Coming off of Episode 2A, we were wondering where the campaign was going to go. As we started to set up Episode 3, we quickly found out.
We decided on our Mech mods (purchased at the end of Episode 2A). Saxony added Camaraderie (no popularity loss from running off workers), Togawa took Stealth (move through enemy hexes without stopping) and Rusviet took Armor (enemy attackers lose a combat card and give Rusviet Power). Albion chose not to deploy any mod.
Then the rules told us to find Box A, flip it over and grab the Vesna card taped to the bottom!
— The Vesna card
The rules said to shuffle the Vesna card, plus 4 more Factory cards, into the Factory cards selected for the game. The goal of the Episode became to find Vesna (although victory would still be determined normally).
We each then selected and paid for perks and continued the set-up as normal. Based on random board draw, the turn order would be:
Saxony – Neal
Albion – Bob
Rusviet – Stew
Togawa – Lee
Rusviet started lively by quickly deploying a Mech with Speed, jumping his character around to look for good Encounter cards. We had shuffled in the new encounter cards, and they looked to be game-changing in terms of their effects.
Case in point: Saxony found an encounter card that allowed his character to jump straight to the Factory! The Episode had a special Factory rule: 1) take an Influence token each time you enter the Factory, 2) draw Factory cards equal to your Influence tokens, and 3) if you find Vesna you have to take that card or if you don’t you may take a Factory card (or not if you don’t like what you got).
Saxony didn’t like its first draw. Already having Speed, Saxony left and returned…and found Vesna. As Saxony was looking for a good Factory card, they returned a third time. Rusviet took advantage of Saxony’s character being in the Factory alone and successfully attacked and won.
Rusviet completed an Objective and was quickly putting stars on the Triumph Track. Togawa eventually got to the Factory too while Albion spread out, gaining territory.
— the position late in the game with Togawa on the Factory
Rusviet got 5 stars on the Triumph Track and was trying to find a way to get its final star. But then Saxony struck, completing the last upgrade and fulfilling two objectives in one turn to place his last 3 stars to end the game.
— Saxony at the end of the game
Scores were tallied and Rusviet beat Saxony 72 to 68! It was the second Episode in a row where Saxony lost despite placing all 6 stars. The difference was that Rusviet was the only faction to reach the top tier on the Popularity Track.
Each player could now select a Setup Bonus for each 2 Influence tokens (rounded up). Saxony got 2 bonuses and every other faction got 1.
The rules now stipulated that Saxony would now become the Vesna faction! The Saxony player would keep everything on their Campaign Log but would now play the Vesna faction using pieces from the Rise of Fenris expansion (from a punchboard and Box A).
— Vesna faction
— Box A – Vesna pieces inside
— the Vesna pieces inside Box A
But there was another twist: players could now also change factions! Starting with the faction with the least Wealth, a player could grab any unused faction. Albion decided not to change, Togawa switched to Crimean, and Rusviet chose not to change.
We finished by purchasing more Mech Mods.
Episode 3 was much more fun than Episode 2A. Also, the Mech Mods gave faction’s the ability to break the stalemate that we saw in the last Episode. The new Encounter cards (sold separately from Rise of a Fenris) also helped enliven the game