Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Session Report

Al, Rob and I got to the store at the crack of dawn to start Here I Stand. Counting setup and tear down, we played for about five and half hours. Rob controlled the French and Turks, Al commanded England and the Protestants, and I was both Holy, Roman and the Emperor. With three players (instead of six) you get plenty of control, but it's somewhat overwhelming. I suspect the full compliment of players shaves 15 minutes or more off of each turn. (I think we did the turns in a bit more than an hour each, with the first turn taking longer).

Despite Talmudic study, I got rules wrong. We didn't figure out how to use the debater / reformer bonuses until after three 0'clock. These are the troops of the reformation, and each individual has a unique character. That makes the Protestant/Papal decisions much more interesting, and removes my criticism that those powers simply push chits around. And there were others. Germany starts under the Hapsburgs, and we completely forgot the Diet of Worms. (Oops. Schoolchildren across America only know the Reformation because of the gross meal everyone ate. OK, that's a lie. They don't know about it at all.)

After three turns both the Papacy and the Hapsburgs stood ahead of the pack, but Rob raised the black flag and scoured the Barbary Coast, picking up VPs and cards, which let him make a desperation Assault on Algiers. The Janissaries prevailed, and Rob squeezed out the win by a single VP.

The game holds my interest [I discussed it on my blog] and I'd like to play again (with more people) before I go back to work. The tournament scenario can probably be done in 3-4 hours, once everyone knows it. And if we can't get up another game, perhaps PBEM.

After that, small easy games were the order of the day. And games with sitting. Short games require short summaries.
  • Tumblin dice -- The luck of shuffleboard with the skill of dice!
  • To Court the King -- I'm glad to finally see this released.
  • Mag Blast -- Pleasantly surprised. Good quick fun. Glorp!
  • King's Gate -- Samurai-esque Knizia game with too much chrome. But fine.
  • Arena Maximus -- De gustibus non est disputandum.
And then I got in a final game of Lord of the Rings -- The Confrontation. They didn't film this version, although I'd pay $8 to see Elijah Wood eaten by a Warg. But that's just me.


At 12:15 PM, December 19, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Its sounds to me like Simon was there with his new pile of games!

Mag-Blast is great fun, especially when the sound effects rule is enforced.

Here I Stand sounds interesting... I worry about downtime with complex, long multi-player wargames... plus being the product of catholic high school / college, my education didn't spend very much time covering the Reformation. :) Still, I'm a strong believer in teamwork and loyalty among wargamers, so count me in.

At 12:26 PM, December 19, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

The temptation (ahem) to play Here I Stand is growing... I'm just not sure how many long, complex, multi-player immersive games I want to juggle in my brain.

Jim, my wife's co-worker, arrived about 7pm with project Gipf in tow. Interesting games, but all two player abstracts, which don't fit that well with open group gaming. We played 2 games of Gipf, 1 Yinsh, and 1 Dvonn. I liked Gipf best. The others were interesting, but I couldn't imaging playing them repeatedly.

I began seducing him into euros with Through the Desert. At this point Brian stuck his head in the room; in retrospect I should have asked him to join us for TtD. Sorry. -5 BPs for me.

But I give myself +5 BPs for getting a new person to show up, so I guess I'm even.

At 12:40 PM, December 19, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Oh, and I enjoyed LotR:C. I find the good guys have a hard time of it. The key seems to be getting Frodo over the mtns.

Short and fun. If it were longer I'd be upset about the randomness of some decisions, but the length is about right, IMO.

Never played the deluxe, but I like the "travel version" just fine.

At 12:48 PM, December 19, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

Arena Maximus was probably the only game I got from the FFG clearance sale that wasn't worth five bucks, BUT we missed one EXCRUCIATINGLY CRITICAL RULE: your speed pool counts as your hand size... So if you're going 5 cards fast, you only get a hand of two cards. Not sure if that would save the game, but it would certainly make it dramatically better. I was surprised with your generous four rating, Brian - only one point lower than its' poor owner's rating.

At 1:19 PM, December 19, 2006, Blogger Brian said...

Shh. If word gets out that I'm a soft touch in ratings, I'll lose my curmudgeons card.

As I said, I remember seeing this played and taking an hour or so to get started, so our rules+game in 45 minutes (or so) was a nice surprise.

At 3:18 PM, December 19, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

LotR:C Deluxe is awesome when you use both sets, play with hidden draft (i.e., your opponent doesn't know which character version you're using), and you each pick two of the four ultra-power cards (hidden as well). Rob and I played this way recently and the game tension was quite high!

At 11:57 PM, December 19, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

So... Uhhh... What's up with the contributor pane being a shrine to Ben now?

I notice other changes in Blogger's CSS code as well... Interesting.

At 7:22 AM, December 20, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I upgraded the site to the new non-Beta Google blogger. Apparently it changed a few items of our template, which we'll have to recustomize. Apparently since I was the original creator of the blog it decided to add the shrine-to-Ben thing... Now I'm trying to figure out how to delete.

At 7:41 AM, December 20, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Fixed it... I had to re-add everyone...

Simon, take a look at the new template modification screen.... I'm afraid to touch without your involvement...

At 9:36 AM, December 20, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Crap....typed a lengthy opinion on HiS, but lost it by accident. ANyway, it is a great game, and you can do a decent job by just reading Ben's "learn HiS in 20 minutes". That's all i read. Sorry Brian...that meant that the weight of being the DM, was mostly on you. Of course we were bound to miss a few things from a 44 page rulebook. Still to the onlookers, yes, you can enjoy this game quite a bit with just reading the 20minute article AND probably reviewing your faction's powers. That's all you need. Jon? Ben? Ted? We need to do this with 6.

Ben: agreed that LotRC with hidden character selection AND 2 out of 4 secret special card powers was pretty sweet (for such a short game).

Ted: Juggling heavy wargames in your head.... I just 'delete' them from my head after play. My head is full of medicine, and I don't want to permanently 'store' complicated rules in it (hey, medicine is all I've done for the past 11 years....that's why I RULE at trivia games!!!....pathetic). Everytime I go back to one of the previously played heavies, I just have to REread the whole manual. I stick to short term memory, and not longterm memorization of these games. Not worth it. Heck, if I were to play Hammer of the Scots today, I'd need at least 10 minutes to go over the rules. Trust me...this game is worth it, specially if you have had a chance to read up about the time period a bit. The amount of historical events included in this game is simply astounding....to me at least.


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