Thursday, February 4, 2010

Winter War, Part II

Battlestar Galactica, Game 2:
On Sunday Morning, I played Battlestar Galactica again. This game there wasn't nearly as much intrigue as the first one. However, at the beginning of the game, we got unlucky draws from the Crisis Deck and drew lots of cylon attack cards, so we were soon mobbed by Cylon ships and boarding parties. Then we got a crisis card that gave the Admiral (Helena Cain) a chance to take the title from the President (Laura Roslin). In this game, Roslin is actually one of the worst Presidents because she has to discard two skill cards every time she activates a location - and the President is going to be activating the "President's Office" location a lot to draw quorum cards. So I thought Cain made the correct move by taking it (there was no need to worry about her being a Cylon - it was a 4 player game, so there was only one cylon, who had already revealed himself). But Roslin wasn't very happy, and used her once-per-game ability to look at the top four quorum cards and play one in order to put Cain in the brig. Then later she spent more cards getting Cain out of the brig, and giving herself the President title back. All this distracted us while the Cylon was able to advance the boarding parties up the "Boarding Party Track" and get to the end to kill us.

This game is a starship battle game. The scenario was that there are two players, the attacker and the defender. The idea is that the defender is defending a "planet" (not actually on the game board, but supposedly off behind his side of the game board) and the attacker is trying to destroy it. The attacker had far more ships (1000 points worth of ships to the defender's 600) but the defender has time on his side - if the attacker doesn't kill the defender within 5 turns, the defender wins. In the first game I was the defender, and soon realized that if I engaged them head on I would be at a large disadvantage, and figured that the best option was to scatter, forcing the enemy to chase me down. The person running the game said that that option wasn't allowed, because the point was to "defend the planet" and the planet would be lost if I moved far away from it.
Him: If you just run away over to the other end of the board, the enemy ships will just ignore you and attack the planet, so you don't win.
Me: So you're saying that if the enemy reaches mu edge of the board, then I lose?
Him: No, it's just that you have to stay and defend, not run away.
Me: I'm still confused. I mean, if the planet is off my edge of the board, can I go sideways to the corner, and I'm still near the planet? Where exactly is the boundary that I have to stay inside?
Despite the fact that he was never explicitly clear on where the boundary was , I was still able to damage the enemy capital ship's engines, then back up each turn, making it so by the time his main capital ship got into range it was too late to make a difference.
We had time for another game so this time I was the attacker. I knew that I would have to strike hard and fast in order to win, so I chose ships that had powerful engines and also ships that had fighter wings (since fighters move fast and so they can close distance). This strategy worked - my fighters surrounded the enemy ships and too one of them out, then I hit his big capital ship with my powerful "spinal mount" weapon, and he conceded. My main comment on this game was that 5 turns seem way too short, because it takes 2-3 turns just to get in range to even shoot most of your weapons.

Miniatures Wargame:
I forget exactly what this game was called, but it was a miniatures game where there were "humans" fighting against "demihumans" like elves and dwarves. The backstory was that humans had invaded the demihumans' lands and cut down their trees, so they were fighting back. I played the humans. The way the game worked was interesting. There were a few kinds of units. Aside from the basic infantry, cavalry, and archers, there were the following special units:
1. Siege weapons, such as cannons. These have a "bowling ball" effect, meaning that during the "missile fire" phase when you fire them, you draw a line out to maximum range in the direction the weapon is pointing, and you made an attack roll against each model it contacts. Also, it has an interesting rule: if the first unit that the line touches is a unit that's engaged in melee combat, the shot has no effect. But if the first unit in the line is a unit not in melee, it will continue through to hit units in melee. I asked the person running the game if it could hit friendly units, and he said yes. The next turn there were lots of enemies lined up perfectly for me to shoot at, but they were all in melee. So I deliberately positioned the very corner of a friendly unit in the line of sight, hoping to sacrifice that one model to allow the shot to go through. He said that it wasn't allowed to do this (I think he interpreted my question as what happens if the friendly unit is one of the later units in the path, not if it's the first unit.) Also another thing is that the sequence of play is missile fire, then movement, then melee, then morale checks, and you aim your cannons during the movement phase. So during the movement phase you have to try to predict what is going to happen in the melee phase and who will be viable targets when the missile phase comes around again. Also sometimes you want your units to fail their morale checks, so they will back up and the enemy will be a legal missile fire target.

2. Spellcasters - each side has a wizard and a cleric. At the end of each turn, each spellcaster can cast one spell from a list, and they can cast it anywhere they can see. Also the cleric can resurrect any one dead model on the battlefield. That again makes movement interesting because you have to try to position your spellcaster so they can cast a spell at the target they want to cast. One of the mage's spells is a "teleportation" spell that will teleport a friendly unit to anywhere within the caster's lne of sight. One thing you have to remember to do is to avoid letting your enemy teleport their unit right next to your caster so they can kill your caster. One time my ally needed help on the other side of the battlefield so I carefully positioned my caster to have a line of sight over to the other end of the battlefield to teleport my unit there, but at the end of the turn I realized that I didn't have teleport, because I controlled the cleric, not the mage.

Anyway this was a fun game. It was 2 on 2 - each player controlled half their side's army. I controlled he right half and my ally controlled the left half. The battle was on and I successfully took control of the right flank, while the enemy pushed my ally back on the left flank, leaving his large archer unit exposed. However, strategic spell use on our part enabled us to block him from attacking that flank for a couple turns, letting me complete the conquest of the right flank and start to wheel around. As I did that, I realized the enemy had left his cleric in the open, and I ran him down. At this point, the enemy counted up the number of units each side had, realized they had no chance for comeback, and conceded.


Dan Mont said...

Overall, it sounds like a very successful weekend for Team Alex. Do you guys ever have tournaments?

Alexander Mont said...

Not with any of those games, but there are a few games that they do tournaments and leagues: Magic (the card game), Warhammer 40k, and Warmachine. I did the Warmachine league last semester - they haven't started the new one up yet (they just released a new version of Warmachine, so everyone is trying to get the new stat cards and rule books)