Thursday, December 25, 2008


I played a game a couple of years ago called Australia, and I really liked it. I bought a used copy off of a friend, but I've only played it a couple of times since. I am terrible at that game! In the 6 plays to date, I believe I've only won once, and that was against some new players I'd just taught the game to.

I talked Mike and Tyler into playing it yesterday, and taught them the rules, and once again I finished dead last! I guess I just don't get this game.

In Australia players place Rangers in different locations on the board in order to complete Conservation and Industrialization projects. Conservation projects are completed by filling each location around a Region with at least 1 Ranger. Industrialization projects are completed by getting a specific total number of Rangers in locations around a Region, as indicated by a tile on the board.

On your turn you get 2 actions from a short list of 3 possible actions: Move your plane, Play a card, Pick Up Rangers.

Move your plane: Simply place your airplane pawn in any region you want. This dictates where you are able to place Rangers.

Play a card: Each card has a color, and some combination of Rangers and Coins that totals 4 (i.e. 4 Ranger, 3 Rangers+1 Coin, 2+2, or 1+3). In order to play a card, it must bear the color of the region where your plane sits, or you must pay $3. When you play a card, you get the money indicated on it, and you get to place Rangers (up to the number indicated) into any one location adjacent to your plane's region. If you choose to play no Rangers, you get 2 points on the score track. After playing a card, you draw another, and you get to chose which split (Rangers/Coins) it will be (but you don't know the color)

Pick Up Rangers: You have a limited supply of Rangers, so there will be a time when you will need to pick them back off the board in order to place them again. You are allowed to pick up a maximum of 4 Rangers at a time, from locations adjacent to your plane.

You get to take 2 of these actions on your turn, in any combination (including the same action twice). In addition to your actions, you can pay $4 to move 1 Ranger from anywhere on the board to anywhere else. This is pricey, but can result in good scoring opportunities.

When one of the scoring conditions occurs, points are awarded for each Ranger adjacent to the region being scored. An additional 3 point bonus is given to the player who's turn it is. There is an "advanced rule" involving a Windmill - which is a way to commit Rangers to a side Area Majority scoring thing, which is significant scoring, especially late in the game.

I like the style of the game, but I don't understand why I'm so bad at it! I really like the way the cards work as well - more Rangers in play and less money, or more money and fewer Rangers on the board. One downfall of the game is Analysis Paralysis, but it shouldn't be so bad because you've only got 2 cards in your hand - even if you examined every possible play on the board it shouldn't take all that long. Scores are high and swingy in this game, which might be a turn off for some people. And the values of an Industrialization project are unknown until someone flies their plane into the area. That doesn't bother me at all, though I got kinda stuck last game with a lot of high numbered tiles which never got enough Rangers around them to score. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong. I'm going to try to play this game some more in order to figure it out.

No comments: