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Subject: Particularly balanced or unbalanced scenarios? rss

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Mike Smith
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I am running a small CC tournament in a few weeks time. To help me decide on scenarios, and because its an interesting issue anyway, would anyone like to comment on the above? I can include scenarios from Europe, Med and all battlepacks.

To kick off I would suggest scenario 48 Widerstandnest 61 from the Normandy battlepack is especially unbalanced to the German side.
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Patrick Pence
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For a tournament environment, you might want to consider using the Random Scenario Generator, since it is inherently designed to provide balance. Plus it has the benefit of being new to the players, so no one has an advantage by having played one of the scenarios before and figuring out the optimal terrain setup, etc.
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Jason Albert
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Why not use tournament scenarios? There are many posted here: http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/38395/the-complete-combat-...
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Mike Smith
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Certainly the tournament scenarios are a good idea, both in terms of length and probable balance. But I think the discussion is worth having of official published scenarios. Are aggregate outcomes for scenarios posted anywhere?
The RSG I want to avoid.
 
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David Millette
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Mantuanwar wrote:
Certainly the tournament scenarios are a good idea, both in terms of length and probable balance. But I think the discussion is worth having of official published scenarios. Are aggregate outcomes for scenarios posted anywhere?
The RSG I want to avoid.


I will be running a similar Vassal tournament in a couple of weeks, and I was wondering the exact same thing. I wanted to start with CC:E as there will be a handful of players with very limited experience.

What 5-6 scenarios does everyone recommend for our first CC:E Vassal tournament in terms of balance? Players will not be switching sides and playing again, but they will be randomly assigned a side to play.
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Chris Montgomery
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I have played Combat Commander about 20 times, and I have never felt any of the scenarios to be inherently unbalanced . . . pick the 5 or 6 most interesting ones from CC:E for your first foray, perhaps making Scenario 3 the first round, since it's more interesting than Scenario 1 but still has "beginner" aspects, such as no elevation and limited terrain types.

Cheers!
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Brian S.
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Only two scenarios seemed unbalanced when I played them. Both of them are from CC:Med and are bookends in the playbook (the first and last scenarios).

Scenario 13: I have no idea how the Germans can stop the ANZAC forces from racking up exit points.

Scenario 24: Can the Indian forces setup in any manner that will prevent them from being hopelessly pummeled by artillery? The Italians start the game with two artillery requests, so the artillery will be coming. And the Indians are outnumbered and outgunned.
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David desJardins
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Scenario 12 is quite unbalanced once you know how to play it. I think many of the scenarios have strategies to be discovered that give one side an advantage. But it takes several plays to discover and refine them, and how many times are you going to play any one scenario, anyway?
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Simone dalla Chiesa
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Dear fellow TOs, I have a lot of experience as a CC player, a lot as TO of small to large (100+players) TCG events, and some as TO of small (6-12 player) CC tournaments. There is plenty of advice I could give, but I feel I better be short and concise.

General advise. Besides balanced victory conditions, a tournament scenario should have: few units, few turns, a short playing time (avoid the French and Italian Fate Deck; open maps that allow a lot of shooting are the best), and simple and easy to apply special rules, so there will be no arguments and few mistakes (read: avoid tanks at this stage).

Play balance. It is difficult to assess it objectively, because most players tend to appreciate scenarios that are unbalanced in terms of victory conditions but offer unusual challenges (one name to name them all: the superb #104). Moreover, weak players of the same level often judge "balanced" and enjoyable scenarios that, if played by two good, experienced players of the same level, would prove unbalanced and even frustrating. Player of different strenght, however, can be equally challenged by certain unbalanced scenarios. In a tournament, however, such a matching between scenario balance and playing skills is difficult to obtain.

Practical advise. I'm listing below the scenarios that I believe are balanced if played by two opponents with equal skills. I add a short commentary.

#10 Could be the best in the whole game. Perfect for tournament play.
#21 A challenge for both players. Italian deck not so slow here.
#28 Serious stuff, good playing time.
#36 Hard for both sides, of reasonable length.
#57 It has all the numbers, even if I personally find it a bit dull.
(#81 seems very promising to me, is but I've played it only 2 times).
Absolutely excellent but to be avoided because of playing time: #37, #40.

I have much less experience of the scenarios designed expressly for tournament play. But anyway, these are the ones I would have in a tourney:

WBC '09 004 ("Normandy 1944") Lot of shooting, Time flies.
WBC '09 007 ("Tobruk 1942") Open map, there should be a lot of manoevering.
PrezCon '11 "Blitzkrieg Unleashed" Perhaps the best pre-BP#5 French FD scenario. Not too slow either.
WBC '11 "Objective Claremont" Very enjoyable, but with some tank rule.

Enjoy.
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Mike Smith
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Thanks Simone, I will certainly mull over your suggestions.
 
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David Millette
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Yes. Good stuff... Thanks for all of the responses. I will consider them all when putting together my tournament.
 
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Mike Smith
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I think the Russian paratrooper scenario from the Paratroop battlepack is rather anti-Soviet. Its certainly very dependent on whether or not the Germans can move forward into a dominating position at the start.
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Mantuanwar wrote:
I think the Russian paratrooper scenario from the Paratroop battlepack is rather anti-Soviet. Its certainly very dependent on whether or not the Germans can move forward into a dominating position at the start.


Mike, you hit right on target. I believe Scenario #29 30 is the most unbalanced scenario in the entire game system. I played it 7 times, witnessed one Soviet victory (mine, due to a foolish forward deployment of the German HMGs), did not enjoy it, won't play it again.
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Mike Smith
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Although it requires good judgement and experience you can agree to adjust an agreed unbalanced scenario by giving extra resources or a special rule to the weaker side, and then randomly rolling as to who gets which side. Its in nobody's interest to over-egg it, and it could actually become an interesting pre-game discussion about what it takes to even things up.
 
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Mantuanwar wrote:
Although it requires good judgement and experience you can agree to adjust an agreed unbalanced scenario by giving extra resources or a special rule to the weaker side, and then randomly rolling as to who gets which side. Its in nobody's interest to over-egg it, and it could actually become an interesting pre-game discussion about what it takes to even things up.


Speaking about Scenario #29 30, for instance, its designer Bryan Collars advised elsewhere (I'll link his post if I recall where it is) that substituting the 2 German HMGs with LMGs could be a good way to balance things out.

Now, if the designer himself says so, that's the solution, for Scenario #29 30 at least.

But I myself will never accept his advise. The reason is that that scenario, any scenario, is supposed to be balanced and enjoyable as published. I assume this for Scenario #29 30 as well. Therefore there must be a way to win it for the Russian player. I believe some expert player has found it, and I would like to listen to his/her analysis.

If no one has found it yet, it should be only a matter of time. I cannot possibly believe that #29 30, or any other scenario, was published and sold as being so unbalanced to be nearly unplayable. Errors are possible, of course, but if, for example, during the publishing process the 2 original German LMGs of #29 30 had been somehow substituted by mistake with too strong HMGs, so that in order to restore playability we should now put the LMGs back in the place of the HMGs, shouldn't that have been amended in the errata?
 
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David desJardins
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Professorelm wrote:
I cannot possibly believe that #29, or any other scenario, was published and sold as being so unbalanced to be nearly unplayable.


Why on Earth not? Lots and lots of scenarios are going to be very one-sided once players have enough experience. There's no way for testers to play any scenario so much that they have figured out everything that can possibly be discovered.
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Mike Smith
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Agreed David. For starters the range of random possibilities in the playing of a scenario are such that a few particularly skewed playtest results could conceal the true state of affairs over a long aggregate. I think one of the wonders of CC is that there are so few grossly unbalanced scenarios. They are rife in other game systems.
 
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Richard Pardoe
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Professorelm wrote:
Speaking about Scenario #29, for instance, its designer Bryan Collars advised elsewhere (I'll link his post if I recall where it is) that substituting the 2 German HMGs with LMGs could be a good way to balance things out.

I was a bit confused in this thread as Scenario #29 is Operation Repulse by Greg Wong and features Germans vs. Americans.

Turning the Scenario Card over, I see Scenario #30: Red Skies at Night by Bryan Collars featuring Germans vs. Russians. I suspect this is the scenario you meant, so am mentally replacing all the 29s in your comments with 30s.

Quote:
The reason is that that scenario, any scenario, is supposed to be balanced and enjoyable as published.

Unfortunately both are rather subjective and strongly dependent upon the interaction of the playing styles of the two players. And the pool of playtesters is always much, much smaller than the pool of all players so is it realistic to uncover ever contingency during playtesting?
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RPardoe wrote:
Professorelm wrote:
Speaking about Scenario #29, for instance, its designer Bryan Collars advised elsewhere (I'll link his post if I recall where it is) that substituting the 2 German HMGs with LMGs could be a good way to balance things out.

I was a bit confused in this thread as Scenario #29 is Operation Repulse by Greg Wong and features Germans vs. Americans.

Turning the Scenario Card over, I see Scenario #30: Red Skies at Night by Bryan Collars featuring Germans vs. Russians. I suspect this is the scenario you meant, so am mentally replacing all the 29s in your comments with 30s.

Quote:
The reason is that that scenario, any scenario, is supposed to be balanced and enjoyable as published.

Unfortunately both are rather subjective and strongly dependent upon the interaction of the playing styles of the two players. And the pool of playtesters is always much, much smaller than the pool of all players so is it realistic to uncover ever contingency during playtesting?


Richard, of course you're right, it must be something I have against odd numbers. I am talking about Scenario 30, not 29. I edited my posts above.

No one ios asking for perfection, I also enjoy many scenarios which are unbalanced or extremely difficult to play for one side. One of which is #104, by Wong as well. But I think #30 is a special case. Those 2 German HMGs are really too strong, and that should have come out in playtesting. If it was just a printing error or some last minute (wrong) change, why not to publish an erratum?



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Mike Smith
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Methinks the CC team should make a Knizia CC leader counter and print it in C3i. Should be Major Knizia at least...

Combat Commander and Amun-Re are two of my favourite games of all time, so reading your post made for an unusual collision in my head!
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Chick Lewis
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In 4 plays as Russians I have never been able to win Scenario 30. Once I felt that I wasn't too badly humiliated, but that's the best.
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Rick Galli
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In my experience, Scenario 30 "Red Skies at Night", as published, is one of the most one-sided Combat Commander scenarios.

When I play this one, I usually swap out both German HMGs for LMGs. Even with this change the scenario still favors the Germans, but only a little, and the Russians can eke out a win.

This scenario (modified to use LMGs) was used in Round 3 of the 6th BGG Combat Commander Vassal Tournament, and there were 11 Axis wins out of 18 games played.

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David desJardins
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gallid wrote:
In my experience, Scenario 30 "Red Skies at Night", as published, is one of the most one-sided Combat Commander scenarios.


+1.
 
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