In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming...
Wow! I can be awful wordy. I had typed up a lot of stuff, and I mean a lot and then realized it was way too much to go into a session review. If it was needed at all, it was material for my general review and impression of the game. So I have deleted all the excess, and let's get down to business, shall we? I have an excel sheet made up for when I initiate play by forum games, but for this exercise, it would probably be easier for you to go to Plaid Hat Games website and download the movement sheet PDF they provide if you want to follow along.
I had been anticipating playing this game for months, and the time had finally come. I wanted to be on an even foot with my opponent, a friend who was hearing about the game for the first time except for some excited yammering over the phone about this new game I found out about. In the end we did a few things wrong, but I don't think it made much of a difference to the outcome of the game in the end, and we were both just learning. Now, going into this, I was thinking that my friend was the better player - not that I was psyching myself out, or being down on myself, he just plays more of these types of games, and tends to be better at strategic thinking, and I was pretty sure deduction, too. Not knowing that it is customary for the hunters to announce before the agent is picked, while he looked at the hunters, I went over the agents, and for some reason chose The Spider. Now, I can't tell you why, although looking back I think part of it was his tangle line because I was pretty sure he was going to go with The Prophet. He did not disappoint, bringing the (all too familiar now) combo of Prophet and The Beast. I chose a stealth field, and I do not see the third piece of equipment written down in my notes or noted as used on my equipment sheet, but I am pretty sure it was either a second stealth field or adrenal surge -- maybe we will find it as we go over the play, eh?
I will say right off, I made one major mistake in the game and I made it often: I played a bit too cautiously. As my friend pointed out later in constructive criticism, sometimes risking a hit or getting seen and cornered for a shot is worth it if you get an objective complete for your troubles. I made my first move to P1, only moving two, which looking back was another rookie mistake - no hunter is likely to ping on the first turn. If I were going to move two to avoid the motion detector, it should have been on turn two, after I had moved four and leaving the hunter clueless as to what side of the board I was on. I then moved four to S3, and since I did not get pinged, moved two the next turn to U3. My opponent did ping then, of course getting no reading. At this point I am feeling pretty good, as the hunter has no idea if I am east or west, and I have not had to use equipment yet. Turn 4 I backtracked, and went to R2...I cannot tell you what I was thinking, and I can't read my fancy diagram I made tracking every combatant's moves, so I can only imagine it was an attempt to throw off the hunters. Remember, I did say I was overly cautious. You will see a pattern of doubling back that will probably make you wish you could slap people over the internet.
Turn 5 finds me at P1...yes, you got it, right back where I made my first move to, but we're at turn 5 now. Hmmm, I see what my friend was saying about overly cautious. I hadn't gone back over it in this much detail and seen exactly how bad it was before.
Turn 6 – I rush to K3, I guess my initial dash to the east was all a ruse, even though I was very careful not to get pinged and let him know I was there. Man, I really wish I knew what I was thinking. My only defense is that it was my first game ever, and had never played the “invisible” prey in a deduction game. By the way, at this point, it might be good to point out to those at home where the objectives were.
Not the worst, but ugh, not the lucky awesome placement my friend got once as the agent –ohh that is a story you have to hear one day.
Turn 7 and I run up to H4 – which again seem silly. Looking back, I must have been overthinking it and trying to zig and zag and up and down to throw him off, not realizing too much of that in one quadrant just allows a well-played hunter team to draw the noose in tighter.
Turn 8 I go to D5, and I remember he had one hunter not too far away watching the west road, and the other fairly close preventing yet another double back, not to mention that would take far too long. Here I use my first piece of equipment – a stealth field to cross the road and tuck in at B9. Kind of dangerous since the Beast is the hunter nearest me on that road.
Oh yeah, looking at it here, I see the pain…oh man this is embarrassing to say. Now, I know some of this was due to dodging hunters, and my friend (I love him) can be prone to dishing out that 20/20 Hindsight advice, but looking here, I would not have been this up and down simply trying to sneak. And it was more than just a cast of being seen. He did not fall for my ruses and stayed with me from the beginning (playing, as I expected, an efficient hunter team) that would have killed me. Anyway, get these moves: I’m currently at B9, on my way to an objective at B19. I go B9-A12-B16(since this is in the middle of the road I am thinking this may be where I burned the second stealth field if I had it)-E18-F21-as far down as G24-tuck into cubby at G25-west to cubby at D25-B21-C20 and announce to the Prophet that I will be completing my first objective on the next turn. It’s Turn 18 and my first objective. It’s my first game, I am doing ok, albeit running back and forth and up and down a lot but I thought I was being super sneaky. What did I know?
Well I don’t’ want to bore you with my Benny Hill dance shenanigans, let’s just say I spent a bunch more turns going up and down in the southwest quadrant where objective 2 was, and according to what I have, I did not get it until Turn 30! This is where I start to worry. I figure I will be ok health wise; I have been able to stay away from him thus far. Up to now he has had a last seen and one shot that I used my Tangle Line to counter. But I am positive there is absolutely no way I am getting one more objective and out of this place by turn 40. No way. But I make a gutsy move (I have not been hit yet and have another use of my Tangle Line). Four turns later I am at O19 and completing objective 4. I still think I am doomed. I’m pretty sure somewhere in there I took a shot and got damaged too, but my main worry is still that I am going to run out of turns. Then I make this miraculous dash:
Turn 35: R16
Turn 36: U15
Turn 37: W11
Turn 38: V8
Turn 39: W5
Turn 40: Escape and sweet, sweet victory
Looking back I actually gipped myself by missing some diagonal moves, and it may not have been quite so close, but I am not sure if that was on purpose because I know he had The Prophet in the area trying to beat me to the exit and foil me.
It did feel good to win on the very last turn…it was quite a rush. So far we have found the agent player has won every game, although I’ve read on average the hunters win more than the agents. Maybe that will change over time.
Anyway, some detail is left out, but you get the gist. I love this game and will keep more careful notes of future games so I can perhaps give a better session summary. But this was our first encounter with the game, began our love affair with it, and we will be playing an awful lot more of it