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Subject: Navajo Wars Playtest Session rss

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Gordon J
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Okay, I am playing a solo game of Navajo Wars and thought I would report my playtest session as I go along so that way other peopel can see what the game is like. There are already videos explaining the game in much better detail, but what I present here is just a report as I play along, I won't really be explaining the rules much.

Since Joel just updated the rules this week, there are a few new twists and turns for me even though I've been playing this game and enjoying it for months and months already. So for this playtest session I am playing one of the beginning "easier" scenarios LORDS OF THE EARTH, the entire Spanish Period part of this game. Though in this game nothing comes easy when you are playing the Navajo, as disaster and challenges greet you at every turn of the game.

I will provide a Youtube link of my fist card play below. I will do a Youtube video of some of my card play, but I don't know for sure how much, not sure how well Youtube links to the posts here and plus I might sound horrible in the video.

Okay, so I set my game up, and one of the things you do in the beginning is you get pick a Level One Cultural Dev. card to start off with for the Navajo, a kind of special bonus you get throughout the game. So I do something different, and pick CUNNING:



Which is nice, since it allows me to force the enemy to skip a certain action later on. This should come in handy later for sure.

So, let's get rocking, I draw my first card:



I get a CEREMONY CARD, good. Nice and easy for a first card draw. Later on you can come to dread these cards. Because these cards you can kind of ignore or take them and get a temporary bonus, but if you draw another Ceremony card while you still have one in your hand there is a negative for hanging on to them for too long. But it is early in the game so I take it. I get a MAN population counter (which will help me create new family later on--and the more families you have the better you are doing) and the 4 on the bottom can be used as a die roll later on, which will also be handy. So long as my next card is not another Ceremony Card I will be fine.

I draw my second card:



It's not a Ceremony Card, so we are good. We draw an OPERATIONS CARD, one of the other common cards you draw in this game. I could spend my AP points and Preempt the Enemy (go before them), but I don't, it doesn't make much since this early on. I'll wait until I really need it. So the enemy goes and they do Subjugate twice and end up drawing one Red cube. That's it, a nice quick and easy Enemy turn--I shall savor this as later it won't be so nice.

Then it is my turn. In the Spanish Period your family starts off with no horses and no sheep, and I need both desperately if I am going to be effective. Since FAMILY A is right next to New Mexico, I have them raid Sante Fe and see if they can get us some goodies. The raid goes well: I get a horse, sheep, and I capture some prisoners. I put the sheep and child counter in their places, as they will come to play later and place my new horses with Family B.



Okay that is my first two cards of my game. I'll do a post for every couple cards I go through.

Here is the link to a Youtube Video of my first card play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D3IoXq2IAM&feature=youtu.be

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Steve Carey
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Excellent - I subscribed to this thread and will follow your progress!

At the last GMT West Weekend (April, 2012), Joel and Mike couldn't believe it as I pushed the system (on purpose) to the limit by over-accumulating Ceremony cards during a marathon session.

I lost (as I rightfully should), but it was such a great playtest experience.
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Gordon J
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I did that in a game, I was playing and had at least 3 Ceremony Cards out and just had not had the opportunity to use them and then, of course, I ran into a few Ceremony cards and it all just fell apart from there.
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Gordon J
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Okay, drawing my third card of the game is a big one. I draw the Pueblo Revolt Historical Card (Victory Check Segment) comes up. So, kind of a shock for it to come up so early. Wasn't expecting this. Historical cards come in order as you play, you have a general idea of when they are coming but never exactly.



So this is kind of good and bad for me. Good, that I was in position for when this hit. The more your families are spread out in the different areas of the board the better, the more points you earn against the Victory check segment. So, I do well here, I beat the 8 points of the Victory Check and bump myself up 1 Military. And continue on with the rest of the card. Good thing is I am able to buy another Cultural Development card, I go against what has been my crutch in past games of always taking HORSES (which I always like to get since it makes your family mmore mobile), I chose instead WISDOM OF THE ANCIENT ONES:



This card will help me boost Military, since my Culture is higher, I can in an action soon, bump my Military up, and that is never a bad thing. BUT, the bad thing about this card, is the Man and Child counters that I was saving up to start up a new family takes a hit. I have to lose half my counters, which is one here.



So, I get rid of the Man counter since it's easier to replace them, I keep the child--at least in the past I have had harder times getting Child counters (child counters are more versatile, as you can convert them into a Man or Woman counter later).

The other bad thing that happens is I lose all of my APs, which prevents me from preempting the Enemy later on. Not devasting, but annoying.



So that is where I sit after the Victory Check Segement. Overall not too bad. I'd rather not lose population and APs, but I was able to get a new Cultural Card which will help me and I was able to uptick Military so it's leading Enemy Morale.
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Steve Carey
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One cool aspect of the Cultural Development cards is that they offer such flexibility and replayability to the game. Each of us may have our favorites, but then try something different and watch what opens up.

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Gordon J
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I agree. In the past I have always taken HORSES, but thought I should change it up this time. The Cultural Cards are nice and easy to take early on, but later as they get more expensive, it becomes a real dilemma on whether you should take it or not.
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Gordon J
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This turn I draw:



An Operations card. Since Pueblo Revolt is in effect the enemy segment is easy, they draw5 cubes from the Raid Pool aas per the event. They draw no red cubes, thus the Event is still active. This is good for me as it gives me kind of a breather to build up.

Since at the bottom of the card is a child counter, I am going to do the Planning Action since I am out of APs and I need that child counter to help create a new family. I need to get another family out there and this will help me. So I do planning. I shift my Elder council over to the right and gain 3 APs. Before I roll I use my Cultural Card to make one of my attempts from Elder rolls automatically succeed at shifting Culture to Military. Then I roll twice for the other two and get one success. So I knock my Culture down 2 and shift Military up 2. I can afford to do this now since I don't see any chances soon of me losing culture.



So now my Culture and Military are both at 6. And I am now 3 points up on Enemy Morale. Which is nice, but as the Navajo you can never be too far above Enemy Morale. I then trade in my newly acquired APs and buy some Trade Goods, 3 of them, enough for a re-roll later on.

The Major Event does not apply and I do the drought roll from the Minor Event. And that's the end of this card.
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Mike Bertucelli
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Nice report so far looking forward to follow along can't wait to see what happens.

Mike
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Gordon J
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For my next card I draw:



It's another OPERATIONS card. I have no APs to preempt, so I let it continue to draw cubes for the Pueble Revolt card and it gets to draw 6 cubes, and of course, it draws the next two red cubes, thus finally ending the event.

For my turn. I'd like to do some actions, but since the cubes are sitting in the Recovery box and the Major Event is very favorable to me, FREE CORN, how can I pass up on the chance to do a Planning Action. So I do and build up some APs, collect another Elder to my Passage of Time Box. Then I notice there is an Indian Raid counter and another Indian Raid Counter and then A Raid 11! one after that. So, time to spend 1 AP to negotiate with my fellow Indian brothers and see if we can calm them down.



I roll and get a 7 and bump one of the hostile tribes off the track and replace it with a SUBVERT. So that is good for me. With my CUNNING cultural card and with the looming 11 Raid, I might be able to miss most of the raids heading my way.



The only bad side to this round, other than the Subjugation Box full of red cubes, is that I have bumped my Elders over, and I am running a risk of losing 1-2 elders next Passage of Time, I have one in the tank, reserves, but I will need 4 elders eventually when my 4th family comes out.

But that is a worry for another day.
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Steve Carey
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Off to a good start, yes?
 
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Gordon J
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Not bad. I really can't complain. It's just getting used to the new rules that has me worried. Every time Joel makes changes it gets more challenging, which is good. The whole Elder rule now, and that you can only move the number of families during action sequences based on the number of elders is going to be interesting to see how that works out. I have to make sure I remember that.
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Joel Toppen
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patton55 wrote:
Not bad. I really can't complain. It's just getting used to the new rules that has me worried. Every time Joel makes changes it gets more challenging, which is good. The whole Elder rule now, and that you can only move the number of families during action sequences based on the number of elders is going to be interesting to see how that works out. I have to make sure I remember that.


The new elder rule was created to fix a couple small issues:

1. The more families players get, the more powerful the player's position becomes. This is not entirely true to history since sheer numbers did not equate to strength. In fact, it should pose a challenge as much as it opens up new possibilities. Most First Nations tribes did not have any centralized leadership.

2. Elders still did not have the importance I wanted them to have.

Limiting the number of Families that can Take Actions to 1 + number of Elders solved both issues fairly elegantly. Yeah, you can get 6 families on board, but it will be HARD to control them all!

-Joel
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Gordon J
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My next Draw:



Another Operations card. Good. I was almost going to Preempt the enemy actions when I realized it wouldn't do any good, as they would still be able to do their first action and not the second and if I did not preempt they would still do first action and barely not be able to do a second action. So Enemy does SUBVERT, but there are no Outposts on the board so they BUILD instead a mission in Shiprock. So my enemy is slowly creeping and expanding onto my land for the first time. After that they are done, they bank up 4 action points, with RAID 5 and RAID 11 looming, I do have to worry a little for the future.

But for my turn I do an Action Phase and get my most warlike family into action to take out the Mission and they do easily, knocking it out and bumping me up +1 Culture. They still have some APs to spend, so they RAID New Mexico and nab us some more horses. Family B cashes in on their corn, just in the nick of time really. And Family C does one RAID from where they are and get us some sheep. So I am looking good for food in the future when I do Passage of Time, I have lots of corn and sheep.



I continue with the card and the Major Event does not effect me as I just cashed in my crops and they are no longer on the territory. The Minor Event also helps me, as I get to reset the cubes, which is a nice little bonus.

Here is where I am at for the Vital Stats of the game:



Enemy Morale at 4 is nice, I'd like my Cultural points to be higher, but so far this is a good start. I just need a Woman counter and then I can create a new family much easier.

I will have an interesting decision to make next turn as two Raids are coming and I have my Cunning card ready and loaded and two of families are hostile.
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Gordon J
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Thanks for the Info Joel. It's nice to be playing this again after a break.

"2. Elders still did not have the importance I wanted them to have.

Limiting the number of Families that can Take Actions to 1 + number of Elders solved both issues fairly elegantly. Yeah, you can get 6 families on board, but it will be HARD to control them all!"

In the quote above, I thought the rules said a minimum of 1 family or the # of Elders that will move your families and not 1 + the Elders (so in my game I have 3 Elders, it would be 1 + 3 Elders = 4 families I can move?)
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Joel Toppen
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patton55 wrote:
Thanks for the Info Joel. It's nice to be playing this again after a break.

"2. Elders still did not have the importance I wanted them to have.

Limiting the number of Families that can Take Actions to 1 + number of Elders solved both issues fairly elegantly. Yeah, you can get 6 families on board, but it will be HARD to control them all!"

In the quote above, I thought the rules said a minimum of 1 family or the # of Elders that will move your families and not 1 + the Elders (so in my game I have 3 Elders, it would be 1 + 3 Elders = 4 families I can move?)


Gordon, here's the rule (from 3.2):

The number of Families that can be activated to Take Actions is equal to the number of Elders on the Elder Display plus either the number of family counters in the Canyon de Chelly Territory, or 1 (whichever is highest).

In other words:

# Families That Can Move is equal to:

# of Elders
+
Either 1; OR # of Families in Canyon de Chelly


-Joel
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Gordon J
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Back again, and my next card is:



A Ceremony Card, an easy decision, I take The Woman counter to my Passage of Time track as I now have the final piece in the puzzle to construct my next family. All I have to do is get to a Passage of Time action and I will have Family D. Plus, really, this Ceremony Card's negatives, really isn't all that bad, placing Intruder Counters, because sometimes they can actually be beneficial. (But still you don't want this C. card to hit more than once probably).

Onto the next card is an Operations Card, I could preempt again but since I am going to do a Passage of Time action, I will let this slide and just before the Enemy conducts an action I will use my:



Cunning and skip this action and move onto the RAID 11, but since the Enemy only collected 7 APs, they won't do anything.



Onto my turn, I will now do the Passage of Time and convert the population counters I have racked up in my track:



Time to throw everyone to their respective places and bingo, welcome FAMILY D!

Next I feed my families. And as you can see from my resources box:



I am more than ready to feed my people and to equip my families with horses, well almost, one family will be short a horse, but that can be fixed next time. I did lose an Elder through the Elder Death Check. But I am still at 3 for the moment and that is the minimum I want to be at.

Here is where I am at the end of this card:

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The next card in the deck is an Operations Card:



After much brain crunching and teeth grinding, I come up with a plan. I can Preempt and I will do so. So the Enemy only collects 5 APs this turn. I move my families in anticipation of the wave of raids coming my way. First, I move Family B way way out of the action farther into the depths of San Juan Valley, and hopefully out of the way. I move Family C into Canyon De Chelly (because with their +1 and 1 Ferocity they are not going to do well fighting or evading--so I get them out of the war path, I move Family D, into #3 box of Zuni Mountains and THEN place Family A, the Ferocity of 3 and fighting arm of my Navajo, into the #5 space of Zuni Mountains.



My plan is to draw the Enemy Raid down into the depths of Zuni, Family D will be the bait, leading them to Family A, Fam. D will Evade, hopefully, and then the Enemy will come face to face with the A-team in an Ambush (which will be our last AP to spend after we have placed the Harass counter).

The Enemy's Turn. First I use CUNNING, and make the Enemy skip the 11 RAID counter (Thank God For Cunning!) Then Enemy does Subvert first and then.....

The Enemy Raid comes! This one only a 9 Raid. (And a big one at that. A 9 Raid +6 for the Ferocity of my families = 15).



Family D rolls a 4 and evades to box 6.

Then, the AMBUSH:



Since Family A is in Box 5 and Ambush doubles their Ferocity, which is 3 and gets maxed out at 5 because that's the highest it can go in that box, they also get an additional +1 for horses. I roll and get a 5, +6 =11 for the Navajo. I use the Ceremony card on the Enemy and they get a 7. We get a Major Family Victory. We crush the raid and send it back to Sante Fe, the raid mounts back up again, but it falters before it can reach any of my families. A success beyond my expectations. Some good rolling for sure.

(I did a roll on the Battle Spoils table--Joel or someone can let me know if you get to roll on that when it is an Enemy Raid in your own land).

We have weathered the storm for now. But there is another Enemy Raid that is mounting for next turn and some Hostile Enemy Tribes that are coming this way as well.



(Let me know if I am going into way too much detail or not enough with these session reports).
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Steve Carey
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I'm enjoying the detail in the session reports very much, and think you've got it just right (the pictures help, too).

I saw Mike B. running a playtest session of NW with noted designer and gamer Chris Janiec (a very astute fellow) at GMT West this past weekend; I believe he ordered the game.
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Gordon J
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Steve, you wrote an interesting article for C3i magazine didn't you, about Twilight Struggle? I remember reading that and I believe it was you who wrote it.
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Steve Carey
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I've had a handful of articles published in C3i, and we have the cover feature (Andean Abyss) for the next issue (#26, December 2012).

If anyone would care to pen a piece on NAVAJO WARS, I'm sure Rodger would love to have it for 2013.
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Back at it again. My next card:



A Ceremony Card, easy decision, I want another Elder, so I take him and place the Ceremony Card and the nice automatic 5 in reserves. The next card, of course, is another Ceremony, it's a Child counter with a 1, but I can't take it, if I draw another Ceremony I'll have to start getting rid of Man counters from play, and that ain't happening. So I discard it, but I do have to get rid a Trade counter because of the Enemy Way on the Ceremony card I just got.

Next card:



This is an Operations Card, I can't Preempt, so the Enemy gets 7 APs and that is just enough for them to do a Raid. Nothing I can do to stop it.



The Raid rolls into San Juan Valley, but Family B is ready and they roll a 6 to evade and are wisked away to safety to Canyon De Chelly.



The Raid continues into the Zuni Mountains but runs out of steam right before it gets to Family A--a great disappointment to Family A as they were ready for a fight, but good for us as with the Enemy Ferocity at 6 we are going to be in trouble the next fight we get into.

Onto the Navajo turn. We want to do a Planning Action to get the child counter, but since two famalies are sitting in Canyon De Chelly and two families are in the Zuni Mountains we better re-position ourselves in case another Historical Card pops before we spread back out. So, we move the famalies around and get ourselves strategically placed just right, each in their own territory.



That is the end for now. Not a bad turn, the raid didn't hurt us, but we had to waste time moving our families around. But I'll take it.
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Joel Toppen
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Most entradas (raids) into the Dinétah were fruitless from the European's perspective. Many times not a single native was so much as spotted. Still, some impact would be felt as the Navajo would have to respond to these raids by taking evasive action. Such evasive action does have an impact as it forces the families to pack up and move, perhaps out of position for planned activities.

In the game, the long-term effect of enemy raids can be nasty.

-Joel
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Gordon J
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Joel, thanks for the historical tip. That's great. I hope tidbits of history like that make it into the final production of the game. I think one of my favorite things about Andean Abyss (and 1989) was being able to read the history about each card.

Your right about the raids, neither of those big raids hurt me, but it did tie my famalies up as most of them had to run to the hills toget out of there way, and then finally when the raids were over, I had to come back out of the hills to get my famalies back into position, so this has been two turns I have had to react with the raids.
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Gordon J
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Next Card Up:



Again nothing I can do to Preempt, so the Enemy collects 7APs and they do SUBVERT. With only one Mission on the board I lose -1 Culture. Next on the list is the Expand Action but they don't have enough APs, so their turn ends.



I want to do Planning and start working on my next family since it is a Woman counter on the card, but I don't because I see the Expand is likely to hit next turn and it will move the Mission further into my lands. SO, I do Actions instead. Since I have 3 Elders and no one in Canyon De Chelly, I can only move 3 families. Family C raids the Mission and pushes them off our land. Family B plants some crops. And Family D finds a waterhole and gets rid of a drought counter. Then, that is it for us. Because I got rid of the Mission my Culture goes back up.

A pretty easy turn for me. But I have some issues to deal with later as a RAID of 9, 11, and 7 are looming on the horizon. I will have my work cut out for me.



and


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I've been enjoying the session report. Is there a publicly available vassal module for this?
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