Tuesday, August 21, 2007

WBC West Report, Day 2

Tuesday dawned clear and beautiful, a great change from Monday's car wash that was the ride out. A perfect day to sit inside and play games!

After getting some breakfast and waiting for Chuck to finish with a work-related phone call, the four of us started in on Wellington, the CDG based on Napoleonic Wars. Welly is a very interesting game - you play in teams, but there is a certain level of competition for taking key duchies, even on the French side. The game focuses on the Peninsular War in Spain during the Napoleonic era, from 1812 through 1814. We played through all three years, and it took over six hours when we were expecting more like four, and that did *not* include the 'splainin'.

1812 went well for Mike and I as the British and Spanish players respectively. I did a good job of forcing the issue with my weak Spanish forces in the south, forking Soult's strong army while taking keys and keeping him from being able to deploy at the end of the turn to rebuild his forces. Mike's British were making inroads on Madrid (a key spot on the map), and in fact managed to take it in 1813, a bit ahead of schedule. However, by 1814 we were having trouble keeping up with cards to play, and a major battle with Wellington and some Spanish Allies went south and blunted our attack. In the end, we weren't able to take any French duchies, giving 8 points alone to the French and putting us a few points down from winning. The Spanish did pretty well, taking two forts and nine of the Spanish Keys by the end of the game, although my damned Spanish Revolt card did not result in a single successful takeover of a key the entire game, and I played it three times. A bit longer than I expected, but a very interesting game that I'll play again.

By now it was dinner time, or close to it, and after about 30 minutes break we kept to schedule and pulled out Arkham Horror, this time with the King In Yellow expansion. I won't go into too much detail on the game other than to say that I strongly recommend you *not* play the Touring Show version, the one where all of the new cards go on the tops of the decks. Unlike Dark Pharoah, this one works better integrated into the basic game, mostly because the spells repeat frequently, as do some of the items. We ended up two freaking points from beating Nyarlathotep when we got tired of not closing gates and the terror track racing up, and the blights getting worse and worse (the Riots are harsh, dude!) Had I one more clue token, I think we could have won, but as it was I couldn't roll six dice that I needed to get six successes on the last round of combat, although I did get four of five. It was fun, but it was very quick and as I say, the theme was a bit much. We did play with the Herald mechanism, I recommend it as it adds another tough decision point into the game and counters the feeling that things are getting easier as the game progresses.

With a few hours left to game in the evening, Chuck taught Tex Battlecards, the wacky card game based (loosely) on various WW2 theaters, this one North Africa. I loved this game when we first discovered it, but I've never really recaptured that initial buzz. It sounded like they had fun, though. Meanwhile, Mike and I played sealed deck WoW:CCG, using the original Heroes boosters. I'm still astonished that there are so few duplicates (other than quest cards) in these decks. Mike smoked me, mostly because most of my Druid's abilities were tied to allies, and all of my ally cards (aside from four) were at the bottom of my deck.

On the plus side, and it is a very big plus, I scored a loot card. For the Saltwater Snapjaw mount. As I type, my gnome is flying to Booty Bay to collect my new ride. I don't know if it will ever replace my mechanostrider (which I am totally digging, btw), but it will be cool to have it and it makes my investment in a CCG feel almost worthwhile. Pictures in a later post.

That's all for today. Tomorrow is the big Barbarossa to Berlin double-game day, which should be fun. This was the high point of WBC-West two years ago for Chuck and I, and I'm really looking forward to playing this again.

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