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.
Our first PBEM (Play be Email) game of Ariovistus ended very quickly – see the details here. Simply, the Gallic and German factions were fighting each other so much, that Romans – without leaving Provincia and Gallia Cisalpina – won the game after first winter! We felt it was too short and decided for immediate re-match.
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
So, without further delay, let us jump to the session report!
Our group assigned factions in following order:
- Rome – Brent
- Belgae – Bart
- Aedui – Mark
- Germans – Michal (me)
First season – 58 BC
Second season – 57 BC
Ready for a very exciting second season? I hope you are as after initial built-up of the forces, all factions will clash with each other!
Third season – 56 BC
The last and final year. No more alliances, no more favors – everybody prepares for the final struggle. Who would be victorious?
The final results:
- Germans – Michal (me) (-1 VP)
- Rome – Brent (-5 VP)
- Aedui – Mark (-6 VP)
- Belgae – Bart (-8 VP)
Falling Sky is always a fun to play – the longer scenario the better, as there is time for the capabilities to pay off. The Ariovistus expansion brings a lot of novelty – not only new cards and faction, but we have significantly changed strategic situation on the map. What is more, I dare to say that Germans are much more dangerous opponent then Arverni – although their victory conditions are comparatively harder to achieve.
During our game we also concluded that for the Ariovistus host to have chance for victory they have to fight with their brethren – Belgae. It is made easier by the great German capability – Intimidate – and its prevention of Rally. It also allows to remove Allies immediately, resulting in scorched earth policy where only barbarians from behind the Rhenus can settle. Still, the victory conditions are very hard for that faction and rarely ever possible to achieve.