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Subject: 5 First Time Players rss

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Bill Herbst
United States
New York
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Bill, Brian, Michael, John and Andrew all played Wallenstein recently for the first time. They chose the standard set-up as they didn't want to begin the game by choosing territories when they didn't yet understand how their choices would ultimately effect the game play. The standard set-up seems to give each player a mixture of high production and low production value areas and divides the territories into at least 2 separate regions of the board.

Spring of the first year began very quietly with players earning gold, building the various types of structures (although John was the only one to actually build all three types in the first season), harvesting grain and shifting their forces to fortify their frontiers. Several players made attacks against unoccupied territories in the first attack phase of the turn. By the middle of the second attack phase, almost all territories had already been seized and Bill found himself ordering an attack without a free space to occupy. Rather than waste a move on the turn, he decided to attack Michael's small force in Luneberg and won the first battle between the players of the game. It was perhaps an omen of the struggles to come as each subsequent turn saw all of the players engaged in combat of one type or another. The Summer of the first year saw major battles occur when Andrew attacked and defeated Bill in Mechlensberg in the North and Brian stole a palace by defeating John in the Eastern territory of Mahlen. Autumn of the first year was a bit more peaceful as all of the players recognized the need to rein in their aggressive behavior in order to counterattack the devasting winter grain loss card of 7 that would take effect that winter. Brian, who had seized the most territories by this point and was thus most vulnerable to harm from revolt, craftily decided to incite one of his single army territories to revolt and be removed from his empire in an attempt to alleviate his grain problems. The grain revolts were vicious in the winter with Brian, Bill and Michael each losing a territory before the scoring round. Bill's territory, Bremen, also included 2 buildings and would have given him the majority of palaces in the northern part of the country -- the revolt thus resulted in a crushing 6 point loss. The final point tally after the first year showed Brian in the lead with 21 points followed by Bill with 20, John with 17, Michael with 15, and Andrew with 12.

Spring of the second year saw some more furious battles. John and Brian both attacked Andrew's holdings in the center of Germany and Michael made a huge but ultimately unsuccessful attack on Brian in the South. The Summer saw more people running into serious monetary problems as the gold collection action card was the last card to be revealed. As a result few people could complete all of their actions on the turn so reinforcements were lost and buildings were left uncompleted. John did manage to take back the territory of Mahren on this turn and regain the palace that he had built on turn 1. Autumn of the second year was particularly tense as the first two action cards to be played were the battle cards. As this was the last action turn of the game, all the players strove to manuever their forces as effectively as possible in order to seize control of the key areas in anticipation of the final scoring round of the game. Grain was also going to be less of an issue in this round as the winter attrition rate was much less significant than in the first year. Bill and Brian traded attacks in the Western portion of the board with Bill seizing one of Brian's key territories with a palace only to lose the territory in Brian's counterattack. Michael stole John's palace in Mahren and John defeated Andrew in a Central territory. Andrew finally unleashed the massive attack on Bill's Northern stronghold of Holstein, the territory in the Northern corner of the board in which Bill had built two buildings and defended with a host of armies. Andrew won a decisive victory as he had been gathering his troops for a while and outnumbered Bill signficantly. At the game's end each player more or less held control of one major region -- Andrew dominated the Northern province while Michael held the South East, John controlled the Central region, Brian owned the South West and Bill occupied the purple region in the Southern portion of the middle of the board. Winter revolts were less devastating because the grain attrition was less significant and because the players had learned not to spread themselves to thin. Only Michael lost control of the territory of Ober-Osterreich. The scores for the second round were much tighter than the first but did not show any significant change in the leader board. Brian had earned 26 for a total of 47, Bill earned 25 for a total of 45, John earned 23 for a total of 40, Michael earned 22 for a total of 37 and Andrew also earned 22 to bring his total to 34.
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