Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Monday Night Gaming with the Starshield Gaming Society: A Summoner Wars Extravaganza!

This past Monday, I met with my usual gaming group--some of whom I have been gaming with for the past 28 years--for a board game respite from our usual RPG night.

I, of course, brought Summoner Wars. As you know, I have been spreading the gospel of this great game to whoever will play me.

This night's opponents were Iczer and Mage.

Iczer and I played a few warm up games of Magic, all of which--thanks to mana screw on my part--he won with a particularly nasty Landfall deck. But I digress...

As soon as the Magic cards hit their storage boxes, I broke out my Summoner Wars Premium board. I gave a brief introduction to all of the factions. Iczer chose the Tundra Orcs. I decided I wanted to try my hand at the Fallen Kingdom.

Iczer won the roll and chose me to be first mover. I had a good draw of plenty of troops and a good spread of Event cards, including Forced Summon and Legion of the Dead. I had a good feeling about this game.

(*Side note: Now, before I continue, let me say that thanks to darkbladecb on the BoardGameGeek forums, I now know that the Magic Locked ability of the Skeletal Archers does not place the cards on my Magic Pile but rather in my Discard Pile when I make the roll after destruction. However, I still hadn't realized this fact when we played this game, so when I make reference to placing the Skeletal Archers on my Magic Pile, I know now that was an incorrect play.)

Soon I had Dragos on the field thanks to the Forced Summon Event and was on my way to a solid press on Grognack.

Iczer had a hard time using Grognack's Walls of Ice Shards ability, but his troops performed admirably on the field of battle. After a few Freeze Events and timely Ice Walls, I felt the tide of the battle going against me. 

Things started to swing back my way when I managed to summon Elut-bal. He provided my troops with some much needed firepower. I wasn't drawing many Reapers, and needed some tougher troops as my Skeletal Archers were flying onto my Magic Pile(*), and Zombie Warriors were not infecting as they should. In fact, I think I only destroyed one of his units with a Zombie Warrior the entire game!

With Elut-bal on the field, I gave him something to worry about for sure. Then I made the calculated risk of using a second Forced Summon, severely weakening Ret-Talus, to bring out the fearsome Skhull. With it on the field and a still functioning, though weakened Elut-Bal, I felt very confident. 

Freeze was Iczer's best friend (go figure). I left my units frozen maybe too long, deciding to use the Magic Points needed to release them to summon. By the time I had enough resources to thaw my troops, he had managed to advance into my territory and Summon Krung, threatening my Summoner. I had too many threats to counter while still trying to take down Grognack. A terrible roll against his cornered Summoner was answered by his final attack on Ret-Talus, felling the necromantic lord. Once again, a first time conscript to the game beat me on his very first try. I would have to wait until later, however, for my re-match as he abdicated his seat to eat his sandwich and allow me to teach the game to our other friend, Mage. 

Mage liked the look of the Phoenix Elves, and I decided to play the Vanguards. He really liked the "direct damage" abilities of the pointed-eared ones. He won the roll, and I went first. I was determined to keep Sera back as long as I could, so I moved the Guardian Knights and Priests into a more spread formation where I felt they would be able to provide an even stronger defensive perimeter to allow me to send Stalwart Archers with Guardian Knight escorts on the hunt after Prince Elien. 

Soon, his archers had devastated my archers, and his Warriors were Blaze Stepping all over the place. Then he moved his Guardians into position to severely threaten my advancing troops. 

He took out my Stalwart Archers whenever possible, so I switched to the cheaper Guardian Knights to help build my forces. Finally, I was able to hold him off long enough to use a Summoning Surge Event to bring my Archangel into play. He had brought out Maelena the round before. I quickly walled her into the side of the battlefield and hemmed her in with summoned Guardian Knights, effectively taking her out of the action as my angel swooped to his destiny. 

A wounded and fluttering Archangel did manage to finally fly toward Prince Elien. I managed one attack on the Prince, but on his turn, Mage Greater Burned my already wounded angel, sending it back to its celestial home.

From there on, my Guardian Knights made a valiant stand. I moved Sera into position, and Mage and I jockeyed for position: he used Blaze Step to great advantage while I slowly brought Sera into a position to support my troops going toe-to-toe with Elien.

In a Wild West-style showdown, he maneuvered his Guardians into position and used Elien's Fire Blast to finish off Sera's protectors and then after a final, failed push toward the Prince, Sera fell to Elien's Fire Blast. Another defeat at the hands of a first-timer!

Iczer had finished his sandwich and wanted another game. He wanted to try his hand at the wall wreckers. I chose my favorite faction: A classic battle of dwarves vs. orcs.

We both came out swinging. He moved his Defenders into strong positions to stop my orcs from advancing too fast. I made good use of my Smashers when I could. I was frustrated at my Fighter's inability to fall into a Fury after my attacks, but I still was holding my own regardless.

Iczer Magic Drained me twice within 3 turns, hampering my summoning. I had managed to bring out Ice Walls even one on the grim edge to halt the advance of his Spearmen.

I had to kill several of his dwarves to bring the mighty Blagog to the battlefield. Iczer brought Thorkur into play. I immediately sent Blagog to combat the mighty Magic Barrier (using errata) of Thorkur. Let's see who would win this one. After a few blows, I placed Freeze on Thorkur, taking him out of the action momentarily. I wore his forces down, and he moved Oldin into position to try to take out some of my lesser pieces. He even brought in a wall on the edge in a desperate attempt to take advantage of Oldin's ability and prevent a flanking attack from me.

My turn came around, my first attack was with one of my Fighters. I slew his opponent and made the Fury roll. I moved in on Oldin made a successful attack! A hit, a most palpable hit! I eagerly rolled the next Fury check, holding my breath...Success! The Fighter swung again, and a HIT! Oldin was lay defeated on the battlefield.

My first and only win on the night, but what a ending. The best Summoner Wars moment so far, by far. I was literally cheering on every Fury roll.

The Starshield Gaming Society has found a new game to test its game-playing mettle. I foresee many, many more battles to come, and I for one, can not wait!


  1. From what I remember in that first game, you cornered Grognack and finished him off. So I didn't win either game against you that night. But my dwarves did manage to take down one of your summoning walls in that second game (a feat I am proud of)! I look forward to playing again!

  2. Really? I won? I must have blocked that out of my mind after getting trounced in the Magic games before hand...hmmmm.

    I do apologize for not mentioning the demolition. I mentioned you taking down my wall then during editing, it got removed. I had every intention of working it back in, then got involved in the rest of the narrative.

    You did, indeed, knock down that wall, and it is significant because that is the first wall that has been destroyed in the 10 games I have played.

  3. I still want to give this a try. Maybe before I re teach Agricola on Monday (since I really messed a few things up last week)

  4. I look forward to meeting you over the battlefield, good sir (notice I didn't say, sirrah :)). I think you will really enjoy it.

  5. If my memory serves me correct (and I am getting old), I had a wounded Grognack in the lower right corner of my end of the board with one space in front of him. On what would be my last turn, I wanted to summon a champion to the battlefield (the lone card in my hand), but was one mana short.

    Realizing I wouldn't have been able to place him in front of my summoner anyway because there was no summoning wall in the area, you closed in with your two nearby troops and did me in.

  6. Now that I think about it, I think I was really nervous about Krung and was thinking during the game, that if I didn't take down Grognack, Krung was going to spell my doom.

    However, I left out the part in my memory where I unfroze Dragos and moved him into position and brought Skhull in for the kill.

    Thanks for being gracious enough to jog an old man's memory (not that I am an old man, but apparently my memory is older than I am).