Five-player tables are the best for V:TES … in theory. Actually, if you care about games ending before two hours and play in an environment like mine, you might be interested in four-player tables just to see resolution. But, the five-player dynamic is so much more interesting.
For Shadowfist, five-player is something some people just don’t want to do. It’s understandable. When the game is mostly about bids for victory and stoppage after subtle jockeying for position, yet another player adds a massive amount of stuff going on.
We played two, five-player games last night. What’s funny is that the first ended after about an hour. What’s less funny is that it wasn’t all that easy to tell what was going on, more so in the second game, when there were many more characters in play.
Ray (Dragon guns) -> Joren (Monarchs) -> Justin (Monarchs & Jammers) -> Ian (Daughters … of Nu Gua) -> Don (Monarchs)
I didn’t get the memo that we were doing the one foundation, one FSS site pull out for the opening hand, so I started with no sites. I played Chanting Monks and kept discarding until I got a FSS. My prey just kept playing Fire Acolytes. Ray beat on Joren with guns. Joren brought out a few foundation Monarchs. Justin brought out some Edges and got out one Flambards to go with various characters that couldn’t block Daughter of Nu Gua.
I finally got a site structure, put out two Daughters, who were mostly unblockable, and burned a site for victory. Without being beaten down (neither of my 4-fighting characters got smoked and my sites kept taking damage but some recovered with Chanting Monks help), I made a bid for victory and nobody could stop it.
Just not a lot happened, which was weird.
Ian (I Believe I Can Hop) -> Don (same deck) -> Ray (Purists) -> Joren (Thunder) -> Justin (same deck)
This game was quite different and more like 2.5 hours. There was a ton of fighting in play. Justin gained 14 power off of Bloodlust towards the end of the game. Ambushing Thunder Berserkers wrecked stuff when they weren’t being Larcenous Misted. Beaumains made 2-3 appearances. Burn, Baby, Burn! lasted a couple of rounds before Symphonic Disciples did them in. Mouth of the Fire Righteous made a couple of appearances to my left.
Also to my left, Khalid Al-Haddad with an Ice Diadem and Johnny Red and that mastermind of masterminds, Atourina Baktiari, appeared. Oh, and the Queen of the Ice Pagoda. Ray got out Mutators, The Blind, a Memory Spirit, and stuff. Ray also Math Bombed twice, once taking out Jayne Insane and a bigger Fire Horse to my right.
My max fighting in play was something like a Flesh Eater, 3x Hopping Vampire, and a Wailing Apparition. I triggered Flesh Eaters three times to get back Cloud Walkings. Yup, that’s the deck. I believe I can fly; I believe I can hop into the sky! Cloud Walking, of course, led to many, many intercepts that wouldn’t have otherwise happened.
But, we all ran out of stoppage and Ray took my heavily damaged FSS when everybody was a threat to win on the next turn, assuming no site removal.
My deck badly needs more punch through. I realized that I had one hope given the waxy buildup on the table. I would have drawn it on my next turn. I just couldn’t even try to win prior, lacking significant fighting or clever things to do. Another issue with my deck is that it doesn’t push through very easily early on, so it has power gain problems. A lot of people were running into power stalls, even with The Hungry in play to my left and my grandleft.
I don’t see much reason to post these two decks, as one is going to get tweaked for more aerial beatdown and the other is probably going to stay together until I want to show how water > fire, again.
So, what are the takeaways?
Five-player games can end. Many Monarchs decks means that metagaming might need to occur. Joren hasn’t mastered “Auramancer is the biggest character in play” tech, yet, somehow. I guess I’ll have to play them more to show how it’s done. Math Bomb may require patience, but it’s da bomb … uh bomb. I seem overly fond of 3-cost, 4-fighting, non-unique characters. I do need to play an event heavy deck, since I actually like transient effects even if it means I’ll have stoppage.
Oh, and I guess that we have a growing playerbase for weekly play. That’s something.