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Subject: Machiavelli meets Mengele & Moses in an epic game of DS rss

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Lawrence Low
Singapore
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Alternative title : Sauron, Psycho, and Survivor

On the 16th of June 5 of us sat down to a game of DS at our monthly Wargames meetup. I was the game owner, and there were 2 first timers, Joan & Guanxing, and the evil Dr Derrick devil, plus the last minute arrival, Edwin. Derrick had played twice before, and Edwin once (according to him, but he thrashed our poor butts very badly that time with a come-from-behind win by Mammals, so I was understandably wary).
(umm...did that sound kinda gay? lolz)

Oh, I posted this one coz it illustrates many fine examples of the tactical & strategic subtleties I described in my other threads.

Derrick = Arachnids = "nature Red in tooth & claw..."

Lawrence (Me) = Amphibians = Blue, peace loving natives of Pandora

Guanxing = Birds = Yellow bird, high up banana tree...

Joan = Reptiles = Black slithering critters, snakes & snails & puppy dog's tails

Edwin = Mammals (again! but he only had Insects & Mammals to choose from) = White Knight on his snowy white stallion laugh

P/S - I usually give out colors according to the Food Element of the Animals, hence Green Insects, Red Arachnids, Blue Amphibians, Yellow Birds, Black Reptiles ((okay no orange cubes), and White Mammals. Sort of like a mnemonic to know who's what.

So it begins... Derrick announcing that his whole raison d'etre is to kill as many peace loving Amphibians as possible, and Edwin professing (as usual) to be a rank newbie.whistle

Act 1 : The Bugs attack my colonies

Like the opening scene of Starship Troopers, death & destruction rained from the skies. Catastrophe & Blight was on the cards Turn 1. Dr Evil being first in Initiative, I wondered which one he would go for, as going second, I had the other card, so it would be nuclear exchange.

He took Blight, and right away, I had lost my overpowering starting advantage!!! Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink! He removed the 2 starting water on Wetland tile, and only my newly Wanderlusted Savannah tile had the last remaining water. No water in Adaptation, Abundance. 7 blue cubes would die of thirst this turn.

I counterattacked with Catastrophe, but he had wisely spread out quite a bit, so I only got 4 of his (and a few Mammals as well - call it pre-emptive strike).

Act 2 : Exodus

Moses (or was it Adama?) leads his poor Amphibians into the desert, in search of the promised land, while Mammals begin eyeing my former stronghold in the Northeast, consisting of a Wetland & 2 Savannah tiles. He puts a Meat right in the nexus of the 3 tiles.,,, while telling the innocents that "newbies should stick together" so as not to get bullied by "the experts". I was holding the fort with 1 miserable cube.

Tough choice again - Mass Exodus & Omnivore. Arachnids decided on getting 1 more AP, so the better to kill my people. I avenged my fallen comrades by executing 7 reds (by exiling them to Sunny Siberia) and an assorted number of others. Meanwhile I also saw through Edwin's wily plan, and Speciated on Meat, therefore spoiling his plan to overrun the Northeast. The Alamo still holds, with 1 solitary blue soldier.

Act 3 : Resurrection

Finally had breathing space to take Initiative, so now I had first crack at the APs. Wanderlusted a Sea to the Northwest, in the land that time forgot. This time Hibernation & Intelligence were the goodies. Tough. Finally took Hibernation & built New Jerusalem in the Northwest. The Arachnids followed though, and seeded the whole place with grubs.

I again Speciated on Meat, and Edwin was getting pissed at being repulsed by the lone hero in the Alamo. By this time I had adapted 2 Meat, so I had Dominance advantage over Edwin in the Northeast, with carnivorous Amphibians (necessity really is the mother of evolution )


Act 4 : The Prince, or Edwin & the Art of Lead Maintenance

Arachnids had taken Parasitism for 2 extra APs than everybody else, so
now Intelligence was crucial for all of us. I didn't want Derrick to reanimate any of his deadites, so I had to take Hibernation. Especially since he now has 6 APs. The only good bug is a dead bug. I doubted Dr Death would take yet another AP, as he already has plenty, and if he did, then everybody gets one, so no skin off my back. But I did expect Edwin to take it.

And now the deadlier, more insidious serpent raised its head. Edwin extolled his own generosity by forgoing Intelligence, and showed his largesse by letting Birds take it. So now Everybody has 5 APs, Bugs have 6, and I still have only 4!cry

Soon Mammals had taken the lead, and now would be a good time for the traditional Leader Bashing, right?

Well, think again. We now saw Edwin at his cunning best. He was
so kind to the newbies, not killing them when he could, and telling them their best moves, that they all but fell under his thrall. And he signed a non-aggression treaty with the Angry Arachnids (imagine Hitler & Stalin twirling each other's moustaches), so that I stood alone against 2 enemies. The newbies were just spectators stumbling along and getting seduced by Sauron's boons & bounties. One Ring to rule them all....zombie That also left Arachnids as his willing executioners, I was a guest in Birdland, so it would be suicidal to attack them, and besides I needed their help to curb the Arachs. And I was too far away from Reptileland down south to bother with them. Any attack on either newbies would immediately be used by Edwin to turn them against me.

Sauron's evil eye returned its gaze Northeast. goo

Act 5 : Two Towers

Now I faced a war on 2 fronts : Against Mammals in the Northeast, and against Arachnids in the West. Actually he was preparing for it. Too many Grubs there, and although Birds had the majority, Amphis the second most, Arachs put in a few cubes everywhere, and he could easily do Competition at will. Nobody wanted to get in his way. There were only 4 tundra, but he was there.

The Alamo finally fell to the White Wizard's magick, but I still have men there.

An interesting battle of wits came up at this point. Initiative order was : me, Derrick, Edwin. Niche Biomes was the chef's recommendation.
Mammals were in front, then Arachnids, then me. I scored 6 in Wanderlust to draw level with Arachs. Snookered !!!
Derrick looked over & smiled his evil smile. "Aha, now you can't NB me!" But I picked another card. I wasn't aiming for NB. So now, he also can't NB me right?

Wrong! The clever bugger, he scored a tile giving me 4 points more than himself, and then he takes Niche Biomes. Edwin gives him a look something like what Caesar must have given Brutus on the Ides of March. Non-agression pact indeed hehe
Derrick just shrugs at the Evil Eye whistle

Act 6 : Mother of all Battles

Last turn reminded me of Avatar's last 30 minutes. Arachnids had gained 8 cones and Ice Age was coming! Finally my voice of reason broke through to the Innocents, and my Blue Men allied with Guanxing's pterodactyls, swooping into battle against the great hordes of bugs. Mammals were already too far ahead in points, but they were not gonna score much in Dominance bonuses. I am glad to report that the natives of Pandora working together, managed to reduce the Invader Bug Dominance to just 4 cones. Mammals have won confortably, again! But twas photofinish between Arachnids & Amphibians. At this point blue had about 20 cubes left alive, and red even fewer, maybe 15. Mammals still had most of his cubes, which he positioned strategically in the South & Northeast for majority or second highest. Being highest on the Food Chain totem, it wasn't too hard, especially since red & blue were at each others' throats & yellow was helping, while black & white kinda divvied up the South & less populated areas.

Final tally :

Edwin 190
Me 130
Derrick 130
Guanxing 110
Joan 105

Quite the exciting finale... THEN Edwin turns around and casually said, "Oh, you forgot to do Survival scoring". So happens he purposely left Arachnids alive on 2 tundra, so now Derrick adds 3 points to make it 133. shake

Oh never mind, I'll get him next time...

Actually it would be fun to go in next time as a "noob", but it's already too late - I'm already known in the gaming circles as "Mr DS", having taught the game to well over 50 individuals.

Epilogue - Joan wants to be Arachnids in her next life, hehe... And for those of you who have fallen under the spell of Edwin, he's one of the co-designers of a quirky lil game called Dive! Diver! Die!
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/82572/dive-diver-die
As expected, coming from a guy like Edwin, there's coopetition & screwage in that game as well.devil

Also note that Edwin won the game using very little Competition, only 1 Adaptation, and not many Dominance cones at the Ice Age scoring, and he was never better than 3rd in Initiative. An almost unobtrusive, and supremely unspectacular victory, but victory all the same. He won by manipulating the other players to his will, so that much of what he wanted done, was done, through other hands. 80% of the big battles were fought by me and Derrick, the newbies emerged nearly unscathed, but right at the bottom in terms of scores.

Mammals and Arachnids working together was a killer combo, pardon the pun. Mammals with its tiebreaker advantage and Survival ability, is awesome in late game, while Arachnids with its high starting Initiative advantage and Killing ability, has the greatest offensive power overall. With one acting as the Don or Overlord, and the other his Enforcer or Hit Squad, they are an almost invincible Tag Team. Think I shall christen them Team EVILution.

We shall meet again, Edwin & I, across the board, in a game without psychos & newbies, and then we will find out who is master of the game devil

To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence lies in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. - Sun Tzu


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Lawrence Low
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Re: Machiavelli, Mengele & Moses in an epic game of DS
Thanks for the GG david!
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Lawrence Low
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Re: Machiavelli, Mengele & Moses in an epic game of DS
Thanks for the GG Kai.

It is a great honor to be recognized by a person of your stature and I must say I greatly enjoyed this great game that you and Chad created.

Lawrence
 
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Kai Jensen
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Santa Rosa
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I was going to buy OverText but I didn't know what to say with it!
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Re: Machiavelli, Mengele & Moses in an epic game of DS
modest

I'm glad you enjoy the game!
 
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Lawrence Low
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Re: Machiavelli, Mengele & Moses in an epic game of DS
Thanks for the GG, David Lewis!
 
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Mr. Fickles
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North Carolina
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This session report REALLY makes me want to play this game. It sounds like a great mix of strategy and theme.

Now i need to find a friend with this game so i can try it. :)
 
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Lawrence Low
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Hi Mr Fickles,

Glad to hear that

I've had at least a half dozen games of DS after that, and I won every one, usually with a lead or final score of thrice the other players. No session reports for those, as the others surrendered unconditionally by turn 5 or 6. However, playing against great players & ruthless ones can be a heady experience! I've tried Troyes & Agricola & some other flavors of the month.... nope, none comes close to this great game !
 
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Richard Lea
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County: West Yorkshire
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Hitler could not twirl his moustache (probably).
 
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