Sunday, August 26, 2007

WBC West Report, Day 6b and Day 7

When we last left out intrepid gamers, they were ready to grab some dinner on Saturday, the last full day of the event. No one really had any good ideas of what to play in the evening, so we pulled out Formula De, the game we'd planned to play on Sunday as we were packing up and closing the house. I'd brought several tracks, but as several people were not "pros" at this game (Mike had never played before), we decided to do a one-lap race using the Belgian course at Spa. The course has opportunities for getting into sixth gear, and some tricky turns, but nothing too complicated for beginners. Tex managed to go from first to last with his cars, Chuck snuck into first (and last, sort of), I kept my second place start position in my lead car after falling to 8th in mid-race, and Mike managed to blow up *both* of his cars in a single collision. I think this may be historic. A fun game, but I think I need to play with experienced drivers who can roll and run. After that, it was time for bed.

Sunday morning saw Chuck and Mike going at Chuck's Ugly Girlfriend, Twilight Struggle (hmm, maybe the game's title gives us more information about what Chuck does in the evenings!). Not once, but twice. No sense not throwing good time after bad, I guess! Mike hadn't played for a while and made some bad choices in the early going of the first game as the US, so they started over, with the USSR winning near the end of the Mid War. A great concept that is far too vulnerable to bad card draws, I'm afraid, for me to request it.

The final game was We the People, with Chuck taking those dastardly traitors to the Crown, while I took the side of the good guys. I firmly believe that the Brits win this game in the South, and if they can remove the possibility of American reinforcements from the Carolinas south by turning everything south of the Winter Attrition Line orange, they stand an excellent chance of winning. I'd used Howe to take Rhode Island up north, so along with Canada, Massachussetts, and the three southern states that would be enough for the win. In fact, very little happened up north after Clinton showed up with 8 CUs in New York.

Chuck tried to force the issue by moving Washington into Boston, but that proved to be a very bad idea indeed. The Brits has largely pushed the Americans out of the south, but one American army went south to prevent the loss of Virginia as well while Washington moved into Boston to take Massachussetts. However, this proved to be a Very Bad Idea as the spaces both north and south of Boston were British, and Clinton moved into the space to the west to lock Washington into the space. In fact, I warned Chuck about this, and when Howe marched into Boston to eliminate Washington in two battle card plays, it was all over. I'd won my first game of this largely great title against Dave (something like 10 years ago) by tricking Washington into going after a space in an area that would trap him, and while I wasn't really trying to lure Chuck into Boston, it was a pretty obvious target as it is also a Wintering space.

While all of this sounds like I actually had a plan (and, to be honest, did), the truth of the matter is that after the first couple of hands I had spectacular hands. In six turns, two of the hands were nothing but operations cards, meaning that I could almost always move and react to whatever Chuck was doing. While I have *very* few British event cards, we did draw the European War card that reshuffles the deck pretty much every other turn, so the French never showed up. On the other hand, my second hand had two 2 cards, two North's Govt cards, two American events, and the Declaration of Independence, so I definitely started the game gimped as one of the 2 cards had to be used to bring in the 8 CUs of Brit reinforcements to New York to set up Clinton. It also helped that Chuck was under the mistaken impression that the various armies could only move 3 spaces instead of 4 when activated despite the number being right on the card!

WtP is kind of a luck fest with the card draws, but it was good fun and a game I should bring out more despite the fact that the cards can completely screw you - a turn with *no* options is unlikely, but almost certainly a game ender. And I *really* hate games where you have to play a card that does you tremendous damage, as Declaration does. On the plus side, I was able to do myself some good by ensuring that there would only be a few colonies for Chuck to place PCs in, but the principle stands. Hannibal has no cards like this, nor does Wilderness War, and I think that at least the Americans should have to give the Brits a card if the latter have to play it.

Of course, I won rather handily, so there you go.

I will do a wrapup entry in the next few days once I've reoriented myself to the mundane world, but with the exception of Age of Empires III ("a very, very good game" indeed) and an abortive attempt at the Gettysburg block game (for whom I have no one else to blame), it was a great week with many successes and even a few wins.

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