Friday, December 23, 2011

Back in Business

I've neglected my blog for long enough.  Time to get back in business. 

With the New Year coming up, i am going to write not only AAR's of games played, and with better photos now that i have a new phone with a better camera, but also some commentary about gaming in general.

Finally, here is a quick update of games i've played since my last post back in May:

New Doug and I spent a couple of months playing Mark Miklos's excellent "Battles of the American Revolution" series.  We played "Guilford Courthouse" with my Red Coats smashing Doug's Rebels.  It was Doug's first game so he gets a pass.  We also played this outside in my gazeebo during a beautiful summer night.  First time i've played a wargame outside and at night.  We will be doing more outside gaming again come next summer.

We followed that up with "Eutaw Springs."  Doug wanted the Brits this time, and in a really close, back and forth game, my American troops were able to prevail.  We played this at Doug's house in the city, and i was in traffic over 2 hours driving in.  Chicago sucks that way.

We finished off the series with "Pensacola" which is a seige battle.  I give this high marks for creativity, although there are some rules questions that need answered.  Doug again took the Brits while i had the attacking Spanish.  I never knew the Spanish actually fought during the Am. Rev. War, so i learned something new.

"Pensacola" is long by BAR standards--2 school nights are needed.  The first night we played all the way up until the final battle.  Doug sortied nicely, killing some of my units, but more importantly, he destroyed one of my seige works.  I did manage a couple of breaches and it looked like the final assault was going to be a close fight.  Unfortunatley, Chicago was hit by heavy rains and i got some water in my basement and i had to shelve the game before we could finish.  I definatley want to get this back on the table again as it is a very intriguing battle.

Next up was the St. Louis ASL Tourney where i finished 4-1, but a disappointing 4-1 as i really blew the 4rth game after taking a nice lead.  Still, good times for sure.

I travelled down to St. Louis again in October for some gaming with my brother Dale, Jim Burris, and some other old friends.  We played "Small World," "Dominion," and a big game of "Descent."  "Descent" is one of my favorites.  I plan on buying my own copy once the 2nd edition comes out in 2012.

Next, New Doug and i returned to an old favorite of my, Ben Hull's Musket and Pike Series.  We chose the Warksow scenario from the newest module.  Doug had the defending Danes versus my attacking Swedes.  Fantastic series, although i was really rusty on the rules and we spent quite a bit of time looking things up.  By the end though, we were running smooth and Doug managed a win by swiftly moving his right wing over to his left and charging my outnumbered cav.  We took about equal losses there, but that was more than enough to get him the win as i needed +20 or so VP's.  We will be playing more MPS in the future.

I then did some Euro gaming with Doug and some of his neighbors.  We played "Dominion" and "Galaxy Trucker."  I liked both games and we had some good laughs.

Finally, i hosted a game of "Mansions of Madness."  MoM is very similar to "Descent" with one player being the bad guy versus the rest of the players being investigators trying to solve a mystery.  Outstanding game with wonderful graphics.  My brother Gerald joined Doug and Jeff Hallett as the investigators while i played the Keeper.  The good guys won by figuring out their objective early thanks to Kate's special ability, and were able to high tail it out before i could get my minions in place to stop them.  Lots of drinking, laughs, and taunting.  I am hosting another game next week and will post am ore indepth AAR.

That's it for now.  Happy Hollidays.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Here I Stand

Saturday, April 30th


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My favorite multi-player game is easily GMT's "Here I Stand."  Rich was kind enough to set-up and host a game last Saturday at his lovely home in Downers Grove.

My strategy--or strategery--as the Papacy:  Diplomatically, i need to maintain a strong alliance with the Haps.  We both have shared interests in Germany--me on the religion side, Haps on the Electorate side.  The Haps can provide military protection for me as well.  My other main diplomatic goal is to make peace with France and to keep them out of Italy and direct their attention elsewhere.


England cuts a deal with France where France gives him a card in exchange for allowing the Scots to vacate Edinburgh.  This raises eyebrows amongst the other players and would have repurcussions for England in the following turns as we felt England had taken advantage of a new French player.

The Ottomans took Belgrade and also knocked out the Knights of St. John so it looked like they were going for a Med. strategy.

The Haps took Metz.  France pulled their Scots out of Edinburgh and built a chateux.  England took an undefended Edinburgh, while i failed to take Florence but did have success in keeping the reformation somewhat in check against John's Prots.  I also threaten France with Excommunication should they cross into Italy.  I'm not sure if Michael planned to do so or not, but i like to think my threat helped keep the French army out of Italy.

In the New World, France found the Amazon, the Haps conquered the Aztecs but failed in exploration.  England's Rut found the Straights but failed to circumnavigate.

VP's  Otts 10 Haps 12 England 12 France 15 Papacy 18 Prots 1

At start.  Outstanding graphics!

The action really gets started.  I draw the best card possible for the Papacy in "Venetian Alliance!"  I also find that the Haps have Wartburg, so i'm in good shape.  France and i agree to end our war and i encourage France to stay at war with England.  I also ally with the Haps and Tim forms a Haps-France alliance with loaning 2 squadrons to France to fight England. 

On my turn 2, i take Florence, play Leipzig Debate and target Tyndale in England and burn him!  I then bring Venice into alliance.  Great turn for me.

Papal Empire.

England and France begin their arms race in the channel, building up their navies and armies.  The Ottomans take Buda, creating war with the Haps.  The Haps are pretty quiet, although they play Trace Italiene, plopping a fortress in Germany and, along with a Papal merc i had deployed to Germany, help keep the Reformation in check.

France and England--the Phony War.

VP's:  Otts 14  Haps 16 England 12 France 16 Papacy 21 Prots 4

Suleiman takes Buda.

Diplomacy continues hot and heavy.   With the Prots under control, i now need Tim more than he needs me, so i gladly continue our alliance and loan the Haps a Papal squadron.  Rich and i discuss divorce terms.  We bargain back and forth with me wanting 2 cards and 2 mercs as my starting position.  Rich starts with 1 card and 2 mercs.  We finally settle on 2 cards to me and i send him a single merc.  This will cancel my alliance with Tim which worries me a little but i quick talk with France convinces me i'm okay.

When we announce deals though, France declines to go to peace with England--they had obviously discussed this in diplomacy-- and England cancels our deal as he needs the cards to fight France.

So, France invades England but Rich is able to crush the French army.  France does win a naval battle in Calais and exchanges one loaned Haps squadron for 2 English squadrons, and settles in for a long seige of Calais as Rich hits France with Gout and Unpaid Mercs.

Rich also hits the sheets with Ann Boleyn but only gets Elizabeth out of it.  Ann's days are numbered...

John's Prots go on a conversion rampage in Germany which i can do little about.  John's dice have finally went hot and mine cold. 

The Barbary Pirates make their appearance, but Tim is ready for them and sails a Spanish Armada into port and wipes the corsairs out.

The Shmalkaldic League also comes out and Tim moves Charles into Germany to try and take some electorates.

Charles in charge...German version.

It's a quiet turn for me, as i work on St. Peters and build up my army for what i expect will be an invasion from someone.

VP's Otts 16 Haps 19 England 14 France 16 Papacy 23 Prots 12


With 23 VP's, i know i have a big target on me.  The question is, who is going to come after me?  My biggest concern is Tim, as Charles coming up from Naples with a large Haps army could be bad.  Tim also has a bunch of cards so he could take Florence and Vencice from me.  The Otts are also a concern but i am better prepared to deal with them as i have a good sized fleet in the Adriatic.

Tim is also in a good position to win so i want France and England to go after him.  I talk to Michael(France) and encourage him to end the Angl-French War and ally with England to go after Tim.  He sees the logic in this and i feel pretty good about my chances of either winning or being in a good position to win on Turn 5.

But here is where i make a huge mistake:  i don't talk to Rich to make sure the England-France deal happens.  So we go to announce deals and France and England stay at war!  The Ottomans then go to peace with Tim and DOW me.  Now, i am very concerned that Tim will win this turn as he has carte blanche in Germany and can easily take all the Electorates, and that coupled with another exporation and conquest can give him the win.

So Dean sends the Ottoman fleet into the Adriatic to take on the combined Papal-Venetian fleet.  He sinks all but 2 squadrons while lossing a couple himself in a bloody battle.  Sulieman then lands in Venice with 5 Ottoman regulars.

Ottomans move on Italy.

Over in the channel, Michael's French fleet takes out the English fleet and Calais finally falls to the French.

Calais falls to the French!
 Charles rampages through Germany picking off the Electorates one by one.  John does send a Prot army into Prague and takes it, but with Tim's wealth of cards, and no threat elsewhere, he is able to get Ferdinand there and retake it.

Haps blitz Germany.

Meanwhile, a Papal army moves to relieve the seige at Venice and wins the field battle!  With no retreat path, Sulieman is captured and paraded through the streets of Rome.

So, i am in good shape having held off the Ottoman invasion.  Tim is at 22 VP's with an explorer to roll for.  When he picks his -1 explorer Navarez, i breath a sigh of relief.  It looks like we'll go another turn and i have a great chance to win on Turn 5.  But Tim rolls an 11, which gives him a chance to circumnavigate and get the win.  He still needs an 11 or 12 to do this, so i'm still not worried.   He throws the dice in the cup and...12!  His worst explorer circumnavigates and the 3 VP push him to 25 and the win!

Final VP: Otts 17 Haps 25 England 12 France 19 Papacy 22 Prots 6

Nice win for Tim.  I felt i played a great game but made one major mistake during the turn 4 diplomacy not talking to Rich to cement the French-English anti-Haps alliance.  So what happened there?   I found out that Rich had wanted peace but wanted to wait a turn to DOW the Haps and use his home card to try and get Edward.  This was a non-starter for Michael as he, rightly so, didn't want to take the Haps on alone.  Both Michael and Rich are new players so they really needed someone to broker the deal and to make sure they attacked Tim.  I failed at this and it cost me the game.

Great time as always.  Thanks again to Rich for hosting ,and i'm looking forward to our next game.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ASL, "Misservey's Men"

Doug Kirk was in town for work, so he came over last night for dinner and a game of ASL.  Besides being a top notch player, you can read his excellent March Madness championship AAR here:

Doug also puts together the scenario list for the St. Louis Tourney of which he does a fantastic job. 

He wanted to check out "Messervey's Men" from the latest Journal.  "MM" is a basic King of the Hill scenario featuring a rabble of Italians trying to fend off a good size force of Sikhs, represented by 2nd line British, supported by some light weight carriers and armored cars.  This all takes place in Africa during 1942. 

The advantages for my Italians are few.  With 3 FP and 6 morale, i can't effectively engage in a shooting contest with Doug's troops especially since i have very little cover on the hill with 5 Sangars and some crags to hide in.  My main Italian advantages are time and fine cooking.  Doug has 6 moves to take and clear the level 4 hills.  This will be slow going for his troops and i hope to run out the clock.  I can also win by inflicting 26 CVP, but that is pretty unlikely in this scenario.  The fine cooking really doesn't factor in to ASL.

With that in mind, i set none of my 10 squads forward; everyone is around the victory area.  I do have a 70mm infantry gun and a light mortar which i center my defense around.  Doug comes on turn 1 and i hold my fire with the exception of taking a shot at one of his carriers that he leaves in LOS of my gun and mortar.  I fire first with my mortar but promptly malf it.  My gun then fires but can't get a kill.  Finally, i shoot my MMG but also can't kill the pesky carrier.

On to my turn 1 where i fire my gun again but malf it--Italian weapons really blow.  Finally, i shoot the MMG and roll snakes on the TK roll, burning the pesky carrier.  Doug has few shots and we move on to turn 2.

End of turn 1.  Carrier in flames!
 Doug continues to press forward on turn 2, while i skulk back or retain concealment.  I am unable to fix either the mortar or gun.  Doug's first mortar has no smoke, but he drops a well place HE round on the gun crew, breaking it.  He follows that up with a crit on my mortar crew.  That would be mostly it for his effective fire for the game.  And yes, i mean for the whole game!

I don't recall seeing such poor shooting in my many games of ASL.  Doug would routinely take half a dozen shots a fire phase.  2+1, 4+1, 6+1, 6+0, even a couple of 12+1 shots.  Nothing.  I mean absolutely nothing!   While my shots were generally poor as well--i malfed my MMG on turn 3 and X'd it on the repair roll, adding that to my gun and mortar--i did get some key breaks here and there.

Doug did roll 5 or 6 snakes but they didn't help him much.  One snakes was on a carrier overrun which i followed with a snakes of my own, BHing a 3-4-6 to a 4-4-7.  His other snakes generated a hero, which i promptly killed in CC.  Another battle hardened a half-squad, but activated my sniper which whacked his 9-1 leader.  It was ugly.

Doug: "What the hell did i do to deserve this?"
 Despite the poor shooting skills, Doug slowly ground his way up the hill, resorting to CC, which he did better at, whacking a couple of Italian squads.  I brought on my reinforcements, running my 2 squads/lmg/leader up the back of the hill, while my tank parked on the side of the hill to provide covering fire to the top of the hill.

Doug's armored car decided to duke it out with my tank.  I scoffed at the notion as my tank was the King Tiger of this battlefield with a 3 armor and a 37 gun plus 4 CMG while Doug's Rolls Royce had a 0 armor and an ATR for it's MA.  I didn't scoff long though as Doug DI'd my tank and the crew bailed.  Ouch.

Fortunatly for me, Doug had no one to shoot at the crew, so it was able to re-crew the tank next turn and would provide some decisive firepower to my defense.

Immobilized Italian tank helps break up the final rush.

A key piece i forgot to mention is the Italian Fighter-Bomber which came on on my turn 4.  It only gets one straffing run per the SSR, but it made the most of it, pinning or breaking a whole line of Doug's troops.  This really stymied Doug's advance.

We came to the end game, and i was able to put a line of guys in front of my last Sangar which contained a 3-4-6/lmg+8-1 leader.  Doug couldn't get to them in CC and had to break the squad in Advancing fire.  He had a 6+3 shot which he missed, a 2+1 shot which whiffed, so it came down to a final 1+1 shot with his armored car.  He managed a PTC, which i needed to roll snakes on to activate his sniper.  I didn't and it was game over.

A fun, tight scenario.  Neither of us were sure what to make of it balance-wise.  Doug's incredibly poor shooting meant the Italians had to take few MC's.  I had a total of 5 broken units the whole game.  I don't think my breaking all my key weapons early offset this, although it put me in a bad spot for sure.

Good times as always with Doug.  Play fast, have a few laughs, a few drinks, and a close hard fought game.  It's what ASL is all about.  Ciao!

My Italians hang on for the win.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Flying Colors, Cape Henry

Doug G. was over last night for another round of GMT's "Flying Colors."  We chose the Cape Henry scenario which features fairly equally matched French versus British squadrons.  The unusual aspect of this scenario is the French have both the weather gauge and an audacity advantage of 1-0 over John Bull.

I took the French because, well, i like playing the French.  Plus, Doug needed to see the importance of wind and how difficult it is to maneuver when it is against you.

Vive le Roi!

Doug won the first initiative and moved his forward squadron straight ahead while he  turned his rear squadron so they were reaching with the wind.  This created a seperation in his line and i moved full sail ahead to try and gang up on his forward ships before his rear squadron could arrive to support them.

I won initiative on turn 2--as well as the next 3 turns--and I managed to hammer the Robust pretty well, damaging it and setting it on fire.  Doug got some good shots in though, putting 5 hull hits on the Jason as well as setting both it and the Conquerant on fire.

During Doug's move, he was able to extricate the Robust out of danger.

4 French ships had surrounded the Robust who was able to sail out of danger.
The next 3 turns were a furious battle.  Apparently, neither fleet cared much for gunnery practice as it seemed both of us averaged a 2 on our broadside shots.  I had particularly horrible luck with stern rakes.  I either missed the rake roll or, if i did get the stern rake, would roll a 0 or 1 and not do any hull damage!  It was extremely frustrating as i had 2 undamaged 4rth raters both have 1 hex stern rakes, and did just a single point of hull damage.

Likewise, Doug also rolled poorly for the most part so we both were bitching up a storm about the dice.

My ships were now getting beat on.  I moved the Romulus down the Brit line, again trying double stern rakes, but doing little damage.  A broadside by the Royal Oak reminded the Romulus the danger of tangling with the big boys.

Romulus strikes her colors.

All was not lost for my brave Frenchmen though as i managed to poor broadsides after broadside into the Prudent who shortly thereafter, also struck her colors--looks like a firing squad for her captain is in order.

We played on through 3 more turns with neither fleet breaking off the battle.  We both needed a "0" to break.

I had suffered 5 ships damaged of which 2 struck--the Conquerant had succumbed on turn 6.

The Brits had suffered 4 ships damaged of which only the Prudent had struck.

Prudent strikes!
 We still had 2 turns left but called it a night as it was nearly midnight.  Final VP tally was 10.5 for my French and 12.5 for the Royal Navy.  A very enjoyable, tense, and often frustrating game for both of us.

Close Action.
French breaking though to the end of the line.

Monday, March 14, 2011

ASL, "With Friends Like These..."

Thursday night was PAASL (Palatine Area ASL) night at Dave K.'s house and i matched up with Mike S. for a scenario from the Chicago tourney list coming up in April, "With Friends Like These" from OotA2.

This is an early war, Vichy French vs. American scenario where a combined arms American force has to capture or destroy 4 Vichy 105 artillery pieces.  The Americans have 10 2nd line squads backed by 4 Stuart tanks and a hero.  The Vichy get 6 first line squads with 2 MMG's to help defend the guns.  The main Vichy weakness is poor leadership as they have only a 8-0 and 7-0 leader.  I give Mike the choice of sides and he chooses the attacking Americans.

Set-up is pretty quick for me.  The guns have to set up close to the river.  I position to guns on my left in support of each other, with 1 gun in the back middle and 1 on my right.

My right side defense.  Note i have a HIP gun in the orchard behind the building and a HIP squad in the building in front of the grain.
 I put a half-squad/MMG on my right and left and split my infantry and leaders similarly.  I have a bunch of dummy counters that i spread out, including one up front in some brush which i hope will slow Mike's movement down.  It will play even a bigger role than that.

My basic strategy is to make this 3 seperate battles--left, right and center-- of which i only have to win one to win the scenario.  I will keep concealment with my infantry unless they get a really good shot, and use my left side guns to shoot from the beginning as they are manned by 8 morale troops with +2 TEM due to emplacement.  With only 5.5 turns, Mike can't afford to take too much time shooting.  His key units are going to be his Stuart tanks.

Mike enters strongly to my right and center, which isn't too surprising as my right has the most cover, but what is surprising is that he's armored assaulting in big stacks.   I take a 2 straight shot at his right side stack and get a NMC.  His 9-1 leader passes and a half-squad pins, but 2.5 squads break.

End of turn 1.
 His middle stack armored assaults on but i have no good shots.  During my final fire, i reveal my 2 105's on my left and they let loose at the middle Stuart but to no effect.  Mike has little advancing fire opportunities but decides to shoot at my upfront dummy stack that i mentioned earlier with his Stuart.  Here is the small mistakes that cause losses in ASL.  Mike knows it's a dummy stack, otherwise i would have shot at his adjacent stack of infantry.  Even if i'm playing coy with it, he can advance in with his infantry with a big CC advantage.  There's no reason to shoot at it, but he does.  And of course he rolls my sniper, which i get a "1" on.  The sniper goes to the same stack and random selection is the 8-0 leader who dies, and all 3 squads with him break on their LLMC.  Ouch.

During my turn one, my 105 zeroes in on the center Stuart and promptly burns it with a 3 on the TK roll.  Double ouch for Mike.  Everyone else skulks.

Blazing Stuart. 
During Mike's turn 2, he moves his Stuarts into the gully for protection, overrunning a French squad who box cars his MC, rally's some guys back, and starts moving forward.  It is at this point, i reveal my right side HIP squad and get a 8-2 shot but only manage to pin the target HS.  My 105's come through for me though, taking out a half-squad.  My turn 2 is mostly skulking.

Turn 3 Mike makes a push on my right but is stymied by the French infantry, he pushes a Stuart out of the gully and tries overrunning one of my 105's but without success.  His center force by this time is mostly bust with only a couple of half-squads left which my 105's keep at bay.  My turn 3 i skulk with the exception of my left side leader whom i advance in concealed with the Stuart and 105, which i malfed.  I get ambush but don't get the "4" i need to hurt the Stuart.  The Stuart wiffs and the leader withdraws out.

French rear center defense.
 Turn 4, and Mike is running short of time.  He pulls his Stuart out of CC with my malfed 105 and drives it over to try and take out my other left-side 105.  I miss in defensive fire.  Mike continues to try and break my right side defense, but it's tough going as i have a full squad, a half-squad--who was broken in the overrun but rallied back--plus a half-squad/MMG and my 7-0 leader.  Backing that up is my center 105, and i haven't yet revealed my last 105.

My Turn 4 and i shoot my 105 on my left at the adjacent Stuart.  I hit but don't get a result on the TK.  I then intensive fire, hit and get an immobilization result.  Mike fails his check and the crew bails out and i break it with my MMG.  At this point with only 2 turns left, Mike throws in the towel as he has almost no chance of taking more than 2 of the 4 guns.

Immobilized and abandoned is no way to go through life son.
It was an interesting scenario.  Mike made the mistake of trying to move faster than he needed to by stacking.  This cost him dearly as 6 morale troops need to spread out.  He also left his middle Stuart open to repeated shots from my 105's.  We both realized after turn 1 that the Stuarts need to head straight to the gully until the infantry catch up.  I was happy with my defense and play with the exception of moving one of my squads into the gully.  I was being over-aggressive when i didn't need to be and Mike made me pay by overrunning it.

I like the French in this one as the can spread out their guns to 3 seperate areas and, combined with the short turn count, this will be a challenge for the 2nd line Americans to get to all 3 areas with sufficient force.

As alwasy, an enjoyable game with Mike, and thanks to Dave K. for hosting PAASL.

Thanks Mike! Love the dew rag.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Train in Vain

Photos to follow.

The girls had their gymanstics practice cancelled last night so we decided to break out an old favorite, "Ticket to Ride."

TTR is a Euro-lite game where one's goal is to complete randomly drawn routes between various cities in the US and Canada.  Completion of routes nets one VP's based on the length of the route.  Failure to complete routes results in loss of VP's.  Completing routes involves playing same colored cards.  During one's turn they can either draw cards or play cards to claim a route.

TTR has been a bit of a mystery to me.  In around a dozen games, i've never won and never had a good grasp on strategy.

So it was Sheri, Hannah, Mads and myself.  This would be Mads first game playing without help.  Of my first 3 routes, i drew Atlanta to LA and Nashville to Portland as well as a long North-South route which i discarded.  This seemed like a great combo as both routes were worth 17 VP as well as being more or less the same.

In our last game, which was a year and a half ago, i had followed a combined strategy of trying to mess other people's routes up as well as completing my own routes.  It didn't work in part because there are often ways around blocked paths and also because the girls are pretty cagey game players and don't often telegraph where they are going.

With my two East-West routes, i figured i'd focus completely on my routes trying of course not to be too obvious where i was headed.

Well, this worked perfectly for me, but i have my doubts of whether it had anything to do with strategy.  Basically, the ladies all had North-South routes.  I had no competition for my routes so it was a breeze to complete them.  I then decided to draw some new tickets and got a LA to Miami worth 20 VP.  This was perfect for me as i already had built Atlanta to LA, so i only had to complete an Atlanta to Miami connection.

When we tallied the final scores, i had 136--a new house record for us as we do keep track of winners--and won by a good margin over Sheri, 111, Mads, 96, and poor Hannah at 76--she thought she had completed a route but hadn't so suffered a 18 point swing.  I can't feel too bad for Hannah though as she is the leader in overall wins.

Good fun with the game clocking in at 1 hour 45 minutes.  I fully expect Mads to start racking up wins soon with some experience, as her luck is legendary.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Twist and Shout

Jeff Hallet of 2-Halfsquads podcast fame, hosted a 4-player game of Dungeon Twister Sunday.   DT is as much of a puzzle as it is a game, with very chesslike play.  I've played it once before and it was fun enough to give another go.

Normally DT is played one on one.  Each player chooses 4 of 8 characters each of which has different abilities.  A mapboard is then constructed of randomly placed hidden tiles.  Each player also has a set number of items which they place face down on the map.  After that, the game starts and the winner is the first to get 4 VP's which are acquired by exiting your characters off the opponents board edge or killing opposing characters.   It's a pretty simple game one can play in an hour.

But Gary busted out the 4-player version which i believe makes the game much more interesting for a couple of reasons.  First, each player uses all 8 of their characters instead of just 4.  Second, it is extremely hazardous to try and cross the middle of the board as one can get attacked from 3 different sides.  Lastly, there is the "gang up on the leader" aspect which is inherent to multi-player games. 

Doug and Gary focus whilst i smile for the camera.
 So, we start off by placing are items and characters.  Doug and i both make the mistake of placing some of our onboard characters close to the exit, but this means they are easy pickings for each other.   Jeff also leaves his Wizard hanging in the wind and i'm able to fireball his ass.  Jeff, who forgot his fireproof suits, gets two more fireballs and is down 3 characters early, while Doug and i amass 3 VP's each.

Gary is playing pretty conservative--in other words he's playing smart--and keeping his characters massed together except for one of his fast guys who is able to blow through Jeff's line and exit.

Mayhem in the Dungeon.
Doug then wacks another one of my characters who i placed too close for him, and is sitting on 5 VP's--you need 6 to win in the 4-player game--while Gary and i are at 4 and Jeff has 1.  Doug has another of my characters trapped and looks like he will get the kill, but some tile twisting by Jeff and some quick moves by Gary look to keep him from the winning VP.

Alas, time is running out for Doug who has to leave for a family function so when Gary goes for the kill, i play my max combat card to prevent it, which allows Doug to finish off my character for his 6 VP and the win.

Overall, it was a enjoyable game.  It is a game that can suffer from over analysis which certainly happened early on.  Mid-way through the game, Jeff and i both downloaded chess clock apps to our phones and started timing moves.  It is suggested to have a 2 minute time limit per move, something which i wholeheartedly agree with.  Next game we will definatly do this.

Naked Twister!  Well, not really...
 Thanks to Jeff for being a great host, and check out the 2-Half-squads podcast if you haven't.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Flying Colors, Doggersbank

At start, the Dutchies await the Limey onslaught in line of battle

I love me some "Flying Colors," although i hadn't played it in 6 years or so.  My good friend Doug Gries and i just finished up a 4 game set of "1805: Sea of Glory" which inspired us to take Age of Sail to a tactical level.

I chose "The Doggersbank" scenario from the "Ship of the Line" expansion as it is a medium sized engagement and looks fairly balanced.

The Brits of course have the weather gauge and an advantage in quality ships and audacity.  The Dutch counter this with having better and more leadership.

I took the Dutch as i felt they would have the tougher go of it and this was Doug's first game.

Doug won initiative and ignoring Nelson's advice of "break the line!" instead turned his line parellel to mine.  I cackled with glee as it looked like Doug had made a rookie mistake in allowing me time to tack my fleet and turn the tables on him.

The Brits scared of breaking the Dutch Line. The Dutch begin to tack towards the Brits.
 At the end of Turn 4, i had successfully tacked all but one ship and it looked like i might be able to take the Brits down.  Fortune then reared it's ugly head, and the turn 5 wind die roll resulted in the wind changing directly into my fleet.  My fleet is now in irons!  It's now Doug's turn to cackle with glee.

Sideways Captain Doug

Doug now changes tactics and turns the Brits straight into my poor Dutch, raking with abandon.  The battle quickly deteriorates into a pell mell affair.

Doug cheerfully pointing out a Dutch ship in trouble.  Thanks Doug, i never would have known!

My ships rotate back into position but Doug is already ganging up on the back of my line.  I still feel pretty good about my chances, but then, fortune deals me a second unkind blow as a cannonball takes off the Dutch Admiral Zoutman's head at 800 yards.  That stings as now my forward squadron is out of command and going to have to maneuver back towards the newly promoted Fleet Admiral.

This is a difficult task and already, one of the Dutch ships looks ready to strike.  Another is damaged, and i've yet to damage a British ship.  It's not looking good for me.

Carnage at Doggersbank.
We play another turn and my Dutch ship refuses to strike despite being down to a single hull point.   As it is getting late for a school night, i concede the sea to Doug and we call it a night.

Great fun and i'm hoping to get another game in soon.