Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sword of Rome (GMT)

Game: Sword of Rome (GMT)
Scenario: 4-Player
Participants: John P, Rikk "Uncle Silkie" M, Chuck "Chazzy Chaz" W, Myself
Time: Fri, Mar 25th 6.00PM - 10.00PM

In a highly unusual move, Rikk (my oldest and dearest friend) decided to purchase SoR and introduce it to his gaming group in Arizona where he lives. He and I would talk about the game off and on. Recently with our playing it here in STL he finally decided to take the plunge. I believe he and his group has played it two or three times and enjoyed it. They have played it 4-player most of all, much like we have locally. I think we are only just a step or two ahead of them on the learning curve.

As I mentioned the last time we played SoR, I am still missing something around 'getting' this game. It surely is fun to play, but our experiences with it have nearly all been player usually ends up making a king maker decision once he's down on his luck (i.e. he's getting beat up by another player). The other thing we've seen is one player getting ahead of the others (again we have really only played the 4-player game locally) and finds himself getting attacked by the other three players. I was left wanting to play the game with a new set of people to see what we are missing, or in fact was this the normal state of play for this game.

Rikk decided to organize and host a 4-player game, kicking off my long weekend back in Arizona. All of us had played the game at least a couple of times and had roughly the same level of rules knowledge. We rolled for sides and I got the Gauls, Rikk was the Greeks with Chazzy as the E/S player and John getting Romans. In my previous playings I had played everyone except the Gauls so I was pretty excited. The Gauls face a tough choice of going after the E/S player (and thus making him very vulnerable to the Romans) or electing to hold back (and thus limiting the Gauls options for getting VP's).
Chuck "Chazzy-Chaz" and Rikk get ready to start

My initial hand had Brennus in it so this was my first card play. I didn't have any cards to activate the Carthaginians, so my ability to mess with Rikk's Greeks was limited on the first run. Things started off slowly with Chazzy (E/S) offering me an alliance after John's Romans started to misbehave. Rikk or John activated the TA Gauls, taking a red city and costing me a VP on the first turn. The Romans built a city while the Greeks added support and started to look closely at taking all of Sicily.

Chazzy, happy about his Alliance with the Trustworthy Gauls

With my alliance with the Estonians, Rikk and John were working together, just short of an alliance (at least initially). There weren't many battles in the first few turns. I dealt with the TA Gauls, retaking my city and leaving a minor leader and 4 CU's up there to discourage any further TA activations. They (the TA Gauls) had lost all three of their CU's so I knew I would have a few turns reprieve. Meanwhile the Greeks and Carthage were messing with each other, both John (Rome) and I were activating the Carthaginian units to keep the Greeks in check. I also lead a 10 CU Army all the way down (through Samnite territory) once the Greeks moved against them (Samnites) and took out one other their Red VP tribal locations. This caused Rikk to pull his Greek invaders out of Samnite lands and move to intercept Brennus and try and save his city from Gaelic atrocities.

John's Romans mistreating the Etruscans

This move caused me to high tail it back up the boot as I didn't want to risk loosing a battle and having to retreat. That would have cost me my army for sure as I was not allied with the Samnites (at the time), just the Etruscans. Johns Romans were starting to get the upper have against the Etruscans while continuing to poop out CU producing cities. Greece was able to defeat the Carthage forces in Sicily (getting the VP city) thus Rikk shot up the VP chart around turn 3. Rome was flat but had the largest army of all of us while Chucks E/S forces were slowly loosing ground against Roman and Greek aggression.

We broke the game on turn 5. One of us moved the Volsci out of Roman territory to try and take a Greek city as by then Rikk was starting to run away with it. We missed the movement restrictions on the Volsci and compounded it an impulse or two later by someone else activating them and attacking a Roman city. At this point we collectively decided to call it as there was no real easy way to undo what had been done and we thought that Rikk or John's Romans (huge army by this time) were very close to a victory with the rest of us only getting to decide which one would get the win (sigh).

My desire to see how the rest of the world played SoR was thus left unquenched, although I am now leaning towards thinking that sticking with TNW when we are looking for a 4-player non-Euro to play is the way to go. The exception here is that I would like to see what a 5-player game of SoR feels like. Our thinking is that with a 5th player to counter the 2v2 aspect of the game it might prove interesting. I should add though that we had a good time with many shenanigans and laughing all around the table.

Dominion (Rio Grande Games)

Since the night was still sort of young we decided to break out Dominion. I will talk about this game in another post as we played it a few more times over the course of the weekend (and I like it very much).

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