In lieu of a roleplaying night (I just wrapped up a ton of make believe at NewMexicon), we played out first for player game of HLAS last night.

I still dig it quite a lot, but it’s apparent that it’s the kind of game that improves with expertise and punishes those without it.

We played all new factions: the Lionkin, the Lizardfolk, the Elves, and the Undead. Only the Elves are from the base set, and the Undead see from the second expansion (and apparently are the hardest faction to win with).

Airship faceoff on the abandoned Elven continent. Definitely my favorite moment.

I feel like I had a much better grasp of the game’s rhythms this time, what the arc of development to warfare to global catastrophe looks like. The Elves destroyed the Undead capital, and then there Lizardfolk flew their battle beetle over to destroy the Elven capital. The Lionkin mostly stuck at home, advancing their capital the whole way, giving them what looked like a decisive advantage. But it ended up a tie between the lizards and the lions, broken only by the lions’ larger resource reserves.

My flying battle beetle spent a lot of time lurking near my capital. Or carrying out extreme renditions against lions and skeletons.

Twice now we’ve ended the game crazy close, and twice now the game has ended with eXtermination, ie taking out a capital. Having lost a capital last game, no way was I gonna let that happen again.

I suspect the game is really sensitive to the meta-environment of your local group of players. Now that the old hands have learned how to murder a city, I’m betting that is hoping to get harder.

Okay yes, I’m enamored of my battle beetle.

We played 4p in about 5 hours. Lots of the endgame was super minmaxy, which I don’t love but that’s how you get final scores that close.

Time to play a few more times! Lots of factions left to play.

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