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Subject: HotS: My First Play rss

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Nick Avtges
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Bridgewater
Massachusetts
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I suddenly had a free night, so I emailed Scott to see if he was available for a game. He also had nothing going on, so I dropped by and we decided to play Hammer of the Scots. Scott was experienced, but I had never played before, although I had played other block games. A quick rules run down was all that was needed and we were off. I played the Scots and Scott, oddly enough, the English.

The first few turns saw me scrambling around trying to figure out what I was doing. I had a very difficult time convincing Ross to switch to my side and in general was off to a very slow start. Meanwhile, Scott's English were moving north, massing in Mentieth. That large force (including Edward) continued marching north all the way to Angus. At that point, I was beginning to understand things a bit better and had regrouped my forces and had a decent size force in Badenoch. Scott then split his forces into Buchan and Mar. Knowing that Edward was in one of those stacks, I sent as much as I could into both battles, sending Wallace into Buchan. I guessed right...Edward was in Buchan and I ended up winning both battles, which left Scott's forces in the north stretched pretty thin.

In the midgame, I was able to stabilize the situation in the north and began to understand the implications of the movement restrictions a bit better. I began a slow march southwards from Angus into Fife. Once my position in Fife had stabilized, we fought back and forth for Mentieth quite a bit, but by now I was beginning to recruit a lot of units and able to keep them in play...my forces in the contentious areas were growing strong and meanwhile Scott was getting a some lousy cards and not drawing Edward II out of his pool.

The end game saw the Norse attack Dunbar, helping secure the supply rich area around the Firth of Forth. After some tough fighting to capture Mentieth and threaten Lennox, Wallace ended up wintering in Selkirk, but was fairly safe there since I now controlled Dunbar and Lothian. After some repositioning, I had Wallace together with a pair of C3 infantry, all at full strenghth...a fairly formidable force. I had control of the entire north (with the exception of some hold outs in Argyll) as well as everything down to Dunbar on the east side. The second to last turn saw Bruce defecting back to the Scots and the strength of the Scottish position solidifying. At this point, Scott conceded, seeing no point in the last turn since he would need to gain control of four lords merely to tie, while I had all my forces on the board, many at full strength.

I quite enjoyed the game, particularly the back-and-forth flow of it. I thought for sure it was going to be a quick game as Scott was marching Edward all over the board in the early game, but thanks to a decisive battle in Buchan, I was able to withstand the early onslaught and then slowly begin fighting back.

Can't wait to play again!
 
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