Monday, October 3, 2011

Escape from Yeti Island

After a month or so in port, Dystopian Wars finally hit the table at last night's PAGE meeting, where four admirals gathered for a learning game. Since everyone is still a new hand at the game, we decided to play a four-way battle.

The players were as follows:

  • Lovell with Covenant of Antarctica
  •  Jon with Empire of the Blazing Sun
  •  Justin with Ze Prussians
  • Myself with the Federated States of America
Lovell, as always, devised a custom scenario. In addition to destroying an opponent's ship, players could earn victory points by "boarding" one of four islands and overcoming the various dangers to capture rare Antarctican artifacts (Antarctifacts).

As is often the way with multiplayer games of any variety, the game turned out to be a free-for-all, with each player striking out randomly at targets of opportunity with no discernible strategy. In general I dislike this sort of gameplay but given the circumstances I think it was a fine introduction to a new system.

I came into the game with very little understanding other than the knowledge that my American fleet was supposed to be dangerous at range thanks to an abundance of rockets, so my first action was to maneuver my capital ship into maximum range and, with the help of a spotter plane, launch a barrage of rockets at the Prussian flagship. I used one of the optional strategy cards to enhance my volley, thinking I would gain an advantage by harassing my nearest opponent so early in the game. It turns out it's pretty tough to hurt things in Dystopian Wars, especially a Prussian battleship. I suppose that shouldn't have come as a surprise, but following this failure my official policy toward the target ship was "ignore the hell out of it."

Jon and Lovell clashed early in the game, while Justin and I eyed each other warily. Justin dispatched a trio of frigates and a couple of bombers toward the entirety of my fleet and I fended off the halfhearted attack, earning a few victory points. Meanwhile squadrons of FSA fighter planes engaged the Prussian dive-bombers in a spectacular dogfight, but the aerial acrobatics of the combatants forced a stalemate. I also claimed one of the small islands with boarding parties from two squadrons of frigates. Across the board, Lovell attempted to board a small island as well and was utterly thrashed by the occupants of what we began calling "Yeti Island."

Jon, who had been quietly dismantling Lovell's fleet with controlled cannonades, won the game. Justin and I tied for second, with Lovell bringing up the rear. Allowing for some bumpiness due to the game's newness, I really enjoyed the game and am looking forward to a more traditional 1 on 1 battle soon. It seems to have just about the right balance of depth vs. simplicity.

Likes:
  • Integrated turns
  • Strategy cards
  • Tiny fighters!
Dislikes:
  • Everyone made fun of my paddle wheels

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