First up was Defenders of the Realm:
The land, with it's capital "Monarch City" is labeled with landmarks that sound very Tolkienish or straight out of TSR
There are four evil armies invading and are overrunning the good folk of this land. The black troops are the Undead, the red the Demons, the blue the evil Dragon troops and the green are the Orcs. Each of these armies are headed by a General. To lose the game, if one of these generals or 5 of their minion troops enter Monarch City, the war against evil is lost. If there are no more evil crystals (I'll explain shortly) or no more of a coloured minion to place on the board, the game is also a loss.
The evil minions spread like cockroaches through "Darkness Spreads cards" and is reminiscent of the game Pandemic.. If there are too many of them in one location, they automatically spread into adjoining locations.
The white crystals represent the taint of evil. You put one of 12 taint of evil crystals in overflowing locations and, along with the minions, you have to get rid of them as well.
In the meantime, the 4 generals are getting closer and closer to Monarch City (their movement is drawn randomly from the "Darkness Spreads" cards).
So in essence, the four of us were running around putting out fires (getting rid of minions and scrubbing the land of evil) while trying to devise strategies to gang up and defeat each of these generals independently before they reached Monarch City.
I was the noble Wizard for instance.
Here I am fighting two undead minions only 1 area away from Monarch City. They had to be killed there or we run the risk of evil minions overflowing into our beloved capital.
Here for instance, the filth of one of the evil armies infests Thorny Woods.
Here we caught up to and teamed up and defeated the Dragon General though it took all of us to give up blue coloured resource cards to do it, and even then there were some close rolls.
|All four of us fighting the Dragon Lord|
The Black Undead general and the Red demon general were also getting close to Monarch city, and we managed to defeat them in turn.
|Defeating the Demon General. Notice he is only 1 area from Monarch City.|
|Defeating the Undead General at Father Oak Forest|
Anyways, cocky that we killed three of the four generals, we were lined up to kill the last one, the Green Orc general. P.P had all the resources to do it on her own and she was raring to go in and destroy him on the very next turn when to our horror, we drew a Darkness Card and of all the stinking luck, it showed the Orc General entering Monarch City (he was one location away from it, making it an eligible move).
|Bottom half of the card shows the Orc General entering Monarch Cityh.|
Of all the random cards in the deck, that had to be drawn....
We groaned cheerfully and accepted our defeat.
All in all, I liked Defenders. It has all the trappings of classic fantasy and you are always kept busy putting out fires. It's a good cooperative game and all the players can't go off and do their own thing as you'll all lose if you do.
We then after dinner played Game 6 of our Risk Legacy Campaign.
Player W.K. has won the first five games of this campaign previously. I was not enamoured to playing Game 6 as W.K was getting too powerful. Jim was determined to play it in order to uncover more of the hidden stuff embedded in the Risk Legacy game. (You play 15 games, and over the course of time, you open up envelopes and such to permanently alter the game map and rulesfor future games).
In game 6 apparently, there are rules changes where we have to draw for who goes first, which faction to pick etc.
|Choice of which faction, who places first, etc.. drawn one at a time for each of us.|
|My "hands": I have 2 coin cards, go 3rd every turn, 6 armies to start with, etc.|
I was peaceful Africa, spreading civilization and love into Western Europe through my red troops. Notice the evil troops bent on world domination around me. Jim was in yellow North America, P.P was in South America and W.K in Asia.
I kept jokingly whispering doubts to P.P's about how Jim was lusting for power and was going to betray her by an invasion of South America, while quietly building up my forces.
Jim seemed determined to attack W.K and prevent him from winning his 6th game in a row. They kept insisting and urging me to attack W.K even though I could tell from W.K's eye movement that he kept looking at North America.
P.P and Jim scoured Australia and Indochina with new "plague" scars to slow down W.K., who has, thanks to previous games, a strong base there.
|Green Plague Scars in WK's neck of the woods|
Then, I noticed that Jim emptied out North America in his attempt to stop W.K. I quickly built an army in England and in Western Africa and had a chance to capture both Jim's and P.P's capitals, thus winning the game in one turn.
I invaded through Greenland and captured Jim's capital.
|My red trooper liberating Jim's capital in the North West Territories|
I also on the same turn invaded Brazil and ....
much to my horror...
even though I outnumbered P.P...
I rolled 1, 1, 1 on the first roll and 1, 2, 3 on the second roll and before I knew it, I lost 4 guys and she did not lose a single guy.
I was decimated. My one shot at winning, gone.
W.K. then steamrolled me and captured both capitals soon after. I said that was okay, as me losing with bad rolls is, to quote a James Bond film, the "price of failure."
Funny that in Defenders, we lost b/c the bad guy captured the capital and in Risk, the good guy (me :-)) could not capture the last capital.
As reward for winning the game, W.K elected to remove one of the plague scars with a white sticker.
I find Risk is a very divisive game and strains friendships as people resent the gentlemen's agreements and secret handshakes going on. For instance, Jim and PP were openly friendly to each other in this game in the Americas and PP was building up an army to invade my peaceful regime in Africa.
And I could sense that WK feels put upon as the lead in the campaign knowing that everyone is gunning for him for the next 10 games.
Lots of twists and turns in Risk it seems. The Campaign continues in game 7 in the future.