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Risk Legacy, Part Ten: Packets! Glorious Packets!

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.”

Here we were: back in business. After a slow summer we finally had managed to be back to the every other week schedule we started with. Could the unstoppable Justinian force be halted? Would the final two packets be opened? I had been having a good amount of anxiety about that: what if we never get to them? What if we miss out?

Time would tell.

The beer

Last time we decided the theme should be “leftover beer,” as we had so much. Of course, to spice it up I brought a growler of In A Van and somehow having to drink half a gallon of 8.75% abv beer didn’t let us put much of a dent in our backlog. I considered bringing some Mr. Superfantastisch this time, just a half growler, but then decided against it. (some might say I forgot, but those people will be first against the wall when the revolution comes)

Sawtooth (Left Hand)

Beer and bits

Beer and bits

This beer was featured in Part Four, as a beer Justin had never had before. I’m not sure what’s more surprising: that it’s been five months or that I actually made a Macklemore reference in public.

What hops there were have faded. This languished too long in my basement, and unfortunately is but a shadow of its former self. My apologies, Sawtooth, for we have neglected you.

Old Rasputin (North Coast)

Ah yes, a beer Justin would go to war for, all the way from Part Two. This one I wasn’t worried about having cellared, and despite some oxidation it was no worse for wear.

Besides: in an imperial stout, a little winey oxidation can fit right in. It wasn’t Felicia’s cup of tea: too bitter, too much like engine oil (calling to mind Harviestoun’s Old Engine Oil porter). Justin, of course, quite fancied it. “Damn,” he said. “That’s a good grog.” As the night went on he opened a second bottle and said there was no oxidation to be found.

Milk Stout (Left Hand)

Mmm. Left Hand Milk Stout. I think my love of this beer — shared with Justin and Alex particularly — is, so far, my one great takeaway from this series. It was brought relatively recently (Part Eight), and you really should read Justin’s justification for how this was a beer for the 4th of July (wait, were these really all Justin’s beers? What do we have against him?). The sweetness, the roastiness, it all remained. There was only one bottle, and it was passed around with great glee and reverence.

Saisonniere (Urthel)

Hailing from the fun of Part Five‘s “beer review, not peer review” semi-blind tasting. This one was again Justin’s, but I’ve realized that it’s not that we don’t like his beers: it’s that we do, I say with a side eye for the two types of light pale ales from Southern Tier I’ve brought to the table that I won’t even bother to serve, knowing by now they’ve gone to seed.

“Delicious,” Felicia said, and I was glad she had found a beer she liked. I am generally forgetful of the fact that some people can’t enjoy milk stouts by the very nature of their digestive tract. I agreed with her assessment, as saisons are one of my favorite styles.

Pere Jacques (Goose Island)

See? This one came from Matt, also hailing from Part Five. It was my favorite beer of the night, and is probably one of if not the best beers I’ve had all year.

Unfortunately, it too fell victim to oxidation. Old beer: it’s my fault. It didn’t spoil much, though, as everything I initially loved about the beer was still intact.

Golden Delicious (Captain Lawrence)

“What?”, you might say. “I don’t remember you drinking this.” Well, it’s because we hadn’t. Matt had brought it in the past but we somehow had never opened it!

I loved the aroma. Apples, spice, tripel yeast pepperiness. Felicia was reminded of a summer beer. Alex got a strong whiskey/brandy association, but admitted that could have been because he was expecting it going in. “Luscious” was a word he used to describe it and I agreed, even if for me that word is in my mind exclusively tied to homebrewer Todd Snyder and his “Pilsner, Luscious Pilsner.”

The Game (12/15)

2013-10-02 21.57.49

After last game I realized we had made a mistake: Felicia’s Imperial Balkania had been eliminated from the game, yet she hadn’t chosen a comeback power for the faction. Before this game started she chose Resourceful: the Bringer of Nuclear Fire can draw a resource card if they expand into a city, even if they don’t conquer a territory.

Our factions and headquarters:

  • Alex: Imperial Balkania, Ontario
  • Dan: Mutants, Shady Conley (Western Australia)
  • Matt: Enclave of the Bear, South Africa
  • Felicia: Saharan Republic, Urals
  • Justin: Khan Industries, Peru

Felicia’s choice of comeback power would have immediate effects. After Alex expanded throughout most of North America he was able to draw a card, which triggered an event: Eternal Darkness, an unstable orbit card that would treat cards traded in for troop bonuses as one fewer (so four cards would give the bonus for three). (and yes, astute readers will note we had misinterpreted this in earlier games)

From there we had the standard expansions: I controlled Australia; Matt Africa (although we managed to forget that his naming it A.S.L.I.P. should have given him an extra troop per turn); Justin South America; Alex North America; Felicia some parts of Eurasia.

My short term goal was clear, mostly because it was exactly what Justin had done the game before: take my Mutants out of Australia and blitz into Siberia and Southern Europe to control the fallout and biohazard territories and earn a red star. I set out for Siberia first and Matt took the opportunity to go into Tootsville (Middle East), cutting me off from Europe. The table actually cheered! As though I was the threat and not Four-Peat Frost.

To add to the indignity Felicia then attacked iPadlandia (China) from Tenacity (Afghanistan). It looked like I had stopped her, but she managed to switch her assault to be from her Urals HQ and, thanks to a poorly timed 1 on my die, she took it.

Bears, mount up!

Bears, mount up!

This triggered an event: Fallout, where territories adjacent to the fallout territory lose 1d6 troops. Felicia was livid: this had happened last game too! Before she rolled I looked at the card: it says to destroy after use, which we hadn’t done. Whoops. We’ve been great at this “following rules” thing. I ripped up the card and we drew another: Resistance, where minor cities with one or two troops lose one. I lost my NikeTown (Southeast Asia) territory and Alex his Wenchport (Alberta), which more importantly took away his continent bonus.

I had just been thinking that I was glad Justin was on the other side of the map from me. Too often the game is us butting heads. Then he used Khan Industries’ ability to place troops in any unmarked territory to suddenly occupy India and attack NikeTown. His blitzkrieg was unsuccessful, as was his plan to at least give Matt or Felicia an easy card by taking him out the next turn. He had wanted to deny me the card, but forgot that my turn was before theirs.

Alex retook Wenchport, drawing a card and triggering a mission. Join the Cause, which would give the player with the highest population — Alex, in this case — three troops to place into cities or allow them to change the current mission to one of their choice.

A brief aside: we hadn’t done much with missions. I think we had completed one total in all our games. They’re generally pretty difficult, things like “control all islands on the map” or “conquer four territories over sea lines.” But, in my Fear Of Missing Out induced panic I had learned just enough to know that placing the world capital — which would trigger one of the final two packets to be opened — was on a mission card somewhere.

Alex flipped through the mission cards and selected a new one. He had found the world capital mission! When a player draws a resource card worth four or more coins they place the capital (and earn two red stars). This may have been easier for us if we hadn’t forgotten to place coin stickers on resource cards for, oh, maybe three games.

YOU WILL BE MINE

YOU WILL BE MINE

But: Brazil, worth four stars, was an option. Justin controlled Brazil. As long as he could take a territory, any territory, before it worked its way down the line to the discard pile the packet would be opened. The world came together in support of this plan. Alex even offered to weaken Mexico so that Justin could attack northward, but he declined. I saw his plan, but said nothing. (there’s irony here; keep reading)

I retook India from Justin, triggering another event: Control the People, a little love note to Alex, giving him five troops to place in cities.

Matt attacked Tenacity from Tootsville, taking me out. This triggered another Resistance event, which took Matt out of Tenacity. See how he likes it.

Felicia then took the opportunity to attack NikeTown from iPadlandia. Why does everybody always pick on me? I’m pouting now. You should picture me pouting. A well-timed missile from me, along with the threat of another if she continued, dissuaded her from too long of a campaign.

Khan Industries struck: Justin put all five of his reinforcement troops into the unoccupied Iceland and attacked Alex’s ammo shortage scarred Greenland. He took it and the world cheered.

A brief interlude wherein we open a packet

The card that Justin drew — Brazil — becomes the world capital. Justin decided to name it “Fro-ia,” an homage to his online moniker jfro. An eternal reminder of his dominance: even if others win, if we control the world capital, we’ll be reminded that we sit upon the throne of the Mad Frost King.

Fro-ia is worth a whopping five when calculating population. There is now the concept of a “lead faction”: the faction (not player) that has won the most games, if there is one, may start in the world capital, add three troops to their starting amount and choose the starting mission.

Dang.

Every faction playing except for the Mutants had two, so unless I won we would have a lead faction next game.

We now return to our regularly scheduled dicefest

As he earned a red star — two, in fact — Justin’s Khan Industries got to choose a mission power. He went with the ability to spend a missile to deny a player a named resource card and make them draw a generic one coin card instead.

Still dealing with the repercussions of that battle, an event was triggered: Fallout. Oh. It appears there was more than one of those in the event deck. Felicia yet again would roll 1d6 for each of her territories adjacent to Siberia. She rolled… poorly, including a 6 in her Urals HQ. She was done, completely out of the game (well, until she came back next turn).

Justin’s Greenland attack had once again taken away Alex’s continent bonus. He retook Greenland and reinforced it to dissuade Justin from coming back. This triggered the Agent of Chaos event, which would have given the Mutants (me) a red star if no human faction had a continent bonus. Alas, three human factions did.

Bem-vindo à capital do mundo

Bem-vindo à capital do mundo

With Asia laying desolate after the Fallout event, I swept in. I took Felicia’s HQ and then made my way into Southern Europe, gaining a red star. I now had one star and two HQs, only one VP from victory. Thanks to a fairly constant assault from everyone but Alex (Alex, my only friend) I had only earned one coin in addition to my one at the start, meaning I was at least two turns (or a successful assault on Matt’s HQ, buried deep in Africa) away from victory.

Matt took me out of Southern Europe, Felicia replaced into Irkutsk, and then it happened.

Justin traded in cards and placed all of his troops in Iceland. What? Why? Oh. Oh no. I had become complacent, thought that I was safe in Europe. Felicia’s Urals HQ was largely unguarded, and Justin only needed one more VP to win.

This was made worse by the knowledge that literally next turn, as soon as Justin laid down the dice, Alex would trade in cards and place 30 troops on the board. The final packet would be opened! We would know it all, have everything. I was driven by the sweet dopamine release provided by new rules.

Stoic, cold, Justin marched onward. He was at my door, and the Urals were under siege.

The world rebelled. Two losses for me turned into two for Justin as both Alex and Matt used a missile. He attacked again: my dice rolls were enough to stop him. This continued, a relentless assault as we saw our chances of opening the final packet disappear. I pleaded with him: I won’t reinforce, you can have it next turn, you can win then, just let us open the packet. “No,” he said, the hint of a smile on his lips. More dice rolls.

Eventually he had me. But, no: another pair of missiles launched from the other side of the world. Matt and Alex again, a desperate attempt to stop Justin not to help me but to stop him, just for a moment. One more turn, just let Alex go, then you can win. Ultimately he was stopped. Stopped, and fuming. It was Alex’s turn.

The packet! The final packet! But then I realized our folly. The conditions were: “Place 30+ troops on the board and have a missile.” In our haste to give Alex a turn we hadn’t realized that he had used up both of his missiles.

It was all for naught.

Justin nodded. He knew that would happen and had been teaching us a lesson about forethought. And, besides, we had crossed him. He had no love for us. “You are all fucks,” he declared, with a later amendment that excluded Felicia. She hadn’t done anything. Only us.

The wind had been taken out of our sails. What should we do now? Justin would clearly win on his next turn, and… damn. The disappointment was palpable, making everything seem meaningless.

2013-10-02 21.52.40Alex took Iceland, earning a coin and triggering the second Mutants Evolve card. In Part Eight the Justin-controlled Mutants had chosen Bodies over Brains, and now I chose Offensive over Defensive. I then scratched off the corresponding combination on the Mutants’ card, giving them another ability. Unnatural Strength: when attacking, Mutant 6s beat defender 6s.

Here’s the thing: I want to win, and beyond that I think that if I don’t it would be nice if somebody besides Justin did for once. But I’m not an asshole. He was robbed, no question about it, and for the sole reason of packet mania. I could have beaten him back from the Urals: maybe not far, maybe not for good, but it might have been enough to cost him the game. That would have sat poorly with me, though. He deserved the victory. I turned my back on him and took iPadlandia and Conley’s Shame (Mongolia).

Matt took me out of Tenacity. Felicia attacked Conley’s Shame from Irkutsk. Maybe I could have a chance of winning one of these days if people would just leave me the hell alone! Felicia took Conley’s Shame and attacked iPadlandia, taking the long road around Siberia towards the Urals. Justin would have none of it: that HQ was his and he launched a missile to make sure it would stay that way. She was sufficiently weakened to not be a threat, so he let her take iPadlandia before stopping with a sulk (her words, dear readers!).

On Justin’s turn he was met with Matt’s final missile, just because, but we all knew this was a gimme. The Urals fell, Justin won. Again. A fifth time. If he wins once more, any of our final three games, he wins overall and will get to name the world we have fought over.

As his reward he decided to name Asia. He paused, thinking, and wrote down its new name:

Asia.

He sipped a beer, victorious and content.

Enjoying an Old Rasputin and schadenfreude

Enjoying an Old Rasputin and schadenfreude