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Subject: First play after my game arrived from WBC rss

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Nerd In NY
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Since I was unable to attend WBC this year I asked Patrick Neary to pick up my P-500 copy of Andean Abyss waiting for me there. He came back late on Saturday after taking first in the WBC Labyrinth competition! Yeah Patrick!

He not only delivered "Andean Abyss" on Sunday he also delivered some pieces I can use to make a play test set for "A Distant Plain". I guess he figured if he didn't deliver Andean Abyss I would let him play test "A Distant Plain". Two other friends came along and we decided to give Andean Abyss a try. We played a full game but I must say it took us much longer than advertised, our best estimates put our total play time at about 8 1/2 hours. We got started around 5 PM and didn't finish until almost 3 AM. A dedicated group of gamers for sure! Don't let this time sway you, we spent a lot of time discussing trades, arguing about how to play certain factions (mostly my FARC play) and some time with rules and teaching the game. We think the full game (there are options that can speed up the play) will take 4-5 hours to play.

It was interesting to see some of the tactics chosen by the newbies. Patrick played the Government, I had the FARC and our newbies James played the Cartels and Darryl the AUC. At one point in the game the Government was taking the lead and Darryl figured out he could place his AUC bases in the cities, so he chose the most efficient one in Bogata. This freaked out Patrick because in order to insure he had control he had to keep a lot of forces there. Then our Cartel player had so many bases on the map we were all worried about him winning. We beat him back but not until both he and the government had lots of resources to play with. This caused him to start using his Bribe Action very aggressively mostly against the FARC.

Patrick had done a great job of sweeping my FARC every time I moved to a department that wasn't with government Support and I was beginning to think there was no way for FARC to win since I couldn't get the needed support, then the 3rd Propaganda card came up when I had more guerrillas in Santander Boyaca than the Govt. They were all active so they couldn't have done anything but because of the Propaganda card this zone became FARC controlled and I was able to turn that department to Active Opposition. During the same Prop phase Patrick was able to turn Bogota back to Active Support and along with a lot of Aid he had more resources than the Cartels.

The last round was not so favorable to the Government with the AUC playing Senado & Camara making operations against them nearly impossible and FARC playing Zona de Convivencia turning Santander Boyaca into a FARC zone. Nevertheless the Cartels actually had victory conditions plus 4 or 5 much of the round as he was able to quickly replace his bases. This took a concerted effort by most of the factions and to improve success Patrick moved out over the LOC's into Guaviare to remove his bases and of course creating a department where he would have Government Control. Then the final Propaganda card came out. Before playing the on the last card victory condition were AUC -2, Cartels -29 (11 bases but only 11 resources), Government at 0 and FARC at 0. Cartels and FARC were active (in that order) on the last Event card and a serious attempt was launched to reduce the FARC to give Cartels the option of playing King maker since the tie breaks give the win to the FARC or better yet reduce both Government and FARC by 1 in order to force the game to a decision made after final Propaganda round. Since Sweep and March are not allowed on the last card before the last Propaganda phase and operations must be limited ops the best that was found was for the Cartels to use the cards event (I'm sorry I don't recall the card name) to reduce the FARC Support by one by removing a base but I pointed out that I could then Rally in Meta West to gain back the lost base. The other action they could take which was to terror in Guaviere would reduce Opposition by one but because I had one base not on the map, I could still make that 1 point back by placing my last outstanding base. The Cartels decided to pass and I chose to rally my last base giving the FARC the win with Victory plus 1, Government 0, AUC -2 and Cartels -28.

We decided to score the game out if Cartels could have forced the game to go to final scoring and the results would have been much different - the Victory Margins would be Government +4, Cartels +1, FARC -1 and AUC -3.

Here is the final position -
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Andrew Laws
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"I play to win, as much or more than any egoist who thinks he's going to win by other means. I want to win the match. But I don't give in to tactical reasoning as the only way to win, rather I believe that efficacy is not divorced from beauty."
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That's an interesting final board, i had assumed that as FARC player you had to go fairly aggressively for the cities, but you don't hold a single one.

This suggests I am about to take a shoeing in the current forum game.
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Nerd In NY
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It was pointed out to me in our game that the FARC don't need any of the Mountain departments or the cities, but that is not quite true. If they gain total opposition in all of the non-mountain departments and deploy all of their bases, they will be one shy. Fortunately for me fate was kind to me. Just before the 3rd Propaganda card came out I had more Guerillas than Government forces in Santander, which allowed me to take control of that department and a subsequent event turned it into a FARC zone.

I think that taking cities or at least challenging them can be useful for the FARC but since the cities are so easy for the Government to access they can be very hard to hold. That being said, check out Rule 2.3.9 which I like to call the Patrick rule. When we were playing a play test game at the 2011 WBC, Patrick Neary Marched nearly every FARC piece on the map into Bogota on the last card before the last Propaganda card. Volko who was playing the Government needed me playing the AUC to pass, so that he could use the limited op to Sweep into Bogota to prevent Patrick from winning the game with that move (which I decided in Volko's favor by a die roll). After the Final Propaganda Round scoring the Cartels ended up winning but the incident disturbed Volko greatly, enough that he added rule 2.3.9, hence the nickname of the Patrick rule.

I think going into the cities can be disturbing for the government and even very profitable for the FARC, but it depends on what the other players are doing and what your government player is focusing on. Frankly even though he has 60 forces available to him, the government player will always feel like he hasn't got enough to get done what he wants to do!
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Volko Ruhnke
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The other aspect that should make the Government goosey about any FARC in the cities (or on LoCs) is kidnapping.

Historically, the FARC had urban guerrillas, and there was and is urban FARC terror. But the movement was mainly rural in its base and operations, taking advantage of the Government's traditional neglect of Colombia's vast lowlands.

The Government in the recent era--particularly under Uribe-- sought to reverse that neglect (and largely succeeded). So the Government in the game must defend the cities and populous Andes while simultaneously pressing its writ into the llanos. No easy task, to be sure.

vfr
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Andrew Laws
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"I play to win, as much or more than any egoist who thinks he's going to win by other means. I want to win the match. But I don't give in to tactical reasoning as the only way to win, rather I believe that efficacy is not divorced from beauty."
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Volko wrote:
The other aspect that should make the Government goosey about any FARC in the cities (or on LoCs) is kidnapping.


LOCs are a particularly fruitful source of mayhem for FARC as they can move on for free, sabotage for free, and very often kidnap unimpeded as police are all in the cities.

As for our forum game, I think I have moved too soon for the cities. I have no rural base to speak of and the government are concentrating all their efforts on removing my presence. I've Terror'd enough that I don't think he'll win, but then I don't think I will either.

I can't recommend this game highly enough.
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