We’re going to need bigger (and smaller) boats

We’re one PEF down with a successful defense against Hishen forces.  But that’s not all of them, and we have the other half of our Task Force.  The bigger half.


Am I the only one getting sick of the color purple?  This time we have a Class 5 Carrier along with 4 Class 4 Cruisers.  The Cruisers you are all familiar with, but the Carrier is able to launch fighters which are small, nimble craft that almost act as self-propelled missiles in a lot of respects, but they can act defensively, offensively or just fight each other for fun.

And they can make their own game called 5150: Fighter Command, but that’s for another series of posts, I’m sure.

We pass 2d6 on the PEF resolution table, meaning there’s probably going to be a #$#-ton of ships.  A ship-ton?  Let’s go with that.  Yup, there will be 8 ships to my 6.  This one will be a biggie.  I’ve got 5 Class 3 ships, 2 Class 4s and a Class 5.

Hishen Task Force

  • Hishen Capital Ship Rep 5 Thrust 2 Hull 12 Shields 4 Guns 6 AA 2
  • Hishen Slaver Rep 4 Thrust 3 Hull 8 Shields 2 Guns 2 Missiles 2 AA 2
  • Hishen Slaver Rep 3 Thrust 3 Hull 8 Shields 2 Guns 2 Missiles 2 AA 2
  • Hishen Monitor Rep 3 Thrust 4 Hull 4 Shields 1 Guns 1 Missiles 2
  • Hishen Patroller Rep 4 Thrust 4 Hull 4 Shields 1 Guns 2 Missiles 1
  • Hishen Patroller Rep 4 Thrust 4 Hull 4 Shields 1 Guns 2 Missiles 1
  • Hishen Patroller Rep 3 Thrust 4 Hull 4 Shields 1 Guns 2 Missiles 1
  • Hishen Patroller Rep 3 Thrust 4 Hull 4 Shields 1 Guns 2 Missiles 1

Actually doesn’t seem to bad given their Rep scores.  Obviously the Capital ship is going to be the problem.  I will need to get as many fighters as possible on that thing.  Unfortunately pretty much everything has access to missiles, meaning I’m going to have to try and stay away from them for the most part, using my larger guns to take down the smaller craft and hope to keep them out of the fight before they can start launching against me.  This is going to be a tough fight.


They win the Long Range Scan by one, so will be coming at me at a 45 degree angle.  Again, they’ll be coming in fast, but the off angle is good for me because they’ll have to chase me down while I pepper them with laser fire.  We’re also starting 5 feet apart, so I have a small amount of breathing room.

And I win the 2d6 vs. 3d6 roll, so I get to go first!  I hope my luck continues through this battle.  So I move and launch some fighters!  With 4 hangers, 4 fighter squads get pooped out the back of the ship and get to immediately move up to 24″!  See?  Carriers are good to have on the board.


Yes, I have to roll to launch fighters every turn, and they have to avoid AA fire when they attack, but they’re still awesome.  But I still have old fashioned laser beams, so let’s fire a few of them off, shall we?

First shot takes a Patroller out of the fight as an Engine hit makes it useless.  2nd hit blows up the Monitor taking the lead.  3rd takes out another Patroller with 3 hits to the Hull.  4th shot missed.  5th shot blows the Missiles off of another Patroller.  Brave soul decides to still stay and fight, though.

Well, now it’s 6 to 5 in my favor.  I’m glad I got to go first!

So they fly closer, but not to the magic 36″.  However, the Carrier does not have Shields, so everyone is going to concentrate fire on the big Carrier except for the Slaver, who will use its bigger cannon to pierce the shields of the nearest Cruiser.

After the smoke clears, the Carrier is down a Hull point and a Thrust.  Could have been far worse.  The Slaver didn’t manage to get all its guns on the Cruiser, so shields were able to handle that, so it looks like all my ships live to fight another day.

On my turn, I’m not able to launch more fighters, nor are my current fighters able to contact the enemy, so it looks like just another round of guns firing.  Still 50″ away, so no luck there.

But still, another Engine hit causes a Patroller to bugger off.  8 hits to the Hull cause the other one to eat vacuum.  Now that all the wee ones are gone, even got a hit on one of the Slavers and had it lose a Hull and a Gun.  It’s still sticking around, though.  So now I outnumber them 2 to 1.  I’m liking these odds.

So on their turn, the Capital ship looses its 6 guns onto a Destroyer.  Luckily the one die showing a ‘6’ means not enough got through the shields to do any damage.

So now we go to our fighters who have arrived at the Capital ship.  Sadly they need to get past the AA fire.  Not only the 2 from the Capital ship itself, but the other 2 from a nearby ship (that’s 2″ away or less) so that each ship will have to dodge its way towards the ship before it can let its payload go onto the Cap Ship.

Oh no!  Porkins!  Each fighter is taken down before it could do damage to the ship (basically the ship has to pass 0d6 with 1d6 while you have to pass 1d6 with 1d6, not easy against a Rep 5 ship).  Oh well, I was able to launch 4 more this turn.  Now for more gunfire.

First shot gets 2 hits on a Slaver!  And both to the Shields, completely wiping them out.  Does not look good for that ship…I get lucky and second shot to the same Slaver hits with all 4 guns, and with no shields to block, that’s gotta hurt.  3 hits to the hull, another ineffective.  But the Slaver sees the writing on the wall and passes 0d6 on the taking damage test.  Bye bye!

The other Slaver’s shields are working, and absorb some shots, finishing off my turn.

And again, the Hishen have managed to position themselves to gain the 36″ advantage first.  Luckily it’s only against one Destroyer, but losing one ship is never good.  Let’s see how it fares.

Phew, one of the dice shows a 6, so I’m safe for another turn.  (only 3 guns hit, and Cruisers have 3 shields)

I should be able to finish the fight this turn…should.

I’m able to launch more fighters, and my other fighter squad have made it to the Capital ship.


Not to scale.

Again, the AA guns from the Slaver will be able to help the beast, so the fighters have their work cut out for them.  Red 2!  Pull up!  Nooooooo!

But Wedge was able to get through!  1 Damage to the Capital ship!  And an Engine hit, to boot.  Then we roll 1d6 to see how much damage (though I guess that doesn’t matter much to Engine damage, does it?) Eh, I only rolled a 1 anyway.  And it passed 2d6, meaning NO ACTUAL DAMAGE.  Dangit.

All ships!  Take out that Slaver!

Our last Destroyer rolls snake eyes for a direct hit, doing 1 damage to the shields and one to the guns.  Lowered shields are always good!

Phew, the slow Capital Ship prevents them from getting within 18″ this turn.  No missile fire to worry about.  However, 6 guns from a Class 5 ship just hit my Destroyer.  3 Shields did their job, but that’s a LOT of damage.  The damage is to the Shield, AA guns and Hangars. So 5 damage to Shields removes all those, and its one AA gun is destroyed and there’s no Hangars.  Phew.  It survived.  However, it’s going to lower its Rep by one because if its Received damage test.  You don’t take a full on shot from a huge ship like that and walk away unscathed.

Back on my side, more fighters are launched, and we now have 5 fighters swarming the Capital ship.  With only 4 AA cannon to use, I’m guaranteed one hit.  Excellent.  And one of the AA on the Slaver misses, so I get two fighters through.  First fighter hits the Hull for 1 damage (dangit).  The second hits the Hull for 6 (there we go!).  It passed 2d6, though, so it stays around.  It only has 5 Hull left, though, so the fighters should be able to end things soon.

With its lowered shield, the Slaver is going to get pummeled this turn, so we’ll sum up.


It now has no shields, no guns, no AA and just one Missile to its name.  Yet it stays around.

Which sadly means I have another turn of attacks to deal with, including missiles.

And the first missile hits the Destroyer that lost all its AA guns last turn.  Dang.  Lucked out with no significant damage, but that means 6 giant laser beams are coming.  3 only make it on target, but that’s probably enough…

A hit to the Bridge AND to Life Support!  You’ve got to be kidding me!  Welp, that guy is out of there.  Luckily that’s all that happened.  The repair bay is better than the void.  So I’ve been told.  They have free wifi in the repair bay.

A successful launch of more fighters (those dice are treating me well) and close quarters mean the Capital ship has to deal with 10 fighters!  And with the Slaver losing all its AA guns, only two guns can take down fighters.  That’s going to be a lot of hits.  I hope I can get this thing to cut and run this turn.

2 fighters are taken out, but that’s still 8 hits.  Let’s tally the damage.

  • 1 damage to the Hull
  • 3 damage to the Hull
  • 6 damage to the Hull
  • 5 damage to the Hull
  • 2 damage to the Engine
  • 3 damage to the Shields
  • 3 damage to the Hull
  • & 3 damage to the Hull

Yup.  It’s space dust.  And it’s buddy takes the better part of valor and flees.  So another PEF cleared up.

So we’re left with this:


The Brown pawn is the battle that was just fought.  The White is our fleet that consists of two Patrol Squadrons, and the Green pawn is a Rep 2 PEF.

But what’s this?


Just two activations later, we have another PEF appearing!  Looks like we’re going to have to dig our heels in.  We haven’t won yet!  Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

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Putting the ef in Defence

Sorry ’bout the delay ya’ll.  Got sick in the middle of writing this report.  And when I’m too sick to play boardgames, I’m too dang sick.  But I’m back, so let’s keep this campaign flying:


After our failed Patrol mission, our Planetary Defense Force is now on…um….Planetary Defense.  The Planet of Planet has to not get bombarded by a wave of Hishen forces that are surely to come down upon it soon.

Defense missions are fairly similar to Patrol missions.  There are a bunch of PEFs, we start in orbit around the planet and we need to respond to all the PEFs.

Differences are found in the various tables we’re rolling on.  The PEFs will move slightly differently, and when we contact them, it’s more likely for us to find more ships.  It also recommends you start with at least 6 (and recommends a full Task Force), and you’re allowed to split your Fleet to chase down the PEFs.  Finally, a Class 5 enemy ship has to spend 3 activations in the Planet square to successfully “Bombard” it.  That’s our losing condition.

So let’s grab our Task Force:


12 separate ships this time, ranging from a Fast Attack carrier down to our lowly Destroyer we all know and love.  I rolled for all their Reps and ended up with a statistically odd amount of Rep 3s, but I got 5s where it counts, so we’ll see what happens there.


The board is set, so let’s light this puppy.

A few Activation rolls later, the PEFs are still pretty far out in deep space, so I don’t see a need to break off anyone in my fleet.  But then we’re in this situation:


And now I can move.  This is the point where I should break off a Squadron or two because a) # of enemy is based on the # I send in and b) if I lose this fight, there’s another fight coming, and coming soon.  So I send my two Patrol Squads into the square to the left, and the other two squads (the BIG ones!) to the upper left.  Let’s see what happens!

We’ll start small with the lowermost PEF.  I pass 1d6 and get a smaller contact.  We get 4 ships to my 6.  But what 4?  It’s a Hishen Slaver (Class 4) and 3 Hishen Monitor (Class 3).  They’re all Rep 4 with one Rep 3 Monitor, so that’s not so good.


I have numbers, they have training.  Now let’s see who saw who first and all that fun stuff.  I roll 2 success to their 3.  Dang, I was happy when I got 2….


Read the rules, dummy:

The Controlling Faction adds one success to their total.

It’s even in italics.  So now we BOTH have 3 success.  Which means we’re facing each other 6 feet apart.  Which is good for me as all 4 Hishen ships have Missile capacity.  I’m going to have to tear them up with my Cruiser’s guns before they get in close and I sick my Destroyers on them.

The Hishen are coming in as fast as they can go (8″) while I’m going at a liesurely 2″.  We roll to see who goes first, and both roll 11.  And it looks like defender goes first.  I get to go first!

So off I go….2″ away from the edge of the table.  But now I can open fire.  My Destroyers only have 1 gun and every Hishen ship has 1 shield, so there’s no point in them firing, but I have 2 Cruisers that can open up, so they shall try to take out the Slaver before it can do any big damage.  Of course, it’s at long range, so we’re minus 1 Rep.  I have one Rep 5 and one Rep 4 Cruiser, so I should be okay.  Firing right to left, we start with the Rep 4 (now Rep 3 for long distance).

PEW PEW!  It’s a hit, but all the Hishen shields are able to absorb the damage (half hit, which is enough for the Slaver’s shields to take all damage).  Now the Rep 5 Cruiser.  Same result.  Hmmm, wonder if I should try and take out a Monitor or two to lower their Morale?

Either way, it’s their turn.  Let’s see how this works.

They dart forward, upping their Speed to 11.  I suppose they could have gone to 10, but 11 is, like, 1 more than 10.  The Monitor’s guns aren’t effective against anything, so they have to wait until Missile range, but the Slaver’s two guns are effective against my Destroyers, so it fires at the closest ship.  Only passing 1d6 gives us another glancing blow off the shields.  Hmmm, maybe relying on guns getting the job done wasn’t the best idea.

So I decide to start maneuvering my Destroyers a bit to draw fire away from my Cruisers and get missiles flying on the Monitors sooner.  I add a bit of speed to the Destroyers as well, keeping my Cruisers slow and steady.  Squadrons need to keep within a certain distance of each other, so I can’t completely split the party, but I can segregate pretty well, I think.

Now let’s see if I can light up a ship or two.  Rep 4 Cruiser on the front-most Monitor.  1 hit gets through the shields (and since it’s from an upper class ship, that counts as 4 damage).  Sadly it’s a hit to non-existant AA guns, so they just have to take a Damage Taken test.  The ship is Rep 4 and….passes 1d6.  Let’s see how the Hishen takes it.  Reduces Rep by 1.  Looks like I sent some Hishen crew out into the void.  That’s better than nothing by far!

My Rep 5 Cruiser shall try to breech the Slaver ship.  Dang, can’t get through those shields.

As they fly closer on their turn, they don’t seem to be taking the bait.  They’re still all-ahead full, going fast enough to get the close-range bonus on their turn, not mine.  The Slaver fires at my Destroyer again, and again only passes 1d6.

My next turn is familiar, little movement, and Rep 4 firing at a Monitor and Rep 5 firing at the Slaver.  Only this time, no hits to the Monitor and 2 to the Slaver!  Both hits end up just being Hull hits (which the Slaver has 6 left), which doesn’t do much, but it was a moral victory for me.


It’s hard to see here because I had to zoom out so far, but this is a Hishen slaver being almost exactly 36″ away from a PDF Destroyer.  So it no longer has the -1 Rep reduction for long range.  Nuts.  And yet, rolls a 6,1.  Off the shields!

After my movement, I am not 36″ away from the slaver…but I am from the damaged Monitor leading the formation.  So let’s have BOTH our Cruisers fire at it, shall we?

All 4 guns hit with our first ship, only 1 shield absorbing damage.  A hit to the shields, Life Support and Hull.  I don’t need to bother with reaction rolls as the Hull hit reduces the Monitor’s hull to zero.  Zero hull means KA-BOOM.

Sadly, there is no test to see if the other ships run because the Slaver is a higher class ship, and the other two ships are within 2″ of the Slaver, so they see their big brother is still alive, so they keep on trucking.  But since I don’t have the “easy target” to go after, I’ll have my Rep 5 ship shoot at the Slaver again. 1,4!  Another hit!  A Hull hit and a hit to its Missiles.  Let’s see how the Hishen crew feels about all the damage its been taking.

6.4 – Fine with it.  Stubborn little buggers, aren’t they?

Stubborn, yet unable to hit the broadside of a barn.  Which I’m okay with.

Still not close enough for missiles, but let’s have both my Cruisers try to take the Slaver out.  Bam!  Two hits to start with!  Missiles and Hull.  And two hits from the other Cruiser.  Hull and Shield.  It passes both Received Damage tests, so it’s still in the game, but losing a Shield point means I’ll be doing more damage each time, and we’re about to get into Missile territory (of which the Slaver no longer has any).


Woof.  Things getting tight now.  And our first missiles are getting unloaded.  Eep.

Our first launch pits a Destroyer against 2 missiles.  It goes to dodge them (yes, you can do that!). Sadly, it fails to dodge any of them, so two hits.  Hull and Hangers are hit, but luckily the crew decides to stay and fight.

Now the Slaver fires its guns at the very same Destroyer.  One gun hits, which gets absorbed by the undamaged shields.  Phew.

Now the other Destroyer is the target of the missiles.  Dodge!  He is able to dodge one, and there doesn’t appear to be a ship within 6″ and a 3″ arc behind him, so no one else gets hit with the missile.


But the other one hits the Engine!  No significant damage though.  Looks like I was able to work my way through that onslaught.  I’m going a bit too fast, so this is how we end up:


The good news is that two of my destroyers are able to launch missiles, oh wait, three, I can see three with Hishen in 180 degree arcs.


This should get interesting.  So I have to fire from right to left, so that’s the lower Destroyer firing missiles at the lower Monitor.  Good news, if it Evades, it’s possible it will hit the Slaver behind it.  FOOMP, FOOMP.  One missile is evaded.  The Slaver will use its AA guns to shoot the missile down.


HA!  One missile hit to the Monitor, and one to the Slaver.  Nice shootin’, Tex.  The Monitor takes a hit to non-existent AA guns, while the Slaver loses yet another point of Hull (down to 2).  Both are fine with their Received Damage tests, but it’s just beginning.  Now two more “FOOMPS” from my other Destroyer.

Okay, I just now realize that there’s no sound in space so we would be lacking FOOMP sounds, since that sound is air going back into the barrell.  I would think in a far future sound effects would be added to space combat.  No one likes silent battles.  Pew pews would be added.



Anyway, the Monitor is able to dodge one missile and, AGAIN, both AA guns miss the other one on the Slaver (rolled 5,6 this time!).  This is just weird!  First hit to the Monitor’s Shield, then the Slaver’s shield.  Nice, my gun attacks will be very effective when we get there.

Oh nice, that was the last shield on the Slaver!  I’d run if I were them, but they pass their tests, and it’s time for my Cruiser to open fire.  This is where my 4 guns should be able to tear through the now shieldless Slaver.  Dang, only 2 made it through, but 2 hits is 2 hits.

Both hits go to the Hull, and wouldn’t you know it, it only had 2 Hull left, so that’s all I needed to have the hull fail and have the inside become the outside and the ship to become more debris in the universe.

Our much damaged Monitor uses this as a cue to cut it and run, as does the other ship.  Victory for the PDF!  All ships remain available (not hard, I’d have to pass 0d6 using 3d6 with every ship).  So now we can chalk one PDF down and take a look at the next one.

Which you can see tomorrow….

And now it’s tomorrow (or later)

Into the garbage chute, flyboy

When we last left our heroes, they were being blowed up.

So let’s return to that.

On turn 2 the Hishen continue to fly forward towards my end of the table.  The Monitor can’t fire as it only has its Missile Launchers left, and those have a range of 12″.  The Capital Ship fires at the closest ship, which is my Cruiser, so I brace for impact.  3 Guns make a hit, but my Cruiser has 3 shields, so I survive another turn.  Phew.

And yes, that is what makes missiles and fighters so important: they ignore shields.

Mwahaha!  I finally finish my long circle around and I’m facing my enemy.  (Guns/lasers have 360 degree firing arc, but missiles have only 180 degrees)  But more importantly, my Cruiser is only 33″ away from the Monitor.  I’ll be rolling against Rep 4 to fire at it.  Bonzai!


Well F^&* you too.  Excuse me while I throw these dice away.  Still not close enough to employ my Destroyer’s missiles, so it’s back over to the Hishen.

The enemy speeds towards me.  They are both within close laser range, though the Monitor is still slightly out of missile range.

All hands, put down your cellphones!

The Capital Ship makes  a direct hit on my Cruiser!  After shields, that’s still 3 hits for 4 damage each!  3, 11, and 6 are hits to the Engine, non-existent Hangars and to the Hull.  The Engine hit means we have to take a test to see what that does.  The hit to the Hangars mean we just have to take a Received damage test, and a hit to the hull means we lose 4 Hull points.  Since we already have to take a Received Damage test, we’re covered there.  So -4 Hull points, a Received Damage test and an Engine Hit test.  Could have been worse.

We’re Rep 4 and pass 1d6 on the Received damage test.  Ouch, we took so much damage my Rep is lowered by 1 for the rest of the fight.  I lost a lot of crew on that hit.  Now to test (at Rep 3!) for the Engine hit.  Yuck, pass 0d6.  What is it with these dice?

So the captain of this ship says “To..” wait, have to stick with format.

To hell with this.

My Heavy Cruiser is no longer on the table as he just buggered off.  He also had his thrust lowered by one.  I’ll have to see if it’s repairable.  So now I just have a destroyer, who just saw its flagship run.  Yet another test to take.  And no matter what I would have rolled, he takes the better part of valor and leaves too.

While they wait for the upcoming attack in orbit, the Cruiser is able to be repaired.  Phew.  So now we’re back on the campaign map.


The PEF is changed to blue and I put a blue marker on the card that has the two Hishen vessels on it, so I know what is actually there.  I have to chase them away in order to win the Patrol mission.  It’s still possible, but not bloody likely.  I could also just call this a loss, hope to get some reinforcements and proceed to the next mission (which will probably be a defense mission as the Hishen will realize this planet is horribly defended).

Pfffttttt….never give up!  Never surrender!

New activation roll! I rolled a 1, but they got a 6, so none of them move, but I do, so of course I charge back at the fleet I know about, hoping for a better start.  It’s still my 3 dice to their 4, but losing by two is really bad, so here’s hoping I can get closer, or even get the low odds win:

1,4,4 vs 1,1,4,5

So 1 success vs. 2.  Still a loss for me, but only by one.  But this time, rather than coming at me from behind, they’ll be coming at me head on.  That should make my missile Destroyer a bit more formidable.  We also only start 3 feet from each other, which puts us in range for our lasers (guns…whatever) to be effective.  This will be a very short battle one way or another.

Oh!  I forgot to check for their damaged ships….you have to roll for them as well.  Silly me.  Hell, these  ships might not even exist and I have to take ALL this back.

Rolling for the Monitor: 1,5: pass 1d6.  It’s fully repaired, but will only be available next month!  It’s removed from the table!  The Capital ship: 3,5: pass 1d6.  It wasn’t damaged, so it will remain.  So it looks like a 2 on 1 battle.  I feel a little better now.

The Hishen machine is only coming in at 1″/turn because it doesn’t need to go fast to destroy me, while my two boats are going 4″/turn because I want to get close.  I either blow it up with missiles or board it with my Cruiser (only way to get past its shields).  Both risky, but Never give up!

And starting player is:

2 vs 1,4

The Hishen.  I’m shocked.  So the Capital Ship lumbers forward and turns to broadside (which is totally unnecessary, but looks good).


It’s 6 guns fire, but are ineffective against my Cruiser.  Everyone is happy as their internet stays up and their streaming shows continue.

My two ships fly ever closer, but their lasers aren’t strong enough to pierce its shields (there are optional rules for concentrating fire from multiple ships onto bigger ones, but I’m going “old school” here).

The Hishen turns full broadside and fires again at the Cruiser.  This time 3 lasers manage to find their mark.  Luckily the Cruiser’s 3 shields absorb and dissipate that energy into the cold darkness of space.  That’s why I’ve been keeping the Cruiser closer to the Capital ship.  Hopefully it can withstand the barrage of fire until the Destroyer can get close enough.

I move ever closer, but the Destroyer is still 20″ away.  I need to get to 12″ to fire any Missiles.  Luckily the Destroyer’s speed has just been raised to 10″, so it’ll be good next turn.

Oh no!  All 6 guns have hit the Cruiser!  All the streaming videos are now buffering!  Now the very important “Where did they hit” rolls:

10 – 5 – 11

Missiles (nothing) – Shields – Hangars(nothing)

Oh no, 4 shields gone!  Now to take a Received Damage test.  This hurt, I wouldn’t blame the Captain for cutting and running.  Another direct hit would be 5 hits to the ship…or 20 damage.  That would obliterate the thing.  Though he may be relying on the missiles tearing into it next turn (though anti-aircraft protections may halt even the missile fire).

We pass 2d6 and keep at the battle.  Jeez.  This could get ugly.

But it’s my turn, and we are now 10″ and in the 180 degree firing arc of the Destroyer.  Fire both missile launchers!  For each missile, the enemy is now required to roll a die to defend with its AA guns.  It has 2, so it’s possible for it to take out both missiles.  It’s just a simple roll against Rep. 4, 3 gives us one missile making it through.  Finally, the first damage to the Capital ship!  A roll of 9 followed by a roll of 3 means we hit its guns.  So instead of 6 guns, it’s down to 5.

Not a HUGE improvement, but it’s something.  More importantly, now it has to take the Received Damage test.  C’mon boxcars!

2,6.  Drat, pass 1d6, and for Hishen if the damage was caused by a lower class ship, it stays and fights.  At least I made them wiggle on the bridge like they do on Star Trek.

The Capital ship has now turned away from the attack craft, and is slowly speeding up to try and put some distance away from the enemy.  And yet, the Cruiser is still slightly closer than the Destroyer, so it fires on it.


Neat special effects, huh?

Passes 1d6, which is half round down, so only 2 hit.  The Cruiser’s one remaining shield does its thing, but we still take a hit.  Dangit.

Ironically it’s also a hit to the guns, so 4 Guns go down on the Cruiser.  Which is, you know, ALL OF THEM.  Even so, we pass 2d6 on the Received fire test, and I’m able to do another go at it.


And now I have to problem of actually over-flying my quarry!  I slam on the brakes, but I think I’ll be going past him on my next turn.  I better make sure these missiles hit!

The AA batteries fire up!  And accomplish nothing!  2 Hits!

2 and 10 gives us Bridge hit and a Missile (nothing) hit.  We take the Received Damage test first, then we’ll take the Bridge Hit test.  I can’t honestly say I’ve ever taken one of those.  Curious to see how Hishen react to captains blowing up.

5,6 – 0d6 on the Received Damage test!  Hishen are stubborn aliens.  They just go down a Rep.  If reduced to 0, they’ll leave.  But that puts them down to 2 Rep, so they are much less effective now.  And now a Bridge hit test at 2 Rep:

5,6 – Jeez.  These dice are weird!  And with that, the Hishen are chased out of the system!

The Day is ours!

The Cruiser is going to be in drydock for the rest of the month repairing, but it is repairable.  The Destroyer is just fine and can continue the mission.  I guess I can change the campaign map to look like this:Capture

I only have one ship, after all.

I am going to make a command decision here for the rest of the mission.  If I make contact with a PEF and it comes up as “less than the number of your group,” I’m going to count it as zero and remove the PEF.  1 on 1 battles seem a little silly to me, and while I want them to be a possibility, doing two of them as a matter of course is just “meh,” to me.

So the next activation roll is snake eyes, which produces another PEF.  Greaaaaat.  It gets placed in 1,6 – the complete upper right quadrant of the box.  I’ll deal with that later.  Now I roll 1,6, but this time I’m the 6, so all the PEFs will move (the new PEF is Rep 5).


Reinforcements please?  I’m able to go first next turn, and I hope towards the PEF that’s closest to the planet.  It resolves as 2 ships.  Uh oh.  Let’s see the classes to see if it’s worth playing out.  A class 3 and a class 4.  Ugh.  A Rep 4 Hishen Patroller and a Rep 5 Hishen Overseer.

That’s it, I’m out.  Stick a fork in me.  This planet is toast.  I count the Mission is lost.  I’m down one ship, but the war is not over.  So now we check our Campaign morale.  I roll 1d6 versus it.  The Hishen will be rolling 3d6.  We see how many d6 are passed.

2 vs 1,6,6 – We both pass 1.  No change.  The war continues.

Now we can check for any change in Rep of my ships.  Two ships survived, the Cruiser and Destroyer.  If it dealt damage, it’s possible for the Rep to go up, if it received damage, the Rep can go down.  If it did both, it’s possible for the Rep to go either way.  The Cruiser could go either way, while the Destroyer can only go up.  You roll a d6 – if you roll higher than the Rep or ‘6’, then your Rep goes up.  If you roll a ‘1’, then it goes down.

Rolling for the Cruiser; 6!  Rep 5!

Rolling for the Destroyer: 5.  No change.

Now I can check if I get any reinforcements in the sector.  Rolling against the campaign morale…I get 1d6 which gets me no new ships (but doesn’t lose me any, either).

And my next mission is a….Defend mission.  Yup, that was just a scouting mission for the Hishen invasion to begin.  Now I need to bring a full force to bear to defend Planet.  In Defend missions you play with at least 6 ships and it is much more likely for you to be outnumbered.  Of course, if my dice were normal I wouldn’t be outclassed so often…but there ya go.


So one mission down in 5150: Star Navy.  Would you like me to continue?













So I’ve been fiddling around and playing a solo game of 5150: Fringe Space.  It’s like my previous playthrough of 5150 (See these posts), only with more updated rules and a lot more flying in space.  I’m enjoying it.  Didn’t feel the need to post about it since I already ran through an earlier version, and I’m six or so sessions into it, so trying to rehash everything would be difficult anyway.

But it got me reading other people’s play of the game, and it also got me to reading about new products from Two Hour Wargames, like their new version of All Things Zombie.  Which got me reading people’s playthroughs of that game.  So, of course, I pulled out all of my All Things Zombie stuff and started reading through it again and decided to put together a game of that.

Though, of course, as I was reading that I found a report of ANOTHER game from Two Hour Wargames called Nuts! which is their World War II minis game.  That’s a good game, too!  So naturally I started finding those books and began looking into them.

So that’s why I’m going to be running a quick 5150: Star Navy campaign here.



I’ll be honest.  I have no idea how I got to Star Navy.  It’s an older system.  It’s got a few rough edges.  It’s about big spaceships shooting each other, so it lacks the personality of games that I usually enjoy.  But it does have a really good campaign system and it plays FAST.  Maybe that’s why I wanted to do it.  I dunno.  But there you have it.  So now you have to suffer through it too.

The premise that comes with the game is simple enough.  The player(s) are members of one of the factions in the 5150 world:

  •  Free Company – The small factions that include Pirates and traders and such.
  • Hishen – “The Grays”(ish) who run slave rings and demand order!
  • Planetary Defense Force – A force that..defends…planets.
  • Star Navy – The Guys on the cover.
  • Xeog – Religious nutty aliens trying to bring back their old empire.
  • Zhuh-Zhuh – Giant ape-like mean aggressive, though oddly not human.


I picked the Planetary Defense Force because they seemed pretty easy to handle.  There’s only 4 different types of ship I need to deal with, and you’re always on defense when playing them, so I don’t have to worry about guilt when taking over other people’s planets.

Now we get to find out who we are at war with.  A-yup, you can roll randomly to see who is at war with who.  I love it.  Too bad there isn’t a “Who started it” table.  That would make it awesome for me.

Anyway, it would seem that the Hishen are trying to expand into my space, and the Planetary Defense Force must stop them from spreading!

I am an Admiral in charge of 57 different ships, ranging from the Battleship that is my own headquarters, down to 5 tankers and a freighter.  Rarely will all these ships be on the table at once, but it is possible, and the rules are simple enough that it’s entirely playable.  But I don’t think we’ll be starting our campaign with a full Fleet on Fleet battle.


First, we check the Campaign Morale: how invested are the two sides in this conflict?  The charts indicate that my Morale is at a 3 while the Hishen is at a 4.  Hmmm, they want it more.  Not good.

I’m all set to go!

Mission 1 is always a patrol mission.  I will only need a Squadron for this Mission.  A patrol squadron for the Planetary Defense Force looks like this:


That’s just a Light Cruiser (the bigger ship in the back left) and two Destroyers.  The Reputation of the crew of the ship will denote its abilities, so I roll to see what they’re like.  The Cruiser is Rep 4, which is pretty good, and I get one Rep 4 Destroyer and one Rep 5 Destroyer!  I only have to deal with these 3 ships for the first mission.  Easy-peasy.  I’m to move from orbit around the planet I’m defending (which I’m going to cleverly name….Planet) and find all the PEFs (Potential Enemy Forces) in the near space and then return to orbit.

Oh, and for you purists out there, yes, these “miniatures” are from Battlefleet Gothic, a Games Workshop game which is also of galactic spaceship battles.  The “Official” minis for this game (available through Rebel Minis) are not on Tabletop Simulator, and you’re not really held to any type of mini at all.  THW’s slogan is, after all, “Just play the game.”


So here’s my masterfully made star-system map.  You can see the planet in the lower right box.  The white pawn is my patrol squadron.  The three green pawns are the PEFs.  They usually don’t start all bunched up like that, it’s just the one die rolled ‘3’ each time.  On the right, there, I put down the campaign morale as well, so I don’t forget.  I’m now ready to play!

So now we roll Activation dice to see who moves this turn.  I roll the red die, while the PEFs are represented by the Black die (dun dun DUUUNNN).


The higher number designates who goes first.  So that would be me.  And I would get to move any Fleets/Squadrons/whatever that was being led by a Rep 5 or better (because I rolled a 5).  The Light Cruiser is leading the squad (since it’s the biggest ship), and that crew is Rep 4, so it will not move this turn.  So now we go to the red die, and any PEF of Rep 3 or higher will move in descending order.  PEF Rep was determined earlier by rolling 2d6 and choosing the higher die (6s were treated as 5s).  We have one PEF as a 5 and one as a 4, so they will both move.

I make a roll against the Campaign Morale of the enemy, ie. the more they “want it,” the more aggressive the PEFs will be.  For the first PEF (Rep 5), I roll 5,6 (both above the Morale of 4) – so the PEF stays in place.  The next I roll 6,3 which means 1 passes below the Morale level, and “passing 1d6” means the PEF moves one square towards the closest fleet of mine.


Um, hi!

That’s turn 1.  Turn 2 the PEFs go first, but only the Rep 5 PEF can move.  It moves towards the planet.  Insert Jaws theme song here.  Now it’s my turn, and I’m able to move my squad, so I move it into the square with the Rep 4 fleet.  I can now resolve what it is!

Again, the roll is based on the enemy’s morale, and I pass 2d6 this time, so I bump in Hishen!  Oh no!  Luckily my roll says there are only 2 ships in that space, but they could be big ones, so let’s see what the table tells me.  It says a Class 5 and Class 3 ship.  Uh oh, it’s a biggun!

We have a Hishen Capital Ship and a Monitor.  Luckily, they both have Rep 3 crews, so with luck I can make them flee due to better training over their superior firepower.


My ships are on the left for size comparison.

Now we work on our scanning capability to see when we saw each other, and who saw who first.  The PDF has a Long Range Scan capability of 3, while the Hishen have 4.  That’s how many dice we roll, and we see who rolls more “successes” (1,2 or 3).

3,4,4 v 1,3,3,4

My one success to their three.  That means that they have the drop on me.  They will be starting from BEHIND me.  They start 4 feet behind me on the table (because 4 total successes were rolled.  Neat mechanic there).  Then we set our speeds (attacker is at least 1 up to double their fastest ship’s thrust-defender is 0 up to their fastest ship’s thrust).  There’s a bit where the defender can try to reset their speed if they don’t like how things are set up, but in a solo game, this isn’t an issue since you just kind of set it up how you think it would happen.

So the Hishen Monitor is coming in screaming at 8″/turn, trying to get close to use it’s missiles to take down my Cruiser.  The Capital ship is coming in a bit slower at 4″/turn since it’s going to be relying on long range laser fire to whittle down the smaller ships.

Both my Cruiser and Destroyers are going their max 4″/turn because they want to be as mobile as possible.  The Destroyer needs to get close enough to use its missile launchers on the Capital ship to get past its shields.  The Cruiser will try to keep the Monitor at bay by pounding at it with its guns.

Let’s see how this goes!

So now we see who goes first.  Simple, roll the number of dice equal to your successes on your Long Range Scan roll, and who ever rolls the highest goes first.

So 1d6 v 3d6.  *sigh*

3 vs 16.  Yeah, they go first.  Shocking.

Now they just go based a pretty simple checklist.  If they have missiles, they get close and use them.  If they don’t, they shoot at whoever’s shooting at them.  It’s a little more complicated than that, but not much.  We start the turn with movement.

Strangely movement goes from “Left to Right” from the perspective of standing on the short edge of the table.  It’s simple, sure, but a bit odd.  So the Cruiser will be moving first.  It has a current speed of 4″, so it lumbers forward, trying to get within 36″ to get within a good range for its lasers.  As a class 5 ship, it is only allowed to turn 45 degrees at the end of its turn.  Not a mobile ship at all.  As it’s just going right for me, it’ll stay straight.

The Monitor is screaming in at 8″ to take down my big ship.  It can turn 45 degrees at 4″ and at the end of its move, so it’s a bit more agile.


After movement it’s still pretty far away, but now each ship can alter speeds by up to their thrust levels.  The Cruiser will move up to 6″ while the Monitor will jump to 12″.  We have incoming! Stupid frictionless space!

Now from Right to Left, we would launch fighters and then move fighters, but neither of the Hishen ships are carrying fighters, so we go straight to the “guns” phase.  I’d like to think of them more as lasers because, well….PEW PEW!

The Captial ship and Monitor are 42 and 39 inches from the nearest ship, respectively.  So they are firing at long range.  The Monitor is firing first, so I grab 2 dice and roll against 3 (the Rep of the crew).  Because we’re at long range, we’re actually firing against a Rep of 2, so it’s a tough shot.  So the dice roll and…neither die is a 2 or less, so the lasers are not effective.  I like how it says that, so you can still say they HIT the target, they just didn’t do appreciable damage.

“Captain, the Hishen Monitor has opened fire on us.  Shields are protecting us, but are at 80%.”

“Be quiet, season two of Iron Fist just dropped.”

Now the Capital ship will fire, again rolling against a 2.  This is why I got lucky with their low Rep scores.  This time 1 die showed a 2, so half the guns fired, rounding down will affect the target.  The Capital ship has 6 guns, so 3 are effective.  The Destroyer’s shields will absorb 1 of them, so 2 are counted as hits.  Dang.  This is big, and you’ll see why soon.

Now where did those lasers pierce?  Let’s find out!  8 and 6 give us two Hull hits.  Now, because the firer is a bigger Class than the, um, firee(?) Damage is more than 1 point.  In fact, it’s the number of points of the Class of the firer.  Therefore, each hit is 4 damage!  So 8 Damage to the hull! As the Destroyer only has 4 points in Hull, my Destroyer just got cut in half!

“Your Netflix session has ended.”

Not a good start.  Due to this, we have to check if my other ships are within 6″ of the destroyed ship.  If so, we have to see how they take the destruction of their friend.  Looks like they both are.  My heavy Cruiser doesn’t need to Test as it’s a higher class than the destroyed ship, but the other Destroyer is probably worried.  So we roll against their Reputation of 4.  Both dice are 4 or less so they decide staying and fighting is worthwhile.


Now it’s my turn to retaliate.  Let’s do this.


I split my ships to try and draw some fire away from the little guy so we don’t have a repeat of last turn.

My Heavy Cruiser opens fire on the Monitor.  Revenge!  At Rep 3, it’s still a tough roll, but I manage to hit with 2 beams, 1 gets absorbed by its shields, so I get a palpable hit.  It hits the lone laser port on the Monitor, sending the bits out into the vacuum of space.  It still has its Missiles, but it’s now worthless at long range.  It now has to take a Received Damage test, which might get me to breathe a little easier.  Of course I roll 3,2 – Which means it passes both dice and the ship will stay and fight.

Now my lil’ Destroyer and have a go at shooting the Monitor.  Oh, never mind.  It only has one gun, which will get absorbed by the one shield of the Monitor.  We need to get close and get missiles in action to do any of that.  Rough.

So that’s our first back and forth.  I’m down a ship.  Things are not looking good for my first mission as Admiral.  Should I just retreat and try to get a better Long Range Scan next time?  What would you do?

More pew pews!

Loot, THEN pillage.

Picking up where I left off… Here are the next eleven turns of the game (turns 11-21), explained in (mostly) gory detail.  If that seems like a lot of turns to cover here, there are a few in the middle that I can cover in a short amount. You’ll see.

Overall Strategy: To win, I am going to need 2 Great Treasures, 10 Fame and 95 recorded Gold (30 x 2 VP I put in Gold plus 35 Gold for my starting Gold and starting belongings). That means Treasure Hunting and Trading with Natives to win. No Combat in the First Encounter.

My initial plan is was to spend one week (7 turns) trying to discover as much of where things are (with emphasis on tiles with treasure sites). The next two weeks, I will try to meet my VP goals based on the places I found. The final week will be heading to a Dwelling where I can cash in. I might not need a whole week, but I have played before where I started heading to sell things just a day or two too late. That’s the general plan.

Here’s where we left things on Day Ten:

Birdsong: (A)M CN4, (SL)S, S, S

I COULD stay in this Clearing and do a Hide followed by (hopefully) two Search phases (one from the Shielded Lantern) to try to find the Cairns. But if I fail the Hide, I won’t even get to do the Searches. Plus the Tremendous Spider will still be there and I’ll just have to Hide again next turn. Instead, I Move with my Amazon Move Phase to Cavern 4 and do three Searches. If I find that Secret Passage from Clearing 4, great, I will have more movement options in this tile. But really, I am just trying to lure the Spider away from the Cairns.

Sunrise: I roll a 3 and a 4 for prowling monsters. Giants, Trolls and Wolves and Goblins. That is not going to lure the Spider to me. Instead, it just brings a Tremendous Troll from Row 4 to my Clearing.

Daylight: I do three Searches and don’t find the Secret Passage. I needed a roll where the high die was a 3 or less, but I roll 2-6, 4-5 and 3-4. Darn! That 3-4 roll on Turn 10 would have let me find the Cairns site!

This is how things look at the end of Day Eleven:

I think I am going to try one more turn here in the Cavern. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to make a break for the Ledges and High Pass tiles. On the way, I’ll see what Dwelling is in Dark Valley (though I won’t be able to visit that Dwelling on the way).

Birdsong: (SL)M CN6, M CN3, M CN2

With my Amazon Move phase, I could get out of the Cavern entirely, but I hang around one move short to see one last time if I can get that Spider out of the Cairns. If he comes over to me, I’ll go back to the Cairns, otherwise I’ll start a sprint for the Ledges. The Cairns is just too good not to give it one more try before I leave.

Sunrise: I roll a 2 and a 3 for prowling monsters. Nothing is going to follow me, nothing new is going to show up.

Daylight: I move through to Cavern 2 and now it’s definitely time to go.

This is how things look at the end of Day Twelve:

Birdsong: (SL)M AV2, (A)M AV5, M MW2, M DV1

Even though my first move is to a non-Cave Valley clearing, since I am STARTING this phase in a Cave Clearing, I can still use the Shielded Lantern for that Move. I also get my Amazon Move, plus my two Basic Move phases. (Since I DID start in a Cave Clearing, I won’t get any “sunlight” phases.)

Sunrise: I roll a 1 and a 5 for prowling monsters. That is only relevant for any prowling Native groups, since I will be ending my turn in a Valley tile.

Daylight: I leave the Cavern into Awful Valley, pass through the Maple Woods (I don’t get to look at the chit there, but it’s nothing that would interest me at this point anyway), and end up in Dark Valley. The Smoke V chit there brings the House and the Soldiers to Clearing 5. I am on the other path that runs through this tile though, so if I wanted to visit them, it would be a long trip. The Company and Bashkars COULD show up there but don’t because they are not prowling this turn. Since the Company and Bashkars are both unfriendly to the Amazon, and the Soldiers are Neutral, I won’t be making that trip.

This is how things look at the end of Day Thirteen:

Birdsong: (A)M DV4, M BL1, M L3, S, S

I can make it through Dark Valley, one non-Cave Clearing in the Borderland, and then into the Ledges and even have time to do two Searches to try to find the Hidden Path there. If I want to go to the High Pass, that shortcut could be helpful.

Sunrise: Since this is the 14th day of the month, after I roll the Monster Roll, any prowling monsters that meet that roll will return to the Setup Chart. Last time, nothing went back on the chart. This time I roll a 4-4, so only one row returns, but it IS all the Giants and Trolls, so the Troll at the Vault is now gone, but it’s so far away now!

Daylight: I get to the Ledges OK. Both my Searches on the Peer table to find the Hidden Path fail (4-5, 1-5). I do find Clues but since I am ending my turn on this tile, I am going to turn up all those chits in this tile anyway, so the Clues result means nothing.

I turn up Stink M and the HOARD in Clearing 6! Oooh, that’s a good one. It IS guarded by a Tremendous Dragon (who does not show up this turn because Dragons are not prowling), but it also has 4 Small Treasures and 5 Large Treasures and there are NO special conditions to Loot this site if I can find it. No Lost Keys needed, no chits to fatigue. Just LOOT!

The Dragons are not prowling but the Giants are, and the one of the two Giants I had just returned to the Set-up Chart shows up in my Clearing.

This is how things look at the end of Day Fourteen:

Birdsong: (A)M L6, S, S, S, S

Super simple turn here. Move to the Hoard using my Amazon Move phase and Search for 4 phases. I have to discover the Hoard before I can start looting its Treasures.

Sunrise: I roll a 5 and a 6 for prowling Monsters. The Giant is not prowling and won’t follow me, but the Heavy Spider WILL show up this turn in my Clearing after all my Searches.

Daylight: I move to Ledges 6. There is a Hidden Path from this Clearing to Clearing 4 but I’m looking for the Hoard, which I can only find using the Locate table and Hidden Paths can only be found on the Peer table. But who needs that Hidden Path with the Hoard right here? I’m not even thinking about going to High Pass now.

Now, I am looking for a “Discover (Chits)” result. That means I need to roll two dice and have a 4 as the highest die. That is 8 chances out of 36 chances or about a 22% chance on each roll. How do I do on my four chances on this turn? All duds! (2-3, 1-3, 1-3, 3-3) As a math nerd, this set of rolls kills me because the chances of getting a 3 as the high die (which I got on all four rolls here!) is only 5/36 (~14%)!

The Spider shows up to mock my failure.

This is how things look at the end of Day Fifteen:

Birdsong(s): H, S, S, S

I do the same thing for the next six days. Hide on the first phase, and if successful, do three Search phases. If not successful, wait until the next day.

Sunrise(s): Here’s one thing to note about the First Encounter in the 2nd Edition Rules. If you are Hidden at the end of your turn, Monsters already on your tile will move to your Clearing (the Giant shows up the first chance he gets on Day Sixteen), BUT no new Monsters will be summoned to your tile. The Dragon never shows up at his hoard because I either succeeded in my Hide roll, or the one turn I didn’t (Day 18), Dragons (or any other monsters that could have appeared) weren’t prowling that day.

Note that I could have also used my extra Amazon move phase to do six turns of (A)M L1, M L6, S, S, S. Then I would not have had to worry about failing a Hide roll. I would have been unhidden at the end of my turn and then this tile could have filled up with Monsters, but this trick (move away, move back, search, search, search) would have always worked in the First Encounter. But I didn’t think that out until just now when I was writing up this post! LOL So that’s why I didn’t do that!

So, in the end, five turns looked like this:

and one turn looked like this:

Daylight(s): As good as I appear to be at Hiding (I hide successfully on five turns, fail only once on Day Eighteen), I am also as equally sucky at finding a huge Hoard of treasure!

Day 16 Searches: 1-2, 2-3, 2-6 NOTHING! (Monster roll was a 1-4!)
Day 17 Searches: 1-6, 4-5 (at least I rolled a 4!!), 3-6 NOTHING! (Hide roll was a 3-4!)
Day 18 Searches: NONE! Got busted failing my Hide phase.
Day 19 Searches: After I roll a 4-4 on the Monster roll and cry, I wipe the tears from my eyes, do a successful Hide and FINALLY find the Hoard with ANOTHER 4-4 roll. YAY! I mark off the discovery of the Hoard on my Personal History Pad and start rolling on the Loot table! First day I find the Flowers of Rest (pretty useless in First Encounter from any standpoint) and Eye of the Idol!
Day 20 Searches: I hide successfully and Loot the Power Boots, the Oil of Poison and a Great Treasure, the Hidden Ring.
Day 21 Searches: I hide successfully again and loot two more Treasures…The Royal Scepter, my second Great Treasure (fulfilling THAT victory condition so far) and the Golden Armband.

It’s time to stop searching here. There are only two Treasures left and there is only a 1 in 12 chance of finding one of them. Let’s examine all my haul and see what is there and what it means for my game.

This is all my belongings (some of my starting equipment, the Shielded Lantern I bought and the 7 Treasures I looked from the Hoard at the end of Day TwentyOne:

I also have six Gold in cash.

Oh, and one more thing to note… The Monster Roll on Day 21 was 3-6 just like it was at the end of the first week and the same thing happens. Nothing goes back to the Setup Chart.

There are lot of treasures there and a lot to think about for what I want to do for the next 7 days and how close I can get to victory.

You should already know what the Shielded Lantern does, plus it is of Light Weight and is worth 8 Gold if I sell it. Here are the ones I picked up from the Hoard:

Eye of the Idol: For the First Encounter, I can ignore the Spell and the roman Numeral and just deal with the fact it has Medium Weight (so the Amazon can carry it). It’s worth 34 Gold if I sell it, but until then, as long as I hold it, I have 10 Notoriety and -5 Fame. Neither of those last two things help me at all, so this is a sure sale, first chance I get.

Flowers of Rest This Treasure is always supplying Gold Magic to its clearing but that’s irrelevant in the First Encounter. I don’t have any fatigued asterisks, so it has no effect on me.

Power Boots I immediately activate these to give me the effect of an extra Heavy Move chit that I can use to carry anything I find of Heavy Weight, which I couldn’t do before. Worth 8 Gold when I sell it, 3 Notoriety until then.

Oil of Poison Something that would be super useful to the Amazon in the Second Encounter, in the First Encounter, it’s just something I want to sell for 3 Gold.

Hidden Ring As with the Eye of the Idol, in the First Encounter, I can ignore the Spell and the Roman Numeral. The red dot indicates this is a Great Treasure, one of the two I need for the Great Treasure Victory goal. It also gives me 10 Notoriety while I’m holding it. The big problem is I didn’t put any VP in Notoriety, but I DID put one in Fame and this gives me -10 Fame while I have it! That more than cancels out the value it gives me for being a Great Treasure. It’s better I sell it for 20 Gold and get my 10 Fame back.

Golden Armband The Armor part doesn’t help in the First Encounter, but it IS worth 15 Gold if I sell it and if I sell it to the Lancers, I get 3 Fame to boot.

Royal Sceptre An Extra Hire phase won’t help until the Third Encounter. It IS a Great Treasure that is saddling me with -15 Notoriety (that doesn’t hurt me in any way), but if I can find the Guard and sell it to them, I will get 8 Gold AND 20 Fame, DOUBLE my VP Goal in Fame.

There are several different ways I can sell these things to fit VP conditions. None of them right now are winning combinations. I have a week to find something AND get to a Dwelling to sell everything I want to sell.

1) Sell everything but the two Great Treasures. That would meet my Great Treasure goal exactly, and leave me one short in Gold category and two short in Fame category. FINAL SCORE: -21 (I’ll explain where this Final Score comes from at the end of the game.)

2) Find The Guard and sell everything but the Hidden Ring. That gives me my Fate condition exactly, but leaves me one short in Great Treasures, and one short in Gold (BY TWO GOLD pieces, 93 Gold, need 95!). FINAL SCORE: -18 (If I can scrape up 2 Gold somewhere AND find the Guard, the FINAL SCORE would be -9.)

3) Find the Guard and sell everything. One over on my Fate goal, even on my Gold goal and 2 under my Great Treasure goal. FINAL SCORE: -16

The two best plans (given the Treasure, belongings and Gold I have so far) involve me finding where the Guard are located in time to be able to try to find a couple more Treasures. There are only two Valley tiles left, they have to be in one of them. Off to find the Guard I go.

Birdsong: (A)M L3, M BL1, M BL6, (SL)M BL3

The Guard is either in the Curst Valley or the Bad Valley. Curst Valley is two turns away, Bad Valley is three turns away, so I will head to Curst Valley first. By using my Amazon Move phase, I can get to Borderland 6, and since that is a Cave Clearing, I can use my Shielded Lantern to move to Borderland 3 in addition to my two Basic phases.

Sunrise: I roll a 3 and a 3 for prowling monsters. Only Wolves and Goblins prowling today.

Daylight: I get to where I want to go in Borderland 3. Dank C doesn’t summon anything, but Patter 2 summons six axe-swinging Goblins in Clearing 2, right in my way of getting to Clearing 5 in Curst Valley.

This is how things look at the end of Day Twentytwo:

Birdsong: H, H, (A)M BL3, M CV2, M CV5

I really need to get to Clearing 5 in Curst Valley today and I have an extra phase to do it, so I am going to Hide twice just to make sure I can get past the Goblins.

Sunrise: I roll a 3 and a 5 for my Monster Roll. It only has the potential to summon Natives this turn, since I will be ending my turn in a Valley clearing.

Daylight: My first Hide works and I end my day in Clearing 5 and turn up the Stink V chit. DARN! That means this is the Inn with the Rogues (neutral to the Amazon). There are too many of them to buy drinks for to make them any friendlier. Thankfully, the Monster roll of 3 means the Patrol is currently at the Inn as well and they ARE friendly to the Amazon AND there is only three of them, so easy to buy drinks.

(Note that, in the First Encounter, prowling Natives show up at Dwellings whether you are Hidden or not. Only Monsters are not summoned when you are hiding in the First Encounter at the end of your turn.)

The real bad news is the Guard and the Guardhouse have to be in Bad Valley. Wow, remember how way back in Turn 2, I was debating taking a slight detour to see who was residing in Bad Valley? Now I really wish I had done that.

This is how things look at the end of Day Twentythree:

Birdsong: T, H, (A)M CV2, M BL2, M BL3

First, I am going to Trade with the Patrol to see if they have any Treasures that can help me. Then I will Hide to try to get past the Goblins on my way to get to Bad Valley. I don’t care if this Hide fails as it will leave me only one Clearing short of where I want to be anyway and chances are around 70% it will work.

Sunrise: I roll a 4 and a 5 for my Monster Roll. None of the monsters in the Borderland are prowling today, so even if I fail the Hide, nothing new is going to be summoned and the Goblins won’t move.

Daylight: Trading with natives has been very good to me this game. The Patrol ends up having the Ointment of Steel armor that I don’t need or want, BUT they also have the 7-League Boots, which only have a base price of 5, but will let me carry anything of Tremendous weight(!) AND give me yet ANOTHER extra Move phase. I NEED THESE!

I buy drinks for the Patrol (3 Gold, reducing me to 3 recorded Gold), making them Allies for this trade and they end asking for Price x 2, or 10 Gold for these incredible Boots. I spend one more recorded Gold (dropping me to 2) and trade in my Short Sword and Helmet for the other 9 Gold. I check and make sure if I sell everything to the Guard, I will still meet my Gold victory condition.

I immediately activate the 7-League Boots and inactivate the Power Boots (even though I won’t get the extra bonus Move phase this turn since I had already recorded my turn at Birdsong).

My Hide works and I breeze past the Goblins on my way back to near where I started almost a month ago in the Realm.

This is how things look at the end of Day Twentyfour:

Birdsong: (7LB)M BL5, (SL)M DW5, (A)M DW3, M DW2, M BV2

This is great. Even though I will be passing through a Cave Clearing this turn, limiting me to the two Basic phases, I also get THREE extra phases from the 7-League Boots, the Shielded Lantern, and my Amazon Stamina.

Sunrise: I roll a 2 and a 6 for my Monster Roll. That’s not going to summon or activate anything. The only possible prowling natives who ever come to the Guardhouse are the Patrol and they are going to be hanging out at the Inn for the rest of the game.

Daylight: I make a MEEP! MEEP! roadrunner sound as I blow through the Borderland and the Deep Woods to reach Bad Valley where I find the expected Guard and Guardhouse in Clearing 5.

Picking up the 7-League Boots was a fantastic find. I will actually have time to go to the Mountain on Turn 26 and see if there are any Treasure sites there, try to find and loot them on Turn 27 (if I do find any), and then still make it back in time on Turn 28 to sell everything off to the Guard!

This is how things look at the end of Day Twentyfive:

Birdsong: M BV5, M M4, M M2

There are four Treasure sites left I haven’t found. The Altar could appear at the top of the Mountain in Clearing 1, the Pool halfway up the Mountain in Clearing 6, the Statue in Clearing 2 or the Shrine next door to the Guardhouse in Clearing 4. The first two Clearings are Mountain Clearings that take TWO Move phases to get into, the last two Clearings are regular Woods clearings costing no extra move phases.

I won’t have time to get to anything in the Mountain clearings, find it and loot it and still make it back to the Guardhouse by the final turn in the game, so I plan to go to Clearing 2 and just hope for the best.

Sunrise: The Monster Roll is a 1 and a 3.

Daylight: My best doesn’t work out. When I end my turn in Clearing 2 in the Mountain, I do turn up a Treasure Site, but it is the Pool in Clearing 6. And the Monster roll ensures a big fat Octopus is sitting in that Pool waiting to Block me. So much for more treasure hunting. There is also a Ruins M chit there but that does not summon anything.

This is how things look at the end of Day Twentysix:

Birdsong: M M4, M BV5, T

There is really nothing I can do except go back to the Guardhouse and sell everything for the best score I can get. I am going to lose. I don’t even need to play out the final day because nothing will/could change.

Sunrise: No need for a Monster roll.

Daylight: I go back to the Guardhouse and sell everything to the Guard. They are so happy I returned the Royal Sceptre that they announce it to the whole Realm and make me very famous!

My final results:

Great Treasures: 0 (Needed 2)
Spells: NA
Notoriety: 0 (Needed 0)
Fame: 20 (Needed 10)
Gold: 105 (Needed 95)

How that works out in Magic Realm Final Scoring…

I was 2 short of my victory condition in Great Treasures, so my Basic score for Great treasures is -2. But since it is minus, it is multiplied by 3 to make my Basic score for Great Treasures = -6. My Bonus score for Great Treasures is the number of VP I put into that category (2) times my Basic score. So my Bonus Score for Great Treasures = -12.

I was even on my victory condition for Gold, so my Basic score for Gold = 0. My Bonus score for Gold is the number of VP I put into that category (2) times my Basic score. So my Bonus Score for Gold also = 0.

I was 1 ahead of my victory condition in Fame (got 20, needed 10), so my Basic score for Fame = 1. My Bonus score for Fame is the number of VP I put into that category (1) times my Basic score. So my Bonus Score for Fame = 1.

So my overall Final Score for this game =

-6 (Basic Great Treasures) -12 (Bonus Great Treasures + 0 (Basic Gold) + 0 (Bonus Gold) + 1 (Basic Fame) + 1 (Bonus Fame) = -16 LOSS!

Well, that’s the official game score and a loss. But I am going to look at it as I made two of my three victory conditions, so MORAL VICTORY! LOL

I hope this detailed playthrough with my thoughts on strategies (good or bad!) will help de-mystify this game a bit for people!

And a big THANK YOU to David Arlington for putting this playthrough together and allowing me to post it here.  This looks like a real fun game.  Apparently there are files out there where you can print and play your own copy if you’re interested, and used copies show up all the time on ebay and the like, so keep your eyes peeled if this tickled your fancy.

I’m in the midst of moving houses so I’m awfully busy, so I can’t promise another playthrough from me any time soon, but I’ll have a nice new gaming room to try out, so I’ll do my best.

Thanks for reading, even though I had nothing to do with it!  Game on!

Guest Post: David Arlington


Hi all:  I was witness to “DocSavage2001” over at BoardgameGeek post a fascinating string of posts (post – post – post) about an old classic game “Magic Realm.”  It was big, it was pretty and, well, Very Wordy.  So I asked if I could post it here, too, since it fit in and he agreed!  So I can say this is my first “Guest Author”!  Now over to David!

I know a lot of people find this game hard to learn despite three different editions of the rules, guides to learn how to play, simplified rules sets, etc etc. But I looked and I didn’t really see any SOLO session playthroughs of the regular base game.

So, what I want to do is what I did with Bios: Megafauna (Second Edition), and do a step by step detailed solo playthrough, complete with pictures of everything. I will be playing solo with a single character, the Amazon, the Second Edition rules with no Optional Rules and no Advanced Rules, and proceed Encounter by Encounter. (The Second Edition rules break the game up into four Encounters, adding in parts of the game, encounter by encounter.)

The first series of posts will be the First Encounter: Treasure Hunt. This includes moving, searching, trading, and running into Monsters, though there is no combat in this first encounter. The Monsters and natives can still block you and slow you down though.

And the first post will just be about setup and what my thoughts are on the various strategies I will be attempting to use. I’m writing this as I’m playing it, so everything might fail miserably, but at least I hope to explain what is happening and why and how. To try to demystify this excellent game which STILL holds up (in my mind) with the best Fantasy games of all time.

This is the initial setup for the Amazon with her Character card, the Setup sheet with all the Monsters and Treasures on it, (But no Spells yet, Spells come in the Fourth Encounter), and her Personal Record sheet where she will log all her moves and discoveries and progress towards victory (or defeat).

This is the Amazon herself. She has a Shield, a Breastplate, a Helmet and a Shortsword. In this First Encounter, she won’t need any of these (without combat), so a key priority for me is to find some natives to sell these things to so I can get Gold to buy things to help me find Treasures.

She has (like all characters) 12 Action chits, 7 Fight chits(which she mostly likely won’t need in this First Encounter either) and 5 Move chits. All her Move chits are MEDIUM weight. That means, unless she gets a Horse someplace, she won’t be able to carry anything of HEAVY or TREMENDOUS weight-only Medium or lighter. That may limit her ability to pick up some treasures.

She has one Special Ability she can use in this First Encounter, STAMINA, that will give her an extra MOVE Phase every turn. This is a good advantage in this First Encounter. She has no Allies in the Magic Realm, but no outright Enemies either. She is Friendly with the Lancers, Patrol and the Shaman (a visitor to the Realm). The Company and the Bashkars are Unfriendly towards her.

She needs to record FIVE Victory points. Here is what I chose for her in the First Encounter and why:

She can’t collect Spells in the First Encounter. Notoriety can be gotten from Treasures, but is more often awarded for killing things, which won’t happen until the Second Encounter. So, she is going to go for trying to find a lot of Treasure, with hopefully one or two providing the Fame she needs, two Great Treasures, and then sell off everything else she finds for the Gold value.

She starts with 10 Gold and 25 Gold worth of equipment, NONE of which will count for her final Gold total. All the more reason to sell all her equipment in the First Encounter. With 35 Gold to spend, hopefully she will find some Small Treasure with the Lancers or Patrol that she can buy to help her find more treasure. That’s my hope, anyway.

If she CAN find the Lancers and Patrol, that is. In the Solitaire game of Magic Realm, none of the Dwellings where the natives hang out start on the map. She has to find them as well as the treasures.

I did the Setup card and chose my character and have a game plan for her. Now to build the map. To do that, you put the Borderlands tile in the center of the table and shuffle the rest of the map tiles and play them to build the map one at a time. Except for the first tile you play after the Borderlands, all the rest of the tiles have to touch two other tiles. Any tile with six Clearings on it has to have ALL six Clearings connect back to the Borderlands tile (even if that path goes through secret passages). All other tiles have to have at least one Clearing connect back to the Borderlands.

Some other map building notes for the Solitaire version. You can’t play Valley or Woods tiles next to OTHER Valley and Woods tiles if there is any other place you can put them. You can see below that as I ran out of tiles to place, I didn’t have any other place to put some of the Valley and Woods tiles except next to each other. Here is my completed map:

Even building the map, I tried to use a strategy wherever I could to place tiles that would make things as easy as possible for me. The Amazon (if I recall correctly) does a bit better in the Mountain tiles than the Caves tiles (plus the Caves tiles can really slow your game down). So, I tried to put the Caves tiles out of the way whenever I could. I also tried to put “dead end” tiles out on the edges of the map, rather than in the interior where I would have to go around them. As an example, I put the really gnarly Cavern and Crag tiles out on the very outskirts. (Of course, those two tiles will probably end up being where the Lost City and Lost Castle end up being.)

One last bit of map-building strategy I used. In the regular game, all the Dwellings are placed on the map and your character starts at one of them. In the Solitaire game, your character enters from off-map and their first move of the game is to move onto the map.

I’ve plotted my first couple of turns to come in through Evil Valley, Search to see if I can peek at what chits are there (which will tell me what Dwelling is there or the Ghosts) and then end my first turn in the Ruins where I will flip all the chits and see what is there. (I covered the name on the Ruins tile with chits, sorry!).

From there, I can use the nearby Deep Woods as a hub location to get to pretty much anywhere on the map I’ve built. Also with a minimum of Cave Clearings or Mountain Clearings (that slow you down). I think the map turned out pretty good for me and I’m happy with the layout right now.

My initial plan is to spend one week (7 turns) trying to discover as much of where things are (with emphasis on tiles with treasure sites). The next two weeks, I will try to meet my VP goals based on the places I found. The final week will be heading to a Dwelling where I can cash in. I might not need a whole week, but I have played before where I started heading to sell things just a day or two too late. That’s the general plan.

Let’s talk about turn structure for the solitaire game. There are a lot of phases, but they are all pretty simple in the solo game. If I don’t mention it, it’s not relevant for solo play OR the First Encounter.

Birdsong: Record your planned actions for your turn.

Sunrise: Roll two dice (for the solo game) to see which one/two rows of Monsters and Denizens are prowling this turn. If this is the end of a week, put all the prowling monsters (except the Ghosts) back on the setup sheet in this phase.

Daylight: Take your turn. Summon/move any prowling denizens.

Sunset: You won’t do anything here in the First Encounter.

Midnight: If you’re playing solo, you don’t need to flip the map chits back down as long as you remember denizens won’t be summoned to your Clearing if you are hidden in the First Encounter.

There are only five actions I can do on my turn in the First Encounter. In the early part of the game, I will be mostly doing Move and Search.

When playing the First Encounter solo, with no Combat, I will only need to Hide if I get yourself boxed in by monsters with no way around them. The Amazon will try to use it as little as possible in the First Encounter.

Trade will be useful later when I find Natives or Visitors to trade with.

Unless I find one of the Treasure sites like the Pool or get Cursed, I shouldn’t need to Rest in a solo First Enounter game.

Birdsong: (A)M EV5, M EV2, S, S, M R1

I am going to move from off the map (using my Amazon Extra Move phase) to Evil Valley 5, Move to Evil Valley 2, do two Search phases, and finally Move to Ruins 1

I roll a 4 and a 6 for prowling monsters. Giants, Trolls and Bats.

Daylight: I do my two Moves and then I do two Searches on the Peer Table because I want to see what is in Evil Valley. Since, in the solo game, all the Valley chits are “substitute” chits, I can replace them immediately with whatever inhabits that tile. A Dwelling or the Ghosts. (in the regular game, all the Valley chits are turned up before the game starts and replaced with the Dwelling or Ghosts.) I use the Peer table because I want “CLUES” or “CHOICE” (which will be CLUES) and that table gives me a better chance than the Locate table.

My first roll is a 5-6, You find nothing. But my second roll is a 5-5 and I find the Bones V chit which means the Ghosts live here! I remove the chit and place the Ghosts in Clearing 5. (All Dwellings/Ghosts go in Clearing 5 unless it doesn’t connect back to the Borderlands tile.) That’s why I waited till I got to Clearing 2 to search. If I had found them in Clearing 5, they would have Blocked me and ended my turn.

I do my last Move to Ruins 1. That ends my actions for this turn, so I turn up the chits in the Ruins tile and find Bones C Warning chit and Patter 5 Sound Chit. The Bones C chit goes anyplace on the tile because the monsters it summons can appear anywhere and if you are unhidden, they will appear in YOUR Clearing. Sound chits go in a specific Clearing, in this case, the Patter chit goes in Clearing 5. If it summons anything, it will go to Clearing 5 this turn, not to where I am.

Warning chits activate before Sound Chits, so Bones C brings two Heavy Armored Trolls to my Clearing. They block me which is no big deal in the First Encounter. Note that my planned turn would be totally different in the Second Encounter with Combat. I would never end my turn unhidden in a Caves tile with the Amazon when they could fight me! The Patter 5 would bring the Goblins to Clearing 5, but their row is not Prowling this turn so they stay where they are on the Setup card.

For completeness sake, I should mention the Ghosts are also prowling this turn, because they are Prowling on EVERY turn. But only monsters on MY tile will ever move from one Clearing to another, so the Ghosts stay put. Forever.

I will show the Setup card here, after the Trolls have come to me.

This is how things look at the end of Day One:

Although I didn’t find any Treasure sites or a Dwelling with Natives I could Trade with, I’m not unhappy to find the Ghosts out where they are. It’s also valuable to know I will really never need to come back to these two tiles again. And I know all the other Valley tiles DO have Dwellings in them.

Birdsong: (A)M R2, M DW2, M DW3, S, S

I have to move for my first action or the Trolls will Block me and end my turn. Even if monsters are not Prowling, they will Block you if you are unhidden in their Clearing at the end of a phase. And I don’t plan to waste action on Hides just yet.

I had two options here. Go through Deep Woods, pause and look for Clues, then continue up north to Bad Valley 5 to see what Natives are there. But there is only one tile with possible Treasure sites reachable from Bad Valley and then I would have to backtrack back through the Deep Woods. That seems like a waste of time.

Instead I decide to head to Deep Woods 3 and search for the Hidden Path that connects Deep Woods 3 and Deep Woods 6. Once I find that path, I can mark it off on my sheet and use it for the rest of the game. That seems like the better option at this point in my exploratory game plan.

If this was the Second Encounter, I would have picked the first option, but I’ll talk about that if I ever get to a detailed Second Encounter playthrough! (I hope he does! – Adam)

I roll a 1 and a 4 for prowling monsters. Dragons and Giants and Trolls, oh my!.

Daylight: I move out of the Clearing with the Trolls and head to Deep Woods 3. For my Search phases, I want to find the Hidden Path now (because I’ll see the chits here at the end of my turn!), so I use the Peer table again. First roll is a 2-6, nothing is found, but second roll is Snake Eyes! 1-1 and I find the Path and mark it off on my Personal History Pad. I can use this path the rest of this game.

I turn up the chits and find Bones M and Howl 4. The Bones M Warning chit goes off first and summons a Giant to my Clearing. It blocks me, but First Encounter so… The Howl chit goes into Clearing 4, but the Bats it would summon from Row 6 are not Prowling this turn, so no Bats appear there. Note that the Trolls in the Ruins are also Prowling, but again, since they are not in MY tile, they do nothing.

This is how things look at the end of Day Two:

Two potential Treasure site tiles explored (Ruins, Deep Woods) and all I’ve found is Monsters and monster sounds. But at least I’m finding this out on Day Two, not Day Twenty when I’m looking for that last Great Treasure!

Birdsong: (A)M DW6, M DW1, M DV4, S, M BL1

Again, the first thing I have to do is move away from the Giant. I could go north to Bad Valley, but now on the way back, I will have the Giant blocking my way past. I could also get to Borderlands 2 using the extra Amazon extra Move to get me in and out of the Cave clearing.

Instead, I make use of the Hidden Path I found last turn to move south to Dark Valley, do one Search there (to see if I can find out what Dwelling is there) and then move to Borderlands 1 without using any Caves (which reduce the number of Phases I can do on a turn).

I roll double sixes for prowling monsters. Only Bats to worry about this turn!

Daylight: On the way to the Borderland tile, my one Search fails in Dark Valley (rolled a 2-6).

I turn up the chits in the Borderland and find Dank C and Patter 2. Dank C would bring Serpents to my Clearing if they were Prowling. They’re not. Patter 2 would summon Goblins to Clearing 2, but they are not Prowling either. So no Monsters appear. Good. But no Treasure sites found yet on three tiles! Bad!

This is how things look at the end of Day Three:

Birdsong: (A)M BL6, M BL4, M CL2

Do I go north to Ledges and High Pass? Or take a slow day through the Cave clearing in the Borderland to get to the Cliff?

If I go the Ledges/High Pass way, I can only get to those two potential Treasure tiles and even then I won’t be able to reach half the Clearings in those two tiles.

If I go to the Cliff, I not only can also get to the Cavern and the Crag, but also to the Dwelling that will show up in Awful Valley 5. That seems like the more flexible option. Plus now I am convinced that I really AM going to find the Treasure sites out on those tiles I stuck out on the edge of nowhere!

I roll a 1 and a 3 for the Monster roll. Dragons, Ogres, Wolves, Goblins and the Octopus all Prowling!

Daylight: I make my way to Cliff 2 and turn up the chits. JACKPOT! I find the Dank M chit and the Lost Castle! The Lost Castle drops FIVE more chits in the Cliff. Three are Sound chits, Flutter 1 (in Clearing 1 up on the mountain), Slither 6 and Roar 6, (also up on the mountain), AND TWO Treasure sites! Clearing 3 ends up having both The Vault AND The Lair!

The Vault is useless to the Amazon unless she can find the Lost Keys somewhere because she is not going to have any Tremendous weight counters needed to open the Vault. But… The Lair, that is a good one with 4 Small Treasures and 3 Large Treasures.

There’s just this little matter of the Tremendous Dragon, who guards his Lair. Dragons ARE Prowling this turn, so he shows up at the Lair to keep me away from my looting desires! The Tremendous Troll does NOT show up at the Vault because his row is NOT Prowling this turn.

The other chits go off in this order: Dank M – Nothing since Spiders are not Prowling. Flutter 1 – brings two Heavy Flying Dragons to Clearing 1 (not where I am). Slither 6 does NOT summon Serpents but it DOES summon another Heavy Dragon to Clearing 6 up in the mountains and Roar 6 does NOT summon a Giant. (Giants and Serpents are not prowling.)

This is how things look at the end of Day Four:

Now I’m in a pretty pickle. I wanted a tile with Treasure sites, but so many monsters! (or potential monsters!)

It took me awhile to decide what I wanted to do on Day Five (and I haven’t played it out yet so stay tuned…), but I will try to show you some ways to try to get to those Treasure sites.

Even though these are the first Treasure sites I have found, I am pretty happy with how things are going to plan so far, according to my general game plan. I wanted to explore and I’ve gotten almost all the way across the map, ruled out four different tiles as not being good places to go back to, and found a good Treasure site. And I still have three days to go in my first week!

Birdsong: S, S, S, S, (A)M CL5

I decide to roll the dice on this turn and swing for the fences. And before you tell me how I am mixing metaphors, only the “swing for the fences” is the metaphor, the “rolling the dice” part is literally true.

In my best version of this turn, I roll a Monster Roll with a 1 and NOT a 4, AND I find the Hidden Path at the bottom of the Cliff to get from Clearing 5 (where I am) to Clearing 2 (with my back to the Cavern). A Monster roll of 1 would bring ALL the Dragons to my Clearing (including the Tremendous Dragon sitting on the Lair right now). NOT rolling a 4 means the Tremendous Troll WON’T show up in Clearing 3 to guard the Vault. Then I could run in there on my next turn and Search four times to find the Lair and try to Loot it.

My worst version of the turn is I DON’T roll a 1 and I DO roll a 4 and a 5 for the Monster Roll and I don’t find the Hidden Path in four tries. That would strand me in Clearing 2 (since if I don’t find the Hidden Path, my plotted Move with my Amazon ability will get cancelled, I can’t use it to move someplace else), drop the Tremendous Troll on the Vault WITH the Tremendous Dragon already there at the Lair AND it would bring a Heavy Spider to my Clearing. Then I’d have to back up into the Borderland, a direction I don’t want to go.

I roll a 3 and a 4 for prowling monsters. Giants, Trolls and Wolves and Goblins. Well, that won’t bring any Monsters to my Clearing at the end of the turn, but the Dragons aren’t going to move from where they are and the Tremendous Troll is going to join the Tremendous Dragon in Clearing 3. Not good news for me getting to the Lair.

Daylight: My first three Searches on the Peer table for the Hidden Path fail (1-6, 3-6, and 5-5) and I am getting really worried. But fourth time is the charm as I roll a 2-3 and I DO get to Move to Clearing 5 with my Amazon Move.

The Vault summons the Tremendous Troll to the Vault and the Roar 6 Sound Chit summons a Giant to Clearing 6. Since the Dragons are not prowling, no monsters already on the tile come to my Clearing.

This is how things look at the end of Day Five:

Too many Monsters here now and my goal for Week One is exploration, so I am going to leave this tile behind and try my luck in the next door Cavern and go see what Dwelling is in the Awful Valley. Besides, the end of the week is only two days away and maybe some of this crowd of monsters will go back to “sleep” on the Set up card and I can come back here later.

Birdsong: (A)M CN1, M CN3, M CN2

Now, I am going into a Cave Clearing in the Cavern this turn. Normally, I would only get to do two Phases this turn, but I can still use my Amazon extra Move phase even in Cave Clearings. I just want to see what is in this tile this turn, my main goal is to get to Clearing 5 in the Awful Valley next turn and see what Dwelling is there.

Sunrise: I roll a 1 and a 5 for prowling monsters. Great timing! That’s exactly the Monster Roll I wanted last turn! Dragons and Spiders are prowling this turn.

Daylight: I move to Clearing 2 in the Cavern and flip up the chits to find Stink C and Cairns 5. Oooh, that’s pretty good. Right now the Stink C Warning counter can only summon the Tremendous Troll, but his row is not Prowling. The Cairns is a Treasure Site that is REALLY REALLY good in the First Encounter, especially the way this tile is set up. It has SIX Large Treasures and only ONE Small Treasure, so if I can find it and Loot it, I will probably get some good stuff.

There is a “cost” to Loot the Cairns, every time you Loot it, you have to fatigue an asterisk on one of your Action chits. But in the First Encounter, you’re really not using your Fight Chits for anything, so I have PLENTY of asterisks to “spend”.

The BAD part of the Cairns is that a) it is guarded by a Tremendous Spider (which IS prowling this turn, so it shows up in the Cairns Clearing) and b) It is in a very hard spot to reach in the Cavern and c) You only get two Phases in Cave Clearings. I have one more day in my “exploring” week, so I am going to go see what Dwelling is in Awful Valley before I decide what I want to do starting in Week Two.

This is how things look at the end of Day Six:

Birdsong: M AV2, M AV5

I am starting my turn in a Cave Clearing, so I will only get two “basic” Phases this turn, plus my Amazon Move. In this case, I don’t even need my Amazon move since the Dwelling will show up in Clearing 5 and I only need two Move phases to get there.

Sunrise: Even though there will be no Monsters summoned to a Valley tile, I still need to do the Monster roll this turn for two reasons. First, it’s the seventh day of the week, so whatever Monsters are prowling this turn that are currently on the map will all go back to their spots on the Setup Card. It sure would be nice to roll a 1 and get all the Dragons to leave the Cliff tile! The other thing the Monster roll CAN do this turn is summon Native groups or Visitors to the Dwelling I find there. The more things at that Dwelling, the more Trade chances I will have and choices of things to buy/barter for.

Of course, what I roll is a 2 and a 6, two rows on the Setup Card that have NO Monsters currently on the map! UGH!

Daylight: I move to Clearing 5 in Awful Valley and turn up the Dank V Dwelling chit. I turn up the Chapel and that’s actually pretty good for the Amazon. The main inhabitants here are The Order, a group that is Neutral to the Amazon. They have a bunch of armor, weapons and horses I am not interested in buying in the First Encounter, but they DO have two Small Treasures that I am going to want to look over next turn. The other good thing about The Order is that there are only FOUR of them. That means it will only cost me four Gold to “Buy them drinks”, which will make them one level friendlier on the Trade table. (Changing them from Neutral to Friendly for that one Trade phase.) There’s some groups that have like 7 members in them. That can get expensive fast, since buying drinks only lasts that one Trade phase.

The other good thing about The Chapel for the Amazon is that the two wandering Native groups that could show up there are the Lancers and The Patrol, which are the only two groups in the game who begin at Friendly with the Amazon. Neither of them show up this turn because their rows are not Prowling, but they could turn up any time I come back here and they have their own sets of two Small Treasures.

This is how things look at the end of Day Seven:

Birdsong: T, (A)M AV2, M CN2

Since I am now about to start my second week in the Magic Realm, it’s time to start actively hunting for treasure. I think, despite the negatives above, the Cairns is the best place to try. But before I go there, I am going to see if the Order has anything good I want to trade for. With my extra Amazon Move phase, I can spend one Phase doing a Trade and then Move two Clearings back into the Cavern.

Sunrise: The Monster roll is a 3 and a 6. That means nothing is going to happen when I get to the Cavern this turn. The Tremendous Troll won’t show up for the Stink C and the Tremendous Spider won’t leave the Cairns.

Daylight: I have had some pretty bad luck at points in this game so far, but when I do the Trade phase and specify I want to buy from the Order so I can look at their two Small Treasures, I CANNOT believe what I find! Holy Cow! This couldn’t be better! Of the 47 or so Small Treasures, there are probably not another two I could use more right now than these:

Remember how I said I couldn’t get into the Vault without the Lost Keys and I wasn’t likely to find them? Wow! Number 1.

But even better if I want to go try to get stuff out of the Cairns is the Shielded Lantern which gives its owner an extra Phase when they are in a Cave Clearing! It has weight Light so I can carry it and it’s not TOO expensive… hopefully. Wow! Number 2.

I REALLY need that Lantern, so, still in my Trade phase, I “buy drinks” for the Order to make them Friendly for this Trade. (Don’t judge me for liquoring up the Order at a Chapel!) This costs me 4 Gold so I have 6 Gold left plus my belongings I can trade in as well. As long as I don’t get a “No Deal” or “Price x 4” (I will be ONE Gold short!) results, I can buy them. I roll a 2-3 on the Friendly column so they want “Price x 2” or 16 Gold. I say “Here. Take my Breastplate (worth 9 Gold) and my Shield (worth 7 Gold).” and walk away with my prize, which I immediately activate! I now have a Helmet and a Short Sword and 6 Gold left from my original starting equipment.

Note also, that even though I will be in a Cave phase during this turn, with the Shielded Lantern, I can’t take an extra phase this turn, because my turn had already been plotted and I couldn’t have guessed that I would find the Shielded Lantern at the Chapel!

I move back into the Cavern (nothing happens at the end of this turn) and can’t wait to use my Lantern next turn!

This is how things look at the end of Day Eight:

Birdsong: (A)M CN3, (SL)S, S, S

This is fantastic with the Amazon having the Shielded Lantern. Normally, a character only gets two Phases in any turn when they are in a Cave Clearing during any part of that turn. But with the Bonus Move phase from being the Amazon and the Bonus “anything I want” phase from the Lantern, I am going to be as capable in Cave Clearings as I am in Sunlight!

I am going to use my Amazon move to go to Clearing 3 in the Cavern and then do three Search phases to try to find the Secret Passage from Clearing 3 to Clearing 5 with the Cairns.

Sunrise: The Monster roll is a 3 and a 5. My good luck the last two turns continues. The Tremendous Troll still won’t get summoned for the Stink C chit and the Spider will LEAVE the Cairns to come to my Clearing at the end of the turn because he is Prowling!

Daylight: I move to Clearing 3 and roll on the Locate table this time instead of the Peer table (Secret Passages can only be found on the Locate table.) More good luck as I roll a 2-2 on my first roll and find the Passage right away. I don’t even bother doing the last two Search phases. I mark it off on my Personal History pad (Yes, I forgot to mark off the Hidden Path I found in the Cliff. I corrected that after I took the picture.)

Lastly, as mentioned above in the Sunrise phase, the Tremendous Spider leaves the Cairns wide open for me as he prowls himself into my Clearing. (This would be a BIG problem in the Second Encounter, mind you, but it’s REALLY good in the First Encounter!)

This is how things look at the end of Day Nine:

Hopefully, turn 10 is the Loot run I want it to be!!

Birdsong: (A)M CN5, (SL)S, S, S

Same plan as last turn, only this time I will be looking for a “Discover chit(s)” result. I can’t Loot the Cairns for its treasures until I actually find where it is hidden in the Clearing. To do that, I need a successful result on the Locate table again. I only have, right now, a 22% chance of finding it on any one dice roll. So I will probably need all three Searches. If I DO find it, then I mark it off on my Pad and I can just dig for Treasures any time I am here in the future on all Searches.

Sunrise: The Monster roll is a 5 and a 6. The Bats in Row 6 won’t come into the Cavern, but the bad news is the Tremendous Spider IS going to follow me right back to the Cairns. I hope I find something before he comes back!

Daylight: All the good luck I had the last two turns is lost for this turn. I need a roll of the two dice where the highest number is a 4 (and ONLY a 4)! I roll a 3-3, 3-5, and finally a 2-6. NOTHING! NADA! ZIP! and oh yeah, here comes back the Spider!

This is how things look at the end of Day Ten:

Let’s see. I am halfway into the second week of four in this game and I not only haven’t found any Treasures, Fame or Gold, but I am in the hole 12 Gold worth from where I started. And I haven’t even actually found a Site I CAN loot yet, I know what clearings they are in, but haven’t quite found their exact locations. Business better pick up soon!

For I am an honest Puck

Let’s check those out-of-town scores:

To figure out a game quickly, we can do some math.


Hey, if you didn’t want math, don’t read a blog that has its first post be a playthrough of High Frontier, alright?

Anyway, the same night the Flyers and Penguins were playing, there was also a game featuring the Kings and Golden Knights as well as a game pitting the Wild against the Jets.  To quickly find the result, all we do is look at their matchups throughout the season.

There’s a ridiculous amount of ways one can do this.  I’m just going to make one up right now and see how it works.  The Kings shooting percentage is 9.4% with an average of 31 shots per game.  That means 2.9 or so go in.  Since goalies probably stop 90% (yes, a lot more) of goals, we can add 100% to say that about 6 goals is the max the Kings could pull off in a game.  So I can make a chart to show how many “Goal Worthy Shots” LA made during this first game using 2d6:

11-13 = 6 goals  14-16 5 goals 21-23 4 goals 24-26 3 goals 31-33 2 goals 34-36 1 goal 41+ 0 goals.

Now that I’m looking through their past, I see that there was one game that they one 7-0, but we’ll just go with this for now.  So it’s 2d6, treating 1 die as the 10s digit and one as the 1s digit. 25 gives us a 3 goal game for the Kings.

I do the same for the Golden Knights.  They get 3.2 shots in per game, or 6 and a half would be their highest, which we’ll round to 7.  A roll of 23 shows they got 5 goals.

A high scoring game so far.  Goalies need to shave a few points off.  Fleury shows he saves 82% of shots, so of the 3, he would, on average block 2 of them, and a roll confirms this.  So the Kings get one through to the Net.  Jonathan Quick blocks 90% of what comes through, so would block 4 and a half, on average (rounding to 5?).  Let’s see what the dice tell us. No, he only blocks 3. So the game ends LA 1, LV 2.

Probably too involved and there’s much easier ways, but it felt a bit fun to me (kind of like the soccer games in Time of Soccer).

For the other out of town game, I roll 0 goals for the Wild, and 0 for the Jets as well! Overtime!  Checking the stats, I see the Wild has one more Overtime loss than the Jets do, so I give them a teensy edge in the Overtime roll to figure out who wins, with a chunk of the chart showing shootout finish.  But it’s the Wild who wins in standard OT.

Out of town scores:

Los Angeles Kings – 1 Las Vegas Golden Knights – 2

Minnesota Wild – 1 Winnipeg Jets 0 OT

Meanwhile, back in the igloo:

We begin period #3 with a tie game.  All momentum and lines are reset and Giroux and Crosby are at center ice.  What’s say we play some hockey?

Giroux is able to get it back to Konecny who carries it over the blue line.  He tries to set up something, but is overpowered by Schultz who gains control off the puck.  Line change as Pittsburgh attacks.

Bryan Rust just barely starts an odd man rush as he dashes over the line, taking advantage of the line change, but Wayne Simmonds says “no,” poke checking the puck away from the man and gaining control for Philadelphia.  A new line is set as a Flyer waits behind the net to set up a new drive.

The new drive doesn’t get anywhere as Pittsburgh manages to overpower the Flyers in Pittsburgh’s zone, never letting the puck off of the boards.  Eventually the puck clears the blue line and lines change as Pittsburgh gains control. Buuuuutttt not much happens for a while. (Lull) I’m going to get some nachos-you want anything? No? Alright.

Another Lull.  Lines are long for nachos. 11:00 left in regulation.

What’d I miss?  Woah, look at this!  Provorov(1) to Read(0) to Gostisbehere(1)!

4b 3w

And Murray just sits on the thing, freezing the puck.  *sigh*  With how exciting the rest of the *crunch* grame wazh *m*, you wud nink *crunch* it wud shill *crunch* be gud *m*.  Should have gotten a soda.

Voracek and Letang fight for the puck in the corner, Letang comes out on top.  Another minute passes. *slurp*

The Penguins finally manage to power through the Flyer’s tough defense and get a Play set up.  Ruhwedel(0) to Sheahan(0) to Rust(0) *slurp* *crunch*

5b 6w

Mrazek slaps it down and passes it out to Gudas and we now have a three on one as they dash towards Murray!  Gudas(0) to Patrick(1) to Cole(0):

5b 1w

Murray(2) just gets a skate on it, but Courturier(3) flashes by and gets a stick on it, shooting!

3b 6w


When singing the aria from Carmen was a common victory celebration.

Only 8 minutes left on the clock and the Flyers are up by 1.  A lucky rebound can change the game, that’s for sure.

Ugh.  I’m too old to eat all those nachos.  Have you seen the line for the bathroom lately?  Is it long? Should I go now or what ’till later?

Fresh off the Philly goal, Filppula uses their momentum to make another play over Pittsburgh’s blue line: Laughton(1/2) to Raffl(1/2) to Filppula(1):

1b 2w

The puck gets deflected to the corner, Raffl(1/2) manages to snag it and go for a wrap-around:

4b 2w

The puck squirts out towards the circles, where Raffl(1/2) is able to take another swipe at it.

4b 5w

This time Murray is able to get the puck to his own teammate, almost having a two goal game appear with seven minutes left.

The Pittsburgh coach uses his last Skip to forgo the fourth line and jump right back to his first.  Of course, Philadelphia has both Skips still available, so does the same to get the best players on the ice.

And I roll a Lull!  Probably the LAST thing Pittsburgh needs right now.  4 minutes left on the clock.  Now the choice on when to pull the goalie.  Obviously 4 minutes is a bit early, but let’s see what happens. (BTW: You can not roll a Lull in the last 3 minutes of the game)

Giroux wins the face off (he’s on fire for face off wins this game), but Pittsburgh’s speed causes a turnover after a minute, and the Pittsburgh coach uses his “2x” chit to keep his main line on the ice while Philadelphia changes to their second line.  Since they have possession, they also choose to pull their goalie. Dun, dun DUN!!!!

Six Pens on the offense, passing and shooting, but a turnover happens; Neal Patrick races down the ice, six Penguins racing after him.  Here’s a roll on a seldom used chart: Deflection (shot vs. empty net):

Due to Pittsburgh’s lack of Squares on their team (noted for their offense, not defense), they are unable to get a stick on it: Empty Net goal for Patrick!


Totally could have blocked that if I could just find my contacts.

Pittsburgh isn’t done yet.  Malkin wins the face off and rushes the net.  Letang(1) to Sheahan(0) to Malkin(3):

6b 3w

Right in Mrazek’s belly!  That was an excellent chance for the Pens, but just couldn’t put the Philly team down.  Mrazek dumps the puck behind the net and we are down to 1 minute of play.

Matt Read tak-OH!  Never mind, in center ice Conor Sheary decides that rather than winning the game, why not just beat the living hell out of the opposing team?  It’s apparently a clean hit, but as teams are want to do, they all gather together to have a nice talk about it (and ask each other to sniff their gloves).  When all is said and done there’s little time left to finish the game, so everyone leaves for their cars and I quickly run to the bathroom to wait for a year and a half.

Final Score

Philadelphia Flyers 4

Pittsburgh Penguins 2

Stanley Cup Playoff Rankings April 11th 2018 (Earth-018)

Flyers 1-0

Penguins 0-1

Kings 0-1

Knights 1-0

Wild 1-0

Jets 0-1

Certainly not the historical 0-7 of the actual first game, but it seemed to play out like a normal game to me.  What do you think?


This is a great game to play while at work, because it’s easy to roll a few dice until you hit a stoppage of play or a line change and then write down/type up what happened, then alt-tab back to work for a while.  I’ll keep playing out the finals, playing one game and doing out of town scores for others and see who wins the cup in my fictional universe.  If you like, I’ll report the results here, too.  April 12th had the Sharks play the Ducks, the Leafs in Boston, the Avalanche facing the Predators, the Devils and the Lightening, and the Blue Jackets playing…what are their names?  Oh yeah, the Capitals.  I believe I already have the Leafs and Boston made, so they’ll be the ones I play out.

Welp, that was fun.  Now to endlessly debate if Pittsburgh should have pulled their goalie that early.

Score this goal if we be friends

8 minutes left in the 1st.  4 minutes of Philadelphia Power Play.  Let’s get it on!

Jake Guentzel takes the Face Off and dishes it to Zach Aston-Reese who dashes into Philadelphia’s zone to go for a short handed goal, or at least burn a bunch of time off the clock.  Shayne Gostisbehere is too fast for him and steals the puck, driving back to center and allowing a line change (Rolled a “Zoom” effect, pitting two players together and checking for the Speed trait.  Shayne had it while Zach didn’t, so defense won).

First line is out now, 3 minutes left in the Power Play.  (Another Zoom!) Voracek charges across the blue line, Dumoulin slapping at his stick.  Voracek is able to get off the pass and a play is made: Giroux(3) to Voracek(3) to Konecky(2) who shoots! Murray(3) tracks the puck as it’s passed around in front of him and…

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Edmonton Oilers

2b 1w

Murray gets a pad on it and deflects the puck to the corner.  Gostisbehere picks it off and fires it back towards Murray.  Rebounds only have the shooters stars(1), but get +1 for each rebounded shot, and use the Goalie’s Shot save(2).

3b 6w

Almost in the five hole, but Murray closes the door and kicks the puck out to Dumoulin who clears the puck.  We change the lines and see there is still 2 minutes left to play in the Power Play.

Gudas picks up the cleared puck and quickly shoots it to Cole in the center.  Cole(0) does a quick wrist to Raffl(0) on the blue line, who fires it at Couturier(3) to try and catch the goalie by surprise.

4b 5w

Murray easily kicks the puck out to Ruhwedel who clears it.  Only 1 minute left in the Power Play.  The Flyers fumble the puck in the neutral zone and Hagelin and Sheary breakaway!  Brassard ends up with the Shot.

6b 6w

The Flyers can’t get the puck out of their own side of the ice, the Penguins are keeping on offense in this last minute of the power play!  Finally the Flyers are able to play it smart and get the puck out as the power play clock ticks out and 4 minutes remain in the game and we are back at even strength.

Where I immediately roll another Penalty event.  Because of COURSE I do.  This one is another Philadelphia penalty, this time on Matt Read.  Hooking, 2 minutes.


Sad Read is Sad.

Pens get the face-off and go on the attack.  Whichever team has the most triangles gets to create a play, and it’s Pittsburgh right now, so another big play for Mrazek to deal with.

Kuhnhackl(0) to Aston-Reese(0) to Guentzel(1).  Not possible, but rebounds make anything possible.  Mrazek faces the shot and…

1b 6w

Mrazek sits his butt down on the sliding puck, freezing it as players flail and swing away at his pads.  Petr is glad for his cup.  This burnt enough time off of the clock that 1 minute is left in the power play.  Line change and let’s go at it again.

Giroux is able to win the face-off.  Sadly no Philadelphia circles since Philly has one of the worst Penalty Kill percentages, as if there was ONE on any of the four players on the ice, two minutes would be instantly burnt.  But NOPE.  We have to leave this minute to some more chance.

Another Zoom chance, and it’s Giroux v. Crosby.  A match up many a Pennsylvania has watched with glee.  The trait rolled is Power, which they both have.  That being the case, we go to tie-breakers which happens to be Momentum first.  The Team on the Power Play is always considered to have Momentum, so Crosby is able to overpower Giroux and take the puck.  BUT it is also considered to happen after a minute, so the Power Play is over and we have a line change.  2 minutes left in the period.

A roll of 10 lets us know if any defender has a square there is a change of possession (and if it’s double 5’s, it’s a breakaway play).  No double fives, but Provorov and Simmonds are on the ice, whom both have squares, so the Flyers good defense is able to steal the puck and go on the offense.  A rare treat for Philadelphia fans.

A 9 says whomever has Momentum gets control of the puck.  Pittsburgh still has it (they’ll only lose it on getting scored on or during a lull), so the crowd is still fired up after the Penalty, so even though Simmonds was able to do a fancy move to get the puck back, a big play was able to level Simmonds and get the puck back into Pittsburgh’s plan.  So far both of these rolls haven’t changed lines or moved time forward, so these are quick and big turnovers.  Looks like Philly is doing its best to get a goal on the board before the whistle blows, and Pittsburgh is letting them know it’s not going to happen.

We now zoom into a matchup between Oleksiak and Simmonds to compare skill.  Simmonds wins that attempt and so intercepts a pass from the defenseman.  1:00 left in the period.  Line change and probably last chance for a Philadelphia goal.


Pittsburgh’s defense is unable to stop Philadelphia from making a Play, so we roll on the Play chart (on the Full Strength Play chart….that hasn’t happened often!).

Manning(0) to Raffl(0) to Filppula(1).  Not a good shot, Murray(3) should easily block it.

5b 6w

Actually, Murray is able to swat it down and pass it past the blue line for a breakaway for Pittsburgh!

Maata(0) to Brassard(0) to Hagelin(0).  It’s sloppy, but it’s on  the side of the ice they want.


5b 4w

Mrazek absorbs the shot and dishes it back to Macdonald who sets for a new drive, but the whistle stops any chance for a good play as the first period ends.

Philadelphia 0

Pittsburgh 1

Does anyone else remember that Charmin commercial with the kids going to learn how to skate, and the little girl ends up tying a package of Charmin to her butt, so when she fell it wouldn’t hurt?  No one around here remembers it.  Maybe it only played in Rhode Island, where I grew up.  For some reason that always resonated with me as a child.  Mainly because I was terrified of ice skating and never learned how.

Thank you for reading this between period entertainment.  Now back to our program.

Start of the second period is full strength, standard face-off with Giroux and Crosby at center ice.  Giroux wins the FO and Philadelphia takes control as the clock starts ticking down from 20.


We all know what that means: PENALTY EVENT.

This one is on Kris Letang of the Penguins, for Holding. 2 minutes in the box and we have another Power Play for Philadelphia.

Yup.  Typical Penns/Flyers game.  I mean, no fights yet, which is weird, but they’re still trying to hurt each other.


Of course I was holding! Who wouldn’t?!

Crosby wins the face-off and dishes it to Kessel who dashes into the offensive zone, not really treating this like a penalty kill.  Provorov chases him down and skillfully swipes the puck from him, allowing Philly to reset, but a lot of time was taken from the PP for this little move (Zoom win for defense).

Line change and Couturier catches Maatta flat-footed (another Zoom effect) opening up a clear pass: Patrick(1) back to Couturier(2) to Simmonds(3) who shoots for the back corner!

1b 4w

Right in the top shelf!  GOOOOAAALLLLL!


So in period 1, we had a Pittsburgh goal in the first minute, period 2 a Philadelphia goal in the first 2 minutes.  I’m sure the crowd hates this…half of them weren’t back from the bathroom!

The third lines come out and we get 3 minutes of boring hockey as the Flyers calm down from their tying goal (losing their momentum marker).

Laughton wins the face off, and Filppula manages to get over the blue line before the bulk of players, setting himself in prime position for a play (his Triangle created this play): Cole(0) to Raffl(1/2) to Filppula(1).  Lack of Momentum (due to the Lull) means Raffl’s half star provides nothing, otherwise this shot would have stood a chance.  Now Philadelphia has to hope for a rebound.

3b 1w

PING! Off of the post.  Lack of squares on Pittsburgh’s line causes Laughton(1/2) to get a shot off! Now he’s shooting at a 1.  Need another rebound to get some real odds here.

6b 4w

Murray doesn’t allow it.  He snatches the puck in his glove hand, and dumps it back to Ruhwedel to get a new run started after a line change. 14 minutes left in the period.

Gostisbhere ALMOST gets the check in to stop the following play, but is just shy (if Philly showed TWO squares, there would be a turn over, but they are showing one and a half.)  Instead Pittsburgh’s fourth line get’s off a quick wrist shot: Letang(1) to Kuhnhackl(0) to Guentzel(1),

6b w1

Rather than risk a rebound, Mrazek merely smothers the puck and we get a faceoff in Philadelphia territory.

Philadelphia’s coach (which is me…..Pittsburgh’s coach is also me.  Weird, huh?) Decides to spend his “2x” chit.  No chits included in the game, but it’s a good idea to make something to help you remember.  During a game you can force a line to stay on the ice for two shifts.  Twice a game you can also skip a line.  These are the little coaching decisions you can make besides choosing your lineup.  I do this to get my better defensive line on the board against Pittsburgh’s 1st line.  Since it’s tied, it’s a good idea not to let them take the lead right away.

Back to the action, I roll a 12 on the face-off chart!  Crosby wins the face-off, but an “Unusual Result” happens.  This is starting to become quite the unusual game!  Another 9 means another Equipment problem. “Game halted after object thrown onto ice.”  Insert joke about Pittsburgh fans here.  This, however, burns a minute and forces a line change.  Guess I didn’t need that grand defense.  Ah well.

Patrick wins the puck and takes it into Pittsburgh’s zone, but then gets FLATTENED by Malkin.  No penalty (clean hit), but the crowd just eats it up.  (Pittsburgh gains momentum marker).

Malkin dances into Philadelphia’s zone and gets open for an easy shot: Oleksiak(0) to Sheahan(0) to Malkin(3).

4b 6w

The tip of Mrazek’s glove knocks it away as he dives across the goal mouth, and Brandon Manning is there to gather the rebound.  Philly dodged a bullet there (1 less on the black die would have been a goal)!

We zoom in on Gudas and Hagelin now, but Hagelin quickly speeds past Gudas and turns the puck over to Pittsburgh. We are now half way through the second period.

Lehtera had a great chance to steal the puck from Dumoulin but waffles it, and Dumoulin is able to start a play: Dumoulin(0) to Aston-Reese(0) to Kuhnhackl(0).

6b 6w

Lehtera picks up the rebound and tries to “clear” the puck to the neutral zone like it was penalty kill, but Maataa keeps it within the blue line.  However enough time was had that pressure pushed them over the line and Philadelphia was able to squeeze out possession of the puck.  Line change.   I’d argue some of this could have been summed up as a Lull, but that’s just me.

Pittsburgh’s coach uses his Skip ability to get his own best defenders on the ice for the first line.  He (me) wants to keep that momentum to get that second goal before these 9 remaining minutes are up.

And that coaching decision becomes the winning factor!  A play is created by the team with the most triangles, and Pittsburgh wins due to Letang’s triangle brought by that skip.  Ain’t I a stinker?  Crosby(2) to Kessel(2) to Hornqvist(2).

2b 2w

Off the post!  So dang close!  There’s a scramble in front and Crosby(1 1/2) get’s a stick on it and goes to flip it over Mrazek’s leg! So with Momentum and the rebound, that will count as a 3!

5b 6w

Mrazek swats it away past the tangle of bodies in front of him.  A Flyer back near the blue line grabs it and spins for a breakaway play!  Konecky(2) to Giroux (3) to Provorov(1 1/2).

3b 4w

Technically that’s a goal, but when a goal equals a seven, there’s a chance for a “Spectacular Save!”  Murray has 2 1/2 stars in Spectacular save.  Let’s see if that’s enough:

2 stars or better, goalie makes incredible save! Otherwise goal!

DENIED!  Provorov gets robbed as Murray’s skate manages to get it out of the goal mouth right before the puck crosses the red line.  The pile of rushing bodies then slams into the goal, dislodging it, causing a stoppage of play and a new face-off.


It’s okay buddy, tell me all about it.

Second lines come out and we start again.  Pittsburgh fans think they’re unbeatable right now and the roof is ready to come off of the Igloo (I know the arena is called something else now….it will ALWAYS be the Igloo).

Philadelphia wins the faceoff, but Dumoulin knocks Couturier off of his skates and wrests control (another win with the Hit statistic).  The lines change and Raffl is able to skillfully steal the puck away from Oleksiak in the neutral zone and then Laughton gets some revenge for the big hits Pittsburgh’s been dishing by laying waste to Sheary against the boards, finally taking a bit of steam away from the surging Pittsburgh team (stole the Momentum marker).  With a team member down, a play is made: Filppula(1/2) to Raffl(1) to Laughton(1/2).

3b 2w

Off of Murray’s pads, it bounces out to the top of the circle, where Filppula(1) is able to get the rebound!

3b 4w

And Murray smothers the puck to prevent any more rebounds.  Each team has had excellent opportunities to pull ahead in this game, but they just can’t get it into the net.  Still 6 minutes left in the period, though, so a lot can happen.

Like Guentzel winning the face-off and immediately starting a play!  Letang(1) to Kuhnhackl(0) to Guentzel(1):

3b 5w

Stick save, and the puck is brought behind the net to start a new drive.  Philly still has momentum.  We zoom in on Voracek and Dumolin as Voracek crosses the blue line.  They’re both fast, but Voracek is just a step ahead to get a play off. Giroux(3) to Voracek(3) to Konecky(2).

6b 3w

That 3 white keeps the puck out of the net!  And Murray is able to hand the puck off to a Penguin, starting them on offense.  5 minutes left in the period.  Pittsburgh is just able to set up a series of passes that just makes Philly look stupid (comparison of Smart qualities) and they set up their own Play: Oleksiak(0) to Rust(0) to Sheahan(0).

1b 6w

If only any of those guys had a star!  Instead Mrazek smothers the puck, and we get closer to ending the period.

Philly wins the face-off and Powers their way into Pittsburgh’s zone, setting up a play: Filppula(1/2) to Raffl(1/2) to Laughton(1/2).

1b 3w

Saved by Murray’s skill!  There’s a scramble in front and Laughton(1/2) gets his stick on it and fires it back towards the net.

3b 1w

Another skillful save, but Laughton(1/2) is again able to fight the puck back towards Murray.

4b 2w

Murray kicks it wide this time, allowing Raffl(1) a chance at a shot (this will be at +3)

3b 6w


Detroit Red Wings v Philadelphia Flyers

3 minutes left in the period, Flyers up, 2-1.

Pittsburgh doesn’t give up, though.  They come out of the face-off with an immediate play: Guentzel(0) to Kuhnhackl(0) to Anton-Reese(1).

3b 2w

Off of Mrazek’s pads, Kuhnhackl(0) picks up the rebound and shoots!

6b 3w

Mrazek takes it in the chest, then dumps it back to Lindblom, giving the Flyers a chance to catch their breath.  2 Minutes remaining.

Pittsburgh thinks about using another coaching chit to get better defense against Philly’s first line, but decides to hold it for the 3rd period.  Of course, a roll of 11 shows that two squares were needed, and even their best defense didn’t provide that, so dangerously another play begins.  Konecny(2) to Giroux(3) to Gostisbhere(1).

1b 6w

Another Spectacular Save? Let’s see!

Goalie twists around, reaches–GOT IT–AMAZING save!

Another denial by Murray.  Pittsburgh better be buying this man a drink after this game.  He deserves it!

Lines change for the last minute of play.  Pittsburgh against plays to their smarts and manages to get one more play off before the buzzer: Malkin(2) to Rust(0) to Sheahan(0).

1b 5w

A simple wrist shot, and seconds before the 2nd period ends we have a GOOAAALLL!!!


End 2nd period.  Philadelphia 2, Pittsburgh 2.

And that will end it for today.  We’ll look at the out of state scores, as well as the rest of the game tomorrow.

It must be tomorrow (or after)



If we shadows do offend


Greetings sports fans and welcome to-

Wow, that was a LOT of people clicking the ‘X’ button at once.  Okay, so the stereotype is that people who play boardgames are not the type to enjoy the sports-ball.  I get that.  But it’s not everyone, so I expect a few people to still be here.

Also, there are many a-game out there that are based on sports that are fun to play even if you don’t have any knowledge of the game.  Take Blood Bowl, for instance.  Orcs and Skeletons playing American football (kinda) while slinging spells and crushing each other.  FUN!  Or Time of Soccer, a tough management game where the actual playing of a match is a simple roll of the dice, yet hella fun.

But there are also games that are made for the sports fan, the kind of guy who likes to get their nose into the nitty gritty.  Or just people who like math.  Statistics is definitely a must for these folks because we are going to enter the world of Sports Simulation.


The sport I am going to focus on for the next few posts will be hockey, because that is my sport of choice.  However, if you can think of a sport, odds are there is a Sports Simulation game somewhere based on it.  Looking at Plaay.com, which is just one company I see: Hockey, Baseball, American Football, NASCAR, Football, Entertainment Wrestling, Bowling, Golf, Canadian Football, Lacrosse, and Roller Derby.  Phew.

So what, exactly, are Sports Simulations, and why are they a “thing,” that’s different than boardgames or are somehow different than what you would find at your Friendly Neighborhood Gaming Store?

The difference is usually in what their intent is.  Boardgames’ intent is to provide a balanced, playable contest between players (or between the players and the game mechanics) to provide a fun evening.  Sports Simulation’s intent is to provide a realistic result of a particular game/match/whatever.  The amount of detail and realism and the amount of fun and balance is different from game to game and company to company.

So, while a boardgame version of hockey might let you roll buckets of dice to check an opponent and have him go flying into the boards in epic fashion, it would also only play 16 turns of a game and result in 4 shots each of which the goalie only has a 1 in 6 chance in blocking.  Not exactly realistic, but it might be fun.

A Sports Sim can be as granular and realistic as tracking the puck every second of the game, rolling for each pass to see whether the pass is made or intercepted based on the accuracy statistics of each player in their past season’s games, with a single game taking 5 or 6 hours to actually play out or as quick as rolling a few dice to see what the final score was, who scored the goals and who sat in the penalty box to create the box score page in the paper the next day.  10 minutes, tops.

Most games fall somewhere in the middle, letting you watch some bits of the action in detail, while glossing over other bits.  Player input is from the coach’s point of view: Making the lines, when to hold back players on the line change, when to pull the goalie and not much else.  Might not sound like fun, but 2-player hockey games happen all over the country as coaches watch their teams win and lose, and they are able to trade players and do all that weird nerdy stuff that your office mates do with their fantasy football teams and yet they still think playing a boardgame is somehow weird.


Let’s look at how this works.  90% of the game is based on the individual player:


Well, if that just isn’t the greatest player ever! (ahem)  In Hockey Blast, all players have the following stats:

Shot – Assist – Traits (Speed, Skill, Smart, Power, Hit, Star) – Offensive Play Maker (Triangle) – Defensive Play Maker (Square) – Power Play Defender (Circle) – Power Play Offense (CircleStar) – FaceOff Percentage – Fight Rating – Injury Rating and Penalty Rating

First we see Wayne has 3 stars in his Shot Rating, which is derived from the average number of goals made by the team.  If you shoot around average, you get 1 star, if you shoot half again better, you get 2, if you shoot double that average, you get 3.  So you know that Wayne Simmonds gets double the average amount of goals the typical Philadelphia Flyer gets.

Same goes for Assists, so he’s average when it comes to that.  Which is weird considering he’s always right there with his butt in the goalie’s face, but all these numbers I pulled off of hockey-reference.com so who can argue?

The traits I must admit I have added randomly.  Each team gets a certain amount of traits based on their total points (not goals) by the end of the game.  You get more points, your team gets more traits.  So at the end of the 2017 season, Philly ended up with 47 traits which I randomly assigned to the top 13 players.  I simply don’t know enough about the entire NHL to know who is better suited for “Skill” than “Hit” or “Power.”  I figure if I do it randomly for each team, it’ll even itself out.

The Triangles and Squares are for “making plays” and are based on a bit more complicated math than I will type out here.  Usually each team gets 3.5 of each of them (a half will be an outline of a square or star or something, which only counts if your team “has momentum”), but if actual points don’t match what your traits say you should have, they get altered.  Yeah, it took me about 3 seasons before I figured it out.  Purchase the how-to guide from plaay.com if you want to see it (only $3).

Circles and CircleStars are based on the team’s ranking in Power Plays and Power Play Kills.  Philly is ranked in the middle for Power Play kills so gets the normal 2 Circles given to the best two defenders on the team, but they rank near the lowest on Power Plays, so get no CircleStars, meaning there will be many attempts that they will lose because no player has that ability.  Dang.

Face Off Percentage is easy to add to the card as that’s a statistic that’s grabbed right off the player’s stat page (though you want someone that’s done more than 100 or so face offs for it to count).

Fight number is based on Penalty Minutes.  You spend a lot of time in the box, you’re probably more likely to fight.  The higher the number, the more likely to drop the gloves.  It’s an inexact science.

Injury rating is based on how many total games played in the season.  Nothing fancy there.

Penalty rating is also based on Penalty Minutes.  Very similar to Fight Number.

And there we have it.  Our Players.

So, my goal was to replay last year’s playoffs.  I looked up the schedule and found the first games that were played on April 11th, 2018:

Los Angeles Kings at Las Vegas Knights

Minnesota Wild at Winnipeg Jets

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins

I was still in the process of making all of the player’s cards for last season, and it would seem that I already had Philly and Pittsburgh, so I guess that will be the first game I shall replay!  For those of you who are curious, the game ended in a ridiculous 0-7 sweep by Pittsburgh.  I hope this game will be a little bit more exciting.


Here’s my board.  It looks huge, but this is just one way to play.  What comes with the game is a little 8 1/2″ by 11″ rink with spots for one line at a time.  Every time a line change occurs, you deal one card from each pile to the bottom of the deck.  This adds some time to the game, so this way we have 4 offensive lines and 3 defensive lines all showing and we just put markers beside which line we’re using at any one time.  Saves time, though it’s a bit easier to mess up.  So our first lines are marked and we get out our little book that contains all the charts and things we’ll need for the entire game.


There’s only 15 pages in this bad boy, and you really only use 2 of them 80% of the time.  So here we go, the face off between Claude Giroux and Sidney Crosby to start Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs!


A roll on the Face-Off Chart scores an 8, and the Home Team wins the face off, letting Crosby cut the puck back to Kessel or Hornqvist.  Then a roll on the Normal Minutes chart comes up as a 5: “Penalty Event.”

Yup, definitely a Penns/Flyers game.  A Penalty in the first minute.  A few rolls later, it is determined that Giroux is cited for Interference.  Guess there was a bit of a late hit on Crosby there.

This gives Pittsburgh Momentum for the next two minutes.  This mechanic “simulates” the seeming swings that hockey tends to have when a team is “clicking.”  It also means Giroux is sitting in the box for a bit.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Philadelphia Flyers

Woops, my bad, guys.

This time Voracek takes the Face Off and wins against Crosby.  However, he burns very little time as a roll on the Power Minutes chart shows a Play made by the Man Advantage team.  A roll on that chart shows a pass from 03 to 02 to 01 for the shot.  That means its: Crosby to Kessel to Hornqvist for the shot.

Here’s how shooting works.  You add up the Assist stars of the first two players and the shot stars of the last player and add all of them together.  You want the black die to be less than this number to be a shot on goal.  So in this case we have 2 + 2 + 2 = 6.  So everything but a 6 is a successful shot on goal.  Yeesh.  Maybe 0-7 is a possibility.

The goalie, however, has stars in “Play,” in our case Mrazek has 2 1/2.  Flyers don’t have momentum, so he only has 2.  If the white die shows 2 or less, then the shot is blocked, no matter what.  Then you just roll both dice and see what happens.


And according to the Goal chart, that’s a one-timer.  So a pass over the blue line from Crosby to Kessel, who slides it over to Hornqvist who fires it straight into the net.


So in 1 minute of play, we’ve had a penalty and a goal.  Whoooo boy.

Back to normal minutes, let’s get to the second minute of play with the second lines.  A roll of 7 shows us Wayne Simmonds wins the Face Off, but it is immediately followed by a Lull.  What’s that, you ask?  It’s 3 minutes of play where not much happens.  Lines change, maybe a penalty happens, but it runs out.  Maybe some shots, but they didn’t have much of a chance.  Either way after three minutes we end up right back where we started, with Simmonds and Malkin facing off.

It’s a neat mechanic that prevents us from playing out every single second of every game. So we roll again, and this time roll a 12!  Another win by Simmonds, but an “Unusual Result” happens.  I think I’ve only seen this happen once, so let’s see what happens: 9 – Equipment problem – Brian Dumoulin apparently just faceplanted due to a rut in the ice that needs to be fixed.  Huh.  So let’s look at what has happened so far –

19:30 – Interference 2:00 Giroux

19:00 – Goal Hornqvist (Kessel/Crosby)

15:00 – Game halted for ice issue.

Five minutes of hockey with about 7 rolls of the dice.  Obviously, the closer the dice come to ‘7,’ the more typical your game is going to be, but sometimes strange things happen, as we’ve already seen.  So now after a brief rest, our third lines come out and we go to another Face-Off.

Brassard wins the face-off, but we get another Lull.  So we go again.  Brassard wins again!  But on the Normal Minutes chart, I roll a 7 which is…..Lull!  Another 3 minutes pass.  6 minutes since the game was halted for the ice issue and little has happened.  Most of the crowd are on their third pretzel.

Brassard kicks the puck back again.  We roll a possibility for an odd man rush!  Of course, with the third line, it’s unlikely, but let’s see.  We roll to check o3, which is Brassard (Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!).  If he has a Triangle, he creates a Play and Pittsburgh gets a shot off, otherwise the Flyers gain possession.  No Triangle here, so the Flyers take the puck from Brassard and go on Offense.

And roll 5, for a penalty event.  But it’s on defense this time!  Jamie Oleksiak, and we roll a major penalty (he has a penalty rating of 1.5), so let’s see what he did!  High Sticking + Injury.  It appears to be Travis Sanheim who was the recipient of the High Sticking, but he’s only out for the rest of the game.  Ian Cole is called in to take his place.  Oleksiak takes a 4 minute major.


Awww, rub some dirt in it.

8 minutes left in the period, and 4 of them will be a Philadelphia Power Play.  Could be the chance to tie things up.

But there’s 0 minutes left in my day, so that will have to wait.

You can find part 2 here.