October 2011

Risk 2010 - Naval CommanderDylan and I played a game of Risk 2210 this weekend. I finally managed to clear space to setup a gaming table in the man cave. This allows us to leave board games in play and continue later – without the little kids or the cat demolishing things. In this case, Dylan demolished me anyway, so no loss. I do like this version of Risk even better than classic – mostly because it is limited to 5 “turn years”, so doesn’t go on forever. It still suffers from the classic Risk game mechanic of rolling dice to attack, so you can (as I found) quickly lose ground by losing dice rolls (either attacking or defending).

This new version does have added features, such as command cards, which (if you are lucky enough to draw them) can quickly turn the game around. It also features underwater (naval) territories as well as lunar territories. Game mechanics such as having commanders (land, naval, space, diplomat, or nuclear) which allow you to roll (or defend) with 8-sided die, space stations (to help defend, or get you to the moon), etc.

But all in all, it’s still Risk, and still basically a terrritory-conquering game. Fun, but only occasionally. I’m trying to use it to get Dylan into board games, as he really likes Classic Risk. Next will be to get him to play War of the Ring.

War of the Ring - closeup of painted miniatures
Right. Played War of the Ring again last night (my second time). Still learning the game, but more importantly, still really enjoying the game! Played the Sauron side again, and lost again. From what I hear it’s unusual for the Free People’s side to win a Military victory, but not when playing against me, apparently. I wasn’t paying enough attention (again) to the Victory points the Free Peoples (led by George again) were amassing. Angmar is worth one, and is on the other side of the board from me. George even pointed out that I should probably watch out it doesn’t get taken. What I did was misjudge how long it would take me to re-take other areas (ok, and the dice didn’t play nice). But so much fun. This time game only lasted 3.5 hours.

Mike (playing Twilight Imperium at the next table) made some comment over his shoulder about how I should read up on some strategy. Ya think?

Some of the other guys were playing Twilight Imperium. That’s a bigger setup and even more complex. I look forward to learning that one in the future… especially if I get to play the lion-faced race; they just look cool.

War of the Ring
Last night I was introduced to War of the Ring by George from my Board Game group. I arrived at 8pm. By 12:30am George had won (2-player game), but I was enjoying the game so much that it felt like only an hour or so had passed.

It is a two-player game, though you can play 3-4 players (as teams). One side plays the Free Peoples of Middle Earth (Gondor, Rohan, Elves, Dwarves, etc.) and the other side plays the Shadows (Sauron, Isengard, Southrons, etc.). Last night I played the Shadow side. What makes the gameplay so enticing are the basic game mechanics: special action dice (with symbols) determine which actions a player can take. Play alternates between players (after rolling all dice (up to 10, I think, for Shadow and 6 for Free Peeps), each player plays one action die at a time so there is very little downtime in the game. Coupled with action, character, etc. cards the number of options can be a bit overwhelming. But George was a good teacher. :)

There are two ways to win: Military victory or Ring victory. For a military victory the Shadow side has to control enough of the board to get 10 Military points while the Free Peeps only need 4. Capturing areas is similar to other area-capture games (like Risk): roll die and inflict casualties or receive them. Again, lots of options (via character card, etc.) for increasing odds for offense or defense.

For a Ring victory, the Free Peeps have to get the Ring to Mordor (and drop it into the lava) or the Shadow side has to inflict (12?) corruption points onto the Fellowship.

Sounds complicated, and it is (due to options available for each action), but basic gameplay is easy to understand. I can imagine it will take a few more times playing before I become familiar with all (or most) of the various options/scenarios. I do look forward to playing again! Maybe I can get a copy (it’s out of print so can be pricey) and get Dylan to play – he likes Risk and reading fantasy, so…

There are something like 200 (plastic) miniatures for the game as well as 100 cards, and over 100 cardboard markers and tiles! George had started painting the miniatures for the game; he did a great job – they look so much nicer than the plain single-color original plastic pieces. Nice!

The weather was so nice today that after Mass at the Shrine of St. Anthony (the Friary) I took a few moments to snap some pictures of the Shrine and grounds. I’m at the Shrine often, but for some reason I rarely take pictures. As I had my point-and-shoot (Canon s95) with me, I thought this was too photogenic to pass up…