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Subject: Game number 92 - Walking a fine line rss

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Joel Schuster
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Game number: 92 (including expansion)

This one: PBEM! Base game! 4 players! Toni Khorne, Pedro Nurgle, Joel Tzeentch, Gert Slaanesh.
Initial tokens: Nobles in Norsca and Bretonnia, Warpstones in Estalia, Tilea and Badlands, rest with peasants.

Turn 1: Electors Sue for Peace! No battle in The Empire and Bretonnia (Nurgles choice). So, everybody starts flooding these two regions with cultists right away. Including Khorne. I dont chime in because I cannot get a DAC there. If I add cultists, I just speed up the ruinations that others are more likely to score because I do not want to give up ticking my dial. There is a tie for two DACs, so noone ticks twice. Only Khorne does not tick at all, as he does not kill anything. But he dominates Bretonnia. So after corruption, some dominations and ticks, the scoreline is 4/8/3/5.

Turn 2: Warpstone Discovery! Two more stones to the board at my disposal. But additional cards for everybody, which helps them not me. Still, the more stones, the better. Khorne decides to drop them both in Norsca, far off from where I am located - of course. I expand to Norsca anyways. Stacks of figures and corruption in the Empire and Bretonnia grow RAPIDLY. Slaanesh throws some Perverse Infiltrations on stage to add to his corruption. So through clever play he manages to get away with ruining BOTH regions 1st place and scores a mighty 30VP this turn! Nurgle gets both 2nd places. I add a cultist each just for the ruiner bonus. Khorne is handed the short end of the stick, he contributed, but not enough for either podium. I take whats to be had with minimum effort and build some bases elsewhere. At least Khorne gets a tick for 4VP this turn. Both Tzeentch and Slaanesh upgrade their cultists. Scoreboard puts me last at this point: 15/29/11/35.

Turn 3: Meteor Showers! Hail them stones! A sign from above and the stars smile upon me. Someone has to stop Gert and his massive lead as he is threatening to win the 3rd game in a row, each time a different god. That would make us look like fools, wouldnt it ? Khorne adds the warpstones to Kislev, Estalia and Tilea. I seal Border Princes with a Temporal Stasis while only one other figure is present, a Khorne cultist. Slaanesh evacuates the noble from Norsca to Kislev, out of my hands, by Dark Influence. The Blood God calls his demon and a cultist from ruined Bretonnia to Estalia, his new base. So Nurgle 'lost' some options with two populous regions already gone. Now facing the demon in Estalia he goes for it anyways, using Rain of Pus. Sensible option if he plans to share the ruination with Khorne, who is obviously going for points from the very beginning. I make Slaanesh drop two cards and 2xDarkInfluence go down the drain.

I steal Warpstones from Estalia and Kislev, ruining Border Princes. Slaanesh chimes in by paying 3 power for a single cultist that makes sure he is taking part for 4VP. Still a good investment while he also builds on his position in Kislev. However, he only scores that and fails to tick his dial this turn. I am glad Khorne scores 2nd place in Border Princes instead. He also gets the double tick for once and upgrades his cultists. Nurgle takes Provender of Ruin, while he puts some corruption but does not score anything. So the score looks much tighter now, even though Slaanesh still sports a solid lead: 27/29/28/39.

Turn 4: Plunged into Chaos! +4VP granted to Khorne for the single peasant he JUST killed. Back into the point business by a lucky punch. Khorne also tries to stop my ruination effort in Norsca by a Battle Cry. I am delighted to undo it with Changer of Ways. I manage to delay quite nicely this turn, leaving my fellow gods unknowing whether I would really try to push the ruination in Norsca or somewhere else. Khorne and Slaanesh each add a cultist to Norsca just to make sure, when I signalled I could go to another place just as well.

Khorne Skull Thrones a few times this game, once he dominates Tilea with a single warrior. Nurgle pulls the Plague Auras from his sleeve to make use of the corruption he put already. With the Bloodthirster still residing in Estalia, he cannot really pull off the ruination though. Eventually, when everybody runs out of points, I carry my bunch of cultist+warpstones from Border Princes to Norsca, the locust swarm at its dirty work. I gamble on single roll of a die by Khorne in Norsca, while I already build on a position in Troll Country.

It is all or nothing at this point, win or fail utterly. If Norsca ruins, its the 4th one, so only one more to score next turn. Since then order of play decides, I got to make sure there is an option I can push in Troll Country, to call the efforts in Kislev and Estalia. If Khorne hits in Norsca, I look a fool and fail on 11 corruption, my cultists and stones stranded. If I succeed though, I played this well enough to have a shot on the win next turn.

Fortuna grants me passage and Khorne rolls no hit. He gets quite abysmal results this turn everywhere he rolls, including to get no hit at all from 4 dice in Kislev. Happens to me alot too when I play Khorne, so I sympathize. Which does not help Khorne at all. Nurgle gets 3VP by dial and 3 by Provender, nothing else. Slaanesh only shares 2nd place in Norsca with Khorne by his basic investment. That is exactly where I wanted to have him, could not have hoped for much better. He adds both nobles he gets by dial reward to Kislev. 44/35/43/47. Everybody can still win. Although admittedly, Tzeentch and Slaanesh are looking at the better odds. Nurgle really needs to pull one last good turn and have us fail at the same time. That puts Khorne abit to the hopeless spot because he needs pretty much all of us fail, despite his overall good shape in position and points.

Turn 5: Road Wardens! A hero each to Kislev and Estalia. First actions matter alot now to get the desired and most valuable card slots to pursue your own personal plans. Khorne starts with a Battle Cry to Kislev, making that out sure at least. Nurgle goes with All Things Decay to Troll Country, removing one of my corruption. It is still a long way to go to score this one before anything else. Slaanesh puts Insidious Lies to Kislev to claim and uncontested domination for 6VP. Tough call, but I happily claim the 2nd slot in Troll Country with Temporal Stasis!

Skull Throne and Plague Aura go to Estalia next, to also make this domination heavily contested. I drain power from both Khorne and Slaanesh in Badlands. Having taken the +1 power upgrade just before this turn leaves me with some points to spend on my planned ruination. Slaanesh pulls a Degenerate Royalty to Tilea from his sleeve for free. I am in big trouble as he threatens to take 8VP from dominations alone this turn!

I got a Dazzle, a Warpshield and a Teleport left for the last available card slot in Tilea before its all going plastic figures. I'd like to play Warpshield because its for free and protects one of my dudes, but then I dont have any in Tilea. I'd like to play Dazzle because its my best investment through a card to contest Slaaneshs domination. I eventually decide to play Teleport and get rid of the Khorne warrior. I'll come back to Tilea later - hopefully.

With all the power, cultist and stones at my disposal everybody realizes you have to go through Troll Country if you want to ride home on this one. That means paying the price for Temp Stasis. And pay they do. Khorne and Slaanesh for a cultist each, Nurgle for a warrior. Some limited effort goes elsewhere, like Slaanesh also trying to dominate Badlands. When everybody else is out of power, I got 5 more points to spend. Weighing my options, I split my effort between Troll Country ruination and Tilea domination. With the Khorne warrior teleported away, there is no risk in taking the 2VP away from Slaanesh, despite the costs it implies. There is gonna be 3 dice in Troll Country, so I stack whats left and hope explosions dont crash in on me. Even if Slaaneshs cultist survives, we'll both end up on 59VP and I am in favor of the threat dial tie break since Slaanesh missed to tick one turn. This is why its crucial that I contest the Tilea domination.

Khorne gets 2 hits, Nurgle 1. Both Tzeentch and Slaanesh lose one cultist. So I run away winning this game, walking on a very fine line. And getting lucky enough. No luck no win. Chaos in the Old World is simple on that. But then you never win on luck alone, you have to push your options in the best available way. Khorne restores his honor by dealing out 6 kills through 6 dice against Nurgle in Estalia, claiming domination. Amazing session, kudos to my opponents who all showed some excellent play here. I have to compliment Gert in particular. This was a tough one to wrestle from his grip, especially as he'd won two games before that already. Looking forward to the next one

Final scoreline: 57/38/59/54. Final shot of the board:
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Pedro Pereira
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I can't believe I didn't score from round 2 to 3 shake

you guys are evil... goo
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Joel Schuster
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Not to rub it in, but when you look at the scores, you'll realize that you did not score much at all anymore after Turn 2, when you've had your 29VP. You got 3 more by a dial tick and you got 2x3 for Provender of Ruin and thats it. No domination and no ruination. Thats interesting.

I also think that Khorne did have a very good effort going for points! I was glad and preferred him to score some 2nd places before Slaanesh does though. So while he got pretty close to winning the thing when you look at the final score, I think that is a little misleading too.

It was a fine effort but what this game also showed is that the Khorne going for points is not that strong after all. If you are efficient with your VP gathering as any other god, you can outpace Khorne all days of the week but Sundays when you are lazy I was hoping and actively working to shuffle VP rather to Khorne before Slaanesh takes them away. He also got a little lucky on some things, like +4VP by event, +4VP by getting 6 hits out of 6 dice, 2x2nd place for 8VP, ...

I think there is little that Toni could have done better.

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Toni L
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Or unlucky the round before last when I needed to kill just one more Nurgle cultist to score +4 VP for dominating Estalia. Also, I did not kill 6 cultists, only 5.

You make it sound as though you were the one deciding who will score or not, Joel. Truth be told, while you decided about which region will be ruined next with "warpstone bombing", there was little you could do about stopping me from coat-tailing your efforts (or Gert, for that matter). The best thing you could hope for was delay so long that any other of us three would outscore you on dominations alone - Tzeentch is awesome when it comes to ruining regions, not so much when domination is in question. For example, 3 out of 4 Skull Thrones I played this game enabled me domination, while with 4th I managed to tie even Nurgle's Plague Aura.


Tzeentch's best round by far was the last one (the one which matters the most, though, so kudos) - on rounds 3 to 4, I was practically deciding the flow of the game, which is kinda Khorne's thing anyway.
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Joel Schuster
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Nono, I did not want to say I decided who scored what but I tried to influence it by subtle means. For instance both TempStasis in TC and BP included your already present cultists while they excluded Slaaneshs. I really wanted you to score instead of him. He paid the price both times but he only scored the ruiners bonus while you also got the 2nd place awards as Khorne. Certainly not my doing completely, I could not DECIDE where points go, but it felt to me like I was encouraging how things go. I may be wrong. But I was glad anyways

5 kills on 6 hits alright. Also, one hit less would have meant one domination less. So you can see that either way when talking about luck. You used the Skull Thrones to great effect this game, no doubt. As I said, I think you did very well this game. But I wasnt feeling like you'd really pull off the Khorne VP at any time either. I may be misjudging that from my tainted point of view as well.
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Toni L
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For all the same reasons, I've been targeting both Slaanesh's (primary) and Nurgle's (secondary) cultists over yours. After 2nd round, us two were underdogs, while both Slaan and Papa Nurgle were looking good, with substantial point advantage. Of course you picked regions with my cultist(s) when targeting Temp Stasis - they weren't there by accident, you know.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say I didn't "pull off Khorne VP" - I couldn't do it more optimal, seeing as I gained 13 VP per round on average. Pointy Khorne wins by round 4 or loses by very small margin afterwards (a victory could be possible, but you need to be very lucky or your opponents very inept) simply because it can't generate as much VP per round as other gods - both Nurgle and Slaan dominate better than him, and Tzeentch ruins regions like there's no tomorrow.

Claiming that it was simply luck when I gained ruiner's bonus or 2nd place ruination rewards is pretty much the same as claiming that you or Gert were simply lucky to win those 1st place ruinations. It was careful planning and taking advantage of situation on both accounts - and those things are bread and butter of this game. Sure, events and dice may screw you over, but then again they may go your way - it all evens out when luck is considered, but skill's ireplacable.
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Gert Meyer
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I had a feeling this was going to be an uphill battle after the initial VP burst in round 2. And I was right

But I love a close game, so I enjoyed this one tremendously.

Btw, nice writeup of the game, Joel. Thanks.
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