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Risk Legacy, Part Five: The Bringer of Nuclear Fire

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”.

The theme for tonight was clear: kill Matt. Whatever the cost, whoever the murderer, Matt had to be put down. We each arrived and nodded around the room, stony silence filling the air. When the dice hit the table it was as though they were dusty bones, spelling out dark portents to those adept at reading them.

Okay, that’s a lie. Everyone was friendly and talkative, even if we did all have plans to crush Matt like a bug.

The beer

A tasty beer if ever there was one

A tasty beer if ever there was one

Usually I try to bring a growler of something from CBW to start the night with. As people come in they can drink it, but we don’t need to wait for anyone so we’re on equal footing tasting-wise. Frank is a good choice, as it’s low abv, and last time I brought a test batch of Rutherford B. Haze. This time? I forgot, and we had some hefty “palate cleansers.”

Julia: Black Cherry Porter (Short’s)

This was left over from last time, when Julia didn’t know what to bring and so came with a few different beers. It was very well done, reminding me of a cherry milk stout I made when I first started homebrewing. In my case I thought the cherries made the beer worse, but in this beer I tasted what I was going for at the time:  roasty, with enough fruit to taste but not be overpowering.

Justin: Delirium Tremens (Brouwerij Huyghe)

“Let’s get tremendous!” Alex said as we opened the bottle. Alex has been the absolute king of bad puns (which are therefore excellent puns) for weeks, and I tip my hat to him.

What is there to say about this beer? It’s Delirium Freaking Tremens. Julia called it delicious, then said it danced on the palate. Matt simply said “Very, very good.” Alex, our resident BJCP judge, declared it “spot on for the style.”

This bottle was actually a holdout from a few nights ago, when the theme was “a beer that surprised you.” Justin brought it because he was surprised at how high the abv was after drinking a bottle of it by himself.

Beer review, not peer review

Last week (the day before we met) I was somewhat critical of beer reviews, especially because they weren’t done in a vacuum: you know how much you paid for it, what brewery made it, what the style is, etc. Each of these influences your decision. Many people reading this are probably biased against Sam Adams beers, for instance, but is that because Sam Adams makes mediocre beer or because they’ve gotten too big? There is literally no way to know unless one is slipped into a blind sampling.

So, we decided to have a blind sampling.

Well, semi-blind. More of a double myopic sampling. Rather than ask my wife to spend the one hour of rest she’d get that night stewarding for us, I had a supply of reusable shopping bags by the door. Upon coming in each person would put their beer in a bag and then place it on a table in my kitchen. I went out and shuffled the bags up, and then we each took turns choosing a beer and then pouring it as blindly as possible.

Mystery 1

The forces of Justin and Matt prepare for battle

The forces of Justin and Matt prepare for battle

It was dark in color, but light enough to not be a stout, or probably a porter. Great nose, not as good flavor. I thought it could be a brown ale, with Alex countering with a scotch ale. I thought that was more likely. It was very dry.

Since this was supposed to get our opinions on the beer, I did my best to broadly “rate” each one. I thought it was okay, but not great. Justin thought it was fine. Julia wanted more finish. She said it felt clumsy and not well integrated.

The reveal: Dark Horse Boffo Brown Ale (Julia)

Mystery 2

Light in color. Belgiany. Dry. Julia said it was super floral with fruit on the mid palate. Matt thought it was something non traditional. He got fruitiness from it, but wasn’t sure if it was yeast fruitiness or hop fruitiness.

I liked it. It wasn’t something I’d order frequently, but I was glad I was having it.

Matt had a hard removing from the style, not knowing what it was. Alex and I thought this was great, as it was the exact point of what we were doing.

Alex thought he may have brought it, and if so it was better than he remembered.

The reveal: The Alchemist Celia Saison (Alex). Alex brought it, not really liking it, but he thought it was better this time. It may have been because he wasn’t prejudiced against the gluten free aspect. Exciting! Science! It was a great beer to bring to this.

Mystery 3

Like I said, our methodology was somewhat less than rigorous. Like when I heard a can opening, I knew it was my beer. Matt wasn’t really able to pour the can without seeing it. C’est la vie.

It was light in color and toasty, or biscuity. Something along those lines. Less hoppy than I expected.

Alex thought it was a basic American pale ale. Some hops, easy drinking: not super super hoppy. Possibly Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Not Mowmaster, definitely.

Justin would order one pint and finish it, but not order it again. Not being a hophead, he would wish he didn’t order it but wouldn’t hand it off. He got some pine.

Julia said it was like if Ithaca made a pale ale (it was pointed out that they do). If it had more personality, she’d call it Great Divide. Super clean. Nicely made. Matt agreed.

The reveal: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (Dan)! Justin: “I liked Sierra Nevada Pale Ale!” Usually he likes nothing hoppier than a bitter.

Mystery 4

Pale and cloudy. Justin thought it was his.

Julia thinks it’s Belgian IPA, possibly a Belgian saison. It reminds of Chouffe. Chouffer? Chouffesque? She liked it, and would buy it. Alex and I agreed: very nice.

Matt thought it wasn’t super dry. “Not amazing, but solid.” He thought it was around 7%, Julia 8-8.5%.

Alex went “on a ledge” and said its not Chouffe. Too hoppy to be a saison: Hennepin or BPA. Julia thought it was “legit Belgian.” I thought it could be Hennepin, but not BPA.

Justin reviewed it the same as SNPA: he wouldn’t order it again, wouldn’t give it away.

The reveal: Urthel Saisonniere (Justin). Just 6%. Justin hadn’t had it but enjoyed what he’s had by them.

Mystery 5

Sweet. Maybe another brown ale? it reminded me of Newcastle in a good way: I like that beer for what I can only really describe as a lip smacking flavor. A bit of sweetness that makes me go “Mmm.” It was by far my favorite of the night.

Alex thought it was an imperial something. Lagunitas Maximus? Big palate, washes over everything. Possibly a well balanced barleywine.

Julia thought it could be a Souther Tier 2x something. Undercover Shutdown? She and Alex go back and forth naming off beers it could be for a while.

Justin really liked it. He would drink more than one at a bar.

The reveal: Goose Island Pere Jacques (Matt). 8.7%. I didn’t get any Belgian from it at all. But damn it’s good, and to hell with the haters who say that an AB InBev owned brewery can’t make good beer. If you don’t want to support them because of their multinational parent company then I respect that, but you can’t fault the quality.

Before we started I wrote something in a sealed envelope. It turns out I was wrong! I thought someone would bring a ringer, to say “Ha ha you liked Bid Light” or something similar. The closest person to having an agenda was me with SNPA: I wanted to see if people legitimately liked what’s considered the quintessential American pale ale, and those who liked pale ales did in fact enjoy it.

Science.

Game 1 (6/15)

The long, slow march to victory

The long, slow march to victory

We had been on a streak of one game a night, as they took too long to finish. This one was pretty simple. Justin stole Alex’s South American base by choosing Peru as his HQ, and when Julia took my Australia I decided to make North America my unofficial home. Alex went into Tenacity (Afghanistan), and Matt his de facto starting location of South Africa.

A note: during this game, while rereading the rules, I found out that we’ve been playing wrong and should not have been able to start in a “marked” country: no minor cities (my Wenchport and Alex’s Tenacity) and no scarred countries. Whoops.

There were two main campaigns: Alex decided to ignore the War On Matt and headed straight for Julia in Australia. They each take a turn to reinforce and then it was on. The two of them settled in for a long, multi-turn battle while the western war ignited.

Matt spent a turn turtling in South Africa, doing nothing but reinforcing. Justin expanded into Burg, confident in our truce. The Central Africa/Burg fight was an early bloodbath, as Justin had sent nearly all of his troops across the ocean. The dice were not with him. Matt drove Justin out of Africa, then followed into Brazil. Not sated, he then took Venezuela.

Justin asked if there was any more Delirium Tremens left. He poured himself a glass.

I had been planning on ignoring Justin, but when Matt took Venezuela I had a clear shot at him without having to touch my ally. I attacked Venezuela, and as I’m about to win he launched a missile. I take it on my next roll and advance, onward towards South Africa. As I arrived he missiled again. Eventually he could not withstand my troops and was knocked out of the game.

Justin began work rebuilding South America, which triggered an event: Resistance. All minor cities with one or two troops lost one troop. I lost my headquarters! Burg also slipped from my grasp, with Alex losing his Tenacity HQ as well as Tootsville. Without my HQ I no longer controlled North America.

Julia rebuked Alex’s attacks and then hit him at home. She invaded India, then his Tenacity HQ. He rolled three ones in a row.

Matt rentered the game in Great Britain, choosing the elimination power of “Place some or all troops in an unoccupied territory when reinforcing at the start of your turn.”

On my turn I cashed in cards for a star, then invaded Justin’s Peru HQ. He rolls\ed higher than me, but I launched a missile. Three HQs, one red star, I won.

I founded a major city in the Western United States: East Haverbrook. Now I have a good chance of being able to start in one of my two preferred continents. I chose the name as both a joke (a city named “East” in the Western US) and as a nod to the Simpsons. Afterward I realized I probably should have gone with East Hastings.

With such a fast game we decided to have a second go of it.

Game 2 (7/15)

Justin again chose Peru as his HQ. I had to start in my shiny new East Haverbrook, especially as Matt had taken Eastern Australia. Julia picked up his African slack by starting in South Africa, with Alex rounding out the group by going into Siberia.

Justin began by expanding to control South America. I once again made it clear that he and I had no beef, and that I would stay away from him. Julia started slowly moving up Africa.

Alex headed east, taking Alaska. My plan had been to take over all of North America, but with an interloper I cautiously expanded into Wenchport and stopped.

Justin still had blood in his eyes, wanting nothing more than a defeated Matt. He swept into Burg, caring little for Julia except to trample her on his quest for Australia. He also expanded into Western Europe before stopping.

Julia took him out of Burg. Justin got the troops from a reinforcements event, as always.

Alex followed up on what he started on his first turn and attacked Wenchport. The Wenchportians are, if I may say, the most valiant and resistant people in the game. They withstand much! In this case, Alex was stymied. On my turn they exacted revenge and attacked Alaska.

Justin used his turn to roll back into Burg. It wasn’t a suicide run now: he wanted Africa. Once again there was an event that gave Justin more troops, causing Julia to say that events were like “little love notes to Justin.”

Julia once again attacked Burg. She picked Justin off a bit before stopping. Alex used his turn to reinforce. Matt also reinforced. The game was progressing slowly, some might say boringly. “This is the smoked BBQ of games,” I said. “Low and slow.” Alex responded: “Ribsk?”

The time had come. I marched into Asia to take on Alex.I reached his Siberian HQ and fired a missile. He responded with a missile of his own. We had a brief pause. Were we doing this? Would we open a packet?

We would. I launched a third missile.

Mother. Effing. Mutants.

Mother. Effing. Mutants.

Alex had the honors, as he was the one being nuked (and knocked out of the game).

“Mutants??” he said.

We have a new faction.

“We probably should have seen this coming, in hindsight,” I replied.

Mutants. Whereas the other factions gain one troop in Mercenary scarred territories and lose one in Biohazards each turn, the Mutants lose and gain, respectively. They also gain one troop in the fallout scarred territory.

Oh yes: Siberia now has a Fallout scar on it. It can no longer be scarred in any way, and if there had been scars they would have been removed. When entering the territory you lose half the troops coming in, and one each at the end of your turn. Except the Mutants, of course: they lose no troops, and gain one each turn.

The faction I was using — Imperial Balkania — is now labeled “The Bringer of Nuclear Fire,” which is about as badass of a title as I can think of. Mutants reroll all 1s rolled against them.

“This is crazypants. Pants are crazy.”, according to my notes.

The three troops I attacked with, and the two Alex defended with, are gone. Additionally, one troop in each adjacent territory is lost, meaning I’m cut off from them. Oh well, at least I’ll capture his HQ next turn. Nope: his HQ is wiped off the map. At least I get his cards for knocking him out! Nope: they’re just tossed away.

There are also missile powers: if you gain a red star and your faction doesn’t have a power you can choose one. Instead of firing a missile to change a die roll you can instead use your power.

This all must have taken 15 minutes to go through. Mutants. Everyone noted their intention to take them first the next game, if able to.

Back to the game: Justin conquered East Africa, having changed his focus from Matt to Julia. She attacked him on her turn, mostly evening things out.

Alex reentered the game in Japan. He attacked me and had poor rolls. Meanwhile, Matt expanded out of his Australian base to take Egypt, inserting himself near the fray.

Goodbye, Siberia. Nobody wants to come there anymore. (except mutants)

Goodbye, Siberia. Nobody wants to come there anymore. (except mutants)

This caused a “Riots” event. Anyone with a major city rolls a d6. They add one for each troop and HQ in the city. If the modified roll isn’t 6, they lose the natural roll number of troops and a HQ, if present, is destroyed. So a city with two troops and a HQ would need to roll 3 or higher, or else lose the 1 or 2 they rolled. I cleared East Haverbrook and Creepytown, Justin Ciudad, but Matt lost his troops in Shady Conley.

I knocked Alex out again. I felt bad, I really did, but I needed a card. This triggered a “Fortify” event, and as the person with the highest population I gained two troops in two cities.

Justin went back to attacking Julia, taking her South African HQ with a natural three of a kind (the power of the Enclave of the Bear). This gained him a gold coin, the last of the stack. As the player with the highest population I earned a red star, as well as the missile power that went with it. I choose “rally”: spend a missile for +2 troops in each HQ I control. As I was out of missiles I wouldn’t be using it in the game, but my faction will have it in the future.

Julia reinforced, still having troops in two nearby countries, and then attacked East Africa. Victorious, she then attacked Matt in Egypt but was stopped.

Alex rejoined the game once again in Great Britain, which seems to have become the exile of choice.

Matt, sensing an opportunity, attacked Justin. He conquered Brazil but was stopped at the last moment, shy of Justin’s Peru HQ.

As my army had been reinforced by a few events, I decided to make a run down Asia at Matt’s Australian forces. The current Mission was to have a continent bonus of 7 or more: I had +5 from North America, and the +2 from Australia would have given me a red star and the win. My warpath was long and bloodied, and including destroying the last of the Niketown fortification that I placed but, I believe, never saw benefit from. As I entered Australia I realized I had forgotten to cash in my cards for troops. It might lose me the game if I couldn’t completely wipe Matt out of the continent.

Smudgy, but yelling just the same.

Smudgy, but yelling just the same.

A few bad rolls later I was stopped. I began to fiddle with reinforcing troops, deciding what I could afford to place where, when Justin stopped me. “I’ve won.” “What?” He cashed in his cards for a second red star, which when added to his two HQs was the required four victory points.

He decided to found a major city. Seeking to make Europe more attractive (after it’s been scarred to oblivion), he went to Great Britain. The capital? Dalek-ville.

Next time: EX-TER-MIN-ATE.