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 (63 of 100) - E4

Aaron Thorne
United States
Valley Park
Missouri
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Play Report: Was able to get in another game of GWS:M before I head out of town for business next week. This time the scenario was Eastern Scenario 17, The Old Man of Sinop. I took the Russian ships while my opponent took our old friend the Goeben and three other Turkish ships of no significance. The big change here is that the Russians have their new battleship Imperatritsa Mariya sailing out this time, which other than being slower than the Goeben is more than a match for the German battle cruiser. We did decide to play with the optional rule that secondary guns can damage heavy armor on a 4-6 on a die roll to see how it fared.

The Central Powers were split into two fleets, each with one destroyer and either the Goeben or the Hamidieh, respectively. I put the Russians into three fleets: two destroyers under their leader on a Raid mission, the pocket cruiser Pamiat Merkuriya and a destroyer on a Bombard mission, and the Imp. Mariya with four destroyers on an Intercept mission to try to protect the others.

Things started off a bit slow because it took a good two days for the weather to subside (you start he scenario with storms). Once it did there were three close calls where enemy fleets could have contacted each other, but always a low roll, so nothing happened. After bombarding a few Turkish ports, I took my first loss when one of my Bespokoiny-class destroyers was sunk by a mine near Constantinople. The remaining destroyer in that fleet aborted and headed home. Then, my intercepting fleet encountered the Turkish destroyer and light cruiser, but they got the initiative and were thus able to slip away without a shot being fired. Granted, that was about 10vp of Turkish ships looking at 95vp of Russian ships. I would have run away, too.

Then on turn 31 the Goeben and the Imp. Mariya finally encountered each other. The Mariya's greater guns (and better die rolls) won the day as a damage roll of "11" knocked out the Goeben's speed advantage, and then the Mariya's greater number of guns took the Goeben to the brink before a torpedo from a destroyer sent it to the bottom. At that point it was obvious that the Russians were going to win, so we called the game. Final points were 97 to the Allied (Russian) forces, and 18 to the Central Powers.
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Sat Aug 8, 2015 8:44 pm
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Game Played (62 of 100) - E3

Aaron Thorne
United States
Valley Park
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Play Report: More GWS:M, this time with the last of the randomly determined battle scenarios, #9 Troop Convoy. This scenario sees our old German friends, the Goeben and Breslau, going after some French troop transports defended by five battleships and four destroyers. The same situation as the last play (fast Germans with longer range against slow ships) was present, but of course the French transports are only going to run away, and the Germans only have four turns to get them. Can they do it? Well, kind of. When the game was played, a decision was made to ignore the fact that ships which leave line of sight are supposed to be able to slip away, so those troop ships stuck around on the board longer than they would have. As a result, some of the transports got sunk, but really the German player didn't need those points to win. He scored over 50 points just from sinking French ships, while the French only scored five points for hull hits on the German ships. It is hard to sink the Goeben, especially when the French player rolls bad for his shots. Next play we'll be moving into the Eastern scenarios.
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Thu Aug 6, 2015 2:01 am
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Game Played (61 of 100) - E2

Aaron Thorne
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Play Report: More GWS:M. From the randomly determined scenarios, I am playing all of the battle scenarios first so that I can get the combat system down. This time it was scenario 3, Battle of Cape Sarych, which has two German ships attacking seven Russian ships, including five battleships. You would think that being outnumbered over 3:1 would put the Germans at a disadvantage, but the Goeben is the best ship in the battle and the Germans are faster. Because the Russians have obsolete ships (and can thus only fire Primary cannons at a range of two), the Germans spent as much time as possible at range three so that the Goeben could blow away Russian ships at leisure. The Evstafi was sunk before the Russians could get in range, though once they did they ended up knocking a lot of guns off the Goeben. After four turns (the standard length for the battle scenarios) the Russians had scored a total of 2 victory points, while the Germans had 42, for sinking the Evstafi and almost sinking the Tri Svititelia and Ioann Zlatoust (leaving them dead in the water). I must admit that tactical combat is pretty boring when all of the ships are slow, but having faster ships makes the game more dynamic.
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Sun Aug 2, 2015 7:23 pm
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Game Played (60 of 100) - E1

Aaron Thorne
United States
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Introduction: Now that the year is half over, it is time that I tackle what is probably the trickiest game in my list: Great War at Sea - The Mediterranean. I have dabbled with this game a couple times before, and I must admit that I find the game a bit baffling. I want to like it, but it just don't get it; it doesn't click for me. This game can be played in different ways. There are some scenarios that are just tactical combat, but most scenarios have you moving fleet counters around maps of the Mediterranean, and then if fleets meet then they move to the tactical map to try to sink each other. This game comes with no less than 70(!!) scenarios. I have no idea which would be fun to play, so I am randomly picking them. Hopefully I don't pick any snoozers.

Play Report: For the first play through I randomly selected Battle Scenario 11, Niki Hellas, which pits Greeks and Turks against each other in a battle from January 1913. According to the scenario book, historically the Greeks heavily damaged the Turkish flagship, and then the Turks retreated. Well, that isn't what happened here! What happened is that the Turks moved en masse towards the Greeks, who successfully sunk the two Turkish destroyers, along with the gunboat and light cruiser. The Turks, however, got some nice critical hits and before the second turn was done every Greek ship but one Niki-class destroyer was sitting at the bottom of the sea. In addition, not one torpedo attack hit its target. It is hard for the Greeks to win against the heavily armored Turkish battleships if their torpedoes miss. Final score is Turkey with 55, and the Greeks with 16.
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Sun Aug 2, 2015 3:11 am
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Game Played (59 of 100) - H10

Aaron Thorne
United States
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Play Report: My final play of Abaddon, and I must say good riddance to it. Is that because it is a bad game? No. it is because I am terrible at the game, and am tired of losing. Yes, I lost again. This time we played mission 18, another one downloaded from the website. This one lets you use the forests as additional cover for infantry and recon links, which is frankly an idea that should have been in the original game, in my opinion. The Satellite player even gets to pop his reserve infantry up in any of the forests as their first activation, which is all sorts of wrong when you are playing the Commonwealth. At least this time my Commonwealth losers were able to destroy one of the targets, so they weren't completely impotent. Stupid dice.

Abaddon - Final Impressions: For a quick and light sci-fi wargame with mecha, this game performs nicely. I wish that there was some variety in the link figures, but I understand why there isn't (the game would need a lot more figures that way). I wish that the terrain did more than just block movement and line of sight (though the downloadable mission 18 starts moving this direction). I wish that there was less randomness to it, as the random weapon system cards and random activation dice rolls mean you sometimes just get hosed and can't do anything (though management of the weapon system cards is part of the game). In the end, I wish that I was 12 years old, because then I would probably love this game to death. Alas (not really), I am not. However, my friend Gabe has nephews between the ages of 8 and 13. He plays games like Memoir '44 and Magic: The Gathering with them, so I am going to give him my copy of Abaddon so he and his nephews can have fun blowing up links together. They will get better use of it than I.
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Sun Jul 26, 2015 8:37 pm
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Game Played (58 of 100) - H9

Aaron Thorne
United States
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Play Report: Another game of Abaddon, another loss. Naturally. The 'Toy Vault' account has commented on a couple of these posts that I should check out the scenarios they have on their website. So, I decided to do so. This time, we played mission 17, which has a bunch of damaged Commonwealth heavies (and a couple medium links) trying to get to the middle of the board, while the Satellite player has a lot of infantry and a couple recon and medium links to stop them. I played Commonwealth, as usual. Is it normal for heavy links to get killed all over the place by recon links? It isn't, right? Well it happened a lot here. Granted, when 3/4 of your rolls are "2" or "3" you are going to lose a lot of battles. The stupid infantry finished off what the recon links didn't, and while I killed close to half the enemy units I never even got one link next to the target. My strategy of a slow advance was probably bad; I guess I should have just strung every unit along the edge of the board and tried to shoot anything that got in range, maybe? I don't know what I'm doing wrong; maybe this game just doesn't click for me.
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Sun Jul 26, 2015 12:04 am
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Game Played (57 of 100) - H8

Aaron Thorne
United States
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Play Report: Back to Abaddon, and back to losing, unfortunately. We played mission #8, and things were going pretty well for me at first. In this mission, the Commonwealth side starts with half a dozen units spread throughout some terrain, while the Satellite player "air drops" seven units (mostly recon links) based on die rolls. He ended up dropping two of his recon units next to my heavy links, so there were some easy points for me, right? Well, I was nicely in the lead until the last turn, when my opponent scored eight crystals. Eight! I knew I was in trouble when he Doomsday Bolted one of my heavy links successfully, and then he won all of the other combats that turn, giving him 18 at turn end, and the win. Stupid dice.
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Sat Jul 25, 2015 10:44 pm
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Game Played (56 of 100) - D7

Aaron Thorne
United States
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Play Report: I was able to work in another game of FC:Napoleon before having to put all the games away to prepare for company over the weekend. Continuing in my chronological path through the campaigns, I played the 1809 Danube Campaign. And I won! With only 10 victory points, but still, I'll take it. The trick to my victory was two-fold. First, I kept enough supply points to be able to capture both Vienna and Wagram on the last turn with Napoleon. Second, when that last bunch of Austrian troops snuck off and tried to take one of my objective cities on the last turn, they retreated after the ridiculous standoff fight where NOBODY GOT HURT. Seriously, that "combat" was super dumb. Let's all run around and roll nothing but 9s and 10s guys, good job. Yikes.

2/3 Impressions - Field Commander: Napoleon: This game has a lot of depth to it. With the many campaigns that come with it, and the need to play each one multiple times to try to get the best results, you could play this game for days. Unfortunately it is just a bit too random for me. It seems like a lot of campaign victories or defeats come down to which side randomly retreats after the final inconclusive combat. That is not satisfying; if I am going to lose (or win!) I want the ultimate cause to be my decisions, not random die rolls.
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Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:19 am
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Game Played (55 of 100) - D6

Aaron Thorne
United States
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Play Report: Back to FC:Napoleon, and back to losing, unfortunately. I played the Peninsular Campaign this time, which is very different from the other campaigns I have played so far. In this one, the French start on the board controlling territory while lots of Spanish patriots pop up and you have to deal with them. As the player, you have to balance keeping troops to defend your towns (so that you can get more supply points) with heading out to kill Spanish troops, because the Spanish supply phase gives them new units somewhat based on how many units they have on the board and how French units they have killed. So if you don't stay killing Spanish they will soon overwhelm you.

I had some bad luck in my initial rolls (and late rolls; I won the middle rolls), and ended the campaign with five cities under control and 12 dead French units, for 13 points. I needed at least 15 to get to the historical result. Of course that stupid "give a hit to a unit in a French occupied city" fog of war result just HAD to randomly pick Barcelona, which had one reduced unit on it. That cost me 5 points, and the game. I need to threaten that die with a hammer or something.
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Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:08 am
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Game Played (54 of 100) - I4

Aaron Thorne
United States
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Play Report: Well, that was interesting. Empires in America again, and again the Seven Year War started on the first turn. However, this time for many turns it was Langlade by himself against the world. He did pretty well, too, never losing a battle until faced with overwhelming firepower while trying to defend Carillon-Ticonderoga. Once he died, I had no leaders, and had multiple British armies in "1" boxes, so I was sure I would lose on the next turn. Nope! For multiple turns in a row something screwy would happen and the British would move their leaders out of those tracks and into other tracks, keeping me alive. Eventually I started drawing good French leaders, and I even actually thought I was going to win as the draw deck got small, but some bad dice rolling in the turn before I emptied the draw deck meant I lost the battle for Montreal, and the game. So I scored a "stalemate" defeat this time.

Empires in America - 1/3 Impressions: Obviously, any card-driven game is subject to "bad draws," where you just don't get the card you need. That has happened to me with this game, but not often. And sometimes the card draws were strange, just in my favor. I find that the more I play this game, the more I enjoy it. It is a bit fiddly, what with constantly moving leaders in and out, and constantly moving their battalion and reputation markers on their tiny cards, but that doesn't detract much from an enjoyable design.
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Wed Jul 8, 2015 1:05 am
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