Friday, April 11, 2014
Old School Boardgaming: Supremacy
A few years ago, I did end up purchasing a copy of the game via Ebay, but the expansions have thus far eluded either my wallet or my noticing their availability. Yet, my mates and I can still enjoy the base game.
Which we did, last night...
Of the four of us, only Evan and I had played previously, so it was an introduction for them and a refresher for us. Evan took on North America, Ron grabbed Europe, Brent nabbed China, and I got the Afrikaners.
For those who have not played Supremacy, basically it is a souped up Risk, complete with economy and nukes...yes, nukes.
Each nation or conglomeration starts with five to six starting territories which are home to one army each and also one or more corporations that produce resources. The resources are oil, minerals, and grain, which are spent on convention weapons, strategic weapons, movement and combat. These, as well as nukes and L-stars (laser satellites) are tracked on a handy-dandy player card called a "Supply Center." The maximum of any one resource or strategic weapon is twelve.
Each turn there are seven stages, the first two of which everyone plays, and of the remainder a player can only play in three. In these latter stages, players secretly "bid" to play or not play the stage by hiding and then revealing a colored token (an army piece) in their hand. Then, of those who bid to play that stage, they roll off with the highest going first (which is VERY important at times) and the lowest roller going last.
Players then start each turn paying maintenance on their armies armies and navies, and then paying the salaries of each corporation they wish to keep in production. Next, the corporations produce their goods (from one to five of a single resource type) and these are added to the supply center for each player.
Stage 3 is where players can sell resources to the Market and/or each other. The market mechanism is nice as players can "play the market" and, if successful, pull off a victory, assuming they are not destroyed by another player.
Stage 4 is the attack stage, either conventional or strategic. This is where you must have one of each resource to spend for a conventional attack, or nukes/L-stars for strategic attacks. Airborne and amphibious assaults are supported in the rules. Combat is easily resolved by simple die rolls, with the attacker rolling 1 die, the defender, 2; one additional die goes to the side with the most units involved and another die to the side with the most L-stars. Every three pips rolled is one casualty to the enemy.
Stage 5 is for any non-combat moves, including embarking armies onto fleets.
Stage 6 is when player can build conventional and strategic weapons and then sell them to another player if they wish. Players may also conduct the necessary research to discover nuke and L-star technology, which are prerequisites to purchasing them directly.
Stage 7, the final stage, is when players can purchase resources from the market and, again, sell to another player. This market mechanism is very important as one soon runs out of cash unless one sells resources. Prices vary from $1 million to $1 billion and are tracked on the gameboard for each resource. As players make purchases or sell resources, the value of the good increases or decreases, which has a telling effect on players who weren't lucky enough to go first that stage. Any transaction between players is for whatever amount they happen to agree on.
This stage is also when players may elect to "prospect" for new resources in other territories, both neutral and also those nations are not being used that game (the game is for 2 to 6 players). You may open any corporation (buy spending $200 million) you find, as long as an opponent is not occupying the location of the resource, otherwise you just helped someone else as they get the corporation and its production.
Play continues until one player has conquered his opponents, more than 12 nukes have been used and a game ending die roll occurs, or you reach an agreed upon time limit. In the latter two cases, all assets and resources are tallied with the winner being the player with the most value.
About five turns into the game, I have just nuked Europe as Ron had the audacity to land troops in Sahara. I intercepted all but one of his own nukes, but he only got one of my four. It was at this point Ron began his own "Book of Grudges" (which is a LONG running semi-serious joke as I certainly have one), putting me as the first entry! This makes me proud for some odd reason.
A few turns later, Ron's nation was all but wiped out as the rest of his home territories were each redecorated with fiery mushroom clouds of nuclear devastation, with his last territory in my possession (which caused him to be eliminated). However, in a moment of inattention, I started clearing the game before giving Brent the time to take a final picture.
The surprise winner was Evan as he had an economic victory. He'd done well with market manipulation and had over $19 billion in assets where Brent had $16 billion and I a measly $7.625 billion.
I am on the lookout for the several expansions that came with the game. If you know of anyone who happens to own one or more expansions and they are interested in getting rid of them, please let me know. I cannot pay top dollar, but I can guarantee I will get a LOT of gaming use out of them!