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Subject: 2-Player Session Report (no bots) rss

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Steve Carey
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Introduction

I met this afternoon with my friend Ken Tee for a 2-player session of AA, using the "No Non-Player Option" on page 4 of the rulebook (1.5). I took command of the FARC/Cartels while Ken helmed the Gov't/AUC. Both of us were experienced with the game.

Not using the AI/bots, a new dimension opens up as each player controls two factions. This usually means that both players are doing something every turn, some interesting synergy forms between controlled factions, and the game flows quickly since the non-player charts are not constantly being consulted.



Up to 1st Propaganda card

I opened the game with a Cartel 'Rally in Cali' (I love saying that!) to take control of that key city.

Other Factions also performed Rally to get their forces quickly deployed.

Propaganda was the third card in play, so the board position hadn't changed much. But we knew we were probably in for a long haul before the next Propaganda card made its appearance, and that indeed turned out to be the case.



Up to 2nd Propaganda card

After the first Election, the FARC had established a Zone in the Huila mountain Department. They then Marched on the most valuable Pipelines to sabotage them. This turned out to be fruitless as Events and Passing gave the Gov't lots of Resources, and their Aid maxed out at 29 too. Ken hoarded Resources early (for a big push later on), and ultimately maxed out at 99 when Propaganda finally occurred again.

The Cartels went through their Resources over the long stretch, and basically were broke. They lost their first 2 Shipments (one to an Event and one to an Airstrike), but Processed 2 more Shipments (better protected this time). They also had Momentum for 4x Resources per Base for the next Propaganda round, which seemed forever in coming.

The FARC acted as the muscle for the Cartels, while also performing some Terror and increasing Opposition.

Inurgents tried to make initial penetrations into Bogota (the most valuable space on the board), but to Ken's credit he swiftly dealt with any problems and reinforced the city with numerous Police and Troops, basically fortifying the capitol.

The Gov't wiped out the Cartels in Cali, and the city was completely theirs.

After this setback, the Cartels opened up Ecuador to the drug trade, which gave them a much-needed boost.

The AUC came out of nowhere and built all their Bases while the Gov't and Events reduced FARC Bases. The AUC was in a position to actually win until an Event and a well-timed Cartels Bribe knocked their Bases down equal to the FARC, thus saving the game which continued on - opportunity for victory was within any faction's reach.



Up to 3rd Propaganda card

The Gov't received the Blackhawks Capability, which proved very annoying to the opposing Inurgents as even well-defended FARC and Cartels strongholds were vulnerable to hordes of Troops from the sky. Hearing those chopper blades overhead invoked fear and spelled certain doom. For example, with Uribe now as Presidente and the FARC Zone in Huila removed, Gov't Troops swarmed the Department and eventually seized control, knocking out all the FARC Guerrillas there + 2 Bases.

The Cartels made a major push in the north, taking over the city of Santa Marta and planting their seed in the deep forests too. Now flush with Resources and Bases seemingly everywhere, the Cartels had positioned themselves for the win, and Ken knew it. But the Cartels had to be frugal with their Resources lest they fall below the winning threshold (of 41).

The Gov't couldn't be everywhere at once, and were stretched thin as they performed many Ops and their Resources plummeted as they cleared out Insurgents and increased Support. They eventually did a Sweep and later an Assault in Santa Marta, reclaiming that city.

The AUC had trouble getting back on their feet as they were chasing the FARC around. But they did something very clever by placing a Guerrilla (via Event) in the Amazonas Department. This one Guerrilla Ambushed enemy pieces and grew into an AUC column which started to devastate the weakly held FARC/Cartels rear areas. Something else to worry about!

The FARC built more bases and took advantage of Events to increase Opposition. Now the Marxists were in a position to win the game, too.

It finally proved too much for Ken to overcome, and as the 3rd Propaganda card revealed, Ken had only 1 Eligible faction which was not enough to save the game. Cartels/FARC had both met their Victory Conditions, while the Gov't/AUC came up just short of theirs.



Conclusions

In sum, the Gov't/AUC had won most of the battles, but they eventually lost the war. The FARC/Cartels had varied their activities enough - both by type and location - to keep their opponents distracted and in reaction mode while they slowly built up towards achieving their individual faction goals (i.e., Victory Conditions).

The session was very tense with lots of back-and-forth action, and a plethora of crucial decision-making moments in time happened throughout the course of play.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best), I would rate this session a 10.

Simply an outstanding game.
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Steven
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A very good session report, thank you for posting. Glad to hear you like AA too!

I hope you can get a four player game in soon, it was a blast for my group.
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Steve Carey
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SW_Cygnus wrote:
I hope you can get a four player game in soon, it was a blast for my group.


GMT West Weekend is coming up very soon - I imagine AA will be seeing lots of play time.

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Volko Ruhnke
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The photos are really excellent!
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