Variant: Operation GamerWife Tactical Report
Operation GamerWife has made steady, quiet progress these last months. The last full report was some time ago and it again deserves a full debriefing on the current action.
A forward offensive has been enacted and further game plays have occurred. I sent forward my left flank with Pastiche—a game which spoke to her artist’s sensibilities. We played Pandemic with another couple in which she herself took on the role of the game aficionado spreading game love.
The Wife remains resistant—especially when bed time is nearing—but overall steady progress is being maintained. So, this week I decided to break out one of the largest weapons in my arsenal, one that her fantasy loving nature can hardly decline. I suggested, and she agreed, to a play through of Thunderstone, using the new cards from Thornwood Siege.
Check out the full report after the cut.
Why Thunderstone? Two reasons. Thematically it is everything the Wife could want in a game. Monsters, sorcery, heroes, and weapons. The heroes trudge into the dungeon and slay the vile inhabitants. Believe me, there’s nothing she’d like more in the world than to arm herself with a sword and hack monsters to bits. She was just born a few centuries too late for all that.
The other reason, though, is that it is a bit of a challenge for her. She enjoys Dominion and gets the whole deck-building concept. But there is a lot more to consider in Thunderstone. She has to balance heroes and weapons, make sure her heroes are strong enough, obtain light, review special abilities, and add up bonuses and penalties. She does not like math. At all. One bit.
Thunderstone strikes a near perfect balance between a game that puts her just outside of her comfort zone (allowing gaming love to grow), but is so enticing she’s willing to play it. Thank you, AEG, for designing this perfect weapon for Operation GamerWife.
With Thornwood Siege at the ready, we decided to use solely cards from that newest expansion. The Thornwood Siege cards worked incredibly well together. I adopted an early strategy of using Nightblades—who get a bonus for equipping light edged weapons—and Thieves Blades—a light edged weapon with bonuses—to rack up some pretty impressive kill totals.
Not to be outdone, the Wife grabbed a Cursed Bow which added +5 attack but gave the user a curse, and the Plaguesmiter which, whenever a curse would be obtained, you destroy a curse instead. Those combined with a hero that allows all equipped weapons to grant light bonuses gave her some heavy hitters throughout the dungeon.
I also really liked the Siege weapons which destroy the village, as well as the Abyssals which cause you to destroy good cards in your hand and replace them with diseases. The only negative was that, on my printing, it looks like the text on two of the “stalk” tokens had been swapped so they had the wrong pictures. Not a big deal at all.
My strategy granted me a hefty early lead, but hers got her roaring back and we finished neck and neck. I had to help her out with calculating some of the attacks and light penalties, but we had a good time. She enjoyed her play of Thunderstone and I think this may be my new go-to game for Operation GamerWife.
As for me, I was highly impressed by Thornwood Siege. With only one play, it’s hard to make a final call, but this may be the best expansion to date. The cards synergize well together, would largely fit with the other expansions, and introduces some interesting elements. It doesn’t include any new traps or treasures—though traps tend to be my least favorite mechanism. I’m very excited to get this to the table again with a larger group.