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Questing in Mirkwood and the Search

M.J.E. Hendriks
Netherlands
Arnhem
Gelderland
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Questing in Mirkwood and the Search

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Hunt for Gollum
Game Weight: 2.8
Playing Time: 60 min (3x)
Players: Bas, Michiel
Location: Michiel
Date: 13-09-2011




Game 1

They were two to start off with. Parties, that is. The quest was to get through Mirkwood unscathed - or alive, whichever was applicable. The two parties set out with courage and determination, but soon fell to the innumerable foes they met along the way. Heroes started to fall left and right, and then the threat went through the roof and there was no stopping the enemies as they poured in. A loss with both parties moving to 50 threat.

Bas: Leadership/Spirit combination with three Leadership heroes (Aragorn, Theodred and Gloin). The deck was 40 cards, including 2 Gandalfs, 5 Spirit and 33 Leadership.

Michiel: Tactics/Lore combination with one Lore hero (Bilbo Baggins) and two Tactics heroes (Thalin and Gimli). The deck was 40 cards, including 2 Gandalfs, 3 Songs (of Wisdom) about 10 Lore and about 25 Tactics.

Game 2

Having returned home, regained strength and lost most of the threat, revived the perished heroes (one each), the two parties resumed their quest to get through Mirkwood, using the same parties (decks). This time things went a little easier but a rough patch at the beginning when some really tough enemies came out had to be undergone / suffered through.

Once these enemies were defeated, including Ungoliant's Spawn, the heroes, battered and worn, disheveled and exhausted, finally managed to make some progress along the actual path. Eventually they reached a fork in the road, and, taking the road less traveled, they reached Ungoliant's Spawn's lair. "Another one?!?" you'll ask. Yes, indeed, another one - it must've been its partner. What rested was to defeat this huge spiderous monster and be on their way.

Together, with an uber-strong Gimli (Citadel Plate for 4 extra wounds), the heroes had no problem taking out this monstrosity in one go. Thus they exited the forest and the quest was completed.

Decks: See Game 1.

Points:
- Bas: 29 threat, 5 wounds (2+3+0)
- Michiel: 39 threat, 8 wounds (2+6+0)
TOTAL: 81 pts (the lower the better)

Game 3

Regrouping, the parties decided to disassemble and regroup in different parties with different allies. Some went home, new heroes joined and finally two completely new parties were ready to continue the quest. Gandalf had a (re)quest for them - find Gollum! And this is what they set out to do.

Much traveling was to be expected, according to Gandalf, and the heroes were fully equipped for this mission, but the start was rocky at best. Enemy after enemy beset the heroes and oftentimes the heroes were on the brink of death. Right up until the end, in fact, the heroes struggled for their lives, but persevered. Ultimately, they survived the onslaught and started their exploration of the various places that Gandalf believed Gollum to have visited.

A Clue was picked up, and then another showed up, and the questing was going well. Yet the locations started to pile on and when the final part of the quest was reached, the staging area was full of locations heavy with threat. With two clues now in their possession and both parties being able to quest, they decided to go questing in search of Gollum. All out they went, hoping to find signs of him and be able to return before the death of one of their party. For 24 they quested, and it was enough, though just barely. Victory was theirs - the information gathered on Gollum was enough and the parties returned to Gandalf victoriously.

Bas: Lore/Leadership combination with three Lore heroes (Bilbo, Beravor, Glorfindel). The deck was 50 cards, including 2 Gandalfs, 6 Leadership cards, 3 Songs (of Kings) and 39 Lore.

Michiel: Spirit (mono-deck)(Eowyn, Dunhere, Eleanor). The deck was 40 cards, including 2 Gandalfs, and 38 Lore cards.

Points:
- Bas: 46 threat, 6 wounds (1+2+3)
- Michiel: 40 threat, 7 wounds (2+3+2)
TOTAL: 99 pts

-----------

Addendum: Cards from The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – Conflict at the Carrock were also used.

Final addendum: Playing time 4.5 hours, but 1.5 hours went to explanation and looking through/sorting/building decks
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Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:34 pm
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Alert: Only Three Crew Members!

M.J.E. Hendriks
Netherlands
Arnhem
Gelderland
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Space Alert
Game Weight: 2.8
Playing Time: 30 min
Players: Sietse, Tanya, Michiel
Location: Michiel
Date: 29-06-2011


Alert: Only Three Crew Members

In the beginning, the crew consisted of five. There was much excitement regarding the enterprise we were about to embark on, and much planning was done to find the perfect location and time. Everything arranged, a tropical heat caused a malfunction in one of the crew members' brain, leading to possible headaches and even migraine. The heat had gotten to one of us.

And thus there were four.

Four eager crew members, but one of these had not reacted to any of us for weeks, and with all the planning and arranging, this was considered strange. On the day itself, the time to begin came and passed and only three had shown up. The time arranged if we had been five came and went and still only three had shown up. Then, finally, after another immeasurable length of time, the three space cadets decided to embark on their space mission by themselves, just the three of them, lonesome out in deep space.

And thus the story began.

To begin with a simulation was thought to be a good idea, and thus the three space cadets embarked on the illusive space mission entitled Simulation 2. Easy peasy you'd think, but not so true. Mistakes in communication and simple errors led to the usual misunderstandings, problems and eventually death. Both the white and blue sections were destroyed. This simulation thing turned out to be a whole lot tougher than we had thought.

Game 1

Mission: Simulation 2
LOSS
White and blue destroyed

---------------------------------------------------------------------

For their second mission the three space cadets figured, why not try out another simulation, but now with better communication. It might also have been that there were only three of us that it was so difficult. Right? Right? Right! And so we convinced ourselves that it hadn't been our fault at all that we lost so miserably that first game.

Simulation 3, however, turned out to be as easy as we had expected nr 2 to be. Communication worked out now and everything seemed to be in place to be able to go on a nice long successful run.

Game 2

Mission: Simulation 3
WIN
White 1 damage
20-2=18 points
Killed everything

---------------------------------------------------------------------

And so we moved on to an advanced simulation to test out those infernal internal threats. There were two of them, so that was good practice. The communication and planning seemed to be doing alright as well, so this was a big success, though space cadet Sietse was disappointed we didn't rack up more points than in the previous mission.

The only enemy that got away was the saboteur - he was just too fast - only half points for him. shake

Game 3

Mission: Advanced Simulation 1
WIN
2 damage on red
1 damage on blue
18-5=13
Didn't kill saboteur

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Having advanced successfully through the simulations, we felt it was time to try out the missions, though we were not sure how well we'd cope with only three space members (and no, we were not using robots or whatever).

The first mission with excellent planning and perfect communication went beautifully. There were still problems - especially with cards - boy could we have used another space cadet with more options, but hey, it worked! Sietse was already checking out how to do a longer mission over several individual missions, but Tanya and Michiel managed to convince him that that was for some time when we were four or five. How true this turned out to be in the following two missions.

Game 4

Mission: Mission 1
WIN
28-6=22
2 damage on blue and 2 damage on red
Killed everything!

---------------------------------------------------------------------

The next mission was one where literally everything went wrong. The space cadets were clearly getting tired - or something... Tanya miscalculated and thought she had killed an enemy while she hadn't. Sietse pressed C for the computer a row too early - he had forgotten this rule. And Michiel mixed up the two enemies on his track and figured he had killed his second enemy whilst he was actually looking at his first enemy in that section. This led to a total kill - the space ship was destroyed.

Game 5

Mission: Mission 2
LOSS
Died

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Before the final mission of the day we made some additional arrangements with regard to how to position the enemies along the tracks so no mix-ups would occur, and set off into space feeling we could deal with this problem. Things took a rather unlucky turn for us from the get go, however.

We had to destroy two internal threats with Bs on both sides of the ship, which was hard enough for the first three moves, but we also found none of us had the option to press C for the computer. Incoming data didn't solve this problem, and so we had to leave action 3 open, and this probably cost us the mission right then and there. I'm sure a fourth player would've had a C (6 more cards with the incoming data counted!).

Of course we managed to kill off the internal threats, but in the meantime the enemies had piled up and we basically all had to be in several places at the same time. Movement was too restrictive and even our super power cards couldn't help us out in time. It didn't help that Tanya then moved to red instead of blue (oh, indeed, that led to the second internal threat not being killed - forgot that), and then not doing anything worthwhile anymore for the rest of the mission, but still, none of us were sure we could have successfully made this mission with just the three crew members.

Game 6

Mission: Mission 3
LOSS

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Conclusion: it's very hard with three - a lot of movement required and if things go a little wrong, they really do go wrong big time! No saving yourself from a little mistake with only three.
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Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:12 am
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Conquering K2 in Winter! (+ Bidding Like an Egyptian)

M.J.E. Hendriks
Netherlands
Arnhem
Gelderland
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K2
Game Weight: 2.4
Playing Time: 120 min
Players: Jaap, Marianne, Bjorn, Bas, Michiel
Location: Jaap & Marianne
Date: 21-06-2011


Conquering K2 in Winter

Never done before? Hell, not a problem, we'll be able to do this, I tell thee! And thus the five of us set out on our very own mission impossible - to conquer K2 in winter.

Bjorn got off to a running start, but with bad weather coming up, the others took it easier and especially Michiel lagged behind, getting stuck behind spaces with the maximum number of climbers a few times.

Then after a few turns, with the first bad weather rolling in, the first climbers started to work their way up the mountain.

Michiel continued to wait for the weather to turn, getting set to climb to the top. Some of the others tried to get their tent set up but the wind and a sudden snow storm really did mess up the plans of especially Marianne.

Then, with the weather clearing a little, it became clear there were two front runners: Michiel and Jaap, with Michiel leading by one ledge. Both climbers were on the west flank of the mountain, with their partners way down below, just under the 6,000 meter level.

However, snow storms were drifting in again and it rapidly became clear that there were problems ahead, so Michiel quickly pitched his tent. Jaap followed suit one ledge down.

Astonishingly, Michiel made the push for the top with a snow storm ready to hit. He made it to the top and having planted his flag there first he scrambled down only to be hit by the snow storm, altitude sickness and a lack of oxygen caused by the speed he was going at. This brought him to his knees, but barely alive he managed, the next day, to scramble down to his tent, despite the icy conditions, to suck some oxygen. Later he would claim everything went exactly as planned, but few would believe such a narrow escape could be part of a plan - no sane climber would risk their life for the mountain, would they?

Marianne, Bas and Bjorn, meanwhile, were struggling with their own little hell a little ways down the mountain, not seeming to make any progress - in fact, with the huge snow storm heading in, they were forced to retreat a little. The same counted for Jaap's climber, who did not make it to the top for another 3 days. When he did he was happy to have captured the top only to find he had been bested by Michiel before him.

Michiel in the meantime had his climber return to the area below 7,000 meters, as a high altitude snow storm hit the top.

Days later Marianne made it to the top, gasping for air, sucking the oxygen out of the bottle she had brought along just for this emergency, and barely survived. She too had made it to the top. She too was a happy camper now!

Bas near the end of the 18 day period - day 17 in fact - managed in his final attempt to get to the top as well.

Flying - I mean, climbing - in under the radar, however, was Michiel's second climber, who steadily worked his way up to the top, making it there on the very last day, with his lungs full to the brim and a big smile! The 18 days had finished and Michiel had won with a mighty 20 points!

Marianne's second climber had done well enough to best Jaap, and Jaap just barely claimed third spot over Bas due to the "I got to the top first" boast.

And Bjorn, I hear you ask? Well, Bjorn, poor Bjorn, he failed miserably in pretty much all he tried to achieve. The glory that was his in the Himalaya was not to be found with a tooth comb here. Ah well, you can't win them all, right?

FINAL SCORE
Michiel 20
Marianne 16
Jaap 15+
Bas 15
Bjorn 13

Ra
Game Weight: 2.4
Playing Time: 2 x 45 min
Players: Jaap, Bas, Michiel
Location: Jaap & Marianne
Date: 21-06-2011


Bidding Like an Egyptian

Having made it to the top, we decided it was time to visit a warmer spot, and Egypt it was - we'd not seen the pyramids for too long. Bjorn, however, as well as Marianne, decided it was time for bed, and so they left us, though not together.

Never minding our friends forsaking us, we pushed on to see if we could indeed bid like an Egyptian.

Jaap got off to a great start, gunning for a monument strategy and keeping Michiel honest by outbidding him whenever he threatened to grab some nice tiles. Bas, in all this, just grabbed the odd tile here and there and hoped for the best.

The first, second and third era all ended in Michiel having some time left on his own, and then drawing the feared Ra tiles in a row to finish him off. Sure, he did get some nice booty, and if not for a mistake in the last round, he would've won. Instead, it was Jaap who won with his amazing monument strategy, racking up 35 points with those wonders.

Game 1

Jaap 62
Michiel 59
Bas 50

In the second game, Bas continued to do what he did best - grabbing points left and right and seeing where it would get him. Jaap of course went with the monument strategy again as it had gone so well for him in the first game, and Michiel set out to do the same and more importantly, to stop Jaap.

Michiel and Jaap indeed did get in each other's way, but more than that was the fact that Bas finished up early and then the Ra tiles came out practically in a row, with neither Michiel nor Jaap getting much.

At the end of the first era, Bas had 19, Michiel 11 and Jaap 3 (despite starting with 10!). "So what happens when you run out of points?" Jaap asked... I didn't know. I told him he better not. So he didn't - in era 2 he grabbed a whole point to take him up to 4. I didn't get any points and stayed at 11. Bas worked himself up to 30. The same had happened as in Era 1.

Era 3 saw not much change. Neither Jaap nor Michiel had any monuments to speak of (strangely enough - all we saw was Ra tiles, so...), and it was clear that Bas had already won this game. The only thing we still played this last era for was to see who would end up 2nd and who 3rd.

The cold war that ensued was nothing but ugly, and once again Bas grabbed more points than either of us (well, that's not true actually - he grabbed as many as Jaap), but the win was his, obviously.

Michiel, though, did manage to hold out long enough against Bas, after seeing Jaap out of it, to pull out 2nd spot (again). A real disappointment for Jaap.

Game 2

Bas 60
Michiel 28
Jaap 24

All in all a fun evening! cool
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Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:12 am
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To the Moon and Back

M.J.E. Hendriks
Netherlands
Arnhem
Gelderland
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Lunar Rails
Game Weight: 2.8
Playing Time: 135 min
Players: Peter, Michiel, Marco
Location: Peter
Date: 14-06-2011


To the Moon and Back

This Tuesday evening session saw the same three players as the week before. Marco was a little late again and thus once again lost out on his favorite green.

After a few minutes of rules explanation, we were off, looking at our cards and puzzling our way through the lunar map and all the difficult names used for the cities. This is always the hardest part - the beginning. Still, we got off to a good start and everyone seemed to be doing fine.

I started and built up from Scott to Clavius, later building down from Mare Humorum to nearly complete this first piece of track in the two building phases you get to start the game.

Peter started on the far side (or as I call it, "the dark side") of the moon, building track from Mare Moscoviense to Joliot to go for a double fish product to deliver both (to Mare Moscoviense and later Mach).

Marco started out on the Near Side like myself, working from Mare Humorum to Linne. He planned to use my track to get himself a nice payout. This only cost him 20m, and as he was last he used his second build phase to upgrade his train twice to the 14 speed locomotive. It only took Peter one turn to do the same.

So, Marco used my track twice and figured that might have been a mistake, but all in all it seemed worth it to him.

Peter was building all alone for the longest time but was doing really well with lots of deliveries.

I was doing well with some killer deliveries, but then I seemed to have worked myself into a mess and it looked like I would have to trade in my cards for better options with 19m left and 26m needed. I grabbed a good card though with my last delivery, and the world for me was saved, but boy, this game can be unforgiving.

Oh, and the event cards, the horrid, brutal event cards. You will want to know what happened with them, right? We never saw a single one of them!

Anyhow, the upgrades for Peter and Marco in the very beginning got them up to speed 14 within no time and saw them flying along their tracks. I never made it to 14, getting to 12 speed only a few turns after them!

Then Marco made a mistake by building to the wrong city (both started with an "A"), and that was that - he couldn't make it anymore. He finally figured out an alternative, not wanting to throw out his cards and exchange them (he had $6m left), but it would take him close to 6 turns to get back to the city he needed to get to. So he gave up.

Peter, in the meanwhile, was also making odd little mistakes, but he felt he could take them back still, something that didn't sit well with Marco, since he was not allowed to take back his mistake. I should've allowed both to take back their mistakes but got caught up in the moment and didn't make the ruling.

With Marco out of the running and bored and depressed, and calling it a night, Peter also felt it was time to call it a night, since he was not going to finish the game anyway, he felt (I didn't agree, but hey...). And thus we finished at 22:30 - the night was just getting started as far as I was concerned...

FINAL SCORE (INCOMPLETE)
1+ Michiel (only player left)
1 Peter
3 Marco (forfeit)

All in all an eventful game and good fun - agreed by all - but different opinions. Michiel felt the game should've been finished or a different limit set (for example: who's leading at 12PM wins the game or what not), Peter felt it was a game for the afternoon, or at least a 19:00 start and Marco felt the events (none of which we saw) were too harsh for a game like this.

Oh well, c'est la vie I guess.
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Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:54 am
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A Game of Goa

M.J.E. Hendriks
Netherlands
Arnhem
Gelderland
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Goa
Game Weight: 3.4
Playing Time: 120 min
Players: Peter, Michiel, Marco
Location: Peter
Date: 7-6-2011


A Game of Goa

Another Tuesday evening session, and now here I was with the euro-lovers and math (and AP) wizards of galore, Marco and Peter. No better chance to prove myself - or rather, lose some points for the ranking yuk

Predictably, everything went as expected, with Marco, the most experienced of us, taking the lead and looking really solid, with his lead seemingly unattainable.

However, he wasn't getting the expedition cards he needed, so anything was possible. Peter was doing nicely and racking up points across the board. His final push to grab a 4-pointer with the 6 product tile for 4 points and grabbing 30 gold by selling all his goods with an exploration card (yes, he was the goods master) all but made up for the deficit, though his poor luck with the exploration cards didn't sit well with him.

I, in the meantime, had made a few mistakes in the middle of the game - the time when I'm weakest in this game - and had missed out on winning ANY bid in two consecutive rounds. This cost me the game, since I did grab some nice points in the exploration card section at the end.

FINAL SCORE

1+ Peter 43 (most money)
1 Marco 43
3 Michiel 39
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Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:54 am
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3 of 7 Wonders built in Santiago, Smallworld

Richard Rutten
Netherlands
Nijmegen
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7 Wonders
Factor: 0.66
Playing time: 30 min
Players: Bas, Mark and Richard
Location: Richard
Date: 7-6-2011

Game 1: 7 Wonders
Jaap and Marianne were delayed a bit so we started the evening with a short game of 7 Wonders. Some other people in our group managed to make a game of 7 Wonders last for 80 minutes a few weeks ago. I was confident we could play it in 30, so just enough time before the delayed people would arrive.

Bas and Mark played for the first time so I was constantly reminding them of the rules and giving them some strategy tips. They picked it up very quickly. Allthough some of the tips did not sink in until it was too late. Mark played with Alexandria (A) and employed a green strategy. This was effectively blocked by Bas and me by denying him acces to one of the three science symbols. He ended up with only 18 points in green which just wasn't enough. Some good points from a guild saved him from a disastrous score. Bas played with Olympia (A) and tried a blue strategy In the first era this worked terrifyingly well as I was concentrating on resources and was unable to block his blue hunger. In the second era however, I dumped two of his follow-ups in my wonder and was able to build another one myself. This kept Bas from scoring really big on blue. I was playing the infamous Manneken Pis (A) and my first duty was to make sure I had all my needed resources available to me. This should ensure a steady income which would allow me to buy the few resources I didn't have. So I tried an allround strategy which concentrated on blocking the others. All went well and I scored no more than 14 points in a single category but scored more than 10 points in no less than 4 categories. Game played in 35 minutes including explanation. Mission accomplished.

1. Richard (Brussels) 55 points
2. Bas (Olympia) 46 points
3. Mark (Alexandria) 42 points

Santiago
Factor: 1.07
Playing time: 90 min
Players: Bas, Jaap, Marianne, Mark and Richard
Location: Richard
Date: 7-6-2011

Game 2: Santiago
Jaap and Marianne arrived just when we were drafting our last two cards of 7 Wonders. So it was not long before we could start with the main planned event of the evening: Santiago. I played this a few years ago and was not very impressed at the time. But the positive reviews and the high rating were enough for me to give it another chance. I'm glad I did.

For all other players but me it was their first game. But I tried to share some of my insights from my previous play with the others to ensure they had a better experience with their first play than I had. I think after a round or two everybody knew exactly what they were doing. Bas was being very carefull in spending his money as he realised early on that they were also points that could give him the edge in the endgame. However he did get hammered in boardposition in the midgame and had to spend big in the endgame to get at least some points. Jaap was playing the opposite strategy and was spending cash like water. Before the final scoring he actually had no money left, at all! Marianne was a bit lost in the first few turns and never really recovered from a bad starting position. I was trying to manipulate the others into doing my bidding and at the same time keeping my money in my pocket. This was done with varying success. But in the end I underspend in a few bids which gave other players the edge on the board. Mark was being his own self and just doing what seemed like a good idea at the time. One turn spending lot's of money while keeping it all in his pocket in the next turn. In the end he seemed to have made the right decisions however as only Jaap had a better board position than him. But Jaap had spent all his money and Mark hadn't. So it was tense going into the final scoring. In the end Jaap and Mark both scored exactly the same for a joint victory.

1. Jaap 96 escudos
1. Mark 96 escusos
3. Richard 89 escudos
4. Marianne 84 escudos
5. Bas 58 escudos

Small World
Factor: 1.05
Playing time: 90 min
Players: Bas, Jaap, Marianne and Richard
Location: Richard
Date: 7-6-2011

Game 3: Small World
We still had time for another game and decided to get Small World on the table again. All except for Marianne had played this so we should be able to get it started quickly. Mark was supposed to also play but got called away for work.

Bas was the start player and decided to go with the Spirit Elves. A nice one to start with as they could potentially keep scoring until the end game. He started of in the north of the board. Jaap was next and went with the Underworld Kobolds. There were plenty of them and the underworld ability made it easy for them establish a good scoring run from the start. He started in the east. Marianne started of with the Hill Gypsies. They had lot's of possibilities to flourish in the west of the board with it's many hills. So Marianne did well for the first few turns. I finally choose the Ransacking Amazones. As Jaap scored the best in first round and I had to hit someone to get something out of my Ransacking ability, I decided to kill me some Kobolds. This scored me two extra points from Jaap in the first round. They would prove to be important.

In the second round Jaap went straight into decline as I had hurt his resources and position so much that he could no longer score big with his Kobolds. Also by going into decline he would ensure I could not get further points from his Kobolds by ransacking them. Bas went along with his elves but seemed unable to use them to the greatest effect. He kept scoring modestly. Marianne kept using her Gypsies to great effect. Clearing areas to get to the much loved hills. I was left with no real target for my Amazones as all the Kobolds around me were into decline. I decided to turn north and kill me some Elves. Just because they were closest. But I was only able to conquer one of their regions. I was not scoring well enough.

In the midgame Bas kept struggling even when he aquired Alchemist Sorcerers. Which seemed like a killer combo to me. But all the other players defended well and he was not able to use his turning ability to great effect. In his last turn he managed to score big with some Mounted Goblins who swept up all the declining races on the lowlands. But it was too litlle too late.

Jaap was playing with Hordes of Priestesses and seemed to be building up well to get his Ivory tower into play. But he kept on to the Priestesses just too long and in the end only scored 4 points a turn for the Ivory Tower. In the final turns he was doing well with his Forest Giants. However he seemed to forget who his closest competitor was. He attacked me very few times and kept hitting Bas who was clearly already down for the count.

Marianne was very attached to her Hill Gypsies and held on to them way too long. But when she finally switched she had the combo of the game. Bloodthirsty Halflings! Now who wouldn't want those? But it proved to be a bad choice for Marianne as she only threw blanks on the die for the entire game. She must have thrown that die at least 13 or 14 times and missed every single time. Disastrous! So the Halflings kept chopping off their own hairy feet.

In the midgame I choose Historian Tritons and was able to keep them in play until the very end. Scoring points for the other races going into decline and enjoying the bonus for coastal regions. My Amazons also kept scoring until the very end so the last few turns of the game I scored 12 to 14 points a turn. But would it be enough to catch Jaap?

In the end I was 2 points ahead of Jaap. The 2 points I stole the very first turn! Long live the Ransacking Amazons!

1. Richard 92 points
2. Jaap 90 points
3. Marianne 76 points
4. Bas 67 points
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Wed Jun 8, 2011 12:10 pm
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The Tale of the Five Sitting Ducks

M.J.E. Hendriks
Netherlands
Arnhem
Gelderland
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Space Alert
Game Weight: 2.8
Playing Time: 6x35=210min
Players: Jaap, Sietse, Michiel, Richard, Maaike
Location: Richard (Nijmegen)
Date: 31-5-2011



The Tale of the Five Sitting Ducks


Five eager cadets joined forces to board the Sitting Duck and attempt to survive the 10 minutes in space needed to gather enough information in what was later announced to have only been a training mission.

Michiel was appointed Captain and starting player, while Richard was appointed Communications Officer. Little did they know though that it was the other three players who would take leading roles in the missions ahead at the start.

The first mission being but a training mission to jog everyone's mission regarding what exactly was at stake here, we all expected to have an easy time. Or rather, Michiel, the captain did. Everyone else showed a distrust of the others' communication skills and it soon became clear why this was.

The mission had only just started and the 3 cadets without a title/managing position were already running around like headless chickens. This persisted until the third mission, in fact, when we all agreed to some rules, like listening to the captain and first seeing what kind of catastrophes we were facing and where. Yeah, I know, the audacity of a captain asking his crew to listen to him!

Anyway, this first mission was easy, but Jaap figured he might as well try out some of the buttons, and thus recharged the shield for no other apparent reason than simply because he could. This led to the guns on that left (red) side not going off at the right time and in two damage. In training mission number 1! Gosh, this was going to be a long evening...

GAME 1

[Training Mission #1]

<WIN>

2 damage on Red

The second mission was a simulation, and confusion reigned. Maaike ran off to do her own thing and Sietse and Jaap got into a big long discussion, with Maaike and Richard and then Michiel getting involved at some point in time and there was anarchy and chaos galore. This was the game that led us to institute some rules, because there was no use having a title if no one stuck around to listen to what the plan was.

Suffice to say that this was a catastrophe and that there was no way we were going to win this one.

GAME 2

[Simulation Mission #1]

<LOSS>
8 damage on Red
1 damage on White
2 damage on Blue

With the organisation sorted out, finally, things went a lot better, and the next mission, a random simulation mission, went well - wow, it was looking like we'd actually figure this thing out!

GAME 3

[Simulation Mission #random]

<WIN>
0 damage on Red
0 damage on White
0 damage on Blue

Points: 24

With that sorted out and a nice win under the belt we moved on to an advanced simulation - these were supposed to be tougher and would get us prepared for the real deal. This is also where the internal threats would come in, and Sietse took on the role of Internal Threat Combatant. He did well, despite the fact that these were the first internal threats for everyone except Sietse himself, who had previous experience with this phenomenon. They certainly added another degree of chaos.

Yes, we did take some damage, and even the captain got confused and started to make mistakes (though luckily for him no one noticed at this point), but the crew escaped by the skin of their teeth with a nice number of scalps to their name.

GAME 4

[Advanced Simulation Mission #1]

<WIN>
3 damage on Red
3 damage on White
6 damage on Blue

Points: 30-18=12

At this point Maaike left us, happy to have survived so far and delighted she had actually done well as she had feared she would have been the weakest link, the downfall of us all, but this had fortunately not proven the case. And so we continued with the four of us, delving into the depths now of the real missions.

A juggernaut attacked us in the center, and truly, we were overwhelmed by it. The captain was left speechless for his entire first phase (also due to a lack of decent cards), and never made up for this failing to actually do something in the beginning. Panic reigned. The shields increased due to other threats, and soon enough we needn't worry about other incoming threats anymore because one side of the ship had been blown to bits.

GAME 5

[Mission #1]

<LOSS>
0 damage on Red
11 damage on White
0 damage on Blue

However, instead of giving up, the team regrouped (or the group rethemed, whatever ) and were determined to have another go at a real mission, this time getting ready to let determination and perseverance take the day (what was left of it - we had already breached the next day, in fact).

All went well, and it was actually looking good, though there was an uncertainty regarding whether there had not been a small slip-up somewhere, but no, boomed the captain, "WE'RE ACTUALLY GOING TO GET OUT OF HERE ALIVE!"

Aaaah, vanity vanity, of course, there was the one slip-up, or rather, the two. Sietse, our hero against those infernal internal threats in earlier missions, who had saved us twice before from impending doom, now had mistaken the speed of BOTH of the internal threats, resulting in.... the entire ship being knocked out. Amazingly he did still manage, with a last shot from the bow, to kill the last enemy ship approaching, but boy, was it ever close! And thus we arrived back, the ship nearly destroyed and the crew knock-out. Not the heroes we thought we were, but alive, ALIVE, we're ALIVE! We're back to claim victory. A real mission. VICTORIOUS!

GAME 6

[Mission #2]

<WIN>
4 damage on Red
1 damage on White
5 damage on Blue

4x-2 for crew knocked out

Points: 24-15-8=1

External Threats: Kamikaze, cryoshield fighter, (minor asteroid, marauder)
Internal Threats: Saboteur (Battlebot uprising)

As a final side-note we were not sure whether we got points off for not activating one of the battlebots. The captain's theory was that the battlebot had been activated by the Battlebot uprising and as such, though not activated by us, was still activated in the end and should not result in the loss of a point. Else we would have ended with zero points exactly.

THREE CHEERS FOR TEAM SITTING DUCK!
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Wed Jun 1, 2011 11:02 pm
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How Stalin Defeated His Most Capable Commander

M.J.E. Hendriks
Netherlands
Arnhem
Gelderland
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Memoir '44: Sword of Stalingrad
Game Weight: 2.4
Playing Time: 240 min
Players: Jaap, Sietse, Michiel, Bas, Auke, Bjorn
Location: Michiel (Velp)
Date: 24-5-2011



How Stalin Defeated His Most Capable Commander

The Russians had withdrawn to Stalingrad and were preparing a final stand against the Nazi onslaught. This time the Germans needed to be stopped, put down, destroyed, but the insane number of panzers, the blitz krieg strategy, all proved this would be a daunting task.

The main generals leading the Russian troops for the motherland were Auke on the left flank of the city, Bas on the right flank of town, and leading the defense of this final bastion, for the sake of Rodina, was the general in charge himself, Sietse.

Those despicably evil Nazis came with generals too - unsurprisingly. On the right flank lay Jaap's domain, countering the defensive genius of Auke, and on the Germans left flank the tactical brilliance of Bjorn was meant to carry the day for the Nazis. The central command was given to a fairly unknown commander, one Michiel.

With the troops set up outside the city gates and the Russians maintaining radio silence, Michiel led his generals out onto a balcony in HQ, and there, out of sight/earshot of Russian spies, discussed the tactics to be employed on this sunny evening before the battle would ensue.

Bjorn being fairly new to warfare on Russian soil was a little bemused by the rules he needed to follow, including the order cards he would be receiving (or not receiving), but all went fairly well. The decision was made to try to create some room for retreat for the most vulnerable of units on the front line. However, this proved to be a dire mistake, as the Russian troops were much closer than initially assumed, and the movement to create room for maneuvering simply painted a big target on the back of the soldiers.

Sietse, that wily ol' Russian general, on the other hand, had played his cards a lot better by getting a good long look at the battlefield while the Germans discussed tactics on the balcony. It was rather clear for Sietse what the Russian tactics would be. Hold out, stick to their defensive positions, and ride the bullet train to victory as the Germans ran up to them.

Of course German commander Michiel saw through this plan fairly quickly, and the beginning of the game was pretty even, with the German center taking a lot of damage, casualties increasing by the minute. Thus by turn 10 or so, the score was 7-6 for the Germans, with the German center pretty much decimated - one section had only a lone artillery figure in it and that's it.

Luck didn't seem to be on the German side and a number of auspicious card draws and dice rolls for the Russians seemed to prove this. There were, however, a number of lucky turns for the Germans as well, such as the counter attack drawn right between the two Their Finest Hour cards played by the Russians. Furthermore, the first Their Finest Hour card was a disaster for the Russians, with little to no effect due to horrific luck - few troops were ultimately ordered.

Still, the nice cards, especially the recons, all fell to the Russians (1 Recon in total for the Germans), and that when the recons were actually possible air powers for the Germans, as well as draw three cards and a command card if played as an ordinary recon. Though the Russians vehemently disagreed, the German general couldn't but claim that luck truly wasn't on his side.

The battle itself, however, was incredibly close with the Russians then pulling away a little, taking a factory hex to move to a 12-9 lead. The tension increased when generals got involved with other generals during deployment - the heat of battle and the closeness of the fight was getting to the German general, and the Russian general was ready to go all the way for his men.

Then the seemingly final turn came round, with a brilliant play by the German general. He played a behind enemy lines to kill the one Russian unit on the factory hex (the only one occupied of the 2-VP factory hexes) and took ground, taking the two points - a few more kills and all Bjorn, the left-side general had to do was roll a tank or a grenade with 3 dice. Bjorn missed and the Russians got another turn.... shake

In their round the Russians tried to fix things up, but the German push had taken them by surprise and they were not ready for the end game. Furthermore, they were increasingly struggling with the tardiness of Stalin's answers as to their orders. If Stalin had trusted his generals, they would have taken the win.

The Russian artillery managed to scare the German unit out of the factory, but the factory hex remained empty. It wasn't enough for the Russians to take the win, taking them to 14 VPs.

The Germans got another chance! A barrage on the lone tank unit and a walk into the factory and the game was ours! cool

Overlord-general Sietse was shot on the spot by his Russian compatriots on orders of Stalin as the Germans marched in.

FINAL SCORE

Germans (17):
Michiel CiC, Jaap Right Flank, Bjorn Left Flank

Russians (14):
Sietse CiC (RIP), Bas Right Flank, Auke Left Flank
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Wed May 25, 2011 9:53 pm
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Nuns Chasing Novices or the Story of the 7 Deadly Sins

M.J.E. Hendriks
Netherlands
Arnhem
Gelderland
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Nuns on the Run
Game Weight: 0.74
Playing Time: 90 min + 45 min + 60 min
Players: Jaap, Marianne, Sietse, Tanya, Nicole, Michiel
Location: Jaap & Marianne
Date: 17-5-2011


Nuns Chasing Novices or the Story of the 7 Deadly Sins

The six of us got together for some cold (or excruciatingly hot) coffee and a game (three, in fact!) of Nuns on the Run. The theme was a big hit with the female members of our party who practically fought over who could get the blonde novice. Uhuh. From the second game onwards we drew the novices randomly, since it was obvious some novices had a starting advantage, and it wasn't in the fact that they were blonde (or not), but rather the position of their cell.

Anyway, after explaining the game to the three new players (Tanya tried to listen and understand but had a hard time, what with Marianne giggling and chatting right through the explanation, despite the game being new to her, and Jaap, well, he was used to ignoring noise, so he was just fine), we finally got started.

Sietse, having played the game rather well just a weekend previously, was selected for the role of the nuns, and though he understood what he was meant to do, he didn't get off to a great start. It took him three turns before he caught his first novice. Not a good average, he admitted himself. Soon, however he had caught his second novice, and then another. Marianne, Tanya and Nicole had all been caught once now, and were pretty much out of the running, most likely, due to the delay of having been sent back to their cells.

Jaap and Michiel were keeping mum and had not been seen yet. The ninth turn provided the kicker. Jaap made it back to his cell with his secret wish, 7 deadly sins (remember that secret wish!). We all congratulated him, exclaiming how fast he had been and so forth, and then we did a quick check of his moves, to see how he'd run circles around the nuns. It turns out he got the nuns movement mixed up with his own, and two of his moves were 6 spaces! With Jaap disqualified, Sietse grabbed his chance and started to move his nuns.

Michiel, having been held up immoderately by Nicole and Marianne running around and attracting nuns around the garden gate - his goal for his secret wish - had gone for a last ditch attempt to win the game, but Sietse's cunning play (and him of course hearing the aforementioned novices) led Michiel's novice to be seen (but not caught!). Marianne and Nicole were also seen/heard, and with ease Sietse caught Marianne, and with the moves left he ran to the tree spot where he suspected Nicole of hiding. And indeed, there she was. Five novices caught and game over - the win to Sietse.

GAME ONE
1. Sietse (wins in 9 turns; 5 novices caught) [Nuns]
2. Michiel (caught 0 times)
3. Tanya (caught 1 time)
4. Nicole (caught 2 times)
4. Marianne (caught 2 times)
6. Jaap (DSQ)

In the second game, as indicated earlier, we mixed up the novices, randomly handing them out, but Tanya and Nicole got the same ones they had before, so they traded. They should not have, because their initial position turned out to have been perfect for both with regard to key/secret wish. Oh well, bad luck.

Jaap, as punishment for having fouled up the first game, was made the nuns - now he could run 6 spaces as often as he wanted to. The second and third turn saw the first two novices caught and it looked like this was going to be an easy win as Jaap pushed up the turn token with his novices caught token. Nicole and Tanya were the unlucky novices, and once again they seemed to be out of the running, barring any unlucky turn of events for the other novices.

Both Sietse and Marianne were doing very well, keeping mum, avoiding the straining eyes of the nuns, sticking to the shadows, but this time around it was Michiel winning in an insane 7 turns. All the more frustrating for Marianne because she was a mere 4 spaces away from her cell and was counting on the win. Sietse was also very close.

Michiel's secret wish was.... you guessed it - 7 deadly sins, once again.

GAME TWO
1. Michiel (wins in 7 turns)
2. Marianne (0 times caught)
2. Sietse (0 times caught)
4. Tanya (caught 1 time)
4. Nicole (caught 1 time)
6. Jaap (catches two novices) [Nuns]

In the final game, the cards were once again shuffled and dealt out randomly. Tanya was up for a game with the nuns, and she drew a random card for me (Michiel) for the secret wish. Insane but true was what secret wish this was... once again 7 deadly sins.

Once again, the 7 deadly sins secret wish proved to be unbeatable, though Michiel got held up a little by the nuns and took one more turn than the game before.

This time Nicole (again!) and Marianne were caught once. Sietse and Jaap were both one turn from winning themselves and were left rather frustrated.

GAME THREE
1. Michiel (wins in 8 turns)
2. Jaap (0 times caught)
2. Sietse (0 times caught)
4. Marianne (caught 1 time)
4. Nicole (caught 1 time)
6. Tanya (catches two novices) [Nuns]
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Wed May 25, 2011 4:44 pm
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Dominant Species - Kompananzi regeert het dierenrijk

Richard Rutten
Netherlands
Nijmegen
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Dominant Species
Factor: 2.00
Speeltijd: 195 min
Spelers: Marianne, Mark, Peter en Richard
Locatie: bij Richard
Datum: 24-5-2011
Na het spel in mijn twee eerdere pogingen gewonnen te hebben, had ik een goed gevoel over de derde sessie. Hoe anders kan de werkelijkheid zijn. De laatste keer dat ik in zo'n kort tijdsbestek zoveel blunders heb gemaakt moet mijn eerste keer rij-examen zijn geweest. Het resultaat ook deze keer: gezakt! Hieronder een kort verslag van hoe de andere spelers het in ieder geval beter deden.

Marianne speelde de vogels. Die waren in mijn eerdere potjes nog niet op het bord gekomen. Ik was dan ook erg benieuwd hoe goed de extra bewegingsvrijheid van deze dieren zou uitpakken. Mark speelde de amfibieën. Altijd leuk om mee te beginnen door het extra element. Peter speelde de Kompananzis, oftewel de spinnen. Hem natuurlijk op het lijf geschreven. Ik mocht het deze keer met de reptielen proberen en stond dus in ieder geval bovenaan de voedselketen. We hebben ook voor het eerst met een timer gespeeld. We hadden de tijd ruim genomen, een ieder had 60 minuten op de timer. Bij overschrijding zou er puntenaftrek volgen. Maar iedereen is binnen de tijd gebleven. Peter had nog 47 seconden op de klok toen we klaar waren, ik nog een ruime 7 minuten, Marianne nog een ruim kwartier en Mark had amper meer dan de helft van zijn tijd gebruikt. Hoe rolbevestigend allemaal! Maar mede door de timer hebben we er deze keer toch precies anderhalf uur korter over gedaan.

Ik begon meteen in mijn eerste beurt al te blunderen waardoor ik één van mijn vijf acties volkomen nutteloos maakte. Mark en Marianne waren duidelijk het spel nog aan het aftasten. Peter kwam hierdoor het beste uit de startblokken. Als startspeler wist hij veel domination acties te pakken en door zijn andere acties goed te coördineren wist hij die ook in mooie hoeveelheden punten om te zetten. Het enige wat mij in de eerste beurten wel lukte was om een Survivalist op de tundra te zijn. De eerste drie beurten had ik deze eer. Zij het met een zeer bescheiden puntenoogst.

Peter bleef zeer agressief spelen, vooral tegen mij. Want ondanks mijn blunders stond ik bijna gedurende het hele spel tweede. Tot de eindtelling zullen we maar zeggen. Marianne was een beetje te lief voor Peter en verzuimde hem waar mogelijk aan te pakken. Zij was namelijk de enige die in een positie was om dat te doen omdat Mark en ik niet heel sterk speelden in het begin en vooral bezig waren onze eigen positie te repareren. De spinnen konden bijvoorbeeld veel te lang startspeler blijven waardoor ze telkens de beste dominance kaarten konden scoren. Doordat Peter in het begin relatief met rust gelaten werd kon hij een enorme voorsprong opbouwen. Na een paar ronden stond hij al op 70 punten terwijl de rest nog ronde de 35 bivakeerde!

Maar in de tweede helft van het spel kreeg Marianne het spel beter door en zakte Peter's concentratie een beetje in. Hierdoor werd het lastiger voor Peter om te blijven scoren en dominantie te houden. Na de vierde ronde was hij zelfs alle dominantie op het bord kwijt door goed spel van Marianne op de elementen. Hierdoor zou zich een titanenstrijd moeten ontwikkelen tussen de vogels en de spinnen. Het werd echter een soort van poldermodel. Veel gezamenlijke punten en onderhandelingen over meerderheden. Peter had duidelijk het diplomacy gen ontwikkeld. Ondertussen zaten Mark en ik elkaar aan de andere kant een beetje in de haren. Niemand kon hier echter echt potten breken en voor mij was het al duidelijk dat de winnaar aan de andere kant van de kaart zat.

De ijstijd was nabij. De tundra was groot en troosteloos. Van de zeven tundra tegels waren er überhaupt maar twee waar mogelijk overleefd kon worden. Dus hier waren geen punten meer te verdienen. Die moesten van de nog vruchtbare gebieden komen. Marianne spreidde door haar bewegingsvrijheid haar invloed steeds verder over de wereld uit. Hierdoor had ze verreweg de meeste dominantie en scoorde ze heftig op de Ice Age kaart. Ook Mark scoorde goed op dominantie. Hierdoor haalden zowel Marianne als Mark mij bij. Zoals bekend luidt deze kaart ook het einde van het spel in.

Voor de eindtelling was uit de bordpositie wel duidelijk dat Marianne hier het beste ging scoren. Maar waarschijnlijk niet genoeg om Peter in te halen. Daar was de voorsprong die hij in de eerste beurten had opgebouwd te groot. Het was ook duidelijk dat het tussen Mark en mij heel close zou worden om de derde plaatst. De eindstand was uiteindelijk:

1. Peter 186 punten
2. Marianne 165 punten
3. Mark 148 punten
4. Richard 145 punten

Misschien nog leuk om te weten dat die 145 punten meer waren dan waarmee ik in de eerste partij had gewonnen. Maar ik had het idee dat er minder agressief werd gespeeld deze keer. Hoe dan ook, het was weer een memorabel spel! Ik ben het nog lang niet zat en heb nu alweer ernstige revanche gevoelens.
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Wed May 25, 2011 10:02 am
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