Yesterday was another boardgames day with Andy and Tony. It was a no-brainer that the day was going to start with something by Fantasy Flight Games hitting the table. In the end, Andy stepped-up to play the Invader in Doom: the Boardgame, giving Tony and I the hope that we might progress further than we did the last time- anywhere at all that is!
Donald and Tony's heroic first victory notwithstanding, Tony and I were still a losing team. So we got the easiest mod available, giving us extra wounds and ammo, plus an additional marine card. This was encouraging, and our marine cards raised our moods all the more.
My marine- quickly christened Private Kozlowzki- ended up a Tough Medic with the Killer Instinct who was also a Tactician. This gave him the ability to heal wounds; more armour; that bonus attack after a kill which Donald had used to such deadly effect in the game linked to above; and (most important of all it turned out) the ability to move, fire and place an order in the same turn. This meant I could move up to 8 squares with 2 attacks, plus get an additional attack in the Invaders' turn with the use of overwatch (called 'Guard' in D: tB).
Tony got Alert, Front Guard, Ground Assault and Officer. The latter gave him- and me when I was within 3 squares- extra accuracy and damage in attacks, and led to Tony's marine being named Lieutenant Gorman(!). The other cards meant that Gorman could either move 2 squares and attack 3 times; or move 4 squares, attack twice, then go into overwatch.
So we had a good team: Gorman did the officer thing, and led from behind; while Kozlowski went point and got stuck in with his shotgun, chainsaw and grenades. This worked really well, especially when it was coupled with our knowledge of the board after so many previous games! In fact, by the endgame, Andy was virtually pleading with us to hurry up and win, because he was getting bored with running the Invaders in this mission.
Andy paid for his defeatism. Yes, Kozlowzki and Gorman might not've been the first marine team to get out of that complex, but regular readers might remember that Donald and Tony escaped by the skin of their teeth. Kozlowzki and Gorman on the other hand managed to clear and seal the objective room, loot it thoroughly, and heal themselves back up to full wounds before making their exit. And all this without suffering a single frag. So OK, not first, but definitely best! (We've had enough practice mind you.)
Tony and I are looking forward to taking Kozlowzki and Gorman into the next mission. Tony especially will be wanting Gorman to get some more kills to boost his meagre experience total. But then, that's what you get when you lead from behind! And I'm sure Andy is relieved not to have to return to the first mission again for some time to come!
Settlers of Catan
After this we were all quite keen on another game of Doom, or perhaps a game of Descent: Journeys in the Dark. Unfortunately time was against us, what with getting dinner, and with the need to finish in time for the evening's episode of season 2 of the cracking Rome, which both Andy and I were determined not to miss. So I promised to run Descent next time, and we plumped for a game of Settlers of Catan.
Set-up gave us a very rich board, and we expected a quick game. This expectation proved unfounded, largely due to my fiendishness in keeping the robber on Andy and Tony's shared 8-lumber region for as long as possible in the opening game. Andy especially was hampered by this.
As the midgame opened Tony was in front, with at least 2 cities. I was 2nd, with 4 settlements and a solid resource base. Although he was lagging behind, Andy too had a good resource base, so he was by no means out of the game.
As more and more cities began to appear the rich board began to tell, as huge hands of resources were collected, spent, and lost to the robber. Tony managed to build a settlement and make it a city with a single build. I held my breath against a deadly 7, which didn't appear, and so I built my first 2 cities in a single turn. I was later able to build 4 roads and a city in a single turn.
The endgame began with Tony stealing the longest road from Andy to put himself on 8 points. I too was on 8 points with a victory point card up my sleeve. It was at this moment that I made what, with hindsight, I now believe to be a strategic mistake. Those 4 roads I put down were an attempt to halt Tony's advance to victory by stealing the longest road from him, and then throwing up another city (I was gaining cities on each roll of 8 by this point). But Tony was alert to this, so he dropped the robber on my 8-ore region.
At this point I should've ignored the longest road contest, and just gone for a city and a settlement, something which would've been easy with my well-developed resource base, but especially with my 6-ore region and my ore port. (I think I'm missing something in that account, but I've got the gist of it.) But I didn't, as noted. And so Tony was able to steal the game with a 2nd settlement-straight-into-a-city build. That left me 2nd on 9, and Andy last on 7.
So, although not as quick as we'd thought, this game certainly picked up speed, becoming a truly titanic struggle in the end. Well played Tony!