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SMC:TBG and LotR Risk (was SR: b20 -- two "new" games)

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  • David Fontes
    ... ... I agree that the game has potential. The basic rules kinda suck though. I get the feeling it wasn t playtested much. I would be interested in
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2002
      "Constantine von Hoffman" <c@...> wrote:
      > Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game (SMC:TBG)
      > i thought the game was fun and i really do look forward to trying it with
      > the complete rule set which will allow a whole different set of
      > interactions between the players by giving people various different tech
      > abilities.

      I agree that the game has potential. The basic rules kinda suck though. I
      get the feeling it wasn't playtested much. I would be interested in trying
      the advanced rules at some point, though. I am a bit worried about the
      potential fiddliness, since even in the basic game figuring out your income
      was a chore. One major problem was that the city cards in front of you don't
      necessarily reflect the cities you control, since these are temporarily
      tradeable. So the cards you have effect one part of the income calculation,
      but the cities you actually control effect a separate part. So, if "horse
      cities" are worth double income this turn, and I traded my horse city card
      away for the round, I still get double income for that city, but I don't get
      to include horses as one of the commodities I control. Yick. I haven't read
      the advanced rules yet, so I don't know if stuff like this gets worse or
      better. Probably worse, but it might be worth it to get "real" technologies
      that will allow the different civilizations to have different
      "personalities," so to speak.

      > i saw some folks playing the lord of the rings risk game and was intrigued
      > -- anyone have any comments on how it played?

      Ralph taught this to Rich and I. It was already a game that was on my
      "probably want to buy" list, and after playing it is on my "am buying" list.
      The basic mechanisms of Risk are intact - combat resolution is exactly the
      same, and you turn in sets of territory cards to get reinforcements. A few
      minor differences are the inclusion of "leaders," which give you +1 to your
      highest die roll, on offense or defense, and "strongholds," which are
      certain regions like Lothlorien and the Mines of Moria which get a similar
      bonus, but only on defense. I think there are six strongholds on the map,
      which, by the way, is rather attractive. The army pieces are pretty cool as
      well. There are four sets of armies, two good and two evil. The good armies
      have elvish archer figures representing 1 army, horsemen (Riders of
      Rohan?)representing 3 armies, and giant eagles representing 5 armies. The
      evil armies have orcs, Black Riders, and cave trolls (or something big and
      nasty, anyway). There are no real alliances of good vs. evil. In fact, in a
      three player game, there is only one good army. In last night's game, that
      was me, but the two evil armies pounded on each other at least as often as
      they pounded on me.
      A couple of more important differences really change the complexion of the
      game from standard Risk. One of these is the turn limit. The game ends when
      The One Ring is brought into Mordor. This is represented by an actual metal
      ring (engraved with runes, inside and out!) which travels along a specified
      path on the board, starting in Hobbiton. The ring usually moves at the end
      of each player's turn, but some movements require a die roll of 4 or better,
      so the actual number of rounds left in the game is not absolutely
      predictable. I think there are 13 spaces it has to move through, so the game
      will last at least 13 player turns, and most likely several more than that.
      The other big change are the Mission cards. Any time you end your turn
      with a leader in a "place of power," (which you should make a serious effort
      to do every turn - there are lots of them on the board), you get to draw
      from the Mission card deck. You complete a mission by moving your leader to
      the specific territory listed on the card, and then playing the card. This
      usually gives you a few extra armies, but perhaps more importantly it gives
      you victory points. You keep all the cards you've played in front of you,
      and add them up at the end of the game. Mixed in with the Mission cards are
      some other cards that you can play at specific times, which also give you
      victory points. Most common of these seems to be ones that slow down the
      Fellowship from advancing (requiring die rolls to advance this turn, for
      example). There are also a few that you play during a battle - a
      particularly nasty one causing two of your opponents armies to defect to
      your side. There are also a few Event cards, which don't give victory
      points, so are kind of a bummer to draw. An example of an event was - draw
      three territory cards and remove half the armies in each of those
      The effect of the Missions, the whole victory point concept, and the turn
      limit make this game fairly different from standard risk. It is not a game
      of world conquest. I think there may actually be several decent strategies
      here, and a standard Risk strategy of trying to control complete regions
      might be viable. All three of us seemed to be concentrating more on the
      Missions, however, and in that case you are actually better off controlling
      territories all over the board so you can get to where you need to go more
      easily. Most turns, no more than two or three territories were attacked, so
      there was never much danger of any player getting completely eliminated. I
      think I controlled a complete region once, and Rich held a different one for
      a turn or two, but mostly we were all pretty spread out all over the place.
      Victory points are awarded at the end of the game for cards played
      (generally one or two points per card), territories controlled (1 point
      each), complete regions controlled (ranging from I think 3 to 7 points,
      depending on the size of the territory), and strongholds controlled (2
      points each). No one had control of a complete territory at the end of the
      game. I ended up winning by one point over Rich, mainly because I had
      control of 4 of the 6 strongholds. I think the final breakdown was: for me,
      12 points for 12 territories, 8 points for 4 strongholds, and 10 points in
      cards, for a total of 30. For Rich, 16 points for 16 territories, no
      strongholds, and 13 points in cards for 29 points. And for Ralph, 12 points
      for 12 territories, 4 points for 2 strongholds, and 10 (?) points in cards
      for 26 points. I wasn't actively pursuing a stronghold control strategy, but
      it worked out for me.
      All in all a pretty darn good game. I played Risk hundreds of times as a
      kid, probably, and I wouldn't actively seek to play it again, though I
      wouldn't mind. I will actively seek to play this one again though. Thumbs
      David Fontes http://www.mmiusa.com/ookpik/
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