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Subject: Licensed to Churchill -- First Minnesota Takes On The Big Three rss

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Gordon J
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This is not much of a report as much of the night was a blur. So, I guess it's mainly to gloat that we got four games of Churchill going at the same time. But it's also to let people know of the good time we had playing this great game. (Some thoughts and opinions mentioned later on).

Getting Churchill set up. Alan, Herr Dr, and Steve pondering first moves. Patrick, Josh, and Mark starting their game.



Mathew, Logan, and new Steve (or Steve the 3rd) setting up another game of Churchill. And, as usual, everyone gathers around.



Frick, John, and Doug locking horns in, well, Churchill!



More snapshots of Churchill:





All Churchill everywhere you look:



Logan, Steve, and Mathew were all new to Churchill. Gordy taught them the ropes, but they quickly caught on.



By and large all the games were pretty close. It's a very different game, the three different possible victory conditions makes for some chaotic endings. I think at least two of the games went to Victory Conditions 3, where the Axis had not been defeated, and the scores were close enough to make people roll. In one case, it was UK (1st), USSR (2nd), and USA (last), and after the die roll, the script had been flipped, and the Americans won. In another game the Axis were defeated but the scores were really close, with only a few points between the winner and losers.

I think for first time gamers of Churchill the ending of this game can be confusing. Because if you don't pay attention and don't defeat the Axis by the end of the game, the victory conditions and deciding who wins can end up being very chaotic. Mark Herman warns in the rules, that if you don't defeat the Axis by the end of the game, you are leaving yourselves in a very prickly/chaotic situation, where you have less control and leaving it a little more to fate on who wins.

So I can see times where the ending of this game may put some new people off, as you finish a 3 or 4 hour game, don't defeat the Axis, and then, the game is decided by some dice rolls.

At the end of our games, a bunch of us stood around talking about the game. Some made arguments that there may not be incentive for some players to try and defeat the Axis, as a bunch of VPs can be had through clandestine and political markers, so one is tempted to just scoop up those VPs. (And one of our players made a compelling argument of why would you ever waste your time on defeating the Axis when much more VPs can be had in taking control of the countries with clandestine and political markers).

I think a tendency I'm seeing with new players is to go after the Pol/Mil issues in conferences, and lots of it. People flock to those issues, and in all my games with new people, new players take awhile to understand why European/Pacific Leadership issues are very very important. If you go after Pol/Mil issues all the time it's going to be a hard slog to defeat the Axis and you will throw your end game into chaos.





Overall, a wonderful night. We had a good time playing, and as we learned this game needs multiple plays to really get one's head wrapped around what you are doing and why and how to get to your goals deftly. Because this game is unique and how you compete and compromise and cooperate and win is very different than anything else you have played.


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It's just a ride...
England
Bury St Edmunds
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I would literally kill to have a shop like that near me.
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Marco Poutré
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Yes... I still like 'em 32 years later...
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One more incentive to move to Minnesota. When I look at these pictures, this is how I envision Heaven and thus the reason I'm striving to be a good person.
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Gordon J
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We are very lucky here in Minnesota. In addition to The Source Comics & Games store pictured above, about two miles from that store is the Fantasy Flight Game Center, which has a gaming room twice the size as the one pictured above (can hold, what, over 100 gamers easily; 200 when they hold tournaments) and has gourmet burgers/food and beer and coffee and wine to offer as well.

(In case the rest of the world doesn't know, the Mecca of Gaming is in Minneapolis/St. Paul. All of you must once in your life make a pilgrimage to the holy land).
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Kyle Seely
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Carmel
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I may be heading up there for Arkham Nights this year at the FFG Event Center. A trip to the Source will be required since it's just down the road.
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Charles Finch
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>>> , the Mecca of Gaming is in Minneapolis/St. Paul. All of you must once in your life make a pilgrimage to the holy land).


Now you tell me...have to schedule another trip to client...
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Nathan Lee
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Do you agree with that one player that the strategy of not defeating the axis and going strictly for Pol-Mil VPs is a viable and reliable strategy? Or is it too easily countered?
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Alan Carlson
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"Do you agree with that one player that the strategy of not defeating the axis and going strictly for Pol-Mil VPs is a viable and reliable strategy? Or is it too easily countered?"

At our end-game, this strategy occurred to me as well. If I get talked into another game of this, I am going to try it out. It may be gaming the game, but there are a LOT of Pol-Mil VPs available.
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Mark Herman
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PScipio wrote:
"Do you agree with that one player that the strategy of not defeating the axis and going strictly for Pol-Mil VPs is a viable and reliable strategy? Or is it too easily countered?"

At our end-game, this strategy occurred to me as well. If I get talked into another game of this, I am going to try it out. It may be gaming the game, but there are a LOT of Pol-Mil VPs available.


The main line for defeating this strategy is to win the war and force the game into condition 2. If all three players go for a pol-mil free for all, then you will end up in condition 3, but as you can only really gain a Pol-Mil advantage if the you gain an advantageous split of the countries/colonies (22). If one player is scoring more than 6 VPs over their opponents then the other two are not playing well. Also remember there are 4 Pol-mil issues for a reason. Never let there be just one on the table if you can help it.

From what I can see first time plays are often looking for point strategies that the game is designed to easily defeat, unless as I said it just becomes a free for all. If all three go for condition 3 high score wins then the US should be significantly advantaged here.

Mark
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Nathan Lee
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And I imagine the advancing fronts will mitigate a pure pol-mil strategy, as there will be a lot of resources wasted when the clandestine networks evaporate?
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Jeff K
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PScipio wrote:
"Do you agree with that one player that the strategy of not defeating the axis and going strictly for Pol-Mil VPs is a viable and reliable strategy? Or is it too easily countered?"

At our end-game, this strategy occurred to me as well. If I get talked into another game of this, I am going to try it out. It may be gaming the game, but there are a LOT of Pol-Mil VPs available.


While mathematically this may look like an option, it is very risky one, IMO. All of your political markers are highly visible at all times, it's one of the few things you can track easily during the game.

To defeat this strategy, all it takes is for the other two players (who, we may presume, are losing the political battle) to decide it is time for the Axis to go down. One side can pretty easily be railroaded into military effort. And remember every front must attempt to advance each turn. If I want to put your Directed Offensives on the table and team up with the other guy to win them, I doubt you are going to stop me. Or heck, I may put my own directed offensives on your front.

This very thing happened in our first game. I was waaaaaaayyyy out in front in political terms (Churchill had the CBI locked with a Global issue), but ended up losing. And you are right, that translated to being way out front with VPs. I ended up teaming up with the US to end the war, which was counterproductive for me on so many fronts. But even if I had dragged my feet in the war, Russia could just as easily have decided that Axis defeat was the only viable late game path (which it was). Either way, Russia was the deciding factor in the defeat of the Axis.

Point is, any two players could have railroaded the third into military conquest of the Axis at the end, and played for second simultaneously for the win, if they are far behind the leader. That is most definitely a viable strategy, should this situation arise. The thing about this game is that it appears that it is virtually impossible to have a runaway leader. I could be wrong about that, but it is one thing I really like about the game. It seems, the best way to play is just to stay close and try to throw it subtly when a trend in the scoring becomes apparent in the late game. This way, you always have the flexibility and position to play for the win, or even more fun, you can manipulate your opponent into helping you win!
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Mark Herman
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PScipio wrote:
"Do you agree with that one player that the strategy of not defeating the axis and going strictly for Pol-Mil VPs is a viable and reliable strategy? Or is it too easily countered?"

At our end-game, this strategy occurred to me as well. If I get talked into another game of this, I am going to try it out. It may be gaming the game, but there are a LOT of Pol-Mil VPs available.


I definitely would try the pol-mil focused strategy and if your two opponents are not paying attention it will work. The reason it will work is the other two players will have failed to use their production for military advances to compensate for your pol-mil strategy.

The basic issue is there are 22 countries/colonies on the map. This represents a potential score of 66 points. However, only the differential matters, so if the three players split the 22 spaces, 8-7-7 that leads to a 3 VP advantage.

The reason that there are four pol-mil issues is to allow the other two players to balance against this strategy. Once I see that someone is going for this style of game I have several strategic choices, but if I want to go head to head in this type of session, all I have to do is ensure that there are 2 to 3 pol-mil issues on the table and win one. Then you can keep up in the pol-mil dimension of the game.

Let us know how it goes.

Mark
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