Saturday, March 23, 1996

Dune Game (3/23/1996)

Players: Allan (Bene Gesserit), Anne (Emperor), Joshua (Atreides), Mike B. (Guild), Mike C. (Harkonnen), Scott (Fremen)

After an eternity of negotiations about what game to play, we decided on Dune (a choice we never seem to regret). Fremen used their opening option to occupy Sietch Tabr, and the Emperor immediately beamed into Habbanya Ridge Sietch. Bene Gesserit shipped three men to the south of the Polar Sink and the Fremen defeated those three to get the ten available spice. Harkonnen put up the Family Atomics flag when he moved seven men to the rocks by the Shield Wall and the battle lines were already being drawn between Atreides and the Baron. Several meetings "in the next room" seemed to ensure Atreides/Bene Gesserit and Fremen/Harkonnen cooperation.

The Emperor took over Tuek's Sietch, and the wily Guild place a contingent on the Rim Wall West as the Fremen massed by the Polar Sink -- just in case the Baron followed through on the Family Atomics threat. Bene Gesserit were just plain making trouble; they sent advisors with most every shipment and battled during the following round -- always with the threat of Shield/Lasegun and nearly always eliminating an enemy leader with their "voice" -- all to keep the Emperor (perhaps strongest at this point) and the Fremen off-balance. Our first nexus brought an instant Fremen/Harkonnen alliance, and all other players considered a four-on-two game before deciding to split up Guild/Emperor and Bene Gesserit/Atreides. It seemed the game would end soon, but it just didn't happen that way.

The Storm was far away from the Shield Wall (and surprisingly, no one went to kill Harkonnen's troops), the Emperor held both Tuek's and Habbanya Ridge Sietch, while the Fremen gobbled up spice and the Bene Gesserit amassed strength in Carthag (though only in an "advisory" role). Atreides split off nine men to attack Sietch Tabr and (with both "voice" and prescience) won handily. The Emperor used Weather Control to halt the Storm over Tuek's Sietch but once again, the Guild failed to win (or even attack) another city, seemingly more interested in rebuilding Arrakeen after Family Atomics was detonated. Sick of seeing the Emperor so close to victory, Bene Gesserit finally Shield/Lasegunned Habbanya (though the Guild quickly retook the city).

As the Storm crept to Arrakeen's doorstep, Atreides took one last shot at survival by halving its forces between Carthag and Arrakeen; the Guild and Fremen licked their chops at the thought of empty ornithopter cities. Harkonnen fled to the Polar Sink and sent five men into Sietch Tabr to face only three Atreides; however, even with support from the Fremen, the Guild, and the Emperor, he lost the battle and the Atreides/Bene Gesserit team won. Remarkably, Atreides held all three cities, and notably, Bene Gesserit has predicted "Atreides in turn 6" but had to share a victory in turn 7 with Atreides.

A word from our winners, Allan & Joshua

"Atreties and the Bene Gesserit can be one of the most powerful alliances in the game. The 'voice', along with Atreties' knowledge of the cards each player holds and the ability to know one element of the opponent's battle plan limits most of the variables in battle. Along with this devastating combination, our winning trump card was a Truthtrance held by me that was used when our opponents blocked the voice with a Karama card. Dune rule #1: Always have a surprise up your sleeve." - Allan

"Don't underestimate the Atreides/Bene Gesserit alliance. If you ever get into a combat with them assume the your leader will die and that his leader will live. This is equivalent to you having no leader, and the A/B alliance having 5 extra men. Equally dangerous is the Harkonnen/Bene Gesserit alliance. But here the Harkonnen have a bad stigma which keeps others wary where as the Atreides are seen as friendlier." - Joshua

Scott's words to live by:
- Apparently it is true that the forces of evil always win Dune?
An aggressive use of the Truthtrance card (by the Fremen) would have prolonged the game
- What am I gonna do with all this leftover spice? Reply at your own risk

Saturday, March 16, 1996

HeroQuest Game (3/16/1996)

Players: Anne (Elf), Lori (Barbarian), Mike (Overlord/DungeonMaster), Scott (Dwarf & Wizard)

HeroQuest is cool because of the look of the pieces and all the other parafrenalia, and we increased this advantage by replacing two of the plastic heroes with miniatures that MikeC had in his basement (the heavily-bearded Wizard and sexy-but-deadly Barbarian were particularly cool). The object of this particular quest seemed simple enough: go into the pit, find the just-turned-evil FireWizard, return him (or his body) and receive 100 clams per hero. Easy money if you ask me, and I was ready for the challenge.

The adventure started out harmlessly enough, with two lame skeletons in the hallway that Barbarian easily dispatched (without a single point of body damage). Elf discovered a trap near the next doorway, and that prevented us from assuming our most advantageous formation before opening the door. Barbarian lagged behind a bit so the Dwarf opened the door (rather than the our normal pattern of Barbarian doing the dirty work -- which we usually employ because that gives us our maximum number of shots at any monsters before it's their turn). We'd hit the motherlode -- four skeletons and one kick-ass lookin' guy behind them. Dwarf moved to the left side and missed in his attack of one skeleton, while Elf took one out with a single mighty swing. Wizard moved into the doorway and summoned a ghost to attack the big guy, but the attack was blocked. Dwarf took two body hits and Elf took only one, while one Skeleton move into the doorway to block Barbarian or Wizard from entering. This strategy didn't work, because Wizard destroyed him with his next attack, though Elf and Dwarf both took another body hit each (with the big enemy man taking an attack on Dwarf that missed).

Barbarian moved in to squash one of the skeletons and Dwarf continued to fight in the corner opposite Elf and Barbarian. Once this round was over, only one skeleton and the big guy remained, but the latter'd received no body damage and looked primed for some serious combat. When his turn came, he unleashed a firestorm that inflicted one point on Barbarian and two each on Dwarf and Elf (Wizard, still on the outside looking in, was unharmed). Elf then fled to regroup (and revive her health with a spell) while Dwarf and Barbarian hit the big man again. Then, Wizard put the enemy to sleep for one turn and that sealed his fate. He was dead before he got another chance to destroy our heroes.

Turns out that this fallen enemy was our ultimate prey for the quest. He could have transported to another part of the maze, but didn't get the chance because of Wizard's use of spells. We were going to continue through the maze, looking for additional loot, but after stopping for peppermint-stick ice cream and chocolate sauce, we were satisfied and left the quest with our heads held high and stomachs bloated.

A word from our winners, Everyone

"We won. We rich. We eat." - Barbarian

"If short people got nobody, why're all the babes attracted to me?" - Dwarf

"Like they say in the Keebler commercials, 'Elfin magic saves the day'" - Elf

"Can I take a nap now?" - Wizard

Scott's words to live by:
- The heroes in this game have successfully completed 8 out of 8 quests. When do they become full-fledged heroes?
- The heroes should pool their cash and buy Doom II (for those lonely nights in the dungeon)