Lionrampant's 2015 10x10 Challenge

A blog to record my thoughts as I play through the 2015 10x10 challenge.

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My New Blog is Live

Aaron Thorne
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My new blog is live.
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Sat Jan 2, 2016 2:21 pm
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Final Thoughts

Aaron Thorne
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Well, I successfully completed the challenge, 10 plays each of 10 different games in calendar year 2015. When I first started this the intent was to force me to play games that I owned but hadn't played much, in order to get a good feel for whether I really liked the games or not. It turned out that some games I really liked, some I really didn't like, and a couple left me ambivalent. But that is good information to have.

I appreciate the kind words that everyone left, either on the challenge as a whole or on my notations of specific plays. It made it easier to actually play the games knowing that people were paying attention. Admittedly, the point of turning the challenge into a blog was to get people paying attention so that I would feel a need to finish it, so at least that part of this attempt was well designed.

One nice side effect of doing the challenge is that 2015 has turned out to be my biggest year for game plays (as logged here on the Geek, of course). To date, I have 213 plays for 2015. That is more than any other year since I started recording plays. For comparison, 2014 had 137 plays, 2013 had 89 plays, and 2012 had 116 plays. So the Challenge got me playing more games, which is great.

My last comment is that even though I was playing each game 10 times, most of the time I could tell by the fifth play whether I liked the game or not (C&C:Napoleonics being a notable exception). So, my strategy for 2016 is to start a new blog, focused on game reviews, that will see me playing a game five times and then giving my opinion on it. When I get that started I'll post a link to this blog so that those interested can find it.

Thanks again for following along, and play more games in 2016!
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Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:09 pm
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Game Played (100 of 100) - A10

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: Full disclosure, I had intended to not play my 10th game of Descent: Journeys in the Dark. It's the campaign play that I enjoy, so why play a one-shot game just for this challenge? That was the plan until about 12:45 this afternoon. I was in my local game store (Game Nite in St. Louis, MO) with a gift card burning a hole in my pocket, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but Nature's Ire, an expansion for Descent that lets you play a solitaire encounter with an ever-changing map. Sweet! So I purchased it and slammed out a game this evening. I lost, but at least I got past the first numbered encounter. I randomly selected Tomble Burrowell and Griswal the Thirsty as my two characters, and off we went. Nature's Ire is an interesting game. You earn market cards as you go from killing monsters, and can earn experience at a couple different stages during the game. There are also a LOT of spiders. Seriously, so many spiders. When we got to the goblin archer ambush spot the goblins did a lot of damage and shot down both of my heroes, which caused the fate and doom tracks (unique to this expansion) to merge, and thus I lost. But it wouldn't be a good solitaire/cooperative game if it was easy, so I look forward to trying it again. Specifically, trying it again with a character with more than 8 hit points.

Descent: Journey in the Dark - Final Impressions: Descent is a great game. I really enjoy playing it. I even formed a Tuesday night gaming group in the hopes of getting to play it more. Sadly, one of the players is only interested in cooperative adventure games for the time being, but now that I have a cooperative expansion, hopefully I can get some more use out of this game in 2016. Definitely a keeper.
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Wed Dec 30, 2015 2:42 am
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Game Played (99 of 100) - B10

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: Time for my final play of Lost Battles. For this challenge, anyway. I like the game, so it won't be my final player forever. This time the battle of Bagredas was played. I chose this scenario because it is a Rome vs. Carthage scenario, and introduced some units I hadn't played with before: African elephants and Roman Legions. At the start, the Roman infantry are outnumbered by the Cartiginan forces, which consist of infantry, elephants, and lots of cavalry on both wings. I figured the Romans had no chance, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

The Romans won a major victory, 109 to 75. They did this by taking advantage of the morale benefits of legion infantry and turtling in the center. The Carthaginian cavalry ran circles around the Roman forces, but they couldn't break them. And the Roman legion infantry hit the Carthaginian center hard. On turn 9 they even broke the Carthaginian center, though they never moved forward to claim it. There were lots of casualties on both sides, but the Romans started with fewer points worth of forces, so they had the handicap benefit in their favor. The Carthage player needed to do a lot better if he wanted to win.

Lost Battles - Final Impressions: I like this game a lot. It plays very differently from Commands & Colors: Ancients, which has been my favorite "ancients" battle game since it came out. Lost Battles plays almost as fast as C&C does, and the way that morale panic spreads throughout an army is really interesting (and totally frustrating when it happens to you). The only thing I don't like about Lost Battles is the fact that combat involves lots of dice rolling and checking a full page worth of modifiers. That drags on a bit, but it isn't a deal breaker. Everything else is great: the variety of scenarios, the art design, the tactical decisions the players have to make, and the overall pace of the game. Definitely a keeper.
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Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:41 am
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Game Played (98 of 100) - B9

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: The first game of Lost Battles today did not take long, so I was able to get in another game. That was the Gabiene scenario, and the game did not go as expected. For the first time ever, I had a game end when the turns ran out, not because one side ran off the field in disarray. This scenario uses Indian Elephants on both sides, and the two sides are pretty evenly matched. The Eumenes side used its veteran phalanx units in the center to destroy the Antigonus center, though, and by the end the Antigonus forces only had three units left on the board, on the two far flanks. Both leaders were lost on each side, as well, when their attached units routed. In the end, it was a major victory for Eumenes, 90 to 47.
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Sun Dec 20, 2015 10:46 pm
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Game Played (97 of 100) - B8

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: I am in the home stretch, with only two games to finish off. Today I got back into playing Lost Battles, with the Delium scenario. The Theban player rolled quite well for his attacks and routed the Athenian wings pretty easily, but the Athenians were able to eliminate the Theban center, which when the handicap was applied gave the Athenians a narrow victory over the Thebans, 75 to 70.
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Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:16 pm
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Game Played (96 of 100) - G10

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: For my final play (of this challenge, anyway) of C&C:Napoleonics, the scenario was Salamanca. I once again played the French, and shockingly enough I won this time. I can't even say that it was because of the dice, because they really hated me for most of the game. One time I played a Bombard card, and had two foot artillery 3 spaces away from the same unit. So, each artillery got 4 dice, making 8 dice total. NO HITS. ON EIGHT DICE. I was ready to throw either the game or at least the dice out the window t that moment, but I stayed with it and won 6 to 3, which is a pretty substantial win. The French ruled their right flank, using cavalry to make the British infantry go into square, and then sending in French infantry to destroy the squares. On the French left flank the Portuguese cavalry made initial forays, causing two French infantry to go square, but the British player could not follow-up on that, and the cavalry were driven off by infantry fire. It was the center that won it for me, though. The British and Portuguese forces marched into range, and I happened to be holding a "Fire and Hold" card in my hand which decimated the Brits. Go me!

Commands & Colors: Napoleonics - Final Impressions: As I noted before, I have come to peace with the way that the game system treats even basic units as different for each nationality, but I still don't like it. Because of that, this is not my favorite in the C&C series (that honor still belongs to Ancients). However, it is a solid game that plays well once you get the hang of it, and as with all C&C games, they are pretty easy to teach to new players. Add in the fact that I have hardly any games of the Napoleonic wars and this one definitely stays in the collection.
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Tue Dec 15, 2015 2:30 am
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Game Played (95 of 100) - G9

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: Another game of C&C:Napoleonics, and another French loss, this time in the form of a 6 to 5 British victory. My French forces were ahead in score for most of the game, too. Boo. Anyway, my French forces really devastated the British left, but that flank turned into a "mutually assured destruction" scenario, with most units on both sides getting wiped out. The British right was pretty quiet most game, but the British won in the center, with the scenario ending with one unattached French leader and a French line infantry unit with one block left in the entire center. The British had more than that to take it, so hats off to the winner.
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Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:27 pm
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Game Played (94 of 100) - G8

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: Back to C&C:Napoleonics, this time playing the second Bussaco scenario, Ney's Assault. The British player won the scenario, 7 to 5. The British forces crushed the French left flank, and held the line elsewhere. The French infantry made one direct assault on the British-held hells, but were repulsed. However, what probably swung the battle was the British player's ability to roll double sabers when inflicting damage to units with attached leaders. He took out two of my French leaders that way, the lucky jerk.
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Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:22 pm
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Game Played (93 of 100) - E10

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: For my last play of this game, the random scenario was Western 15, which is a late war scenario pitting an Italian/British combined force against the Austria-Hungarian navy. The Allies want to bombard a couple Austrian ports, while the Central powers want to, of course, stop them. This is another large scenario, with lots of ships on each side, but the scenario puts them into specific fleets for you, and the Allies are even given their fleet orders, so there isn't that much to do except roll dice and plot movement. I played the Central powers, and had to figure out the best way to scare off the Allied ships. To make things more complicated, the Central powers player doesn't even get all of his ships until you roll a "6" on a die once the action starts. The Allied forces started bombarding my ports on turn 4, and I didn't even get my Battle fleet released until turn 14. Then it took 13 more turns to even get to where the bombardment was taking place, and then the Allies just ran away and avoided contact. I lost, 18 to 53.

Great War at Sea: Mediterranean - Final Impressions: While I find this game, and the Great War at Sea system as a whole, to be interesting, I would be lying if I said that I found it to be fun. Plotting fleet movement and trying to outsmart your opponent before any shots are ever fired is the most enjoyable part of the game. Once the game starts, though, it is too much of a slog, with a whole lot of die rolling and not that much action. The players do have meaningful decisions to make, but I find the whole thing kind of boring once the planning is over. I doubt that I will ever play this game again unless one of my friends wants to play it very strongly.
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Fri Nov 27, 2015 4:22 pm
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