SNEW June 2008
Nick Avtges
United States
Bridgewater
Massachusetts
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Nick, Scott, Constantine, and Gary gathered on a muggy Saturday evening in June for some great gaming in comfortable air conditioning!
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1. Board Game: War of the Ring (First Edition) [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:82]
Nick Avtges
United States
Bridgewater
Massachusetts
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Scott has wanted to learn this game for a long time and new Constantine was a fan of big games with lots of plastic pieces. So, they sat down to play. Gary, Nick, and Nicholas helped guide them through the rules and soon they were battling all across Middle Earth. Scott won as the Free Peoples, destroying the ring in Mount Doom. I wonder if this might be an "asterisk" game because I know I failed to mention how the hunt for the ring changes once the fellowship reaches Mordor. If they continued to resolve the hunt in the same way it would be a significant advantage for the fellowship. Sorry about that, Constantine!
 
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2. Board Game: Combat Commander: Mediterranean [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked]
Nick Avtges
United States
Bridgewater
Massachusetts
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Gary and I chose to start with a favorite of ours, Combat Commander. I chose a scenario I had not played from the Mediterranean expansion. In this early war battle, a Polish company is trying to break out of an encirclement through a fairly lightly defended farm. The are some critical buildings, a large gully, and some wide open lines of sight. Since I chose the scenario, I offered Gary his choice of sides, and being up for a challenge, he chose the Poles. The scenario starts with an open objective doubling exit points (the Poles need to break out!), but then Gary's random draw pulled the chit which put 10VP on objective 5, a building located very close to the Polish setup area. My draw was hidden and gave 3VP for objective 3, a central building a bit forward, although not as far forward as objective 5. I setup with most of my defense around objective 3 with squads holding objectives 4 and 5 on either flank. I didn't think that my squad in objective 5 would be able to hold, but I wanted to put up some resistance and make him fight for that building while I focused on holding my hidden objective, building 3.

The Polish setup poses some problems as there is very little cover to take advantage of. A few hedges and a gully are pretty much it. Gary set up most of his squads in the gully area, but his best leader and weapons were located behind a hedge facing objective 5.

We traded shots back and forth over objective 5, which generated a German hero early on. I placed him in objective 5, if only to make it more difficult to take. Little did I know that my squad there would be able to hold out the entire game.

Meanwhile, Gary built up his hand to try to make a dash out of the gully. An early charge was aborted when it ran into a minefield in front of objective 3. Later, however, the Poles were successful is crossing the road, taking objective 4, and charging through the brush on the German right flank. In the absolute nick of time, German reinforcements arrived just before the Poles were about to exit the board. I held the initiative and decided to enter the risky melee, where we were just about even. The risk paid off as my German reinforcements were able to wipe out the advancing Poles. Gary was able to sneak off some troops but with my reinforcements now holding that brush area, the hole in the line was filled.

With time running out, the focus of the fight now turned back to objective 5. My Germans still held this critical objective. Gary made several valiant attempts against tough defense, but his troops were unable to muster the courage needed to charge into melee and time ran out, giving me the victory, winning with 21 VP.

This game was much closer than the score would indicate. With objective 5 representing a 20 VP swing, this game could have easily swung the other way. A fun and exciting contest and a scenario I would definitely play again.
 
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3. Board Game: Manoeuvre [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:637]
Nick Avtges
United States
Bridgewater
Massachusetts
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After Combat Commander, Gary and I played what is becoming a new favorite, Manoeuvre. We set up the map randomly which very interestingly put a Marsh near the center of the board. I rolled to determine my side and got the Americans. Gary chose the Ottomans. This was a fun game that ended with Gary snatching victory from the jaws of defeat as I had eliminated 4 of his units, but was unable to get the 5th and he was able to "manoeuvre" at the end to grab control of enough spaces on my side of the board for victory.

This was my first time playing the Americans and they are a fun force to play. While they lack cavalry, they have some decent infantry units and a fairly large number of volley cards available. This didn't help me that much, though, as most of my volleys fell short! The Americans also have quite a few Ambush cards, which also come in very handy when there is a straggler enemy unit. Ambush was good to have against the Ottomans as their reduced side strength seemed to be very low, making them quite vulnerable to Ambush.

Manoeuvre is a really great game that holds significantly more strategic depth than I had initially given it credit for. My first play left me thinking it was a fun game, with a fairly large does of luck. My second play, I started seeing there was more to it than that. And now with each successive play I see interesting strategies and tactics. A really good game that I definitely recommend.
 
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4. Board Game: Pacific Typhoon [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:2225]
Nick Avtges
United States
Bridgewater
Massachusetts
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We finished the night with a game of Pacific Typhoon. Constantine had not played before, so we quickly went over the rules and were soon playing. It was not long before the table talk started, with Scott declaring how badly Nick was screwing everyone, Constantine showing how poorly he was doing and Nick pointing out every point Gary scored. This was ultimately a very close game that came down to a couple of critical battles near the end. First, Scott renewed a battle Nick had previously won...and then proceeded to win it in exactly the same way Nick had done earlier...by playing a the Repulse, fated to be in that battle, and so doubled in strength, which left everyone else discarding. Then, on the very last battle, Gary played Tokyo Rose and forced Constantine and I to play Japanese cards if we played. He accompanied this with a strong surface ship, which would make it unlikely anyone could beat him. With an evil grin, Scott played the Yamato, which put him in the lead and ultimately gave him enough points for victory.

Pacific Typhoon is a fun game that always leads to fun chatter and table talk. It's a great closer for a wargame night and one I'm sure will see play at SNEW in the future.
 
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