The remains of the derelict city lay before us. The chosen battlefield. Nine buildings remained standing. Our goal was to tag four of them four times to take them down or take down an enemy giant killer robot. The three of us took our positions and when the starting horn sounded, we raced to tag our first buildings.
Giant Killer Robots
A fine time at our monthly board game night. We played the four player robot fighting game with only three people. This created a new dynamic, creating worry if a partnership arose, leaving the other outnumbered. I played it neutral and rushed my GKR to a building in front of me while deploying a drone to assist with tagging. Chris and Josh did the same. Then they got weird. Josh moved towards Chris’s buildings after lighting tagging his own, and Chris moved to intercept.
Curse Your Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal
A few rounds later, I had my first building taken down and positioned to take down one of Josh’s buildings. Mine now, but it was in his starting area. At the same time I stood to take down another of mine if I could get past the weapons stage. That’s when Chris (with no damage) noted that I would be close to winning the game. So he and Chris started shooting at me. Even dropped an Orbital Strike on my pair of drones over by Josh’s neighborhood. I took 15 damage (out of 25) by the time the explosions died down.
Will Somebody Think About the Chris?
After that, I pointed out that Chris had only 1 damage, from playing his Orbital Strike attack. That he would get to recall it (and he did, later). And Chris mentioned how I had the most damage, so if four buildings did go down, I’d have the least points. That was enough to sway Josh that he and I needed to knock Chris down a few pegs. Meanwhile, I slowly re-deployed my drones and got them set so if the round finished, I’d take down all three. I told Josh I would hammer Chris with my weapons, so he’d win.
Loki’s Pride and Joy
I finished my attacks on Chris, dropping him a point lower than Josh had left. I asked to see the rules, said I wanted to see the victory conditions. Chris handed me the rule book while Josh considered what to do with his last attack. He noted that I had discarded mine instead of shooting him as the only in-range target. So he discarded his. Then I read the Winning Conditions out loud. I need not repeat them, I told you them in the beginning, remember?
The Dust Settled
After three months of trying to win this game, I pulled it off. I felt a little bad for Chris, who owned the game, but hadn’t won yet. Not for lack of skill, but just quirk of alliances. Last month, Padma and I joined forces and ganged up on him, then it turned out she had one more hitpoint left than I did, despite my planning. Now, Josh was shocked. Victory belonged to him, if only Chris’s statement about scoring hadn’t been wrong. If only he hadn’t trusted the ally who never betrayed him. If only he checked to see what I was looking up.
The Better Sport
It was nice to finally win. In my view, Josh was a part of that win because he actively helped me get there. It is really hard knocking four buildings down because you become a target when you take the lead. I’ve lost a lot of games where not knowing how the scoring works or what’s smart to do holds you back. It’s a side effect of complex games, truly knowing and working toward the victory conditions is tricky. Next month, a new game, maybe one worthy of recording for the ages. Or not. It’s just a game.