We assembled again to decide the fate of the world. I got to pop open the last sealed container, but Lady Luck left me and I wasn't able to close the deal.
Once again, the lead faction picked Alberta, in order to stay close to the World Capital, thus shutting me out of Wendigo. This time, it was Smaug running the Bears. Ken was the Mutants and started in Doomstadt, which is my worst nightmare... but only if I'm starting in Wendigo. Aaron started on his home turf in Australia. I was going to take South Africa, but Graydon chose to start there, rather than start too close to Kevin. So I swapped continents and started in Argentina. To honor the new Pope.
Graydon and I both spread north, with the Fallout Zone in Brazil keeping us from bothering each other. Aaron spread north out of Australia, and uncontestedly into Greater Taiwan. It looked like the big battle would be between Ken and Smaug around the World Capital in Greenland. Not a lot of battle happened there, but forces were building up, and it kept them from doing anything else. I knifed into Kevin through Central America and took his homeland. Aaron streamed up through Kamchatka into Alaska, Ken punched at Greenland a bit. Graydon spread out and in a bit managed to get the bonus victory point for taking the last coin in the stack. That random, hard-to-get victory point was a harbinger of doom.
Smaug had collected a couple high-value resource cards, but he was getting bitten at from all sides, and I was well-placed to wipe him off the map, thus securing the cards for my own. Smaug wasn't too disconsolate, because he saw how that would probably lead to me opening the last sealed thingy next turn. Which I did. But in the meantime, Ken fortified Greenland and Aaron aggravatingly pushed further into North America and took Smaug's former HQ away from me. But that ruins my plans! Oh wait, I guess that's what your foes are supposed to do.
The opening condition is that someone needs to be about to place 30+ troops on the board, and still have a missile. What's inside? I more or less figured it out late at night after the last time we played. Why do you need a missile? Although we think of them as nukes, they're called missiles, and it's not a far leap from there to rockets. So my idea was that it would be something like the Apollo Project. And I would get to claim the Moon. And the Moon could connect you to any territory on earth, if you had a missile to ride (and use). So that you could attack someone way behind their lines. I wasn't quite right. Instead... it's aliens.
And instead of the Moon, the aliens come from Alien Island, which isn't connected to everywhere, but is connected to any two ocean-bordering territories I wanted. Using alien technology, Alien Island is somehow halfway between Western Australia and Greenland. Because I could. Actually, there was some method to my madness. So my faction, Khan Industries, is now the Alien Collaborator faction. For this game only, all my troops had to start on Alien Island, with an additional 10 alien troops. So I had a metric ton of troops, but it is actually somewhat limiting to have to put them all in one spot. The current mission (worth a victory point) was to control the World Capital and 3 major cities. So by connecting Alien Island up the way I did, Aaron's major city was off one side, and the World Capital was off the other. I already owned Graydon's major city, and Wendigo is right next to Greenland.
Taking the Australian city was easy. Taking Greenland was ridiculous. It was a comedy of death for the Aliens and Alien Collaborators. For one thing, some idiot (i.e. Aaron) fortified the World Capital last game. That means Ken got to add 1 to both of his dice on defense, and the defender wins ties. And the dice luck was reallllllly bad. And everyone was throwing missiles at me. So most of my enormous army was destroyed taking Greenland. Dozens of troops died to kill about 10 of Ken's.
Taking Wendigo was another minor fiasco. But this did get me the victory point for the mission, and add that mission permanently to Khan Industries. And getting that Victory Point earned me a Missile Power. So the Khan Industries faction card went from having 2 of 5 power slots full, to having all 5 filled, on that one turn. That at least was fairly epic.
But I didn't have enough troops to take Smaug's HQ back from Aaron. So I failed to get the last victory point I needed.
And so Graydon turned in cards for a victory point, and waltzed over and knocked over Ken's HQ for the fourth one and won. Fortunately, the flat part of the graph above was very very short.
Notably odd things about the game: no plague, no mutant events, only one most-population event, and aliens arrived and tried to exterminate all human life.
Next game should be fun, since we'll have some new Scars to annoy each other with, including horrible Alien weaknesses to place on other's factions. And horrible Alien events like: "Die Humans: The Alien player may replace a minor city with this card's Ruin sticker; if so, remove all troops from the Ruin, DEMOLISH any HQ in the Ruin"
Running victory total:
Ken - 4 victories
Mike - 3
Smaug - 2
Graydon - 2
Aaron - 1
(3 games left)