Last night my friends Tad and Chris came over and we played some games. Namely, we played BattleLore and Carcassonne.
My friend Chris came over first, and we played the Agincourt scenario of BattleLore. Last time, when I played with my wife, I played the pennant side, with lots of archers and no cavalry. This time I played the standard side, with three cavalry and only one archer. Both times I lost. This time, I can trace my loss to a big mistake on my part. See, Chris was doing the smart thing, hanging back and pumping me full of arrows from a distance and forcing me to come to him on his terms. In my hurry to meet him in melee, I charged forward with my cavalry and didn’t pay enough attention to my infantry or my lone archer. As a result, the first three casualties in the game were–you guessed it–my three cavalry units. I managed to kill one of his archers (if I remember correctly), but he had played the patient game while I had rushed forward to engage too fast. As a result, when our infantry finally met in the middle of the battlefield, none of my units were supported while most of his were. Between his normal attacks and his battle-backs, he wiped out one of my infantry and ended the game. Of course, it didn’t help things that he had gotten a Darken the Skies card early in the game, and had managed to severely cripple two of my three cavalry with that card alone.
Around midnight, Tad came over and we broke out the Carcassonne. This was my first (and second) time playing, and I’ve been curious about this game for quite a while. I must admit, I liked it. The first game we played was the core game (which Chris refers to as the “introduction game”); it lasted about 30 minutes and ended with my victory. Beginner’s luck, I guess. The second added in one of the expansion packs (I forget which), and Chris won that one. For those who haven’t played yet, Carcassonne involves randomly drawing and then playing tiles such that they both match up with tiles already on the table and are advantageous to you and not to your opponents. In addition, you get seven meeples, and you can place them in cities, on roads, in monasteries, or on fields to score points. If you place a meeple in a city or monastery, or on a road, you get it back when the feature is completed and immediately score points for it; otherwise, they remain there until the end of the game and are worth fewer points. If you place a meeple in a field, it stays there until the end of the game, but has the potential to score pretty big.
The expansion pack that we played with added two new terrain features: inns and cathedrals. Inns increase the value of completed roads that they are on (or decrease the value to zero, if the road is incomplete), while cathedrals do the same thing for cities. The expansion pack also gave each of us a “giant meeple”, worth two meeples for breaking ties (this comes into play when you wind up with two players’ meeples on a single feature; if there’s a tie, both players score equally, but if one player dominates, the other player gets nothing).
After the second game of Carcassonne, Tad left to go home and play Dead Rising on his 360, and Chris and I played a second game of BattleLore. We played the second scenario, First Chevauchee, and this time I won (barely). I tried to correct for my mistakes in the previous game this time, advancing with my infantry and making use of my archers (this time I got Darken the Skies) while holding my cavalry back for mop-up battles. There were two main clashes: one on my right wing and one straddling the center and left wing. For a while, it looked like I was going to lose again. Chris had 4 victory flags to my 2, and none of my command cards were really all that useful. However, I drew some section cards that allowed me to use the right units at the right times, and it made a pretty big difference. I wound up scoring two flags in one turn thanks to a well-placed Forward card, and after that Chris was on the retreat to some extent due to the fact that we were tied and his units were somewhat more beat up than mine. In the end, he wound up pulling a blue infantry back (it only had one figure left), and I charged forward with my blue cavalry, using a Leadership card for +1 die to my attack on his heavily damaged unit. I rolled two hits–more than enough–and ended the game with my victory.
At this point it was about 5am, so it was time for me to go to sleep. It was a really good night of gaming, though.