Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Pleasure Of The Shaft.

Surely the title of this entry will get us some more hits from Google!

But alas, it refers not to that which the depraved Google searcher searches for, but rather to screwing over another player when one does not stand to gain from that action. A pure shafting! Last week we played Monsters Menace America and Bohnanza, and more than one player experienced the Pleasure of the Shaft. In this case, 'tis better to give than to receive.

We've played both of theses games before, and have already recapped the basic rules of both Monsters Menace America and Bohnanaza. I won't rehash that here.

I will say that I LURVED MMA to pieces. The only way it could be better is if it was named Monster Menace: America! instead of Monsters Menace America. I love giant monsters, and the sillier the better. In this game, the monsters are very, very, giant; they are also very, very silly.

Our session this time was marred by a rules error - we failed to draw a "military enhancement" card whenever our army units defeated a monster in battle. If we had done this, I think that the game may have been prolonged, due to the increased incentive to attack and increased armed force effictiveness resulting in Stomps happening more slowly. I don't, however, think this really affected the fairness of the game, since we all were playing under the same rules, and it's unclear if a longer game would have helped any particular player.

As it was, Luch pulled off a spectacular come from behind victory, as his strategy of accquiring infamy over hit point increases paid off. His Giant Praying Mantis defeated the Giant Tentacled Eyeball, The Giant Toxic Pile, and The Giant Lizard That Isn't At All Like Godzilla in succession for the victory.

Afterwards I was discussing MMA with Easy, and he suggested that he thought the game would be improved with greater control over the military units. Between the raging Ukranian Festival and vomiting children I didn't get the chance to ask him to expand on that thought, but hopefully he will in the comments. I'd welcome any improvement, but MMA is damn fine as is!

Secondly, we played Bohnanza, with Bharmer being a first time player. This time we actually followed the rules, and removed the numerous Coffee Beans from the deck, as there were four players. I think things played a bit more smoothly as a result, and things were very close, with final scores of 19, 17, 16, and 15. I was able to pull out a victory due to the fact I was the only one willing to lower myself to planting Wax Beans, repeatedly. In fact, I was the only player to plant a low-value Wax Bean at all in the first round, gaining two consecutive four coin harvests. The strategy worked wonderfully this time, but I think that it was a singular occurance. Likely this gaming group will remember, and prevent giving anyone easy monopolies in the future.

Since both games played last week are a little bit fluffy, and a little bit light on strategy, several time actions were taken to harm other players which might not have been taken in a more rigourously designed game. I would sound a slight warning about playing these with a group of thin-skinned gamers - both (particularly MMA) lend themselves to a little bit of a "What the Hell, why not" approach, which often leads to a playering giving in to the Pleasure of the Shaft.

Which is not always something you want to see, no matter how much the shafter is enjoying themselves.

So to speak.

(I'm so glad this will only be the top entry briefly. So, so glad.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

I have no idea what happened (Monsters Menace America, other things)

I wasn't there, so I don't know what happened... except that Monsters Menace America was played. Shemp told me what they played afterwards, but I forget what he told me. I retain very little of what I am told.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Having a Breakthrough day (Maharaja, Conquest of the Empire)

From Shemp:

Having a Breakthrough Day: I've had a total recalibration of my mind, you know. I mean, it's like, I've been banging my head against this 19th century type, um, what? Thought mode? Construct? Human construct? Well, the wall doesn't exist. It's not there, you know. I mean, they tell you, look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Well, there is no tunnel. There's just no structure. The underlying order is chaos.

-From the film Slacker.

I can't do a full post right now, but last night was a breakthrough night! After roughly two and a half years, our little gaming group finally killed a leader! We identified the person out front, banded together, and TOOK THEM DOWN. It was beautiful. Petty differences were set aside. Screwage was minimized. Victory points were graciously shared amongst the alliance.

We've grown as gamers. I commend Kozure and Luch on their fine, fine work.

There is no tunnel.

From Easy:

A breakthough, indeed.

First things first... This night we played two games. The first was Maharaja and the second was Conquest of the Empire. The breakthrough in question occurred during Conquest of the Empire.

This was our second game of Maharaja, and I for one was determined not to make the same mistakes I made in our first session (which ultimately allowed Bharmer to walk away with the win). Tili joined us in place of Kozure, so she was in the unfortunate position of being the only new player! I did pretty well for myself. I was winning a good number of income by sticking with the #1 role, zooming to the next scoring city and securing a majority (or strong 2nd place). More importantly, I was consistently building a palace every turn. Unfortunately, I had to skip a round and Bharmer didn't. He won again! Shemp was trying a strategy which can work very well in other area majority games... go for the easy 3rd place points in lots of cities. Didn't work for him, but that doesn't mean it couldn't work in the future.

I like the game. It seems complex at first, but once you get used to it the whole thing is quite streamlined and smooth. I think I enjoy it about as much as I do Puerto Rico or Power Grid. They are all interesting and enjoyable, but neither are huge hits with me for whatever reason. Like Power Grid, Maharaja is ultimately a race between all the players to get to a predefined goal... and in both games I feel like my options are a little bit "railroaded" or "constrained" by that fact. To put it another way: In games like these, everything boils down the efficiency with which you reach that predetermined goal. by way of contrast, games which use victory points can be much more open ended and offer several different ways to play the game.

Next up was Conquest of the Empire.

The initial spread of forces was interesting. Bharmer had 3 of his 4 starting influence tokens in italia. My influence started just to the South and West of there. Since the other three were scatterred around the rest of the board, it became clear that it would be mutually advantageous to myself and Bharmer to cooperate. I cozied up to him for a second place in Italia, and spread out to grab nearby neutral influence tokens. Bharmer, unfortunately, felt so much pressure to keep his lead in italia that he was somewhat paralysed and couldn't really break out of there. While the other players skirmished and jockeyed for influence and position elsewhere on the board, I had grabbed a lucrative empire. By the end of the 2nd season, I had a huge lead. I had also snagged 4 Army Training cards (!!!), so I wasn't really an attractive target, either. With zero chaos to my name, things were looking good.

Then it happened. This is when the breakthrough occurred. This is how we learned that There Is No Tunnel: The other three players decided to work toghether to take me down (not surprising). Then, they actually worked effectively towards that goal (extremely surprising. Unprecendented, even). Remember, Luch was in that group. It boggles the mind.

Anyway, the next two seasons saw bharmer and I as allies against the world. I didn't have enough money to work my way into a different alliance, though I REALLY wished I could have. Systematically, they raised and sent armies to the locations where I had influence. In many cases, I was spread too thin to defend myself adequately, so I started losing ground immediately (though I was satisfied that I managed to keep just about all of my influence long enough to score the 3rd campaign season, even though my armies had been mowed down). Other than a few token representatives in italia, I had only two major forces left: One just south of Spain, and the other which threatened Kozure in Numidia. Despite this, moving into the 4th season I still had high hopes that my lead was enough. Unfortunately, in order to survive the onslaught, I had begun special taxing and raising armies quite a lot... my chaos was quite high.

In the last season, Shemp snuck into italia and converted all my influence in many of my old powerbases in the surrounding areas. Luch built an enormous army and knocked me out of a few regions. I poured my reasonably large and highly trained army out of Italia through a back route into Spain since it was not as well defended after Luch's advance. Unfortunately, it didn't go as well as planned, and I was forced to retreat. I made a mistake and went south, where Luch and Kozure successfully kept me pinned until the end of the game (Kozure had quite a fleet. He used one to block my exit though Afrika and the others to destroy any triremes I built before I could use them). Only my campaign to boot out Kozure in Numidia was a success. As my last action, I took Bharmer's advice and bounced Luch out of first place in Egypt (it didn't net me any points, but it did reduce his score).

When the dust settled, the scores became incredibly tight. Prior to taking chaos into account, I was ahead of Shemp and Luch by one point. However, since I had the most chaos, and Luch the second most, it ended with me and Luch tied for second... and Shemp all alone in the lead!

So, lesson learned... don't make yourself a huge target early in the game (duh). Either way, the whole experience of having a lead, becoming the target, seeing all the forces mobilize against me and all the big battles we had... well, it was a lot of fun and quite exciting. I think I did about as well as I could have, other than my big mistake retreating south instead of north from Spain (and maybe putting a bit more effort in swinging the alliances). I look forward to playing again!

Having a Breakthrough Day.

Having a Breakthrough Day: I've had a total recalibration of my mind, you know. I mean, it's like, I've been banging my head against this 19th century type, um, what? Thought mode? Construct? Human construct? Well, the wall doesn't exist. It's not there, you know. I mean, they tell you, look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Well, there is no tunnel. There's just no structure. The underlying order is chaos.

-From the film Slacker.

I can't do a full post right now, but last night was a breakthrough night! After roughly two and a half years, our little gaming group finally killed a leader! We identified the person out front, banded together, and TOOK THEM DOWN. It was beautiful. Petty differences were set aside. Screwage was minimized. Victory points were graciously shared amongst the alliance.

We've grown as gamers. I commend Kozure and Luch on their fine, fine work.

There is no tunnel.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Getting the red haired step children out to play (Pueblo, Domaine, Tower of Babel, Aladdin's Dragons, Carcassonne: The City)

A big pile of games played this week. Bharmer and Kozure couldn't join us, but JayWowzer rounded us out to a foursome. I chose a number of games which rarely get played in the group. Many don't get out often simply because they are four player, but most of them have oddities which make them "niche" games in my mind.

Prior to JayWowzer's arrival, we played a three player game of Pueblo. We had Shemp's wife choose the locations for the "Sacred Sites", and the resulting board was devilishly difficult. As usual, Luch displayed a knack for burying himself deep behind other player's pieces. He had quite a lead up to the end of the game. Unfortunately for him, in the last round he was forced to play two very costly pieces (he misplayed the block order, leaving him with 2 coloured ones to place last). Once the final score was calculated, the shaman saw more of Luch than he could handle... giving me an unlikely win (I still have a sneaking suspicion that we counted something incorrectly... Luch was REALLY well buried except on that one face). I really enjoy pulling this one out every once in a while... it's a nice change of pace.

Domaine was next. It had been a long time, and we always seem to play this one incorrectly. Still, it's a great game if you are in the mood fore some good, confrontational fun. However, as I've often mentioned, the game is pretty fragile... If everyone isn't paying attention, a player can inadvertently get a windfall. Unfortunately, this kind of happened. Luch and I didn't do what we needed to do to prevent JayWowzer from winning the game as he inherited a huge territory down the middle! Oh well, it's a part of the game to manipulate things to be in the right place at the right time, for all I know he might have orchestrated the whole thing! I thought I had a good shot until it happened, though.

Tower of Babel saw it's first play in some time. Always an enigma, I like to give this one a shot once in a while. There is no game in my collection which eludes me as much as this one... I understand the mechanics, but I don't understand the strategy. After last night, I came to the conclusion that it's a fragile game in a lot of ways: 1) the tendency is to hoard cards and complete works on your own. Once that starts, the game gets boring real fast because everyone is just waiting for their turn to build their monument (and the ultimate winner is probably determined by the player who is lucky enough to draw the needed cards first.) 2) Since the bidding strategy isn't obvious, many players are making bad bids. This has the compounding effect of making a "well played" bid irrelevant, since there is usually a better (i.e. poorly played) one available. Anticipating what others might do becomes basically impossible. 3) the bonus cards just don't work very well. Some are significantly better than others (hmmm, would you like to exchange 5 cards or take a 2nd turn... I wonder). With all that, I'm still going to keep giving it chances until it clicks or someone offers me something for it in trade. It's certainly not bad, and it's short for an area control/ bidding type game. We'll see. I spent the game trying to accumulate purple chips, 2nd/3rd placement points on temples and scorned auction points. I was feeling pretty good about my prospects and in fact I thought I won the game... until Luch pulled out 2 of his bonus cards which gave it to him!

As I was returning Aladdin's Dragons to JayWowzer, we played a farewell session. As with many bidding games, it takes a while to get familiar with the relative values of items and enjoyment of the game increases with repeated play. I played my worst game so far (coming in last with 5 artifacts, while Luch had 7), but I won't hold that against it. One aspect of the game which revealed itself to me this game: go for spells early AND USE THEM,,, as the game progresses, they become nearly impossible to play! I was also surprised to see that very few players had to pass over artifacts this game due to insufficient funds. By contrast, it was quite commonplace in our first few games.

Last, but not least, was Carcassonne: The City. I don't often play this since I actually prefer the base game (particularly with the first two expansions), but it's still quite good. I stumbled across a pretty lucrative tower guard when I started the second round, so I eventually tried to maximize that by placing the notable buildings in his view (ignoring most other scoring methods). If I had thought of it earlier, it probably would have worked out better. As it was, I managed a decent 2nd place to Luch.

Well, this was definitely Luch's night. Out of 5 games, he won 3 (and nearly won a 4th).

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Among Royalty (Maharaja, Princes of Florence)

4 Players this week, and what's a WAGS session without a new game?

This week's newest aquisition is Maharaja: Palace building in India. Bharmer bought it this weekend and was eager to try it out.

Maharaja is a Kramer and Kiesling collaboration (the same team which brought us Tikal, Torres, Pueblo, Mexica, etc). The board depicts 7 walled cities interconnected by paths and small villages. Each player is trying to be the first to build 7 palaces.

Each player will enlist the help of a noble on the first turn (though nobles will change hands over the course of a game). The noble confers a special power to the player and determines turn order. On a turn, players must choose 2 actions on a wheel (similar to the wheels in El Grande). There is a wide range of actions, some of them affect the acting player (building houses/ palaces, earning gold), others might impact other players (such as changing the order that the Maharaja will visit the cities, or exchanging character cards with another player).

Some things I liked:
1) Players are building houses and palaces in the various cities in order to gain majorities, so that when the Maharaja visits it they are rewarded with money (which is, in turn, used to build houses and palaces). However, houses are 12x less expensive to build than palaces, yet are worth the same when counting majorities! This leads to a very interesting balancing act as players try to get their palaces on the board yet still win majorities.
2) In our group, turn seemed to go by quickly. I suspect that is because the actions are determined in advance and are quite specific. However, there is real possibility of analysis paralysis if a player tries to think through every possibility and permutation when actually choosing their actions. In the end, though, there is too much chaos in the system to actually have that level of control, so it's ultimately not worth doing anyway.
3) It's nice to play a game which doesn't rely on tallying up victory points.

Some things I liked less:
1) The chaos, after one play, seemed a little high to me. I found it a little frustrating to have to plan 2 actions ahead of time, only to find out (repeatedly) that the Maharaja wasn't were I expected him to be, or that I was no longer the character I started with. As I alluded to in an earlier point, I find this to be an odd combination with the amount of potential analysis in planning out your turn.
2) It seems very difficult to do anything to stop a leader. Other players can't be directly affected, other than stealing their character card, so I kind of watched Brian coast to victory 3 rounds ahead of the end of the game... unable to do anything about it. I guess the idea would be to work together and try to prevent that player from gaining the majorities needed to raise cash and build palaces... but I suspect that's pretty hard to actually do.
3) On the surface, it seemed like there was at least two strategies available for earning income: Gaining majorities inthe cities, and placing houses on the roads to collect tolls. At least in our game, the houses on the roads were far too easy to circumvent, and did not really earn their keep. If they weren't necessary in order to get anywhere, I suspect players would soon stop playing them at all. I wonder if this will eventually lead to a game of "chicken" as players wait and see who will make the sacrifice and useup their turn to build there.

In the end, I felt like I was playing a combination of El Grande and Aladdin's Dragons. The area majority mechanic occupied most of my thoughts during the game, but I found myself constantly trying to guess what other players might do, and what I had to do in order to avoid getting messed up. I's a weird combination of deep strategy and guesswork. I made the wrong decisions far more often than I should have!

I did notice that Bharmer made extensive use of the character card trading mechanic, and that he made a point of building a palace on all but one turn. I lost sight of the goal of the game early on (building palaces), focusing too much on gaining majorities. This was despite Bharmer's warning at the beginning of the game not to do that! He won quite easily, but I would expect much stiffer competition in a second game.

In the end, Maharaja strikes me as potentially a very good strategy game. It seems to be aiming for depth of strategy combined with enough chaos to keep it from being dry/ predictable. Time will tell if it succeeds!

We followed up with a game of Princes of Florence, which Bharmer hadn't played yet. In my mind, there is no game which so much about optimization of resources, and that's why I love it. It also means that it's nearly impossible for a new player to compete. I went for a "jester + lots of works" strategy, but I faltered and produced at least 1 work too few to win the game. Shemp, who isn't a huge fan of the game and often does poorly, used a very well balanced strategy of a little bit of everything and won the game! Bharmer? He did come in last, but not by much. It was quite a tight game, and I'd say he did really well.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wow, that's a lot of fighting! (Rommel in the Desert, Wilderness War, AirWar: Pacific!, Duel of Ages)

As it happens, both Kozure and myself had a week off at the same time, so we decided to get together for a day of wargames!

Rommel in the Desert

I played the allies, and Kozure played the Axis. We tried the "Crusader" scenario, as the playing time is 1-2 hours. Neither one of us had played a full game before, so we knew extra time would be needed.

Rommel in the Desert is a Columbia Games block game about the war in North Africa during WW2. The system stresses the importance of supply and the psychological effect of imperfect information. The rulebook seemed intimidating at first (21 pages + scenarios), but in practice the game flows very smoothly once the system is understood. Besides, many of those pages could have been eliminated if some of the repetition was eliminated!

The starting conditions for this scenario are quite wide open. Each player has more than 20 units and have very few limitations on initial setup (Axis start anywhere in Lybia and Allies start anywhere in Egypt + up to 5 units in Tobruk). As inexperienced players, the flexibility was a bit intimidating (and very different from the wholely prescribed starting conditions of Wilderness War... the only other war game I've played). Predictably, we both setup a wall of units facing each other at the border, with a few behind the wall as fallback. As the allies, the burden of action rests on me... the winning conditions of outnumbering the ennemy or holding Tobruk unbeseiged both favour the axis.

It became quickly apparent that the Allies are absolutely outclassed. The elite german tanks, infantry and artillery were blowing holes into every offensive I launched! The entire Libyian border was under fire, but I was gaining no ground. I switched my attention to Tobruk. It was well beseiged at the beginning, but forces were draining away to help reinforce the front line. With no units further west than Acroma, Kozure had left me an opportunity to disrupt his entire supply line (more on this later). I initiated a number of battles in the areas surrounding Tobruk, faring reasonably well against the weaker units which were left there. Meanwhile, I was trying to get my forces to surround the Axis by working south through the Jarabub Oasis and then back up to Bir Hacheim. With a much smaller are to work in, the Axis were continuously able to send just the right units to key battles and I was taking casualties like they were going out of style. As the months advanced, I had absolutely NO WAY of achieving any of the winning conditions under normal circumstances. I renewed my efforts to break out of Tobruk (besides, my advance from the south and longstanding battles south and east of Ft. Maddalena seemed to be working as distractions. That and Kozure was sending most of his forces to Bardia for reasons I didn't understand)

Supply was the downfall of the axis. Whereas I had been accumulating a large number of "real" cards for a final blowout at the end, Kozure's hand was depleted. I spent my final 5 cards doing battle in Acroma and on the final roll I broke through. With Gazala controlled by the Allies, supply was cut to the Axis and the whole army was eliminated at the end of the month.

...that's when I saw the puzzled look on Kozure's face.

It turns out my ploy wasn't clever at all. Kozure wasn't "distracted" or falling for my ploy, he simply hadn't understood the ramifications of the loss of supply to his entire force. Ah well, that's the kind of thing that can happen in a learning game!

I have to say that I had a really great time. The tension created by the block system, the supply cards and the unforgiving nature of the system is real. The system is quite elegant for a wargame, and a big plus for me is that setup and take down is very rapid. I am curious to see if the scenario is as heavily stacked against the allies as it seems (if the winning conditions had been better understood, this session would have resulted in a crushing defeat for me).

Wilderness War

Next up was our third game of Wilderness War. In our earlier games, the French won each time at the end of the first year with 11 victory points. Kozure was set on playing the English again and regaining his honour with a win.

From the very first rounds, it was obvious things wouldn't be easy for the French. Kozure was blocking all the holes I had exploited in earlier sessions. Dumas and the Indians had to be content to gaze upon the English stockades from their newly built fortification in the mountains as Loudoun sat and waited in Woodstock. I made aggressive moves down the Hudson with Montcalm, Villier, Levy, etc. Rigaud took a band of Indians and one drilled unit to the South Green Mountains, in order to threaten the stockades in Charlestown and Hoosic (and, ultimately, the Fortress in Boston). Unfortunately, the british were receiving forces quickly, but a "Reluctant British Assembly" helped me immensely when I needed it. Kozure maintained just enough pesence in all key areas to keep me from advancing, though.

Blocked at every path, I made a risky attack on Hudson Carry South. The British holed up in their fort and waited for reinforcements. Their attack failed, and the beseiged fort was quickly assaulted. Bolstered by the unlikely victory, I made a second risky move... I combined the remaining forces in Hudson Carry South with those in Ticonderoga and attacked the fort in Hudson Carry North. The odds were much better this time (excellent, even), but in the unlikely event that the attack failed my entire contingent of drilled troops would be eliminated as they had nowhere to retreat to (the fortress in Hudson Carry South was "under construction" since I had just won it).

Wouldn't you know it. The attack failed. With only auxilleries left on the table, I conceeded the game and the British won.
(for reference, the odds were 1 in 36 that I would fail. I needed to roll a 1, and he needed to roll a 6. That's what happened.)
Yet another game which doesn't make it past 1757!

I can't really blame luck, though. A more careful commander would not have put his entire force at risk like that. I guess that's why I command armies in wargames, rather than in real life! In my defense, it's my opinion at this early stage that the french can only win in the first year. If the game goes into 1758, the French are just going to struggle to survive, hoping to acheive the default French win at the end of 1759. Maybe next time I'll play conservative and see if I can make that work. It would be interesting just to see what happens when more than 36 cards get played! It was interesting that the Indians had virtually no involvement in this game, having dominated much of the action in the earlier sessions.

I had a great time playing again and hope to play again soon.

AirWar: Pacific!

Next up was a quick game of Air War!, a card game about air combat between the Americans and the Japanese in World War 2. This feels very similar to Magic the Gathering in the way that resources are placed on the table and exhausted to support the units you want to activate (it is NOT a CCG, though). Players each play "Airbases" and occasionaly "Carriers" in order to increase their capacities to send waves of fighters and bombers against their opponent. I enjoyed the general "feel" of the game as it moved quickly and cleanly, and the mechanics worked well to emulate the subject matter (the waves of planes, the counter attacks, etc). the "instant" type cards are kept to a minimum, lowering the chaos inherent in much of these systems (that's not necessarily good or bad. Either way can work, but in this case I think the choice was a good one). There were 2 things that bothered me, though: 1) there is no attempt at balancing the cards. Some planes are simply better than others (i.e. the better planes don't cost more to activate, etc, as would happen in a game like Magic). This means that luck of the draw has a bigger impact on the game than it normally would. 2) There is something lacking in the mechanics for attacking air bases and carriers. First, in our game it seemed futile to destroy one since another was inevitably drawn shortly thereafter, and second because the planes there are simply returned to the player's hand! You would assume that some, or all, of them would be destroyed in the process. Either way, I think some attention should be paid in that area to improve the incentive to try that avenue of play. In our session, Kozure had the upper hand for the entire game and won handily. A reasonably fun game, but not great either.

Duel of Ages

We setup a random board of three platters and the 4 basic labyrinths and drew 7 characters each. The result was a landscape dominated by mesas and some rough, with the Future and Ancient labyrinths on one end of the board and the Modern and Colonial ones at the other. The characters were:

Arkin Ironshanks
Mandibled Plasmoid
Bog Haunt
Sir Gawain

Jerry Gillis
Mick the Lion
Joshua Jordan
Hamid Al-Duri
Minx and Jinx

Things started out normally enough, with various characters making a run for the labyrinths to gather equipment. However, Jerry Gillis, who starts the game with 8 pieces of equipment (!) was suddenly assaulted by Zygoid and the Mandabled Plasmoid. Jerry was killed, but before any equipment could be gathered the Shifter and Beowulf entered the fray. Beowulf was eventually killed as well, but anyone who is familiar with the Shifter and the Mandabled Plasmoid can guess how their battle went.... it lasted the entire game! Meanwhile, Kozure and I each achieved a lead in 2 labyrinths. Three-U used his ability to force other characters to drop their equipment and be banished to good effect. He sat and protected the entrance to the labyrinths I had a lead in, teleporting no less than 3 characters in the process. As our 1 hour and 45 minute game came to a close, the Mandabled Plasmoid had reduced the (now enormously powerful) shifter to 1 health but was on the verge of death himself. He escaped the battle to hide behind Spartacus. In order to tie the game, Kozure HAD to kill one of my characters so he pursued the plasmoid and faced it and spartacus for one last round. The shifter did kill the plasmoid, but Spartacus used his Spear of Implosion (or something) to kill the shifter in the same round. I still had the lead in characters and won the game 3-2. I still very much enjoy this game, especially when the mix of characters leads to a game which involvs more than just running to the labyrinths over and over. I only wish the rest of our group liked it more!

A fabuous day of gaming. Thanks Kozure!