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Sunday, April 3, 2011

GBG Report

The GBG is the Greater Boston Grogs, my monthly wargaming group. We sometimes end up playing a Eurogame or two after the wargames are over. My friend Andy hosts in his awesome basement in Wellesley, and I've been going for 4 years now and it's always great. We had 7 people for this meeting - three played Titan (not my favorite but my buddy Marc loves it) while Andy and Tom continued their ASL campaign game, a Stalingrad scenario called The First Bid. They are on turn 6 out of 19, and have played for multiple sessions already... impressive.

I played my favorite game of all time with Asher, Twilight Struggle.

If you haven't played this yet, go get it, play it at least five times, then get back to me. It's tense, it's deep, and it's elegant. This was my 96th recorded game since I started counting once I felt I knew the rules well enough, and I still keep coming back for more.

I was the United States for this game. This game went back and forth, but never got out of control. Asher's initial coup in Iran left Iran empty, and he didn't go in, and he won the Arab Israeli war, giving me no real opportunity to get back into the Middle East. Once I got rid of De Gaulle, I took France and got domination of Europe by taking Greece, Turkey, and Spain. The dice were not Asher's friends this game, and he bombed a number of coups and the Korean War. Eventually I was able to find my way back into the Middle East, by used Puppet Governments to put influence in Saudi Arabia and Libya.

Asher had a hard time getting over to the Western Hemisphere, since I used UN Intervention on Allende to keep him out of Chile, and I used Fidel on the space race. Eventually he was able to coup Venezuela, but around turn 9 I used realignments to remove his influence there. I got a big scoring out of Central America (8 points) to keep the game in control, while the rest of the world was basically a push. When the Pope showed up in Poland, I was able to grab it.

Finally on turn 9, I drew Cherobyl, which is always an exciting and difficult choice. My hand was mostly two Op cards, but since the only battleground he controlled was East Germany, I decided to go for it. Amazingly, he had the Iranian Hostage Crisis, then Terrorism - forcing me to discard two cards, which would lose me a card play and 2 Ops. I started putting influence into East Germany slowly but surely. He followed this up with Persing II Deployed, which removed 3 of my influence in Europe!

On turn 10, I drew a strong hand with three 4 Op cards and Europe Scoring. It takes me a few turns to finally get control of all of the battlegrounds and I win by scoring Europe. Asher is at 9 VPs and shows me that he had Wargames in hand, and just needed two more actions to get DEFCON down to 2 and he would have won. Wow.

Twilight Struggle took us exactly two hours - once both players know the game decently well, it's rarely longer than 2.5 hours. After Asher left, Eric and I played a quick game of one of the old Napoleon at War SPI quad folder games. It was a pretty light move and shoot, hex and counter game, with the main distinction being that every adjacent enemy HAD to be attacked, which led to some interesting situations in how to move your forces in. We just played the shortest scenario which was five turns, and neither of us was able to cause auto-victory by killing forces, so the French (me) lose if they have not reestablished their line of communication with the western map edge.

Overall, another fun day gaming with friends. I'm looking forward to roping someone into playing Fighting Formations with me next month, since it didn't arrive in time for this meeting.


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