- Todd Sweet(TMJJS)United States
On Thursday night, November 5th, I was able to return to my regular gaming group since my youth football team lost in the semi-finals of their playoffs. While I love coaching football it means a 3 month absence from gaming on Thursday nights.
We gathered and after much discussion decided to play a 5 player game of Struggle of Empires. The 5 of us had all played at least once, but it had been more than 6-8 months from the last play. We randomly picked colors and did a quick rules overview. However, just as we were finishing up the rules another player who had never played walked in. Since no other table had an opening and we knew he would like the game we invited him and got him caught up on the rules to play a 6 player game - one short of the max.
The one mechanic everyone really liked about this game is the auction for turn order and allies/enemies. The banter and mega-gaming was fast and furious as players were trying to get an early turn order, but also make sure they got on the alliance that would allow them to attack someone or more importantly be protected by someone! The 1st War saw the players going for POP and SLAVES counters while trying to build up their armies to take out the low numbered counters too. Also the COMPANY tiles along with some of the tech tiles were gone fast. At the end of the 1st war, 4 of the players were grouped at the top of the score chart within 5 points of each other, while 2 players lagged behind.
In the 2nd War, the bidding for the allainces/turn order got much more heated and resulted in several players losing their 2nd place positions in territories as they were no longer on the same side as the leaders in those territories. Also saw the use of slave revolt in the Americas that was never attacked again. At the end of the war, one of the lagging players was able to catch up to the group and any of the top 5 players had a chance to win going into war 3.
During war 3, the top 2 players were attacked mercilessly and the player who started the war in 3rd place was able to take home the victory. However, his victory was more the result of some bad dice rolling by the leader than any great strategy. The leader went into Italy on the last round of the war with a ship and army unit to fight for a control marker left alone. He lost the sea battle (taking an unrest) and then with a +2 advantage lost the land battle (taking another unrest). He (ok - it was me!) then tied for 2nd in most unrest to lose 4 points and did NOT get 4 points for 2nd place in Italy losing by 4 points in the final score :-(
All the players really liked the game and the new player became a fan too. Hopefully this game stays in play over the next few months for everyone to be able to work more on strategy instead of taking a war or two just to remember the mechanics.
- [+] Dice rolls