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Liberty Roads» Forums » Variants

Subject: Hitler Humor variability rss

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Michael McCalpin
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Ealing
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After too long looking at it on the shelf, I have finally broken out this well-regarded game, and in my second solo game I am enjoying it a great deal. When I read the comments from others about the game, I noticed that some commenters felt that the clever and innovative Hitler Humor mechanism had the potential for gamey abuse. I wonder if Hitler's notoriously mercurial personality is not accurately reflected in the very deterministic mechanism as written.

Here is an alternate suggestion, and I very much look forward to comment or discussion about it. To be clear, I am not suggesting that the game is broken. I have nowhere near enough experience to make such a claim, and I doubt that it is true anyway. I just wonder if the following very lightweight change might clean up one point that some have claimed is an issue.

In the German Reinforcement and Replacement phase, roll one six-sided die. If it comes up 1 or 2, reduce the Hitler Humor by one more than otherwise indicated; or a 3 or 4, do nothing unusual; and on a 5 or 6, increase the Hitler Humor by one more than otherwise indicated.

Why do I think this helps?

1. It means that neither player can be sure when Hitler will dismiss his current commander and cause all the chaos to the Germans in the following turn.

2. The net effect is mathematically zero, so it doesn't break the mechanism; it just makes it more unpredictable. The odds of a meaningful overall net Hitler Humor difference from the rules as written seems quite small.

In fact, I wonder if a move of one is too small to be meaningful. I almost suggested the following:

Die roll
1 - reduce HH by two
2 - reduce HH by one
3 - no change
4 - no change
5 - increase HH by one
6 - increase HH by two

What are your thoughts? In spite of the theoretically neutral effect of this change, would it affect play balance? In other words, does it benefit one side or the other to a greater degree to have advanced knowledge of when HH goes to zero?
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Mustafa Ünlü
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Why not make it even more exciting?

Roll 2d6.

2 Reduce by three
3-4 Reduce by two
5-6 Reduce by one
7 No change
8-9 Increase by one
10-11 Increase by two
12 Increase by three

This gives a small chance that HH will change drastically, and larger chances of smaller changes. It will stay the same roughly 17% of the time. Or you could try variations on this theme. For example, if you wanted infrequent changes, you could increase the middle result to 6-8 from 7, and adjust the others accordingly.
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Wendell
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Interesting idea. I don't think this mechanism is broken, but I will admit that in both LR and its younger, bigger sister game Victory Roads, my opponents and I have had the benefit of certainty concerning the big bad boss's attitudes.

The only potential drawback I can see is a possible string of luck going consistently the same way. You'd also have to decide what to do in case a change+die roll results in the track going below zero or above 10. But I think this would be worth a try.
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Michael McCalpin
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wifwendell wrote:
The only potential drawback I can see is a possible string of luck going consistently the same way.

Quite right, of course. I suppose I would liken it to the Weather die rolls that are quite common in games. The risk is there for a crazy-bad string of rolls, but statistics says it will be rare as long as the number of total rolls is relatively high. A good counter-example is in The Russian Campaign, in which one bad Oct/Nov 1941 die roll can derail a German victory. In this game, the number of rolls is high enough to seem pretty safe from excessive distortion.

wifwendell wrote:
You'd also have to decide what to do in case a change+die roll results in the track going below zero or above 10.

I'd go for simplicity, I think: 10 equals 10 regardless and 0 equals 0 regardless.
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Michael McCalpin
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camustafa wrote:
Roll 2d6.

2 Reduce by three
3-4 Reduce by two
5-6 Reduce by one
7 No change
8-9 Increase by one
10-11 Increase by two
12 Increase by three

I was trying to tread lightly on a well-regarded game, but sure, 2d6 makes for a Hitler really off his meds. Why not?

I get that none of this makes sense for a tournament game, but that's not the style in which I like to play. I just want to try something and see what happens.
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Cezary Domalski
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I too, see Hitler Humeur track as potentially vulnerable to gamey play by both sides, but I treat this more like a feature, than bug.
But, if you want to try something different I suggest to treat offensives made by Germans as a dr modifier to roll on HH track. But this would for sure need some playtesting in Campaign game.
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