J. R. Tracy(jrtracy)United States
We had nine gamers tonight for our last session of 2012.
Mark paired up with his son-in-law Dan, and stumbled across something called Washington's War on my shelf. Mark picked up the concepts surprisingly quickly, and soon Dan was floating face-down in an expanding pool of blood as Mark swam off in search of other victims.
"No, that's a different Mark Herman"
Sean led a session of Spartacus: Blood & Treachery, which started off three handed but expanded to four houses as Bill and Talley arrived to assume the rules of Quintus and Lucretia Batiatus respectively. The game looked close but came down to a final battle in the arena, with Spartacus representing Sean's House Solonius. The fight ended in dramatic fashion as Spartacus decapitated his opponent with a well-aimed javelin, pushing House Solonius past Natus' House Tullius for the win.
Natus Tullius enjoys a private joke
Dr. Rob and I enjoyed another ASL playtest, featuring Scottish troops trying to force a crossing of the Issel in March of 1945. My Scots come bounding onto the board in Ram Kangaroos, essentially Canadian Shermans with their turrets removed to create fully-tracked APCs. I had a pair of true Shermans in support, while Rob's reluctant feldgrau mob was a mix of first and second line infantry backed by a 75mm antitank gun mounted on a halftrack. However, all of Rob's troops begin the scenario hidden, lying in ambush as I try to make my way across the deep stream.
"They must be around here *somewhere*...."
I didn't have much time but I opted for an approach that was slow going but offered a lot of cover. Despite my caution, Rob's medium machinegun broke my best leader and 15 of his men, and his sniper swooped in to break two more squads. Luck went my way, however, when his landsers failed to find any panzerfausts and his panzerschreck team found themselves on the wrong side of the board, well away from my attack. Still, Rob's delaying tactics were effective and things were pretty tight until the halftrack crew discovered they forgot to bring any ammunition. That, plus my own sniper breaking the key German machinegun crew, was enough to assure my Scots would get across in force. Interesting little situation - fragile in the nature of most small scenarios, but intriguing given the all-hidden German defense.
Stubborn hardcases just don't know when to quit
Mark, Rob, Talley and I then tried Wits & Wagers, a new one for me but with a good reputation. This is cross between a trivia contest and a betting game. Each round a question is read that has a numeric answer. Players secretly record their best guess as to the answer, and once this is done, the players' guesses are laid out from highest to lowest. Players then bet on what they think is the right answer - it doesn't have to be their own. Once this is done, the answer is revealed, and the winning guess pays off. Bettors receive a payout determined by how extreme the guess is - middle of the pack guesses pay off 1:1 while the extreme high or low slots pay as much as 4:1 depending on the number of players. This continues through seven questions, or rounds, so it is a very fast game. I won thanks to my knowledge of the speed of a cheetah, the minimum age of a US Representative, and Barry Bonds' salary history. This was a lot of fun, very accessible, and an ideal family game. I might be the last gamer on earth to try it, but I'm sold.
Finally, Sean and Bill banged out the original Roma for a nightcap. Sean fielded a monster templum/forum/basilica combo that proved a winner.
Bill builds a church while Sean completes his forum
All in all, a good night's gaming and a fitting conclusion to a good year overall. Happy New Year, and best wishes for great gaming in 2013.