Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Then we take Berlin!

Steve and Anja hosted for this week’s games night. Sam and I were only slightly late, which was a lot less late then Adam and Hannah, who arrived after twenty minutes! I almost put a red circle beside their names in the GNN register.

They arrived, and we decided on two three-player games. Anja had been keen on Wallenstein from the start, so she, I and Steve became a group. Adam, Sam and Hannah plumped for the equally-German Castles of Burgundy.

I was wished the best of luck, since I was up against two old hands at Wallensteining. Steve started the psychological games early, by reminding me of how I never stood up to Anja in the last game the three of us played. I stayed above it, vowing that it wouldn’t sway me from my tactic.

There was a quick rule refresher, during which I was briefly distracted by the fact that Burgundy (ie, the location of the other game) was on the map of the game we were playing. That both tables were playing a game in the same territory felt like a sort of Marvel-DC crossover.

The game commenced, and I leapt into action. This time I was determined not to wait for my opponents to build up their armies on my borders. Thus, when Anja threatened on my northern side, I attacked, despite being understrength. I got a result. I didn’t win, but I did nullify her threat, which allowed me to concentrate elsewhere.

In fact, tonight was not Anja’s lucky night. She fought one battle, and I put the armies into the tower, only to see her commanding lead vanish by a freakish number of farmers coming out too. The next time she went to war, she asked Steve to drop the armies into the tower, only for the same thing to happen again. She was sitting too far away to see, but there was definitely a stunned silence when Steve and I saw the result as we tried to work out how best to tell her. We tried to cheer her up by telling her that the tower must be packed with red cubes by now.

In the event, none of them came out until the very last battle. By that time, her strategy was in ruins. I had expanded from my position in the west, slowly but surely, eating into Steve’s territories and keeping Anja at arm’s length. I was helped by Anja and Steve fighting over Austria, giving me precious breathing space.

It was a long war, especially with Luther coming down for a visit mid-game. By the time we’d finished, Adam and Hannah had already left. Luckily for me, Sam stayed until the end so I got a lift back.

On the other table, it ended:

Sam 225
Adam 199
Hannah 173

And on our table, it finished

Andrew 56
Steve 51
Anja 46

Interesting to note how symmetrical our scores were: on Wallenstein, 5 points separated first from second AND second from third, while on CoB 26 points separated first from second AND second from third. Good work, everyone!

Wallenstein is great, if stressful. And it does tell a good story, in which alliances rise and fall and the path of history can change on the result of one battle. Not a game I fancy playing every week, but definitely worth a look every now and again.

On the form table, I think I reach a personal best! Sam squeezes into second on the best-most-recent rule.

Andrew1 2 1 1 2 7
Sam 1 3 3 1 3 11
Adam2 1 2 2 4 11
Joe4 4 2 2 2 14
Steve2 3 3 3 4 15
Hannah3 3 4 1 4 15
Anja3 2 5 1 5 16
Miles2 3 5 5 5 20
Quentin3 3 5 5 5 21
Lizzy2 5 5 5 5 22


  1. You'll get a call up for England at this rate Andrew :) Interesting the bit you put about Steve's comments. I wonder if on reflection they spurred you into reviewing your tactics at all. Could his pre-game banter influenced the outcome in anyway?

  2. Sounds like an epic night, with the favourites in both games losing to the long-shots. Sorry Sam, but I would have put money on Adam to win Castles after his mega score last time, though you did come second, I now recall.

  3. I thought he was going to win too! Especially after he beat me to the first-to-complete-castles bonus and shot up the scoreboard as well. I was focussed on completing areas for bonuses. I did get three, but to see that Adam with the other three and was about ten points ahead on the scoretrack... But when Hannah and I counted up our end-game bonuses, Adam didn't have any. That was the clincher.

    I think on another night we would all have been a lot closer - Hannah admitted very early on she was tired, and the game did last for a good couple of hours.

  4. - By the way Joe I only shipped once in the whole game, so regularly went last, getting around it by having a regular supply of silverlings.

  5. Wow that's an interesting tactic - shipping is picking up a blue tile, or using your dice to ship goods? I assume the former as that's what moves you up the turn order track, I'm a bit rusty, need to play again.

  6. Yeah, shipping is laying a blue tile to your 'estate' (letting you collect goods from the game board) and 'delivering goods' is using a die (or special building) to flip the goods tiles over and score points.

    It is confusing because we referred to both as 'shipping' and I think I moved everyone up the turn order track erroneously at one point or another...

  7. (I only shipped once, and think I delivered goods twice)

  8. I went into Wallenstein with my plan already in place: before any neighbouring armies got too big, to fight them, even with the odds slightly against me. Anja was just the first to fall foul to my strategy. Also, I had one territory right out on the edge of my empire which wasn't much use for wheat or money, or attacking or building. I wanted to get rid of it so I didn't have to feed it at the end of the year, so I kept asking Steve to invade. He never did.

  9. I found myself up against Andrew whose motivation you struggle to fathom (sometimes it's about winning, sometimes it's about making a pretty pattern) and Anja who is motivated primarily by a strong sense if injustice and revenge. Despite knowing this I carefully laid bait for Andrew that he didn't go for and made an early crushing but ultimately futile attack on Anja which she never forgave me for. There is a great deal of depth and subtlety to Wallenstein which it's advisable to heed but more fun to ignore in favour of throwing handfuls of coloured cubes into that cool tower on a megalomanical (so) whim!

  10. Megalomaniacal?