Let’s Play Pollyanna

March Gaming – Scots, Trains and the Reformation

Just had a mammoth weekend of gaming. I am not going to give details of everything I played but I will pick out a few highlights. These are three major games which I played for the first time.

I started on Friday with Hammer Of The Scots. This is a block wargame from Columbia Games. Now I am not a big wargame fan, but I had read the rules for this game quite extensively and found them simple enough to internalise (which is one of my big issues with more complex wargames). So I decided to buy the game and give it a go with a friend over the other side of town and have a few beers (I also took along a large bottle of Chimay Blue to help things along) as an alternative to Comic Relief. I am not going to go into the rules here but you can look them up online if you want. I played England and had a number of lucky card draws which saw Edward sailing up the coast into north Scotland on a couple of years. The second time it happened I had the cards and forces to coordinate a pincer movement from the south and the Scottish rebellion crumbled a few years in the the 14th century.

On Saturday we had our monthly games session. This month it was short games so I took along another fairly recent acquisition – Chicago Express. This played extremely well and was so interesting it got another play at the pub on Tuesday. I still think most of the group play too nice and try and drive the lines towards Chicago too much. Both were five player games and I would like to see how it plays with three or four just to see if there is any more skullduggery involved.

And finally on Sunday I played Here I Stand. For those that aren’t aware of the game it is a card driven conflict game for six players. It is set at the time of the Reformation in Europe. It isn’t an out and out wargame to my mind – a lot of the ways to gather up VPs don’t involve wars and battles. It does however have a long rulebook, over 40 pages, which isn’t always organised very well. However each player has different goals and different things they can do. The Ottomans are basically trying to invade Europe and gain territory. The Protestants are trying to translate the Bible and turn various countries Protestant. The Pope is trying to burn the Protestant heretics, building St Peters and prevent them from exerting religious control. The French (who I played) get points for building chateuax. The English get points for producing a heir – although they also got points in our game by invading La Belle France. Finally the Hapsburgs start the game with masses of territory and reasonably mobile forces – but everyone is nibbling away at their territory. The French, English and Hapsburgs can also pay for voyages of exploration and settlement in the New World which also gets rewards. The play is fairly straightforward although there are a lot of cases with special rules. I have owned the game for some time and now that I have played it I have found it a long and absorbing game and can’t wait to play again. Fortunately everyone who was involved also want to give it another go – however some don’t want to play the same power again.

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March 18, 2009 - Posted by | Games

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