(Don't worry: no spoilers. Very mildly
Bat eyed my pile of resource cards suspiciously, from her position immediately on my right. How many were there, and was it enough to win me the game? Probably not, I said, honestly. Nobody had won twice so far (you get a handicap for having won), and besides which, Steve, who had more material and a better position than me, was sitting there to my left, ready to pounce on Bat's overstretched lines.
Steve assured us he would do no such thing. He had been hoarding cards, yes, but only because he wanted to open the "30 troops and a missile" box, and he wasn't going to be able to do that just yet. What's in there? We don't know - I haven't looked at spoilers - although from its size I have speculated that there may be additional plastic pieces. I haven't quite got to the point of rattling it around. I tried to intimate that he couldn't be trusted, but really this was a desperate attempt for me to avoid being wiped out. I could come back - there were still valid starting positions in Asia and South America (our strategy is evolving, and by this, the fifth game, we've got to the point where we're not even bothering to try to hold continents other then Australia, as nobody will let you), but crucially I would then be starting with half my initial troop count, and would not be able to cash in my cards that round, and would probably be entirely elimated by my next turn.
I bolstered this argument with a crude attempt at coercion: that if she attacked me and failed then I would certainly look very unfavourably on her. But this isn't War on Terror. There are no secret deals here, no blackmail.
Bat decided that there was nothing for it. She couldn't risk my victory. I had to go. Territory after territory went. But the dice were cruel, and it came down to the purest of dice-rolling contets: two soldiers at the end of her over-extended supply line staring across at one sad little troop in Alaska. d6 against d6. My defender's advantage held, and my little man survived.
Then it was my turn. "Zerg rush", I said, showing my resource cards. 25 troops from that, I got, and three for existing. At least I was left with little doubt as to where to put them. First order of business was to reclaim my headquarters, in Asia. I attacked with full force across the Bering strait (the one concession to sphericity in the game). The feeble defending force could not resist, and Kamchatka was mine once more. I progressed down the coast of Asia, taking my HQ as I went, and then reached a decision point at Southeast Asia. Did I think I could win? If I couldn't, then the sensible thing to do was to consolidate, and maybe take Australia and knock out Rayner. But I'd spent my cards, there would be no second chance - and the game is called Risk.
There was still the small detail of the disposition of my forces. I needed to take three more headquarters. One of these was in New Guinea, which means splitting up my forces, as there was no route. I needed to decide how many to send off to occupy Indonesia. The dice, again, were kind to me, and the six or two troops I sent off succeeded in their mission.
Meanwhile, the main force continued along the Asian coast, taking India (long-standing victim of an ammo shortage, and, in a remembrance of 1984, a territory that had changed hands multiple times just for the resources, and was never defended by any of us), and heading westwards. Again, I was forced to split my forces: the HQ in Africa was not particularly well defended, but going from there to Northern Europe would have been murder. I dispatched just enough to take the African one, sacrificed a troop to take the city in Southern Europe, and then was in spitting distance of the fourth and final HQ I had to take. It came down to a final dice roll, as before, the clash of d6 against d6. And I won, just barely.
And so I became the first of us to sign the board for a second time. I named Australia (which is already where my major city is), and we opened the appropriate packet. What was in there, you say? Well, you'll have to find out for yourself.
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