Sunday, January 14, 2007

Warrior Knights - Session Report

The king is dead thus the power struggle between the barons for the control of the kingdom begins. A former Games Workshop production Warrior Knights has deep multi-layered game play, tons of components and very good timing.

It started off awkward. No one was familiar with the rules, and the rules was too deep and multi-layered to be an easy teach. I only played the game once before and it was a shot test game. Setup took time, most of it was spent shuffling the multiple decks, allocating cards and tokens, and making pre-game decisions. There has got to be a better way to set up games like this. I wish they used treys similar to the ones in Monopoly where it is both functional and practical.

The game starts off weak with each player barely knowing the rules selecting 2 action cards for each of the 3 rounds in a turn. For the first couple of rounds for the sake of fairness and in the process of getting use to the rules we choose cards at random. All forces were divided evenly. There was no sense of the importants of faith, money, votes, mercenaries or the 2 roles in the game.

From the beginning we each picked a city and decided to assault them instead of sieging them, which is the faster safer way of doing it. We lost some men, we lost some battles, but we learned and we learned fast. Continuing our seige we ended up with an average of 1.5 cities. 3 barons and I got 2 city, do the math.

By turn 3 we began experimenting, leaning the importance of money, votes, faith, mercenaries and roles in the game and how with a draw of a card it could all go wrong. However we kept our forces well away from each other. The gambling aspect of the expeditions was a welcome, voting was awkward at first, the head of the church was trouble and those damn cities still kicked us in the lower body armor.

By turn 5 we conquered all the cities on the main land, and yet none of us has enough to win. It is then I realize the influence game play element that works as a timing system. Although it makes the game end when it should it sort of cut short a complex game that feels that it could and should maybe go on a lot longer.

All who played experienced a drought of a resource of one kind of another. And all who played experienced a slight boredom at one time or another. Each turn has 3 rounds. There are 2 actions per-player per-round plus 2 neutral actions. These actions are in a form of cards. so in each round an action is drawn from a shuffled deck of the predetermined actions. This results in the game sometimes playing itself and with some bad luck, serious down time.

I have to admit that we, maybe, did not play the game correctly by keeping the P2P aggression to a minimum but overall it was good for a first game. It lasted about 10 turns, 2 votes, 3 mercenary drafts, and 4 expeditions.

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