Sunday, June 15, 2014

AAR: Mission Commands Air and Sea

I wanted to break out some games I hadn't played in a while:  Milton Bradley's Mission Command line of games from the early 2000s: AirLand and Sea.   If time allowed, I also had Chains to Champions waiting in the wings. 

It was Nick, Kenny, Bill and myself that night.  We decided to start with Air, as it played four.  Bill and I teamed up against Nick and Kenny.  We took out one each of their planes, but ultimately Bill's luck ran out.  As his last plane was shot from the sky, all Bill could say was "It all comes down to dice rolls.  I needed one more pip on that last roll".

A dramatic recreation of Bill's ruin.

We then split apart.  Kenny and I took on Mission Command Sea, while Nick and Bill played the classic Milton Bradley Revolutionary War game, Skirmish.

Note:  While I didn't get pictures of their game, both Nick and Bill said they enjoyed it.  What's unique about Skirmish is that it's a Milton Bradley game that featured abstracted, asymmetrical conflict.  Made in the mid-1970s, this was a rarity for a mainstream board game.  Their report of the game said that it followed history.  The Redcoats had the early upper hand, but the Colonials held on and persevered for the victory.

For a little background information, Mission Command Sea is a simulation of two carriers duking it out using aircraft and a couple of protective destroyers as 'screens'.  The carriers never move and cannot protect themselves.  You try to sink a carrier using both harpoon missiles and your destroyers. 

In our game, Kenny and I traded off destroying each others' planes and destroyers. 

Early game action

As we shot harpoon missiles at each other, they kept falling just short of their marks.  At first this was met with laughter, but after the fourth or fifth time (each) they became critical failures to finish off each other.

Near game's end...

It was a tight, intense game that ultimately ended in a tie.  Neither one of us had destroyers or planes left and I had one hit on my carrier to Kenny's unmarred flight deck.  We agreed that our carriers floated off in opposite directions, preparing to fight another day.  Fun game and probably my favorite from the trilogy.

As always, it was a fun evening with my friends.  Looking at it from that perspective, how could anyone lose?

AAR: Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery


My buddy, Nick, played Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery (henceforth called "Spartacus") while at TwisterCon.  He enjoyed it so much, he bought both the base game and the expansion (it allows for up to six players).

When I proclaimed 5/29 to be "Board Game Night" at my house, he asked to bring it for the group to play.  Side note:  Nick loves games with backstabbing as an integral part of the theme.  With our group that can either be okay, or not go over so well.  With that in mind, I gave him the nod, but with some trepidation.  Also, since Nick doesn't blog, I can write up the evening's events!  Yay!

Without making this a review of the game, I'll give a very brief overview of the game.  You are the head of a Ludo (one of the six from the TV show).  Your mission is to be the most prestigious ludo in Rome.  To do that, you have to make your house (slaves, gladiators, money, etc) more powerful while keeping the other houses down via bidding, timely card play, alliances and old-fashioned cheesedickery.

For those who watched the TV show, you already know it was full of violence, vulgar language, intrigue and sex.  This game captures the feel of the show to perfection.

The gang, mid-game.  Kenny looks intense, doesn't he?
There are a lot of cards in play, but essentially it is easy to track.

An arena battle is commencing.  Absolutely brilliant combat mechanics!

The end of a large, 4-gladiator spectacle.  Oh, the humanity!

If you follow the show, phrases like these ring 'true' to the theme.  For those who aren't, then they seem a bit...wrong.

 About halfway through the night, I looked at Nick and said "I like this game".  Yes, there was skullduggery, but there were also a lot of strategic moves to make to counter those moments.  A couple of heated rivalries emerged, but ultimately the night ended before the game.  Nick, Kenny and I were all on the cusp of winning, with the other players close on our heels.  Another round and I think Nick would've taken the honor of 'top ludo', but we'll never know for sure...

Spartacus.  If you like these sorts of games, buy it.  You'll be happy with the choice!

AAR: Spring recap

It has certainly been a while since I last blogged, but that doesn't mean I've been idle.

April and May are busy for me, as I am a middle school track coach.  Life takes a front seat, gaming the back.  While I can't really host miniatures games, I can participate.  Therein lies the rub, though.  If I'm not the host and the host blogs, then I don't blog about the game.  To that end,  I'll direct you to the appropriate blogs, as needed.


4/10:  Kenny, Grand Maester of the Penny Whistle blog and the usual 'other half' of the houses my gaming group plays in, posted this AAR of a MechWarrior game:  "Defilade? Defilade?! Who said anything about defilades?"

Unfortunately, I don't have any more game to report in this month, as I was indisposed.


5/8:  My buddy, Dave, volunteered to bring X-Wing to my house and re-introduce us to the game.  We'd played it once before during Conn-Con last August and enjoyed it.  Dave is "all in" on this game and brought many ships to choose from.  Why is this event in this AAR?  Well, Dave has a blog as well.  He doesn't maintain it well, as the dude works like 90 hours a week, but that toe-stepping thing bothers me.  Anyway, we all had a great time.

5/22:  Kenny's house.  GASLIGHT rules, Egyptian-themed gaming.  "The Mountain Pass of Azilal".  Fun night!

That's a quick synopsis of my Spring.  My AARs are for 5/29 (Spartacus) and board game night (6/12) are forthcoming.