Although this Flying Buffalo game has been around for a long time, I never have had the opportunity to play. It has been played once or twice here at a Westbank Gamers session, but I have always been involved in something else. Michael was eager to introduce us to the game, so John, Lenny and I joined in for the carnage.
We didn't fully understand a few of the rules, but plodded on. The game is obviously one of 'pummel each other', with little strategy involved. If we missed a rule or two, so be it. (Editor's Note: Turns out we did miss at least one rule. Apparently, 'propaganda' cards can be used again once someone is eliminated from the game up until another nuclear strike is launched.)
Until an actual nuclear strike is launched, it is possible for players to play 'propaganda' cards to increase their population. However, with this group, there was little doubt that a nuclear strike would come early ... and it did. Only one round passed before the carnage began, so the propaganda cards quickly became worthless. John was the first victim, being struck by a Polaris missile launched by Michael. This prompted John to begin bellowing that he had a small population and we should target other players.
Michael became the obvious target as he was the only player with experience. Sure enough, he was the first to be forced from the game by a way-too-powerful event card which vaporized 25 million of his population. Lenny, who was actually doing quite well, also fell victim to a virus card which also killed 25 million of his people, knocking him from the game. This left John and I to bash each other.
I had a strong population (over 40 million) and an abundance of missiles, but couldn't draw a warhead in excess of 10 megatons to save my life. John, on the other hand, was low on population, but seemed to have every huge warhead available ... and the systems to launch 'em. Plus, he got incredibly lucky with the spinner, inflicting an extra 10 million deaths on one spin and doubling a 10 million strike on another. With each new card draw, I screamed in disgust as I simply could not acquire a powerful warhead. So, it was just a matter of time before I was annihilated.
Perhaps I may have been considered this game good and fun 20 years ago. Now, however, I find it is nothing more than a test to see who draws the best cards. There is little, if any, real strategy to be employed and there is no way to cleanse your hand of unwanted or undesirable cards. If you need a powerful warhead or heavy missile, you just have to hope you get lucky on the draw. Further, the two event cards which wiped out 25 million people apiece are simply absurd. They should be removed from the game. No, wait ... better yet ... I just won't play again so I won't have to worry about that!
Apparently Michael is still a big fan of the game, while it received a luke-warm reception from Lenny. Surprisingly, John enjoyed it, a factor I don't quite understand.
Ratings: Michael 8, John 6, Lenny 5, Greg 3