Friday, April 28, 2006

Odds and Ends/Here I Stand

I was contemplating my circle of game friends. Except for my wife they are all single. A couple are single due to divorces. I made a list. I included everyone who I would be likely to play with at least once in the next year. Came up with about fifteen names. There is only one local couple and another couple in Anchorage on the list.
Been organizing DenaliCon II. This is an RSVP boardgame event held over the Fourth of July Weekend in Denali Park. Last year there were about two dozen people who attended over the weekend. We had a frickin' blast, even went whitewater rafting. This year the fourth is on a Tuesday. It's more difficult for people to attend this year. Many won't be able to take a four day weekend or even a three day weekend. If you are from Alaska or northern Canada or will be visiting Alaska over the Fourth of July weekend and are interested in a camping/boardgame event drop me a line. There is a fee.

I'd love to hold the event closer to Anchorage in the future. If we can get more participation from that area it might happen. If you can't come this year, but would consider participating next year drop me a line.
My daughter is now old enough to attend the Boys and Girls Club, so I brought her for Thursday evening games. The physics of weight and balance involved in Villa Paletti eluded her, but she kicked butt on Pirate's Cove. She picked it up much quicker than the older kids who had never played. I was quite proud. She was pondering which opponent was likely to go to which island and who she could beat in a battle. She was deciding if she needed money or if her hull could even carry the treasure she would earn at an island. I was quite proud. Did I say that twice? Oh well. If not for needing help with the Tavern Cards (and the game could be played without them) she could have played by herself. Six years old, by the way.
Die Macher has been sitting unplayed for a couple years now. I dug out my English translation of the rules and started reading. I fell asleep about the time I got to the components list. I usually make it to page 7 before I give up. Those are some dry rules, and there are twenty-odd pages of them. Every time I try to figure the game out it becomes clear that I need someone to teach me. This is one game I need to play at BGG.CON.
Keythedral, Antiquity, Anno 1503, Mallworld, Tongiaki, Rommel in the Desert, Taj Mahal, Silverton, 2038, Siena, Ricochet Robots, Beowulf, 7 Ages, Punct, among several others also sit unplayed. Wallenstein, Wilderness War, Age of Steam, Railroad Tycoon, Tower of Babel, Command and Colors, Descent and a couple others have been played once or twice and I'm chomping at the bit to play again.

Played Here I Stand for 10 hours on Saturday. Took a lunch break for about an hour, spent another couple hours looking up rules. With experience I think we could whittle down the playing time to about 5 or 6 hours If you can get six gamers together for an entire day I would recommend Here I Stand. Further play might reveal some flaws, but we had a blast. Here I Stand is a card-driven game set in the early 16th century. It is based upon the wars of the Reformation era. It is a wargame by any definition, but it is not like any wargame you have ever played. All six players have different goals and abilities. It is not your typical conquer-territory-to-win wargame. In many instances players can't directly affect the victory points earned by their opponents.


Ottomans: The Ottoman player mainly earns victory points (VPs) by conquering territory, but can also earn VPs by engaging in piracy in the Mediterranean.

English: Henry VIII wants a male heir. The English player can spend one turn each round advancing to the next wife and rolling a die to see if a male heir was conceived. If Edward is born the English gain 5 VP. Otherwise the English gain VP by exploring the New World, having home spaces converted to Protestantism, and by conquering territory in Europe.

The English player is further encouraged to produce a male heir, because if Mary assumes the throne upon Henry's death the Pope (Catholic player) has a 50/50 chance of being able to use the card played by the English instead of the English player. (Mary was staunchly Catholic).

French: The French earn VP by building Chateaus. One turn each round the French can build a Chateau, otherwise the French can earn victory points by conquering territory and exploring the New World.

Hapsburgs: The Hapsburgs begin the game in control of much of Europe. The Protestants are gradually taking control of Germany, but the Hapsburg player cannot affect the religious status of his territory. The Hapsburgs can fight Protestant troops, but not in the early rounds of the game. Killing troops makes it harder for the Protestant movement to spread, but can only slow the spread. The Hapsburgs gain VP by conquering territory and by exploring the New World.

Catholic: The Pope has a small army and can earn VP by occupying territory, but mainly earns points by building St. Peter's Basilica and by maintaining religious control of Europe. The Pope can call debates against reformers (and vice versa). If a debate goes badly for the reformers they can be burned at the stake for Catholic victory points, or the Protestants can earn VP for disgracing the Catholic debater. The Pope can excommunicate European leaders, causing them to lose a card each round they are excommunicated. To get back into the good graces of the Church the Monarch gives up a card and the value of the card is committed to the building of St. Peter's Basilica.

Protestants: The reformers earn victory points by changing the religious affiliation of European cities, by translating the Bible into English, German and French, and by winning debates with the Catholics. There are six electorate spaces in Germany that provide extra VP if they are controlled by the Protestants.

Although the rulebook is thick, each player only needs to concern himself with a portion of the rules. For example, the Ottomans, Catholics and Protestants can't explore the New World, only the Catholics and Protestants have to know the religious debate rules, every player has nation specific victory point considerations, etc.

Your first game will go much more smoothly if nation assignments are made prior to the game and each player has a chance to study the rules that are nation specific.

Here I Stand could be my favorite game of 2006. There is a ton of room for each game to develop very differently.


qzhdad said...

I always categorize gamers in decreasing order of dependability (to be available for games) as single, divorced, married, dating (seriously).
My groups now actually have a good mix of these categories. I actually think now that I probably have more married players in my group than "expected." However, when I was single, I had more singles. Maybe it's because I am not as dependable as I used to be.

Dani In NC said...

I just started exploring boardgaming about three months' ago. Because of my circumstances, I can't go to the nearest big city to join a gaming group. Therefore, my "game friends" are my kids and the couples that we were already socializing with. They've started calling me the gamemaster. I'm the one doing the research and buying the games, so I guess the title fits :-).

Anonymous said...

You haven't played Taj Mahal !!! gasp
Wicked coldfoot wicked !! You must play this game , it sat on my shelf for a tear too , but was a great succes when played .The art Is in the teaching of it .Ie you must practice before hand .
Have fun cold one.