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Subject: First Full Game: Colossus vs Kahoum rss

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Ray Greenley
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Harleysville
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I finally got a copy of 'The Ares Project' a week or so ago. After playing 3 basic games against myself, yesterday I got an opportunity to play it with another live opponent. We did two basic games to get him familiar with the rules and then dove straight into a full game, Colossus (me) vs Kahoum (him). Neither of us had looked much at the special abilities or buildings while we were playing, so we were both pretty much hitting the full game for those factions cold.

I'm not sure what cards he picked for a startup, but I suspect he picked an obelisk and a Stratus. For my initial cards I picked Medium Range Missiles and the 'Claw/Vorpal Blade' Close Combat card. My idea was to play 'Sparrow' and 'The Claw' to get decent attacks on each of infantry, armor, and air between the two, although I knew I'd need to cover buildings at some point. My first draw was the 'Energy Shield/Reactive Shield' System Upgrade.

At the start I played my hand as planned, with the 'Sparrow' missiles going to a shoulder (air) spot and the 'Claw' going to an arm (armor) slot. I also played the 'Energy Shield' upgrade and started building up my weapons systems. Pretty early on I got an attack and claimed the Frontier. At some point in there I played a Short Range Missle with I think the 'Lancet' side up on the other shoulder slot (to get that little bit of building attack, and also because I recalled my opponent liking the 'Pyre' units from the Kahoum, which are armor). I also got a Mk III Laser down on a Leg (Infantry) slot with the 'Disintegrator' side up, counting on my 'Sparrows' to cover air units.

After paying the hefty cost to build two Disintegrators, I decided to try a raid. My opponent had an Incantation in play that would allow him to redistribute resources during construction (Transmute), and he used it after realizing he needed more acolytes to generate power. He had two obelisks, a Pyre with four Embers that he transformed into Flames, and he had two Stratus in play with a few Zephyrs. For his Transmute he took resources off of one of his Stratus cards to fuel his Acolytes.

I picked my two Disintegrators for my raid force and we made an error as he picked his Zephyrs (Air units cannot be selected on either side in a raid and the Zephyrs are air units). This was pretty big because his only other reasonable force (besides Novices or a single Sink Hole unit) was his Flames, which would have had a terrible time attacking my 'Infantry' lasers while I'd have had a strong attack on his 'Armor' Flames. As it was he had three dice to hit me on 1's while I had 2 dice to hit him on 1's, and he had a few re-rolls through 'Fate' allocations with his Acolytes. I managed to miss him in the first round while he wounded one of my disintegrators, and I felt like it wasn't worth the risk of losing a 3-resource cost disintegrator when there was no way I could win the raid in three rounds. I retreated in the second round and got away without any losses.

This is getting a bit long so I'll try to compress it a bit!

He responded with is own raid a short time after mine, and this time we observed the unit restrictions better, so he had to send his Flames against my Disintegrators. He immediately saw that as a bad matchup and retreated in turn one. My poor rolling let him get away without taking any losses.

Some more buildup followed before I felt like trying an attack on his base. The short story of it is that I didn't quite get optimal matchups and rolled abysmally (although forgetting that I had 'Craze' as my pilot and should have gotten a +1 against his armor units didn't help) and took pretty heavy losses before retreating. One interesting counter here was that he had an obelisk with Psychic Assault (4 power) and I had the Energy Shield (2 power). It was a life saver (at the time) for my Disintegrators as I fully countered the first Psychic Assault blast.

I had managed to bank a fair number of attack cards though, and felt like if I could just avoid losing my base I'd win on VPs. I think if my opponent had been a bit more aggressive he could have made a play at destroying my base, but he was too cautious and in the end I took victory with 7 VPs to his 3 (including him ending with control of the Frontier).

It was a fun game, even though it moved slower than it could have due to several factors. I found that even though I feel like I'm getting more comfortable with the rules, I'm going to have to spend some more time playing to start feeling more comfortable with the strategy! There's lots to think about, and getting a handle on which unit combinations work best will probably take some time.
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Clinton Paris
United States
Post Falls
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Personally, I REALLY enjoy the Kahoum/Colossus match-up.

One of the best things about the Colossus is that you can pick your unit types (you choose where you mount the weapons) which requires a diverse attack from your opponenet to knock you out of the game. The Kahoum, on the other hand, are the "long game" faction that are VERY powerful in the late game because of the strength of their units. As long as the Kahoum player plays smart and utilizes a strategy of well-times strikes and good defensive play (Psi-Walls and leveraging Invocations) they can setup a massive end-game that usually plays out well for them.

Keep playing--this is an EXCELLENT game that will keep rewarding multiple plays for some time to come!

meeple

 
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Ray Greenley
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I'm definitely planning to keep at it to better learn the game! The challenge is finding opponents dedicated to doing the same. ;^) Perhaps I should have been a bit more aggressive early on, although I never felt totally comfortable with the forces that I had. I need to get used to taking more risks without that comfortable feeling, which should hopefully come with more game experience.

Another bit of a mistake that I've been making (and trying to correct) is really locking down the attack procedures. Namely, keeping the attack card secret until after the defender does construction. When I made that first raid, I flipped the card around and announced 'Okay, I'm going to try a raid!'. It really simplifies the Kahoun energy allocation issues!

It seems like on the other side, an early raid card for a Kahoun player would present a great opportunity to upgrade a Pyre/Quake/Stratus card full of units without being too concerned about the multitude of other unpowered buildings that result (although that might be a bit of a telegraph to the defender as to what force is being sent).
 
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