Sunday, September 30, 2007

Saturday Sept 29, 2007 Saganami and Twilight Struggle

I went over to Joseph Acker's house and played a three player game of Sagnami Island Tactical Simulator. Joseph and I each took a People's Republic (Peeps) heavy cruiser against two Silesian Confederacy heavy cruisers commanded by Joseph's son, Benjamin. We rolled for crew ratings. My ship had an average crew all around, Joseph had a poor crew, and both of Benjamin's CAs had an Elite Electronic Warfare Officer giving them a +2 ECM modifier. This would make our already less capable missiles less chance of penetrating the Silesian cruiser's missile defenses.

Both sides started with their respective cruisers in the same hex on opposite sides of the map with vectors in the general direction of the opposing forces. Benjamin decided to start +20 levels above the map plane. Benjamin did not want to allow the Peeps to get into energy weapon range, which we never did. The Peeps spent the whole game climbing to get to the same level as the Silesian. The Silesians had the better missiles and it showed as Benjamins first few salvoes pounded on his dad's cruiser eventually causing him to rotate his ship to present his "wedge" to the Silesians. Benjamin then switched his attack to my cruiser heavily damaging my starboard sidewall and taking out 8 missile salvoes on my starboard side missile magazine. Fortunately for me I rolled well with my damage control parties and managed to fix all my magazines and two of three sidewall hits. At this time the Peep missile attacks were practically ineffective only penetrating a couple of times for relatively minor damage.

As the range continued to close it appeared the Silesians were going to be able to pound the Peeps with its missiles but then Benjamin made an error. At the end of one turn he had presented his bow toward our broadsides. Because of the range this would allow us to fire twice at his open bow which we did concentrating all missile salvoes for two consecutive attacks on one of his cruisers. The CA blew up during the second salvo and the remaining Silesian CA surrendered.

Joseph and I then played a game of Twilight Struggle. We randomly chose sides and I ended up playing the US against Joseph's USSR. It seemed to be going OK the Russian's had the lead in VPs but they always get a lead in the early game but it seemed manageable. Then turn 4 started and Joseph's Soviets steamrolled over the US. I had to score Europe (-5VPs) then he scored SE Asia (-7VPs) and a couple more VPs from events gave him the -20VPs for a USSR Auto-Victory.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Quick Post

On Sept 7 and 8 I attended the Dallas Games Marathon.
Friday evening, 7th, I played War of the Ring with the expansion with Alan Richbourg. After a 5+ hour struggle Alan's Fellowship managed to dunk the One Ring in the fires of Mt Doom for the victory. Frodo ended up with less corruption, 5, than he started with, 8, as I managed to pull out all four of the Fellowship tiles in four consecutive draws! The Shadow ended with 7 victory points when the ring was destroyed.

Saturday afternoon, Joseph Acker taught me Saganami Island Tactical Simulator. The game is based on the Honor Harrington universe created by the author David Weber. By the way he is also one of the designers of the Star Fire game.

This past Saturday, 9/22, Nevin came over and we played two scenarios from his latest game acquisition, Last Night On Earth. In the first scenario, Die Zombies Die!, it was Cody and I each playing two townsfolk against Nevin's zombie horde. We had 16? turns to kill 15 zombies otherwise the zombies won. It was not looking good for the townsfolk but the Sheriff Anderson went wild with the meat cleaver near the end and then Billy finished off the final zombie with the shotgun for the win on the last turn.

In the next scenario I took the zombies and Cody and Nevin had to defend the manor house. This time the zombies won by getting nine zombies into the manor. This is a quick fun little game.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Empire of the Sun - Cyberboard

Mark Simonitch and I are on Turn 5 of our Empire of the Sun Cyberboard game. Mark just finished his round 4 card play shifting some ground, naval, and air forces closer to the Dutch East Indies. I've landed on Bandjermasin, Borneo and need three more landings to satisfy my Progress of War this turn.

Mark has 5 Japanese armies in Borneo. All my Allied forces can do is stall them if he decides to go on the offensive up there.

Turn 5 Japanese Round 4 Finished

Twilight Struggle - John (US) vs Brian Marrs (USSR)

After our Shifting Sands cyberboard game concluded Brian and I decided to give Twilight Struggle a go using the Vassal module for it. The Vassal module is a beautiful piece of work by Tim McCarron but be advised it requires a good PC to run it. I'm using a 733 MHz PC with 512 MB and it is very sluggish. Additionally the current version will not work with the current version 3 of the VASSAL engine. I was using VASSAL version 2.9 something.

Brian opened up the can of whup arse on me on turn 2 adding 16 VPs to his total ending the turn with the VP track at 18 USSR VPs. On the turn 3 Headline Phase a favorable Indo-Pakistani War gave the Soviets the final two VPs required for a Soviet Auto-Victory. All three Early War Scoring cards showed up in turn 2, Brian held the Middle East Scoring card and I held, too long it seemed, the Europe and Asia Scoring cards.

Soviet Auto-Victory, Headline Phase Turn 3!

Nice game Brian.

After the slaughter, Brian and I switched sides and started a new game. This time we are using the Cyberboard gamebox instead of the Vassal module. Much easier on the old PC.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Nexus Ops

Nevin came over on Saturday, 8/25/07 and we played a 3-player game of Nexus Ops by Avalon Hill. The players represent corporations competing for control and thus the Rubium ore discovered on an un-named moon in some remote un-named planetary system. The corporations were played by the following players.

Cody Boone - Black Helix Enterprises (Blue) = 12 VP John Boone - Zyborg Technologies (Green) = 11 VP
Nevin Ball - Galactic Syndicate (Red) = 7 VP

Cody won the game at 12 VPs scoring his last two VPs needed squeaking by his dad.

The Object of the game is to be the first player to attain 12 victory points. As soon as one player reaches 12 victory points during their turn the game is over.

For those not familiar with the game, there is no difference between the different player sides other than the name and color of playing pieces. All sides can build the same type of units during the game. This was the first time Cody and I played the game but it seemed like it would be more interesting if the different corporations had a special ability ala Twilight Imperium. None the less it was a fun game.

We rolled for sides and I came up as first player. The first player starts with 12 Rubium to begin the game and each subsequent player gets 3 more Rubium than the preceding player so Nevin was second with 15 Rubium and Cody was third with 18 Rubium.

Nevin Contemplates His First Unit Purchases

Turns are not simultaneous; each player completes the steps of the turn sequence and then the next player takes his turn. The steps of a turn consists of a number of phases conducted in the following order; 1) purchasing new units, 2) move units, 3) conduct attacks, 4) collect income, and 5) draw a secret mission card (if you control the Monolith draw two Energize cards.

An Evil Plan Formulates!

Purchase New Units
During this phase, the the active player purchases new units paying for them with the Rubium they have collected from their mines or due to non-played discarded Energize and Secret Mission cards. Purchased units are placed in any of the players three home spaces. You can place units in your home spaces even if they are occupied by enemy units.
Note: You may discard Energize and Secret Mission cards from your hand anytime during your turn to gain 1 Rubium per discarded card. Discarded cards go face up next to the appropriate deck.

Move Units
After all newly purchased units have been deployed, the active player may move any of their units on the board at least 1 space. I say at least one space because some units have special abilities which increase their movement allowance and certain Energize cards increase the movement allowance of a specific creature type.
1. The Rock Strider can move two spaces if one of the spaces moved to or from is a rock plain.
2. The Lava Leaper can move two spaces when moving from a Lava Pool.
3. The Rubium Dragon, when starting from the Monolith, may move to any space on the map.
If a unit starts in a contested space, the unit may only move into a non-contested space. This move is called a Retreat. Additionally some spaces are off-limits to some unit types. For example, humans, fungoids, and crystalline units may not enter the monolith space.

Conduct Attacks
After moving all of your units you wish, any of your units in a space with an opponent's unit must conduct an attack. Similar to Axis and Allies, each unit has a hit number that must be rolled, on 1D6, to cause 1 hit. And like Axis and Allies, units attack in a specific order so it is possible that a unit is taken as a casualty before it has had the chance to fire. Within the same class, all units attacking and defending fire simultaneously. Losses are chosen by the owner of the unit hit, unless the hit was scored by a Lava Leaper with a die roll of 5 or greater. After all units have fired and losses taken, if both sides still have units occupying the space it is considered contested. If only one side remains in the hex it is considered owned by that side. Note that some Energize cards can be played during this phase. In fact, even players not involved in the battle may play Energize cards to help out one side or the other. The loser of the battle draws an Energize card as compensation for their loss. Some units have enhanced or degraded combat abilities depending on the terrain they occupy.

Collect Mine Income
Once all battles have been resolved the phasing player collects Rubium from all his mines that 1) are occupied by one of his humans, fungoids, or crystalline units and 2) that mine is not contested. Each mine will produce from 1 to 3 Rubium. Note that only the three weakest units can operate the mines to collect Rubium.

Draw Cards
After collecting your mine income the phasing player draws one Secret Mission card. Additionally if the phasing player has sole control of the monolith they also draw two Energize cards. This ends the phasing player's turn and the next player then takes their turn.

Energize Cards
Energize cards give the side playing them special abilities, that may break the normal rules when played, last for a specific amount of time either during your player turn or a battle, or award an instant effect, ie. "Destroy 1 Fungoid". Energize cards are divided up in to two types, ones that are played at the beginning of your turn and ones played during a battle. Of the ones played for battle some are required to be played at the beginning of a battle and some may be played during the battle after seeing the result of a die roll.

The Game Gets Interesting

How to Win
As stated previously, the first player to reach 12 victory points ends the game and is declared the winner. Victory points are awarded by play of Mission or Special Mission cards during the player's turn whenever they satisfy the conditions of the card. Mission and Secret Mission cards can only be played during your turn so if you satisfy a condition of a Secret Mission card during someone else's turn your out of luck. All Mission cards and most Secret Mission cards involve winning a battle. For each battle you win, you can play only one card with the victory point total listed in red.

The game also ends when one player is eliminated, ie. losses all of their units on the map. As soon as this happens the winner is declared from the remaining players with the most victory points.

All Mission Cards have their victory point total listed in red, are worth 1 victory point, and all are awarded by winning a battle.

The majority of Secret Mission cards are awarded during battle, but not all. Some require dominating, having more control, a terrain type, ie Rock Plains. These type of Secret Mission cards have their victory point total in white.

A fun game I would play again.