Sunday, 23 May 2010

boardgaming in photos, Horus Heresy, Jambo, Medici

Now I'm calling these blog posts "boardgaming in photos" instead, because the word without the "board" bit sometimes attract spam from gam_bling sites.

21 May 2010. This is a worker's working hours record card. Nothing to do with boardgames at all. A part-time worker can use such a generic form (MYR2.90 for a stack of them at a supermarket near my home) to record hours worked, and to calculate wages earned. And I bought these to be used as...

... Dominion dividers. I have Dominion and its Seaside expansion. I wanted to be able to put all cards of both expansions into the same box. So the box insert had to go. I did some quick-and-dirty handiwork, and this was the result.

This was probably the first time a cardboard sprue that I kept after punching out a game became useful. Or at least I can't think of any other time I actually used them, although I often keep them. Guess what these dividers are from. Answer at bottom.

Action cards on the left compartment, and all the generic cards in the middle compartment. My convention for labelling - colour coding for Victory cards (green), Duration cards (orange) or Reaction cards (blue); card name; card cost; "c" means you gain card(s); "a" means you gain action(s); "$" means you gain buying power (buying value); "b" means you gain more buy(s); capital "A" on the right means an attack card.

21 May 2010. Han was keen to play Horus Heresy again, so he came over and we did our second game, this time playing Scenario 4, and swapping roles - he played the rebel Horus and I played the Emperor. Scenario 4 gave much more freedom to both players in setting up their starting forces. This particular spaceport started off heavily guarded by my tank and infantry units. However, I forgot about the treachery rolls. When Han did those, 4 out of 6 of my units in this area betrayed me. Needless to say, I quickly lost control of this spaceport, and never regained control of it throughout the game.

This was one spaceport that Han started with, and I was poised to attack it with units from two different areas. During the game he tried to ship units here from orbit, but since I had two cannons next to this spaceport, many of these units were shot down.

This was the other spaceport that Han started with. I also had units preparing to fight for it.

One of my palace locations was vacant at the start of the game, and Han dropped two space marine units and a thunderhawk troop carrier here, led by one of his Heroes. Thankfully I was able to defeat the soldiers, leaving his hero wandering around my palace pestering my concubines.

One of the event cards forced my Emperor to get beamed up to the Vengeful Spirit battleship, where Horus the rebel leader was. I could bring 4 units, so I brought two elite bodyguards and two Blood Angels space marines (and their leader). This was quite an unexpected development, since I didn't know the backstory.

At this point in the game, I was at risk of losing the game, because the timer track was near the point when spaceport victory was enabled, and Han had a good chance of controlling all 4 spaceports. So having my Emperor try to kill Horus himself may be a worthwhile gamble. I would win instantly. However Horus was quite well protected, and I decided to go for a different approach. I attacked and captured a spaceport, which Han could not quickly recapture, and instead of sending my Emperor to fight Horus (which would be risky for the Emperor too), I tried to get him off the spaceship and back to the palace.

I couldn't just get him out. I still had to fight a coexistance battle with the soldiers at the Catacombs (i.e. not at the bridge with Horus) of the Vengeful Spirit. Han's first card play had his Titan kill both my marines, which was baaaad.

I did manage to win that fight, but was left with just one unit of elite bodyguard. I had to get the Emperor out before Horus came to beat him up. Thankfully I had just enough action points to do so. The second character from the left is the Emperor. Horus is on the right.

I was ready to make a big attack on this spaceport controlled by Han. I later recaptured this spaceport, after an intense battle.

This is one high bodycount game. These are all the units killed in action.

"I see dead people. They are everywhere. They walk and talk like normal people. They don't even know they're dead." And this was not even the final body count. Many more casualties came over to join this support group afterwards.

Later, another event forced Horus to come down to earth - his battleship blew up. Oops. That was unexpected too, because I didn't know the backstory. It turned out to be a good thing far Han, because it meant Horus and the three units with him could come to reinforce some troops next to this spaceport, and they could try to recapture it. Hmm... maybe he blew up his own battleship on purpose. Sneaky fella...

I was very determined to take back this spaceport. Two groups of attackers were not enough. I mobilised the Emperor himself and some troops from the palace and prepared for a combined assault made up of three separate forces. Han seized the initiave, and used his surrounded army (and two thunderhawk planes rushing in from other areas) to attack my Emperor. If he could kill my Emporer, he would win immediately.

The Emperor put up a good fight, and not only did not need to retreat with injury (which I had thought he would), he even beat back the attackers. There was only one unit left defending the spaceport, and one (purple) thunderhawk survived. I would surely capture the spaceport when I next made a move. I just needed to hold it, and keep my Emperor safe, until game end, and I would win.

However there was another unexpected twist of fate. The next event allowed Han to conduct a battle! The event had to be resolved before it would be my turn. So Horus grabbed the opportunity to attack this 4th spaceport that he needed to control to win the game.

And win the game he did! It took the rebel leader himself to get the job done. It was a close fight. It came down to just one last life point that I needed. If Han had caused just one damage less, or I had just one more life point (of units, not heroes) remaining, I would have held this spaceport long enough to be able to give time to my other army to capture the other spaceport.

The funniest thing about this particular game was how lousy Han's cannon operators were. He conducted a lot of bombardments, and almost all of them missed. The only instance when they hit something was actually at this final spaceport that he needed to win the game. Well, I guess the cannon operators still performed when it really mattered. Else Han would have fired them all and fed them to the dogs.

The MVPs of the game were probably the Adeptus Mechanicus (Emperor side) - the half human half machine soldiers. There were quite a few battles involving them where I played a special card (requiring their presence) which made Han unable to defend against my attack. I think at least twice I inflicted 7 points of damage because of this.

Our game lasted about 3 hours. Whoever said Horus Heresy is a quick game must be crazy, or must have played it too many times. There were quite many twists in our game, making an interesting story. It was a close game. Were it not that specific event that gave Han an extra attack, my Emperor probably could have held out until time ran out for the rebels. However I still feel the game rather restricting - the order cards you get, the number of actions each army can take. Now I also feel the game is a bit scripted. The events can have a big impact on the game (obviously!). Events are randomised somewhat, but there is a general storyline that events will follow.

You should manipulate your marker movement on the timer track to make use of the events, which I think Han did quite well and I didn't do, ahem, so well (i.e. at all). Some events benefit one side, some the other, but some are neutral and benefit whoever triggers it. So manipulating the timer track is important.

22 May 2010. Jambo wares.

Michelle and I played Jambo again after a long time. I had good ware cards. This was my hand before I won - two pairs of identical ware cards, which meant I could do buy-sell-buy-sell to earn $7 and $6 to end (and win) the game.

Jambo cover. Having played Jambo again, I find that I don't really like it very much afterall. Based on the cards that you draw, you try to figure out how to make money. The ware cards let you buy and sell wares, and you will need tools and characters to help you. The animal cards let you mess with your opponent. The interesting part of the game is figuring out how to make the best out of the cards you draw. However I find that the game is quite tactical. You can't really plan much or have much of a specific strategy. Generally you should always get some tools in play as early as you can, and make use of them as much as you can. If you don't get many tools early, you are quite doomed.

22 May 2010. Medici, which I had not played for a very long time. I brought it out again when I had Han, Sui Jye, Jing Yi and Chee Seng come over for a 5P session. Medici is an old Reiner Knizia auction game. It is quite a pure auction game, more abstract than Ra and Modern Art. This game is best with more players. Now that I have revisited this old classic, I found it a little dry and wished it had a bit more theme.

The scores in our game were bizarre - Sui Jye won at $102, and Chee Seng was last at $31. We even joked that Chee Seng actually won at $131, having gone one round of the scoring track. I don't remember what Chee Seng did wrong. Sui Jye had one very lucky card draw at the end of the last round of the game, without which he wouldn't have won by so much, and might even have come in 2nd place. He was the last player to have available cargo space. He had two more spots. So he had to draw two cards from the deck, and must load those two goods regardless of how good or bad they were. He drew the Gold card (value 10, which is a lot) and another goods card of value 5 (highest possible value). Because of this, his ship became the most valuable ship in round 3, and he won the $30 reward for this.

Answer for Dominion divider: Tales of the Arabian Nights.


荒凉。儒 said...

you didn't sleeve up your Dominion cards?

Hiew Chok Sien said...

No, I didn't sleeve my Dominion cards. I normally don't sleeve my cards because I find them harder to shuffle and harder to handle. My Race for the Galaxy is seeing wear-and-tear because of this, but still I don't sleeve its cards, because if I do I'd find it very annoying when I play, and this is a game I play a lot.

There are some exceptions. I sleeve the Major Improvements and Round Cards in Agricola, but not the Occupations or Minor Improvement. The cards that I sleeve don't need to be handled a lot.

荒凉。儒 said...

I fing that it is really annoying shuffling cards, but i have to sleeves it cos my cards are wearing off with a lot of play.

wankongyew said...

I bet your Dominion box is very heavy with all the cards in it. It'll only get worse when you buy more expansions. How do you set up games with one expansion? Do you shuffle all of the randomizer cards from both sets and draw ten? Or do you do something like 5 randoms from one set and 5 from another set?

I too sleeve all of my cards. I'm obsessive that. It's something I started doing ever since Magic: The Gathering.

Hiew Chok Sien said...

Indeed the box is a little heavy now that I have two sets of cards in it. I actually don't play a lot of Dominion - at least not as much as I'd like to. So far my Dominion Seaside plays have been with only cards from that expansion. I have not mixed cards from the base game, but when I do get around to doing it, I'll probably just randomly select 10 kingdom cards from the whole pool. Not planning to do any fancy splitting.

Chong Sean said...

That's why you need 10 days in XXX.
With card stand/card holder, cards with sleeves don't get oily that easily..

Hiew Chok Sien said...

Indeed the card stands in the 10 Days series are very useful. You can see all your cards easily. But somehow I still prefer to hold the cards in my hands. Maybe I'm just too lazy to arrange the cards on the stands. :-)

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