I have deep sentiment for Falling Sky as it was my first – and let us be honest – favorite COIN series game. Since it was published I had a lot of possibilities to play Base Game – live and via Vassal. When Ariovistus expansion was announced I immediately signed for this. Unfortunately, due to pandemic restrictions there was no possibility to organize face-to-face session. So when Brent contacted me with proposal for a VASSAL game, I immediately accepted.
The Ariovistus expansion
Before jumping into the session report, let me first elaborate a little what that add-on brings to the Base Game. Ariovistus expands Falling Sky to take 1-4 players back to Caesar’s first entry into Gaul, with a Helvetian migration challenging the Aedui and Germanic Tribes pressing close behind. What we get:
- new playable faction – Germans – and their fierce leader Ariovistus; that also means new pieces for Germanic warbands, settlements and leader
- Arvernin becoming a non-playable faction but a very dynamic bot, being activated many more times than Germans in Base Game
- new Scenarios – Ariovistus one (short and longer versions possible) plus super long one, connecting expansion and base game
- improved player mats – thick, sturdy ones
- upgraded Non-player rules booklet
- tons of fun and new experiences with fierce Germans, unpredictable Arverni and Caesar limited to eight legions
The session report
So, without further delay let us jump to the game!
The initial setup of the game – as presented above – clearly depicts Helveti migration (Sequani region), initial Caesar forces (Provincia) slowly developing Aedui and Belage tribes plus Germans who started to cross Rhenus already.
Above I am depicting main actions of our game. As you might see, there were tons of juicy events – some of them with the capabilities – which we played happily. The Arvernin were unusually active, attacking and, what was more important, raiding almost everybody, posing a large threat to all factions.
Unfortunately, the internal Gallic squabbles in the end resulted in calamity! It occurred that Winter surprised everybody and Romans – not even leaving Provinca and Cisalpina – won the game as number of Subdued areas exceeded 15!
That was very enjoyable game although a little short – only one season and Gallia were subdued by Romans! A very important topic during our game was Arverni activation. By no means this is straightforward thing but Brent took effort to analyze it in more details. I strongly recommend his article on Boardgamegeek. It not only explains general Areverni behavior but shows exact example what could happen if you do not predict their activation correctly 🙂
PS. After such a quick game, we immediately started second session. But this is story for another time 🙂