Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Oh the Calamities!
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Last night at the games club we brought out and enjoyed Diplomacy, a title that I've not played since leaving Ithaca in '87 and one of the very first games I played at the club way back in 1984. I didn't do too well as Italy last night but nevertheless did what I could to backstab when appropriate and not be backstabbed whenever it could be avoided.

A full week ago we played another rarely-opened game called Advanced Civilization. It's a rather long one and takes a good number of people, both factors that count against it being played on the spur of the moment (and indeed, this one was set up during email before Friday).

Anyway, during the game your civilization can suffer the effects of various calamities. It's not uncommon to have one or two affect you on any given turn, though it's often possible to avoid them altogether. It's not just their direct effects that cause you grief but the fact that you get bad cards instead of getting a trading card that's actually useful. Kind of a double whammy.

Playing Crete, I was getting into the swing of things a few turns in, when I drew the following set of cards:

Barbarian Hordes
Iconoclasm & Heresy
Slave Revolt
Civil Disorder

So yeah. On one draw I pulled six calamities out of the seven cards I got for the turn. Devastating. Just devastating. It was so bad I just dropped my cards face-up on the map for everyone to see.

Approximately an hour later - after the laughing and ridiculing let up - we resumed the game.

OK: it wasn't really an hour but it felt that way. We had someone there take a photo to record the event and Shelley witnessed it. Then we moved into the trading phase.

Believe it or not, I was able to trade away two of the calamity cards even though everyone knew I had a full hand of them because I had saved a strong reserve from the previous turn (and some people are greedy).

Further, because you cannot suffer more than two a turn, and I luckily drew as one of those two the one that does not affect Crete, the turn ended far better than would have been the case had these all been non-tradable and had I not been playing Crete.

Despite the setback, I took Crete on to place 2nd or 3rd of eight. I might have placed up one more notch had not Shelley "the fink" Stuart pointed out to everyone a few turns later that I was off quietly buying other cards and suffering no calamities while most other players were handing out side-effects from their calamities to each other and not to me.

The anti-royal straight flush of ACiv.

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