|Edward I, a four step B4 menace.|
We played the "Braveheart" scenario set in the first Scottish war of Independence which pits William Wallace and his Scottish friends against the might of the English crown and king Edward I who was also known as Edward Longshanks. In Hammer of the Scots, control over area is not so much an issue as is the loyalty of the Scottish nobility. In the game they are featured as a backstabbing lot who switch sides every time their block is eliminated in battle, every time their lands are in enemy hands come winter, as the result of card play and also because of certain political events.
Every game year begins with the nobles at their home province. The player has only a few blocks he has any say in on where they are at the start of the year. The players then have five turns to complete what they set out to do until the nobles return back home to winter quarters. Irritating bunch. The scenario ends when either one player controls all of the nobles or victory is decided at scenario end by majority control. The game can also end in sudden death if either player gets their king killed. Apart from that, the mechanics are pretty much standard Columbia fare. You can't understand how the noble system works and affects gameplay until you play your first game, though.
|William Wallace. Better looking than Mel Gibson.|
We both had our share of misfortune when we started the first winter turn. Some nobles were lost because their homeland was under siege, and some blocks were eliminated because of stacking limits. We are no newbies in block gaming and this should be standard stuff for us to handle but somehow the situation just seemed chaotic at the beginning.
|End of 1299, I'm forced to send Wallace to Selkirk.|
Fast forward from 1297 to 1300 and the Scots had liberated almost the entire northern half of the map, with the English barely holding onto Mentieth in the center. At this point I blundered again, overstacking one province so that I had no choice but to send William Wallace to winter in Selkirk forest, which was surrounded by the English. Gleefully my opponent swamped and killed him in the following year. After that, I managed to crown Comyn as the king during the same year, so I replaced the loss of the formidable A3 block with another.
|The English are fighting a losing war by 1301.|
|The final battle ends in Argyll in 1302. The English pose little threat to the Scottish stack of doom.|