Monday, April 10, 2017

Battle Report: April 8th

Minaria is at twilight, little time remains before winter falls on the continent ending the campaign season. Here is the final session of the game that started on the 25th of March. The players are, Were-puppy as Hothior, Jared as the Dwarves and, myself as Zorn. 

Last game there were several climactic battles around Castle Lapspell, which put the primary Goblin ally of Muetar to flight. The Dwarves where able to overcome fortune's disdain and began to make gains against their enemies. Hothior continued to be bogged down in the coasts of Mivior but, with they managed to prevent the aforementioned siege of Lapspell. The Goblins were driven to retreat from central Minaria by the same event. From here, we continue. 

 Out east in northern Pon, the Dwarves continue their long running siege against Crow's Nest.

In the northern forests of Neuth, the Goblin's Elven allies continue their siege against the isolated fortress of Aws Noir. 

Out west, Hothior sends it's own fleets to their quagmire at Boliske, giving the besiegers a major advantage. 

Which proves decisive! The Hothiorian-Rombuni allied forces and their mercenaries break the fortifications of Boliske. The sailors and marines make their landing and, plunder Mivior's ancestral capital. 

Meanwhile in eastern Immer, the Goblins and the remaining forces of their Muetarian allies unite to lay siege on the Gap Castle.

Hothior alone manages to ally the mad Trollish monarch, which provokes an attack by the Goblin Ally Mivior on their capital at the Stone Face. 

At around the same time, with Boliske taken, the Hothiorian alliance sets its sights on Addat. A small fortified city near the mouth of the River Sullen.

The sea-borne horde overwhelms Addat's paltry defenses resulting in ample plunder for the Hothiorians. 

Back at the Gap Castle, the allied armies overwhelm the Immerian defenders with their numbers. Plundering Immer's primary bulwark against the Nithmerian Goblins. 

Another siege to the Goblins! The stone face falls to their allies but, the Troll king was able to escape the carnage and skulks in the plundered ruins of the castle. 

Just after the above, the Dwarves manage a great diplomatic coup against the Goblins, convincing the Elves to drop from their alliance. 

Around the same time, Crow's Nest fell to the Dwarves, this led them to push west into the Goblin-aligned Muetar. 

Eventually,  the Dwarves lay siege to the Old Capital of Muetar, Basimar....

.....which is quickly taken! The sheer numbers of the Dwarven-allied forces overwhelm the defenders. 

The Dwarves also effect a major diplomatic coup in Shucassam. This new ally is then applied to the siege of Beolon a small fortified city in southern Muetar. 

North in Immer the Goblin forces, having broken through the Gap Castle, now surround Immer's capital of Altarr. The early assaults against the fortress prove fruitless however. 

On the cusp of cruel winter's winds, many small battles break out across Minaria as the various kingdoms hope to deny each other victory's plunder from the myriad sieges taking place. In what proves decisive, just as the campaigning season come to an end, Altarr falls to the Goblin Hordes. It's rich treasures are brought to the Pits in a great victory parade with the Sirdar at its head. 


At the end of 20 turns, the Goblins are victorious, the leaderboard is as follows:

HereAndNow - Zorn - 80 VP - 1st

Werepuppy - Hothior - 65 VP - 2nd

Jared - Dwarves - 40 VP - 3rd


Woohoo, another finished game! I actually managed to win this time. Although, it was a very near thing. It was literally the last turn(turn 20) when Castle Altarr fell, netting me enough victory points to come out ahead of Were-puppy. He had been the leader in Victory Points for almost the entire game up to that point. Jared's luck had also just begun to break positive a few turns prior and, he was quickly catching up in Victory Points. After taking Crow's Nest, he was smashing through eastern Muetar in a mad dash for VP. Were there a few more turns, things might have ended up quite differently. After the end though, the thing that was most interesting to me was the nature of randomness in the design of the game.

Randomness in any game forces players to improvise and change their strategies and tactics on the fly. For instance, in the climatic battles around Castle Lapspell in Hothior. Not only were the Muetarians vastly outnumbered by the enemy forces but, the random player turn order within the greater game turn effectively prevented retreat. Were-puppy was thus able to attack the Muetarians around Lapspell for two effective turns before I could react, leading to heavy losses in the besiegers. This led to me entirely reorienting my remaining forces northward to attack the vulnerable kingdom of Immer. Which ultimately proved a winning strategy.

This to me is good design. If everything is straight forward and predictable, the results of a game will be known long before it's over. DR has a lot of random elements to prevent this but, it doesn't take it to the extent of mere gambling. Where strategy is almost worthless due to the unpredictable nature of the game. It was tricky but, despite the massive defeat at Lapspell, I still managed to win through strategy. The decisions made in the game still matter. Randomness can help provide a sense of 'fate' to a game, which can make for good tension and drama. As you strategize both with and against the unpredictable aspects of a game.

At this point, I can't wait for next Saturday, where we plan to give the advanced game a try. I can only imagine the addition of magic makes things far more unpredictable. So, I can definitely say, it's not over yet.

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