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Subject: War on Terror at the Geekcon (BGGCon '06) rss

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So we got to play this at the Geekcon. And it was fun, real fun.

Browsing through the game library, I was overcome with glee when I stumbled upon this gem nestled comfortably (in-shrink, mind you) in the W-section. Eran was totally down with playing this, as was Mark. I found Troy finishing up a huge game (something about streets and ships, I think) and quickly recruited him, as his preorder copy was soon to finally arrive at his house. We were four, but wanted to play with the full compliment, 6, and so began hunting for our other two.

Well two turned into three as Mark received a phone call from his wife who was feeling pretty sick at home (we are some of the lucky ones who live in or around Dallas). Mark, being the standup husband he is, long-facedly reported to us that he was leaving the con to take care of his ailing wife. With Mark gone and our numbers down to three, the hunt continued.

Surprisingly, it was kinda difficult to find the other three. The game show, or some other con event, was about to start and a lot of folks were headed to the vendor area to play that. But we were persistent. It also didn’t hurt when we told folks that this was the game banned from Essen. Finding our other three, we sat down and digested the rules.

So I was yellow, Eran-green, Troy-pink, David-orange, Brandon?-red, and a really nice and honest fella whose name I don’t remember-blue.

Each player started with two regions anywhere on the board. During the initial seeding of the board I placed in Africa and S. Europe, orange and red took Asia, blue took S. America, Pink took Central America, and green had N. America.

The different regions of the continents had random numbered chits on them that represent their oil wealth. At the end of each turn, the oil dice are tossed and what ever number is rolled, those matching countries produce oil/money, much like Settlers. Well actually, exactly like Settlers. Except that in Settlers, there are no chits for the number seven. In WoT, there are, and in our game, most of them were in S. America.

So green truced up with red and with pink, meaning he was free to take much/most/all of N. America. Pink promptly chased blue out of S. America since he no longer had to worry about his northern neighbor, green, and sat pretty (in pink) on a whole bunch of sevens. With those sevens, he managed to produce gobs of oil (money) and rapidly turned his villages into cities. A spin on the Axis of Evil turned out to benefit him quite well, as he scored some pretty cool cards and got to be the first to wear the balaclava.

Meanwhile, blue fled to Antarctica and swore to make it back to his ancestral lands some day. Red and orange quickly developed/spread through Asia and held a temporary alliance. I was able to take most of Africa and Europe, though I was terrified that the growing orange threat to my right would soon strike.

And then there were the terrorists. They actually sprang up pretty quick, as you can purchase as many of them as you want during your turn. They got busy blocking development and inciting fear and mayhem across the world.

Soon, orange took pink’s place on the Axis of Evil and got a bunch of cool cards. So I was definitely scared. And all the while, secret messages were being sent back and forth, via the secret message pad, between all the players. You never knew who to trust because the guy you and another player were planning to attack was busy sending secret messages to the guy you were supposed to be attacking next turn. At one point, I intercepted some e-mail messages between them (via a card) and discovered I was gonna be double crossed.

Then it happened, excitement and carnage on the other side other world. Blue crossed up out of Antarctica to take red’s city in Madagascar and launched a nuclear missile that wiped out all but one pink city. Then blue attacked from across the Atlantic and totally wiped him out. Pink was now the terrorist player. He was in quite a good position too, as we all had been buying and using the terrorists pretty frequently. But now they were all his.

Soon, I had collected a nice hand of cards and launched an attack at the growing orange threat that was my Eastern neighbor. I played a total of five cards against one city and couldn’t score a single hit! Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you. By this time orange had pretty much decimated red, leaving him with only a few developed regions on the board. THEN, with his stash of cash, the f^cker, (and I mean that in the nicest possible sense) placed a terrorist vanguard in almost every region on the board. He followed that sick move with selling all of his developments back to the bank and making a huge some of cash. Now, with all his pieces off the board, he joined the ranks of the terrorist b@stards.

I’m not sure if this was legal or not. The rules say you can become a terrorist player by either going bankrupt, having all your pieces destroyed, or voluntarily becoming terrorist and trading all your developments for terrorist pieces of the same size. The rules also state that you can sell your developments back to the bank at any time. This was our dilemma. Anyhoo, we allowed him to do this as this meant that we (the empire players) now needed fewer liberation points to win.

Play carried on. Green grew stronger in the northern hemisphere, blue reclaimed his ancestral lands, I was spread thin over Africa and Europe (and had little cash), and red was soon to be wiped out.

Red was wiped out.

So now we had three players now sharing a turn as terrorist and three separate empires competing for 9 liberation points, green, blue, and yellow. Well terrorists have a reputation for being pretty nasty and nasty they were. Pooling all their terrorist cards together and sensing that I was pretty damn broke, they kept on kidnapping my S. African diplomats and hijacking my planes. I would have gone bankrupt if not for the kindness of blue and green. They bailed me out a few times, though I did have to sell a few of my cities.

That’s when I accidentally gave green the game. I was so worried about losing all my cash and becoming one of them (Central American / Asian Pigdogs!) that I gave green my cards to hold in case I became terrorist. Had I turned terrorist, all the cards I was holding would have been turned in and traded for terrorist cards. I wasn’t going to help them willingly. When green bailed me out of the last terrorist card they played on me, I told him he could keep any single card of those he was holding for me. He returned all my cards except for “Regime Change”. On his next turn he developed a few cities of his own and took over one of blue’s cities (using the card) to give him the nine points he needed for the win.

In summary, it was a blast to play. It had strategy, bluffing, tension, resource management, a whole hell of a lot of funny cards, and a black mask that Troy looks really, really creepy wearing. I would definitely play this again.
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Allen Reeves
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I'm sorry that I missed it. Damn.

My copy of the game is on its way right now. Hopefully we can get in a quasi-rematch sometime before Eran leaves.
 
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Trevor Murphy
United States
California
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Great report, Tommy- out of curiosity, how long did that game go? Did the rules take a while to explain?
 
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Greg Teemer
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Prosper
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Nice report. I am anxiously awaiting my copy to arrive. My wife keeps rolling her eyes when I come home asking if it has arrived yet. I am heading to St Louis to spend Thanksgiving with family...I am hoping and planning on taking it with me. My family may never be the same.
 
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space is the place
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Harlingen
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The game took aroud four hours to explain, play, and a quick pause to wolf down some pizza. Not bad, for a six player-all noob-game.

The rules really weren't that hard to understand at all.

Manlywan, it's on!
 
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