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This is a weekly report of our Tuesday night gaming sessions in Chelsea (Manhattan).
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AAR 22 May 2012 - Spacemen vs Aliens, Mage Knight, Quarriors, Citadels, Neuroshima Hex

J. R. Tracy
United States
New York
New York
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We had nine players tonight for lighter fare, new and old.

John, Dave, and Natus banged out three games of Quarriors, with Dave taking all three. They followed the classic pattern of early big monster == victory. Next time we play we will try the ‘buy two’ variant and see if that shakes things up.


John fruitlessly tries to stop the Tolley juggernaut


Dutch showed Spacemen vs Aliens to Dan and Sean, and again the good guys triumphed. Dutch admits he’s rooting for the good guys and maybe needs to step back and watch them fail. Some good conversation afterward about the function of the various bad guy critters and their special abilities.


Intrepid Spacemen




They’re in the walls!


Scott, Jim, and I all played the introductory Mage Knight scenario. This is a training scenario, with players exploring the map and avoiding player vs player combat, as encouraged by the game’s walkthrough booklet. There is a lot more going on here than I expected, with each flip of a terrain tile adding to a very rich gaming environment. Players represent (wait for it) mage knights, basically super-powered heroes adept in both combat and magic. The game is an interesting combination of deck-building and board gaming Visiting towns, mage towers, citadels, and cities, the heroes recruit armies and gather capabilities and spells. Capabilities and spells are represented by cards added to the player’s deck, while troops are permanent assets, always available, but once used, take some time to recover.


Our heroes disperse across the countryside


The map is represented by seven-hex megatiles that are flipped as the players push out from the starting tile. Heroes encounter the settlements outlined above, as well as monasteries, healing circles, dungeons, and ancient ruins. All of these throw up challenges and rewards of highly variable strength and value. Each player-turn is a puzzle with a lot to work through; I can see why this game drags for some groups. We finished our game in about 2.5 hours, including teaching Jim who had not read the rules - I think that’s a pretty good clip and I can see a large four player game taking an entire evening. Overall we really liked it but the AP warnings are valid and should be considered if you’re thinking of picking it up for your group.


Good hand but no movement options


After Spacemen, Dutch and Dan played Neuroshima Hex, but I don’t know who won. The rest of us, except for ailing Nate, played Citadels. John jumped out to an early lead, building huge megapoint buildings. I had some success building a diversified board of low-cost buildings in almost every color, but I suffered a couple assassinations. It was clear John couldn’t close out the game with eight buildings, but was likely to win if anyone else ended the game. So, I tried to assassinate him two turns in a row, missing a 50/50 shot one turn but taking him down the next. This proved crucial, as it cost him a build, and in my final turn I build my eighth building with the Warlord and had enough cash to nuke John’s only cheap building, killing his rainbow bonus and yielding a one point win over John and Sean. This is an often overlooked but fun game - there’s a great on-line implementation that I’d like to play more often.


Dan vs Dan in Neuroshima Hex




John wonders if he can duck another assassin's dagger



Next week, Virgin Queen!

JR
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