Had the gang over again for gaming. With this many people, it’s not really possible to change dates at the last moment. So, of course, today is the high point of a little heat wave going though the area. And we rent a place where we aren’t allowed to have a wall-mounted air-conditioner.

However, we have two decent freestanding ones, and with both of them working together the temperature stayed quite reasonable.

Zjonni has just finished moving, and came down ill during that, and is still recovering from both. So we only had five of the group over today, which was a second playing of Russian Civil War, which we were happy with the last time we played it, so Dave, Patch and I went for it again with Mark and Jason joining in this time.

This time the White Russian forces were pretty evenly split amongst the five of us (as were the Politburo markers). Given that there’d be little chance of multiple people trying for a White win, it looked like the Red Party was the way to go. The problem with that was, that I’d gotten an even split of White and Red leaders, and the only leader I had worth more than a ‘1’ was one of the White leaders (a ‘3’). No one was really wanting to do a pre-game trade, but I eventually talked Dave into giving up the other White ‘3’ for a Politburo marker. Since everyone had 2 or 3, and this just swapped which of the two of us only had two markers, I felt I wasn’t giving up much while gaining something that I might be able to affect the game with.

At first, the game seemed to be going in what should be the typical direction, with power bases consolidating, and many of the peripheral units getting eliminated. This is a process that decidedly favors the Reds. However, the random events were mostly coming up as plagues that did a good job decimating everyone. Jason got control of the Finns early, who promptly came down into Petrograd to limit the Mark’s powerbase… incidentally killing Lenin and preventing Red reinforcements for the turn in the process.

This changed the complexion of the game considerably. I had managed to bag several minor Red leaders in my turn, but it was mostly to try and level the playing field as I didn’t have much to play with on that side of the divide. The second turn was mostly more of the same, with more nasty plagues and the Finnish army continuing to hold Petrograd, and no one willing to try and tackle the juggernaut. I was a little surprised that Jason decided to keep the units there as I didn’t properly realize the score in White VPs he was accumulating by picking off Red leaders with the Finns.

With no Red replacements for two turns, the playing field was becoming much more level, though the attrition of White leaders started insuring that active White forces were shrinking as all the available units could not be controlled. Petrograd finished the third turn with Finnish and Red units present, so they finally got replacements. This, I thought, might doom my chances at engineering a White victory, as my remaining Red units had already been knocked out, without me ever getting VPs out of them. Jason was getting the ‘green meanie’ award, since he’d gotten control of the Finns, Baltic states, and Belorussians.

And I came up with a minor tactical innovation: I moved a White army to a Red stack and attempted an assassination. If it failed, I could sit and allow him to chance the low-odds attack (or just leave…), if it worked I could uncontroll the Red ‘6’ combat unit and attack a much weaker player stack. Thankfully, I rolled high. Assassins had been largely sitting idle, but they became much more popular after that.

Eventually, the game boiled down to just a few leader stacks available, and my remaining White ‘3’ leader gave me a fairly dominant position, even with the high-value Red units that were back in service. Trotsky died during turn four, so the Reds were again without replacements. Both Patch and Jason had pretty much lost they’re Red units, forcing them to try for White VPs and a White win if they wished to continue to influence events. At the very end of turn 5, the last Red leader was eliminated, ending the game with a White Victory immediately thereafter.

Player White Red
Rindis 51 11
Jason 40 21
Dave 33 51
Patch 29 10
Mark 1 10

I hadn’t expected this result, and as can be seen, Mark got stomped on pretty hard early, and I never got anywhere with my Red forces. Jason had actually gotten more Red kills than I had, my lead was from having more White units available, and from getting control of the gold at the end of the game (it changed hands twice on the last turn).

Everyone had a good time, and I can say it looks like the game holds up well to repeated playings. Also, the extra chaos of 5 instead of 4 players was a big help to the game.

Next time, we’re looking at doing a playtest of Metropolis, a game of the rise of the Greek city-states 8th-5th centuries BC.