David Gittins
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Please be aware this is my first session report... unfortunately it`s not going to be a positive one shake
My friend has played Hammer of the Scots around 6 times and this was my first play So there was the initial learning of the rules then playing the game Which Noone was fully defeated and so took us through all the available years and the game was ended in the final year.

Now the game took us 5 Hours to complete (yes you heard correctly 5 hours!!!) Learning the rules and not having a great strategy at first didn`t help as it felt neither of us ever had the upper hand completely and we were back to square one after the winter. I was the english and my friend the Scots as he said they were harder to play than the English as it was my first game. Now at first i thought the game great until the first winter came and everything reset i.e all nobles returned, along with knights & Hoblars removed from the board unless edward the king was with them. The luck in this game made it not possible for me to bring edward into the game until year 3 also on several occasions there were no infantry available in the pool to move from England into Scotland. and being my first game when they were finaly available i didn`t take advantage of the castles in each region to build up infantry in Scotland. I will accept that this is why it felt i was going back to square one after every winter but the cards made it hard to do what i wanted on certain years as one time i was dealt two 1 move cards and 3 event cards of no real value to me at the time.
But my main reason for feeling the need to right this report is the end scenario we came across which quite frankly infuriated me, after the 5 hours of gameplay i controlled 8 of the Nobles and my friend 6 so on the last year all he had to do was take control of 1 more noble and it would have been a draw and because wallace wasn`t Dead he would have won the game, which is fair enough i could live with that. However what i cannot live with is this : I had some good move cards this round so i used them building up my areas with the nobles that my opponent could attack to try and take and win the game .. my tension was building and we played our last cards mine was 1 movement and the Scots (he let out a little laugh as he revealed this) played the Herold card which meant he could choose a noble and if he rolled a 1-4 he would take control of that noble and therefore win the whole game. So after 5 hours of gameplay it came down to 1 lucky roll of a dice in which he had the advantage only needing to roll a 1 to 4
Luckily for me he rolled a 5 and i won but the fact all of that time wasted playing the game for it to come down to 1 roll of a single dice.. well i just can`t quite believe it and for me it`s unacceptable. Anyone else agree? Sorry for going on a bit but the rage i felt inside of me had to be shared
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William Crispin
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It seems like you understand it is an asymmetrical game but unfamiliarity and bad luck may have hampered you. The English are slow and steady, while it seems you may have played them more like the Scots. IMO you did not capitalize on your gains and when you got down to the end of the game basically tied for nobles you had already lost.

Asymmetrical wargames can be somewhat painful until you have learned the styles of both side. So as not to waste you five hours I recommend you play again and win.
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DiscoBiskit wrote:
So after 5 hours of gameplay it came down to 1 lucky roll of a dice in which he had the advantage only needing to roll a 1 to 4
Luckily for me he rolled a 5 and i won but the fact all of that time wasted playing the game for it to come down to 1 roll of a single dice.. well i just can`t quite believe it and for me it`s unacceptable. Anyone else agree? Sorry for going on a bit but the rage i felt inside of me had to be shared

So, when your team scores the winning goal in the final seconds of the match, that means the rest of the time was wasted?

I'm not asking this as a big fanboy of HotS either, it's one of my less favourite games of the Columbia portfolio in fact.
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Dear Mr. Potato Head,

Hi! I write you from my home state of Rhode Island, USA. 5 hours is a decent time for this game - if you had played it maybe 3 times, perhaps.

Maybe something along the lines of Operation, Jenga, or maybe Elefun is more in line with your gaming skills?

Your Friend,
Darth Tater

p.s.: No worries, that is NOT a Death Star in orbit around your planet. noooo....



laughlaughlaugh

I can't imagine it taking that long for a single game, even newbies playing the full monty. There just are not that many decisions to make (movement is limited) and combat is fast as all hell (very simple system to say the least).

My guess is you maybe did something wrong or your AP is out of this world.

I'd give it another shot, if I were you. There's a good game in there.

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David Gittins
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leroy43 wrote:

So, when your team scores the winning goal in the final seconds of the match, that means the rest of the time was wasted?

I don`t see this as being similar at all but if you had said in the last minute off the match all the opposition walk of the pitch and give you a free shot at Goal from the half-way line to win the game then that might be close to what i mean
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DiscoBiskit wrote:
leroy43 wrote:

So, when your team scores the winning goal in the final seconds of the match, that means the rest of the time was wasted?

I don`t see this as being similar at all but if you had said in the last minute of the match all the opposition walk of the pitch and give you a free shot at Goal from the half-way line to win the game then that might be close to what i mean

If either of you had done enough to take control, the game couldn't have been won or lost by that die roll. In nearly any game that's a dead heat at the end, a small thing can become the tiebreaker.
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Rick Rodrick
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I just got this lesson in a game of Memoir '44 where my opponent rolled exactly what he needed on the last two rolls to win. The game was not decided on the last two rolls. It was decided early in the game when I was careless about some units and he ended up picking them off when they shouldn't have even been in harms way. I was confusing the proximate cause (his die rolls) with the cause (my earlier inability or unwillingness to appropriately value units).

I second the notion that close games will heighten awareness of events near the end. That doesn't mean, however, that the games are won or lost at the end. It is more a reflection on the human perception process than the game itself.
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eryn roston
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leroy43 wrote:

So, when your team scores the winning goal in the final seconds of the match, that means the rest of the time was wasted?


It is in Quiddich
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Tom T
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I'm a big fan of HotS. I have found that it is a fairly easy game to learn, but not so easy to master. Generally, the English have the advantage in the first scenario, but it is by no means a lock. Some games end in a lopsided finish, but others are very close, right down to the wire.

I think you need a few more than a handful of plays to get a handle on the games strategies and tactics.
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Peter Geddes
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If you can, play against someone who has experience of the game. When you lose badly, swap sides. When you lose badly again, you will start to realise the subtleties and nuances. You will be hooked.
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Ryan Powers
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Sphere wrote:
DiscoBiskit wrote:
leroy43 wrote:

So, when your team scores the winning goal in the final seconds of the match, that means the rest of the time was wasted?

I don`t see this as being similar at all but if you had said in the last minute of the match all the opposition walk of the pitch and give you a free shot at Goal from the half-way line to win the game then that might be close to what i mean

If either of you had done enough to take control, the game couldn't have been won or lost by that die roll. In nearly any game that's a dead heat at the end, a small thing can become the tiebreaker.


Exactly. When you don't win convincingly enough many games can come down to the last roll. So what? Do better beforehand next time and that won't happen. (Yes I can think of a few exceptions, HotS isn't one of them)
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Brian S.
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Oddly enough, this thread had *increased* my interest in Hammer of the Scots. It's been on my wishlist for some time now and I inch ever closer...
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My wife and I knocked it out in an hour and a half tonight. Her first play, my second. We played the Braveheart scenario to completion: 8-6 Scottish victory.

Granted that my wife is a decisive player and we're both aggressive players, but dude if it took you 5 hours you're doin' it wrong.
 
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This game is soooo much worse than Bobby Lee! How can you play this game when a much better game was already developed by the same company?
 
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Inkwan wrote:
This game is soooo much worse than Bobby Lee! How can you play this game when a much better game was already developed by the same company?

Bobby Lee never did much for me - traded mine away years ago and don't miss it. I've kept Hammer of the Scots, though. Excellent game.
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Michael Ink
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But there is 0 tactical play in this game, which in my mind is the whole point of the fog of war system. Also, the fog of war is weak in this game because all of the nobles reset to their original spots which means you almost always know where they are. Why bother with fog of war (hidden pieces) at all then? Might as well play a standard war game. I will gladly agree to disagree.
 
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Inkwan wrote:
But there is 0 tactical play in this game, which in my mind is the whole point of the fog of war system. Also, the fog of war is weak in this game because all of the nobles reset to their original spots which means you almost always know where they are. Why bother with fog of war (hidden pieces) at all then? Might as well play a standard war game. I will gladly agree to disagree.

Are you talking theoretically or from experience? Fog of war absolutely matters in Hammer of the Scots. It wouldn't be the same game at all without it.
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Michael Ink
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Experience. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the fog of war concept in Columbia games. Hence, why I tried this game.

It is too easy though to determine where Noble Scots are in this game though. Okay, so the English is different (especially when Edward II is involved), but the fog of war does not nearly have the same impact as Bobby Lee. In Bobby Lee, more units are moved around, few of them have standard wintering locations, and calvary have a more unique impact on combat. I just think fog of war does NOT do anything for the Scots, which defeats half of the purpose.

The bidding in Bobby Lee is also much more fun and strategic than card play for initiative.

One other point: The immediate conversion of Nobles to the side that defeated them is realistic, but brutal if you have a bad couple of turns.

One other point: The defeat of both Edwards in a create non-standard way to win a war game which is also very realistic and a fun idea. You don't get that in other games.
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Inkwan wrote:
Experience. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the fog of war concept in Columbia games. Hence, why I tried this game.

I love fog of war too, and am a long time fan of block games. My first, Quebec 1759, is the Gamma Two version so I've been at it at least as long as Columbia has been in business. I also have the AH version of Napoleon; the earliest title I own that was actually published by Columbia is 1812 (I have a bunch of their titles that I've aquired over the years; if I had to single out a favorite it would probably be Rommel in the Desert). I'm also a huge fan of the Simmons Games titles; I've worked as a playtester on three Simmons projects. My most recent block game purchases have been from GMT: Sekigahara and Pax Baltica.

Inkwan wrote:
I just think fog of war does NOT do anything for the Scots, which defeats half of the purpose.

It does a great deal for them. They couldn't keep Wallace alive without it, nor could they stand up to the greater English strength. The two sides use fog of war differently. It makes perfect sense that the Scots have better knowledge of enemy dispositions; they are fighting a largely guerilla campaign on their home turf against an invader with a superior regular army. In broad terms, it's a bit like the American Revolution or Viet Nam. The game conveys that well.

Inkwan wrote:
The bidding in Bobby Lee is also much more fun and strategic than card play for initiative.

I find bidding appropriate in auction games; in war games not so much.

In the end, we each have our own tastes and our own opinions. I consider Hammer of the Scots one of the best in their line. I think you could make a good case for it being the fundamental design template for most of their subsequent releases.


[sorry for all the edits; I kept thinking of bits to add and wanted to put them in context]
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Jeff Johnson
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Fog of war is less important in HotS than in many block games - you do usually know where everyone is at the start of the year. The ability to regroup after a battle, though, can make it difficult for the enemy to know the composition of your groups, and that's quite useful.

Attrition is the key to winning this game, and you need to make it hard for the enemy to know where your vulnerable blocks are. For the English, unattended Scots infantry (C blocks) can be attacked by nobles/knights/archers (B blocks) at a considerable first-fire advantage. If they can find them and kill them, they can slow or reverse the Scots rate of growth. English men at arms can likewise be vulnerable to the Scots at times.
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I completely agree with Oakfed. I also learned some valuable strategic tips. Sphere, you also have very good points. I would LOVE to play Sekigahara. I'm not familiar with Pax...
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Freddy Dekker
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Just about to have a go at this game.

I've played Richard III and must admit i didn't care much for the re-setting that happened in that game aswell.

It made me feel like all the previous efforts had been for naught.

As for Bobby Lee, it's a game I've considered for a while but never actually bought. Hearing that there is bidding in the game doesn't make me want it.

I aggree with Sphere that it's not what you'd expect in a wargame.
 
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