Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Cosmic Encounter and a Chaotic Old World

Last night's "Play Games With Josh" happened, with 4 players...

Due to the fact that I got the latest expansion for Chanukah, we decided to drag out Cosmic Encounter for the first time in awhile.
It was Ghoul vs. Fungus vs. Filth (me) vs. Remora...
We played with all of the "Optional Stuff" except for Technology (I'm not sure I really like Tech anyway).. the Hazard Deck came up with some very interesting effects; the very first Hazard that came up created a permanent alliance between the Fungus and the Ghoul, which led to some danger in the Ghoul almost winning.
There was one very strange interaction where a card (I forget which) caused players to temporary swap powers for the encounter, but then the Fungus played the Sorcerer flare, which caused permanent swappage, and by the wording of the rules (and experience with VTES's situations of temporary control effects and permanent control effects happening simultaneously), we figured that the effects basically canceled each other out.
The Filth's power came in useful as a game-balancer; I attacked a planet in Remora's system which also contained a Ghoul ship, when those two aliens were tied at 4 foreign colonies apiece.. The Ghoul actually allied with me so that he could keep his total of 4, because when I won the encounter, the Ghouls on the planet had to go to other colonies. Pretty cool.

In the end, there was an anticlimactic Shared Victory between me and the Remora, based upon us both agreeing to play Negotiate cards and swapping colonies.
I think Shared Victories are one thing that make the game "iffy". I might try to play with a house rule that you can't share a victory except where an alien power/flare allows it, to avoid silliness like this, or like the game where 4 people shared a victory before the 5th player got a turn. But I'm not sure how to mediate it. Will have to think about a variant, or see if anyone in the N-year-history of the game has similar feelings and came up with something.

After that, instead of playing 7 Wonders (my other Chanukah gift game) or Risk Legacy or anything, we played Chaos in the Old World (Matt's copy).
We used the alternative cards from the Horned Rat expansion, but not the Horned Rat god.
This was my third time playing Chaos.
I was Slaanesh, and I had yet another lukewarm experience with this game that everyone seems to love.
I got into a situation that, by no apparent misplaying of my own, I had already fallen too far behind by turn 3 or so. I could not possibly win. A combination of dice not in my favor, the regions with Nobles getting ruined quickly because they were otherwise popular, etc.
Granted, Slaanesh has a very hard time of getting dial-ticks, and maybe it was my mistake for trying that strategy, but I really felt helpless again.
I still don't rate Chaos very highly, but I'm still not ready to completely give up on it. Maybe it's one of those games that takes several plays to "get", and maybe there is a way to come back from behind that I don't see yet.

Not trying to be such a Negative Nelly with this post .. it just turned out that way :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Legacy Begins...

(Warning: minor spoilers ahead)
On Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, a group of 5 brave factions began to shape Earth #6730

We played the first 2 games of Risk Legacy with my set, and here's a brief report on how it broke down:
First, the first 5 of us all signed the board:

Then we chose our factions, along with the special ability that would accompany this faction forever:
Max chose the Saharan Republic, giving them the ability to Maneuver in the middle of their turn.
I chose the Enclave of the Bear, choosing the ability to obliterate a country when rolling triples and defeating at least one defender.
Tree took Imperial Balkania, with the ability to round up instead of down when recruiting troops.
Shaun took Khan Industries, with the ability to spawn an extra troop in each of his HQs each turn.
Finally, Kevin chose Die Mechaniker, whose starting HQ will always be fortified when defending.

Some joy was taken in ripping up the unused special ability stickers:

To choose the initial extra coinage on territories, we chose randomly: 8 territories with $1 extra, and 2 territories with $2 extra. I won't give an entire list here, but Europe definitely seemed to be strongly represented by this randomness.

The first game played a lot like Risk (!). Except that, instead of being a race for cards, it was actually won by a blitz that took 2 HQs.

Throughout the first game, all 5 of us laid down our Scars, starting with this one in Greenland (note that we placed this first sticker incorrectly -- completely covering the X instead of beneath it --but we'll live):

More shots from later in the game:

In the end of Game 1, it was Tree and his Balkanians that reigned Triumphant, settling in their new city of DunTree:

3 other minor cities were founded (including my contribution, "Nilbog" in Venezuela), and one territory gained an extra coin.

The second game went much more quickly, now that we understood the flow of the rules and such. Also, since we had all played our Scars in the first game, there was only one left in the box which meant nobody gets any.

We ended up taking the same factions, coincidentally, although we started in very different areas.
I started the Enclave of the Bear in Central America, and Shaun started in South America and decided to bunch up most of his troops in Venezuela.
Due to my special ability, and my general strategies in such games, I decided to try and wipe him out on Turn 1.
Unfortunately, that would not be the case.
Long story short, with "help" from Max, my faction ended up being Eliminated from the game.

WARNING: This is where there may be actual spoilers

We opened up the "Eliminated Player" packet:

.. unlocking Comeback Powers, and now the Enclave of the Bear is "Stealthy".

We also unlocked the Mercenary Scars. If our next game is with 3 or 4 players, then they'll see play; otherwise they'll have to wait, with only 4 Scars available.

Kevin founded his Major City of Mordor, and a few more Minor Cities were founded (although I wasn't able to do anything at endgame, other than take a look at my spiffy new power).

And thus ended Game 2.

Game 3 might happen this Wednesday, I hope for a quicker turnaround time on a session report...

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Legacy will begin..

As soon as I figure out how to write about this game without majorly spoiling parts of it, this blog is going to pick up on games content again.

The game has arrived at my house, and it looks beautiful so far, even though I've barely seen a small fraction of it.
I plan to take a LOT of pictures of how the game evolves, and take some pretty good notes..
Can't wait!