Session Report: Age of Empires III, Endeavor, Red November

Upon arrival at the club this week I realised I was still feeling the effects of the illness that has prevented me from gaming recently. Still, that didn’t prevent me from throwing myself into three new games (well, new to me).

Age of Empires III

JC broke out Age of Empires and it took a while for me to get to grips with the system. By the time I realised that obtaining lots of goods wouldn’t outweigh my opponent’s presence on the board, JC had flooded the map with missionaries and was scoring victory points hand over fist. My terrible tactics were borne from overhearing Ben state that money was important in the game. However it turned out that money is not as important as people.

So I made the same mistake my fascist employer makes every day. I put money before people, and came a distant third. If these games teach us anything, it is: capitalism is shit. Communism rocks!

Endeavor

This has been out a year and I still hadn’t played it. There had been much made of the concept of slavery in this game and I felt pangs of horror as Will was explaining the rules, but it turned out the game was so abstract that the theme was incidental. This can be re-themed at the publishers discretion; Outer Space, rats eating cheese, Telephone Communications: it really wouldn’t matter because I hardly felt at any point like I was journeying out from Europe to colonise the rest of the world. Pick up tile A, giving you bonuses in area B, allowing you to improve area C, giving you the means to pay for D, it was all very dry.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, there were some tactical decisions to make, but once again, I wasn’t feeling too good and I came 3rd with 40 points, behind Andy (52) and John (42). Will came last with 38.

Red November

There are two kinds of games I do not like: co-operative games (save Death Angel) and dice fests (save Blood Bowl). When Andy broke this out the concept of Gnomes aboard a nuclear submarine overcame my reticence, so I joined in.

Mistake.

I have learned a valuable lesson: do not play board games when you are unwell.

The maniacs in my gaming group normally make most games a blast, but this left me cold and it seemed to stretch on interminably. Fire breaks out, spend time trying to fix it, roll a die, move the time marker. Over and over and over. I was feeling dog rough and wanted to go home, so maybe this isn’t an accurate reflection of the nature of the game, as everyone else seemed to be having a great time. Eventually the submarine’s engine overheated and all the gnomes were roasted alive. Not a moment too soon, I went home and climbed into bed.

Next week should be better; I’ll be pumped up and ready to go.

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