You don’t have to be playing an epic board game to have an epic board gaming moment, a moment when time seems to stand still, when all of the universe conspires together, when the stars align, producing a scenario that could not be repeated even if you tried. So that’s today’s question: what was your epic gaming moment?
@FarmerLenny speaks his mind:
I’ll admit it. What brings this question to mind is last Friday’s game of Ra.
I was playing a three-person game, and one of the players (that is, not me) had taken a pretty sizable lead that seemed all but impossible to overtake. In the final epoch, my highest bidding sun was a 7 (for those who don’t know Ra, the highest in our game was a 13; 7 being my highest did not bode well). My tableau was mostly Niles (10 of them!), but I couldn’t for the life of me win a flood tile in the last epoch.
Well, to speed things up, both of my competitors had used all their bidding power and were out of the epoch. It was just me, the draw bag, and my 7 sun. The Ra track was almost full: only one Ra tile would trigger the end of the game. The 13 sun was in the middle of the board. I still had no flood tile.
My dilemma should be obvious, but I’ll lay it out here: if I called an auction on an empty track and traded the 7 sun for the 13 sun, I could easily seal the highest sun category in the final scoring, but I was fairly certain I wouldn’t have enough points to win the victory. Then again, I could draw a tile, trying to reach a flood or another point-scoring tile, but the bag was primarily Ra tiles (the other rounds ended before the Ra track filled). If I drew a Ra tile, I not only lost my chance at more points; I lost the 13 that would seal highest suns.
I decided it was all or nothing. I reached into the bag and pulled out…a flood. The table erupted (or, at least what you can imagine a table of editors erupting to be). The tile was the difference between first and second place. Apparently we were a little rowdy because a coworker stopped to say, “What game are you playing? It certainly looks like you guys are having fun.” That, my friends, is why Ra is awesome.
You don’t necessarily have to play an epic game to have an epic moment, but the epic moments in those epic games are pretty excellently epic.
Take the last game of Twilight Imperium I played. Bryan was making a bid for victory, with a huge fleet and a large army controlling the central planet, Metacol Rex. The other five players launched their fleets in a desperate bid to stop him. One by one, each player sent every ship within range to attack; one by one, Bryan’s ships took hits but fended off the invaders. The final player that had any chance sent a large fleet, complete with War Suns, and took out every single one of Bryan’s ships – except 1. That last ship held, all invading fleets were destroyed, and Bryan was able to claim the point for controlling Metacol. It was a space battle worthy of Return of the Jedi.
Speaking of Metacol, we had another epic moment in the prequel game to Twilight Imperium, Rex. Bryan and I formed an alliance after about 5 turns to make a bid for victory. We had to control 4 strongholds at the end of the round. I had a stronghold but its shield was destroyed and in danger of the incoming Sol Bombardment Fleet; I also controlled the spaceport – another stronghold. Bryan had another stronghold solidly controlled. So I sent an army after the 4th stronghold, and Bryan sent his after the 5th. The vulnerable stronghold was ignored as the Bombardment Fleet would have destroyed it; and the spaceport was targeted by another player.
In Rex, combat works by essentially “bidding” from your current army since in a particular location. If you bid higher than the other player, you win the battle but sacrifice all the troops you bid. (There are also leaders and cards to adjust the totals). In the first combat, I bid all my troops but 1 and emerged victorious, taking over the 4th stronghold. Bryan tried to take his stronghold but just couldn’t make the numbers and was defeated by overwhelming force. His other Fortress was unthreatened. So, we had 2 fortresses secured, one under threat of bombardment, and one about to face a battle against outnumbering forces.
My opponent and I set our bids, chose our leaders. Neither of us had action cards to play. We revealed our numbers… and my opponent was winning by 1 point. Until I revealed the traitor card from my hand matching her chosen leader, meaning that her leader betrayed her and she lost the battle. Immediately after, I played a card to set the bombardment fleet movement to 0. If we hadn’t pulled out the victory, we would have had very limited troops in deployment and a very weak position on the board, but instead we just squeaked out a victory!