Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's a Trap!

In the runup to our Monday gaming mayhem, I had left out the boxes of Descent next to the big table with the thought that enough people that liked Descent were coming over and it might see some play. And it did. And the phrase of the day gives us the title of this post.

We started with Brian, Ben, and myself and opened with Glory to Rome, in which Ben built many things and ran away with the win. During the game, Travis and Steve came by. Brian departed to go spend the day with his family (a very normal thing to be doing on Memorial Day), and the rest of us squared off in a lively game of Nexus Ops. Steve started with a cash crunch, I made a beeline for the monolith, and Ben and Travis fought over the valuable mines, with Ben holding a reasonable advantage in this department. Although I controlled the monolith for about half the game, the end result was mostly ineffective Energize cards and an exposed soft underbelly as Steve swept in and killed my little guys while my big units were up enjoying the view from the monolith. After retreating to lick my wounds and reclaim some territory closer to home, Ben and Steve clashed over the monolith while Travis built up a very sizable army, although he assured us that they were just having a reunion and not really an army at all. Before he could mobilize them, though, Ben built some impressive big units and seemed in a position to control the outcome but forgot one vital part of Nexus Ops strategy: roll well. Ben rolled ones and twos and got bogged down in several stalemates while Steve gathered victory points and marched to the win. Really a fun game, probably the most fun I've ever had playing the game (probably because Ben the aggressor sat opposite me and generally left me alone--apart from trying his "Go get Chris!" Jedi mind tricks on Steve and Travis to helpfully remind them which direction they should be focusing their attacks).

At this point, Steve and Travis also left to go spend time with their families, leaving Ben and I to gleefully rub our hands and pick something to play next. Ben and I tend to like the same kind of games, but often they are not games that other people really want to play. So we had the opportunity to pick something we both liked. We narrowed it down to Arkham Horror and Descent. Since Arkham Horror (just realized I can't abbreviate it AH because my eyes instantly transform "AH" into "Avalon Hill") is coming out with an expansion in about a month, we decided to postpone that and try Descent. Now, I didn't play Descent on Saturday, and Ben's always up for inflicting some Overlord punishment, so this was the perfect opportunity.

So we picked up where the party left off on Saturday, and I played the characters in the third level of the dungeon while Ben planned their untimely demises. We played a level with three red leaders, all of whom had Undying. In addition, they all had Knockback, which isn't so much KnockBACK as it is Knock-"move the character three spaces any direction you want with each attack." Plus, there were three large sarcophagi at the end of the room, which functioned like big trash cans. If a character were knocked back into them, they would fall in (taking a wound in the process), and the sarcophagus lid would close over them, trapping them inside for a whole turn. So two characters took hits, got slam-dunked into the sarcophagi, and disappeared for a turn each. Still they managed to survive and kill off the leaders and other spawned creatures. But during this time, the traps began to appear. My character survived a spiked pit, but a stone block then crushed him into dust and sent him to town for resurrection. Then, at the end, after all the monsters were gone, Tiffany's character ran (surviving a stone block to the noggin in the process-they need to build the ceilings better) to the end of a distant hall which contained a glyph and a chest. Now we were down to four Overlord cards left; if Ben draws them, he decks and gets Conquest which is bad. So I've got to get out of the dungeon within two turns. As Tiff's character got to the chest and ran out of moves, I thought, "I'll open the chest, get the treasure, step on the glyph in the next square next turn, and teleport out."

This was wrong thinking. I should have stepped on and activated the glyph first (worth Conquest to the heroes), THEN moved to the chest, opened it, gotten the treasure, moved BACK to the glyph, and teleported out. As Tiffany opened the chest and lifted the treasure out (you got a slightly better robe, Michael), the chest went click-BOOOOM! And poor Tiffany went with it, with the trap inflicting 8 damage and ignoring armor. She reincarnated in town and kept the treasure but now no time remained to get back to the unactivated glyph before Ben ran out of cards. The remaining heroes fled through the exit portal just before Ben drew his last Overlord card but had learned a painful lesson. Go for the sure conquest points first. The heroes still did ok, getting several thousand gold and 15 Conquest themselves just on the third level (4 conquest per level 3 leader killed plus 3 for a glyph I DID activate) but it should have been 18. Arrrgh.

P.S. Jon, I don't think Ben much cares for your character's combination of two moves and two attacks (sandwiched aroud a guard action) every turn. I think his new nickname for your character is "broken."

P.P.S. Jon, since I ran all four characters, my character took your character's +3 armor and gave your character a nice plush Bathrobe of Relaxing +1 in return. Thanks.

At this point, seeing two characters die (and not knowing what the party's plans were on the overland map) was enough for me, and we packed everything away and settled down for a final game of Memoir '44. Now, with it being Memorial Day and all, I thought at least one game involving military forces was in order. As an aside, earlier in the day, Steve, Ben and I had started tossing around the idea of an Overlord scenario (different from the Descent Overlord) in which up to 8 people can play at once. We're getting pretty excited about this--I think it should be a blast. We have room for more people. Don't worry if you don't know how to play; the rules are VERY easy, and the social aspect should be a lot of fun, so PLEASE post if you want to play, because we're definitely going to play it within the next few weeks. The hard part is lining everyone's schedule up, but we're working on it. ANYWAY, I played the fine upstanding Germans while Ben played the evil Russians as they tried to hold the line and defend a French Russian village (my bad; maybe I lost because I had no idea what country we were in) from their German liberators. A quick airstrike softened up both of our heavy armor units, and the fighting in the village became fierce, with Ben controlling the village perimeter long enough to claim victory just as the Panzers got ready to roll in. A great game, quick and bloody in a very manageable amount of time. I can't wait to play the Mega-Memoir soon.

P.P.P.S. I was joking about the armor switch, Jon. Definitely joking. Probably.

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At 5:58 PM, May 27, 2008, Blogger seanp said...

I'm in for a massive Memoir44 overlord game... I need to brush up on unit types/ abilities, but that is by far my favorite theme of the Memoir/C&C-A/BattleLore games...

At 7:44 PM, May 27, 2008, Blogger Tiffany said...

Thanks for getting me killed. ;) I am sure Ben was happy for those points. But nice to know I can survive falling rocks to the noggin. Ben really was pulling out all the stops, huh. Traps and broken ceiling and exploding chests....sounds like fun. Hopefully there is another Descent afternoon sometime. Now that I am getting an idea of what i am doing I am liking it slightly better.

At 8:26 PM, May 27, 2008, Blogger Carlos said...

Many of us have been dealt Ben's trechery. It gets easier with time.

At 9:09 PM, May 27, 2008, Blogger Ben said...

Fantastic report! What a great day of gaming.

I can't believe all three of my leaders in Descent failed to make a single Undying roll. I'm quite certain Michael's character needs a clean set of +1 Wizard's Robes, as both the Beast Man and Sorcerer were one turn from cutting him down when they were blown away. We need to play the next chapter of the story soon!

The Memoir '44 scenario we played was fantastic and supprisingly true to the historical battle of Kursk it was based on. I blunted your elite armored spearhead just enough to drive them off.

I should stop playing now Glory to Rome now, as I've now had the amazingly lucky game when I drew exactly the cards I needed in the exact sequence I needed them (at least as far as my amateur mind could tell).

Steve is the new Master of Evil in Nexus Ops. He totally failed to respect sanctity of the wall between us.

At 9:10 PM, May 27, 2008, Blogger Ben said...

I just watched the anime film Appleseed. Pretty good.

At 9:37 PM, May 27, 2008, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

I'm interested in a massive M44 scenario such as overlord.

At 9:52 PM, May 27, 2008, Blogger Ben said...

Blue Moon is being sold at a ridiculously low price on Tanga tonight... the whole set except one deck for $30.


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