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Risk Legacy, Part Eleven: Spooky Sippers

This post explicitly talks about some late-game aspects of Risk Legacy that some people may wish to keep unspoiled. They are: “after all nine minor cities have been founded”, “a player signs the board twice”, “a player has been eliminated”, “three missiles are fired on the same turn”, “Do Not Open. Ever.”, “place the world capital on the map.”

We were nearing the end. Only three games to go, and distressingly close to an irreversible Justin victory.

It seemed like a good time to stop for a moment and make some beer.

Justin suggested it initially: why not all get together and brew? Then we could drink it and fondly remember dice rolls gone by. I suggested one better: why not make it at CBW so it could be a proper release? Of course this meant I was volunteering Rudy’s time, but he was very nice about the whole thing.

We gathered at the brewery last week to make The Bringer of Nuclear Fire, because with a name like that it’s the obvious choice for a beer. It’s got to have nuclear fire in it, though, and so we’re adding chili peppers to the imperial milk stout base. Don’t worry: we’ll be making sure it doesn’t turn your tongue into a fallout zone. Pepper beers are tough because they quickly go from “there are peppers in here?” to “oh god why why what have I done to deserve this.”

Once ready, the beer will be released at Sterling Place — likely one night only — as we play the final game. You can come and watch and sip along with us! We’ll have details once we know how the beer is progressing.

Dramatis personae (Felicia, Alex, Dan, Justin, Matt)

Dramatis personae (Felicia, Alex, Dan, Justin, Matt)

The beer

We wound up not having a theme for the night: I had suggested “a spooky beer,” what with it being Halloween, and then Justin had countered with “a capital beer” to commemorate Brazil being named the world capital, and then we all just sort of brought something we wanted to bring. That works too!

Matt: Saison (Big Ditch Brewing Company)

Can you believe the nerve of Matt? All this time and he’d never brought one of his beers for us to try! I joked about it to him in the week before so he definitely stepped up to the plate, bringing three different selections.

It first hit me with a creamy mouthfeel, followed quickly by a clean citrus flavor. Alex took a sip and gave Matt a fist bump.

Justin declared it “reminiscent of Fantome,” his favorite saison, following up by giving it “a most flowing jfro thumbs up.”

This will be a beer to look out for.

Matt: Belgian Style Blonde Ale with Peaches (Big Ditch Brewing Company)

Alex stirring the mash

Alex stirring the mash

Justin thought it smelled like peaches with the rinds on. He thought some more. Peach candy? “Yes!” Alex replied. “Peach gummies!”

I thought it had a floral characteristic, reminiscent of the Bees in the Trappe I had at the Beer Geek Festival (although without the waxy component). Justin further declared it similar to dry champagne, to which Felicia said “That’s what it is!”

“What is this,” Justin asked, “five percent [abv] and change?” “No,” Matt replied. “Seven.”

Seven! This will be a beer to look out for, but more because it will sneak up on you and hit you in the back of the head.

At this point Alex stepped in and planned out the rest of the tasting. I think he felt bad about taking charge but hey, I’d have been fine with Creme Brulee next and that would have been a bad idea. Besides: there was a good path to take.

Matt: Apple Cinnamon Ale (Big Ditch Brewing Company)

This was a year and a half old, Matt warned as he opened it, so it was quite possibly oxidized. He didn’t remember exactly how strong it was, but it was something like 7.x%.

Spiced! Very spiced. Especially with cinnamon, the hot kind. Alex said it was red hot candy. Justin, who had been away from the table, came back and said it was like a fireball.

There was some subtle apple underneath as well, but it was dominated by the spices. I’m a fan of that, though: I don’t mind a beer that does what it sets out to.

Alex: Pumpkin Scotch Ale (A.P.E.S.)

It took me far too long to first realize the link between the A.P.E.S. homebrewing moniker and its brewers, Alex Placito and Eric Stellrecht. They make a pumpkin beer each year, following up 2012’s pumpkin porter with a pumpkin scotch ale.

Oh my, toffee pudding! Lots of malt to back up the pumpkin spice, a full body to offset the cinnamon and cloves.

Corey (also of Big Ditch fame, who hung out with Rudy while he brewed and we rolled dice) also liked it, appreciating that it wasn’t overspiced. Despite what I just said about liking prominently spiced beers I appreciate subtlety as well: this let the pumpkin and scotch ale flavors take center stage.

This, along with the Big Ditch saison, split the votes for beer of the night. I realize the rub in talking about all these great beers that nobody reading this can try. I’m sorry! Join the Niagara Association of Homebrewers, maybe?

Felicia: Warlock (Southern Tier)

Ah, a commercially available beer at last! And one I’d been hoping to try again after I liked it so much at the Beer Geek Festival.

That aroma, man. Dark malt bitterness with some sweetness, the Southern Tier pumpkin spices (also found in Pumking) layered on top.

Alex asks which is better, his or this. I think he was joking but after a pause Matt declared it was “no contest,” the A.P.E.S. were king. Alex was humble, appreciating the Warlock’s roast and how it intermingled with the spices.

Dan: The Snow (2012) (Community Beer Works)

NUCLEAR FIRE

NUCLEAR FIRE

Just as I hadn’t had anything from Big Ditch, Matt had missed out on our imperial stout from last year. Which is understandable, given that I think maybe two kegs ever made it into the wild.

My first impression was butter. Diacetyl had reared its ugly head. Alex got papery oxidation.

Despite the butterscotch it was still good! Matt pointed out that the hops have remained. Felicia declared it better than Warlock.

I liked how the roast mixed with the dark fruits from the malt. Alex said it was vinous.

We used the recipe for The Snow as the base of The Bringer of Nuclear Fire, tweaking it to our needs, and after tasting this we were all happy with how it should turn out.

Felicia: Creme Brulee Stout (Southern Tier)

I mentioned that I was happy to finally try this beer, which shocked Matt. I had never had it before? Well, I explained, I heard that it’s good but that you don’t want more than a few ounces of it: seeing as it comes in 22oz bottles I hadn’t picked it up for myself, and had never chosen it to bring to a group tasting. I was glad Felicia had!

“Oh wow,” I wrote in the draft of this post. Sugar. Not just sweetness, but sugar. Caramel. Toffee. I liked it but it was incredibly intense. Very sweet, and true to what I had heard about not wanting too much of it. Vanilla, yes, but underneath the top coat of sugar.

Rudy said it’s one of the only beers that can give him a hangover while he’s still drinking it.

The Game (13/15)

Starting factions and HQs

  • Alex: Khan Industries (lead faction), Fro-ia (Brazil)
  • Felicia: Mutants, Eastern United States
  • Matt: Die Mechaniker, South Africa
  • Dan: Imperial Balkania (The Bringer of Nuclear Fire), Yakutsk
  • Justin: Sarahan Republic, Indonesia

In which we are very bad at reading rules (part 37)

Oh yeah, Justin. Add those hops.

Oh yeah, Justin. Add those hops.

Once again we realized we had been making a mistake: if the Mutants are also playing, the Bringer of Nuclear Fire starts with two extra missiles! We also hadn’t been placing coins on resource cards at the end of the game. It had been at least three games since we had done it, which would make the job of opening the final packet easier. We placed the rest of the coins before the start of the game.

Additionally, we had to redo the placement of HQs because the lead faction — the one which has won the most, currently Khan Industries — always starts in the world capital: Justin had tried to sneak in to Argentina and prevent it.

The usual beginning

Being the lead faction has many perks: you start in a city with 5 population (virtually guaranteeing early events benefit you), you get an extra three troops at the start of the game and you get to choose the initial mission. Alex flipped through the deck and chose one we hadn’t seen before: it’s a “personal mission,” with the faction that completes it not only getting a red star but getting a red sticker added to their faction card allowing them to complete that mission every game. This one was to control the world capital and three major cities. He was 1/4 of the way there, with La Ciudad de Fuego (Argentina) just to the south.

Matt, Alex and Justin expanded to control all of Africa, South America and Australia, respectively. Felicia, sensing a growing force to the south, stayed still and reinforced her HQ. I went into Creepytown (Kamchatka) and ended: my faction had the ability to gain a resource card each turn I expand into an unoccupied city (in addition to the default “conquer at least one territory”).

This triggered our first event: Endless rains, an unstable orbit card allowing end-of-turn maneuvers only between adjacent territories.

Cautious expansion

Matt slowly expanded, entering the Mercenary-scarred Western Europe (where he would gain an extra troop at the end of each turn). He offered Alex a truce: he wanted to go after Justin to ensure we wouldn’t have an overall victor this game. Justin scoffed: Alex controlled the world capital! But, as I later remarked, we had been trained to fear Justin.

Alex accepted the truce and headed north, much to Felicia’s dismay. He ended his turn in the bunker-scarred Central America (which would give him +1 to his highest defensive roll). Felicia expanded into East Haverbrook (Western United States) to block him from going any farther north.

I entered Conley’s Shame (Mongolia) and took my coin. They had both been single coin cards rather than anything worth more, much to my dismay (my strategy essentially being entirely focused on the “place 30+ troops on the board and have a missile” packet).

Another event: Fallout, where each territory adjacent to the fallout zone (Siberia) loses 1d6 troops. Oh. Right. I remembered why I thought starting in Yakutsk was a bad idea. My HQ lost two troops, and as I ripped up the card I yelled, “Suck my dick, Fallout!” (Everyone else made me include that line in the post.)

Justin headed north into NikeTown (Southeast Asia) and, likely cognizant of Matt’s plan to attack him, ended. On cue, Matt marched east into India.

A series of unfortunate die rolls

Khan Industries on the move

Khan Industries on the move

Alex began the first offensive of the game, attacking Felicia in her Eastern US HQ. He lost two troops. Two more. They each lost one. Then two more for Alex before he finally stopped, chastened. Felicia reinforced her HQ and ended her turn.

I continued my slow march through city-dense Asia (which Justin had given the moniker “Asia” last game) and entered iPadlandia (China). I only earned a coin card again, but thankfully there was no event.

Justin, perhaps sick of my stupid face, attacked me in iPadlandia. I used one of my missiles but he ultimately took me out. He pulled all his troops back into NikeTown, awaiting Matt.

Matt, not one to disappoint, attacked NikeTown from India. To say that it went poorly would be an understatement. Roll after roll, Justin came out ahead. The one time Matt would have made him take a loss Justin used a missile. Matt ended his turn, defeated.

Little love notes to Alex

Alex, no stranger to crushing defeats, once again attacked Felicia in her Eastern US HQ. It took some time, but eventually he defeated her. She wasn’t out of the game but he ended his turn.

And the war came with a curse and a caterwaul

And the war came with a curse and a caterwaul

This triggered an event: Control the people, giving the player with the highest population five troops to place in a city. As the controller of the world capital, Alex got the troops. He could only place them in Fro-ia or Ciudad, so he chose Fro-ia. Combined with his faction power of gaining a troop in each HQ he controlled, Fro-ia was essentially impregnable at this point. Perhaps Justin was right to scoff.

Felicia attacked him in Central America from East Haverbrook. Victorious, she turned to her Eastern US capital. She was not as fortunate there but still had earned a resource card.

Another event: Join the cause, giving the player with the highest population three troops into cities. Alex got yet more troops.

With bloodlust in his eyes Justin attacked Matt in India. Missiles were fired, Matt was ejected. He was not rolling well tonight.

Yet one more event: Resistance, where minor cities with one or two troops losing one. Conley’s Shame (controlled by me) and Tootsville (Middle East; controlled by Matt) were emptied.

Justin said it was a bad move

Matt had not been rolling well. He had lost many troops to Justin, both on the offensive and defensive. Would he give up?

He would not.

He retook the now-empty Tootsville and attacked India. We were witness to the most spectacular display of dice rolling I’ve seen in my twenty-nine years on this green Earth. Justin rolled a six every. Single. Time. On the rare times Eris smiled upon Matt and he rolled a six? Justin rolled two. Even more rarely Matt would roll well enough to split the loss 1/1: on these occasions Justin used one of his five missiles.

It was a bloodbath. A spectacular, unbelievable bloodbath.

An unexpected turn

Khan grows stronger

Khan grows stronger

Alex continued his North American campaign and took Felicia out of her Eastern US headquarters. Unsated, he attacked and defeated East Haverbrook. The next step seemed clear: take Felicia out of the game. Let her reenter on her next turn, but don’t leave the Eastern US HQ vulnerable. Then, maybe next turn, head through Greenland into Dalekville (United Kingdom) to complete his personal mission.

Instead that son of a so-and-so went into Alaska and attacked me in Creepytown!

He took me out, too. From now on Khan Industries will be able to complete that mission each game for a red star.

This triggered an event: Join the cause, giving Alex troops that he placed in Creepytown.

Early lategame

Felicia traded in cards for troops that she used to take Alex out of her HQ. I told him it was a bad idea, I did (well, I didn’t, but I thought it quite forcefully). He was going to missile but it wouldn’t matter: the Mutants have a power causing them to win ties even while attacking.

Another event: Control the people, again into Creepytown.

I cashed in my cards, dream of 30 troops on one turn smashed. I entered Conley’s Shame, allowing me to get a card, and Japan, which would give me the two coin Japan card. As I write this it strikes me that my Balkanian homeland — the continent where they’ve started the most — was Asia, meaning I could have gotten the Japan card either way.

C’est la vie.

Fate was not yet done with me, as I caused another event: Resistance, causing Conley’s Shame, iPadlandia, Tootsville and Wenchport (Alberta) to lose troops.

Justin entered the empty iPadlandia and Conley’s Shame. He didn’t have my ability, and so to get a card he took me out of Japan.

The gambler’s fallacy

Matt said that the law of probability meant that he was due for good rolls, or that at least Justin had used up his luck. This is known as the gambler’s fallacy: the chances of rolling a six is always 1/6. If you’ve rolled 23 sixes in a row, the chances of rolling a six again is 1/6. 16.6667%, every time.

Guess what? Justin rolled two sixes.

His luck did eventually fail, causing him to missile to take a 1/1 loss and, finally, to lose India.

Hubris and hegemony

YOU SHALL NOT PASS

YOU SHALL NOT PASS

Alex retook the Eastern United States from Felicia. At this point he had won: he had two HQs, one red star and at the end of his turn would get the final one coin card. When the coin deck is depleted the player with the highest population — guess who? — gets a red star.

He decided to keep going. Have some fun with it. Play with his food a bit.

His Fro-ia armada moved out, attacking Burg (North Africa). Matt missiled. Matt missiled again. I missiled too: why not? I wouldn’t be using them. Matt missiled again. I launched my final missile. This was fun! Justin joined the fracas with a missile, and then another. A third — and final — missile from Justin! Matt stopped him with dice rolls (for once).

At this point Alex had actually misstepped: one of the African countries he had taken on the way to Matt’s HQ was available as a resource card, so if he stopped he wouldn’t win. Of course, he’d have four cards, so at the start of his next turn he could exchange them in for a red star. But a lot could happen in one turn! Maybe he’d lose the Eastern US again.

Alas. He took South Africa and, with it, his third victory.

We were so excited, so full of pizza and beer and the desire to maybe not make Rudy do all the brewing work while we played games (I may be projecting), that we forgot to have Alex choose his reward for winning. Next time.

Game 14/15 is next. And then… the finale, live at Sterling Place, at the launch of the Bringer of Nuclear Fire. The end is in sight.

Shenanigans.

Shenanigans. (Or: Matt Kahn is not amused)