Had a day of Origins of WWII on Saturday. There was a certain amount of flip-flopping on attendance (Mark, sadly, couldn’t make it due to a business trip getting extended), and the weather tried to interfere with Zjonni biking through rain in the morning, but it came off to a pretty good day. With multiple playings in the same day, my memory gets a little fuzzy as to when what happened, but at least we wrote down the scores.

Zjonni ran a bit late, showing up just in time to see the last turn or so of the first round between me, Patch, Jason, and Dave. I drew the USSR, and did decent with it, but got locked out of Poland and Romania early, leaving the bulk of my 12 points for late-game understandings with the other major powers. Germany got a decently strong start before the team of France and Britain started reigning Dave in, and getting Patch a 16-point victory as France. (Dave almost won with 15 points, but couldn’t quite shave a last two points off of Patch.)

The second round stuck with the historical scenario and I drew Britain for a 12-point loss. The addition of the USA (Dave) had a more profound impact than we expected, with Poland becoming a hotbed of political activity, and never coming under anyone’s control. Dave still only got 5 points, and Patch won with 18 points as Germany after a late game collapse in Austria and Czechoslovakia lead to them both falling under Germany’s control.

After a break for lunch, we came back and tried the Aggressive British-French policy variant. This caused some head scratching. Among other things, the USA uniformly gets points for ‘NU’, or ‘No Understanding’ in that version, and there’s the technical question of whether a country that is Controlled counts for that or not. In general, it seems like ‘control’ is worse than ‘understanding’, but that’s not what the short note on the reference card says, and that makes it really difficult for the USA to get points at all in that variant. In fact, Zjonni scored 0 as the USA unless a ‘controlled’ country is worth points for ‘NU’, in which case he got 12. I had France for 7 points and Patch won (again!) as the USSR for 15 points. I can’t say I remember much of the action in this game.

In the fourth game, we tried the Aggressive French Policy variant, where France starts out normal, but gets massive amounts of Political Factors in the later parts of the game. France also has to spread out to score many points, so its still a challenge to score well. One of the more unusual features is that France gets points for Controlling Germany (which they’d certainly like to do…) and the end of the game saw a large struggle over that, led by Dave as the USSR, who wanted the massive points boost of an Understanding with Germany. There was also some wonder about the exact rules implications of one player country Controlling another…. I drew the USA for that game, and felt even more sidelined than normal, as the US contribution feels excessively puny with the swelled commitment of France. I certainly have no idea how to be effective with the US’s role as spoiler in the game, and got 5 points. Meanwhile Britain (Patch), Germany (Jason) and France (Zjonni) all tied at 14 points, with Dave’s USSR coming in one behind at 13. An amazingly tight game.

Everyone is still very happy with the game, and Dave will probably borrow it from his dad again for this coming year. Just what we’re going to do for next time is up in the air, however.