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Subject: First win in the Mexican Period - And some small strategy thoughts! rss

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Pablo Klinkisch
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My first win in the Mexican Period!!!

Last time I played this campaign it was a painful experience: I lost a family early on (combination of event followed by VP-check) and was hammered by those slave-seekers, loosing more and more population. Before losing, I used bad medicine TWICE!

After such a frustrating game I wanted to give it another go, be more careful and see if I played wrong or had bad luck (or both).

Before starting the game I checked the victory checks and listed their effects on a scrap of paper (not sure if this is intended but just not knowing if the next VP will be an 8 or a 14 can doom you). I might even try to make a player-aid with this info if someone is interested

I started buying: Horsemanship 1, Religion (great card) and Cunning 1+2. Cunning is ESSENTIAL, but the higher levels of it are just AMAZING (2AP/Elder and look at the next 2 cards!!!).

The game started with a victory check! (FIRST card!). As it turned out, this wasn't a big deal: it reduced the enemy's morale a bit and cost me an elder and I bought Wisdom of the Ancient Ones but nothing else besides that.

Not only that but the next VP check came as late as possible! (16th card or so). Having such a long inter-VP era is really powerful.

With religion on my side and the enemy starting in Peace, I tried to go for as much culture as possible. Coupled with cunning I always had TONS of APs (I mean 10+) to pre-empt anything. For the first time I was really in control not reacting to the will of the Enemy Indications but planing for them!

The Enemy Indications where mixed: not a lot of slaves (good) but just one raid. Raids can be horrible if unprepared but are a BIG way to win the game once you are prepared. It only takes a couple of raids and a battle to bring the enemy Morale to 0!

I let the enemy build some outposts while I was busy planting corn, getting APs and converting culture to military. When I started re-taking those ranchos the green cubes where a pain. But I learned: it is better to give the enemy some morale than to lose a battle, at least in teh beginning.

Passage of Time and Planning are nice (I was up to 5 families now!) but they have a big disadvantage: cubes' reseting. And you don't want an empty Raided Cubes box in this scenario... The Mexicans where able to draw 10APs in just one turn once (!). Thanks to cunning, I managed to stop the worst but it was scary!

With Cunning 2 I was able to plan long-term and thus, after a while, my culture was at 13! It went down due to some subvert but it still enabled me to push military to 10!
This, coupled with a bad raid (-1 morale!) and a carefully planned raid on NM looking for the green cube that led for a battle I was prepared for (ceremony mon amour!) brought Morale to some really low levels.
I was ready for the VP-check! And it came! Morale at 0 and Military at 8!
And...
And I had forgotten about he outposts
So no win here: the enemy went down to 2 thanks to 2 silly ranchos.

I had to play fast as the next check was around the corner: kill the outposts, stop anything bsd from happening and maintain a high military.

Killing the ranchos was risky but worked (I had to use some trade goods to stop a cube). In the end I had 8 cubes in the raid pool!!
But Dinétah seemed free!

Just let me take care of those stupid intruders...

Those stupid intruders where a Mission... A mission!!! Now?? What are those Jesuits doing here?? You have a pope now, go to Rome!!!

After some "talk" with the Mission, they left our land: everything was ready for my big push!

Knowing exactly when the VP-check was going to take place, the very last turn was an extremely interesting optimization exercise: trying to decide which enemy activities should happen (raid pool was again empty..). For the first time I used some trading goods to stop an enemy action from flipping! This can be a huge thing!

And the CP card arrived! I passed the check and with some 9 military and no ranchos easily crushed the Mexicans!

...

Well, to be honest: my VP-cheat had a mistake and I had prepared for an 8-card not for a 12 one... But had I known that I would have moved one family to Zuni on my last move, so I "corrected" that move and won the game whistle
[No, I didn't cheat: I would have really made that move if my stupid player-aid had been correct!]

Things learned:


- It's culture, stupid!! -> Culture is the heart of the Diné. No culture, no military.
- Trade goods are great! Be sure to know all the cool stuff you can do with them!
- Cunning is THE BOMB!! (Jesse Pinkman style, he does live near the Navajos)
- Religion is better than I thought!
- Planning is great, passage of time is cool but you need those raid pools full or the Mexicans will steam-roll you! There are a LOT of AP-bonuses for them in this scenario.

P.S: Luck can crush you, yes, but the game is not balanced against you like in other games (VPG; I'm looking at you ).
Having realized that, Navajo Wars just jumped to my top 3 solitaire game!

Yes, I am that kind of guy: I like to win and I do not care for solitaire games that are difficult just because the cards are stacked against you.
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Gordon J
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Congrats! A win in NW is truly something that deserves to be celebrated.
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Paul Dodds
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Congratulations! It took me four attempts before I had my first victory at "A Broken Country". Cunning is indeed awesome and usually my chosen "reserved" culture. That does run the risk of Horsemanship going out and one of the games I lost was when this happened and I couldn't keep on top of the Intruders so the enemy was getting a lot of APs. It took me a little while to appreciate that for this scenario maintaining a high culture is an important way to deal with the culture loss that the many slave actions can cause - it's really difficult to maintain full families in this scenario.

I've still to try "The Fearing Time" but that is high on my list. My partner is going to be away for a week in June and I'm determined to try the full campaign while she is away, so want some experience of the American period before I leap into that!

I am also keen to find out what the other two solitaire games form your Top Three.
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Pablo Klinkisch
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Well, you see, when I wrote "it is in my top 3" I dreaded the question, as I am not really sure what my solitaire top 3 is!
The only thing I really know right now is: NW is there!
Nr 2 is almost easy, but Nr 3 isn't

Number 2
: Fields of Fire
This was long my rational number 1. It might still be (or number 2 after NW).
Why rational? Because I am not sure my heart agrees: I find the system impressive, it is genius, really, and it woks (despite the rules). I played the whole Normandy campaign and enjoyed it... But my enjoyment was rational not fanboy-ish, if you know what I mean.
When I decided to start Korea I was confronted with the things that keep me from playing this more often:

- It takes a LONG time. This is not bad per se, the problem is when a scenario is designed to give it 4 tries: we are talking about 12h here (yes, I am a SLOW player).
- It is fiddly as hell. This might be the bigger problem for me. And some scenarios need a lot of room (almost more than NW and I don't have a big table).
- I hate the whole pre-mission stuff. Just do not fancy choosing my pyros or sorting through a lot of counters (fiddly!).

But: It is one of the only games that manages to be a good solitaire game without stacking the cards! (Like NW). And a GREAT simulation!

So: it might very well be in my top 3, the head agrees, I am just not sure if the heart does.
And: I haven't played it in a long time.
It's like with movies: ask me what my favorite movie is ("2001, a space Odyssey"): do I think it is rationally the best movie ever? No, I'd rather choose "Persona" or "the Seventh Seal", but my heart beats for Kubrick here!

Number 3 is the big big problem: I don't really know. I am torn between one heavy game and a couple of really light ones:

D-Day at Omaha Beach, Nemo's War and The Dungeon of D.

D-Day at Omaha Beach
: It took me a while to love it, but now I do. I do resent that it seems to be stacked against the player and that your winning chances mostly depend on getting heroes, not (only) on your abilities.
It is a great game and it is fun even if it takes a long time (specially if you make it out of the beach).
This would be my Nr 3, if it weren't for...

Nemo's War: I love this game. The only VPG I like. I don't even care that I do not manage to win it. It is just great!
Why not a sure Nr3 then, you might ask? Well, I haven't played it in a long time and it is an "easy" game. It kind of feels strange to put it there instead of D-Day at Omaha Beach. I might be to rational here
This, and my love for another "light" game:

The Dungeon of D: THE dungeon-crawl solitaire. This is just amazing. Difficult as hell and probably a luck fest, but it doesn't FEEL like it. You keep finding items, fighting monsters, looting rooms. It IS a dungeon crawl!
And all just with 60 cards!!! It is a design gem!!!
But, as with Nemo, I haven't played in a while to put it as Nr 3 with certainty.

Runner-ups:

Friday: Fantastic light game. Addictive and tense, even if it might be easy to beat after a while (as I said, I don't care for losing ).

The Peloponnesian War, 431-404 BC: My first solitaire game (and first game I read the rules in English). I am under the impression, that this is solvable. I have to give it another try and see if it is. If not, this might crawl back to the Top 3.

Mosby's Raiders: Great, great guerrilla feel. Loved it for that. Haven't played it enough, though, to know where it will stay in my scale.

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Steve
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Sancherib wrote:

Number 2
: Fields of Fire
This was long my rational number 1. It might still be (or number 2 after NW).
Why rational? Because I am not sure my heart agrees: I find the system impressive, it is genius, really, and it woks (despite the rules). I played the whole Normandy campaign and enjoyed it... But my enjoyment was rational not fanboy-ish, if you know what I mean.
When I decided to start Korea I was confronted with the things that keep me from playing this more often:

- It takes a LONG time. This is not bad per se, the problem is when a scenario is designed to give it 4 tries: we are talking about 12h here (yes, I am a SLOW player).
- It is fiddly as hell. This might be the bigger problem for me. And some scenarios need a lot of room (almost more than NW and I don't have a big table).
- I hate the whole pre-mission stuff. Just do not fancy choosing my pyros or sorting through a lot of counters (fiddly!).

But: It is one of the only games that manages to be a good solitaire game without stacking the cards! (Like NW). And a GREAT simulation!

So: it might very well be in my top 3, the head agrees, I am just not sure if the heart does.
And: I haven't played it in a long time.
It's like with movies: ask me what my favorite movie is ("2001, a space Odyssey"): do I think it is rationally the best movie ever? No, I'd rather choose "Persona" or "the Seventh Seal", but my heart beats for Kubrick here!


This perfectly encapsulates my relationship with Fields of Fire. I think it's a work of sheer brilliance in the wargame sphere, a COMPLETE rethink of tactical warfare games.

It's just so fucking hard to convince myself to bring out on the table! All the reasons you said. Nice post.
 
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garysax wrote:


This perfectly encapsulates my relationship with Fields of Fire. I think it's a work of sheer brilliance in the wargame sphere, a COMPLETE rethink of tactical warfare games.

It's just so fucking hard to convince myself to bring out on the table! All the reasons you said. Nice post.


Thanks!

There is one thing I forgot about FoF ant it bothers me quite a bit: how generic everything is: in game-terms a rice-paddy and a filed in France are exactly the same and, besides the number of cards, some scenarios do not feel extremely different.
They are different, that's for sure, because the troops are different, it's the Terrain that bothers me a bit from time to time.

I really have to get this back on the table But Korea needs so much room...
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Steve
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Korean scenarios are so big... the one nice bit about Korea is that you get to lay some serious hurt on some poorly trained (but numerous) North Korean soldiers. It's very hard to get hits, retreats on casualties on Panzer Grenadiers, but you catch those three squads of hapless North Koreans out in the open with an exposed marker on them...
 
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Stefanos Pallas
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I was drawn to the title after my last night's painful experience... laugh

I tried for the 1st time the "Broken Country" scenario and I was totally beaten! Two major defeats, 1st one just after 4 cards and a VP check and 2nd one after 8 cards and two VP checks.

Man, this scenario is really HARD but what a GREAT game! I enjoy very much solitaire games and I'll definitely have a look at Fields of Fire.
 
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