Manoeuvre with Chess Clocks!

January 12, 2012

On the first day of the new year, Sara and I sat down to play Maneouvre. After losing to her on December 23, I was out for revenge and we chose the same sides; she played the Americans and I played the Spanish. But there was a twist on our game this time: We used a chess clock. Here are the rules we used:

  • 25 minutes allotted to each player
  • Pauses are allowed for rules clarification
  • Your timer will run during your entire turn (including resolving battles, etc.)
  • The penalty for going over your allotted time is 1 “nightfall point” for additional 30 seconds you need
  • Be gentlemanly/ladylike: no hemming and hawing during your opponent’s turn to run down his/her time

Sara was a real sport about trying this out, as she usually takes much longer than I do during her turns. By the time we finished, however, she stated that it was a lot of fun and she’d try it again. (I think winning 8 to 7 in nightfall may have had something to do with this!) While neither of us felt that the addition of the clock had a huge effect on the game, knowing that the clock was running did put a bit of pressure on each of us. It also made this very abstract game feel just a little bit more like a war game. I will admit I did think, “Gosh, I need to get my objectives quick…I’m running out of time.” The clock also meant that each of us had to use the other person’s turn wisely, planning out discards, potential moves, etc.

This addition of the chess clock may have been a bit redundant, especially when you consider that the rules about deck reshuffling and the endgame already act as a time constraint of sorts. At the same time, I do believe that in friendly competition, it might provide a bit of added excitement.

(Note: There are many chess clock apps available for smart phones and laptops. We used this site.)

Game does not come with Wifey, baby bump, laptop, or fireplace.

We just used a simple online chess clock application.

Four minutes into our game.

I lost at nightfall, 7 to 8.


Holiday Gaming and Getting Back into the Swing of Things

December 30, 2011

Well, the dearth of posts recently is a direct result of the small number of games I’ve been playing. But once I went on Christmas break, I planned to change all that. Here’s an excerpt from an email I sent to my family a week ago:

I am desperate to play a board game with you. 
I pine for the moment when I hear my brother scream, “Don’t touch my men!”
I wish so badly to see Dad’s Lex Luthor plans come to naught. 
I want to win (or lose) Power Grid to my sister-in-law by a margin of no cities and $1. 
I desire to lose to the Wifey in Man-ovaries. [Editor’s note: this is code for Manoeuvre]
I need to hear Mom call someone “an ass” in the heat of the moment.

By and large, my gaming plans were realized with both my family and my in-laws. My wife and I ended up participating in seven games Dec. 23-27. Here are some of the highlights:

Funglish: We got my mom this game for her birthday but no one had yet had a chance to play it. Five minutes of reading the rules and we were off and running. This game is fast and furious, especially with great guessers like my sister-in-law. I also like that you play with a partner when you are the clue-givers, but in the end your score is your own. (I beat my sister-in-law out by one point.)

Manoeuvre: My wife, Sara, and I played this the afternoon of December 23 against each other. As our last bout was in late August, we were both a little rusty. Sara played the doughty Americans, while I took the wily Spanish. However, I was beaten in a nightfall victory. Sara outmatched me early on and took out some of my units, but played cautiously and went for the long game. (I lost by 1 point.) All in all, this was fun game, and it reminded me that I need to play Manoeuvre more often to keep up my game. Also, we’re thinking of playing with chess clocks next time!

Power Grid: My family started this at 8:30 PM on the 23rd and ended at 11:45. Phew, what a meatgrinder! We had a lot of fun though. Again, I reviewed the rules with everyone and we were off and running. We played on the Germany map but blocked off the easiest starting region in the west, which made this game a bit expensive for each company. My brother quickly cordoned his wife’s territory off, and hilarity ensued as she stewed! After a slow start, I got my company’s “engine” running and expanded in the northeast, winning by a margin of two cities with plenty of cash left over.

After a short Christmas Eve drive to my in-laws’ new house, it was time for…

Dirty Clubs: I don’t know why, but we all love this card game, a variation on bid euchre. It’s a simple trick-taking game that I am terrible at. Yes, you, dear reader, can bear digital witness to my three last-place finishes at a table of seven people. Ouch. And no, I will not blame the lateness of the hour or the fine craft beer that may or may not have been involved. As always, hilarity ensued whenever we entered the last round of play, in which each player draws a card and sticks it to his or her head, “Indian poker” style, before bidding.

Best of Tribond: We started this game late, and it took hours to play, but that’s probably because my sister-in-law and I, dubbed “Team Beer Face,” were causing too much mayhem. Although we didn’t win, we had a blast and came in second. I love this game and the style of the questions: “What do an arrow, stairs, and an airline have in common?” “Answer: they all have flights.” However, it was older entertainment questions which did us in, as my partner and I are both in our 20s and don’t know a lot about older TV shows and the like.

All in all, it was a great way to end the year with some laid back gaming. Next week, look for my 2011 retrospective–it’s good, bad, and ugly!

The bitter end for my Spanish troops!
“Our country is addicted to oil.”
End of the game. (I played black.)

Manoeuvre: Distant Lands – My Playtesting Experience

August 24, 2011

Months ago, game designer Jeff Horger put out a call for playtesters for a Manouevre expansion. I immediately signed up. Not only is Manoeuvre one of my favorite games it would also give me a small glimpse into how a game gets made. Now that Distant Lands is on the P500 list I can finally talk about my experience.

Behind the Scenes
One of the reasons I signed up was to get a feel for what goes on with making games. I was sent a bunch of files that contained the rules and components for the Japanese army. The first thing I did was look through the rules and immediately had some questions. The new rules were pretty straightforward, but I wanted some clarifications. My other concern was with some of the components.

These don't look like the originals.


These are what I'm used to.


The new maps used completely different graphics and the units didn’t have the infantry and calvalry symbols on them. Instead they had a single box white box to represent infantry while two boxes represented cavalry. You’ll notice the Japanses don’t have any cavalry.

Japanese Army Tokens


The response I got back on the new map graphics were that he had been using the different graphics for many years and that “[he was] so used to it [he] didn’t think twice about it.” I think this is one part of game design that is key: have several people that are not familiar with the game and components play it. They will point out mistakes and missing information very quickly.

I then printed and cut out the units and cards. I was thankful for my wife’s scrapbooking supplies which I used to adhere the units to some chipboard. Then I sleeved all the cards. Plain pieces of paper in card sleeves worked very well for the small size of these cards.

The components I made turned out pretty well. I should note that I changed the colors of the cards to use less ink for printing. I would assume the final components look much more like the original game.


Once all of that stuff was out of the way it was time to play.

Playing with a New Army
I tend to like expansions for games – they can breath new life into a game that hasn’t made it to the table in a while. Or in the case of the Distant Lands, they can force you to rethink your best strategies.

My wife and I sat down for our first game and both instantly liked the new rule: Advance to Contact. In your first turn of the game you are allowed to move up to 3 different units, in the 2nd turn you can move 2 units. After that it’s back to normal. This change gets both players engaged much more quickly.

The two Japanese map tiles contained more marsh and lake features. The new ‘cluttered’ maps helped to slow down cavalry. The Japanese units were mostly unaffected by this. I’m curious to see just how many new map tiles come with this expansion. Although the base game already has enough for 6 simultaneous games.

The deck of cards had some unique features as well. Here is the breakdown of the Japanese deck:
• 40 Unit Cards
• 3 Forced March Cards
• 3 Supply Cards
• 2 Committed Attack Cards
• 2 Redoubt Cards
• 2 Death with Honor Cards
• 8 Leaders
Two things will stand out right away: eight leaders and the Death with Honor cards. The Death with Honor cards allow you to eliminate a unit and then inflict hits on every adjacent unit. Normally in Manouevre you try to surround a unit to eliminate it more easily. Now if you play against the Japanese you have to be careful that surrounding a unit isn’t exactly what your opponent wants you to do. I my games I usually only used one of these cards. Inflicting up to 4 hits can be powerful but losing a unit isn’t a decision to take lightly.

The leader and unit cards also act slightly differently. The other armies work together to drive their opponents back. However, each Japanese unit is self contained. They each get 2 normal attack cards and their bombard. They also get a volley only card and an attack card with a pursuit roll. These five cards are supposed to represent the “samurai, ashigaru, cavalry, artillery and teppo” in each of the clans. The 6th card for each unit is actually a leader. The leaders for the Japanese can only command the 1 unit they lead. Only one of the leaders, the Shogun, can unite up to four of the clans. Although the units start at fairly high strengths of 6, 7 and 8, the Japanese are weaker than the other nations because of their deck. A handful cards containing a leader and a few different unit cards for most armies was quite useful – with Japan it was a disadvantage.

The strength with the Japanese was keeping the units somewhat isolated. It allowed you to march single units to your opponents side of the board. Each unit was self contained. I cycled through my deck quickly while building up attacks with each unit separately. If things started to get bad for a particular unit I would sacrifice them while doling out hits.


Conclusion
Overall I really had a good experience. It got me really excited about the new armies for Manoeuvre (Chinese combat rockets!). I am also proud to have been able to help out in the creation of what I’m sure will be a successful expansion. I was a bit overwhelmed at just what has to go into making a game – and this was just an expansion! The amount of time and thought that has to go into creating a set of rules and components is massive. And then the refinement after playtesting… But it certainly gave me a jolt to get working on my own game ideas.


Manoeuvre: Starting Hand

August 19, 2011

In the tournament scenario of Manoeuvre, the players each pick their starting hand of 5 cards. I had never really given much thought to what kind of strategy to use until our recent Toeurnament. I had tried a couple of things in my games and I’ll share some of my thoughts on those as well as some others that I saw in this BoardGameGeek.com post started by Joe.

Mobility
In this start you pick out your Forced March, Supply and Withdraw cards to quickly move multiple units. Choosing this starting hand will really depend on the battle field. If there are some key defensive strongholds to grab quickly it could be useful to move in fast. However, Supply cards are very valuable with their dual use so I would choose to save these for later in the game. Playing this against the fast Ottoman cavalry it may not be as effective.

Strong Defense
In this start you select the bombard cards which generally have the strongest defenses for the units. This hand allows you to move your troops into position while fending off your opponents attacks. If combined with some of the mobility cards above or a Redoubt it could be quite effective in securing those towns and hills. This type of play will force your opponent to wait until he can coordinate his attacks better. If you can play the rest of the game holding on to those spots and disrupting your opponents ability to make a coordinated attack you could really frustrate your opponent. I initially didn’t give this strategy much credit, but the more I think about it the more I like it. I will definitely give this one a shot.

Card Dump
The strategy with this card selection is to take all 5 unit cards for the weakest unit and immediately discard them. This is a way to cull your deck of all the cards from that weak unit you planned on leaving behind. I like this strategy if you know your opponent tends to cycle through their deck slowly. Anything you can do to use your big cards, reshuffle quickly and use them again is to your benefit. The downside is you may be giving your opponent an easy kill. However, I think it’s a good trade-off.

Strong First Strike: Single Unit
Similar to the strategy above, but instead of discarding the cards you use them. This could be done with any unit. You push that unit out front right away to and use all their cards in one strong blow. If this is a strong enough attack you can take out a unit right away and make 5 cards in their deck worthless. This is a little hard to pull off as you are relying on the luck of the die. I actually like a slightly different approach of using them all on the defense. Causing hits against your opponent on their turn. Ideally you would follow it up with an attack or bombard to finish off the freshly wounded unit.

Strong First Strike: Multiple Units
In this strategy you are again going for a strong initial attack to quickly eliminate a unit. This gives you the advantage of more units plus it puts worthless cards in their deck. The cards you select here are a leader and 4 unit cards. The idea is that the hand gives you the ability to put together a multi-unit attack with the help of a leader. The unit cards could be of two of each of two units or all different – just so long as the units are clumped together.

This is my favorite start, but I would throw in one minor difference of adding a mobility card to your hand. Adding in the Supply or Forced March cards can help you move your forces into position more quickly. The Withdraw can either be used to spring the trap or as a contingency plan if things go bad.

What Else?
If you are the British or Americans you could grab your Spy to find out what your opponent has planned. I’ve also seen a ‘grab-five-bombard-cards-and-ditch-them-because-I-always-fail-those-rolls-anyway’ strategy. I’m sure there are others. What have you tried that works?


Manoeuvre Toeurnament: We Have a Winner!

June 12, 2011

Sara and Joe were able to finish up their two games in the Semifinals of the Manoeuvre Toeurnament. However, routing for Sara didn’t give her the boost she needed to take down Joe. He was also able to win in just two games. That gave him an edge in his army pool for the final games. Joe and I met up earlier this week to duke it out for the title of Manoeuvre Toeurnament Champion.

Game #24:
I knew with my 5 armies left I was at a disadvantage. I had the French, Austrians, Spanish, Ottomans and Americans left. Only 1 of the top 4 heavy hitters. Joe had the French, Russians, Prussians, Austrians, Spanish and Americans remaining. Fortunately Joe rolled a 10 and selected first. He chose the French and I went with my plan: throw the first game. I had to sacrifice one of the weaker armies so that I could get more favorable match-ups in the next two games. I went with the Spanish.

The first game wasn’t much of a match. The overpowering French army quickly scored hits on my guys. The Spanish reduced a few French units but I never drew the Guerrillas at the right time to prevent restoration. Joe didn’t take any play lightly so that at the end of the game, the Spanish lost 5 units while all 8 Frenchmen were at full strength.

Joe was now up 1 game to none, but I knew the next two would provide me with a good chance.

Game #25:
This time I rolled the 10 and selected the French. Joe deliberated and then selected the Prussians and their strong volley ability. The game started out well for me. I was able to move my units up and then foil Joe’s plans with a well timed Withdraw. The Prussians continued on though and took out the first unit of the game. My French traded that unit for one of his cavalry.

We each then positioned our units on the board hoping to set traps for the other. Some were successful while others fell through. We continued to trade hits and soon we were each down 3 units with about two thirds of our decks through. With nightfall coming, Joe pushed his Prussians forward. I allowed him to gain some ground so that I could take out two of his weaker units. I had reduced one and moved my cavalry in position to fire a bombard: 2d6 against a unit that was reduced to 3. I rolled the dice: snake eyes. That wasn’t supposed to happen. I was forced to follow up with an attack card I was hoping to save for the other unit. I took out 4 of Joe’s Prussians but the 5th unit held up in the woods would not quit. I was able to reduce it just to have them restored or supplied.

Nightfall approached, but with Joe’s Prussians well on my side of the board I didn’t stand a chance. Prussian get a well fought nightfall victory against the French.

Congratulations to Joe! Our 2011 Manoeuvre Toeurnament Champion

Final Toeurnament Stats:
Here’s the final army usage and win loss records.
French 3/5
British 6/3
Russian 5/5
Prussian 5/5
Austrian 1/1
Spanish 1/1
Ottoman 3/5
American 1/0
The top 4 armies and the Ottomans were the most used. The lowly Americans were only used once but won.

Conclusion:
Overall I think the Toeurnament was great. We had been talking about doing something like this, but just never got around to it. Now that it’s over I’m looking forwards to next year’s. In our group of friends, we always like some friendly competition. We play to win and generally don’t like to lose, but still have fun either way. Playing games where each win mattered added a certain intensity and rivalry that we all really enjoyed.

This also got us thinking as to how to run a tournament for other games. I think our next game to try will be open to a broader audience. So keep your eyes peeled for future posts about a possible Carcassonne Tournament. Please leave any suggestions on how to run it in the comments. Meanwhile, I’ll start working on a Golden Meeple trophy.


Manoeuvre Toeurnament: One Finalist Determined

May 31, 2011

The play in game never happened as Brad conceded to me saying we should stick to the original standings. This meant John and I were going to meet in the semifinals to play the winner between Sara and Joe.

Game #20
John and I met up to play our first game. John won the die roll and chose the Ottomans. I selected the Prussians. The game was fairly close with both sides scoring a few hits. As the game went on and nightfall approached it was obvious the Ottoman cavalry was just too fast. They were able to take ground quickly and move into defensive positions as well. My Prussians took out one more unit as my last play but it wasn’t enough. John’s Ottomans took the first game at nightfall and continued his perfect record.

Game #21
A couple weeks later John and I got together to finish our games. John chose the Russians to keep his strongest armies available for the finals while I selected the British. The Brits came out strong but the hardy Russians fought back. Each side had taken two hits, but the Russians lost their mobile cavalry units. I used this to my advantage and quickly pounces on the remaining units. I drew the cards right as I needed them and finished off the Russians. John suffers his first loss of the tournament and I force a third game.

Game #22
In the final game John took the strong French. I hoped the Russians would do better for me. Since it was all on the line, we both played very defensively. In most games I’ve played the attacking unit taking a hit is a rare occurrence. However, there were 3 occasions where the attacker was surprised by a strong defense. I sprung the first trap against John, playing 3 cards on the defense. The other two were the result of some aggressive attacks where the dice just fell short. I then positioned my units along a diagonal cutting the board in half. If I could keep that line from breaking I might have a chance. The French battled back and scored some hits, but the Russians countered. Eventually the French were worn down and I was able to pick off the remaining units. I was in the Finals!

John and I have always been fairly evenly matched in Manoeuvre and our three games were no exception. I know John was upset with himself for his army selection and letting it go to three games, but all the games were close and very tense. I’m now routing for Sara to knock Joe off so that I can get my revenge in the Finals!


Manoeuvre Toeurnament: Groeup Phase Complete

April 16, 2011

Another update on our Manoeuvre Toeurnament since the Groeup Phase is complete. Here are the final results of each Groeup. I’ve added some recaps of the games I witnessed.

Groeup A: Rick, Sara, Hai
#1 Rick (Russia) vs. Hai (France)
I initially underestimated Hai’s abilities and tried for some quick kills. Hai played well and was able to capitalize on my eagerness. After taking out 4 Russian units and only losing 2 of his French, Hai was on the verge of victory. In his excitement, a couple of mistakes were made. The hardy Russians used these to their advantage and took out 3 more French units for the Victory.

#6 Sara (French) vs. Hai (Russia)
Sara and Hai sat down for their first game and it was a good one. They each played cautiously and only traded a couple of eliminated units. As nightfall approached we knew it was going to be a close one. Final score: 16 to 16! However, Sara only lost 2 of her French while taking out 3 of Hai’s Russians for the tie break.

#8 Rick (Prussia) vs. Sara (Russia)
Sara continued her success by crushing Rick in a 5-1 elimination victory. It started out Ok, but quickly went down hill for Rick.

#16 Sara (Prussians) vs. Hai (Ottoman)
#17 Rick (French) vs. Hai (British)
#18 Rick (Ottoman) vs. Sara (British)
Sara, Hai and I go together to finish out our games. We had a fun night of duking it out. Although I have to apologize to Sara for dragging the last game out. I was doing well most of the game. I was ahead on units and with 3 cavalry nearing nightfall I thought I had this one. My weak Irregular Cavalry stumbled moving into position though and I ended up losing them. Sara had gone through her cards and I was near the end of my deck handicapping me from playing anything. I took quite a bit of time trying to salvage a victory but there wasn’t a way out.

Final:
Sara 4-0 (-11)
Rick 2-2 (+7)
Hai 0-4 (+4)

Sara went 4-0 while I barely escaped my group with a .500 record! The number next to our names is a “strength of schedule” value. A high number represents using weaker armies against stronger armies and is used for tie-breaking similar records.

Groeup B: John, Russ, Aaron
#5 John (Ottomans) vs. Russ (Austrian)
#7 John (Russians) vs. Russ (British)
Russ took back to back losses to John. These games were going on at the same time as game #6 above.

#9 Aaron (British) vs. Russ (Prussians)
#10 Aaron (Prussians) vs. Russ (Spanish)
A week or so later Russ took Aaron on in back to back games to put himself back up to 2-2. Good enough to tie for the 4th best record in the toeurnament.

#14 John (Prussian) vs. Aaron (French)
#15 John (British) vs. Aaron (Ottoman)
Then John finished as strong as he started with back to back wins against Aaron.

Final:
John 4-0 (+1)
Russ 2-2 (+1)
Aaron 0-4 (-2)

John also goes 4-0. For those of you who don’t know: John and Sara are husband and wife. But the only way for them to play each other now is to meet in the finals!

Groeup C: Joe, Jess, Brad
My wife, Jess, hosted their groeup’s initial game night so I got to spectate the following matches.
#2 Joe (British) vs. Jess (Russian)
#3 Joe (Prussian) vs. Brad (Russian)
Joe found himself facing the Russian army once more, this time against his Prussians. The game was fairly close with the units lined up in the middle of the battle field trading shots. However, timely supply and restorations prevented the Russians from finishing off troops. The dice were also not with Brad he failed an improbable number of bombardments, volleys and pursuit rolls. To give you a taste, he bombarded a weakened Prussian unit (strength of 3) from a hill (+2 to his roll) with a d10… and failed. Joe racks up another victory.

#4 Brad (Austria) vs. Jess (Ottoman)
Brad and Jess then finished off the night with the Austrians and Ottomans respectively. The ‘weaker’ army choice was a strategic move for them save their stronger armies against their current group leader Joe. The battle was fairly evenly matched. However, the Ottoman cavalry took too many chances and Brad served Jess her second loss of the night.

Another game night with the groeup at our place:
#11 Brad (Prussians) vs. Jess (British)
This was a long game, but Jess happily won this one to keep from being shut-out.

#12 Joe (Russians) vs. Jess (French)
Joe clinches a position in the elimination phase with his win against Jess.

#13 Joe (Ottoman) vs. Brad (American)
Brad took a gamble by choosing the weakest army. He also picked out an unusual field of battle which included the lakes, marsh, and fields. However, Brad had all the right cards and his dice (unlike the last game) were on fire. He hit well above average on all of his rolls. The Ottomans faced strong defenses on most of their attacks. In fact, the only way Joe was able to eliminate any units was by surrounding them. Nightfall was approaching and the Ottomans were regrouping to wait it out. The Americans hadn’t even made it to the other side of the board. Then the wily Americans sprung an ambush. Only a 10 would give Brad the choice in the result and he amazingly rolled exactly that! Brad scores an impressive win.

Final:
Joe 3-1 (+1)
Brad 2-2 (0)
Jess 1-3 (-1)

Joe takes the top seed in Groeup C, while Brad joins his brothers at 2-2. Because of the ranking systems we used I would advance. However, there is some consensus in our gaming group that the Ottoman army should not be ranked second to last. If we re-rank the armies Brad’s strength of schedule value would shoot up and he would advance. So, Brad and I will choose from our remaining armies and have a play-in elimination game.

More Numbers
Here’s a summary of the armies used and their record in a Country Win/Loss format:
French 2/3
British 4/3
Russian 4/3
Prussian 4/3
Austrian 1/1
Spanish 1/0
Ottoman 1/5
American 1/0

I think the most interesting stat is the Ottomans losing 5 of their 6 games. Perhaps we over estimate the strength of the Ottoman army.

Groeup Phase Complete
That about wraps up the Groeup Phase. Brad and I will have a play-in game and then the Elimination Phase will begin. Sara and Joe will duke it out while John faces the winner of the play-in game. These semi-final matches will be the best 2 out of 3 games. All of the armies have been reset for this phase. However, during the semi-final and final matches each army can only be used once by each player. It should be exciting.

And one last thing, the trophy will now be unveiled. The winner of the 1st ever Margin of Victory Manoeuvre Toeurnament will win this:

Risk pieces are good for something.

Manoeuvre Toeurnament Champion Trophy


Manoeuvre Toeurnament: Half-way Through the Groeup Phase

April 5, 2011

We are actually more than halfway through the Groeup phase of the Manoeuvre tournament but here are the results after 9 games. I’ll post some more updates at the conclusion of this phase.

Groeup A:
Sara 2-0
Rick 1-1
Hai 0-2

I think I need to eat my words on my initial assessment of this group. I barely squeaked out a victory against Hai in the first game after being down 4 units to 2. Then Sara trounced me in our match. She’s the one to beat now.

Groeup B:
John 2-0
Russ 1-2
Aaron 0-1

John took two quick victories against Russ to start his tournament. But Russ pulled off a victory against Aaron so he’s got a chance. This group could still go 2-2 across the board.

Groeup C:
Joe 2-0
Brad 1-1
Jess 0-2

Jess’s gut reaction when she saw her grouping has unfortunately been correct after losing to both Joe and Brad in one night.

So far the Russians have been the most used army. I think most people are using them to feel out the skill level of their opponents – pick a strong army but save the strongest in case they will need them in the re-match.

This has been a pretty exciting tournament so far stay tuned for more updates.


Manoeuvre Toeurnament: So It Begins

March 14, 2011

It’s not as big as I was hoping, but we’ve got 9 people signed up for the Toeurnament. The top player from each bracket plus the next best record will make it to the elimination bracket. The groups were decided randomly:

Groeup A: Rick (me), Sara, Hai
Groeup B: John, Russ, Aaron
Groeup C: Joe, Jess, Brad

I was happy to see that there is a game owner in each of the groups (John, Joe and me). This will help facilitate the games being played.

As far as the groups go, the experience levels are fairly well distributed. But based on number of games played alone, I probably have the best shot of advancing. Of course I will have to make sure I don’t underestimate Sara or Hai either.

My wife, Jess, was bummed with her grouping. Joe is a very talented player. And Brad, although he just learned this game a couple weeks ago, beat me in both of our games. For her sake, hopefully his beginner’s luck has run out.

Group B is the “Group of Death.” Aaron is the least experienced player in that group, but he is certainly capable. Because this group is the most evenly matched it’s likely that only one of these guys will come out of this stage.

Best of luck to everyone and I look forward to my first game with Hai on Wednesday.


Manoeuvre Toeurnament: Preview

January 19, 2011

As promised in my last post, I wanted to set-up and participate in a Manoeuvre tournament with my friends. There’s 4-5 of us that have played this quick playing, but very strategic wargame and several others that have tried it and liked it. So after some back-and-forth with friends about how to run it, here’s the preview of the tournament.

Manoeuvre Toeurnament 2011
Stage 0: Free Play (January ~ February)
This stage will be the learning stage. Anyone that is interested in playing but doesn’t know how to play will be taught the game. This will also give people an opportunity to brush up on their strategies and/or dice rolling abilities. People that try the game and decide it’s not for them can still back out at this point.

Stage 1: Group Stage (March ~ April)
All players will be randomly assigned to a group (think World Cup). In this group you will play all of the other group members once (possibly twice if numbers are low). Your final ranking within the group will be determined by your win/loss record. Each game you play will use the rules as printed for the 2010 version of this game. The only difference is that you choose your own armies but cannot play with the same army twice within this stage.

Stage 2: Elimination Rounds (May ~ June)
The top 2-3 players from each group will be seeded in a single elimination bracket. Strength of Armies used will break ties with the weaker armies used seeded higher. Rules will be the same as the group phase. You can’t use the same army twice, but the army options are reset for this phase. The winner will be crowned champion of Manoeuvre …at least for 2011.

The plan I had originally was much too complex and would probably turned off a lot of the more casual gamers. This is a simple system and should allow for ease of play by everyone. So far there are 7 people that have expressed interest and a few more I think that I can convert before March.

I’m also hoping the top players will be able to get together for a one day throw down in the elimination phases. And the championship game may be a best of 3 series. But we’ll see how it the initial stages go first.