Monday, February 23, 2009

All in the cards

Dave had to cancel due to work, so we were the regular crew of 4 for games yesterday. That 5-player game of Battlestar Galactica just keeps getting postponed. We also had an early finish so that we could head off into town for a Di's birthday night out (that's Di of Settlers infamy). This meant that we didn't have time for the game of Doom Andy and I had been hoping for.

Nuclear War
Casting around for ideas of where to start, Andy I think it was who suggested this gem - the classic satirical game of global thermonuclear holocaust - which promptly appeared on the table. Checking out the last time we played Nuclear War, it turns out that it was Andy's suggestion then too; a hint of dodgy megalomanically destructive tendencies here perhaps, hmm?

In any event, Andy did slightly better in our 1st game than he had done in our previous one last year. Tony it was who I took out straight off the bat with 25 million dead from the Super Germ followed promptly by a 25 million Propaganda card. But, like I said, Andy only did a little better, being the next to go, and dishing out 9 million in retaliation. Soon thereafter Donald went down too, to a 10 megaton strike yielding the bonus 10 million casualties. His single 10 megaton retaliatory strike had no effect thanks to my bomb shelters, and I won with a comfortable 62 million in hand.

Our 2nd game was marked early on by some major destruction, featuring 2 50 megaton strikes each generating 10 million additional casualties:
  • Me on Andy using a B70.
  • Tony on me using a Saturn.

Andy was the first to go when his 3 million raggedy-ass survivors were finished off by Donald. His 22 million retaliation was nice to watch, but triggered no domino effect. Tony then kept the war going with an immediate strike. Soon thereafter he took me down with the Super Germ (a moment of revenge I'm sure he cherished). I fired off 4 10 megaton warheads in retaliation, the last of which hit the nuclear stockpile for triple the yield, which was one of those 'Oh, if only!' moments, because my next action was to explode my 100 megaton warhead out of loser's spite. The solar system survived unfortunately.

Tony took Donald down next, and cashed in a 25 million population easily to survive Donald's not unimpressive 17 million final retaliation.

Tony 1
Me 1
Irraditated losers 0

I bought a copy of Munchkin - Steve Jackson Games' #1 cash cow - back around the time of its 2001 release, swiftly following it with a copy of Unnatural Axe. I played the game enough to enjoy it but to feel that the jokes were wearing a bit thin. Then I put the game aside, where it has stayed ever since. Undoubtedly this was partly down to a queasy feeling over the whole Munchkin phenomenon, as expansion after expansion rolled off the presses.

In any event, on Sunday all those years of dodging the Munchkin came to an end, and we played 2 games. Tony won the 1st, about which I can remember no more than that Donald took the early lead that led to him suffering a stuffing when the rest of us ganged up on him, as you do.

The 2nd game I remember as being much closer than the first. As we neared the denouement Donald was on level 7 and the rest of us were on 8. I bought a level and then kicked open the door to meet the level 12 bigfoot, which I was just able to beat with 13. Victory was mine! Then Donald remembered a card he held and there ensued a discourse on the nature of 'clothing' in Munchkin. Sadly I had to yield to everyone else's arguments. Donald won shortly thereafter by defeating the platinum dragon for 2 levels on top of the one he'd bought.

Andy 0
Donald 1
Tony 2
Me 1

I really enjoyed playing Munchkin again. I'd forgotten how much fun is the game's screwage, especially with the card combos you can pile on people. My peculiar aversion to the game has been overcome, and I expect it'll take its due place at the table as entertaining filler in the future.

With an eye on the clock and dinner (Little Italy pasta bake: a tasty dish; really easy to prepare - all you have to cook is the pasta; and which can easily be kept in the fridge overnight if you want something you can just bung in the oven on the day; this is a surefire hit with all lovers of pasta with cheesy tomato sauces, and fish), we turned to staple gaming fare - Ivanhoe. Turning the air as blue as was the blood of our noble knights, we went right down to the wire in a closely contested game that was eventually won by Tony.

Andy 0
Donald 1
Tony 3
Me 1

So Andy was the goat this week. Meanwhile Tony will be pleased with his most convincing series of victories in a long time! ;)


gnome said...

Nuclear War! Oooh, I remember that almost as fondly as AD&D. Simple and simply brilliant game. Quite liked Munchkin too, but as you wisely pointed out the humour soon wears out.

Oh, and I finally got to play Carcassonne! It seemd quite smart.

JMcL63 said...

It was actually my first DM that got me into Nuclear War (30 years ago!). My dad was in CND, and he wasn't impressed. We had to go to great lengths to explain to him that it was satire, like Dr. Strangelove.

Funny thing: I was arguing that that a simple card and spinner game could be satirical all those years ago. Yet I still spent so much time arguing that rpg's weren't art. D'oh! ;)

gnome said...

Shocking really! Must have been a child prodigy...

Oh, and you have to admit that both Dr Stagelove's and Nuclear War's humour always had a slight chilling effect.

JMcL63 said...

"Oh, and you have to admit that both Dr Stagelove's and Nuclear War's humour always had a slight chilling effect."

Absolutely. We had one of those moments in Sunday's Nuclear War, when the black humour of the table talk raises eyebrows. Heh! ;)

gnome said...

Heh indeed!

Louise H said...

I'm impressed that you managed two games of Munchkin; a game that has a tendency to go on forever as everyone drags the leader down. I won't touch It I'm afraid and Ihat's very rare for me and a game. Nuclear War is fun though on occasion :-)

JMcL63 said...

We've managed 2 games twice now Louise, so I guess we're just good at bouncing back after the inevitable screwage. And I do seem to remember those long games from way back when I first started playing and there'd often be 5-6 players. I suspect they might've helped drive me away from the game too.

As you can tell, I've got over my own aversion to the Munchkin. ;)