Arkham Horror, Amun Re, R-ECO, Ora Et Labora, Napoleonic Wars
This game is awesome because I won.*
Date: 17 October 2006
Four of us gathered to re-enact the French Revolution with wooden squares and discs. All of us but Liz had played before, so I explained the rules fairly well to her – I waited until partway into the first turn to tell her about the two special game-ending conditions, as they only can occur in the late game. Liberte’s got a lot of rules that are easy to miss or mangle (special tiebreakers, discarding “advanced” cards, playing a personality as well as an action card as your turn....) but I think we did a decent job of preparing her.
Variants/Options: We used a modified Dagger Variant, mainly because we were all vaguely familiar with it but didn’t know it by heart. We did allow players to draw two single-block cards from the draw display – but only if all three cards currently shown were single-block. We did not allow players to play two single-block cards as a turn, as we were unaware of this part of the variant. This resulted in a game where our hands were relatively full, the board still developed at a decent rate, and eliminated the common roadblock of “one block” personalities clogging up the display forever.
I pointed out to Liz the provinces marked “CR”on the board, and how the Royalist Counter-Revolution could end the game at any point during Turns 3 and 4. I was mildly shocked when checking the rules to find they only had to control 7 of the 14 provinces – I would have guessed it was more. I had pulled off a counter-revolution in a game a couple of years prior, and there was a lot of talk about how it would be hard to allow it to happen now, since we were all aware of the possibility and would constantly announce how many CR spaces were under White control.
We blazed ahead with our personalities and special actions, and Turn 1 ended as I’m sure it nearly always does, with Blue being the party in Government, and White the Opposition. Red scarcely made itself known, claiming 2 or 3 provinces in the election. Sometime during the turn I had been holding a large share of Blue-controlled provinces, so Ryan attacked me with a Bread Shortage or Religious Persecution (?) action card. Of course I did the same to him on my following turn, and we both ended up with less blue than the other players. I managed to hold Paris with 2 white blocks, giving me the majority control of the Opposition party.
Turn 1 scores:
Liz 5, Aaron 3, Scott 2, Ryan 0
Liz and Ryan – the only two players to see a "General" Personality card in the turn, fought heavily over the Battle Box. Liz ended up claiming it 4 tokens to 3, which may be the most I’ve seen in there in a 4-player game. It was Liz’s only VP of the turn but enough to keep her lead.
Somewhere in this turn I developed a strategy. Due to our half-Dagger variant, most of us had plenty of cards through the game. I began to see a possibility of saving up for some “power moves” by stockpiling the yellow Action Cards, and taking/altering 2 provinces at once with a Personality Card and an Action Card played simultaneously. (I know I’ve played with this rule incorrectly before – the action cards are not nearly as valuable when it takes your whole turn to use one.) I spent a couple turns drawing yellow cards as others stranded them in the display, and ended the turn with 2 or 3 of them in-hand.
Scott pulled ahead in Blue controlled provinces (still the party In Government at the end of Turn 2), with Ryan managing to climb to 2nd in Government. I gave up on blue and played mostly red and white this turn, preparing for them to gain power toward the end of the game. I managed to claim Paris again with white blocks, which was the Opposition party again.
Turn 2 scores:
Liz 9, Scott 7, Aaron 6, Ryan 2
Liz started the turn by placing 3 Radical blocks in Paris, setting the stage for a possible Radical overthrow of the government (or at least a very good position in the Radical party). It was a good move – I had Robespierre in my hand and would have done the same thing on my turn.
However, the Radicals would never get their moment in the sun. Turn 3 began with 4 Counter-Revolution flashpoints controlled by the Royalists, and I began to plot the possibility of seizing control of the nation for my silk-robed and powder-wigged brothers and sisters. But I knew the odds were slim, as everyone was watching for it, and the wounds from my previous upset had never fully healed.
On the second or third trip around the player order, Scott claimed a province with Royalist (White) squares and announced “That’s 5 Counter-Revolution spaces”. I’m sure he didn’t realise he played right into my hands. My next move claimed a sixth province for White, and I played a simultaneous Bread Shortage action card which knocked Blue out of a tie for a seventh area, and White prevailed. Instant Counter-revolution and game end!
Previous scores out the window, only White squares on the map and on cards count in a counter-revolution:
Aaron 15, Scott 12, Ryan 8, Liz 3
* (I’m going to slip that little gem of a mini-review into my session reports, assuming I continue to write them when the mood strikes. Or its foul mirror “This game sucks cuz I lost.”)