Saturday, 16 March 2013

KoffeeKlub Evening 17th of March

We didn't quite get the Game Of Thrones expansion A Dance With Dragons played back in January, so giving it another go this weekend. Come on Trevor! ;) #WeNeedSix

KoffeeKlub meet at The Black Knight Gaming Centre every Sunday between 7pm and 11pm.

"Some allies are more dangerous than enemies."
- Tyrion Lannister

Twilight Victory - Born In The USA

It's not often that we get an opportunity to play Twilight Struggle face-to-face, our games are normally VASSAL / Skype affairs that often run into the wee small hours. 

Manual Labour
In all honesty, that's made us a little lazy. Setting up, moving the influence counters and even dealing cards seems like a waste of valuable energy. Energy better spent in contemplating your opponent's downfall or even complaining about the shitty hand you've been dealt. :)

The VASSAL module for Twilight Struggle is excellent, but it's good to play in real life every now and then. 

The Game
It was Bingers' turn to play as the Soviets for last night's game at The Black Knight. a chance for him to avenge his recent online defeat? That seemed likely as the USSR player has won the lion's share of recent games, especially since our attention shifted to the hidden power of the realignment roll as an valuable option when using ops points.

NATO - US Relief
Indeed in the early game the Russians made good progress in Europe by effectively surrounding West Germany and putting France, Britain and Italy in danger. I was forced to play my Europe scoring card early to avoid potentially heavy VP losses in the first turn of the game.

Salvation came shortly afterwards through the NATO card, which effectively protected US influence in Europe from Soviet coup and realignment checks. Phew!

From turn three onwards the global balance of power shifted gradually towards the US as two key scoring cards (Asia and the Middle East) both landed in the Soviet hand at a critical time. We both knew who had them and I, as the US player, took good advantage from this swing in fate.

De Gaulle Leads France and later Willy Brandt gave the Russians hope in Europe as both France and West Germany were now no long protected by NATO.

De Gaulle / Brandt - Saving Russia?
An epic struggle for control of West Germany ensued, the Russians coming out of top. It all came too late for Bingers though as he had lost ground elsewhere in the world and was left to bemoan a late poor hand. :) In the end a full VP score in South-east Asia took me to 17VPs and shortly after a US victory.

White Stars Rising? Not great in a Soviet hand...
Final Thoughts
Twilight Struggle is an amazing game, made even better by having an excellent opponent. The gauntlet has been thrown down MrB!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

KoffeeKlub Evening 10th March

Rex: Final Days Of An Empire is one that hasn't growled since the last days of Arkham when KoffeeKlub was spelled with Cs and The Black Knight was still just a Python sketch. 

Well it's back this weekend at KoffeeKlub, who meet at The Black Knight Gaming Centre every Sunday between 7pm and 11pm.

"We love to boogie." - T-Rex

Lancaster vs. York, another game of thrones of sorts...

I was first introduced to Wars of the Roses: Lancaster vs. York a few years ago during Baycon, a board gaming convention near Exeter, England. 

Baycon was four days of solid gaming. It was difficult not to feel a little overwhelmed by the experience and although I haven't yet returned, I do consider it every year.

Green, but not so pleasant lands
Wars impressed me at the con, it was nice to look at, it had nice components and we had a pretty cool room to ourselves in the hotel to set it up away from the busy main hall. A good gaming experience all-round. Roll on a few years and I finally got my hands on a copy courtesy of NikTheRake, a friend from my time at BGA.

Wars is a 4-player game and that posed an early barrier for us as on KoffeeKlub evenings we typically have 5-players. I wanted to get this one played again and agreed to host/cover rules for a match-up between GaryB/ChrisG (House Lancaster) and AndyA/DavidB (House York).

There Can Be Only One
Although this is a semi-cooperative game, I reminded them that there could be only one winner. At some point they would need to turn their attentions towards their kin.

Could they revive the bitter English civil war rivalries between the Royal Houses of Lancaster and York?

The first turn saw House Lancaster's GaryB pull well ahead on the victory point track, but money was going to soon be in short supply for them as House York plotted to use French support and equip their armies.

Final Planning For Dave
Scoring in the second turn saw a big shift towards House York (AndyA & DavidB) as they took control of a number of Lancaster assets by force. Wales and the south-west being particularly fruitful.

A brief respite in turn three clawed back some of the lost ground for House Lancaster (GaryB & ChrisG), but by the end of the fourth turn House York had once again established control of the throne with DavidB holding a slight victory point lead heading into the final round.

Last ditch plans failed to swing power back to the Lancasters and the lack of a killer instinct meant that Richard III (AndyA) couldn't catch-up with his son Edward IV (DavidB) ...a horse, a horse...
117 DavidB (York)
110 AndyA (York)
92 ChrisG (Lancaster)
80 GaryB (Lancaster)

Well played DavidB!

Final Thoughts

Wars is a light Euro-style strategy game with nice components and good level of player interaction. Each turn breaks down into a few key phases; select new cards, collect money, secret planning, resolve plans and scoring. player co-operations is limited to making sure that their particular house has more votes when influence in each of the regions is tallied up during scoring. (coming out on top rewards players of that house an extra 5VPs for that turn).

The options to swing influence in each region through card selection, movement, bribery or combat are the real meat of the game. So as long as there isn't too much downtime during the planning phase each game turn should run quite quickly.

I enjoyed the game, but would probably classify it at around the Arkham Horror level. It's a game that I'm glad that I know own, but that will probably only see a few plays per year.

AndyA of York gave battle in vain - "We had a run of War of the Roses tonight at tonight at #KoffeeKlub  and I have to say its really good fun. I came to a close second with 110 points to DavidB and his 117. Although its a nice game, I would not rush to play it again in any time soon, there are others I would like to play before this again."