For as much as I'd drunk the previous day, I was expecting to wake up feeling like a 2 or a 3, but thanks to a very dry climate I'd been woken up about every 90 minutes during the night by a very dry mouth, so I had consumed massive quantities of water during the night and woke up actually feeling pretty damned good. Time to jump into gaming!
Through the Ages -
First up was Through the Ages with MattR and Alex. To be honest, what other people played was a bit of a blur to me, so I won't try to capture their experiences here other than to say that I was surprised to see a dated 18xx game that apparently included a Dragon and looked like it was played on a fantasy archipelago, only to realize later that it was Corsica and Sardina, the Dragon was some sort of overarching development company, and it was historical. So best not to trust my impressions of what was going on elsewhere.
I love TtA. It has really interesting situations throughout and every game is going to feel differently. However, I suck at it, mostly because I hardly ever play - this was my first play in what must have been 18 months, maybe more like 28. Hopefully, the iDevice version coming out later this year (oh please oh please) should help me get some chops in this game, much as it has done for my Ascension game strategies.
This game was no exception. I completely forgot about wonders going away if you hadn't built them in the third epoch (if they were Age I wonders) and lost an almost completed St. Pete's. I also thought that a tech I'd bought helped defray the costs of only new buildings, but it worked for upgrades as well and I spent more resources than was necessary over the game, perhaps 12-15, which is crippling. I was always third in the military game as well, with a few short-term exceptions. I think I got about five points in the endgame when I simply stopped receiving green military cards entirely (up until them, almost all of my culture points had been from playing green cards, so I can't complain too much).
Alex pretty much lapped us, unfortunately. When I play it again in 18 or 28 months, though, I will be ready! Assuming the iDevice version doesn't come out in 17-27 months.
Ascending Empires, Take 2 -
I have already expressed my deep and abiding love for this game in my recount of our three-player game. Let me just say that, with Alex added in going for the Universe's Biggest Navy (he actually built a battleship), it was even more fun, if a bit wackier. I still stand by my statement that this is as close as you get to real time play in an ordered manner, although it was very sad to see that everything had warped to an even greater degree by the time we played our second game (third game for the group).
By now it was dinnertime, and I was involved with preparing lasagna and salad for the troops, which I'm happy to say were completely consumed.
No Retreat, GMT Edition -
After dinner, we had planned to play Battlestar Galactica, and I had hoped to play the Exodus expansion. However, I got such conflicting reports of which elements to use that I recommended we stick with the vanilla edition. However, by this time Ken had joined us and he had sat out enough games (he was in and out all weekend as he had a lot of work-related activities), so he and I pulled out the new edition of No Retreat! originally published by VPG and later in a much more polished edition by GMT in the last month or so. This is a light complexity East Front wargame with a very low unit count but with enough meat to make it a very interesting game. Of particular interest is that you get event cards during your turn and can spend them for various things like replacements, counterblows (essentially spoiling attacks), or for the event printed on your side of the card, assuming the right side has the initiative (determined by what turn it is).
I took the Germans and in the four turns we played (there are about 28) we nailed down a lot of the chrome in the game, such as where reinforcements and replacements can go, compared to detraining units. This corresponded to just before the winter got really bad for the Germans, and I felt I'd come at the very least fairly close to a historical result - could have gotten into the Crimea, also a little closer to Moscow, but otherwise I was feeling pretty good considering I didn't kill a single unit in my initial attack. Considering I can have four attacks at most, that's not terrible, but it did allow Ken to use his cards for things other than replacements. All in all, it was good to learn the game a little better, and I'm looking forward to giving this a try again soon. I'm already slotted to play at BottosCon in early November...
By 10:30pm, i was a toasty pumpkin and ready for bed. I guess I was fortunate not to play BStarG, as the humans coasted through the entire game with hardly any mishaps, even with Mike being a Cylon Admiral for the first half of the game. I guess even the great ones are going to have their weak days, but no question I dodged a bullet for what was looking like the biggest disappointment of the weekend for most.