Board Games on Wells – June/July 2012

Two months since last post? No excuses accepted, best to just dive back in.

Let’s talk about games! Suffice to say, we have been playing a lot of games at Wells Street but this post will focus on our fourth game of Risk Legacy.

Risk Legacy

The fourth game involved a couple of new players, Adam and Evan. I know it would probably be better to keep the same group throughout, but managing the timing has been tricky and I wanted to share this crazy experience with others as well! Also of note is that this was the first game of any Risk variant for Evan! Congrats on finally piercing that veil, beardy man.

This game went pretty poorly for me. I picked the worst starting position in South America, being sandwiched between Adam in North America and Steven in Africa. Daniel was in Europe Stevetopia, and Evan took the classic “have a few beers and refugees in Australia” strategy.

Adam quickly expanded south of the border to grab my tamarind juice boxes, while Steven consolidated in Africa and tried to start harassing Daniel to reclaim parts of Stevetopia. Evan was allowed to expand north into Asia, but both Steven and Daniel shortly called a truce to stop Evan from dominating the whole continent.

Evan was amassing a pretty sizable army but was probably a little too conservative in his first game (it is called Risk after all!), and did not push too far. While Steven and Daniel held him in check, Adam made some good headway into South America and the western edge of Stevetopia. Just before Evan could muster a major offensive, Adam sprung and made a joint attack on both my HQ and Daniel’s, also eliminating me from the game in the process :(

Even in defeat, I prosper. I add a comeback power to Imperial Balkania to make them even more expansionist.

Adam elects to found a Major City as a reward for his victory. Greenland now hosts the greatest Spring Break Paaarty! in the world (you know it’s great because of all the ‘A’s).

Evan gets to found the final Minor City as he had conquered the most territories that game. I know it’s a reference, but boy am I glad it wasn’t Uranus Valley heyoooooo *rimshot*

With the final Minor City founded, we get to open a tasty new envelope! And it’s a thick one!

Inside are new Bio-Hazard Scar cards that allow you to blight the land beneath your feet and make it very uncomfortable for troops there.

We also get all new Event cards and rules for triggering Events:

Finally, we get Draft cards which completely changes how you start up a game of Risk Legacy. The draft rules let you pick and alter the turn order, the initial army placement order, starting number of troops and starting coins. It feels like we’ve just completed the Tutorial Missions and the next game will be the start of a truly different Risk experience. I’m very excited about the drafting rules and I can’t wait for Game 5.

Other Games!

Some other games we played between June-July were Eminent Domain, Rex, Through the Ages (basic), Nexus Ops, Glory to Rome, Ra, and Wits & Wagers.
Playing Eminent Domain again, I’ve become more intrigued by it. This time we were more aware of the peculiarities of the game mechanics and treated it as more of a role selection game than a deck builder. In the future, I’m going to try to emphasise this more when explaining the game, as the deck building mindset doesn’t completely cover the nuances of this game.

We managed to get another 6 player game of Rex going. Heng Lin played Letnev extremely sneakily. This time, we had more negotiations and the alliances were split among 4 groups. Hacan (Daniel) and Lazax (me) formed an alliance to try to gain an economic advantage, while the Jol-Nar (Prateek) and Letnev (Heng Lin) alliance controlled the information. Xxcha (Jin Wei) and Sol (I’m sorry I forgot your name, Jin Wei’s friend) did not form a formal alliance but both stayed out of each other’s way while trying to hinder the alliances.

I’m hazy on the specifics since it was a while ago, but I think Prateek gave the game away to Daniel and I by undercommitting troops because he wanted to end it early. Jin Wei is pretty keen to get another game since the end was unsatisfactory, and I think he enjoys the scheming. I also owe him some payback for sabotaging the planetary shields! We’ll have to plan for a long session next time.

Through the Ages is one of my favourite games, and we managed to get a quick basic game going. Jin Wei wasn’t too enamoured with it since the basic game lacks interaction. The full game is definitely much better, but as with Rex, another session will require some planning to set up as it will take a long time to play.

We also had a long overdue DnD session with a one-shot, which was pretty interesting. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos so we will have to do with my plain ol’ boring writing. Part of the awkwardness of the session was because of how rusty I am as a DM (not that the original material was sound in the first place…) and that we had not played in a while as a group. The party basically started locked up in a jail without any of their gear. Once wraiths started appearing, the fight was pretty brutal and they got massacred. This was my intention, but I messed up the math and what was supposed to be a quick one-sided set up scene got drawn out. Part of it was because the players were quite keen to get back into the combat and weren’t expecting to be so handicapped, and thought they might have a chance to make it out. This shouldn’t have been the re-introduction to DnD, and I really should have just come up with a different scenario but I got too attached to the gimmick this time.

After the party were killed, they met a strange character who offered them a second chance if they chose to serve him and help him retrieve something from the magistrate’s office. Once they accepted the offer, time rewound to when they were in the cells but this time they had all their gear. However, they became much more wary of the wraiths and a lot of the combats involved a lot of running around. This made for a pretty interesting situation where the party was much more focused on retrieving the item and staying alive rather than try to take down every monster they ran into. I’ll chalk this session up as a lesson to be learned, but hopefully the players got some enjoyment out of it too.

In board games (well, technically a card game), we played a game of Glory to Rome. Jin Yu was new to the game, but it’s a really easy one to pick up and it is great fun. Jin Wei almost had the Forum victory, but I managed to blitz the last few sites to end the game with a Merchant strategy.

We also played Nexus Ops, which I really like. It is very interactive while also being pretty simple and plays in a decent timeframe. You send out troops to collect rubium, which gets you more troops. You get points for winning battles but the real soul of the game is in the objective cards, which reward you with points for targetting different units or terrain or fulfilling certain battle conditions. I like that the game comes with many different modules and variants that you can add on or leave out from the core game. Also, the pieces are pretty cool.

Ra was also brought to the table, and oh what a horrendous game I had in my first game with my own copy. I ended up with 8 points! You start with 10. It was shameful, and I vowed to redeem myself in the next game. I called Grudge Match, against the game.

There was also a session of Wits & Wagers where the question came up: “How many people did Jack Bauer personally kill in all 5 seasons of ’24’?” Someone did the math:

I also took the time to rearrange the games on my shelf by number of players. I’m liking this system so far, as it is much more convenient to look for a game when you know how many players you have. 4 player games start on the right, and the number of supported players increases as you move left. The system isn’t perfect, as I had account for space and box size a bit, but on the whole it works pretty well.

And that wraps up the June/July update for games. Hopefully the next post will be soon and it will be about the 2012 OR-lympics, and after that I will be writing about gaming in Perth in August. Until next time (which could be a year from now), happy gaming!

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