My attempt at a new gaming blog that I will be making a serious effort to keep up with monthly. This month in the doghouse we played Imperial Assault, Lords of Waterdeep, and RoboRally.
My friends; Lady, the Tramp, and Snoopy came over to the doghouse to play some games. Last time we played Star Wars: Imperial Assault, which was enjoyed by all. Since Snoopy was running late we chose that game again and were setting it up when he arrived.
Star Wars: Imperial Assault
This was only my second session with this game. I was actually surprised by how intuitive and fast the setup becomes once you've played. There's really not a lot of components to playing this game even if there are lot of game components in the box. In this particular campaign I'm playing as the mighty Empire and showing no mercy. The other dogs were playing the jedi apprentice (Lady), the smuggler (Snoopy), and the wookie (Tramp). I really like how the characters are clearly synonymous with the main characters from the movies, but aren't actually Luke, Han, and Chewie. For me its like getting to play a new character versus playing someone else's character. But since I'm not playing the Rebels in this campaign that's not really important yet. This session was a story mission called A New Threat. I have a secret research base and the rebels are investigating it. The map layout for this one was at least twice as large as any we'd played previously so that was a bit daunting. Here's where I let you know I will try to avoid spoilers by not getting too specific. Their goal was to access three terminals each located far apart from each other and each one requiring a different ability check. The heroes would have no idea which ability would be needed for the first two, but would know the third by process of elimination.
So we queued up the Star Wars soundtrack as usual and they started making plans for what order they'd get to stuff in because there is a round limit. They decided they were going to ignore all the crates and originally planned on splitting up, but ended up going for the first terminal together. There was a surprise waiting for them in that room when they got there. Also some stormtroopers showed up behind them and there was a shootout. This is where they learned you don't always want to stick around to kill every single bad guy due to the round limit. This led to me having a good number of enemies on the board as things progressed. As they got halfway to the second terminal they split up. It took a few rounds, but I managed to wound both Lady and the Tramp's characters. The final blow to Lady's jedi dealt by a self-destructing probe droid. Unfortunately it was at the end of the same round that she'd successfully activated the second terminal. This left just Snoopy's smuggler that I either had to wound or delay in the last round. He had already gotten past an entry point for a rather nasty baddie I was able to deploy so that didn't do me much good. I did get a final attack, but rolled badly and didn't do enough damage. Snoopy used his final action in the final round to successfully access the terminal. Rebels win. The whole mission took right about two hours. I hadn't spent any of my XP or influence after the previous mission so used the saved up stuff to buy several new cards to unleash on them next time. Oh yes, the Empire will strike back. ;)
Lords of Waterdeep
Next, Snoopy suggested we play this. The Star Wars music was shut off and I think we listened to John Scofield the rest of the day. We've all played Waterdeep together before many times. I have the expansion stuff permanently added in as this game didn't really hit with me until we added the Corruption mechanic. I took the time to choose which cards and buildings to take out (the expansion rules have them random) so set up time is quick. It also think this matters because some Lords give bonuses based on quest type. This way you can be assured that there wasn't an inordinate number of your Lord's quest randomly removed. In fact for this game I had the Lord who gets bonuses for Commerce and Warfare quests. I lucked out and my two setup quests were each of these types. The only quest I did during the game that was a different type was a 40 point one. That put me in a large lead halfway through the game. I usually don't care how much Corruption I get early game because I know I'll have a chance to get rid of it later. Mid-game it really depends on what's out there to get rid of it and how much I already have, if any. During the last two rounds of the game I took the building that lets you remove a Corruption and add one to a spot on the board, which I placed on the only other building that would let you remove one. This was applauded by all as a completely dick move that screwed them over. One of the things I appreciate about this game is the Intrigue cards letting you attack other players directly. With people stealing resources or forcing quests on each other all game there's never any crying just promises of payback. It was a close game in the end. I got big bonus from my Lord as I focused on those quests and had no Corruption left. I ended up winning by a single point over Snoopy with Lady and the Tramp not far behind. This is less because of game mechanisms forcing it to be close and more from our experience with the game making us all good players.
I usually tell people I don't have a particular favorite board game, but if I had to name one this would be it. I'm not actually very good at and have only won a handful of times over the past couple decades. My copy of the game is sort of my own version I've pieced together from the best parts/boards in the original release, expansions, the German release, and one of the more recent releases. I once bought a used copy of Armed & Dangerous off eBay's Buy-It-Now for $30 and it wasn't even punched when I got it. We played a single board (plus starting board) with 3 flags. We were done in a little over an hour. I never reached the second flag as I kept taking a lot of damage and had to either power down or not get enough card variety. In fact three of us were basically gridlocked fighting and pushing each other while Lady snuck around and won before we fully realized it was happening. Snoopy never made it to the first flag and swore he wouldn't play that board again (Vault, if you're curious). We all had a lot of fun with all these games and parted ways after the usual post-games chatting.