Saturday, August 31, 2013

Risk Legacy: Games 5 and 6

It's been ages since my last Risk Legacy post: May 18th, to be exact!  What happened?  Well, a couple of things.  We've skipped several of our twice-monthly game nights with my brother (a combination of his schedule and ours).  I was dreading playing Risk Legacy again and didn't encourage bringing it out the few times we DID get together.  Game 4 tipped the board so strongly in Australia's favor, it was ridiculous.  Plus, Greg was the ONLY player who could start there.  He deserves to be applauded for positioning himself so advantageously, but it's hard to look forward to a game in which one person is guaranteed to win every time UNLESS one of two things happen: either the other three players gang up on him or one of them camps right outside his door and goes exclusively after him.  I don't like being limited to two options for a chance at victory, especially when one of them depends on two other players cooperating with me.  It takes the fun out.

Another deterrent was that in our last game, we opened a couple of envelopes with a bunch of cards to read through.  After waiting so long to play, I couldn't even remember basic rules, let alone face the challenge of learning new stuff.  But . . . Kylen really wanted to play.  So, after Rage and Star Trek Catan, Greg and I sent him and Ryan downstairs, while we poured over Risk Legacy.

What followed was awful.

Lately, Kylen has been into iphone Risk.  He thought he could apply his strategies in the digital world to real life.  Since he could win by taking North America, he reasoned that would work here.  Not so.  He and Ryan fought over the continent, effectively destroying each other, while Greg enjoyed his tremendous advantages in Australia.  He won quickly and easily.  I was the only player who had any chance of slowing him down.  Unfortunately, I didn't remember just how strong his advantage was until his second turn.  Then, it all came rushing back like a terrible nightmare.  By then it was too late to change my starting location.  He took his continent during his first turn, got 3 extra men due to having named said continent in a prior game, and got bonus men from territories early on (due to cities in Australia and the ease of expansion from a single entry point continent).  Meanwhile, I was struggling to do anything - anything at all - in Africa.

I complained a lot.  Greg realized it was too easy for him to win and decided to give himself a stumbling block by making it possible for someone else to start in Australia.  It was a truly noble action, especially when he could have rewarded himself by increasing his advantage even more.

Australia Player (Green) Dominated

Because Ryan wiped Kylen off the board, we were able to open a new envelop:

Greg and Kylen Fooled Around While Ryan Read the New Cards

We quickly went over the new stuff and started game 6.  Ryan got highest die and went first.  He chose Australia as his starting location.  No one serious about winning would start anywhere else.  From there on, it was the previous game all over again, except Greg and Ryan switched places.  Kylen made taking North America his top priority.   He and Greg wiped each other out.  I didn't park right outside Australia, because I was hoping that somehow there was an alternative way of winning.  Instead of starting in Africa, I started in Europe.  I was closer to Australia that way, and I had an easier time taking Europe than Africa, because Greg and Kylen were further away from me.  I actually did pretty well, but not well enough.  Australia was so easy to protect, Ryan could keep most of his extra men together on a single territory, while I had to spread mine out.  I did have one large army in his way, but his was bigger.  He broke through my defenses (horrible dice didn't help), and Australia owner won quickly and easily again. 

Australia Player (Purple) Wins Again!
At that point, I was pretty frustrated.  I didn't want to play this game anymore.  However, there was one bright spot: Ryan won a mission that allowed us to connect ANY two outside territories on the board.  We all agreed that Australia needed to be reigned in and joined her to the other side of the world.  I am desperately hoping that will give the next Australia player (even if it's me) enough of a challenge to make the game less predictable!

Australia is now connected to . . .

North America!