Ros and I were supposed to be having a game of the Catan Card Game on Tuesday last, but other things got in the way, and we had to settle for a quick game of EcoFluxx instead. I'd bought this variant on Looney Labs' successful Fluxx card game to replace Ros' copy of that game. It turns out that I needn't've bothered really, since Ros doesn't like Fluxx all that much after all. Ah well.
Meanwhile, I quite liked the theming of the EcoFluxx deck, particularly the small changes to Goals and Keepers which make it a wee bit more than just Fluxx with the serial numbers filed off.
Oh, and I won, with some sneaky cardplay. I still like this game a lot, and the more I play it, the more aware I become of the strategy and tactics of what can otherwise look like pure randomness.
Hardly makes up for the Carcassonne debacles, but still... ;)
As close as it freakin' gets
Bill was round as usual last night. Tony still laid low with illness, little could stop Bill and I repairing to the Up Front table. Fortunately, Little couldn't make it either, so Up Front it was. We chose to play a German/British Patrol, and random selection gave me the British. Good, I thought- I like the British. (Look here for a report- coauthored by myself and Ellis Simpson- about a small Up Front tournament I ran at DiceConEast 2004. This event featured some of my most memorable recent games with the British.)
Unsurprisingly, Bill went with the utterly orthodox regulation strong firebase German setup as per the old AH General strategy articles. That is to say: Cpl. Hessel and the 3 wimp riflemen (ML1 & 2) at group A; Sgt. Dettinger, the LMG, and the 4 good riflemen (ML3, 4 & 5) at group B. I went for a more viable form of the 3-group setup I've been using for the British for some time: 2 of my wimps at A; Sgt. Vasey and 2 good riflemen (ML3 & 4) at C- for a decent manoeuvre group; and everyone else at B- for a 5-man firebase with a weak ML2 riflemen to worry about a bit.
The 1st deck was quite quiet. I got my manoeuvre group out to D and into terrain (a gully at range chit 2- a good jumping-off point for some serious VP later on), while my firebase jinked sideways into terrain to cover their advance into the teeth of the firepower of that fearsome German firebase. Meanwhile the Germans didn't do much other than face- and survive- a non-trivial fire attack when they made their own advance off their baseline. Oh, and a British rifle had junked thanks to a double malfunction! I'd had to do an individual transfer to bolster my firebase thanks to that.
In any event, by the end of the deck I knew that Bill held a stream, and made my plans accordingly for my firebase's imminent advance. When I made that advance (to a -3 building, naturally enough), I hit the stream, then wire. I had the movement and rally cards needed to cope. What I lacked were the concealment cards to reduce Bill's fire attacks. The killer came when my lads dashed from the open ground they'd gone to under the wire to that building- 3 men died under the deadly hail of fire which'd just popped-up in Bill's hand. OUCH!
To cut a long story short, the rest of the game went something like this:
- I had to regroup.
- So my manoeuvre group retired and moved back adjacent to the remains of the firebase, the surviving members of which then transferred into the manoeuvre group.
- I now had a group which could both lay down decent firepower and advance- both of which I'd need to do to pull back the 9VP deficit I was facing.
- I got my first German KIA.
- Bill noted that his own wimp 'manoeuvre' group could advance without putting themselves into my firebase's killzone- he needed to do something like this to gain VP against the chance that I could start to accumulate them myself.
- That group hit a stream when they made their advance, then another when they immediately forded the first.
- I laterally transferred both my groups so that the Germans in the stream were in my firebase's killzone.
- Three Germans promptly died in the stream.
- I indulged in some premature gloating, and suffered a moment of deja vu (flashing back to similar foolishness in Badger's and my recent M44 games); Bill punished me for this with a fire attack which pinned most of my firebase!
- Cpl. Hessel survived everything I could throw at him in the stream, and the game went right down to the wire: we had to reshuffle the deck to complete Bill's last fire attack against 3 men, with the following possibilities:
- none of those 3 men pinned- I win by 1VP
- 1 pinned- draw
- 2 or 3 pinned- Bill wins by 1 or 2VP
- I lost by 1VP in the event.
During the post-mortem Bill commended my skillful play. Also, having suffered from an inability to generate a decent card cycle because he didn't have enough groups acting, he was interested in my critique of the orthodox tactics from those General strategy articles. As with our recent Japanese v. Russian games, he could see that my defeat in this game didn't refute the basis of my return to the tactics we'd instinctively adopted when we'd first started playing Up Front all those years ago.
Curse you Cpl. Hessel, curse you! ;)