We had a turnout of one for game night on Friday – which is not nearly as tragic as it sounds.
We kicked off with The End of the Triumvirate, the perfect 3-player game and one that we’d been wanting to try. Vince was Caesar, I was Pompey and Fraser was Crassus.
Vince – errm, Caesar – and I spent the first couple of turns fighting with one another, which wasn’t a great way to approach the game as it turned out – it distracted us while Fraser got on with the things he was meant to be doing. Vince won the first election and I won the second (because Fraser neutralised one of Vince’s consuls to stop him winning it), but meanwhile Fraser was sneaking ahead on both competency tracks. If he hadn’t won when he did, Vince would have won by forcing himself to become consul again. I worked on land areas but didn’t really get anywhere.
We all enjoyed the game, and would like to try it again now that we know how it worked. I found that there was a little more direct conflict than I really like, but not so much that I disliked the game. It just took a little getting used to.
Result: Fraser (Crassus) won
Next off the shelf was On the Underground. The tiredness bug hit me not long after we started playing this, so I had to stretch and even sneak off to the bathroom to wash my face a few times.
This was only my second play of On the Underground, and I’m still not quite sure what to make of the game. I enjoy it, and would love to play it with some friends who lived in London for a while, but the game seems to end very abruptly. I wonder whether I need to re-read the rules.
Results: Vince (Grey) 53, Fraser (Green) 52, Melissa (Pink!) 57.
On Saturday, we had a special gaming date organised. Richard brought his copy of the FFG Britannia over for us to play. I own the older Avalon Hill edition, and played it quite a bit when I was at Uni (I think it was the first game I ever bought myself), but haven’t played it for *mumble* years. To the extent that I thought it was a 5/6/7 player game which played optimally with 6, rather than a 3-5 player game with a 4-player sweet spot. Blush.
We picked tribes by colours: Richard took the Romans etc (yellow), Vince the Welsh (Green), Fraser the Belgae (Blue) and I took the Brigantes (Red). After the initial bout of Yellow Fever (shades of Pandemic), we all took a fairly relentless, although to some extent futile, stand against the Bad Roman People. The Welsh did particularly well here, as Richard headed North towards Scotland and mostly ignored the territory to the West.
Highlights of the game, as noted by me:
- Turn 1. Fraser (Belgae) submitted to the Romans, then unsubmitted and smacked them.
- Turn 2. Melissa (Brigantes) submitted to the Romans. This enabled the Brigantes to survive to pull in 26 VP in the last two scoring rounds.
- Turn 4: A misreading of the info track saw me bring the Saxons in from the ?North Sea? and take York, briefly. This screwed up both me and Richard, but probably was to Fraser’s and Vince’s advantage.
- Turn 5: Saxons take lots of land, Irish take Dyfed.
- Lots of eliminations (of which I kept track). I think I was slightly ahead at the end, having eliminated the Romano-British, the Belgae and the Jutes (what can I say, I was an equal opportunity eliminator) while Richard took out the Caledonians and the Picts.
- Turn 11 or so: I built two cute Saxon huts.
- Turn 14: I elect me Queen. Mwahahahahaha. Henceforth known as Queen Harold-in-a-dress.
- Turn 15: Fraser overruns me and leaves me with a total of 1 saxon on the board. TOTAL. Ouch. There is, however, no King.
- Turn 16: Fraser gets to be King, having previously taken out Queen Harold-in-a-dress.
Richard (Yellow) Romans 69 + Romano-British 2 + Scots 54 + Dubliners 27 + Norwegians 30 = 182
Vince (Green) Welsh 97 + Caledonians 42 + Danes 68 + Jutes 26 = 233
Fraser (Blue) Belgae 36 + Picts 18 + Angles 108 + Normans 62 = 224
Melissa (Red) Brigantes 61 + Irish 32 + Norse 50 + Saxons 96 = 239
It was an interesting game, because we all played quite aggressively – it was rare that someone with more than 2 tribespeople would hole up and grow, we mostly wanted to steal territory. We were even aggressive in the risks we took, often attacking 1:1. Very few leaders (with the exception of Harald and Harold) were captured.
Sometimes when we take out an old favourite, it is a disappointment – the nostalgia is better than the reality. To my relief, I didn’t find that with Britannia – it was still a great game, albeit quite different than the games I usually choose. (Do I reveal myself to be a wimp when I say that to me this is a wargame? It’s certainly the closest I get.). I doubt it’s something I’ll play often though – we played from 5:50 till right on midnight, albeit with a 45 minute dinner break. Obviously it would be faster if we played it again, but I don’t see it coming in significantly under the advertised 4 hours.
One thing that worked well this weekend was specifically organising people to come over to play a heavier/longer game. Given that our Friday night games tend to be more casual, I’ve been thinking that we need to start using the public gaming sessions better – set something up in advance, then make sure we play it. As it is, we tend to rock up, see what’s lying around, maybe pick something up and try it, often play filler or lighter games with anyone who’s not already picked up something big. It’s not the same.