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The Games You Want to Play…The Game of Thrones

 

The Games of Thrones: The Board Game

We finished a 6-player Game of Thrones session this week. The Houses were as follows: Stark (Dominic), Lannister (Wil), Greyjoy (Doug), Baratheon (Jeff), Martell (Chuck), and Tyrell (Peter). The game started with the Houses securing their neighborhoods. The most action in the early rounds was probably between Greyjoy vs. Lannister and Greyjoy vs. Stark on the water. Greyjoy pushed both back to their coastlines – for the time being. Baratheon began to expand its presence on the mainland. However, Martell soon began to square off against them in the Narrow Sea and, before long, Tyrell made the jump and grabbed King’s Landing.

 

Before long, there was a tight group with every house except Greyjoy a contender, but no one breaking out. Baratheon was worn down by the combined efforts of Martell and Tyrell, Stark continued its push south and threatened Dragonstone from the sea, and the Lannisters fortified their central position. Greyjoy, which had been poking around the edges suddenly struck Tyrell, taking Highgarden. The Starks pushed hard against the Lannisters, but were rebuffed and the Lannisters counterattacked – pushing into the North and taking a strong lead. Tyrell reeled from additional attacks from Greyjoy and, though their House was mortally wounded, they eventually managed to drive the raiders back into the sea and retake Highgarden.

 

Greyjoy, having been available to the highest bidder and bouncing back and forth between backing the Starks and Lannisters, sided with the Starks in the end to prevent a sudden victory by the Lannisters. The Starks pushed south again and became a contender for the throne. In the meantime, while Tyrell was reacting to the Greyjoy raids and the Starks and Lannisters battled in the north, the Martells finished off the weakened House Baratheon and that great family’s dreams of ruling the Seven Kingdoms. With that foe vanquished, the Martells turned their full attention on the weakened Tyrell lands and other territories recently raided by the Greyjoys (that they left under-garrisoned as they over-extended themselves in their rush for more pillage and plunder), quickly capturing sufficient strongholds and castles to claim victory on the last turn.

 

The Martells won a complete victory and claimed the Iron Throne. The Starks held a strong position and would remain influential in the kingdom with the Lannisters nipping close at their heels. Both the Tyrells and Greyjoys found themselves at the bottom as the weakest of the five remaining houses (though the Greyjoys might argue they were having the most fun).

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The Games You Want to Play…Eclipse

Eclipse

Of the five empires competing for galactic domination, four were non-human – the Eridani (better tech to start, but fewer resources / discs make it a challenging play) – Peter, Draco (friends of the Ancients) – Wil, Mechanema (builders – cheaper ships and more builds/upgrades per action) – Scott, and the Hydrans (techies – can research multiple techs per action) – Tim. Then, there was the Terran Alliance (average, run-of-the-mill Hoomies) – Doug.

 

The Eridani managed to build a solid empire. Having discovered an ancient technology that made their ships incredibly tough, they built a fleet of interceptors (the smallest ship class). Sandwiched between the Mecha and the Terran Alliance, things could have gone poorly for them, but they managed to maintain peace with the Mecha and found their other flank protected by a lack of wormhole connections with the humans.

 

Though between the Humans and the Hydrans, the Draco found all of their border sectors inhabited by friendly Ancients and settled in to build-up resources and tech. The Ancients helped them secure a couple of the core sectors and their early research of orbitals let them build a significant resource base behind their moat.

 

The Mecha got off to a strong start, building a core empire and eventually driving all the way to the Galactic Center, which they held for a good portion of the game. The massive missile ships they developed intimidated their rivals, leaving them unmolested by their three neighboring empires until later.

 

Forced to focus more on the outer sectors by the strong core presences of the Draco and Mecha, the Hydrans built an expanded empire of rim sectors and used their research skills to great advantage.

 

The Terran Alliance was less than a “stellar” example of human achievement. The one core sector they discovered was defended by an Ancient and quickly grabbed by the Draco before the humans could build-up the ships to take it. Their next move toward the Eridani ran into another Ancient. Careful placement of wormholes by the Draco and Eridani left the humans with only one way out of their galactic arm – straight through the Draco wormhole fortifications. Unable to break into the galactic core (until the last turn when they finally discovered Wormhole Generators), the Terran Alliance built an empire of rim worlds and had little impact on the game.

 

The real action occurred during the final round of the game. The attached photo shows the situation just prior to the great Mecha-Galactic Entente War of 42.345.

 

The Mecha (white), based on the overwhelming firepower of their mighty missile ships coupled with arrays of targeting computers, had maintained the peace in the galaxy and had ruled benevolently from the Galactic Center for some time. This did not sit well with the other empires, but no individual empire was able to face them. Realizing that the humans (black) – on their isolated, under-developed worlds – would be of little use, the Hydrans (blue), Draco (yellow), and Eridani (red) set out to correct the balance of power in the galaxy.

 

They knew that all they needed to do was survive the initial missile onslaught of the Mecha ships and then they would be like wolves among the sheep (or, as the Eridani might say, DraakkEach among the NessleWumps). The Draco and Hydrans loaded their ships with shields to thwart the Mecha’s targeting computers and the Eridani wrapped more and more armor around their quick, little interceptors in preparation for the great war of liberation to come. The disconnect from the physical plane of existence of the great Mecha emperor SctSch001 and its replacement by dGKru4 could not have come at a worst time for the peacekeepers of the galaxy.

 

Though there had been warnings, the Mecha had built all of the ships their industry could support and minor adjustments to reinforce vital sectors were all that could be done. As the peace-loving humans watched in horror, the Entente launched its attacks across the entire length of the Mecha’s empire with each of the three invaders focused on a primary target. The main Hydran fleet attacked the Home Sector of the Mecha, with smaller pinning attacks in other border sectors, and the Draco launched their fleet against the Galactic Center. Massive dreadnaughts and heavy cruisers poured out of the wormholes in these sectors. The Mecha’s lack of starbase technology had left them without fixed fortifications to guard these entry points. Swarms of Eridani interceptors, well…swarmed through a wormhole into a sector near the Galactic Center where a large Mecha fleet was based, preventing those ships from rushing to the defense of their fellow Mecha.

 

Though the Mecha missiles blasted invading cruisers from space, the heavily shielded dreadnaughts of the Draco and Hydrans shrugged aside the desperate defenses and pushed toward the Mecha ships. The first to fall was the Mecha Home Sector, causing cascading morale failures to ripple through the Mecha systems as Home Fleet was eradicated. However, hope grew anew as Mecha ships battled successfully against the Hydrans’ pinning attacks to protect the backs of the fleets guarding the Galactic Center. Elsewhere, though many were destroyed, the little flying bricks of the Eridani simply weathered the storm of missiles and pushed through to completely destroy the Mecha fleet they had targeted. Once their missiles were expended against the Draco, the main fleet of the Mecha at the Galactic Center faced certain destruction, but was able to retreat successfully thanks to those brave defenders in an adjacent sector who had repulsed a Hydran assault.

 

The timing of the Entente’s attack was perfect and, though a powerful Mecha fleet had survived, the Mecha would have no chance to counterattack. The end of the war found the Hydrans taking the dominant position in the galaxy. The Draco were now the second most powerful force, followed by the evenly matched Eridani and Mecha. The humans sent congratulations and condolences as appropriate, then quietly turned off the lights to avoid being noticed further by the new powers of the galaxy. How long will the Hydrans maintain their dominance? Will the Mecha find a way to restore their power? Will the Draco be able to use their control of the Galactic Center to lead the galaxy, despite the strength of the Hydrans?

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The Games You Want to Play…Brass Birmingham

Brass: Birmingham

We put Brass: Birmingham on the table with Tim, Wil, Chuck and Doug playing. After the Canal Era, Tim and Wil had the lead with good income. Tim had a built a solid base around Birmingham and Wil had a monopoly on pottery. Chuck was playing for the first time and had a poor teacher, but seemed to be on top of the game and was certainly competitive with Doug. Chuck and Doug were both lagging behind the other two in income and VP, though.

Going into the Rail Era, Chuck and Doug entered with recent loans and full bank accounts, while Tim and Wil were a little short of funds (though both had a reasonable amount of cash due to their good income). Tim continued to focus on his burgeoning Birmingham-based commercial empire, Chuck expanded out of his central market into the northeast markets (claimed by Doug), and Wil was a little more geographically dispersed than the rest of us with a presence in the northwest (left over from his earlier pottery empire) and a presence in the Birmingham suburbs. Doug was in fairly good shape in the northeast, since he had followed Wil’s lead and developed past the first level of buildings (most of these are picked up after the Canal Era) and had a core of manufacturing in the area.

Doug managed to make a bit of a surprise comeback, inching past Wil and Chuck to gain what looked like a win. Then, Tim calculated his score and ended up scoring…three more points than Doug for the win! It was a tight race at the end with just a dozen or so points between first and last place – with the finish going to Tim, Doug, Wil, and Chuck.

 

Gaming Vacations

Spring 2022 / April 2 to April 10 / Ft. Lauderdale, FL to the Eastern Caribbean / Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas

Summer 2022 / July 10 to July 17 / Vancouver, BC to Alaska’s Inner Passage / Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas

 

#BrassBirmingham #GamingBySea #boardgamingcruise #gamingvacation #boardgame #boardgaming #tabletop #tabletopgaming #gamingcruise #boardgamecruise #caribbeancruise #alaskacruise