We capped off the playgroup with an insane 4 player game that went down to the wire!
4 player free for all games in Factions: Battlegrounds can be madness. I try to play 4 player games any time I get the chance just because there is always so much action. It’s a nice break from the intense strategy of two player games, where 1 mistake can be grave. In 4 player games, there are always big momentum swings, players coming back from out of nowhere, and de-facto, unofficial alliances being made, only to be broken a couple of minutes later.
This game was no different!!
Me, Mackenzie, Riley B #1 and Riley B #2 were the players.. (From here on out the Riley B’s will be referred to as PrimusRiley and KraggRiley, as those are the factions they respectively chose!) We were playing to 40 victory points!
With the factions selected, we began laying the tiles. Once the placement was completed, I was actually pretty pleased with my placement. The other 3 players were playing it safe, laying tiles near to their basecamps. My tiles were scattered around the board and were water space heavy. My goal was to have spaces in the middle and far reaching portions of the board for my ranged spells to have flexibility and reach unassuming targets, and also have plenty of chances for my aquatic units to waylay enemies.
I was planning on prioritizing getting my units in the middle of the board and utilizing the plethora of water spaces to my advantage, allowing me to have the territorial edge to attack any of the other 3 players, so I was not concerned that both RileyPrimus and RileyKragg lined up straight shots directly to my basecamp… Primus also layed 2 water spaces RIGHT next to my basecamp, which at first I thought was great because it gave me an artificial moat. It probably should have been more of a concern!
The game started off with a RileyPrimus and Mackenzie setting the tone… RileyPrimus used his Mystic Witch to Runestone out the Jungle River Kraken, which would turn out to be an excellent move. Mackenzie saw a nice opportunity to draw first blood however and used the Yumboe Battlemage to Jolt the witch from over the water spaces that served as a clear border between the Parada and Primus tiles. Parada got 6 quick points!
Meanwhile, RileyKragg started out with Goblin Stonethrower and Monstrous Ogre, and the low ranks were a slight problem. Kragg had some trouble getting in on some of the early scoring opportunities. I went with Savage Cyclops and Scouting Gargoyle. The Gargoyle’s speed allowed it to navigate towards the resource centers while staying out of harms way, claiming an important gold mine and mana pool, while the Cyclops stayed put outside my basecamp, earning gold. It had the prowess to keep my home tile safe from invaders in the early game.
Mackenzie’s Centaur Scout had grabbed the corner gold mine, with my gargoyle hovering over the center gold mine after claiming it for me. The Jungle River Kraken began to impose it’s will at that point… It was far and away the strongest unit on the board, and it’s Amphibious ability enabled it to cross though water spaces with no penalty, of which there were a lot.
The JRK took both corner resource centers and ripped through my gargoyle, the yumboe, and the centaur scout, registering 10 points and putting RileyPrimus in front and a quarter of the way to victory. All the way across the board, Mackenzie and RileyKragg had engaged in a brief shootout, with the Elf Archer taking out the Goblin Stone Thrower, only to be taken out by the newly recruited and desperately needed captain Veteran Orc.
But it was RileyPrimus who was in clear control… He expanded his area of dominion through the Jungle River Kraken’s conquering of the resource centers and recruited the Amazon Champion which used War Horn to call out the Yugolori Sentinel. Both units began marching towards my home tile… Meanwhile, across from me, RileyKragg’s Monstrous Ogre was lumbering towards my tile as well…
I was the only player at this point to not recruit a new unit. This was intentional. I thought I was about to blow the roof off the game and force everyone to panic and cower in fear! At the end of the round, I dropped the Kraken Overlord on a far water space, eliminating the Jungle River Kraken to get me on the board at 6 points!
My thought was that the mighty Kraken Overlord would change the entire dynamic and power balance of the game. It’s Multi-Attack and enormous health would force the other players to drop their strategies and team up to try to take it out, giving me plenty of scoring opportunities.
However, once it hit the board, rather than team up, both RileyPrimus and Mackenzie showed a lot of poise. RileyKragg did as well, because for the time being, the Kraken was nowhere near his units. RileyPrimus focused his strategy on the Amazons heading towards RileyKragg and I, and Mackenzie pulled her Parada units back and began a reset process, gathering up a stockpile of gold.
With no targets within an activation, I slogged the Kraken around in the middle tiles, wandering aimlessly… gravitating back to the center of the board.
Meanwhile, there was about to be some BRUTAL melee combat right in front of my basecamp. RileyPrimus Amazon Champion and Yugolori Sentinel had reached the water spaces next to my home tile.
Intense combat began after RileyPrimus moved both his Champion actually into the water, making it apparent that the brief standoff was over. RileyKragg took a cut at the Sentinel with the Monstrous Ogre, but it was PARRIED. My Cyclops went for the Amazon Champion.. Also PARRIED. The Primus Amazons really shined, both have the Parry ability and it became really tough to consistently hit them…After yet another PARRY(!!) I switched up targets and had the Cyclopes attack the Ogre, and RileyKragg wisely used Natural Toughness to lessen the damage. It was a big-time slobberknocker of a couple of rounds, but in the end, the Amazon Champion as well as the Yugolori Sentinel emerged victorious. The Amazon Champion is built for this type of game, a melee free for all where she can command, attack, and has the toughness and ability to take a hit and block a few others.
While that was occupying the other 3 players, Mackenzie was implementing a masterplan with Parada on big-game hunting the Kraken Overlord. She recruited the Elf Sharpshooter and used the Sentry Jitu as a bit of a guardian of her territory.. My KO chased the Jitu around a bit, but the Elf Sharpshooter was able to rip off 3 shots for 9 total damage… The Kraken had taken a 2 damage pop earlier from the Amazon Javelineer, so suddenly it only had 4 health left and I had not much to show for it… I also blew ALL my gold on it, and with the ground war being waged right on my basecamp doorstep, I simply did not have the chance to gather more resources…
At this point, RileyKragg was a bit behind (in better shape than I was though) but great players find ways to get back in games, and RileyKragg is for sure a great player.
The “shoot and chase” of the KO had it drift closer to RileyKragg’s basecamp… And the Elf Sharpshooter also was close by in their pursuit of the KO. Kragg had juuuuust enough gold to recruit the Troll Ravager, which proved to be a brilliant move.
The Troll Ravager pummeled the Elf Sharpshooter first, which proved to be yet another wise move. The Kraken was sort of stuck and would not be able to reach the Troll, and the Elf could have either fled or out-gunned the Troll with it’s range 3, so eliminating it first was necessary… Then next round, honing in on the Kraken, The Troll Ravager made a ranged attack, (scoring a point for Mauler) and with the versatile ability delivered a melee attack that eliminated the Kraken.. a 15 point round (and 6 more the round before for the Elf!) Parada and Mackenzie had done literally ALL the work to that point, but RileyKragg reaped all victory points. It was some masterful work by RileyKragg to get back into the game…. But don’t worry, Mackenzie and Parada would have their revenge…..
It’s worth mentioning that throughout both RileyPrimus and Mackenzie had established control of a gold mine during the mid-round battles. That proves to be pretty important over the course of extended campaigns like 4 player games, as RileyKragg and I both became strapped for gold. I could have easily used the Kraken to control one of the gold mines and had I simply defended a resource center rather than wander around the board this game could be a different story….But let’s stick to reality!
Mackenzie’s consistent gold generation allowed her to recruit several important, high impact units like the Eloko Marshall, Minotaur Chieftain, and Centaur Skirmisher. Meanwhile, RileyPrimus was also mobilizing, bringing in the Bogdeep Witch and Greater Wyvern. Both players were recruiting the right units at the right times like All-Star strategists!
It’s worth noting that I had 0 units on the board at this point in the game… Making me a *nearly* irrelevant player. I had made a crucial mistake of investing ALL of my hard earned gold into one unit. I had a LOT of mana stored up and did not cast a SINGLE spell with Zermano. That is a recipe for a loss no matter how many aquatic units I used…
But I did have one more trick up my sleeve.. As Primus and Parada were squaring off for a full-scale confrontation, it was actually me and Zermano who fanned the flames… Using the Octokonzi Raider I unleashed a Multi-Attack that eliminated Parada and Primus units on each space adjacent to the water space.
This would be the final time I would score and also my final unit of the game, after having spent all of my remaining gold on it…RileyPrimus skillfully seized the opportunity by recruiting the Greater Wyvern to make quick work of the Octokonzi…RileyPrimus was pulling away and making all the right moves.
Mackenzie’s new army was lead by a pair of high ranking Captains that both could do more than just command… the Eloko Marshall and Minotaur Chieftain. She brilliantly unleashed a 2 damage ranged attack with water space protection with the Eloko Marshall, then led off the round the same way, delivering 8 huge points to Parada. The Minotaur Chieftain was stationed deep on Mackenzie’s home tiles and gave a couple of commands that led to important points, notably the Centaur Skirmisher which took out multiple units and also wounded the Troll Ravager.
It was RileyPrimus however, who eliminated the Troll, as the Amazon Champion continued to absolutely dominate in melee combat, delivering the damage that finished the Troll Ravager and producing 6 more points. RileyKragg, unfazed by the loss of the Troll, applied pressure to Parada, with Veteran Orc and the freshly recruited Wild Kongamato combining to eliminate the Minotaur.
Since much of the battle was now being fought on Parada spaces, Mackenzie’s units were able to replenish gold. This enabled her to add the Centaur Stampeders, an expensive but fast, tough and aggressive unit that enters the fray and bullies enemies right away..Mackenzie did just that. She materfully used Bullrush, one of the underrated abilities in the game, to push past the landed Kongamato (shoving it into a water space and ending it’s activation) and crush the Veteran Orc. The Centaur Skirmisher then drilled the vulnerable Kongamato for more points.
This retaliatory assault led to RileyKragg not having any units, but he still was a viable threat.
A round later, lets set the stage…..
RileyPrimus picked up Iguannax Archers and Sabertooth Hodag to patrol the interior jungle spaces. These were both battle winning type moves. The Hodag is definitely one of the best units for it’s gold price in the game, and would easily be able to dispatch anything that would make it’s onto his spaces. The Iguannax Archers are a ranged unit capable of delivering big damage to a target in order to win the game. RileyPrimus was for sure best positioned to walk away with a victory in the next round.
RileyKragg, despite not having any units, had ample gold to recruit Feral Griffin, a unit that would be able to deal the damage necessary to take out the Stampeders and win the game if Mackenzie didn’t move them safely away from the Kragg basecamp.
As for me??? Yeah I was already eliminated.
It was the Centaur Stampeder’s activation. Mackenzie could either move them safely away from Kragg’s basecamp (but likely Primus would have won in the very next round) OR charge up 3 spaces and attempt to win the game by eliminating the Amazon Champion, which had already Parried several attack attempts, eliminated several units and had survived for what seemed like 10+ rounds of combat (which is a remarkable feat in Factions: Battlegrounds!)
The decision made on the activation made Mackenzie a factions LEGEND!! Mackenzie rushed the Centaur Stampeders forward and said “Go BIG or go HOME!” She had a 32% chance of landing the melee attack, and a 100% chance of losing (with RileyPrimus getting the win) if the attack failed……
She did not fail. The game shop and table ERUPTED with excitement. 8 points and the GAME WINNER for Mackenzie and Parada!!!
The Centaur Stempeders had a small window a victory, and Mackenzie took a big risk– and got the big REWARD!!!
Congrats Mackenzie on persisting to a victory in an extremely exciting game. Mackenzie, RileyPrimus and RileyKragg all played exceptionally well..
Gotta love 4 player games!!! I may be down, but I will bounce back.