Wednesday, 7 December 2016

A Leap Into the Unknown

Last night I joined in a game of Scythe run by Andrew, this is a departure for me, not that I dislike boardgames, I don't, I just don't play them very often, it was also an opportunity to see how this modern boxed set worked as against my 30 year old 'Robert the Bruce' or Diplomacy. The former was bought for a fiver and is a brilliant game which never caught on, a modern version 'Hammer of the Scots' is about £60 and as far as I can see is a very close copy.

Scythe is a visually wonderful game, a beautiful board and the artwork on the cards is superb, I watched a couple of videos on YouTube to prepare for the game but had to give up, one guy talked like a machine gun and I got so distracted wondering when he was going to take a breath that I learned nothing and gave up. The other two were 'funky' and no doubt would appeal to the yoof generation but again it was confusing, I decided to take my chances on the night.

There are several different factions and you get a faction card and a game card, the game card gives you a choice each turn to do something, move, build, enlist or upgrade, the aim is to have the most points for land, power, popularity, money etc. You also have six stars which you can use in different ways and once your put your last star on the board the game ends and a tally is made. Now you would think that a good idea would be to stop your neighbours getting ahead and therefore there would be scope for attacking and conquering their land or controlling their factories etc. But no, it is frowned upon, so the game basically involves you and the others in a race to gather as much resources as you can and use up your stars. In the whole game we had two 'battles' the effects of which were pretty tame, the loser usually retreated, they did lose some popularity and power but they were not knockout blows.

I am first and foremost a wargamer, not a gamer, so the concept was a bit strange to me, the box art etc. gave me the idea it was a wargame, it is not, it is what I believe is termed a 'Euro' game, you do have the odd battle but otherwise there is no real player interaction and you are pretty much free to build away to your hearts content. Play more aggressively you say, yes that's fine but the mechanics are such that this is frowned upon even in the game and you will suffer for it and you certainly will not win. I enjoyed the game and had a working knowledge within about half a dozen turns thanks to Andrews explanations but in the end there was not enough mayhem or excitement for me.

Having no PC in my study I am getting on very well with my painting, even taking slightly more care the Footsore figures are so easy to paint so I have ordered up another unit for back up, just in case. I hope that this will keep me busy until the end of January or February.

I was tempted to use shields with the Christian Chi-Ro pattern but there really is not much evidence for this, I believe Constantines soldiers daubed it on their shields at the Milivian Bridge but doubt it took over from the standard patterns which had been in use for so long in the army. I am also taking the view that the units pulled into my field army at the end of the 5th C, if Roman would still be using equipment from years earlier as the supply from Imperial factories dwindled or run out, there is also the loyalty to the regiment to think about. With this in mind I am going to stick with patterns from the Notitia Dignitatum as produced by Little Big Men Studios, this also gives my men the opportunity to blend in with an army from earlier in the 5th C, so with the addition of some other units I have two armies for the price of one, well, one and a half.

I just noticed this on the Helion site, I have worked with the author before on a biography of General Moltke and the maps for this were completely different to anything I had done before, especially Jutland.

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