Monday, July 16, 2007

Rohan Gone Wild

Jon and I met this morning to give WotR another run-through. Jon had never played witht the expansion before, and I was more than happy to show him the ropes. Jon volunteered to take the Shadow, so I packed up my pipeweed for a long journey.

Despite my warnings, Jon seemed less than impressed with the Ents lurking in Fangorn. Jon repeatedly sent many of Treebeard's pals through the buzzsaw, and before long Fangorn was teaming with angry bushes. Jon sallied forth to lay siege to Helms Deep, but right behind him shot about 10 Ent miniatures making a beeline for Orthanc. After making the journey, the Ents were able to roll a total of 30 dice against Orthanc, then the army outside Helms Deep. Despite atrocious rolling, the Saruman was squished down into maple syrup, though the army outside Helms Deep only took minor losses.

Jon recovered quickly, sending the Snakemen up to snatch Erebor, then lay siege to the Woodland Realm. Jon also sent a strong party of the survivors from Isengard northward to capture the Shire (!) and move onward towards the Grey Havens. Jon also activated the Corsairs and was moving up the coast to Dol Amroth. His plans were well afoot.

Unfortunately, he wouldn't have enough time to carry them out. Emboldened by the example of the Ents, Theoden launched Rohan on a massive jihad, killing everyone who looked like they might have a little bit of orc blood in them from Edoras all the way to Moria. He took Orthanc; he destroyed the Hillmen villages; finally he and his merry band of madmen besieged Moria, defended by the Balrog, two Nazgul, and three orcs. It took a few turns, but in the end, Theoden achieved a Free People's military victory! Meanwhile the Fellowship was taking a nice long picnic nap just south of Lorien somewhere...

Jon then retaliated by taking me to school in Epic BattleLore. I was taken apart, scrambled, beaten, roasted, then sent home without any supper! I must be hungry.... Anyway, Epic BL is, in my opinion, the only way to play BL. More of everything! I also like the shared command card mechanic. If only Memoir had this kind of setup.... I did see an Origins 2007 picture of Mr. Borg playing what looked like Epic C&C: Ancients, so I'm hopeful...

My last game of the day was a quick game of Cowboys with Chris. I picked what looked like a short scenario, since it looked like SABG baseball was on the agenda for the rest of the evening. We played Lynch Mob, which had me guarding a prisoner in the jail against 14 angry townsfolk and a ringleader. The scenario itself was pretty lame, with Chris just running zombie-like townspeople in, and me gunning them down at point blank range. There was no decision making to be made, and I can't imagine spending another 20 minutes of my life replaying it. In the end, I miraculously won by one bullet, so it was a little exciting. However, the only reason I won was winning a pretty uninteresting dice rolling contest. To be fair, I'm sure there are more interesting scenarios later in the book, though I think this one was #10/26. I think the game will work best as an icebreaker, doing an every person for themself massive shootout. The game itself is actually simpler than Epic Duels, which I'm a bit suprised by. Still, I'm still keeping hope alive that this doesn't suck.



At 8:53 AM, July 17, 2007, Blogger Jeff said...

Nice report, Ben.

That was one weird WotR game.


At 2:06 PM, July 17, 2007, Blogger Brian said...

Apart from some beisball, I managed to get in Glory to Rome, Cartagena, Notre Dame, Vegas Showdown. Sean and I closed with a WWI dogfighting game Blue Max. It was good, but it really deserves 6 or 8 people playing. Each player has a plane and picks their maneuver simultaneously (with some restrictions and tailing planes get a general direction their target is heading in).

Still, the two player game works ... I quickly tailed Sean and got a minor shot or two off before he broke away. Then we jockeyed for position and each got a few shots off. We were low on fuel (and my guns had jammed), so I tried to break away. But on the turn we ran out of fuel I zigged right in front of him and got blown out of the sky.

At 3:32 PM, July 17, 2007, Blogger seanp said...

I enjoyed Blue Max - definitely interested in playing it with more planes... Fuel ran out WAYYY too fast.

I really like Vegas Showdown. My basic basic strategy is to compete for slots hard. Buy them when you can, unless there's something else you really need. And never let them go undisputed for 5... This isn't surefire by any means, but it does ratchet up the strategy needed to defeat it. My penny slot empire rolled on through to victory. It might not be the flashiest place on the strip, but with rows of slots and a super buffet, it's a blue-hair paradise.

At 5:28 PM, July 17, 2007, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Nice report Ben. It's the kind of gaming day that I dream about having some day.

Speaking of baseball, there are chumps and there are Chumps, and I'd like to think in the former category. Rather than drag out the annoyance, I'm going to come right out and say this: I'm not going to finish out my games. I realize this makes me a chump, but at least you have enough information to make some decisions about the league. If it would be helpful, I'm willing to go ahead and assign line-ups and pitchers for my remaining games.

Given how sparse my gaming time has become w/ Henry's arrival, I just can't imagine spending those few precious hours playing Strat compared with the other games out there. I enjoy it, but not to the exclusion of BL, CC:E, etc

My apologies to the baseball league, and I hope I don't dampen the fun for everyone else.

At 5:57 PM, July 17, 2007, Blogger Brian said...


Fuel running out makes for a nice timer. We actually did ~25 turns, which would take a fair amount of time with 6 people (probably twice as long). (I've been in the unfortunate position of running out of fuel first ... and after 2-3 turns of gliding everyone catches on and you rarely make it off the board).

I think the key to Vegas Showdown is getting stuff at a good discount. Slots at five are nice, but if that five means you get shut out of the big items at 25-40% off, then you may be in trouble.

Not that you'd know it from my result last night.

At 7:01 PM, July 17, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

Jon: Snakemen are the Southrons/Easterlings. There's a large black snake on their diplomatic track counter.

Speaking of WWI, I just picked up the set of Wings of War mini's that are very nice. I also now have a cool Observation Balloon mini of the same scale, so this might make a nice centerpiece for a furball.

Wings of War 2: Dawn of War, focusing on WW2, adds fuel rules to the game system as well as throttle control, which seems to add just a tad bit of complexity but will probably pay off in better reflecting the wilder dogfights of WW2.

Incidentally, there is a very nice web-based, totally automated version of Blue Max that we could all try if there was interest.

At 7:04 PM, July 17, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

Whoops, I meant Jeff, not Jon...

At 8:30 PM, July 17, 2007, Blogger Chris said...

From Grant Wylie, designer of Cowboys:WOTG on BGG:

Am I getting this right?
1. You never draw new cards.

Correct, unless the scenario special rules state otherwise. For example in Butch and Sundances Last Stand you add a card to side one for every cowboy or town folk eliminated. The Mexicans receive one card for every cowboy that enters the game.

2. You can play any numbers of card at any time it is valid to play cards?

Under the card play rules it states, "Players may play one of their cards during their actions of a turn, and one card during their opponent's actions of a turn." As always this applies unless the scenario special rules state otherwise.

Worthington Games

At 8:39 PM, July 17, 2007, Blogger Chris said...

By the way, Ben forgot to mention that one of the reasons the townsfolk seemed like zombies was that as soon as the first two died, I played two cards which essentially raised them from the dead to live again. My army of the undead...

That, and half of them crawled into the jail through the window and at a very steady, deliberate zombielike pace rather than walking through the open front door. Plus, they shot about as accurately as zombies (c'mon, he's right in front of you!!!).

And they all kept saying "Mmmmmm, BRAAAAAINS!"

At 8:43 PM, July 18, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

Good read.

Ah hah.... so my theory seems correct at least for the moment (that Cowboys is a bit tooo light).


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