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Subject: AAR x3 rss

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Steve Hope
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Having thoroughly enjoyed my first game of CitOW (Chaos) I was excited to get it on the table again and was able to three times this weekend.

The first game was a bit of a letdown in some ways as it was a runaway victory for the Khorne player (me). I scored two dial advancements more or less every turn and there was very little drama. The second game we rotated players and did a slightly better job of keeping Khorne at bay and corrupting regions, so that by the time Khorne's victory was assured we had ~30 VPs on average instead of ~20 in game 1.

After the games, we agreed that they had been fun but that we were clearly misplaying the "dial advancement denial" part of the game as it relates to Khorne, especially in the early game. So we tried a third game the next night, again with the players being rotated around.

Excellent game! Khorne started more slowly but picked up speed, and the last turn featured a tense cultist placement finale between Tzeentch and Nurgle with the possible ruination of 3 different regions in the balance. In the end Slaanesh actually won due to a surprisingly poor performance by Khorne's warriors in The Empire which allowed Slaanesh to score 7 VPs for domination (2 nobles), 5 for ruining, and 12 for first place in corruption. All players were in it though depending on how the battle phase turned out, with Nurgle poised to win had another region gone better, Tzeentch having been foiled in his ruination attempt by Battle Cry but ready to ruin Norsca the following turn if Khorne succeeded in killing sufficient cultists to prevent any ruination, and Khorne only 2 ticks away from a dial win which he probably could have obtained had we gone one more turn.

So, very well balanced and very enjoyable. The game ran a bit longer than our previous games (about 3 hours), but we had some fairly deliberate players and a first-timer involved.

On a strategic note, it seems like denying Khorne a 2-tick advancement in the first turn is really important. If he gets to upgrade his cultists he suddenly can cover the board fairly easily with attack dice, and once that happens it can be hard to deny him a double tick advancement. So if Khorne gets a 2-tick advancement on turn 1 he seems likely to go 2-2-2-2-Win. If he only gets 1 advancement turn 1, however, there's a decent chance he will also only get 1 advancement the second turn and then turn 6 is his earliest possible dial win, which may not be enough for him to carry the day.

If I can pick a few nits with this wonderful game, they would be the following: first, the board itself is very unfortunate. In a game where there are lots of markers in each region which are important to number and/or remember, the layout of regions makes it extremely difficult to sensibly track these markers. A Nurgle corruption marker blending into the forest of The Empire played a central role in our last game. I wish that the board was larger and more functionally-oriented, with perhaps a big picture for each region overlaid by zones for cards, Old World tokens, and (most importantly) a grid for 12 corruption markers. The second thing I wish is that they'd come up with a different figure for the cultists. I think it will only be a matter of time before most of the "wheels" fall off the tops of the figures.

Play-wise, I worry that the Cultist upgrades might be uncontestably the strongest for each power? Certainly that's what we have gravitated towards. I'd be interested in what others think of the upgrades. If they are the strongest upgrades it's kind of a shame, but not that big a deal.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Wow, I thought our group was slow, because we're still hovering at 2 hours after four games. I can't imagine taking 3!

As for cultisist upgrades being the strongest, they weren't my first selections when I played Nurlge or Tzeentch, so I can't buy into "uncontestibly strongest".
 
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stephenhope wrote:
Play-wise, I worry that the Cultist upgrades might be uncontestably the strongest for each power? Certainly that's what we have gravitated towards. I'd be interested in what others think of the upgrades. If they are the strongest upgrades it's kind of a shame, but not that big a deal.


3 HOURS? Our first game took us 90 minutes, and we were playing slow!

It's funny you say that Khorn has a chance for 2 ticks every round and is a potential runaway in your group. Many people claim that Khorn is the most variable because he relies on dice. Perhaps your group doesn't run away as much as they should?

I agree that the cultist upgrade is pretty much a must for Khorn, Slaneesh, and Nurgle. It is a little more questionable for Tznntch, as I think the 1 extra power in the round might be better, since he has the most cultists(8 vs 6/6/4), thus needs to be able to have them all (or most) on the board, and his powers can hopefully protect them. Don't forget you're actually the LEAST dependent on territory than any other power, since you can ALSO use magic symbols on your cards, so you can ignore warpstones if you NEED to, as Tzeentch. And by the time you get your first upgrade, you already have 4 warpstones on the board.
 
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Sphere wrote:
As for cultisist upgrades being the strongest, they weren't my first selections when I played Nurlge or Tzeentch, so I can't buy into "uncontestibly strongest".


What would you pick first as Nurgle? I think the cultist upgrade basically gives you excellent stalling time. The only detriment I can see is the Khorn card that prevents you from summoning from a location which would prevent you from re-deploying unit(s) in that territory.
 
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Steve Hope
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Yeah, I tend to be by far the fastest player in my play group and this group last night was particularly slow. We played 2 games Friday night in the time it took us to play 1 game Saturday. But the game was tense and exciting the whole way down the line, so I didn't really mind.

On the cultist upgrade, I think there's a Q about whether most of the players will ever summon enough warriors/daemons to make those unit upgrades worthwhile (Tzeentch and Slaanesh almost never summon them in our games). So that leaves the power-up upgrades and the cultist upgrades. I think the Khorne and Nurgle cultist upgrades are remarkably strong. The Slaanesh upgrade isn't so much strong on an absolute basis as it is for the way it impacts the game (i.e. Khorne and others kill other cultists for preference). I agree that the Tzeentch upgrade is the most questionable, but I think the ability to drag your tick advancements AND corruption markers around is hard to pass up.

Of course strategies will evolve and I may look back on these views as fairly naive at some point.
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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DeathInc wrote:
What would you pick first as Nurgle? I think the cultist upgrade basically gives you excellent stalling time. The only detriment I can see is the Khorn card that prevents you from summoning from a location which would prevent you from re-deploying unit(s) in that territory.


I didn't say I wouldn't play the cultist upgrade first, I said I didn't in that game. The board situation, and the perceived strategies of the others players, determine what is your best choice at any given upgrade opportunity. If it were always automatic, it wouldn't be very interesting.
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Jim Cote
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stephenhope wrote:
If I can pick a few nits with this wonderful game, they would be the following: first, the board itself is very unfortunate. In a game where there are lots of markers in each region which are important to number and/or remember, the layout of regions makes it extremely difficult to sensibly track these markers. A Nurgle corruption marker blending into the forest of The Empire played a central role in our last game. I wish that the board was larger and more functionally-oriented, with perhaps a big picture for each region overlaid by zones for cards, Old World tokens, and (most importantly) a grid for 12 corruption markers. The second thing I wish is that they'd come up with a different figure for the cultists. I think it will only be a matter of time before most of the "wheels" fall off the tops of the figures.

Agreed. I own the game now, and only hope that the gameplay overshadows this huge graphical failure.
 
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Steve Hope
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Personally, I find the gameplay about as engaging as any 4-player game I know. I like the arc of the game with the cat-and-mouse at the beginning, the playing for time by each player in the summoning phase as they try to make others show their hands first, then the climactic showdowns at the end as players face off in crucial regions. I think the Old World deck is also a clever randomization feature which keeps the game from getting too scripted.

Sphere, I certainly **hope** that I'm wrong about the cultist upgrade and clearly don't have the experience to say for sure. I was just musing about our initial experiences. And the risk, of course, is that we fall into a rut and just always upgrade the cultists and miss out on some of the strategic breadth of the game. So I'm hoping to see session reports or posts detailing the advantages of some of the other upgrades as against the cultist upgrades.

EDIT: Dropped a "c". One other thing: I really like the rule that additional regions after 5 which get 12 corruption markers do NOT get ruined. It would have been an easy thing to say "all subsequent ruined regions in the same turn score VPs the same way as the 5th ruined region". But they didn't, and it opens up some very interesting additional tactical possibilities.
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Sphere wrote:
DeathInc wrote:
What would you pick first as Nurgle? I think the cultist upgrade basically gives you excellent stalling time. The only detriment I can see is the Khorn card that prevents you from summoning from a location which would prevent you from re-deploying unit(s) in that territory.


I didn't say I wouldn't play the cultist upgrade first, I said I didn't in that game. The board situation, and the perceived strategies of the others players, determine what is your best choice at any given upgrade opportunity. If it were always automatic, it wouldn't be very interesting.


Ah. What was the card and circumstances?
 
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Scott Sims
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I played this last Saturday and as Nurgle my first upgrade was the extra 3 points for Ruined Regions. This was based on the board condition at the time since Old World cards 1-3 added Warpstone to that board, so each region had 1-2 stones on it. It was a Tzeenchian dream, but meant that each region was heading to ruin FAST. It was a good choice, game ended with 4 ruined regions (+12 Points for Nurgle) and I was able to push and be the 1st corrupter in 3 of the 4. Final score was 66 vp Nurlge with Khorne 2 ticks away from Dial Victory.

As a side note, the Khorne player was in just about every region, but rolling really bad dice in total.
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Steve Hope
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Yeah in our games we've seen 2 Khorne wins and one each of Nurgle and Slaanesh. I'm interested to hear that Tzeentch couldn't win even in a board littered with warpstones, though was it compensated for by people saying "kill Tzeentch! He's going to WIN because of all the warpstones!"?

That's kind of the experience I had as Tzeentch, and if you get hit by a "nobody can summon out" card in one of your big regions and don't have the counterspell Khorne can really make a mess of you. If I had to pick one Ruinous Power which I'm worried about at present, it would be Tzeentch.

And thanks for the Nurgle alternative--fair point that 12 VPs seems worth a lot, quite possibly more than some flexibility about where to move!
 
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Tzeench was doing well, but was held in check by Khorne and Slaneesh dial tokens. The extra Warpstone was a huge advantage, but couldn't get enough cultists to stay on the board to get massive dial tokens. Also, Khorne was rolling well (except against me) and was usually either getting a 2 tick or stopping anyone else from leading. Since I didn't care about dial ticks, that was a 3 way fight I could ignore.

My strategy as Nurgle was to corrupt in mass numbers on the Populous regions, it's extremely difficult for Nurgle to get 2 Dial Advances, so I was focusing on getting 1 a turn and lots of corruption in the big populous areas. I played 'A Foul Consumption' 2 times (in different turns), once in the Empire and once in Kislev backing both places up with 2-3 Cultist and 1-2 Plaguebearers giving 5-6 Corruption per turn. This has 2 advantages, 1 the Khorne player was more likely to kill off other cultists since I was going to get a dial tick either way (one turn I had the +1 def, the other Khorne didn't have enough to take out enoguh figures to prevent it), 2nd is that it would end up clearing all my figured off the board so I can resummon them anywhere. The 2nd part is expensive, but you can pick your spots a bit easier.

Laying down 5-6 corruption in the Populous areas plus the warpstone was pushing the areas to ruin very fast. The first ruined area was actually Estalia since it had a Noble and 2 Warpstones, Slaneesha nd Tzeench hit it hard to get dial tokens.
 
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