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Subject: Two player grand campaign game? rss

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Phil Hatfield
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Helena
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Since I moved about 7 years ago, I haven't been able to wrangle up enough players that are willing to invest the time to play this game (or any war games, for that matter). But I have found ONE fellow that both likes war games and doesn't mind sinking his teeth into really long games.

So I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the viability of playing the grand campaign with just two players.

Obviously one person would play France, and one would play England. The English player would probably also play Prussia and Austria. Would it be out of the realm of possibility for the French player to play either Russia or the Turks? (Certainly not both, right?)

What about potential sway countries, like Spain? Or the Turks if the French player runs Russia too? Or Russia if the French player runs the Turks?

Any thoughts on this?
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Jon Karlsson
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At least the rules cater for it; there are rules for how to and who controls uncontrolled major powers.

(I also recall that my group thought those rules worked rather badly, but I don't remember why.)
 
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Wendell
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Yellow Springs
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Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
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Jon Karlsson wrote:
At least the rules cater for it; there are rules for how to and who controls uncontrolled major powers.

(I also recall that my group thought those rules worked rather badly, but I don't remember why.)


The UMP (uncontrolled major power) rules are not great. Mostly because it makes some of the UMPs very easy to knock out of the war. France for example can swat the UMP-Prussians once (or maybe twice) and then, knowing the Prussians have been cowed and will NOT do anything offensive, turn around and smash the Austrians at its leisure.
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Ken
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The campaign games really don't work two player. As Wendell says, the UMP rules pretty much suck and really aren't workable. The way that UMPS can be made inactive penalizes fighting, and that's particularly problematic for Austria and Prussia, who will see plenty of action. And once they're out, the rules don't make them particularly attractive to pick up again, since they typically don't end up building what they would have built if they were "real" players.

You could use the rules where playing multiple powers means that in order to win, every power you control must win. But that's a very, very steep hill to climb and really requires that the players control a strange mix of powers to create balance.

Really not a two player game for the campaigns, though the scenarios can be interesting. One thing that I do like about the scenarios is that money is much harder to come by and you have to do more foraging.
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Raven Zachary
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What about a PBeM game for the seven player experience? Unthinkable?
 
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Ken
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ravenme wrote:
What about a PBeM game for the seven player experience? Unthinkable?


I've never joined one, though they certainly get some mentions on the EiA group on Yahoo (and probably the one on Google Groups). They seem to take a very long time to progress, and often appear to lose players due to setbacks (lose a war? bail on the game) that should be recoverable in the longer term. Many also really need a good GM to run the game, and preferably one that isn't playing.

All of that has kept me from joining one. Particularly the time. It often appears to take more time in real-time than game-time to complete a turn.
 
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Jean Tessier
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I'll concur that PBeM Games take longer than usual. All it takes is one player to not be on top of it and the whole chain slows down to a crawl.

But it still worth it just to get a chance to play. I respond within 24 hours if anyone is ever interested!

Jean
 
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allan wielund
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GrimacePCH wrote:
I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the viability of playing the grand campaign with just two players.


If you´re just 2 players, then obviously any real diplomacy is off.

The real Napolenic Wars were a series of campaigns, and so is the EiA game.

I think you could set up a "Campaign Tree" with a more or less cronological series of regional campaign scenarios.

These can be linked together (mostly for the France player) with bonuses or penalties for victories or defeats in previous scenarios carried over ... if France lost the previous scenario a larger proportion of the army will be militia, if they won they will have corps on loan etc.
Other bonuses/penalties: English Money, sea supplies, leader availability, a maximum for the number of cavalry that may be recruited due to lack of decent horses, losing or gaining dominant status, reinforcements/delayed reinforcements, Free States switching sides ...

Also try parallel ("simultanious") scenarios, where the France player has to divide his army between the spanish and austrian fronts, or where the England player will have to divide his fleet to counter "The Armed Neutrality Coalition" of Denmark, Sweden and Russia in 1801, while at the same time keeping the French Mediterranian Fleet in check ... take some liberties and include a land element (Egypt?).


I have made campaign trees when playing Warhammer with my Brother, and I think similar trees can be set up for EiA.
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Greg Boeser
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I tried a two player campaign game using UMPs. I thought that an annual shuffling of alliances would prove interesting. I quickly realized that with all the political points concentrated on just two players, the game would go south very quickly for the British player, while France gobbled up all of Europe. With France using its UMPs to soften up his victims then retiring, while France delivered the coup de grace.
Russia makes a good UMP, with its high manpower total. Turkey too, with all those expendable Feudal corps. But Spain and Prussia are just too weak to count on. One or two battles and they are done. Plus there is the consideration that a player might be tempted to play a particular UMP poorly to incur heavy losses, then let it slip to the other side at the end of the year and beat up the weakened UMP the following spring. This is especially true if France gains Austria or Prussia (unlikely, but possible)
The reduced economic activity of neutral UMPs means that a newly activated UMP will be weaker than normal.
Then there all the thorny questions that are not clear in the rules.
Control of minor countries, for example. An UMP is permitted to attempt control, but does that apply to attacks initiated by the same player?
 
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Ken
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gozerius wrote:
I tried a two player campaign game using UMPs.


Ugh. The UMP rules are simply horrible. UMPs lack the punching power for a sustained war and the cost of getting/using/keeping them really makes them a VP drag. Even if France "gobbled up" all of Europe, that player would end up having to sink so much into keeping the right UMPs that I'd lay odds on Britain winning. Particularly if Britain can keep an all-out naval alliance from forming by nabbing Russia or Spain.

Quote:
Then there all the thorny questions that are not clear in the rules.
Control of minor countries, for example. An UMP is permitted to attempt control, but does that apply to attacks initiated by the same player?


No, they can attempt control just like any player power. They merely use the national modifier for the controlling power rather than their "normal" modifier.

But I would play scenarios before I tried using that many UMPs. Even if a game is short players, I'd try using the rules for one player controlling two powers (must with with both to win at all) before I'd use the UMP rules. We tried them a few times and they were completely miserable and useless. Particularly if when an UMP was forced into an unconditional. They rebuild so slowly while neutral that it's far too long before anybody really wants them again.
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