Back to Catan
The regular Sunday gaming session resumed last week. Andy and I had time to sit down to a game before Donald arrived; he fancied Crimson Skies, while I was convinced it was my turn to choose a game of Commands and Colours: Ancients; so we compromised with a game of The Settlers of Catan Card Game.
Settlers cards is a game I really like (as regular readers will will be aware), and I've been pleased recently to have introduced it to Andy to find him take to the game quite strongly. In our last game back in February we'd tried out the Wizards and Dragons theme deck from the expansion (the first time I'd used this most colourful of the expansion theme decks, both literally and figuratively), so this time we went for the Science and Progress deck (Andy's a physics graduate and fancied his chances with it!).
The Science and Progress deck is themed around city expansions, including the University which is essential to using many of the other cards in the deck. Among the various cards, a particular favourite of mine is Land Reform, which allows you to swap 2 different regions, a card which can be very useful if your early expansions haven't gone according to plan. I also just like the way the card takes a very simple action- swapping 2 cards in your display- and gives it a role in the game.
Andy got off to a good start, gaining an early lead. But I had a Scout, and the Grain Mill and Foundry cards. Soon enough I was able to get a settlement built, leaving me in a strong position for building cities. This I soon did, giving me a hold of the Windmill token which I never lost, and with which I was able to irritate Andy with the constant drip-drip of the theft of his resources when the Commerce event turned up. Andy wasn't giving up easily though, sneaking the last settlement off me, and putting up a good fight for the Knight token. In the end though my superior resource base told, and I won by some 13VP to 10.
Setting out on the Road to Legend
Donald arrived as we were putting the game away. There was no need for a debate about what we would play this time: I had just completed my Descent set with the recent Descent: Road to Legend. The 3 of us had completed the first dungeon of the basic set a couple of months back. We had all enjoyed the game enough to want to play it more often, but I was interested in Road to Legend because it offered a proper campaign structure built on the premise of the shorter playing sessions which we had taken 3 of to complete that lone dungeon.
I'd read the RtL rules, but hadn't fully digested them, so setup and introduction was fairly lengthy. Andy and Donald had to choose and select 2 heroes each to create the party; I had to choose my avatar- I went for the Beastman Lord with extra wounds and speed, and my plot- I chose Ascension, because it was described as the simplest of the plots which give the Overlord player an alternative victory condition (alternative to crushing the foolish heroes when they finally confront me in my keep that is!). The avatar and the plot are features new to RtL. The avatar is the Overlord in person, while the plots define the Overlord's goals in a given campaign (details here). Getting all of these decisions made took time, including the task of adjusting the various card decks which have been modified in RtL. Still, we got a lot of stuff sorted to which we won't have to return, so that's good.
Once we were ready, Andy and Donald's heroes set out to explore the land of Terrinoth, heading out of the fabled city of Tamalir to the nearest dungeon, which they promptly began to explore. Clearing the first level went relatively smoothly thanks to a combination of the mini-dungeon-level format new to RtL and our existing experience of the game, only costing the heroes 3 lives. Packing up at this point we were all pretty satisfied with how things had gone. We'd managed to complete a session in some 3 hours. Mind you, we calculated that we'd need some 40 sessions at that game's rate of progress before the heroes finally encounter my Beastman Lord... That'll be sometime next year then! ;)