Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Game afternoon/evening - 19 March 2005

Europe Engulfed – July 1942 One-map Scenario [2P]

I arrived at Mark’s to find no one else in attendance. We took the opportunity to give Rick Young’s July 1942 Tournament Scenario for Europe Engulfed another go, since I hadn’t gotten around to finishing the rules to Rommel in the Desert or Eurofront.

I took the Russkies this time, so Mark had a chance to play the Germans and their friends. I suppose defending comes a lot easier to me. Anyway, all we had to do was keep the Germans out of our key cities – Stalingrad, Leningrad, Moscow, and the oilfields.

Mark massed his forces at the line, and immediately thrust down the middle. I knew that I was eventually going to have to give ground, and hoped that I’d at least whittle down the superior German units. I’d spread my forces a bit too thin down the middle, having a bias towards protecting Moscow and making sure that there was support in case Leningrad was besieged. I’d left too few forces in the vicinity of Stalingrad and the oilfields, though Mark didn’t know that.

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The Germans took possession of the center of Russia, in between Moscow and Stalingrad. Now Mark had a decision – should he blow his Special Actions assaulting Moscow or Stalingrad. After a while, he threw everything in the area against Moscow. I used my lone Special Action to reinforce Moscow, and we rolled the dice. Moscow held, and we inflicted a decent amount of damage thanks to the fortifications.

I made another mistake on my turn, just spending my WERPs but not really doing anything. Turtling in a wargame, as usual. I should be playing France. Anyway, I reinforced Moscow and Stalingrad with cheap Russian cadres, still making the mistake of lightly guarding the oilfields. On his turn, Mark took advantage and thrusted into the corer, taking the oil with Special Actions. That cost me six WERPs on my turn. Another turn of cheap Russian infantry cadres allowed me to have enough to take back my oilfields and decimate the eastern German forces. We attacked along the line, kicking the Germans out of a couple of provinces and generally causing a decent amount of damage.

It started raining, and the terrain turned to mud. The Germans and their allies brought in more forces, but there was no combat. Three hours into the game, we called it a day.

This is a neat little scenario that uses the most basic EE rules. We may be ready to step up to more rules soon, but it would be nice to have the time to play through the whole thing to see how the weather really affects things. Have to remember to buy all the Russian cadres next time, since the costs double after the third turn.

Over to Frog’s for dinner and evening socialization. I’d acquired more A Game of Thrones CCG cards for Frog, and in the process gotten myself into trouble with the Call of Cthulhu CCG. I thought it would be a nice pastime to play with the two starter decks, just because I like Lovecraft and CoC, but the game turned out to be pretty good. Whereas I’m just lukewarm on AGoTCCG, I picked up a bunch of boosters for CoCCCG.

For this evening, I’d also packed mostly lighter games. Dunno, I guess it was the mood. Amun-Re and Tigris & Euphrates were in the bag, but I didn’t think we’d play them.

After dinner, the first game on the table was Kuhhandel.

Kuhhandel [5P]

I used a start variant were each player began the game with two animals, except for player 5 who had one 90-point cat. That wasn’t all that hot. Kuhhandel should top out at four players. The other variant was that we auctioned two cards at a time. All this probably cut the game time in half. It still took just under an hour, but next time I’ll have a better idea on how to use the variants.

Erik won the game after I goofed and gave up a quartet of 40-point geese to secure my 1,000-point horses. The third multiplier gave Erik the win, since he also had the pigs and the goats.

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It’s important to win a least a couple of auctions in Kuhhandel, because if you don’t have a variety of animals, you won’t be able to initiate horse trades for them. Frog ended up with just one set because he overspent early in the game and didn’t have enough seed for more quartets. That it was a five player game certainly didn’t help.

Titus arrived during the game, and while he and Frog talked about AGOTCCG, we finally got Annie into a game of Royal Turf which she’d been wanting to try.

Royal Turf [4P]

Erik and I found ourselves allied on a few bets, and George and Annie also found themselves betting on the same horses. The most memorable race was the second one, where Annie and George had bet on both Albino and Earl Grey. This allowed Erik and I to advance the two sprinters for short distances with our die rolls, handicapping them and making them finish sixth and seventh.

Erik secured the victory in the third race, where he had a solo bid riding on Carmello, who finished third for a nice solo double-payout.

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Royal Turf – Final Scores:
Erik – 3,300
Rick – 2,200
George – 1,250
Annie – 650

Nix had arrived by the time the races were over, so we decided to try to get everyone into a game. Luckily Titus had brought Squint.

Squint x 2 [7P]

This cute Pictionary variant has players forming pictures by using tiles with shapes and symbols on them instead of drawing with pen and paper. It’s pretty fast, and is a decent party game. I’m not too happy with the “roll a die for the difficulty level which affects the scoring,” but it’s a party game so what the heck.

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We played two games. Annie won the first one by a landslide, and Titus won the second one.

Nix needed to pick up Tala in a few minutes, so I pulled out a fast game.

High Society [5P]

Annie is unusually unlucky at this game, always ending up as the player with the least money. Bidding isn’t Nix’s favorite genre either, but he was willing to give this a try. At least it would be over quickly. J

I got the 4-point car rather cheap, but also took the -5 gambling debts tile so that didn’t matter. Erik didn’t have much going, while Annie managed to win the 10-point personal island and one of the 2x tiles. George got into early trouble and the thief made off with her yacht. In the end, Nix had the least cash, leaving Annie as the winner. Finally.

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Nix and I went to pick up Tala from Greenbelt. When we got back, Erik, Annie and George were off to the Royal Turf races again, while Frog and Titus were configuring their AGoTCCG decks.

While waiting for the races to conclude, I introduced Nix and Tala to Carcassonne.

Carcassonne [3P]

I used the “personal 3-tile hand” variant to provide more options. We played with the Inns & Cathedrals expansion. Tala sprinted to a nice lead via a couple of sizable early castles. However, the game was sorta boring, and when the race at the other table ended, we decided to call it so we could play a better game.

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Modern Art [5P]

Tala wanted to learn the AGoTCCG game which Frog and Titus had been playing, so she sat out while we were off to the art galleries.

This was a strange game with an unusual pace. I fell behind early, auctioning off relatively cheap stuff and not being able to buy anything until the fourth season. I didn’t get any usable double auction cards. In the fourth season, I double-auctioned off some Krypto that no one else though much of so I bought them for myself. Then I got a fixed-price double Karl Gitter from Annie that I could afford. That gave me a $300,000 sale at the end of the game, with about half that in profits, and it was just enough to win the game.

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Final Scores – Modern Art
Rick - $422,000
Erik - $384,000
Nix - $381,000
Annie - $302,000
George - $212,000

Erik and Annie headed out, so I took the opportunity to test drive CoCCCG with Nix. I took the good guy “Investigators” deck with Miskatonic University and the Blackwood Agency, while Nix had the cults of Cthulhu and Hastur.

Call of Cthulhu CCG [2P]

The Investigator deck is faster than the Mythos deck, but when the creatures start appearing, they come in droves. Nix won the first story, but I took the next two. Then Hastur appeared, and it was a race to take the third while avoiding the King in Yellow. I managed to do it before Hastur took his first story.

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Hey, it’s a new CCG so it’ll take time to familiarize with the various powers and strategies inherent in the factions and cards. I like the game system though; it provides a different feel from your typical “kill me before I kill you” CCG. I won’t sink a lot of cash into this, but I’d like to have enough cards to play a varied number of casual games. Stay tuned.

A Game of Thrones CCG [2P]

When I left with Nix and Tala, Frog and Titus were still struggling for domination of Westeros.

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1 comment:

Joe Gola said...

Any chance of a Call of Cthulhu CCG review in the near future?