Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Gaming at dragon's lair, 2/27

I got there around 5:30 and Jeff was already there looking around. Jon and Chad showed up quickly thereafter and we got into a game of Atlantic Storm. It is a trick taking game with frequent opportunities to backstab. Chad immediately took a huge lead and despite my valiant efforts to table talk the rest of the group into working together and taking him down, he ended up almost doubling each of us.

Next was a game of Fury of Dracula. It has the Scotland Yard hidden movement thing for Dracula except he is the one who is more limited in movement. To counteract this, Dracula can kick your butt as I found out very early. Dennis, Jon, Jeff, and I played the vampire hunters, while Chad played Dracula.

The game started slowly over the first few turns. Jon, Jeff and I were exploring Western Europe, while Dennis covered ground in Eastern Europe. Then right around the first nightfall, newspaper reports pinpointed Dracula's trail in Western Europe, right around the middle of the three of us. He moved immediately, but his options were limited. I happened to move on him, and unaware of how poorly equipped I was to take on Dracula at night, foolhardedly charged into battle. After losing almost all my life, I retreated and licked my wounds to wait for next time. Next time wasn't far off unfortunately. Dracula used a double move during his movement and so feeling safe moving only one, I moved to Berlin to restock and reload for a daytime assault. It was a double cross and once again I ran face first into Dracula in the middle of the night. This time, I wasn't so lucky and ended up in the Hospital after suffering my final 3 wounds.

It turned out my duty was done at this point. Dracula's trail never went cold again, and the following dawn was his last (it turned out to be a veeeery long day). A stake through the heart by Jeff ended the reign of terror.

Finally we played A Game of Thrones. Alot of the mechanics seemed to be heavily borrowing from Diplomacy, but there are alot of changes. I ended up being the noble Starks and ended up only interacting with my nearest neighbor, Jon Greyjoy. It would have been interesting to have a little bit more diplomacy in this diplomacy descendant. As it was, there was very little supporting of outside conflicts. The game seemed to end very quickly with the Baratheons (Chad) running to a decisive victory.

A nice night, and sorry Simon, I would have been happy to give up my spot in that last game.



At 8:33 PM, February 28, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Wow, three games I would have loved to have played! Thank you for the awesome session report.

I hope they all hit the table again when I return.

I haven't read the AGOT books, which seem to get pretty mixed reviews. I've heard the game is a good one though, so I'm tempted to buy... or at least read the first book.

At 9:10 PM, February 28, 2006, Blogger Jonathan W. said...

I thought AGOT was alright, I would play it again though.

The big thing that I did not like about the game was the way the starting spots on the board were set up.

For 3/4 of the game it was pretty much a two player game between me and Michael, and if I had not felt like stirring up some trouble with Jeff it would have stayed that way.

At 10:45 PM, February 28, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

I'm getting AGOT....someday. I 've dreamt ofhaving 6 player game (with expansion) for a while now.

At 3:13 AM, March 01, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

I agree with Jon about the way the game played out. I had no interaction with anyone other than Jon throughout the game which did work to my benefit later on in the game when ties were broken: "You're far away from me, you get the tie". I do think that was more due to my inexperience than the fault of the game. I didn't quite understand how important a decent navy would be until much later in the game. Had I built up a decent force off my east coast, perhaps Chad and I would have clashed.

I thought both AGOT and Fury of Dracula were games where I needed one throwaway game under my belt before I can fully get into them. I hope we can get games in of both in the future.

Incidentally, I would recommend the books, and playing the game last night made me want to go back and reread them. After I finish rereading them, if you want to borrow them, just let me know.

At 8:58 AM, March 01, 2006, Blogger Jeff said...

I wasn't crazy about Atlantic Storm. It was much lesss wargamey than I expected for an Avalon Hill game about merchant convoys during WWII. I'd be willing to give it another crack sometime in the future, though.

Fury of Dracula was excellent. Chad did an outstanding job of keeping us unsure of where he was, but some lucky draws on our part limited his options and let us corner him in Germany. The 'one player versus a team' mechanic (Fury of Dracula, Scotland Yard, Lords of the Rings with Sauron expansion) is really cool.

A Game of Thrones combines two game types that I suck at: wargames and diplomacy. I suppose that one could argue that any wargame that has more than two players is also a diplomacy game. When it looked like Jon was going to head north to squabble with Michael early, I left my northern border (I was south of Jon) open as an unspoken implication that he and I could be friendly neighbors. Mistake #1. I then started a two-front war with Chad and Ted (I finally met Ted!). Mistake #2. I never actually attacked Ted, since the 'footmen can't attack' card came up on the turn I was planning to smash into him. Then the inevitable backstab from Jon hit in my port/home territory. Not to imply that Jon is untrustworthy - far fom it. We had no verbal or written agreement and I fully expected that if he didn't crush Michael, then he would be coming after me. Sure enough, Michael held his ground and Jon came south looking for suplies, castles, and power. Great game.

At 4:39 PM, March 01, 2006, Blogger Brian said...

I do want to try Fury, and I own AGoT. [In fact, someone on BGG offered my the GOT expansion for Shadows over Camelot ... if any of you want to do that trade, let me know]. I think that Game of Thrones is an interesting idea that doesn't quite work. It also really wants the full five players.

At 7:21 PM, March 01, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I'd trade away SoC, but I'm keeping hope alive that the forthcoming expansion will make it much better.

Atlantic Storm: Overrated??? Wow.

My Fury of Dracula copy is still doomed to wait until WoTC's expansion ships sometime in April/May/June 2006.... Sniff, sniff...

At 10:01 AM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Kendahl said...

Sorry I missed it. There are too many games that I need to play and I haven't been able to attend any game sessions lately. Hopefully things will slow down and I will be able to attend more often...

At 1:08 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Great session report. Sorry I had to bail out early on Game of Thrones. I'm sure that changed the game quite a bit. I know Dennis benefited from having all my troops suddenly become inactive.

I really liked Game of Thrones. Granted we didn't have much diplomacy, but we were playing fast and it was a learning game. Clearly the starting position creates special situations for the various factions, but if the designer did their job well (a big assumption), then it should still be balanced.


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