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”.
Yet again fate conspired against us, and Risk had to skip a night. It had been a month since we opened the Packet of Doom, unleashing its contents on an unsuspecting populace. (I’m trying to be vague in case people didn’t heed the spoiler warning, but really: big deals abound!)
We tossed around a few ideas for a theme, most of them centering around bringing a beer for someone. We decided to codify that, and everyone was given a random person to buy beer “for.” It could be a beer that the other person would like or a beer that reminded you of the person, as long as it was for them. Because we’re not monsters everyone would drink each beer, of course.
Justin for Dan: All Day IPA (Founders)
“It’s enjoyable and drinkable,” Justin said, “huggable and soft. The epitome of a delightful hanging out beer,” which is what he thinks of when he thinks of me. He shouldn’t have!
I liked it a lot: it was very hoppy but with a low abv (4.7%), so it was drinkable and nearly “sessionable” while giving me the hop characteristic I look for in an IPA. Alex pointed out that he’s heard the opinion that “session IPA” beers are actually just pale ales under a different name. I think I agree, but my anti-trend inclinations aside I don’t think I care. Last time’s blind tasting stripped away expectations of genre, and doing that here still leaves an excellent beer.
Julia said she love this beer. Grand Rapids has become something of a second home for her, and she has plenty of experiences ending a good run with All Day IPA.
Matt for Alex: Levitation (Stone)
Matt said that he and Alex had been discussing “session IPAs”, making this a spontaneous theme in itself. Levitation isn’t exactly a session IPA, instead self-identifying as a red ale, but Matt was going more for the evocation of a session IPA rather than one itself.
Alex wasn’t loving it, though obviously not in an ungrateful way. It reminded him more of an English style: bready and biscuity with light caramel. I appreciated that it wasn’t a hop bomb in the classic Stone style: it was still bitter, of course, but not in the same way that Ruination is.
This more balanced bitterness really appealed to Justin, who found himself surprised to be enjoying the beer quite a lot. Famously not a hop man, he said he could see himself picking up a six pack and leaving it in the fridge for when he was in the mood for something of its ilk.
Julia for Justin: Lion Stout (Ceylon)
Knowing his general distaste for all things bitter, Julia went heavy on the malt: an export stout from Sri Lanka. She said Ceylon started in 1881 as brewery for plantation owners, and “when I think of colonialism I think of Justin.”
“He also looks kind of like a lion,” she added, to which he replied, “Fierce.”
This was a really great beer: it had the motor-oil-no-wait-I-mean-in-a-good-way of excellent imperial/export stouts, with plenty of alcohol but fairly well hidden. Matt said the booze really caught him in the nose, while Justin said it’s the sort of beer he would drink very quickly on a winter day and not notice the 8.8% abv until he stood up. Julia called it “a rollicking wave of milkshake and cinnamon.”
Alex brought more of his excellent puns to the table, saying he would have more “if it doesn’t hurt his pride.” The puns may be my favorite part of Risk nights. He said the beer had “nerve,” and I tried to counter by saying “The lion has teeth!” but it didn’t play as well.
Dan for Julia: Plum Noir (Southern Tier)
When I drew Julia’s name for myself I knew I wanted something wine-y (not whiny!), but was limited to what the Amherst St Wegmans had in stock because I’ve been biking to and from work. Plum Noir looked dark and complex, so I was intrigued enough to pick up a bottle.
Matt immediately noted that the order is important when we taste beer, and while we thought it would be better to go with Lion first it would probably wind up overshadowing the Plum Noir. None of us could really pick out the plum characteristic, which could have been from the Lion’s lingering or, as Justin said, because it’s hard to get the full flavor of plums in a cooked product.
Matt continued, saying that the Lion seemed to have more dark fruit flavors than this, which actually has dark fruit in it. I thought it tasted more of dark chocolate than anything else, and honestly was a little underwhelmed. My final sip, after it had warmed considerably, was much better, but I agreed with Alex’s sentiment that this was not a bad beer but was not their best.
Julia said she would love to try it with cheese or other food. That sounded like an excellent idea, but unfortunately all I had to offer was Wegmans sharp cheddar and so we instead moved on.
Alex for Matt: Backburner (Southern Tier)
Ever the punsmith, Alex said he chose this beer for Matt because if you drink enough you’ll end up in a big ditch.
Alex took a sip and said, nearly involuntarily, “Ohh god.” What an excellent beer! I much prefer British barleywines to American because I
am a traitor like complex malts more than hop expression from a barleywine, and this reminds me of that exactly. Until now my favorite barleywine had been Flying Dog’s Horn Dog, but that just got unseated. The Lion was very, very good but I believe I’m declaring this my favorite of the night.
Game 1 (8/15)
We had been settling in to our routines. We knew generally what we would do and how we would react to others.
Then the mutants came.
Alex had first pick and predictably went with the Mutants. Julia, when she chose a faction, went with Imperial Balkania, the Bringer of Nuclear Fire, meaning Alex could reroll all 1s while attacking her. She headed into Eastern Australia, meaning I chose my East Haverbrook (Western United States) headquarters in North America. Alex predictably started in the Urals so that he could capitalize on the fallout scarred Siberia, leaving Justin to take residence in Peru. Eschewing Africa, Matt took his major city Creepytown (Kamchatka).
Justin began by expanding into South America. He went first and I last, so I told him that I had no beef with him and that I hoped we could be friends. Alex, in true mutant fashion, made a beeline for the Bringer of Nuclear Fire. Julia expanded into Australia, preparing for the coming war, and then Matt taught me a lesson.
He was in the northeasternmost part of Asia. He could have gone south, towards a battle already in progress; he could have gone west, through a country that would take half the troops entering thanks to radiation poisoning; or he could invade North America before I had a chance to react.
You see, until now I thought of “turn order” as meaningless: once we’ve all gone once, what’s the point? Ah, dear reader, did you catch it? After we’ve all gone once it doesn’t mean much, it’s true, but that first turn… that first turn can change the tides of fate.
What I’m saying is that I got my ass kicked this game.
With Matt knock knock knocking on Wenchport’s door I needed to rush to face him. I couldn’t ignore the south, however, because while I knew Justin had no plans to attack me I also knew that we were one and the same and that if presented with the soft underbelly of an enemy HQ I wouldn’t be able to resist. I had to expand, even if only a little, to the south to dissuade a two front war.
Justin thankfully ignored me and went through Africa into Europe, heading to his major city of Dalekville (Great Britain).
On Alex’s turn Julia looked at him and asked, “Shall we dance?” Dance indeed: the mutants conquered Indonesia and then Shady Conley (Western Australia). Julia, fearing the game was nearly over for her already, retook Indonesia via New Guinea, and then managed to wrest Shady Conley (and control of the continent) back as well thanks to Alex’s trademark terrible rolls. Not sated, the Bringer of Nuclear Fire attacked NikeTown (Southeast Asia) and took control of it as well.
An event! All minor cities with one or two troops lose one. Julia lost one in NikeTown, Justin Burg (North Africa).
My Matt battle, which I deemed my Mattle in the notes, began. I had high hopes: Wenchport had served me well time and again, holding out against armies from both Justin and Alex. This time? They fell, with barely any resistance at all. I chalked it up to the Wenchportians disliking facial hair: Justin and Alex have better beards than I do, so I was their favorite; Matt, being clean shaven, was more to their liking and so I was forsaken.
Another event! If no human faction has a continent bonus, the mutants get a red star. Justin, thankfully, controlled South America.
On my turn I reinforced East Haverbrook, nothing more.
Justin expanded yet again, still slowly, saying he was trying the pacifist route this game.
Alex, continuing the trend, consolidated his troops in iPadlandia (China) and the Urals.
Julia continued her offensive: she and Alex traded 2x troop losses twice before she was stopped via both India and NikeTown. She had spread herself pretty thinly, and the losses were unfortunate.
Matt then attempted to finish what he had started. The rolls went both ways, and missiles flew back and forth. Had the mutant packet not been opened last game it would have now. Eventually, out of missiles and with luck not on my side, I lost my HQ. All that remained was Mexico.
I cashed in my cards: if I’m going to go out I was damned if I would give anyone a reward from it. This also kept Justin off my back, as it removed his only incentive to attack me. Mexico attempted to retake East Haverbrook in a battle with some remarkably bad rolls, including one where all four dice rolled a 1. With one troop left, the valiant Mexicans were stopped. It was not my finest hour.
Justin, as always, slowly expanded. Julia and Alex had paired off to dance just as Matt and I had, so he was enjoying the solitude by taking a stroll through the map. Everyone could see that soon he would control enough of it to crush any resistance, but we were all so busy that no one cared to stop him.
Meanwhile, Alex continued his blood feud with Julia. “May the dice be with me,” he intoned as he rolled them. The dice were in fact with him: she was taken out of NikeTown, and after a bit of effort Indonesia followed. Shady Conley was next, but after triple ones he was forced to missile in order to take it. Julia reinforced and ended her turn.
On Matt’s turn he finally ended it: I was out. I would be back after his turn, but really only in a nominal capacity. But first: an event! Roll a d6 for each territory connected to the fallout territory, and it loses that many troops. There was only one territory with troops adjacent: the Urals, Alex’s HQ, with only one troop.
On my turn I reentered in Eastern United States and took a run at my HQ. I took it back and then stopped.
Justin, by this point, was getting what can only be described as a “metric assload” of troops: 11 per turn. He finally attacked, entering Mexico by way of Matt. It took some time but he was victorious, after which he conquered both the Eastern and Western United States, kicking me out of the game. Again.
Alex and Julia did the only thing they knew how: attacked each other, each erasing the progress of their enemy.
Matt cashed in his cards and got seven troops, which he used to attack Alex in NikeTown. After his first victory he stopped. He took the final gold coin, meaning the person with the most territories (Justin) got a red star, and with it a missile power. He chose the ability to spend a missile to deny a player a continent bonus, which will now forever be affixed to the Saharan Republic.
I reentered the game in Japan, making it clear I just wanted to be left alone to wallow in obscurity.
Justin controlled the world. With his troops he marched on Alex, and with his HQ, my HQ and the red star he just acquired, taking Alex’s gave him the victory.
He decided to name a continent, giving him and only him a +1 bonus if he controls it. Henceforth South America will be known as Odessa, named after the German program which sent Nazis to South America under assumed names.
One packet remains, along with the Packet Which Shall Not Be Opened, of course. Will we get to them? Will we need to?