Board game club session: Killdog, Amazonas, Sunda to Sahul

Yesterday’s board game club session was quite splendid. I got to play several interesting games. It was also great to see Robert, now back from a few month trip to Singapore.

Don kicked off the session. Even though Don has pretty neat chips in itself, I instantly replaced them with my spanking new poker chips (which got a lot of admiration in general). Maybe it was that effect that blasted me to a clear victory. Don’t know, but I’m rather growing on Don, it’s a very clever little game.

Olli had brought Amazonas, which was nice, since it’s pretty high on my must-try list and I’ve even been considering getting it. That just might be worth it, because it turned out to be a very good game. It’s a fairly light affair, with simple rules and objectives. The turns move swiftly and the game’s over in less than hour. That’s always good.

In Amazonas, players put up tents in villages to collect animal symbols. Animal symbols are points in the end and income during the game. Everybody has an secret objective, which is to connect four villages around the board. The decisions are fairly simple, so Amazonas works as an family game, while at the same time it should satisfy gamers looking for quick entertainment.

I’m a bit divided now, as I do enjoy the game, but since Olli has it and I’ll be able to play it in the board game club, I might not need to get it. I’m not sure if it’s that good.

Last week I bought six water pistols. Guess why? To play Killdog, of course. The pistols cost me 50 cents each and they are rather garish green and blue, but hey — it’s better than pointing other players with your finger.

I wrote an description earlier, in case you don’t know a bit about the game. It turned out to be fun! The game was close, nobody got a big break. Robert and Tuomas tied the game with 50 dollars each (the game has total of 300 dollars). There were six of us, so if we had divided the loot equally, everybody would’ve got 50 dollars, now others were left short (some money was left in the end). Interesting, and goes to show how doing things cooperatively beats fighting in the end…

I’d like to try the game with less people. It was fun with six, but might get a bit more interesting with less, as the risk of getting shot gets higher and dividing money gets easier. Anyway, if you’re looking for a fun party game, KillDog is a good choice.

We had another go of Australia, this time with three players. The game was much better than with five. I continued dominating the continent. I had a huge lead in the start, then Ville caught me. However, I retaliated and scored about 30 points or so on my next turn. The guys also let me score 20-30 free points from the windmill track, so it was certainly a case of experienced player beating the snot out of two newbies.

Anyway, it was fun. I’m still not quite sure if Australia has staying power or not, but right now it’s a fun game for three (and probably four). Even though I’m generally not a huge fan of highly tactical games, I find Australia quite fun.

It must be about two years since I’ve last played Sunda to Sahul, so I jumped at the chance to play it. We played the no turns game, obviously, but used the new scoring rule Ilari devised. The system is essentially the same as in Web of Power: the player with the most tokens on an island scores the total amount of tokens on the island, the player with the second most tokens scores the amount of tokens the player with the majority has and so on.

The two-year break hadn’t ruined my skills, it seems, as I won tied the first game with Enni. We were quite superior. In the second game I just got locked in the start and even though I caught up, I came third.

I’m not completely sure I like the scoring. I think I prefer the original scoring, as I’m not sure if I want to care about the scoring while I play. I prefer to keep my mind on the actual task of putting together the pieces. With the scoring, one must keep an eye on the map for good scoring opportunities and that just doesn’t work for me.

After stone age Australia it was time to jump to medieval Germany and In the Shadow of the Emperor. It was better the second time, now I knew what to do. For example, I jumped at the Duchy of Saxony to secure some income. That was a good move.

I also played aggressively to be the emperor. It failed on the first turn, but second time I got the Church voting power card and secured the emperor seat by having as many votes as the other players together — and for some reason, the guys didn’t vote for the current emperor.

I also tried to be fluid, shifting my positions to score as many points as possible. That worked fairly well. I had lots of money throughout the game so I could do basically what I wanted. However, despite my better moves, I came second, with a measly one-point margin. Too bad.

Robert learned a newbie lesson: he didn’t build a city in the first round and ended up regretting it, as he didn’t get the last city on board at all. I don’t think there’s really a reason not to play the cities as fast as possible, as even though they are expensive, they are the key to higher income. Especially the first turn city, which will pay for itself no matter what.

Samurai was another good game I hadn’t played in a while. It was fun to go back and it was a rather feisty fight. The brilliant Knizia scoring rules proved their worth in the end: I was thinking I might get possibly two majorities, but it turned out I didn’t have any, as I was tied in rice paddies with Robert and Olli, the dirty rat, had stolen a buddha from me on the last turn. Nodoby had any majorities, then, and Olli had one piece more than me and Robert, so in the end he won, thanks to his last turn maneuver. Neat move, and the game was certainly interesting to the last moment.

Last up was a quick round of High Society. Well, quick and quick, as once again the red-bordered cards were stacked in the end. The gmae suffers when the cards stack like that, I think. Tuomas wasted money like crazy, but in the end surprised at least me by showing the most money — he hadn’t used his $25 bill. Robert, however, took the victory with quite decent 28 points.

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7 thoughts on “Board game club session: Killdog, Amazonas, Sunda to Sahul”

  1. Kill Dog does look like a lot of fun… I just found the rules on the Geek. They are a bit unclear but we might give them a go, before it is published professionally.

  2. It’s definitely worth a try. The rules are quite simple, too. Take 16 5’s, 11 10’s and 5 20’s, draw four each round. Choose cards, point guns, threaten and intimidate, back off if necessary, reveal cards. Those who weren’t shot or didn’t back off split the money, but making change is not allowed. If you can’t split it, it remains for the next round. That’s it. Repeat for eight rounds (ie. as long as you have cards to play).

  3. You’re right. I reread the rules and they are perfectly clear.
    I’ll have to see if I can pick up some cheap toy pistols. They are not too popular in these politically correct times…

  4. Thanks again for the Club, which ended around 4 am after 2 1/2 hour long Amun-Re.
    I guess you could start separating people with same names. The guy with Amazonas is Olli M. I’m the dirty rat (nothing against being such a cute and wise animal, but I don’t think I even played nasty this time).

  5. Yeah, my group recently tried Kill Dog too and enjoyed it more than expected (though we also found the translation (English) unclear and had to debate a bit about the intent of various things). Did it with 6 players, which was chaotic but fun, and with as few as 3, which was also fun. Played about 4 times. We didn’t have guns though, so just used our fingers to point! 🙂

  6. Sounds like a great evening of gaming. Samurai & High Society are two of my all-time favorites and Australia & Shadow of the Emperor are two of my new favorites.
    Amazonas is currently in route from Germany, I didn’t realize it had a “secret mission” element too it, I hate that mechanic.

  7. I don’t think the secret mission element in Amazonas will ruin your enjoyment. It’s relatively minor — you just need to connect four villages on the map. They are separated all over the place, so it takes some planning, but I think it’s very important for the game, to give you some limits and constraints and goals. Otherwise you wouldn’t have to go around much; now you need to figure out how to connect your mission villages. It’s rather important, I believe, but if you dislike secret missions enough, you can play them public. That won’t spoil the game.

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