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”, “a player signs the board twice”, “a player has been eliminated”, “three missiles are fired on the same turn”, “Do Not Open. Ever.”
The Monday before Risk night, Justin sent me a message on Google Talk. I rushed to Facebook, where the news was confirmed. Julia was moving out of town at the end of the month. Thanks to the 17th’s Flaming Lips concert at ArtPark, this meant this would be her last time at the table.
We had been largely ignoring the “Do not open. Ever.” packet that was taped to the underside of the tray insert. It’s easy to forget it exists, as it’s out of the way enough that if I hadn’t known it was there and looked for it we’d have never come across it.
We were over halfway done with the game, though. This would be the last opportunity for Julia to see what was inside (short of reading my blog posts, which I have the sneaking suspicion she does not do, meaning it’s okay for her to move as she’s dead to me). It would also give us time to play a significant number of games with the (probably) game-changing contents inside. We voted: it passed. The packet would be opened.
But first: the beer.
As we were meeting on July 3 we settled on “a beer for the 4th” as a theme. That was both sufficiently vague and timely, allowing for a broad spectrum of interpretations. Alex made it a running joke to include a reference to linalool in his reaction to each beer, having done some reading about it for a recent blog post of his (which you really should read!).
Justin brought a beer that wasn’t for the fourth: he just wanted unbiased reactions, so he brought it in an opaque cooler and poured it in the kitchen, away from prying eyes.
It was spicy, with a little wine oxidation in the nose. It smelled good but tasted a little too thin for me.
Alex said it was closest to Newcastle. We debated about the style: a brown ale? Maybe something Belgian? It was a deep copper color.
The reveal: St-Ambroise Pale Ale (McAuslan Brewing). He picked it up because it got a 99/100 rating from the Alstrom brothers on BeerAdvocate. He didn’t think it lived up to that and wanted to see if we agreed. Fairly regrettably, I have to say we sided with Justin.
Dan: Hop Sun (Southern Tier)
I figured this would be a perfect beer for the fourth of July. Light, flavorful, and just coincidentally the target of a Consumer’s promotion. Buy two six packs and get two Hop Sun glasses? Why, that’s one six pack for Risk, one for the fourth and two glasses for me!
Justin said he didn’t mind the beer. He wasn’t the biggest fan but neither did he hate it. He’s been on a search for new summer beers because his usual favorites — dubbels — are not exactly well suited to the heat we’ve been experiencing.
It says it’s made with one hop, meaning we played “guess the hop” for a while while drinking it. Cascade? No, too lemony. One of the noble hops? Guessing games are fun.
Justin: Milk Stout (Left Hand)
In his own words:
In the continuing spirit of American history it reminds me of the whiskey rebellion, when the people rose up against the nascent government of the country. There is a cow on the front of the bottle, and agrarians remind me of cows.
“Haven’t we already had this?” I asked as I filled my glass. I wasn’t complaining: it’s an excellent, excellent beer and I’ll drink it any time. It turned out that no, it only reminded me of a homebrewed milk stout Alex brought that had been brewed to mimic Left Hand’s.
Justin said in part three that this was his secret love. I can see why, although I’m more inclined to go Manic Pixie Dream Girl on it and shout it in public to anyone who will hear. It’s sweet but not overly so, and just damn delicious. I think I was too busy enjoying the beer to take notes.
Matt: Arrogant Bastard (Stone)
“If you have to tell someone what an American craft beer is,” Matt said, “I would say this.” It really does seem like the quintessential craft beer, and it was one of the first ones we had all tried: it’s about as far as you can get from the light American lager style, with a name that’s quirky and eye catching.
To wit: it was Justin’s first craft beer because of the name. He nonchalantly told us he used to be way into Stone, causing a record scratch moment for the rest of us. Justin “Nothing hoppier than a pale ale” Frost? It’s true, he told us: he used to be a hophead just like everyone else, but then grew tired of IPAs and fell in love with Belgians. He’s been enjoying our recent forays with Stone because it reminds him what he used to love about them.
The first time I remember hearing of Arrogant Bastard was an animated gif about how great it was (which seems… silly… now). Julia’s boyfriend said he liked it when they started dating, which was how she knew he was legit (shibboleth callback!)
Julia: New World Tripel (Sam Adams)
When we said the theme would be patriotic/4th related Julia immediately said she had a beer in mind. “New World!” she said, when I didn’t get it. “America!” I miss really obvious things sometimes.
I liked the beer, and I was glad I did. I’ve talked in the past about how bias plays a part in taste even when you don’t want it to, and I understand I have an anti-Sam Adams bias. It’s probably the “they’re too big” philosophy that I don’t even agree with: it’s just a conditioning I need to work on. I probably wouldn’t have picked this up in a store but now I’ll definitely consider it.
Matt pointed out that there was a huge banana flavor that might not fit the style. Belgian yeasts are known for esters, but this has Esters with a capital e. We didn’t care! Styles are good, but if they limit what you’re allowed to enjoy then they’re just getting in the way.
Alex: Last of the Oaxacans (homebrew, PJ Dunn)
This was a beer made by local homebrewer PJ Dunn. It was inspired by the description of Cigar City’s Hunahpu’s imperial stout, even though he’s never had it himself. It’s made with cinnamon, cocoa, vanilla and chili peppers. Alex admitted he wasn’t very patriotic, so he brought a Mexican beer.
It had quite a lot of alcohol in the nose, which makes sense giving its 10.5% abv. The cocoa and cinnamon contrasted extremely well with the spiciness of the peppers. Pepper beers are very hard to do properly: I like spicy food but I don’t want my drink to burn my mouth.
Matt said he got marshmallow from the beer, to which Julia agreed and added sweet vanilla. She said it was like a high end chocolate made with cayenne.
Justin said he just wanted to keep smelling it. We lost our damn minds over this beer. It was by far my beer of the night, and I savored every drop I had.
The Game (9/15)
The players, their factions and starting locations:
- Dan: Khan Industries, East Haverbrook (Western United States)
- Julia: Mutants, East Africa
- Alex: Die Mechaniker, Yakutsk
- Matt: Imperial Balkania, Peru
- Justin: Saharan Republic, Indonesia
It was here that we opened the packet. The packet.
“Was the ‘Do Not Open. Ever.’ sign too subtle?” it asked us. We had destabilized the orbit of the planet. The packet contained new event cards that we shuffled into the event deck without looking at: better to be surprised by what we had wrought, we figured. Whatever it was, it didn’t sound good.
Justin informed us as we set up that he was the current “Geek of the Week” on BoardGameGeek. Well, I knew that already because hanging out on BGG is kinda my jam. He was given due applause and praise for his accomplishment.
Then: we began.
It started fairly predictably. Julia spread out through Africa, followed by Alex entering North America. I was much displeased at the prospect of another two front war at the start of the game. Justin conquered Australia, and then I expanded to meet Alex in Wenchport (Alberta). I told Matt, as I always tell the denizen of South America, that I wanted no trouble from him.
He expanded to control South America and then attacked Julia in Burg (North Africa). She was defeated, and he stopped.
This triggered an event: “Control the people,” sadly not one of the new ones, which gave the player with the largest population (1 for each country plus 1 for each minor city and 2 for major) an extra five troops in a city. Predictably this was Justin, reaffirming Julia’s categorization of events as “little love notes for Justin.” NikeTown (Southeast Asia) received five troops, and we moved on.
Julia retaliated, taking back Burg. She expanded into Southern Europe, which for anyone else would have been ill advised: it has a biohazard scar, meaning you lose one troop at the end of your turn. Instead, her Mutants would gain one troop.
Alex came at me (bro) in Wenchport, but after suffering some losses he called it quits even though he still had troops.
Justin expanded throughout southern Asia, creeping towards Alex’s HQ. I attacked Alex in Alaska and took him out of North America: I may have made a run at his HQ but with Justin lurking nearby I knew I’d leave myself wide open.
Another event! Again “Control the People,” which again went to Justin, this time in Conley’s Shame (Mongolia).
Matt reinforced his troops in South America, which made me a little nervous. Julia slowly crept into more of southern Europe. Alex reinforced his troops in Creepytown (Kamchatka), which was followed by Justin attacking his HQ in Yakutsk. Victorious, Justin attacked Creepytown.
Thanks to some terrible dice rolls, Alex was knocked out of the game. “Fuck you, fates!” he said upon his defeat. He would be able to reenter the game, but from our experience this is really a nominal position.
Justin and I agreed that we had no quarrel. I knew what was to come, and yet I still used my troops to take over North America.
Matt looked at the map. “I think I’m going to attack you,” he said. “No, don’t!” I replied. My delivery was evidently hilarious, spawning enough mockery that it became a vine.
Words hurt, guys.
Not quite as much as the stinging defeat Matt’s troops handed me as they steamrolled me out of Mexico and my HQ in East Haverbrook. Things were not going so well for ol’ Dan.
Julia attacked Brazil from Burg. In the ensuing battle Matt used one of his missiles, and when the dust settled each side had lost a good share of troops, but Brazil stood firm.
Justin, by this point, was getting a huge number of troops each turn. He expanded through most of Asia and then attacked Julia in Egypt to get a card.
This triggered an event: “Riots.” Each major city rolled a d6, and if the result plus number of troops there isn’t six or greater they lose the number of troops that they rolled and a HQ, if there is one. Justin saved Creepytown but lost troops in Shady Conley; Matt cleared East Haverbrook but lost troops in La Ciudad de Fuego.
I used my turn to exchange my four cards for a red star. I figured that it wouldn’t help me win but it would mean that, if defeated, nobody would get my cards. I attacked East Haverbrook, intent on retaking my capital. I lost two troops and was forced to stop. Sensing blood, Matt attacked me in Eastern United States. I used what I called a “spite missile,” which didn’t make much strategic sense but did make Matt lose a troop, ending his attack.
Julia retook Egypt before once again attacked Brazil, successfully this time. She continued on to Peru, unsuccessfully.
This triggered an event: it was an “unstable orbit” card from the “Do Not Open. Ever.” packet. Unlike other events, these stay on the board unless replaced by another unstable orbit event. This one, “Endless Storms,” changed the rules so an attacker could send a maximum of two troops (roll two dice) when attacking over sea lines.
Justin reentered Shady Conley and called it a turn. I once again attacked Matt in East Haverbrook and reclaimed my HQ. Matt cashed in his cards for troops and ignored me, instead taking Julia out of Brazil.
An event! “Fortify,” a love note to Justin which gave him two troops in two cities. He chose Tenacity and Tootsville.
Julia announced that this was her last game so she was attacking Justin. She took him out of Tootsville and took the last one coin card. This gave one red star to the player with the highest popul- oh whatever you all know it was Justin.
There was also an event: “Resistance,” with each minor city with one or two troops losing one. Justin lost one in Conley’s Shame and NikeTown (taking him out of it) and I lost one in Wenchport.
Alex made a run to the west, taking Tenacity before being stopped in Tootsville.
Justin cashed in four cards for a red star. His fourth red star. Justin won, yet again. He has now joined Matt in the ranks of those with a natural hat trick.
As his reward, he named Australia “Conley’s Tears.”
Next time, Justin.