Friday, May 25, 2007

Memorial Day Gaming

Though I still feel a bit spent from last weekend's marathon gamefest, I predict I'll be ready for board gaming on Monday. Sadly, Tide of Iron won't yet be in my greedy paws, but there are a lot of other great games the holiday will allow us time to play.

Unless someone is willing to host and start early, I recommend Dragon's Lair at 1000 AM. If you're interested, please post a reply listing when you will show up and what you'd like to play.



At 3:52 PM, May 25, 2007, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

I'm there.

At 4:49 PM, May 25, 2007, Blogger Brian said...

I'll be there. I could live with a long game (like Here I Stand, or Seven Ages) from 10-whenever, then lighter fare from that point. Or perhaps a few medium weight games (like Mare Nostrum).

But I'll be there, with many a story from this week. And games.

At 4:52 PM, May 25, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

Mare Nostrum is something I'm highly interested in playing.

Chris, Steve: You've been asking me about Runebound... Monday could be a good day to play. Or, Arkham... Or, BattleLore... Or, more WotR.

At 6:11 PM, May 25, 2007, Blogger Michael said...

7 ages at 10 sounds perfect except for that whole Jon on his honeymoon thing. Still, please let this happen.

At 7:39 PM, May 25, 2007, Blogger Carlos Pena said...


At 9:16 PM, May 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Monday gaming, I'll be at DL at 10. Either Runebound or Arkham sounds good. I'm always up for Battlelore. I'm also interested in playing Mare Nostrum again. Beyond that, whatever new games hit the table (which is most of them for me) are good.

At 9:26 PM, May 25, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

I'll bring Runebound, Arkham, Mare, and BattleLore, plus maybe a filler or two.

At 1:42 AM, May 26, 2007, Blogger Al said...

I can be there Monday at 10. I nominate Mare Nostrum, Settlers of Catan: Fall of Rome, that Pirate game I can never remember the name of, Manifest Destiny, Axis and Allies Battle of the Bulge, War of the Rings, Descent. I'm not particularly fond of Arkham, but I'll play if you guys want to. The expansion probably makes it better.

At 6:27 PM, May 26, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

Steve and I are playing WotR starting at 0800 hours at his pad, so it may be closer to noon by time we show up.

We played a close fought match of WotR this morning, with Steve achieving terrible Shadow victory about one turn too quickly for the forces of goodness. Argh! He played an excellent match and withstood every trick I could throw at him. At one point I had both Mount Gundabad and Dol Guldur besieged by the North (a rare thing indeed!), and was just a few lucky rolls away from Free People military victory. The Ents even helped out by totally annihilating a ten-unit army Steve sent to the rescue. Alas, it I just couldn't take these two strongholds quick enough and it wasn't long before I was beaten back to Lorien, which then fell as the hobbits scampered up the final steps of Mount Doom. Well done, Steve!

The lesson I'm learning is that I'm still being too cautious with the Fellowship. I was two steps from the rink dunk at the end with three companions left, Smeagol as the guide, three cards in hand that healed corruption, and only 5 corruption on the board. I could have pushed much harder, and one turn would have resulted in a win.

At 6:45 PM, May 26, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

I can be there by 10am. I'd love to do Here I Stand with 6, or 7 Ages (although have never played). I'll do the medium to lighter stuff too specially given how many heavies I did last weekend.

At 1:38 AM, May 27, 2007, Blogger Schifani said...

WotR is great. It was Groundhog Day, where Ben outplayed me but I blundered along to a win.

I spent a lot of resources chasing Aragorn to Dol Amroth, and a lot of red figures got smoked trying to take Lorien for the 10th VP.

Ben did a super job in two major areas; he effectively mobilized the north so that he had a strong chance for a military victory, and he navigated the Fellowship into a position to win. I ended up about two action dice ahead of his certain victory.

As the Shadow I've been able to calculate when military victory is possibly in reach, but I'm so far not good at perceiving when it's time to hammer the ringbearer. Still much to learn. I'm enthusiastic about playing this game a lot more, it's definitely worth it.

At 1:34 PM, May 27, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

Steve... since we've hijacked my own post... here's something we messed up on that would have helped you (from the official FAQ):

Can I use the Event cards that allow me to muster units if the
Region(s) where they allow mustering is occupied by an
enemy army?

If the Region contains a Stronghold in which you are being
besieged or which you are besieging you can use the Event card to Muster units into your besieged or besieging army if the
conditions on the card are met, this is the only way to Muster
units in a Region containing a Stronghold under siege.

At 9:33 PM, May 27, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

that Pirate game I can never remember the name of

just saw Pirates of the Caribbean 3 today, which was very good now I'm in a piratey mood. I'm bringing this lovely 'gang bang the leader' game.

At 9:34 PM, May 27, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

I might make it slightly after 10 am though. We'll see. Just don't wait up if something is being planned (or someone call me).

At 9:27 AM, May 28, 2007, Blogger Carlos Pena said...

The rain looks to be breaking today, so I will be off somewhere with the kids. Looks like I will not be able to make it. Hope you all have a good session.

At 11:36 AM, May 29, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

The early morning saw my most decisive defeat ever in WotR! Steve positively pummelled me with a major win with the Free Peoples, no less. He slam dunked the ring without losing or separating a single Fellowship member, and Smeagol even joined on as honorary guide for the final stretch. I made it as high as 6 VPs, but I was easily 3-4 turns away from winning. I was so blown away by getting my butt destroyed so badly, I had to then go work out for an hour to shake it off before I headed over to DL.

Many thanks to Chris and Dennis for the spirited game of Runebound. The game did run a tad long, but I attribute some of that to the noisy environment and initial learning curve. Overall I felt we kept the game clicking along at a good pace, and things always seemed interesting. The nice race at the finish was pretty exciting!

At 12:03 PM, May 29, 2007, Blogger Schifani said...

Ben usually cuts me a break in some major area every game. Most of the time his combat rolls in major sieges fail him. This was the first time our combat rolls were pretty even. He blew Minas Tirith and Helm's Deep away without a sweat.

This game my break came in his Hunt rolls and tile draws. I was ready to sacrifice Gandalf to the first 3+ or maybe the second 2, but it never came. He missed on so many hunt rolls, rerolls, bonus to rolls, etc., it allowed me to really push the fellowship hard. Gray Gandalf's free card draw (since he was alive so long) allowed me to go through the character deck much faster than normal, and I played every protective fellowship card I could.

An unusual game. Ben saw the best way to salvage the situation, had his 10 VP attacks lined up, and was pressing them all, but I had enough of a jump to get to the end.

We are getting much faster, this game took about an hour and 40 minutes.

At 2:43 PM, May 29, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

Yes... WotR in less than two hours was very cool. I feel we've entered the sweet spot of the learning curve where everything in the game and the expansion is second nature, and we can focus totally on strategy rather than mechanics.

Some new thoughts after our last game:

- I had previously been underwhelmed by the impact of siege equipment, but I clearly learned the cost of not having any. Sieges that should have only taken 1-2 turns stretched to 3-4 turns or more, and this is a killer for the Shadow.

- I'm now thinking two dice is the right number to put in the hunt box usually... If you haven't burned him a few times by the time he's at 5 spots from Rivendell, I'd say turn the heat way, way up though.

- As the FP player, don't be afraid to move the Fellowship with three dice in the box. Just pray a bit that the 50/50 odds are in your favor that day.

- An assault on Lorien early still seems like a good idea, though it will be costly. Using Galadriel, Steve canceled 2-3 critical draws of Eye+reveal tiles that would have put him close to losing the game (4-5 corruption a piece). Curse you, White Witch!

- Steve did just fine without the Ents. Rohan was annihilated with minimal effort without them, and I was able to muster every possible Isengard unit very quickly via the Voice of Saruman. Still, after Rohan is gone, it takes a while for Isengard to do anything else constructive.

Okay, that's enough for one comment post...

At 3:17 PM, May 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Runebound was fun (and I'm not saying that just because I happened to win). I did snatch away Dennis' victory in a highly improbable stroke of luck, in that any player wins when they kill High Lord Margoth (by drawing the one card with him on it and beating him) OR they have killed three of his dragon rune hunter henchmen. As the game drew to a close, we had all become powerful enough to have a pretty good chance of success at defeating most monsters. (When Dennis kept preceding several of his to-hit rolls with "I need at least a 3 to hit" and the range of possible 2d10 totals was 2-20, I figured we were getting close to the end of the game.)

Dennis had two red card kills, Ben had two red card kills, and I had one. Dennis was one move away from getting to his last red (teleport magic is nice), and if he hadn't gotten to it, Ben was one move away as well. I was pretty much out of the race but kept chugging away off in some forgotten corner of the board for no real reason, and lo and behold, what did I find? High Lord Margoth's hideout! (I drew the one red card out of at least 15 or more that had Margoth on it).

I had the "Touch of Death" rune (which lets you drop essentially X number of wounds on a creature if you can hit it on one roll) and another Dragon Rune (from my first red card kill) that lets you replace the next melee attack with an auto 3-wound hit.

Tap. Tap. Dead Monster. Win.

My reward was some good-natured boos from Dennis and Ben for my highly improbable come-from-behind win. It really felt like the equivalent of a runner-runner suckout win in poker, as by the last turn, I really had no business winning. Overall, though, I think we all had fun, and I'd definitely play it again. A couple of observations:

1) Dennis noted, and rightly so, that it was pretty incredible that all three of us had a chance to win on the last move, especially in a game that ran several hours and involves a LOT of randomness and luck.

2) Three people seemed like a good amount to play with. I was really concerned about the downtime between player turns taking away from the game experience, but I think that by planning out our next turns while the other players were moving, we kept the game going at a pretty good clip. Plus, a fair number of the events involve all players, so the game keeps your attention even when it's not your turn.

3) If you are not a big fan of randomness and luck determining the outcome of the game, you clearly won't care for Runebound. I think most gamers would probably realize that going in, though, and take it for the light fantasy game it's supposed to be.

4) Player death is supposed to cause discarding of that player's most powerful allies and items. We played a variant that led only to loss of gold but let us keep our items. I thought this was a good modification, as the original rule would have really set us back with each death and stretched the game out even longer with no added fun to show for it.

5) We didn't engage in PVP (except for Dennis' maurading ghost adventurer that kept chasing Ben and I around the board), but it's always an option. Someone dedicated to stirring the pot by actively seeking out other adventurers to kill would have changed the game flavor significantly.

Now THAT'S enough for one comment post.

At 7:17 PM, May 29, 2007, Blogger Carlos Pena said...

SO this is what I missed out on! Thanks all for the great reports. I was at the zoo with the family and finished off the day with some yard work.

Ben or Steve (actually anyone), I hope that we can play a game of WotR. I finally got the expansion set.

I also owe Mark a game of EastFront.

At 7:17 PM, May 29, 2007, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Player death is supposed to ... We played a variant ...

I see the attraction of this variant, especially if the game is fairly deadly. What this does, however, is remove the sting of death. Dying *should* be something you try really, really hard to avoid.

But I've never played, and there are lots of other factors, too.

At 8:08 PM, May 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted, you're right. I saw at least two ways to abuse--er, take advantage of the variant.

1) Since healing can be done only in towns, and only for gold, it can be easier for someone with many wounds and little or no gold to "suicide" themselves by going up against a very tough monster. Maybe you get lucky and fell Goliath and get a nice reward. Even the worst case scenario, though, is not bad--death means instant transport to the nearest town with full healing for you and your allies for whatever meager gold you have (which presumably was not enough to pay for healing by the spirit of the rules).

2) One player (umm, guilty) fought an encounter and lost. I moved to the nearest town which was one hex away. Each turn thereafter, I could move right back to the encounter and try again and again until I got lucky and beat the monster with no penalty other than the turns it took me to beat him.

Yeah, these don't really go with the spirit of the game. But to play for an hour or two and suddenly get your items stripped and feel almost like you were starting over and had lost your investment of two hours time would have definitely been less than fun.

Overall, I think it just depends on who you play with. I didn't gather that anyone really minded that we took advantage of the variant in the aforementioned ways. I do agree that staying alive should be rewarded (ergo, death should be penalized), but for practical reasons I would probably only consider playing with the original death penalty if:

1) playing time was zero factor for everyone involved (which will probably never be the case), because it would definitely take time to get back to your pre-death efficacy in combat, and

2) people really really wanted to play according to the spirit of the rules and felt like the variant (and the exploits above) took away from it enough to sour the game experience.

At 8:51 PM, May 29, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

I'd like to try it someday given how much support and replayability it seems to have.


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