hardand fast rule on the value of the containers at every point in thesupply chain. There is a range in which the prices may vary but thestrategy in setting the prices again is not clear. The easiest way inunderstanding the economics in Containers is thatcollusion, diplomacy, price fixing, negotiation and cooperationdetermines the prices. Playing this game, one can actually see theeffect of inflation in action as all members of the supply chain triesto jack up the price of the containers for their own selfish benefit.The real world economics reflected in the game is awe-inspiring andscary at the same time. Not one for the faint hearted, a player canactually be shut out entirely if the others refuse to do business withhim.
Surprisingly the other players - Vivian, Sheila and Li Li gave thisgame a thumbs up for requiring real world skills to be put to use inthis game. For me, watching inflation and people trying to get moremoney out of others is actually quite depressingly real world. Woo, Iwant back my stags and tea shipping.
Meanwhile, on the other table, Sâ€™ng had given up on trying to learn Arkadia while Ken lost hope in deciphering Siena. Instead, Blue Moon City and Hameln hit the table and finish well ahead of Containers. Seems like every game Iâ€™ve been in finishes lastâ€¦
Nighttime we took a break from gaming and we chatted during dinnertime. One group (myself, Li Li, Ken and Airin) decide to pay Genting avisit, while others decide a full day of gaming is not enough andsoldier on with Arkadia and Mission: Red Planet. Yet another group decide that they had too much brain massage the whole day and hit the sack early instead.
Early morning we woke up, had breakfast, chit chatted some more and then break our game fast with:Table 1: King of SiamTable 2: Space DealerTable 3: KrumbleIâ€™m at table 2, playing Space Dealerwith Shaun and Galouh. Since its Shaunâ€™s no#XX game, he creamed us. Forthe first time, I was involved in a game that actually finished first,but then with sand timers ticking away, thereâ€™s no time to hesitate asyou try to produce and deliver cubes to distant galaxies for victorypoints. A fun game, I can see myself playing it as a filler game afterbeing all stressed out with the heavy games.
After we finish our game, we went and check out King of Siamat table 1 and during the game end, everyone has the same amount ofinfluence cubes! All four players therefore declare the game a tie!Further examination of the rules by Jian Fei and myself found that thegame was actually taught and played wrongly! From the setup to thetiebreaker calculation, there are little nuances missed which wouldhave made the game more interesting. Haiyor, rules teacher caughtred-handed teaching rules wrong again.
Anyway, after clarifying the rules, Li Li, myself and Jian Fei satdown for a 3-player game and my oh my is it good! Basically the playerstry to gain influence in various factions in Thailand during the age ofpolitical upheaval and British interest. The royalist, with their powerbase in Bangkok fights against the Malay faction in Kedah and the Laosfaction in Luang Prabang.
The interesting thing is that each player only has 8 action cardswith which they influence the power struggles in the 8 provinces ofSiam. So for the whole game, a player only takesâ€¦. 8 actions! Veryfast, very easy, right? Wrong! The proceedings are often intense andthe power struggles are often down the wire. The shift in power iscontinuous and the wrong step can totally hand the victory to someoneelse.
And so, analysis paralysis sets in, and this game is so finely tunedthat the normal end result is a tie! Hehe, so that first game wasnâ€™ttoo far off in its result. But this is a feature rather than a failingof the game system. The game actually lists all the tiebreakerconditions prominently on the player aids as though it will beconstantly referred to even before the game ends! There are tiebreakerconditions for all three of the gameâ€™s possible endings and thechallenge therefore is to balance oneâ€™s influence markers through theproceedings and then deliver the coup-de-grace through the tiebreaker.
The other interesting element in the game is in the taking of theinfluence cubes. To gain influence over a particular faction, a playermust remove the factionâ€™s cube on the board. But doing so weakens thefaction on the board! So the tension comes when deciding how to gaininfluence over a faction yet still ensuring that faction retains itsstrength on board. The only random element in the game is in theinitial setup as the number of royalist, Malays and Laos are notbalanced. Anyway a good game, thumbs up from myself.
Did not manage to learn Krumble but judging from the laughters, itâ€™s probably a fun game.
Once again we break for tea and then proceed to the Last game:Table 1: (Architects of) ArkadiaTable 2: Mission: Red PlanetTable 3: Haste Bock!By this time, Edwin probably had a good idea of what everyoneâ€™sabilities are at and he assigned the players to the order of gamecomplexity. So table 1 saw all the heavy hitters while table 2 have themoderately skilled guys (some might argue that they are just unlucky tohave not win any games!) while the family played at table 3.Accordingly, table 1 has the heavy game, table 2 have the medium gameand table 3 have the cute game. Being the last game, Arkadiais actually quite a standard game where the game mechanics are familiarand possibly seen elsewhere. The game is very simple and the scoringmethod is reminiscence of Reef Encounter. The gameproduction quality is amazing though and the hanging of the flag on theplayerâ€™s tent after scoring is just way cool! I won the last game butthe scores are still pretty tight, which is probably a hint at possiblesubtle strategies that I may have missed in my initial assessment.Still I wonâ€™t mind another game just to find out.
Ken quite enjoyed Mission: Red Planet and my impression is that it is a boardgame version of the Citadels game by the same author. Haste Bock! I did not manage to see as our Arkadia game once again is the last game to finish.
After that Edwin gave a final summing up speech and present prizes for winners! For finishing with most wins, Li Li got Gifttrap, Airin got the Starfarers of Catan miniatures for finishing second while Vivian got the limited edition Ticket to RideMystery Train expansion. Shaun was disqualified for being Edwinâ€™s son(muahaha) while I myself abstained as Li Li already had a prize.
Edwin doing the closing/summing - note the drawing board of all the playersâ€™ standings in the games.
Edwin describing the cool factor of the Starfarers of Catan miniatures.
Li Li and myself caught on camera by Ken.
Airin and her super cool Starfarers of Catan miniatures!
Li Li the overall winner receiving the prize of Gifttrap!
Later we all had lunch at one of the restaurants outside SelesaHillhomes at Janda Baik. Good food and conversation to be had and itwas nice to know all the people there, especially the friendlySingaporeans. They were quite candid about the concept of kiasu-ismamongst Singaporeans but I was surprised to find that waiting in linefor the best bargains is considered kiasu. Sounds more like a shoppingculture to me.
Highlights of the retreat for me are: Darjeeling and King of Siam.Boos for the retreat: Unplayed games!: Agricola, Brass, Die Saulen De Erde. Also boos for the rules mis-teaching (yes, Iâ€™m a picky rules lawyer )
Singaporean gamer Sâ€™ng also graciously left his h/p number andoffered to fix up visiting Malaysian gamers with Singaporean gaminggroups and special interest groups (ASLSK, 18XX, etc.) Ask me for the number.
We had a time, and I wish there were more people coming to share itwith us. To inspire people who were on the fence about this trip inorder to come for the next trip, please remember to save RM20 a monthfor one year and remember that old Malay proverb - â€œHendak, seratusdaya, tak nak, seribu dalihâ€.
Your description of Container sounds intriguing..... It sounds like a game worth trying as the mechanics sounds very different from most other games.
Ta for the excellent report!
Thanks for the report! Too bad Brass didn't get to be played. I am looking for more plays of this game, so do ask Ryan to teach you. Was also hoping to get feedback on Agricola. Haste Bock is a remake of Shear Panic, IIRC, which is a fun game. Die Saulen De Erde was unplayed? Shame. Beautiful board, it has wooden cubes, and a very nice turn marker in the centre i.e. 6-piece wooden cathedral gradually built up during the game.
BTW, it's "Hendak, seribu daya...."
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