Eager to try the new rules we went onto our 5th game. Man, this one was epic, even starting from the draft phase.
First player had never won, so he drafted the 2 coins to start the game with
Second player had the mutants, basically to prevent me from getting it (I have a capital very close to the Fallout location)
I was third player, so I was first to choose a location
The rest of the draft was straightforward. In the end the situation was:
Player 1 started in Madagascar with 2 stars, 2 cards, and the expansionist power, clearly going for a rush
Player 2 Started in Siberia with the guys that get a troop per turn in their base
I was player 3, starting in Indonesia (Oceania has my name, so it is a strong incentive).
Player 4 started with the mutants in south America, in a town with a radioactive fallout
The objective was to conquer 4 cities….which turned out to be waaay harder than we thought.
The game started, and the first turns alternated quickly:
-Player 1 expanded, getting a card with their base power (aiming for a quick victory).
-Player 2 was very peaceful expanding a little in Asia and a little in North America.
-I Quickly got control of Oceania, and continued my expansion towards Asia.
-Player 4 got control of the 3 radioactive spots, giving him a star, and many troops per turn
At that point things speeded up. P1 got to his 4 cards, which placed P2 and P3 in a big trouble: if we attack P4 then P1 would win, if we attack P1 then P4 would win. So we decided to weaken a bit both of them, forcing P4 to attack P1. In the process he had to cash in his cards for troops (instead of a star as he needed for the win).
Suddenly the whole board changed. Player 1 had 3 stars but barely no troops (he controlled maybe 2-3 territories?). His only way of winning was by being VERY lucky and retaking his HQ with 3 troops in attack against 5 in defense.
Player 4 had 1 star, 2 HQ but no cards….so he needed to hold the status quo for 3-4 turns to win. Player 2 and I had many troops but we were far from getting our missing 2-3 stars. On top of that, we got several events that wiped me out several troops, and gave Player 4 more troops in his bases, placing me in a clear 4th position.
Player one makes another try at recovering his HQ. In the last moment I use a missile to prevent it (he would have won otherwise)….placing P1 in a terrible position (3 stars, but no cards and 3 armies in the whole board). If no one does anything P4 would have won, and I am the only one that can do it. Player 2 knows this, so he goes on to take North America. My turn starts and I am forced to take a HQ from P4. For that I need to cash in all my cards (damn! another lost opportunity to get a star), but I manage to take the African HQ and Alaska (preventing P3 from the continent bonus).
At that time we had been playing for a few hours, so we decided to make a break. We had dinner, and trash talked everyone (“This quiche tastes like the tears of Player 1”, etc). After this nice break we got back onto the game, with no clear victor:
Player 1 has 3 stars but virtually no troops (and no HQ)
Player 2 has a lot of territory, 1 star, 1HQ and 2 cards. He has 2 enemy HQs in range (P4 and mine), but both are heavily defended. He places all of his troops close to P4’s HQ clearly advancing for a kill.
I have good board position (getting 6+ troops per turn), 2 HQs, but no stars and no HQs in range.
Player 4 has a star, a HQ, and with the help of radioactive stuff they get a nice amount of troops per turn.
Along the game we had several events that emptied cities, so our quest was impossible to do. There were only 6 occupied cities, but 2-3 of them were heavily defended (and all were very spread).
Then the unthinkable happens, P4 wants to expand so he grabs another city. P2 makes a run for P4’s HQ and I get the best possible outcome: all but 3 of his troops are wiped. I start my turn, conquer 4 cities including P4’s HQ…giving me 2 stars and the victory!
In all, I think I won …but not because I played well. I won because the other players did not play nicely.
Player 1 made several half-attempts at getting his base back. He should have waited a bit more. Also, drafting for 2 stars gives him a nice headstart, but also paints a target on himself early game.
The all-in attack that Player 2 made was decisive in giving me not 1 but 2 stars. This on its own was not a bad move…but should have been done as the last star (no need to get 3 stars if you can’t easily get the 4th one).
I played my missiles when they were not needed (even sometimes contradicting myself). I lost many troops to some events, but those losses could not be planned (on purpose we decided not to read the events before playing).
Player 4 was always too close to wining, but never managed to score. He expanded in 3-4 continents but only conquered South America. Had I been him, I would have tried to get control of another continent (Maybe Africa?). Control of a second continent + the 2-3 troops he gets per turn due to radioactive locations would have given him enough power to take on the 3 other players.
I think that a clear measure of how bad we felt for P1 was the fact that no one ever wiped him. Any of the other players could have done it anytime (and open an envelope in the process), but we decided to save it for another occasion (last time we quickly opened an envelope, and we still have many rules to assimilate
After all, we have played 5 games (to of probably 15) and we opened 3 of 6 envelopes (+the do not open one). We have to slow down a bit
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory
Don't worry about opening packets too fast. Many of them must be played several times to be properly enjoyed.
Thanks for the hint. We still haven't found a way to open the "World Capital" envelope. Fingers crossed!