Steve the Bald was stranded with car trouble, and with Alex out at his son’s soccer game, that left just Steve the Blonde, myself, and Rickster. We opted to pull out a lighter game before we realized that Steve the Bald would be out for the count, so we grabbed Citadels.
I always underestimate this game. Simple in mechanics, the beauty lies in the possibilities, each turn causing additional thinky-hurt, but of a different sort than, say, Ra, or another Knizia title. Every coin counts, especially when you have the nifty butterscotch-looking ones from the small box FFG reprint. (I gifted my large box to M a while back, after snagging this one back when I worked full time for an online game retailer.)
I started out strong, building four 5-coin buildings fairly rapidly. What I didn’t count on was that Rick, being new to the game, would use his Warlord and a hefty amount of cash to demolish my large districts. In my groups, it’s usually considered a waste of cash to trash larger districts, folks generally targeting the districts that are cheap or free. I thought I was safe. I was wrong.
I had been hoping to steal a win with valuable buildings, as Steve the Blonde looked like he was going to run away with the end-game, having 6 or maybe even 7 districts on the board early on. He made a great maneuver early in the game, spending all of his money before my Thief could steal from his second character, leaving me flat broke. We both also targeted one another with the Magician at least once, just looking at the other and beckoning for their cards.
Rick took pot-shots with his assassin from his side of the table at various points. It’s nice when newcomers to the game aren’t afraid to be nasty, as that is what makes this game shine. I think the fact that most several effects target characters rather than players fosters this, and after one player gets hosed and wants revenge, that does well to get everyone’s gloves off.
Three-player Citadels is it’s own beast, and I think it’s actually a great showcase for the game, as it allows new players to figure out the characters rather quickly, having 2 characters per turn. It also makes for some nice internal combo’s if you can get away with not having one or both of your characters targeted. Plus, you don’t feel like you’re out for an entire turn if one of guys gets gacked or robbed.
Rick and I had a nice combo on Steve the Blonde at one point, as well, one of us targeting the Bishop with the Assassin, the other wrecking what would have been a “safe” building due to the Bishop’s immunity to the Warlord’s ability.
Slight Mispronunciation: Dang. I forgot that when calling role as the King, it is IMPERATIVE to announce “WARLORD” in a death metal growl.
Steve did eventually pull off a nice win, beating me by both going out first and having all colours represented in his Citadel. I believe it was S: 41, K: 37, R: 21. Well-played.
Now knowing (or at least strongly suspecting) that Steve the Bald was not going to show, rather than play three and a half hours of our Tyranny of Dragons D&D campaign, leaving behind two players and leaving Steve the Blonde and myself to play two characters each and possibly complete the first chapter of the module, we decided to break out Descent: Journeys in the Dark (2nd Ed.) instead. (Steve had been baiting us for Talisman, but that was a little too random for my mood. I had also suggested Android, but Rick didn’t seem to warm up to that after our last try with the game, years ago.) As I didn’t see us having another chance too soon of trying one of the Hero and Monster Collection quests, I suggested we play the Crown of Destiny quest… on Epic Level.
Unfortunately, my gamestuffs were packed away anticipating our next campaign session with M as our OL. Quickly we decided to just not use any of the characters from the campaign. That still left us with a LOT to choose from, and Steve had even more trouble deciding upon monsters from all of the items I have acquired both on my own and as a very generous gift from Steve the Bald of all his old Descent stuff. My wife’s gift of the Conversion Kit now leaves me with a conundrom of how to store and organize all of the different pieces. Ugh.
Setup was a bitch, and cleanup is sure to be more of one as I now need to figure out how to bag and box things in a way that is easy to set up for both campaign and one-shot play. I also need to facilitate further painting endeavors. Once I finish the rest of my RuneWars heroes. So much to do, so little time.
Eventually, Rick settled on Leoric of the Book as a Necromancer.
Slight Mispronounciation: Dammit. I forgot to use the neCROHmancer pronunciation. What is with me?!
I took Logan Lashley as the Treasure Hunter, as I was sad to not use him in our campaign. (I opted for Jain as the Wildlander, instead.)
We took one look at the scenario and realized we were screwed. No tanks, no healers, just two skinny dudes against a potential horde of creatures. We did a bad bad thing and opened the door early, and I missed a potential extra attack with Logan by grabbing the initial treasure with no plan to use my bonus attack power. Rick’s reanimate walked into the first room and corpse blasted the Master Chaos Beast into oblivion… or rather, into two minion Chaos Beasts. This scenario sounded cool at first, but it seemed ever cooler the more we realized that the more big baddies we killed, the harder it was going to be to win, as Steve had chosen kobolds and ferrox’s as his open groups. So not only did we have all of the little bastards running around trying to steal our destinies (mmmm… Gelfling!), but the freakin’ master kobolds split into two when they die!
We started our strong, but soon found ourselves surrounded, and Leoric fell first. Logan ran to his aid, helping him up so he could re-summon his little skellington friend, then fell himself. It got to be quite a drag, each of us falling once every turn or two at that point, but we did have a moment when it looked like we might turn things around. Logan dropped two foes in a turn using his Heroic Feat, and Rick had the great idea to use his own feat to drop all of the kobolds and ferroxxeseses surrounding him. Then he rolled an X. We scanned his cards looking for anything that would allow a re-roll, but there was nothing.
We did hold on for some time, as it was very difficult for Steve the Blonde to roll the 2-shields or fewer to steal our destinies, but once he was able to actually drink one of the destinies with one of his master kobolds, it seemed more futile. We would now have to kill a Chaos Beast which would then spawn into four more of the little bastards, one of which would split again when we killed him.
We played it out for a while, but once Steve had 3 destinies, and us having no game-changing plays at hand, it didn’t seem worth fighting out. Mind you, I’m not saying we couldn’t have one, I’m saying that trying didn’t really seem so fun at that point, and after a long day of waiting and gaming, I was content to call Steve the victor.
Rick dug the game, and Steve always loves Descent. If presented for what it is: a tactical mini’s game with a dungeon crawl theme; and not as what it looks like or we may want it to be: an rpg lite, it hits all marks. The combat actually seemed more complex and engaging than our 5e experiences so far, but, grant you, our characters were only 2nd level in the D&D game. I definitely think this scenario is a cool one and would be vastly different with four heroes, especially a tank or two. I find myself wondering how our dream team of Syndrael-Knight, Avric-Disciple, Jain-Wildlander, and Widow Tarha- RuneMaster would have fared in this quest. Maybe one day we’ll have a chance to try it.
Steve expressed some slight disappointment at playing the OL, as you don’t get to share your evil plan with anyone or strategize openly. I find myself intrigued by this, as Steve was my primary DM growing up. I think there’s a lot to be said for the role-playing we did back then and for rpg’s in general. A 2-player rpg still necessitates some social interaction, while 2-player Descent is essentially, again, a tactical endeavor and can lead to some of this loneliness. Maybe Steve isn’t such a heartless engineering tactical mercenary after all… Nah!
Good win by Steve the Blonde. And a not-to-be-overlooked highlight for me: watching my son eagerly grab after every Descent monster he could get his little toddler hands on, yelling, “Raaarrr!” We let him bring a couple of the unused monsters upstairs with him, as he was reticent to let them go.. until he found a broom or cardboard box two minutes later.
For those counting, that’s 0-4 for me within 24-hours this weekend. Not looking good for our fair hero.
But there’s always next time.
Me: Man, I lost all four games this weekend!
Wife: How can you rephrase that as a positive?
Me: Um… my friends kicked my ass four times this weekend?
Wife: No… you got to play four games with your friends this weekend.
Me: Uh. Oh. Yeah.
Game on, y’all.