Lionrampant's 2015 10x10 Challenge

A blog to record my thoughts as I play through the 2015 10x10 challenge.

Archive for Aaron Thorne

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Game Played (72 of 100) - E7

Aaron Thorne
United States
Valley Park
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Play Report: After taking some time to prepare for and attend Archon, the St. Louis Science Fiction convention, I was able to get in another game of Great War at Sea, this time with eastern scenario 30. This one is set in 1922, and involves some Turkish and Greek shenanigans. I must be honest, I have no idea if this is a historical or fictional scenario. I know that the Greeks and Turks came to blows around this time, but other than knowing that the conflict existed, I know nothing about it. Anyway, so this scenario has the Greeks trying to get troop transports to Smyrna to unload soldiers. The Greeks start with some capital ships, four destroyers, and 12 transports, which show up in three stages throughout the scenario. The Turks have an interesting setup where they automatically get some ships, but then have to roll dice to see if they get other ships, as by this time they were trying to rearm after losing World War I and the Greeks didn't know what ships they had available. So, the Greek player doesn't know what ships the Turks will even have. That is kind of cool.

So, I played the Greeks. I had all of my warships escort the initial group of four transports, and frankly I left the rest to fend for themselves. The Turks split forces into two fleets, one of which headed towards Piraeus (where the Greek transports originate) and the other hung out around Smyrna to defend it. Due to some oddball contact rolls and ship speed disparities, the Greeks knocked around the first Turkish fleet, sinking two destroyers and some gunboats. The second fleet made contact with the second Greek transport fleet, but was super slow and couldn't catch them. However, the Turks have the Goeben! That could get sticky. The Turks did manage to catch and sink the last Greek transport fleet while the Greek warships sat in port waiting to be able to be given new orders. After 18 turns, the Greek fleets were all dealt with, and troops were either landed or drowned. The Greeks had over 40 points while the Turks had 24, so they decided to take on the main Greek fleet head on. That didn't work, as the more numerous Greek ships knocked the guns off of the Goeben pretty quickly, and then that was the end of that. I did lose one Battleship, though, which was annoying. Victory to the Greeks, 136 to 57.

Great war at Sea: Mediterranean - 2/3 Impressions: This is a flawed design (boring combat), but it has enough enjoyable aspects (the cat and mouse game on the strategic maps) that it is worth my time. I plan to avoid large scenarios, though, as I don't want to spend five hours rolling dice over and over and over.
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Mon Oct 5, 2015 4:26 am
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Game Played (71 of 100) - E6

Aaron Thorne
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Valley Park
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Play Report: Got in another game of Great War at Sea: Mediterranean this afternoon, this time Eastern scenario 27. This scenario has the Goeben and Breslau, along with some Turkish destroyers, trying to raise havoc in the Dardenelles. They are opposed by a mixed fleet of mostly British ships, with some French and Greek support. I played the Central Powers and much havoc was raised. I lost all of my ships but two (the Goeben and a Turkish torpedo boat), but I sunk two of the Allied Battleships, a Heavy Cruiser, a Light Cruiser, and six Destroyers. I also bombarded my target for three turns, so the final score was 123 to 23 in my favor.

Because I have learned that I don't like the advanced combat system much, for this game we decided to play the basic combat system. As it turns out, I don't like that one very much, either. It has the same problem of just too much dice rolling. I will likely go back to the advanced system for future games, but I reserve the right to reverse myself on that.
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Sat Sep 19, 2015 6:48 pm
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Game Played (70 of 100) - I10

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: My last play of Empires in America. And I lost. Not terribly, but once again Montcalm decided to roll 10 dice and get no hits. Why you gotta play me like that, man? I need you to hold up your end of the bargain when I put you in important battles. Bah. The optional rule from the Expansion Kit I played with this time changes how British blockade cards work. Instead of just having you bottom the next French leader or naval card, three things happen: First, the blockade stays in play until it gets activated. Second, if you get a French leader, both the leader and the blockade are bottomed. Third, if you get a french naval card, both it and the blockade are discarded. I have to be honest, this makes more sense than the original method, and is probably worth using going forward.

Empires in America - Final Impressions: This is a good game. I enjoy it, and it plays well. I find that the Expansion Kit does not add much, beyond just making the game longer. I doubt I will play with it in the future, and I will be sticking to the base game. This one definitely stays in the collection. thumbsup
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Sat Sep 5, 2015 8:16 pm
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Game Played (68 of 100) - I9

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: I have decided to play through the rest of my 10 assigned plays for Empires in America while I have it on the table. This time the optional rule from the Expansion Kit that I am using is "Governing," which stipulates that the player cannot play any Action cards or make any attacks after building a fort or trading post, or gaining any reinforcements. It is annoying and I don't like it. I also didn't like that I lost the game, though it did end up with an epic situation where all five British tracks had generals and I had five French generals to counter them. However, Montcalm's troops couldn't hit water from a boat, so even where he outnumbered his foes he invariably lost every battle he fought. Lame.
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Sat Sep 5, 2015 2:48 pm
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Game Played (67 of 100) - I8

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: Another game of Empires in America, and another defeat. This time it is only a Marginal Defeat, though, not the bone-crushing uber defeat of last game. I just got overwhelmed, with three assaults on Montreal from three different directions on the same turn. I had enough generals to fight off all three, but every battle I was outnumbered and I just couldn't get lucky enough to pull it off.

This time the optional rule from the Expansion Kit I used was Leader Importance, which means that you HAVE to use your leaders for battles in order of decreasing Importance. Thus, you don't choose which leader goes to which battle. This game is hard enough without this handicap, so I will never play with this rule again.
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Fri Sep 4, 2015 8:03 pm
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Game Played (67 of 100) - I7

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: I have a four day weekend starting today, so I am trying to get some plays from this Challenge in around family events (and if I am lucky, DURING a family event). This morning I was able to get in a game of Empires in America before heading to the gym. It ended up not taking all that long, because even though I had won or drawn every single battle up to that point, the stupid Ohio Valley army, led by a newly-assigned 2 point general, marched into Montreal. I had a fort, so no big deal, right? Well, I stupidly assigned a general with only 2 battalions to this fight (the enemy also had 2, so I figured this would work out for me). So what happened? The enemy won initiative, and then rolled 2 sixes, wiping out the defenders and conquering Montreal. It doesn't matter if you win every other fight, when the one that you lose is the Battle of Montreal. Gah.

This time I played with the "Leader Casualties" optional rule from the Expansion Kit, and I am not sure that I like it. You have to roll more dice in every combat, and most of the time nothing will happen (only on a 2 or 12 on 2d6 does a leader get killed). I don't know that I will use this rule going forward.

Empires in America - 2/3 Impressions: I am unsure that this game really needs the Expansion Kit. The Kit adds more cards, which adds more variety to the game, but also increases the length of time needed to play the game. The optional rules have so far been a mixed bag, so they aren't necessarily a reason to pick it up, either. So, the base game is great, and the expansion is "meh," so far anyway.
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Fri Sep 4, 2015 4:03 pm
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A Slight Pause

Aaron Thorne
United States
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This has been an interesting year for me, at least as far as boardgaming goes. I have played dozens of games as part of this challenge, but I now also have two separate board game groups that I play in during the week: Tuesdays I have been playing Myth with some friends for the last few weeks, and on Thursdays I play generally lighter card and board games with another group of friends (and my Father). Then some Saturdays I run in a D&D campaign (which isn't a boardgame, but takes up time), and some Sundays I play Heavy Gear. I can't remember the last time I played so many board games (or tabletop games in general, really), consistently, week after week.

So when work gets busy, or other life events intervene, it has been this challenge that takes the hit and gets pushed to the side. That's not a problem, and I still am basically on track to make it by the end of the year, but I never seem to actually get ahead of things, either. Ah, well. I've got a long weekend coming up, so let's see what I can accomplish.
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Fri Sep 4, 2015 3:34 am
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Game Played (66 of 100) - I6

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: Another game of Empires in America, but with a decisive defeat this time. I didn't even get to the Seven Years War before Forbes marched into Montreal. My four battalion army got no hits in the decisive battle, so all Forbes needed was one hit to do the job, which he promptly got. Stupid dice. This time I added in the optional rule that the reputation of a leader effects the initiative check, which I kind of like. I think I'm going to keep using that one.
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Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:20 am
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Game Played (65 of 100) - I5

Aaron Thorne
United States
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Play Report: I have moved back to Empires in America for this week. When I first started playing this, the plan was to play five games with the base set and then five with the expansion pack. Well, I have jumped early into the expansion kit. As it turns out, the expansion pack has six optional rules, so I am trying out each one in each of my remaining six plays for this challenge. This time, the new rule is Fortress Garrisons, which lets you play militia to defend a fortress if you don't have a general to use.

I won! Whooo!!! This game took a solid two hours to play, though, which is quite a long time. I didn't realize that adding in all ~25 new cards would make the game so long. I also ended the game with a grand total of 4 victory points, so it was the marginalest of marginal victories. The Seven Years War started on the second card draw, the and British quickly got some armies close to Montreal, but I put a fort there and won every battle (there were many) to take it. Strangely enough, Montcalm kept losing battles and then getting recalled due to too many French generals, which was annoying but kind of funny. The last turn was five British generals versus six French ones, and I won the battles I needed to keep the Brits out of Montreal. Another (marginal) win in my column.
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Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:22 am
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Game Played (64 of 100) - E5

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: More GWAS:M, this time Eastern Scenario 23, which is a "what if?" scenario that pits a mixed (but mostly French) allied force against the Greeks in 1916. I played the Greeks, and got stomped, though I will swear to my dying day that it was the dice that had it in for me. Seriously, I could knock a ship down to one hull point, and then my shots would hit that stupid torpedo mount over and over.

The battle came about because the scenario puts the enemy ships two spaces away on the strategic map. I had all of the Greek ships in one fleet, while the Allies were split into multiple fleets. So, when the combat occurred, I didn't face all of the enemy ships, though it was probably 75% of them. The battle was a slugfest, but the superior enemy battleships, and my inability to actually sink anything, lost me the game.

Great War At Sea - 1/3 Impressions: So I should have done this last time, but I think giving my initial impressions after two strategic map scenarios is good. Bottom line, I want to like this game, and I mostly do, but it has the flaw that combat can be kind of boring, with endless rolling dice for little result. However, this is the only game of its kind that I own, and I have a friend who enjoys the series, so there's no reason not to stick it out for the rest of the assigned plays.
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Fri Aug 21, 2015 4:02 am
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