I wasn’t entirely unhappy when two players jumped ship in the very last moment before a Friday night of StarCraft: the board game. None of them had played the game before, and though having played the computer game helps, it can easily take 45 minutes to explain the rules to new players and maybe do a sample turn. Instead the three of us could just jump right into it.
We played with the Brood War expansion in the mix and picked random factions. My wife played Tassadar, AFB ended up with Jim Raynor, and I played The Overmind. None of us picked the leadership card that would allow us to win by a special victory. Mostly – I think – because we all wanted to try something new, but since the game ended with a normal victory as soon as we entered phase three, that was probably a good thing.
One of the most interesting things about the expansion is the new planets. Quite a lot of the areas are now limited to ground or air units only. In our game we ended up with a lot of air only areas which meant we were all forced to go air. And even though I never made it to any of my top tier units, I really like how the layout of the board can nudge you in certain directions. My one gripe about StarCraft (and it’s even worse with Brood War) is the sheer number of possibilities you have unit wise, but I think the new planet areas can help this.
Into the fray
The game was intense from the beginning. I figured I had placed my self very well indeed with easy access to a couple of conquest points. And with a leadership card that gave me additional points as long as the overmind token was in play; I figured I was good to go. Not entirely true, as I was soon to find out.
My wife made a bold move to my second planet, going directly for my second base and the conquest points beneath it. I was certain I could counterattack and keep it, but I was wrong. And though she only kept the area for a turn, the extra points gave her a solid lead. In the meantime I threatened AFB and his Terrans, but wasn’t man (bug?) enough to actually attack, fearing that Tassadar would use his (her?) portal (gained from a leadership card) to transport troops behind my lines. This was another mistake by me, since the sneaky Terrans not only got resources from a leadership card, but also from the rich areas I failed to invade.
In other words things were looking bleak for your favourite bugs. But by cunningly pitting the other two against each other, I managed to set up my forces for a game winning move. However, it all hinged on whether or not AFB and his Terrans could keep the Protoss from winning and gain us all an extra turn. So while I mounted my attack, he sent his forces on a daring raid deep into Protoss territory. He easily took the area with the all-important conquest points, but the real question was whether or not he could survive the Protoss counter-attack.
I cannot remember the exact details, but this was one of the most intense gaming moments I’ve had for a very long time. If the Protoss could kill the Terran forces, my wife would win the game. If not, we would all have a shot at winning the next turn – even me, though I’m not sure that was apparent to the others yet. What I do remember is that it came down to the very last man standing, but the Terrans won the day.
End of Days
In the next and obviously final turn, I attacked the Terran home world to gain the conquest point that – as far as I could see – would make the game a tie between me and the Protoss with the Terrans close behind. A tie I would win, since I had the most resources in my areas. Everything – from planning to execution – went just as I had hoped, and I could almost feel the sweet taste of victory in my mouth – a taste made so much sweeter by the fact that my poor bugs had taken a severe beating earlier in the game.
But alas, something cannot be planned. As we entered phase three – just before I would be declared winner – the Terrans played a leadership card that cost me and my wife two conquest points each. And even though I gained four conquest points that turn and she three, that was not enough to beat AFB and his damned Terrans. And just to make matters even worse, he also depleted one of my resources, meaning that I came in last instead of second. It. Was. Epic.
But next time. Next time I’m gonna read those fucking leadership cards before playing.