Sunday, February 7, 2016

Tidewater Area Gamers

Two games yesterday at the monthly Tidewater Area Gamers Society meeting.

Samurai by Fantasy Flight Games. This represents daimyos struggling for the support of the priests, merchants and nobles of Japan. Each player gets a set of influence tokens, and your goal is to capture objectives--representing the support of the three castes--by surrounding them with more influence than your opponent. The board is a map of Japan, divided into hexes, and your objectives are scattered across the map, including Edo with markers for all three castes. Some of your influence tokens only apply to one caste, some apply to all of them, and a few let you relocate pieces or make extra moves. Once a caste piece is completely surrounded, if you have the majority of influence on it, you capture it. If you have the majority of the pieces for a caste, you gain that caste's support; if you control two of the three castes, you win. Be careful, though, because it's possible to win the game without wining the majority of the tokens--for instance, if one player has no support at all from the Priests but wins a slight majority of the Noble and Merchant castes, then two of three castes support him and he wins. Quick and easy to learn, but requiring careful thought on every turn to win. I've added this to my wish list.

Churchill, by GMT. This game showcases the US, UK and USSR struggling not only to win WW2, but to gain an advantageous position in the peace that follows. Each turn has two main phases: a Conference phase, where the Allies each maneuver to set an agenda and gain control over issues, and the Map phase, where they allocate their efforts against Germany and Japan, and develop influence in minor nations, In our game, I played FDR, Mike took Stalin, and Ron played Churchill. In the Conferences, the US and USSR mostly countered each other, leaving the UK to come out ahead. In the map phase, the European front went well, as the US/UK took Italy and punched through France, defeating Germany well before the Russians could arrive. Progress was slower in the Pacific; the Japanese navy sat out the war, but the US failed to take Okinawa or the Phillipines, the Brits didn't make it to Hong Kong, and the Red Army never saw Korea. Things were looking grim until the US managed a last-minute research success and developed the A bomb, which forced Japan to surrender. The final score was England 55, US 39, USSR 33....but the rules say that you want to win, but not by so much that you provoke the other two into joining against you. Ron's lead was a little too overwhelming (more than 15+1d6) so I, as the second place power, became the winner. We finished the tournament scenario in about three hours, including time for me to learn the rules.

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