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Subject: A game for newbies rss

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Prologue

In my neverending quest to gain new converts to the joy which is BKE, I solicited Xkylyr and Martha to play a four player game with me and my wife. Xkylyr hates all wargames save Grand Imperialism. Martha is far more of a trooper. My wife, Janice, has played once before. I'm a BKE veteran.

We decided to play just one cycle of the Open Scenario with the game ending the moment the first Empire crumbled into dust. I figured this would be a good end run for a two or three cycle Open Scenario to be played in multiple sessions later on.

Session 1

We started on a Tuesday night at around 8pm. Rules took about a half hour to go through. It helps to have an experienced player for this one. BKE is not a complicated game, but the rules are structured a little oddly. Martha chose to be GERMAN 1, Janice GERMAN 2, and Xkylyr SLAV 1. I decided to try an experiment and be the AFRICANS who come in on Turn 3 and have a difficult but interesting starting position in northwest Africa. We decided to play with Persian cities but made them unconquerable. This was to make the map smaller since only four people were playing.

First off, I must tell you that this is one of the bloodiest BKE games I've seen. Within a few turns, Barbarian hordes were crowding the north of Europe, slaughtering each other for the barest chance to have their babies on an empty plot of land. The Africans, on the other hand, had to deal with severe space limitations, hemmed in by Roman garrisons and the Sahara.

After several turns, Barbarian forces began to appear. The Africans were limited to weak horsemen, archers, and boats, half of which died trying to take Roman towns or even just crossing the placid waters of the Mediterranean. Martha battered herself senseless across the waters of the Rhone, Janice braved the Alps to crush Romulus Augustulus and his decadent Empire. Xkylyr looked to have the best position as he savaged the Balkans and menaced Constantinople. However, even as his Barbarians demanded a code of Laws and a civil structure, the defenses of the Golden Horn held strong, smashing all the Slavs could muster against it.

As of the Kingdom phase, this was the disposition of European world:

The Roman Empire: Still holding strong in the East
Albion: An independent Kingdom cut off from the rest of the Latin world.

The Franks: Their capital in Belgium, an impoverished, tiny demesne.
The Ostrogoths: Capital in Rome, a tidy Kingdom spanning Cisalpine Italy with uncertain borders at the Alps and Dalmatia.
The Slavs: Capital in Bulgaria, their tremendous army melting away for lack of income.
The Vandals: Masters of the Mediterranean south west, preparing for a march into Iberia.

Game time: 3 hours

Session 2

At this point, it was a race for a steady income. Martha's Franks consolidated most of France and embarked on a disastrous campaign into Britain. Only the canny recruitment of Frankish warriors kept the Africans, who had now subjugated all of Iberia and had set up shop north of the Pyrrennes, from raiding the capital. Xkylyr's Slavs finally took Byzantium and the subsequent income enabled him to hold fast againt the burgeoning Kingdom of Theodoric. The Dalmatian coast became littered with thousands of Germanic and Slavic bodies.

About this time, the Africans recruited a mobile army of archers and swept east towards Aegypt. Aflush with gold, the African Kingdom poured money into administration, keeping the government pristine and effective. The Frankish Kingdom, paralyzed with corruption, quickly assumed the trappings of Empire. The Ostrogoths followed suit not long after, a newly formed legion menacing the Vandal French holdings. A war soon broke out between the Africans and the Ostrogoths though its only tangible result was laying waste to the poor towns at the foot of the Eastern Alps. Meanwhile, the Slavs quietly increased their gains, sacking the rich town of Athens and pouring into the plain of Cappadocia. The Africans conquered most of Aegypt and moved on to Palestine.

Finally, the beleaguered Franks could take no more. Their Empire collapsed ignominously around turn 28. The Game was Over.

Final standings:

Africa: 195
Slavs: 126
Ostrogoths: 106
Franks: 62

Session 2 game time: 2 hours Total game time: 5 hours

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Wade Broadhead
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Good report, sounds like a game I, and my group, would really enjoy.
 
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I have never met a single person who didn't enjoy this game. It's really elegant.
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