25 January 2011


Today before work I played the board game Shogun with a couple of guys from my unit. One of the guys is really into board games and has been hustling pretty hard to find players. Three of the five scheduled people showed up this evening, which is the minimum necessary to play. It's a pretty interesting game, with players fighting for control of territory while balancing a limited budget that must be split between raising armies and constructing buildings. Owning a territory will score some points, but buildings are where the game is really won. The game lasts two turns, with four rounds per turn that represent the seasons of the year. At the end of winter, the number of buildings in each region are added up, and the owners of the most buildings in each region gain points.

I came in second place, with the guy who owns the game winning. I don't think I really caught the scope of the game until partway through the second turn, and by then it was too late to catch up on construction or conquest of territories with important buildings. I think there is a tentative plan to play again soon, and I should be able to give it a better run next time.

I did have a couple of good moves during the final turn, using the combat mechanic to my advantage. All of the armies are in the form of small colored wooden cubes. During an attack, the armies are gathered together and thrown into a battle tower, which is like a dice tower except that some of the armies thrown into the tower might stick on the shelves and stay inside. The ones that fall all the way out are used to resolve the combat, and the ones that stay in the tower have the opportunity to influence future combats. I knew approximately what my opponents might do during the attack phases. I arranged some useless combats in the early part of the fighting to pre-load the tower with armies of my color, so that in the combats that really mattered I would have an advantage. It worked well this time and in two decisive battles I had more armies come out than I'd put in, providing the margin of victory for those combats. It's not a fool-proof method, but if you know there's an important combat coming up you can increase your chances by trying to get some more of your unused armies stuck in the tower.


  1. Sounds fun and like you have a good strategy!
    Hope you are taking care of yourself over there!
    Hope to see you soon when those babies are birthed!