Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Crush your enemies !

Mongol General : What is best in life ?
Conan : To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.
Mongol General : That is good, that is good !

Conan The Barbarian (1982) 

Archipelago and City of Remnants were the games of choice for the evening, with a head count of eight, including new and travelling through the area Seamus.

Nicky, Moritz, Dean and Fletch decided to tackle Archipelago, with Nicky rather amazingly having been able to skip playing the colony management game up to date and have her first play through.

The game seemed to progress nicely with the rebels kept firmly in hand ( a pacifist player was lurking ) and a fit of land expansion quickly saw a burgeoning area of busy - or perhaps not - colonists.

Rather worryingly as the game progressed the colony got into a whole runaway idle workers situation where there are so many workers for hire, and they aren't being hired, that a good amount of unrest is being generated. I have seen this happen just once before and the result was cataclysmic. Runaway worker syndrome is caused by a perfect storm of lots of goods floating on the markets ( often because the crises have been of only one or two types or have been very light ), a lot of exploration has gone on, a lot of commodity sales have taken place and players are relying on population breeding to increase numbers.
Another photogenic colony development in progress

In some cases runaway workers can be an unfixable doom to a colony - as your meeple numbers are capped, and the worker numbers are most definitely not capped, you can be overrun by an army of grumpy unemployed people. Good for any separatist player. Bad for everyone else.

In practice it's a pretty rare set of circumstances. Nevertheless its pretty much lethal when it does occur. Colony Governors take note !

The colony also found itself bereft of churches. This can be another warning sign. At one point Dean boasted about having the only church, then realised he actually had none, and went on to boast that he was the only player that had thought about building a church. Not a very pious bunch.

Surprisingly all of this didn't spell the end of their colony - and I am really not sure how they managed this - but I think they might have been able to hit an end game condition before things span out of control. Six towns were built ( itself a pretty unusual end game event to hit in my experience ), and totting up the points it was a draw.... with Nicky winning the tie breaker. Flushed with success she admitted she had no clue as to how she had won.

Uh huh, that would be the not un-typical Archipelago experience for the newcomer then.

On the second table, Bondy, Rich, Seamus and myself settled in for some dystopian gang warfare in an alien controlled city. Or as I am beginning to increasingly call it - Judge Dredd MegaCity Gangs.

As it turned out the game unlike last week was not actually much about any gang warfare, and was instead about property development. Rather like a grungy sci-fi Monopoly perhaps. Without the rent. Or the Top Hat.

Briefed that each of the gangs in the game was very different - asymmetric sides - Rich took the development focused gang, Bondy took the recruiting Yellow, Seamus the scrappy Red and I was left with IHaveNoIdea green. Dean seems to think they are the sneaky Rogue like gang. Although I struggled to find any useful thievery hidden in the gang.

Taking first player and forging boldly onto the map, I locked down the majority of Renown city blocks, and watched everyone else align over the crumbs. Lovely. Very quickly however, both Rich and Bondy started developing their controlled city blocks, and an amazing sprawl of criminal endeavours were soon bristling in the North East of the city.

Having been previously briefed that building developments on your entry square and not reinforcing them was a Bad Idea ( now known as Dean's Lament ), the sprawl of buildings spread away from the starting zones, carefully watched by interlocking patrols of gangers.

On the other side of the city, after a horrendous failed assault on my position, Seamus also decided to get in on this development malarkey and skulked off to a corner to build his criminal empire.

This left me brazenly in control of the most important bits of the city, but definitely on a losing slide as every other gang had masses of lovely developments generating cash and renown.

What did I have ? No cash. No fanciness. Just Muscle.

Both Bondy and Rich turtled and went for deck / development strategies, whilst I grew increasingly frustrated about not being able to develop and having to confront a happily co-existing double turtle fortress.

Seamus turtled in mini style in his own part of the city.

My path was therefore clear. I needed to kill people. This was a gang warfare game goddamit. Not a who can build the most impressive hotel on Fleet Street game. Rich was shielding Bondy, and Bondy cycled his deck for cash whilst protecting his flank with Rich.

Pfah. Time to crush enemies and blah blah blah.

So I turned on the newcomer. Oh the shame. Oh the pity. Blitzing into Seamus' newly built and lucrative Junkyard, I gave his gang a thorough thrashing, and pushed the red faction to the brink of elimination. It was with some remorse that I occupied his new and spanky double area development. But only a little.
Seamus down to a single ganger and now "liberated" from
the stress of managing his new Junkyard. Meanwhile
the Bondy and Rich Turtle machine goes on.

The regular NoBoGers were dismayed of my treatment of the new person.

I defended myself with words from the silver tongue master Pete. I had no choice to attack. It's nothing personal. This full frontal assault is not really an attack. It's helping you. etc etc.

This didn't wash.

Rich chiding me for being a bastard then went onto force Seamus into wasting higher amounts of money on trying to bid gang members into his dwindling setup. If I had pushed Seamus to the floor, then surely Rich had just kicked a man when he was down.

As ever, the relative morals were slippery. Rich had done no wrong apparently. Pfah.

The game finished with Bondy possibly finding a broken mechanic to the game - his deck shuffling had become so proficient he could just about do it endlessly, thus generating endless amounts of money - but nobly (?) on the fifth trip through his deck in one turn decided that would be enough exploitation. Counting up the scores, Rich had 72 renown, I had 70 and Bondy had 58. Poor Seamus had a dozen or so I think.

Had I rolled better than a 2 on my last turn for Renown I could have won.

Strange game. Not so much fighting. Lots of development. And a suspiciously off deck cycling trick.


Anonymous said...

That was proper beau!! Shame that Bondy broke the game, but there you go. :) punk rich

Minitrue said...

There's an errata up for the game breaker. Basically doesn't allow you to recycle your deck, so much less useful ( and not infinitely cycling ! )

Mr Bond said...

Yeah, the Communication Device no longer allows you to shuffle your discard pile into your draw deck. Instead it reads as follows:

Search your draw pile or discard pile for a card of your choice. Place the chosen card into your hand. If you searched your draw pile, shuffle it.

Mr Bond said...

And I may have broken the game, but at least I didn't beat on poor Seamus.