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Risk Legacy, Part Three: Things get bloody

This post explicitly talks about some late-game aspects of Risk Legacy that some people may wish to keep unspoiled. They are: “after all nine minor cities have been founded”, and in The Aftermath “a player signs the board twice” and “a player has been eliminated.”

Risk Legacy was getting serious. We opened our first packet last game, meaning the rules had begun to evolve.

The game then had to take a break, as Justin’s back decided to rebel and cause him some pretty serious pain. We skipped the last session, but when asked if he could come to this one he replied, “Oh sweet cheeks of buddha, I will have to prop my self up to save this suffering cabal.”

After an initial victory I had been shut out of my capital city Shady Conley in Western Australia and had floundered the next two games. Alex had snatched victory from under Justin’s nose and then Matt had conquered half the world in a surprising blitzkrieg in game three. Would the trend of previously-winless players claiming victory continue?

But first, some beer.

Spoiler alert for this game, if you look closely.

Spoiler alert for this game, if you look closely.

The beer

Dan: Doctor Mark’s Bourbon Barrel Elixir (Niagara Association of Homebrewers)

After two nights I had still neglected to pour my “beer I’d go to war for”, so we started the night with… a BARLEYWINE!

This beer has quite a history. The product of a NAH group brew in 2001, I’ve long considered it to be the best beer I’ve ever had. I wasn’t involved in its production: I was in high school at the time, actually. Seven homebrewers made a barleywine, aging it for 18 months. They then came together and combined their batches into a bourbon barrel, along with a bottle of bourbon for good measure. There it sat for another 18 months before being bottled. Periodically, members will break out a bottle or two for a special occasion. I was given a bottle in 2010 and I’ve held on to it, unsure of when the perfect time to open it would be. I decided that celebrating great beer with good friends and a fun game was the best time.

The name comes from Mark Sobotka, a member of NAH who unfortunately passed away the day they filled the cask. They decided to honor him in the name of the beer, which was appropriate as he loved barleywines and would yell “BARLEYWINE!” in a hearty voice while drinking them. The club always honors him by imitating it while they drink the beer, and so Keith (who gave me my bottle) asked that we do the same.

We did. Oh, we did. Behold: the greatest Vine ever created.

Dan: Raison D’Etre (Dogfish Head)

Europe is pretty boned right now.

Europe is pretty boned right now.

The first theme over, we now moved on to “A beer that took you by surprise” (after Matt’s sudden dash to victory in game 3). I chose Raison D’Etre: when Ethan and I had just met he invited me to write for Beer-O-Vision, his beer blog. One of the, if not the, first posts I made there was a review of this beer, which I bought for the pun. I was surprised and delighted at the depth of flavor it had, and so I’d consider it one of the first “real” craft beers I had that opened my eyes.

This time, though, I was honestly a little disappointed. We think it may be because it followed the incredibly rich barleywine, but it seemed thin. Julia commented on the citrus, which abounded, and Matt said it was drier than he remembered. It wasn’t a bad beer by any stretch, and I’ll have to try it again when it wasn’t preceded by such an overpowering sample.

Julia: Solitude (Brewery Vivant)

Julia brought us a beer from Grand Rapids, which has become something of a second home to her. She couldn’t find Gnarleywine (which took her by surprise when she didn’t know what a barleywine was and set about drinking a growler of it by herself), so instead she went with a brewery she just discovered. Vivant is trying to marry the hipster Grand Rapids scene with the Belgian brewing tradition. Solitude, an abbey ale, is tangy. Caraway, Julia asks?

Justin has a theory: the best abbey-style beers (your dubbels, your tripels, etc) are made by celibates. This led to some… interesting conversation that night.

Alex: ASLIP (homebrew)

Alex brought a milk stout that he had made in collaboration with fellow homebrewer Dan Baish. It surprised him not only with how well it turned out, but when it took the gold medal in the Stout category at the Amber Waves of Grain homebrew competition. ASLIP is an acronym: the actual name is an anagram of the brewers’ names, but is so filthy it’s best left whispered in hushed tones in the night.

“Roasty!” my notes say, but with the sweet finish that you want from the style. The goal, he said, was for it to taste like sweetened espresso. This style is Justin’s secret love, which is no longer secret as I’m posting about it on the internet. He pretends he doesn’t know it on the street but when night comes…

Matt gets a molé characteristic. Yeah! Not spicy, but dark chocolate and maybe some cinnamon.

Matt: Sour in the Rye (The Bruery)

Oh my, The Bruery. It’s super acidic, but in a wonderful way. “Delicious,” my notes say. Julia got funky cheese from it.

A fortification I added as the result of an event

A fortification I added as the result of an event

Honestly, I think I was too enamored with the beer (and the game) to comment too much on it. It was a damn, damn good beer.

Game 1 (4/15)

This was our first game using the new game start rules: rather than each rolling a d6 and the winner choosing their faction and starting location, going clockwise we could choose from one of: faction, starting location, turn order, number of starting troops and starting coins. This means I might get screwed on choosing my beloved Australia, but I could start with enough gold to buy reinforcements quickly.

I think everyone was pleased with the results. I grabbed the “first placement” like it was the ark of the covenant, which wound up costing me in starting troops: I only had 6, while others had 8 or 10. Others had fewer choices to start in but more starting troops, or a better pick of their army.

Starting positions are beginning to solidify: I returned to Australia, while Alex once again hailed from La Ciudad de Fuego (Argentina). Matt set up shop in his new capital city, Creepytown (Kamchatka), while Julia went to her capital-less but still favored continent of Africa. Justin decided to try something different and placed his HQ in Koskilde (Scandinavia).

This game was what I was thinking of when I had the idea to play Risk Legacy. The first three games had been pretty quick: two or three turns each, snatch and grab HQs for the victory. This game had it all: Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…

Starting in Australia is like getting a BA in History: once you accomplish your goal you sit back and say “Well… now what?” I wanted to stay far away from a land war in Asia, so I headed west and decided I’d figure out a plan when I got there.

Meanwhile, Alex solidified his position as the player involved in bloodbaths: after a successful but costly campaign to take Creepytown from Alaska he turned his attention to Julia in Africa. Her HQ yielded easily but he got greedy and tried to eliminate her, which ended in blood and tears.

I saw this and decided to stay clear of Africa. That left one way to go: against Justin in Europe. Southern Europe, or “Soyo” as Alex described it, had been given a biohazard scar. Each turn one troop is removed from it, meaning that it was barren. I looked at my cards: I could cash them in for troops and possibly eliminate him, stealing his cards as my own. He’d return the next turn in an empty spot, remember, but weaker: and with his bounty I’d be practically unstoppable.

The blood feud I have with Justin was essentially carved into stone when my troops crossed the Caucasus mountains. I tried to explain that it wasn’t him and that I’d have gone after anyone in his situation, but I can’t fault him for any seething rage in his heart he feels for me.

Pour one out for Shady Conley

Pour one out for Shady Conley

In the end, I was a day late and a dollar short. With only one country left, my troops were stymied. It was then that the sleeping giant awoke. Matt, who had once again been pushed out of his HQ, had been biding his time. He swept in and eliminated Justin, claiming Justin’s cards as his own. Thus strengthened, he headed into war-torn Africa: Alex and Julia had been clashing so long that a third party had no trouble in taking Julia’s Central Africa HQ, eliminating her in the process. His eyes aflame with revenge, he marched into South America and captured La Ciudad de Fuego.

The game ended when he set his sights on my worst nightmare: Shady Conley. Weakened from my European expedition, I was powerless to stop him. To my horror, his Die Mechaniker troops swept my Enclave of the Bear, and the game ended with Shady Conley in enemy hands.

The Aftermath

Matt already had a capital city, so rather than claim a second he decided to name a continent. From now on, Africa will be known as ASLIP. Yes, it means we’ll be talking about Alex and Dan Baish’s mysterious foul-named milk stout for the rest of the time. No, I won’t tell you what it stands for.

Alex, Justin and I were able to add one coin to a country card of our choice. In addition to potentially giving the country holder’s more money for troops, a new mechanic added with the nine-minor-cities-founded packet was event cards: if a card worth an even number of coins is flipped over, an event occurs. This game there were a few events: one gave a few small troop boosts to Alex, and another allowed me to put a fortification (temporary +1 to defensive rolls) on a city (see NikeTown, above).



The real meat of the aftermath came in the form of not one but two new packets.

Sign the board twice: Matt has now won two games, and that’s a packet. This one added the concept of homelands: now, for the purposes of claiming a country card, you’re considered to be occupying whichever continent your troops (not you yourself) has started in the most. For example, the Enclave of the Bear’s homeland is currently Australia.

A player is eliminated: I initially thought this packet would be opened when Justin was knocked out, but as he was able to come back the next turn he was not actually eliminated. Julia was no so lucky: she was knocked out on the last turn, so her troops never re-entered.

There are now elimination powers: when your army is knocked out (not eliminated, so even if you come back) for the first time you can choose a new ability for them. If they already have a blue elimination power (which joins the green initial power we chose in game 1/15), even if you didn’t choose it, you don’t get to choose a new one. This power lasts forever, even in future games, so the next army to be eliminated will be quite powerful in its next game.

There’s also a new type of scar: the Mercenary. It’s the opposite of the biohazard scar, as each turn you’re on a mercenary-scarred country that country gains one troop.

Things are really getting interesting. This game took so long that we didn’t get a chance to play another, but I’m champing at the bit to get back to it in two weeks.