My old roomate Brian dropped by yesterday afternoon to check out my new appartment. Brian and I used to play many games together when we shared a place, and he was keen to see what new games were in store since we had last met.
I mentioned to him that I had Hammer of the Scots, and that I really wanted to play another game after the first one that I attempted didn't go down so well.. (neither myself nor my opponent in the previous game had a good grasp of the rules and it was a messy and incomplete affair). Luckily, Brian was game.
After giving him the lay of the land and the basic premise, Brian decided to play as England.
From there, I went about providing my knowlege of the rules... (which still weren't perfect) before delving into the game.
In the first round, I started with a Herald card which switched Mentieth to Scotland. Brian began the drive North, but I pulled my Bruce to Galloway to strenthen the teams. Some battles were fought, Scotland begins to take ownership of some key nobles.
Second round, I'm super happy as I've been given yet ANOTHER herald card, and use it right away to snatch up another noble.. this time in the North. (can't remember exactly) My wallace is currently hanging out with Menteith and men waiting for the English arrival. I also use units in the north to take Ross.
Third round, Brian makes a major offensive push into Scotland with a pantload of infantry blocks, backed by the Welsh and the king.. He moves into Mentieth.. But, not until I play my 3rd Herald card and get yet another English noble to defect to the cause! (This time, another Northerner comes to the Scottish side)
Brian smashes into Mentieth, and his Welshmen flee at the face of Wallace. I take the opportunity to move Wallace south and watch while Mentieth and his piddly army are massacred. Brian has 5 blocks at this point stationed in Mentieth, and I'm a trifle worried. As we progress through the round, Brian splits the forces at Mentieth and marches into Fife, destroying one of my armies that was trying to protect it.
In the next year, I've given some great cards - a series of 2s and the Sea Route card. I wait a few turns for the infernal reds to leave the mainland, before utilizing the Sea Route to bring Wallace and his buddy to Annan - poised for a raid on England.. Now, Brian's a bit worried. Next play has me bringing both Wallace and a high-ranked infantry block into England, where we face Ulster and another army. Ulster rolls to check his allegiance -- and runs away at the face of Wallace! The final red block falls to the might of the Scottish raiding forces.
Wallace then flashes his private parts at the English, as Brian is forced to remove a non-noble from the board.
Next round - Brian doesn't have a card that will let him attack me. He's got the Victuals card, and can't come back. I reposition myself and watch as Brian begrudgingly removes another red block.
We winter. I send Wallace to Selkirk, and use the remaining RPs to strengthen and deploy new units were available.
The damage had been done, though. As the game progressed, my luck with the Herald cards, matched with the invasion of England had stuck a huge blow to Brian and the English. In the rounds following, we created a pushed wall near Mentieth and Fife, but the Scottish strength held true. By the end, the majority of the Nobles were mine and thus the game had been won.
Delightful, however, the Herald cards were a huge turning point. 3 rounds of uncontested, full-strength defection of the English nobles made a huge difference.
I can't wait to play again.