Saturday, 9 August 2014

Hammering the Scots again

... or maybe not...

Hammer of the Scots is a low complexity block wargame and is a good introduction game for players new to block games or wargames. I have always liked it, but it had been ages since I last played. So it's on my list of games to play under my one-hard-to-arrange-game-per-month program. I taught Allen the game. He's new, so I suggested he played the English. We played the Braveheart scenario, so I think the English is slightly easier to play, with Edward I still in play. Edward I can winter in Scotland, which is important for the English to maintain the momentum to crush the Scottish rebellion.

Round 1 of the Braveheart scenario, 1297. At the start of this scenario, most of the 14 Scottish nobles are obedient to the English, so the red block version of them are in play. Only a few are rebellious, and the blue block version of these are in play. Some of the blue blocks on the board are just Scottish infantry - the blue ovals with white X's. And that bearded guy is of course William Wallace, the protagonist in the award-winning Mel Gibson movie Braveheart.

The board was mostly red at the start of the game, so as the Scots I had to quickly attack some red nobles to convince them to support the rebellion. Most nobles in this game don't die. If you "kill" them in battle, they leave the board, and then come back as the other coloured block, i.e. they join your side instead. There weren't that many English soldiers yet in Scotland. Most of the red blocks were Scottish nobles submitting to the English throne. I must quickly bring them to my side before the English built up a significant force.

Allen was sitting on the south side of the map. I was looking at the map from the north.

Previously there were two nobles supporting the rebellion in the south, but Allen played a traitor card to convert one of them, and then beat the other into submission, so now there were no more blue blocks in the south (the far end in this photo). Thankfully my early battles went well, and I managed to, aah... "persuade" a number of nobles to turn blue.

Allen now bunched together a few red nobles in the north into a fist to face my blue army. However this was a dangerous move, because winter was just around the corner. Instead of fighting him head-on, I dispersed my army to capture the home territories of his nobles. When winter comes, all nobles must go home. If their home territories are in enemy hands, they surrender and switch sides. So wintering is something to watch out for. I probably should have emphasised this more when I went through the rules. Now I felt a little bad for pulling this squatting-at-your-homes move on him. His lightbulb flicked on and he said, "So that's how this works". After winter, the board situation became...

... this. Round 2, 1298. A sudden splash of blue in the north. Wallace sneaked south to Selkirk Forest. This is a special rule for the Wallace block. He can choose to teleport to Selkirk Forest, spend winter there, and heal two steps. The area was not yet heavily guarded by English blocks, so I was confident Wallace could break through and escape back towards the north. I decided to make use of this Selkirk Forest rule.

When Heng heard that Allen and I had planned to do Hammer of the Scots, he was interested to watch and came to be our spectator. He took this photo. Now the centre and the north were all blue, but Allen was amassing English troops in the south to strike north.

Round 4, 1300. In 1299, Edward I led a powerful army and smashed through the Scottish lines. He spent one winter in Scotland, and towards the end of 1300, he had reached the northern part of Scotland, but had taken some losses too. The Scots had larger numbers, but actually many of the blocks were badly injured. Edward I had two knight blocks with him, and together formed a formidable army. Having spent one winter in Scotland, Edward I would have to leave Scotland at the end of 1300. That would be a relief for me. Right before winter Allen used Edward I and the two knight blocks to capture three of my nobles' home territories, which forced my nobles to switch sides during the Christmas holidays.

The blocks with family crests on shields are the nobles. Their home territories are marked with the same family crests. The strength (which is also life points) of a block is indicated by the number of tiny triangles pointing upwards. When blocks take damage or gain health, you rotate them accordingly.

Round 5, 1301. After Edward I left, I quickly "convinced" the nobles in the north that rebelling was the right path. By now, only one last noble held out (in the far south) against the movement. I just needed to defeat that last guy to win an instant victory.

It was rather impossible by now for Allen to turn the tide, so he set his sights on trying to survive till the end of the scenario, i.e. denying me a sudden death victory. In Round 6 (1302), both our first cards played were event cards (players select cards and then reveal them simultaneously). This meant the year would end early, going straight to the wintering phase. Remaining cards on hand were discarded. Allen lasted another year. Then in 1303, both our first cards were event cards again! Another short year! From a board situation perspective this was bad for Allen, because during winter the Scots can train new troops in Scotland, but not the English. After two peaceful years, almost all my blocks were brought onto the map. The Scots were bloody strong!

These are event cards. I had hoped to play the Herald card (at the top) to make that last noble switch sides, which would give me an instant victory. However Allen played the Sea Move card to send two blocks to protect that last noble. The English event was resolved first, so by the time that noble switched to the Scottish side, he was forced to attack the two English blocks stationed in the same territory. Needless to say he was taught a stern lesson and changed his mind to stay loyal to the English throne. My devious plan did not work out.

In the end I mobilised a large army to defeat that last noble, who was then protected by Edward I and two other strong English blocks which had rushed to the scene. At this stage the Scots simply had overwhelming numbers and the English had little chance of putting down the rebellion. The English ended up being the ones getting hammered.

The pivotal point of this game was probably the first wintering phase in 1297, when the English lost most of the north to the Scots. Edward I later managed to orchestrate a strong offense, but unfortunately didn't use it to establish a lasting foundation. The English gains were soon reversed. By then the momentum was too much on the Scottish side.

Monday, 4 August 2014

in photos: Carcassonne, Pickomino, Viva Topo

22 Jun 2014. It had been a long time since Michelle and I last played Carcassonne, and it was like catching up with a dear old friend. This game used to be very heavily played when boardgames first became my hobby. This was a little surprising, because prior to that when I only played boardgames sporadically, I used to think the best boardgames were those like Axis & Allies and Samurai Swords. I didn't know about German games or more complex wargames then. Even when I first played Carcassonne, I wasn't particularly taken to it. I found it rather simple, and also a little weird, because I hadn't been exposed to German games. However after I bought it, Michelle and I played it more and more. Michelle was willing to play frequently because it wasn't a game about war or fighting. So I should thank Carcassonne for turning boardgames into my hobby - something I do every week, not a few times per year like with Axis & Allies.

My copy of Carcassonne contains the Inns & Cathedrals expansion and the Abbey and Mayor expansion, plus a few other smaller ones that came with magazines or were gifts from friends. I've lost track of the smaller ones. In this photo you can see the barn (large house-like piece) which is part of the Abbey and Mayor expansion.

Michelle beat me by 3 points! 203:200.

28 Jul 2014. During the Raya break I also played Pickomino with the children. Shee Yun (9) was considering her options very solemnly. I find that the children tend to be more conservative, and are willing to take a worm die result even when there is just one worm rolled. I tend to be greedier and I usually pick another number, hoping to roll more worms on the next roll. My policy might not be the best one though. I don't do all that well in this game.

Chun Rui (7) likes this game and sometimes requests for it, and she does well. I'm not sure whether she's just lucky, or she really instinctively gets the strategy.

Look at that stack of tiles next to Chen Rui. She already has four. The game is ending soon - there are only two face-up tiles at the centre of the table. The rest have all been turned face-down due to failed attempts to claim tiles.

She gets five 2's, which is not good - you want big numbers (a worm has a value of 5). Thankfully she has one 1, which she can choose to lock, and then she can reroll all those 2's and hope for something better.

The tiles on the left are Chen Rui's - 9pts. The tile on the right is Shee Yun's - 1pt. I scored 3pts.

After that we played Viva Topo!. This is a children's game, and it is truly a risk management game. Just don't use this term to sell the game to parents or to children. You have four mice and you use them to claim as much cheese as possible. They move by die roll, and the bigger pieces of cheese are always further away. There is a cat coming after the mice. Any mice caught before they can claim any cheese will have to leave empty-handed. The risk management comes in how far you want to move your mice towards the bigger pieces of cheese, and whether you should just grab the smaller pieces before you get caught. You are gambling on how much time your mice have before the cat catches up with them.

This was the early game, and many mice were still sneaking behind the cat. Eventually the cat will go around the track and chase the mice from behind. In the later part of the game, the cat will move more quickly - two steps at a time instead of just one. So the game builds up to a climax. When I play this with the children, they tend to want to help all their mice equally, while I try to focus on only some of them and I aim for the big pieces of cheese. In a game where the cat moves quickly, trying to move all mice can be disastrous and yield low returns.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

PitchCar

Plays: 3Px7, 2Px1.

During the Raya holidays Allen suggested to lend me his PitchCar set for me to try with my daughters. His children are still a bit too young for it. So I played, and I had a great time. I didn't know much about the game before, other than having seen some photos and knowing it's a dexterity game. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

The Game

PitchCar is a car-racing game, where the cars are discs that you flick around the race track. There aren't many rules. If your car goes off track, or you cause another player's car to go off track, you reset all discs to positions before your turn, and you have just wasted a turn. If your disc flips over, you need to spend your next turn just to flip it back. First to complete 3 laps wins. That's the gist of it. Let's look at how it plays.

The Play

At first we designed our own race track, but I found that it wasn't very good, so after that we stuck to the recommended designs that came with the game.

The race cars.

After playing for a short while, we realised we needed to push away all the chairs. They got in the way. We had to keep moving around the table, and we ended up all sweating. The weather being hot didn't help.

This is one of the recommended race tracks. However we modified it slightly by adding a ramp.

The race tracks have barriers, which can act as guides for the cars and thus help players move their cars further.

Crossing the ramp was harder than I thought. Flick too hard and the car would go off track. Flick too lightly and the car wouldn't make it past the gap.

I wonder whether it's possible to make something like the Sepang F1 race track in Malaysia.

This was a challenging shot. Shee Yun had to be careful not to knock Chen Rui's car off the track.

Allen has not only the base game but also quite a number of expansions, so there is a lot to play with. I grouped the parts by type to ease building the next race track.

Another race track.

This part is actually not easy. Flying over the ramp is challenging. Going through that narrow corridor is also tough.

See how Chen Rui missed.

The Thoughts

This is a simple fun kind of game, but it is not mindless. You are constantly involved, and because it's a dexterity game you do need to focus. Turns are quick, are you are always eager for your next turn. When I played with the children I had to keep reminding them it was not their turn yet. We had to chant a mantra like "red blue green - red blue green" so that we kept to the proper turn order.

There is often a balance between slow-and-steady and fast-but-risky. Everyone will try to push his luck and try to go faster and further, but if you are careless or overly ambitious, you may end up going off track and wasting turns. So there is a nice tension of how far you want to push yourself. When you are behind, you need to keep your cool and not be too rash, because otherwise you might make things worse. Playing with the kids was relaxing for me, since they were not as nimble as I was and I kept winning, but I imagine the game can be quite challenging when playing against adults. We had a lot of laughs with lousy shots or unlucky shots, and we had a lot of cheers for great shots or crazy lucky shots. Say all you want about balancing risk and gain. Eventually when you play, you don't really think that much. You just immerse yourself in the simple fun and the adrenalin rush.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

appreciating Android Netrunner

Over the Raya holidays (Aidilfitri / Eid al-Fitr) I arranged with John to play Android: Netrunner, hoping to continue to learn this game. He's a veteran, and he actually started playing it at Spartan Games Arena, where I visited recently to play and learn from Nik. John still follows the latest expansions, but feels a bit tired of the chasing after new cards, and wants to return to basics - building decks using only the cards from the core set. That suits me just fine. I want to learn starting from the basics. We spent an afternoon at Starbucks and played five games. He taught me quite a bit about deck building, and I realised how poor my two deck builds were. By our third game I switched to playing with his decks, and actually managed one win game. As I learned more, I found that there was so much more I didn't know and needed to learn. It was a little daunting. Perhaps it's a good sign. It means I'm improving and I'm able to appreciate the depth of the game better. I hope. Here are my miscellaneous thoughts after this enjoying session of running.

  • I suddenly have an urge to sleeve all my cards. I think most if not all serious runners do this. I suddenly have this urge because I realise this game has a lot of replayability even with just the core set, and there is a lot of fiddling with the cards because of constructing and reconstructing decks. I suddenly see that even just the cards from the core set is a cultural artifact that needs to be preserved. I can't explain why I don't feel this way about Race for the Galaxy, a game I love and have played hundreds of times, until some of the cards are obviously frayed at the edges.

    I was playing John's Criminal runner deck. He uses red-backed sleeves. I'm thinking of getting transparent ones.

  • I learned that there are three main types of ice (firewalls protecting the servers), and thus also three main types of icebreaker programs to break their subroutines. In hindsight it's amazingly dumb of me how I never bothered to check this. No wonder my first attempt at deck-building was laughable.
  • John taught me to run naked (and I must explain before your imagination runs wild). Running naked means hacking at the corporation's servers in the early game when you don't have any programs installed yet. The corp doesn't have a lot of money yet, so it will not be able to rez (turn on) any powerful and dangerous ice. You don't have any program at risk of getting trashed. You can force the corp to reveal the newly placed ice, which is useful information to you. If the corp player doesn't rez his ice, you run successfully and if lucky you may even score an early agenda. So running naked is a very viable tactic.
  • To play well, you need to know almost every detail of every card. Remembering the names of the many cards is not something you force yourself to do. It actually comes naturally after you spend much time playing, discussing with your friends, and deck-building. Tell a veteran an icebreaker-and-ice pair, and he can probably immediately tell you how much it would cost for the former to break all subroutines of the latter. It's like having memorised the multiplication table. After an afternoon with John, I've learned to remember some of the more powerful cards to watch out for, like Snare and Scorched Earth.
  • Some cards can be particularly powerful, even to the point of becoming game-winners, under specific situations. The game is very much about trying to create such situations to play these cards, and also preventing your opponent from doing it to you. I have learned this in Hearthstone, but I still need to learn the cards in Netrunner better to be able to do the same. One thing that I wonder is whether this will result in groupthink. If everyone thinks a card is best used in a certain way, then the group may become stuck in a narrow mindset and not explore other viable tactics, possibly even more creative ways to use the card.
  • I am amazed at how consistent the setting and the mechanisms are. The core mechanisms are not exactly simplistic, but are not overly complex either. There are servers, firewalls, programs, subroutines, tagging, viruses, bad publicity and so on. All the card powers tie back to this handful of core elements, yet there is much variety.
  • John thinks the default decks in the core set are weak, but decent decks can be built using only cards in the core set. One just needs to tweak the decks a little and use some cards from other factions. He shared with me his deck builds. I'll probably just use them as they are for now, until I get a better feel for the deck-building aspect.
  • In one of the games where I played the Jinteki corp using a deck I built, John played the Criminal runner with a deck he built. One of the powerful Jinteki cards is Snare. If the runner accesses Snare when hacking into a server, the corp may spend $4 to discard three of the runner's hand cards. If the runner doesn't have enough, he is flatlined and loses. John was very careful about not getting caught by Snare. There were a few times when he managed to reach my server, but because I kept at least $4 on hand, he hesitated and jacked out at the last minute, deciding not to access the server after all. That saved me a few times. I actually didn't have any Snare waiting for him. I was just bluffing. In fact, after the game (which I eventually lost) I realised I hadn't put Snare into my deck at all! No wonder I didn't draw it even after half my deck was gone.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

revisiting Axis and Allies Guadalcanal

Axis and Allies Guadalcanal is a game I like a lot, despite having played it only once, in 2008. That's six years ago! Sometimes I ask myself - what am I thinking? A 6 year wait before playing one of my favourite games again?! I asked Heng to be my opponent, since he's a fan of the Axis & Allies series. He has shared his thoughts on and photos of our game on both Facebook and his blog. Take a look to see the game from his view point. He wanted to play the Japanese (orange), so I played USA (green).

The objective of the game is to gain 15pts. Points mainly come from controlling undamaged airfields, each of which scores 1pt at the end of every round. You also earn points by sinking enemy capital ships (battleships or aircraft carriers). The game board has six islands, five of which are controlled by the Japanese at the start of the game. The Americans have just invaded Guadalcanal and has control of it, but there are still some Japanese soldiers holding out. Both sides start with one airfield controlled, and more can be built by spending supply tokens.

Heng started off heavily reinforcing New Georgia. This was an important move because New Georgia had two spots for airfields. This move set the tone for the rest of the game, as you will see later.

At the start of the game, three islands were in range for amphibious attacks. As USA, I needed to control two more islands to achieve an economic balance. How much money you earn at the end of a round depends on how many islands you control. So I needed three islands in total to match the Japanese income.

I decided to play it safe, and went for the other two islands which Heng did not reinforce - Santa Isabel and Malaita. On Guadalcanal itself, I had three supply tokens which could be used to build a new airfield at the end of the round. The Japanese also had two tokens. There was one token on New Georgia. If I captured New Georgia, I could pool three tokens together to build another new airfield. This was one of the considerations for the Japanese when defending New Georgia.

I sent four fighters to support the invasion of Santa Isabel, while Heng also sent four to defend the island. The air battle went badly for me. I lost quite a few planes. The land battle went well, and I captured Santa Isabel.

End of Round 1 and beginning of Round 2. We had both built one new airfield, Heng's on Choiseul (top row, second island), and mine on Guadalcanal (bottom row, second island, i.e. at the bottom right corner). So we both scored 2pts. We each controlled three islands, so our income was equal. I had purchased a new carrier (still on my base card, off the main board, at the bottom right) to help bring fighters quickly to the front line. Unlike traditional Axis & Allies games, in Axis & Allies Guadalcanal, when carriers move, they carry their fighters along, so the fighters enjoy one extra move.

By Round 2 our two main task forces were already staring down each other at the centre of the board. This was a precarious situation. Both these sea zones were next to islands with artillery in place. Whichever fleet moved in to attack the other would get bombarded by these artillery. So the defender had an advantage.

One of my submarines sneaked among the Japanese ships to attack one of the carriers. To my delight it struck true and sank the carrier immediately! Needless to say it was a suicide mission, but it turned out to be well worth it. Heng had one transport bringing supply tokens to New Georgia so that he could build a new airfield by the end of the round.

I sent an air force to bomb the airfield at Choiseul. In hindsight, this was a rather rash decision. Heng had an anti-aircraft gun, and also could muster more planes than I could. The battle went badly for me. The US started the game with more planes than the Japanese, and by the end of this battle I had squandered away this advantage.

I lost so many fighters that at one point I didn't have enough to fill up my carriers. How embarrassing. At the top right, my transports sent supplies to Santa Isabel to allow me to build a new airfield.

End of Round 2, start of Round 3. I was 6:5 against Heng, the 1pt advantage because of the Japanese carrier sunk. At the end of Round 2, I spent most of my money on fighters (see my base card at the bottom right), to replenish those that I had lost.

Now it was Heng's turn to try his luck with his submarines. Fortunately for me both his attempts failed. His kamikaze subs died for nothing.

I was in a difficult position. Although we both controlled three islands, his three could support five airfields, but mine could only support four. Once we maxed out on airfields, he would outscore me every round. So I was under pressure to attack. This was why New Georgia, having two spaces for airfields, was very important to the Japanese strategy.

It was Round 4 now. I decided to strike! My battleship was first to enter the fray. I knew it was a risky move, but I decided I could not afford to wait. Time was not on my side. I had to gamble. I hoped to score some capital ship hits so that I could outscore Heng before his higher number of airfields left me in the dust.

This was the single biggest battle in our game. That Japanese submarine on the right had intended to sneak up on my carrier, coming from behind Santa Isabel (island at top right). However my fleet moved in to attack Heng's fleet, so that sub came to the party too late. Notice that Heng had retreated his carrier to the left. This was a good move. He kept it out of danger. Carriers have no attack capability anyway. I could have sent some bombers or fighters to attack it, since it didn't have other ships to protect it. However I was already at a disadvantage in the upcoming sea battle, so I decided I could not afford to split my air force.

This was what was left after the dust settled. No capital ships were harmed at all. However my fleet was now obviously weaker than Heng's. My only consolation was I could bombard his airfields using my ships. I got lucky and managed to damage one of them on New Georgia. Heng could not land his planes there or score points from it until he repaired it.

End of Round 4. I was 14:13 against Heng. We would pass 15pt in Round 5, and as long as he didn't score more than me, I would win. My strategic position was bad, and my long-term prospects were poor, so I had to gamble to force a win. It was do or die. I built yet another new carrier, and even spent supply tokens to forward-deploy it, so that I could get it to the frontline, carrying fighters, sooner. All airfields had been built, just that one of Heng's was damaged.

Now it was Heng's turn to go on the offensive. He loaded up his transports and advanced towards my islands. My fleet was no match for his, and I avoided a head-to-head battle. Notice that he had two battleships now. One of them was newly minted. Since he had almost vacated Choiseul, I made a move against it, using destroyers as makeshift transports to send troops there. It was a risky move, but I told myself I had to gamble. Unfortunately it didn't work out. Heng had reinforcements en route too, and my assault failed.

I made a grave mistake here, leaving two carriers undefended. Heng grabbed the opportunity and attacked. Thankfully he didn't manage to sink either carrier. I think only one was damaged and sent back to base for repairs.

Notice that in the background I had one submarine. It had just gotten lucky and destroyed a Japanese carrier. My subs were amazingly lucky in this game. Both of Heng's carriers were killed by subs. The required die roll is 1.

The Japanese had landed at Guadalcanal, screaming revenge. I lost control of the island, since Heng had a larger presence, but I still had troops guarding the two airfields. Heng would need to kill off all my remaining defenders to take control of the airfields.

At the end of Round 5, we had both passed 15pts, and we had the same number of points! The situation was bleak for me. All my gambits amounted to a painful draw, and my strategic position was only going to get worse now that Heng was making more money than me. I thought hard whether to concede, but eventually decided to just try one more round and see whether I could make a breakthrough. So we proceeded to Round 6. Although Heng had captured Guadalcanal, it was much easier for me than for him to reinforce it. He couldn't kill off my remaining defenders yet, and I couldn't easily kick him off the island either.

I thought hard about how to reduce his point-earning ability. I could bombard his airfields. I could attempt to outright capture his islands. I could try to target his capital ships. However at the same time I knew he could do the same to me. So much to think about, both offense and defense.

I had two transports each carrying one infantry positioned to invade the two lightly defended Japanese islands. However Heng had many transports ready to reinforce them. The turn order is quite important in this game. It alternates every round, and the start player is usually at a disadvantage because he has to commit how to move his units first, while his opponent can react to his actions. Heng had tons of planes coming at my battleship and two carriers. Instead of using my fighters to defend the fleet, I sent them to bomb the airfields at Bougainville. It was a crazy decision, but I knew I had to go for broke. Amazingly none of my capital ships were destroyed, although all were damaged. So they returned to base. I managed to land units on Choiseul (second island) but did not manage to capture it. I managed to damage one of the airfields on Bougainville.

Off the coast of Guadalcanal, Heng sent three cruisers to attack my small fleet trying to reinforce Guadalcanal. I only had one cruiser and one destroyer to try to hold him off, but I did have one bomber from Guadalcanal which could help.

I was lucky in that although all my fighting ships were damaged or destroyed, neither of my transports were hurt, and I managed to reinforce Guadalcanal. I still held on to those two airfields.

After completing Round 6, I found that we were still tied! All that struggle, and still a stalemate. However I knew by then I had little hope of turning the tide, so I conceded defeat.

By the time we ended the game, we had not done the aircraft landing phase. Heng had four operational airfields in range, so his eight planes were OK. I only had one carrier in range, so one of my fighters would crash into the ocean.

We did not fight a single battle on New Georgia (island in the centre), but it was pivotal to our game because of its two airfields. A very strategic location indeed! Perhaps next time I play I need to try attacking it.

Axis & Allies Guadalcanal is a game with much attrition, especially for airplanes, because every round it is the airplanes which get shot at first. Only when they survive they get to participate in attacking sea or land units. The money you earn helps, but after one or two big battles, both players' unit counts will be diminished. So conserving units is important (says the guy who threw tons of units into dubious assaults).

There is some luck in the game, and I mean it in the best possible way. Unlike other Axis & Allies games, it is the dice which determine which unit is hit, and not the defending player. You can do much to mitigate bad luck, but sometimes bad luck just strikes and there's no stopping it. Just ask Heng's aircraft carrier captains. Luck in this game throws in some unexpected results, sometimes good, sometimes bad. That's war. That's real life. However you do have much control on how big a risk you want to take. Just be prepared that nothing is 100% in your control. I like this. This is excitement.

At the moment I feel uncertain about the winning condition being victory points. At times I feel like I'm chasing points and not properly fighting a battle. I'm building airfields for the sake of points, and not for landing planes. It makes the game feel artificial. Perhaps I'm the one putting the cart before the horse. Perhaps if I learn to use the airfields better, it will feel much more natural - the airfields giving me an edge in the battle, as opposed to being just a scoring tool. In our game, I sometimes felt I was gaming the system trying to force a win, throwing caution to the wind. I didn't really care about my longer term position, because I was putting all my chips on one big bet - that I could score well in the current round and win the game. After that I wouldn't need to worry about how many units I had wasted. In real life that may not really make sense. I would be sending people to die just so I could have a few more airfields. I don't have a conclusion whether this is a problem. It's something to ponder. But overall, I had a blast with this game.

P/S: After writing this session report, I realised I might have mistaken the round numbers. I rechecked the photos and tried to remember exactly what happened, but I couldn't tell for sure whether this account of events was entirely accurate. Sorry about that.