That's too much dough unless it's murder. And if it's murder, it's not enough.
Last Night at Crosscut Tower
My son Abe is back in town from Auburn University (War Eagle). My brother Dave is in from St. Louis as well… Thanksgiving is what it is. So at the end of last night’s games, we brought out Wizards of the Wild. Two designers against and a very good player.
Three rounds in, I felt rather good. I was ahead on points and had a nice little mana and gem engine working. I was playing Rowena, who gave me 2 mana with each spell purchase. I nicely avoided the Acolyte penalty each round and was set up for future bribes. My Dastardly Plot and Incoming Lawyer challenges were already worth 14vp.
This is a simple ability, but rather effective.
Fate had decreed that Shadow spells were appearing frequently and both Dave and Abe were buying in. Dave was playing Luna with the extra roll, and Abe was playing Quantum with “all spells count as all spell types” ability, which can be diabolical if you get the right spells.
So then came the twist in round 4. The expensive End the Party spell appeared and Dave managed to buy it. Though he couldn’t use it that round, Abe pointed out that Dave could automatically generate a skull each turn with his Dead Wood spell, and he was likely to devastate us over the last 3 rounds. It was a worst case scenario – powerful card appears as early as possible, opponent can buy it, plus opponent can easily activate the difficult-to-activate card because of his ability plus spells.
Bad News appears, and then double Bad News. Arggh!
And sure enough, the carnage began next round as Dave made us each discard a spell card. I think he picked up another spell that enabled him to generate a skull, too. But the second twist popped in that round: I Drink Your Milkshake came up and was bought by Abe, allowing him to duplicate the effect of another spell on the table. You can guess what he chose to duplicate. Now Dave was getting some of his own medicine. As for me? Double medicine.
I still avoided the Acolyte penalties – wasn’t hard to do with such shadow-centric opponents -- and succeeded in bribes, though my spells were disappearing turn by turn (I had none in the end). I got interested in buying challenges, though I had mentally resigned myself to a distant third in this game. I realized late that my Dastardly Plot and Incoming Lawyer challenges were now going to pay out 0 VP. I did NOT see this coming.
And then there was the ending. In a low scoring affair (due to carnage), I ended up at 49. Both Dave and Abe finished at 50! And yes, me, the writer of the rulebook, had to consult the rulebook on the tiebreaker (Adam had written that rule I paid little attention to it. In my defense, I’ve played around 100 games and never had a tie before). As it turns out, the tiebreaker is the player with the most challenge cards – which tipped the game to Abe, 4 to 2.
Coda: I could have won, too. With all the carnage going on, I made a stupid decision with the dice on the last turn and could not buy a Challenge card. I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Commentary: I like the feeling you get when everything clicks for you. And I love the feeling you get when it clicks for your AND other players, where everyone is rolling and you’re nervously wondering if your engine beast is best. I really enjoyed last night's game because it has so hard fought.