Men of war

hansa3

This week’s session was a male only affair, focusing on Hansa Teutonica and Antike. Ben, David, Peleg, and Yehuda joined me for Hansa. Daniel arrived in good time to make for a six player Antike game.

Hansa began with Yehuda convincing us to try his House Rule. This meant we all started with three actions per turn (instead of two) and was intended to reduce the fighting for (and importance of) the actions bonus. Well, it sort of worked, because most of us stayed away from the bonus actions. Except Yehuda and Peleg. They had a kind of dance of death encounter, with Peleg doing not too badly at all.

David and Ben were, largely, doing their own thing in their part of the board, quietly acquiring victory points. I was doing much the same.

When the game ended, Yehuda had won. But it was a lot closer than previous outings, so his House Rule may be a long term addition. Still a fun game, though I think Ben has gone off it.

Then came Antike, and Ben had much more fun, ending up being the Kingmaker. More on that in a minute.

I shadowed Yehuda, replicating his actions and keeping in close contact. He and I progressed well, and quickly enough got up to four victory points. (Six are needed for the win in our games.)

Ben, David and Peleg, however, caught up with us far too quickly.

Daniel, lagging well behind, had been building up cash and iron. Late on in the game, he converted his resources to armies and fleets. He then, in one turn, blitzed across the board to also catch up.

When the smoke cleared, Daniel, David and Yehuda were poised for the win. Who would claim it?

Daniel just couldn’t do enough in his turn. David could, but Ben remained a block. But if Ben blocked David, Yehuda would win. So, Ben was Kingmaker and allowed David to claim the victory. Well done, David. Tough luck on the rest of us, regrettably.

Thanks to all who came.

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Kick a man when he’s down?

antike

This week’s session started off with a tutorial in how to play San Juan, led by Yehuda. (Yes, he won.) Amir, David, and Ben, watched, learned, played, and got crushed. My excuse? I was helping first timer Amir, and getting the tea ready for latecomer Laurie…

That brings me to the main game of the night: the excellent Antike. There were three highlights of the game.

First, early on, Ben wiped out two of Yehuda’s cities and reduced him to a quivering wreck. Yehuda told Ben about how wrong this was, and he should not be so aggressive. Ben believed him. Ben left Yehuda alone. Yehuda recovered. Yehuda won… From zero to winner. Wow.

Here comes Yellow!

Here comes Yellow!

Here’s this week’s lesson, Ben: when the man is down, kick him. And then kick him again! There’s no room for compassion in time of war!

(And, Yehuda, you owe me for not telling Ben to stick it to you!)

The second highlight was newcomer Amir stabbing me in the back, and claiming one of my good cities, just as I was powering up for the win. Ah well, who wants a non-aggression pact, anyway?

The third highlight was being a part of this game. It went really smoothly, all things considered, and was highly entertaining. David and Laurie played their parts, too. Indeed, although Yehuda won, it was a close game. By my reckoning, if Yehuda had miscalculated, someone else would have won in the same turn as he did.

I don’t have the killer instinct that I cheekily criticized Ben for not having, and shied away from some great backstabbing and winning opportunities. That’s because the game was fun enough as it was. But next time…

Thanks to all who came and made it a good night. I hope you had fun, too.

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Session Report – 3 May 2011

7 Wonders

With people arriving in dribs and drabs, we started with a practice first round of this neat game. Abraham, Peleg and I tried out some different strategies, while Asaf tried to work out what was going on. He picked up the basics, which set him up nicely for the full five man game after Hilik joined us.

Peleg – who won the previous week’s game of this – seemed to get off to a slow start. Abraham went on a roll of green cards and continued in the same vein all the way through. Asaf was still, unfortunately, trying to master these damn fangled new ideas of games, and struggled a wee bit. Hilik, who took a few military losses in the last session, went into revenge mode and loaded up with red (military power) cards. That meant Asaf and I were on the receiving end of the losses. I swear the cards I received were awful, and I knew from round 1 that I was out of it.

Abraham’s winning total of 56 points came, mostly, from his green (Science) cards: a whopping 41 points. Peleg, improving his score with each card, was in second place. After that, it was Hilik, me and Asaf.

While this is quite a quick game to play, we are nowhere near mastering it; we do not know the cards and combinations well enough. However, maybe it wouldn’t be as much fun if we did. It might then be like a game of Magic when only one player knows the cards, and the result is pretty certain defeat for the other.

Antike

With Ilan joining us, we had 6 for this “rondel” game. Unfortunately, two of the players had to drop out early, leaving the last four standing to fight it out for the last couple of victory points needed. I could get one of the points, but not the other. (I was one ship short, damnit!) Abraham could see a couple of temples to destroy that would give him victory. Asaf was concentrating on keeping his empire together and would have needed a bit more of a military threat to be in with a chance. But it was Hilik who grabbed the win with, as is often the case in this game, a well timed twin assault.

This game falls into the (large) category of games I like to play, but rarely win. Either I get aggressive too early, and am swatted down. Or, I mount a military threat too late to get anywhere. Yehuda made the astute comment that inexperienced gamers look at the Antike board and think “Risk”. So they then go on to think things like “crush”, “kill”, “destroy” and they want to wage war. But in this game, you won’t win with a purely military strategy. You have to build an economic powerhouse first. You will need to have a bit of the “crush, kill, destroy” mentality, but the trick is in the timing.

I have now received Navegador – which is by Mac Gerdts, the Antike designer. It’s another “rondel” game and looks interesting. If the BGG ratings are a guide, we will want to play this one soon.

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