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Subject: I am the Peepmaster! rss

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Sisyphean Gamestacker
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Easter having come and gone, I realized that now was the time to break out my .pdf of Peep War. Mercenary Peep armies, unwanted and unemployed after the holiday rush, could be found cheaply at almost any grocery store, and supply centers (plastic egg halves) were readily available. I splurged on troops and bought 30 or 40 each of six different flavors of Jelly Bellies. I was able to organize each army into its own FREE ziploc bag even before I left the candy aisle. GMT eat your heart out.

I issued a call for generals forthwith, suggesting we meet at the local FLGS. Some hearty souls responded, but most begged off, fearing the sugar rush. When we met, the brave few were myself, my daughter, the daughter of the shopkeep, and fellow BGGer fractaloon. One more potential combatant arrived, but he opted for the “safe” miniatures choice: Classic Battle Tech.

The four of us picked our forces, laid out our hexes and supply centers, and began the game: pink chicks with toasted coconut troops, pink bunnies with pear support, purple bunnies with blueberry armies, and my own blue chicks with the dreaded black licorice jelly beans. Black jelly beans were a major component of my strategy – I love them, but I figured they would discourage my opponents from attacking. After all, one of the benefits of victory is the opportunity to eat your opponent’s troops, and I know very few other people with a hankering for the black beans.


The game began slowly, as each general pondered the best strategy. Should we defend our positions or rush blindly into conflict, seeking the sugary spoils of the battlefield. Since all pieces move at one space per turn, even the hungriest players would have to wait a few rounds. The shopkeep’s daughter opted to send one advance peep and jelly bean out into the world, holding a second set back to produce support. My forces formed an a ant-line, producing troops at my most distant supply center and stringing along behind my forward peep with one or two beans per space. Fractaloon held back, quickly producing the maximum troops his supply centers could support, and my daughter tried to work the field, cautiously pushing out troops but surreptitiously consuming her reserve bunnies and beans so she wouldn’t feel the need to rush into battle so quickly.

The shopkeep’s daughter had placed her hexes and supply centers closest to the neutral center hex. As a result, she arrived at the one unmanned supply center first and claimed it for the pink chicks. Next, she moved toward my ant-line, challenging me to first blood. She won, but learned an important lesson. She ate one black jellybean and realized that she didn’t want any more. Over the next few turns, I consolidated a few troops and traded them in for Peep growth jelly while she turned away toward tastier opponents.

Fractaloon built as many troops he could support with his two supply centers and set out for the central hex, while my daughter’s purple bunnies began to creep in the same direction. The pink chicks engaged in a couple border skirmishes and then began to draw back to their original position. Finally, nearly everyone reached the center at the same time, closing in on the lonely toasted coconut bean defending the central supply center. Fractaloon struck first, and emerged victorious; his Peep had been winnowed down to the eyes, but he retained all five troop beans. I hope he celebrated, as this was one of his few victories.


Quickly, I moved in, surrounding the hex. Stacking limits prevented me from overrunning his forces, but it didn’t matter. The pink bunnies and pear jelly beans proved to be horrible combatants, and fractaloon couldn’t draw a victorious bean from the combat egg to save his life. Much sugar was eaten by everyone else. I took the central supply center and never gave it up.

As we all came together in the middle of the battlefield, the two bunny armies and the pink chicks began to fight each other for dominance, suggesting that my strategy of choosing the least desirable beans was a wise one. While they fought, I skirted around the edge of pink chick territory and conquered their rear supply center, Having now doubled my supply centers and troop limits, I began building new Peeps and troops and started the slow march back to the center, wiping out pink chicks as I went.

In the meantime, the pink bunnies had split their forces. Some remained behind to defend their original territory while others marched into purple bunny land. Despite being horribly outnumbered, the purple bunnies held off their attackers, retained production capability, and consolidated around their far outpost. My daughter built her troops back up to their supply limit, and then made one final, suicidal attack against the invading pink bunnies. They succeeded, but at what cost?!


In pink bunny territory, my strategy of bringing in waves of troops proved dominant. Fractaloon fought off my first attack, but he couldn’t bring in enough reserves or pick his own jelly beans out of the combat egg often enough to keep me out of his territory. And by this time, so many of his troops had been consumed that he’d had to recruit a new, less tasty flavor – peach. In the end, I had each bunny army pinned down at its remaining supply center with my forces massed for the final push. Everyone being sugared out, and fractaloon’s daughter having woken from her nap, the bunnies accepted the inevitable and ceded victory to the blue chicks.

I AM THE PEEPMASTER! LET ALL SUGARY CONFECTIONS TREMBLE IN MY SHADOW!
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Albert Hernandez
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It was an excellent game.. I wonder if the licorice beans scared of the other potential opponents. I fear your strategy may have worked to well.

You captured the entire war well and did a gracious job of describing my skills as a general. Don't worry though.. next Easter I will be ready!
 
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Billy Compton
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And a good thing too I decided to go with Classic Battletech. My diabetes would have sent me into shock if I had played your game! LOL!
 
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Jonathan Leistiko
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Nice write-up. I hope you were using the March '05 version of the rules ( http://www.invisible-city.com/play/156/ ). They're better than the old version from 2001.

Using licorice as a defensive tactic is a sneaky-sneaky move against younger players. It wouldn't work against me, though - I adore licorice!
 
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Sisyphean Gamestacker
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Albert was perfectly happy to eat the black jellybeans, too. Unfortunately, his luck was really bad, and he didn't get to eat all that many. (Perhaps this was actually fortunate; I certainly felt like I'd had enough sugar for a while by the time the game was overgulp.)

We did use the revised rules, and we had a good time. I thought combat took a bit too long -- a pitched battle with 8 beans on either side took forever to resolve one bean draw at a time (our interpretation was that the stacking limits were also combat limits, so 5 troops and 3 Peep beans were the maximum we used for either side in a battle). You could easily end up having to do 10-15 draws per battle. Other than combat, the game moved pretty quickly, which we appreciated.

We chose to cut our Peeps with scissors rather than take bites out of them and then put them back on the board for someone else to eat later. It seemed a bit more sanitary.

I've downloaded several of the invisible cities games, but this is the first one I've had a chance to play. I've been meaning to work my way through your list of favorites, but my 9-year-old daughter is my most regular gaming partner, and she is not always enthused about the same games I am.shake I was impressed at how quickly she (and her friend, who is 8) picked up the PW system. The hardest part for them was remembering to stay in supply.
 
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Jonathan Leistiko
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Quote:
A pitched battle with 8 beans on either side took forever to resolve one bean draw at a time

You're right, combat can get kind of drawn-out. Setting a combat limit is a nice solution, and points out that I should address it (long combats) in the rules. Alternate combat solutions:

* "They've got us pinned down!" - Combat automatically ends after five bean draws. This may leave beans and Peeps of two or more colors in a space at the end of combat. These units are "engaged". Engaged beans may not leave the space, but engaged Peeps may. Units may move into a cell with engaged units to join the combat.

* "Winner takes all" - Combat ends once three beans of the same color have been drawn. That color wins the battle, eats all opposing beans and one segment of any opposing Peep. If that Peep survives, its controller must retreat to a vacant or ally-controlled cell. If none are available, the victor eats the remains of the Peep.

Quote:
I was impressed at how quickly she (and her friend, who is 8) picked up the PW system. The hardest part for them was remembering to stay in supply.

I really enjoyed your write-up, and appreciate your feedback. I certainly didn't have 9- and 8-year olds in mind when writing the Peep War rules. It's interesting and informative for me to know that they understood the game (Egads, it's "My First Wargame".). I'm not surprised to learn that they had trouble with supply/support. It's the noodliest part of the game. I wish there was an easier way to track it, but... *shrug*
 
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Albert Hernandez
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Hey Tim,
I got bad news for you. I've Genevieve in training now. She just ate her first black jellybean and she enjoyed it

Know that one day you shall lose your title!
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