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Denver Board Wargamers

We are a group playing historical Hex and Counter Wargames in the Denver Area. We meet every Monday 6:00 to Midnight at the Whittier Community Center at 2900 Downing. On that night we concentrate on wargames that can be played in a single setting. We also meet on the side to play more ambitious projects. We are going to blog about our gaming here. Come visit us!

Archive for Lincoln Graves

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What I Like About Struggle for Europe - From the Intro to the Advanced Campaign

Lincoln Graves
United States
Denver
Colorado
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Struggle for Europe brings so much more to the table than most games. The straight forward mechanics and smooth play may have been partially inherited from Europa but so many aspects of this old warhorse were brought up to code without overly complicating them in the process. This alone shows Beyma's deftness as a designer-developer.

Though it has a venerable heritage SfE is a unique game unto its own. The scaling of the game to a map size just large enough for a truly operational focus but not so large as to make it a true behemoth was done perfectly and was a brilliant and yet simple design choice that consolidates Beyma's straightforward approach. While it was not the first game at this scale, beat to the punch in full publication, just barely, by Udo Grebb and Andreas Bertram with the completion of the Apocalypse of Empires series through UGG around 2001 (a design based largely on Russian Front by Neil Zimmerer) Struggle for Europe was by far the better worked out, original and more playable game.

There are few rule books better written than that for SfE. A real triumph of the literal where the player must do exactly what the rules clearly state without any implications or assumptions arising from his own preconceptions.

Struggle for Europe is a physically beautiful game and the game components are the usual high standard from CoA. The map art has a narrative quality to it that no other WW2 game has. The factoring of the units and the alchemy between the various arms was done so well as to provide a new standard for what should be expected even from a theater wide that requires a more generic approach.

The game is the perfect balance of playability and detail at the corps level. The dynamics found in these relationship between the colorful units and the game space provided by the excellent map organically focus the player on the operations themselves. The mechanics of play easily fade into the background. These fundamental design choices remove the requirement of many abstractions and those that remain are tempered elegantly and pointedly toward a portrayal of interaction on the high operational scale.

If played ”in character” the system yields dramatic simulations. Planning is emphasized. Many logistical problems are elegantly represented by acknowledging that outside of the European continent army level activity was impracticable. The game generously provides units and mechanics for these outer regions.

When played 'face to face' the game has an ideal level of playability and complexity. You can tell a real game player put the thing together. Any real complexity is generated by the struggle between the players. SfE is also a joy to play with wargamers new to the game. As usual, it is with those who are masters of the game or those who are most given to seeking a competitive advantage within any game system that problems begin to arise. And in such a long game this is to be at all costs avoided.

Struggle for Europe
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Fri May 18, 2012 1:08 am
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The Struggle for Europe Begins

Lincoln Graves
United States
Denver
Colorado
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Steve and James and me have had a lot of fun playing 3 player games of Imperium Romanum II. Our last game came to an abrupt end, though not without its flourishes. We were casting about for a another good 3 player game and I decided to propose my all time favorite WW2 campaign game. Struggle for Europe by Clash of Arms. They kindly took me up on the idea and so this will be our main gaming vocation for a few months. Let's see how far we get.

This is the combination of three publications. War Without Mercy, Brute Force: The War in the West, 1940-1945, and The Mediterranean. I have been playing the series online for the past 9 years! Mostly campaign games and the eastern campaigns. PBEM campaigns take a couple of years to complete. I'm not really sure how long it will take the three of us to play face to face. It is a very stable simulation and unlike ancient games a single battle will never decide the game. It takes a very bad season to make things go south for a player and even then the game really requires a succession of these before a player should start to feel that all is lost.

Steve and I have already played the Fall Blau scenario twice and we are both old hands at WW2 wargames. James, is a walking encyclopedia about things ancient but he is a bit nervous about playing a modern combined arms affair. Over the years my SfE opponents and I have developed a set of Advanced Campaign rules for SfE. They are meant to make SfE play better as a five year campaign rather than the standard chrome that so often inhabits other WW2 house rules. I am actually quite proud of them. I will post the introduction to our house rules below. Struggle for Europe is a high end operational game and not a strategic theater wide game. The historical flow where the Axis expand, the tide is turned and then they are pushed back onto their home territories and possibly even conquered entirely in 1945 is pretty generally the case.

James had to be gone on business at the outset of our adventure. Since he is playing the Soviets in this one we have left them alone for now. Steve and I set things up and managed to play the first two turns in under four hours!! Most of that was set up and getting used to the OoB. A good omen? Considering the fact that the game has roughly 5 map sheets and well over a thousand pieces this is probably pretty good.



Note: there are more photos and game commentary in the comments to this post.
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Wed May 16, 2012 11:02 am
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Monday February 13th and 20th 2012 Game Night at Whittier (Not)

Lincoln Graves
United States
Denver
Colorado
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We were absent from Whittier on these days and played at Steve's house instead. We will definitely be in attendance at Whittier this next Monday.

We were absent from Whittier but not because games were not being played! We introduced Steve to Imperium Romanum II at his house on the 20th. We all agreed this is a great game and in the coming months hope to play the Marias vs Sulla scenario to completion The game is too long to be played at Whittier.

James and I both feel the victory conditions for this scenario of Imperium Romanum II should be sudden death. In fact, I think this may have been the original intent but was changed in playtesting or for some other reason. This makes the game opening much more taught.

James introduced me to War of the Ring Collector's Edition on the 16th.

This Friday the 24th, James, Kevin and I are meeting with Denver Metro Boardgame Strategists for a pickup game of Space Empires: 4X.

We think this game may become standard fare at Whittier as well.

Space Empires 4X, Maria or Struggle of Empires will be our next game.
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Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:36 pm
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Monday February 6th 2012 Game Night at Whittier

Lincoln Graves
United States
Denver
Colorado
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We played a four player game of Strategy I and committed to continue the game into another campaign year. Hopefully will post the details if we do manage to continue the game.

When posting frequency decreases that just means we are playing lots of fun new games.

Lincoln and Steve have been playing the historical Bussaco Almeida et Bussaco 1810 scenario in the Jours de Gloire series. The battle ended in a tie.

Several games of Imperium Romanum II have been played by James, Lincoln, Dan and Kevin.

We are looking to bring the Jours de Gloire system to Mondays at the Whittier as well as Struggle of Empires and possibly Imperator/King of Kings or Historia Romana.

We did not meet Monday February 13th. Instead, Steve and Lincoln met to play another Jours de Gloire game called Fuentes de Onoro 1811
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Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:48 pm
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Monday January 30, 2012 Game Night At Whittier

Lincoln Graves
United States
Denver
Colorado
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We had a great game of Strategy I this week. We are still playing the ancient Diadoche Scenario.

Dan - Rome (Winner)
Lincoln - Greece & Egypt
James - Carthage
Steve - Gaul & Seleucid

Greece over taxed all its cities in D and H. Because Rome did not attack Greek provinces during the first campaign season Greece concentrated on reconquering province D. Without a Greek threat and with some cooperation with Carthage they concentrated on taking the large province J from the Gauls and did so with ease. Egypt and Seleucid began the scenario prepared to go to war with one another but quickly decided to join forces against Carthage. The campaign season was not extended. Rome ended the first campaign season with a nice lead in VPs.

During the second campaign season there was general agreement between Greece and Carthage to go after Rome. Gaul would not commit and Rome actually left his captured province open to be recaptured. Rome invaded Greece's province D and devastated all his cities there. Greece left the continent entirely and invaded Roman province J winning a battle against a legion and taking most of the cities before the Romans concentrated in the coastal city F3 forcing a risky attack. In the process the Seleucid player too the opportunity to attempt to catch the Greek fleet at sea. The Egyptians came to the aid of the Greeks opening a path back to port. Carthage decided to land in Province J and recapture a few of those cities for himself. Any coalition against Rome more or less fell apart at that point. Rome was well on his way back to defend his beleaguered province. At a certain point Carthage found himself stuck between a Gaulish and a Roman force. He attacked the Gauls and lost!

At this point we ran out of time and called the game for Rome. In retrospect, I think it is clear that if Greece does not threaten Rome or is not the target of Roman aggression, the Gauls will lose a province to Rome. The consequences of this are unsettling for a Greek player.

Its becoming clear that few of us can be trusted further than he can be thrown!

I'll post the pictures that go with this soon.
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Thu Feb 2, 2012 6:19 am
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Triumph & Glory - Raab Scenario

Lincoln Graves
United States
Denver
Colorado
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Steve and I started work on Almeida et Bussaco 1810 by Frédéric Bey as our first game from this series. We have high hopes that some of these will be playable as 1 on 1 games for our public meets at Whittier. These games can easily take much longer. But with practice many of them seem playable in under 5 hours. After all, these get played at and annual competition in France Trophée du Bicentenaire.

We have had a delay though so I set up Raab from Triumph & Glory: Battles of the Napoleonic Wars 1796-1809 by Richard H. Berg which is essentially the same system. At some point there was a collaboration. The Raab scenario looks like it could be played in an evening.

As I go through the replay I will explain a number of the mechanics in the context of play. As this is a learning game I am sure there will be mistakes and I will note these as I find them. I have the first turn done and will continue to lengthen this post until all the detail is added. I will make future turns separate posts. When done I will add all these together for a long session report under the game

Opening Situation - The Commands (Activation Groups for which chits are drawn)
Note: R.A. is not an activation group but rather the Austrian artillery reserve. It can be assigned to any command. It's worth noting because artillery cannot combine in this scenario AND R.A. is the only artillery unit on the map by itself strong enough to disorder an enemy unit. The rest can only force a retreat, other than at point blank range, if the target fails a cohesion check. edit: Actually RW.

Reserve Eugene represents 3 different Activation Groups that the French player can bring on one at a time starting on turn 2. To the extent they are left off the board and in reserve the French player gains extra VPs.

Cohesion - The central number in the colored box at the bottom of every unit. Players must test against this number (equal or less) when called for by a combat result or suffer a disorder, a retreat, or both. The top unit in a stack tests against it to engage in Shock Combat. To recover from disorder or route. Some Overall Commanders can modify this test.

Victory Conditions
To gain the 10VP for a road exit on the east side, a path must be traced west of the Pancza, free of enemy ZoC, with at least 1 friendly unit that has not been routed on that path.

The Austrian Position
The Austrians are strongest in the middle where a banked stream and the Kismegyar farmstead provide difficult obstacles weakening any French Shock Attacks there. The entire Pancza stream provides good positions to the extent the Austrians can occupy them. Once across the stream the French have some fairly open going unless they intend to occupy the Szabtbegy Plateau. Most French players will likely try to get across on one or both of the flanks. Its up to the Austrians to do them some harm or at least significantly delay them while they are in pursuit of this endeavor. With luck and good timing there will be a moment where the French army is divided. At this point a toll might be exacted for the crossing. The Austrians must take heed not to weaken the center too much though as long as the French continue to threaten it. Considering the Cohesion weakness of the green Hungarian troops and the quantity of French cavalry things look grim.

How Things Go
Each AG has two chits. In this scenario the two leaders are able to place two of these AG in command per turn. This is marked secretly at the beginning of each turn. If not placed in command the AG must test against the number on the AG chit to determine if the group can function normally (in command) or if its actions will be limited for that Activation. If within the Command Range of the Overall Leader this die roll may be beneficially modified. In this scenario only Eugene the French leader has this capacity. At the start of each turn the leaders must roll against their Orders Delay Rating to see if they can adjust which AGs will be placed under command that turn. Finally, the players roll for initiative each turn and the winning player gets the first activation and can pick which AG goes first. The rest are placed in a cup and drawn one at a time. In this scenario the French automatically have the initiative on the first turn.


Turn 1
First Activation - The French Cavalry Goes Into Action On The Right
I have decided that Grouchy will cross the Pancza in force and hold a bridgehead for follow on infantry formantions. Pressure will be kept on the center and the left to make it difficult for the Austrians to respond in force. Advantage will be taken of any weakening in these areas. I have decided to bring on Pacthod's Division (the largest reserve formation) to cover the transfer of at least part of Grenier to the attack on the right flank. That's as far as I have gotten with the French.
Markers
1. The French Orders Marker has been flipped over to show that Grouchy is Under Orders. Above, an Austrian Orders Marker can be seen that has not yet been revealed.
2. To the right the Grouchy marker (selected as the first activation of the turn) can be seen. Had Grouchy not had order then the circled number "5" would be the target the French would have to test against to function normally.
3. The first thing players do in an Activation is Artillery Fire. A fired marker is placed to show that the artillery unit is limited to moving half its movement factor (if Under Orders) Or not at all if No Orders were assigned to Grouchy. As it happens the Artillery Fire was unsuccessful


The Austrians begin with a single cavalry unit screening the bridge, however, I am unable to attack it this turn.
Cavalry - Can Charge if there is at least one and no more than two intervening hexes. However, they cannot cross any terrain that would cost more than 2 MPs total or into woods, marsh or built up hexes. A bridge hexside costs nothing extra, and the hex is clear, but using a bridge entails road movement and you cannot enter an enemy ZoC while moving based on Road Costs. Note: A Charge is simply a type of Shock Attack that allows cavalry a beneficial DRM. There are only two types of attacks Artillery Fire and Shock.
Additionally, if a cavalry unit is not charging it can only make a Shock Attack if it begins the Activation adjacent to the target of its attack.
I wound up moving as much of Grouchy's cavalry as I could across the river even though I was unable to make any attacks this activation. I tried bunching up on the exposed flanks in hopes of making any strong attack against my position at least a little less likely. I was quite concerned that he might roll up my line. I place my artillery in a position to attack any enemy cavalry attempting such a maneuver. Pretty Weak!! I have since figured out a better way of handling this.
Consider the following rule:
If the Charge route passes through an enemy cavalry ZoC, that it is not attacking, the charge is not allowed.
With this in mind I could have spread my units out differently and could have used facing to have had less exposure. This would have worked even though infantry and cavalry stacked together must all have the same facing.

As it happens fortune was with Grouchy...this time! The next three chits drawn were Jellcic-Grouchy-Jellcic! So, Grouchy got a chance to at least weaken Mescery before his cavalry could react and drive him back across the stream in disarray.

First let's deal with Jellcic. This AC on the Austrian right flank did not receive orders. The command spread out to its right and put a tentative bridgehead across the Pancza in front of the far Northern bridge. Here is how things stood at the end of their second activation.

Meanwhile, back on the Austrian left, Grouchy was miraculously drawn again.
Only the circled units in the center are able to charge. The cavalry on the left must still cross the stream (3mps) and the cavalry on the right began the turn adjacent to an enemy unit. They can NOT Charge but they can Shock.

Facing is by vertex
Only the two hexes in the front vertex are considered to be faced. Everything else is considered to be rear facing.

When charging a unit can change it's facing by one vertex for each hex it enters. Below is shown how the frontal facing of a cavalry unit can stop the opponent from paring away a unit on the end of a line.
The 3 strength cavalry formation could have targeted two units in order to allow the larger cavalry force to at the end of the line. But the large force is not faced in such a manner as to be able to roll up the enemy line. Not worth the risk.

Grouchy finishes crossing the Pancza and sets up a line that will at least stop an enemy charge on his left. He cannot resist a charge in the center though. Below are the commitment rolls tested against Cohesion.
Note: Charging cavalry do not move. They stay put and roll for commitment where they are during combat. Thus if they do not commit they do not move. However, their charge route should be marked during movement.
Unfortunately for the French his large cavalry on the right did not commit. Additionally, I accidentally rolled commitment for a cavalry unit that shifted position.

The French are charging with both a heavy and a light cavalry unit. The light cavalry keeps the defending light cavalry from retreating and the heavy cavalry still gets the higher DRM for charging.
The Charge went as follows:
Strength Comparison 7 vs 11 or 1-2 = -2 drm
Cohesion Differential 7 vs 3 = +4 drm
Charge Bonus (Heavy) = +3 DRM
Net +5 DRM
The die roll was a 1!! = 6 Defender Automatically Disordered + CDR
The defenders are disordered before testing Cohesion for the retreat.
Because of this the Austrians retreat both units. (Just Barely)
The charging French cavalry MUST advance after combat but the combat result was not good enough to allow pursuit. Additionally, at the end of a charge (and only after any add on pursuit attacks) the cavalry that charged are also disorganized.

Over at the bridge only one of many units is able to attack but this is more than enough.
Strength Comparison 4 vs 5 or 2-3 = -1 drm
Cohesion Differential 7 vs 3 = +4 drm (See how important cohesion is)
Position Bonus = +3 DRM (Defender attacked with both rear and front in an enemy frontal hex) - Its enough in this system to show up, you don't always have to fight.
Net +5 DRM
The die roll was a 10!! = 16 (Overkill) Defender Automatically Disordered and MUST Retreat
Because the retreat is into the frontal facing of an enemy unit an additional disorder result is incurred so the disorder is downgraded to a Rout (The unit must immediately retreat half its movement away from its current location) Additionally, cavalry that makes a regular Shock attack cannot pursuit.
In this scenario the Austrians and French must retreat to the East and the West respectively. This unit was forced to route over a unit in good order.
This should have forced that unit to test against its cohesion or become disordered.
I forgot to do this at the time. I will assume it passed the test.

The next activation was Besan's Cavalry on the Austrian right. It had not been given orders and did not roll low enough to function normally. The cavalry moved up. Now I find the Jellcic infantry that moved up and formed a bridgehead on the far side of the Pancza is only in the way!
This is a good cavalry formation with 2 elite, a heavy and a light, and a third less experienced light unit. There is also a small horse artillery battery.

Now d'Hiller was drawn, had no orders, rolled too high and moves up forming a line with cavalry screening its left flank and its artillery stacked with an infantry on the road.

Next Collerido is drawn and shifts slightly to the left. Later they shift back so this is the last time this turn I will mention this group.

Then the second activation for Besan is drawn and this time they roll low enough to receive orders. Having no idea what really to do with them, I try moving them right up to d'Hillers line to form a screen. Very, very stupid!
Even just one hex further back would have been fine.

Next, Grenier gets its first activation, is Under Orders and spreads out. Part of this large group moves to support the right flank of d'Hiller while the elite Seras division rushes to the right to cross the Pancza and support Grouchy as quickly as possible.
Note: For an Activation Group to remain a single Activation Group, no unit in the formation can be more than two hexes from some other unit in the group. If further than a single intervening hex, these separated units must form a separate Orders Group Each group must receive orders separately. In such an instance the limited number of orders an overall commander may give simply have to go further. More Activation Groups or Orders Groups will have to do without orders and depend upon the number of the specific AG chit. Orders groups still move when their AG chit is drawn, even if they are nowhere near another unit from the AG and much closer to those of another.
Also, I made a mistake here. Extended Movement allows an Orders Group that IS Under Orders, and no closer to an enemy unit than three hexes, may double their movement so long as they do not stack (artillery excepted) My mistake was that I thought the distance to an enemy unit was five hexes. Oh the many miscalculations of the battlefield!


At last, Mescery's Cavalry goes into action on the Austrian left.

Here is the situation as we left it from the Austrian point of view.
We have decided to target the overextended and disordered units that had just attacked the Mescery center.

Let's revisit the Sequence of Play for an Activation.
1. Artillery Fire
2. Movement
3. Combat (Both regular Shock and Cavalry Charge)
4. Rally

To Rally a unit may neither move nor can they be adjacent to an enemy unit. The player must test against the unit's cohesion to recover. A routed unit recovers to disordered but if they roll a number greater than twice their cohesion value they are eliminated.


I decided since Grouchy had already drawn both its activation chits that Mescery had the luxury of forming up in preparation for a mighty charge.
This insures the demise of the units in Grouchy's center. Also, I am going to let my routed unit route away from danger for a turn before I begin testing. They do this after the activations.

It is important to note that regardless Grouchy's command has become fractured and must be treated as two separate orders commands where as Mescery has, with the exception of the routed unit, managed to maintain a single Activation Group. Additionally, none of Grouchy's units will be in a position to charge during their next activation, either because of proximity or due to their facing. With any luck, Mescery's charging units may get a chance to organize before they can be attacked.

You will note that some Cavalry are stacked three high.
Stacking
Infantry and Cavalry cannot mix. Either unit type can stack 2 high and a 3rd can stack if all are from the same brigade. A single artillery can join a stack with either infantry or cavalry. The maximum size stack is 3 though. Generally, two artillery can stack in the same hex by themselves. Scenario rules sometime permit more. When Infantry or Cavalry form a stack they must all maintain the same Facing. A retreating unit conforms. It is important to note that artillery are extremely vulnerable when not stacked with infantry or cavalry. It is important to place them correctly.
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Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:40 am
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Our updates to Strategy I

Lincoln Graves
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Denver
Colorado
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It seems like we have gotten rid of the rough edges for this old game, at least for the ancient scenarios. I'm sure we will eventually make a few more changes. For instance, Kevin and I were talking about the Adjacency Rule the other day. This rule truly seems to be a relic from an earlier time. Game mechanics for wargaming had only just entered a period of proliferation when Strategy I came out. With the notable exception of a few Avalon Hill games such as Blitzkrieg and Anzio, Dunnigan and company at SPI was the only source for new types of game mechanics. Strategy I was one of these. Anyway, Kevin and I think that there is no point in this rule. We haven't changed it yet. We are waiting to see just how important this is for sieges.

On that note, there are still a few designers and players from this epic who have associations with SPI during this period. Any lore about SPI during the period 70-73, or about John Young or about Strategy I would be greatly appreciated!

We have been trying to create a good set of point based victory conditions for Strategy I. After only limited success we have settled on the following for now:

For each event:
1. Protectorate Cities controlled at the start of a game: Lose a city -1
2. Leaders: If own leader captured -1, Capture enemy leader +1
3. Win open battle vs an army that includes a legion or phalanx +2
4. Win a naval battle against another power +1
5. Break the siege of a home province city during an extended campaign +1
Determined annually:
6. For each city of a power pillaged +1 (if last year played)
7. Control of a home province from another nation +2 per city.
8.Lose more than one legion, phalanx or 2 fleets in a year-1
9. Recapture a home or protectorate city and keep it at the end of a campaign season +1
Determined at the end of the game:
For each item, ties cancel negative VPs
10. For each 5 or more credits in the War Chest at end of game than at start +1 (include trade for the next unplayed year except on the 5th year)
11. For being the player that has devastated and pillaged the most cities -2
12. For each province still in revolt due to taxation at the end of the game -1
13. For having the leader that has traveled the furthest from a home province and pillages a city at that point +1, controls +3 (1/2 ocean distance)
14. For each home city that has been under siege for three turns that is still under siege at the end of a game -1
15. For being the player that has gained the most credits from commerce raiding -1 (only if multiple years played)
16. For being the player that controls the most new cities at the end of the game. +2
17. For each unconquered protectorate +1
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Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:04 am
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Saturday January 21st 2012 Game Day at Whittier

Lincoln Graves
United States
Denver
Colorado
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The general gaming group at Whittier held a gaming convention this week. Denver Board Wargamers put in an appearance. It was well attended and there were many interesting games played. Our group played the following games:


A Few Acres of Snow Played by Kevin
Lords & Wizards Played by Lincoln and Dan
The Napoleonic Wars (Second Edition) Played by Lincoln, Dan and Kevin

Lincoln won a game in the raffle! Conquest of Paradise

We canceled our regular gaming night for Monday. We will meet regularly next week on Monday at 6:00
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Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:09 am
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Monday January 16th 2012 Game Night At Whittier

Lincoln Graves
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Denver
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We had our second game of Strategy I last night. This time we had four players. Dan was able to join us but sadly James could not. Kevin also joined us for the first time and brought his Timer's Chess to show, which was of great interest to several gamers. I will post an after action of SI within a couple days. Steve won decisively as the Greeks by holding back and picking his target.

We are still struggling with a VP system that works well. I tweaked these after I got home and the result would have been 10 or 11 points for Greece and a straight tie at 3 VPs for all other countries but Egypt which had become a bit of a whipping horse this time and who had unwisely put his protectorate in revolt through over taxation.* We plan to play Strategy I once more before having a game night dedicated to some 1 on 1 game but hopefully we will return soon and often to this classic game.

The most recent suggestion for 1 on 1 games was Avalon Hill's Guadalcanal Smithsonian Edition. This is a simple double blind carrier battle game. Should be fun. We are also working on Jours de Gloire trying to get this learned by a couple of us so we can bring this on game nights. Also, Days of Decision and Here I Stand are two multiplayer games we have in the offing.

*Protectorates are such a liability we decided to try letting powers tax them. The results were mixed.
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Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:24 pm
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Game night with Kevin

Lincoln Graves
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Last night Kevin and I got together to play a couple games at his house. When I arrived he had Timer's Chess set up. This is a form of great chess that dates from the 14th century.
Tamerlane Chess
It is played on a larger board with a greater variety of older antiquated pieces. Chess is a perfect game and needs to improvement but I found this game very charming. We sat down immediately to play a game and after he showed me the pieces we started my first game of Tamerlane Chess. There are quite a few more pieces that jump over other pieces and some side-stepping rooks called giraffes that cannot jump.

I was white and opened the game. I launched a general pawn offensive that stunted some of his more obvious options for taking out my pieces from their positions in my rear ranks. Kevin wisely concentrated on developing his pieces instead. After a few minor exchanges he finally was lined up pretty well on one of pawns. My only means of unraveling this advantage required me to advance my king. This was successful in the short term and I got a little ahead in material but I brashly did not withdraw my king at first opportunity and he took advantage of this to first block my retreat with a rook and then he began the inevitable checking that eventually led to a mate. This is the only time I have ever seen a checkmate take place in the center of the board.
This game set was cobbled together by Kevin.

I thought it interesting that the most useful pieces were still the picket/bishop and the knight. Kevin made good use of one of his giraffes. I more or less flailed about. I really look forward to playing this again. I asked Kevin to be sure to bring this to our Whittier game night this Monday. We probably wont have time to play it that night but I think he should show it around.

Game 2

Next we set up a scrimmage of Strategy I. Kevin was unable to join us last Monday so I thought I should bring him up to speed. I had been under the impression that S1 was best played as a multiplayer. But I stand corrected.

Scenario
We took the northern map for the Seleucid campaign and randomly drew for two provinces each. The rest we made minor neutrals and gave them a 3-5 barbarian infantry in every city. If attacked the country becomes a protectorate of the opposite side. Both players may attack the minor. In this case minor neutral units are returned to their closest friendly city or to the closest neutral city in an adjacent minor or they are removed. We wound up with the following configuration:

Kevin drew province B and F with a tax base of 13
Lincoln drew province D and H with a tax base of 11


We assigned each player the following:
One Leader with a x2 bonus, one fleet, one fortification and 60 credits to spend to build a starting army.
We gave each player 10 gold to place in their War Chest

The Starting Interphase
We set up the minor countries placing a 3-5 in each city.
We both assessed normal taxes
Kevin built another unit. We both fielded all the units we had built. I placed all my units in D. Kevin placed all but his fleet in F. This left us with a standard Rome vs Greece conflict.

An interesting choice that Kevin made was to not buy a single siege train and instead to buy another strong foot unit. This paid off handsomely for him in the end. Kevin concentrated on powerful Phalanxes while Lincoln bought a more balanced force of Legions and Barbarians. Lincoln spent less of his gold opting to hold back in hopes of taking advantage of the Maritime Trade and Commerce Raiding rules.

1st Campaign Season
Our opening moves were attempts to grab a couple of neutral cities. G and K became Kevin's protectorates due to Lincolns attacks and C became Lincolns protectorate. Kevin captured 2 cities with a loss of one 5-6 Legion. Lincoln captured 2 cities with no losses and placed one of the cities in K under siege.

In the process Kevin found that he had mistakenly given himself two leaders instead of one. This was the chief cause of his lost legion.

Having suddenly discovered that with no leader he no longer had sufficient mass to continue his advance into C and possibly J he decided to turn his attention on Lincoln instead. Bad luck for Lincoln.

As Kevin shifted toward this position Lincoln decided that his force conducting the siege had better withdraw. Meanwhile he shifted his large northern army south to slow Kevins drive into D.

At this point all the die rolls started going Kevin's way. After some hesitation he decided to attack Lincolns blocking force making a 1-1 attack. Lincoln immediately opted to refuse combat. Kevin attempted to engage Lincoln anyway. (Base chance of 20% + 10% for having a net +1 cavalry advantage) Kevin rolled low and Lincoln was brought to battle.

Then Kevin rolled high on a 1-1 and decimated his opponent's army. At this point there were still two turns left in the season. Lincoln rolled for Variable Combat Losses and none of his units were able to return within that time frame. Now it was just a matter of how many city's he will get to plunder.

To make matters worse, Kevin's lone fleet has finally made it around from the other side of the board. He immediately brought a legion across and attempted to attack barbarian infantry screening the center of D against just this sort of thing. The unit managed to refuse combat and retreated into the central city D2. Meanwhile Kevin's main army advanced on the coastal city D1. By the next turn both these forces and his fleet combined to eliminate any chance of retreat at D1.

The city quickly fell and in the last turn of the game Kevin managed to capture D2 and place D3 under siege.


There is little more to say. Lincoln's play was uninspired and Kevin's was decisive. My only excuse is I was "sort of" taking it easy on Kevin as it was his first game. If there was any lesson to be learned it is that you never take it easy on Kevin!
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Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:42 am
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