Board Game Session Report for August 29, 2002: Piecepack Hanging Gardens, Pueblo, Burn Rate, Goldland


Danger Planet open gaming. 3-player Piecepack Hanging Gardens, 3-player Pueblo, 3-player Burn Rate, 5-player Goldland.

Piecepack Hanging Gardens

Players were Ralph, Karl and myself. We all played for the first time.

I've wanted to try an actual Piecepack game for a while, and Karl brought his set to try a new game.

This game is about creating terraces, planting gardens, and placing an observer. The idea is to create a garden with many different colors within the observer's line of sight, elevating him for extra points, and creating symmetry for extra points.

We spent ten minutes going over the rules. Ralph had a hard time following the rules, but Karl seemed to pick it up fairly well, after mulling over the line-of-sight rule. I was somewhere in between, grasping it a little, but not realizing the implications of having Karl's observer beside and above mine, reaping all the points I gained and then some. The game lasted 15 minutes, and Karl won.

The game is quick enough that I'd try it again to see how additional games could play out.


Players were Ralph, Karl and myself. Karl played this game before.

In this game, players lay cublets onto a game board, and move a pawn around the board. If the pawn has line-of-sight to a player's cublet, that player gains a point for each exposed face at ground level, two points for the second level, and so on. When the pawn is at a corner, players gain a point for each exposed face in that quadrant as viewed from above. The goal of the game is to have the lowest score when all players have played their cublets, and then the pawn makes a final lap around the board.

Karl is great at these sorts of games. Ralph and I were floundering, playing this for the first time. Though I was doing well towards the beginning, my score shot ahead later on. The game ended at 40 minutes (including rules explanation.)

Observe the pretty structure at the end of the game. Too many cyan cublets exposed for my taste! (Note the nifty miniature we used from my newly purchased When Darkness Comes for the observer.)

The game is interesting enough for me to try again to see how additional games play out.

Click here to buy your own copy at

Burn Rate

Players were Ralph, Karl and myself. Karl and I played for the first time.

This game is about failing dot-coms. Each player runs a dot-com, and starts with $100. Players hire development managers, sales reps, human resources personnel, and managers. Players need engineers to work on bad ideas that other players play on them through their sales reps. If a player doesn't have enough engineers, they'll need to hire expensive contractors. Bad ideas stick around (eating away at the budget) until a skillful development manager can release the project. (Higher salaried sales reps accept the most bad ideas in their self-important roles.) Additional cards help hire, fire, get funding, poach opponents employees. Plus, you can get opponents to make bad hires. Cards are played based on the level of skill of your or your opponent's employees, so it's important to retain the best employees, while leaving the worst for your opponents. Game continues until only one player has money. (We grabbed the money from Karl's copy of Kingdoms to keep score.)

Ralph took about five minutes to explain the game. I started out pretty good, spending the least amount of money each turn. However, I had a horrible VP of sales and I couldn't get rid of him. He kept attracting all the bad ideas that couldn't be played on the other players, so I lost all my money first. Karl and Ralph seemed about even, money-wise, through the game, though the expenses were piling up on Karl. Ralph seemed to have cleared his problems when Karl, who didn't find the game engaging, resigned, leaving the victory to Ralph. The game took about 50 minutes.

Looks like any old card game in which you sink your fortunes into the void.

I thought the game had an engaging concept. The theme seemed to superficially reflect the workings of high-tech companies in that Dilbert-sort of way. Ralph though the game plays better and quicker with four people.

Click here to buy your own copy at


Players were Ralph, Doug, Jeff, Karl and myself. Ralph and I played before.

We spent 17 minutes going over the rules. Doug and I ended up following the edge of the map to get to the temple. Ralph was close enough to jump in on that path. Karl and Jeff went off in another direction and had no hope to get to the temple. Jeff, however, focused on setting up camp everywhere possible. I was able to get to the temple first, then hop over to a desert and collect the treasure on it in a desperate attempt to boost my score. (I wasn't setting up enough camps to score well.) The game ended in a little over an hour and a half, Doug scoring the win because he stole an adventure token from Jeff.

Fully explored Goldland end-game.

This game emphasized an ambiguity (or is it my misconception) in the rules. I thought a player gets an adventure token for setting up camp in the plurality of unique adventure tiles. Everyone else interprets the rules literally and says that a player gets an adventure token for setting up the plurality of camps in like adventure tiles. We flipped a coin and decided to play the later ruling.

Click here to buy your own copy at

Click here and scroll down to "29th" for Ralph's take on our games.

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