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Subject: Good game to start the COIN series? rss

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Mike
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Hi,

I'm looking for a new wargame and this series looks interesting. Would it be a good place to start with the "A Distant Plain" game or is there any one of the previous two games that you would recommend over this one?

BR / Mikael
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Wendell
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I haven't played ADP yet but Cuba Libre might be a better place to start if only because it is the smallest of the COIN games so far.
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Tuomo Syvänperä
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From what I've understood, Cuba Libre might be the best place to start. I've only actually played Andean Abyss (just went thought the example of play with A Distant Plain a few days ago) and AA is in my opinion much easier than Distant Plain at least. I wouldn't suggest Distant Plain as your first game in the series.
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chris leko
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Cuba Libre is probably the easiest to learn, only because I think there will be less analysis paralysis. There are still a ton of options each turn, and the decision making is still complex and layered. A Distant Plain has more options and a bit more complexity, which might make it harder for newer players, but depending on your gaming history it might not be that bad. It's a bit of euro mixed with a bit of area control.

I'd say pick the one with the theme you like the most, or just go with CL if you're worried. All the rulebooks are available for download, and there's great walk through videos on YouTube.
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Andy Andersen
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Eekamouse just downloaded a video review of Cuba Libre.
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Mike
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often wrote:
Cuba Libre is probably the easiest to learn, only because I think there will be less analysis paralysis. There are still a ton of options each turn, and the decision making is still complex and layered. A Distant Plain has more options and a bit more complexity, which might make it harder for newer players, but depending on your gaming history it might not be that bad. It's a bit of euro mixed with a bit of area control.

I'd say pick the one with the theme you like the most, or just go with CL if you're worried. All the rulebooks are available for download, and there's great walk through videos on YouTube.


Orangemoose wrote:
Eekamouse just downloaded a video review of Cuba Libre.


Thanks! I did just see a video review of Cuba Libre and I think I like the theme better in A Distant Plain. I guess downloading the manuals is one way to start just to see how much complexity there is.
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Mike
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wifwendell wrote:
I haven't played ADP yet but Cuba Libre might be a better place to start if only because it is the smallest of the COIN games so far.


Thanks! I don't think that being smaller is better, I don't mind complexity as long as it fits the theme and has some logic behind it. Bigger might be better for re-playability.

Anyone played the games solo with the robots? If the game is more complex I might play it solo more often. Is there any one game in the series that has better solo rules?
 
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chris leko
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Mikaelh wrote:
wifwendell wrote:
I haven't played ADP yet but Cuba Libre might be a better place to start if only because it is the smallest of the COIN games so far.


Thanks! I don't think that being smaller is better, I don't mind complexity as long as it fits the theme and has some logic behind it. Bigger might be better for re-playability.

Anyone played the games solo with the robots? If the game is more complex I might play it solo more often. Is there any one game in the series that has better solo rules?


The bots are a bit more developed in Vol 2 and 3, but I haven't actually played with them yet. I do tend to play solo a lot, but I just control all factions and see how well I can do. It is different than playing against the bots. I enjoyed playing against the AA bots, but at the same time it felt a lot more fiddly than it should, because you spend about 3/4 of your time running flow-charts.

And, for the most part, the rules are the same for solo between all the games, except in ADP, when you are soling you need to have the best victory margin at every prop card, something that isn't built into the other games.
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Mike
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often wrote:

The bots are a bit more developed in Vol 2 and 3, but I haven't actually played with them yet. I do tend to play solo a lot, but I just control all factions and see how well I can do. It is different than playing against the bots. I enjoyed playing against the AA bots, but at the same time it felt a lot more fiddly than it should, because you spend about 3/4 of your time running flow-charts.

And, for the most part, the rules are the same for solo between all the games, except in ADP, when you are soling you need to have the best victory margin at every prop card, something that isn't built into the other games.


Ok, that is also of course a good way to experience the game. Thanks!
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Steve Carey
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I agree with others that CL is the best place to start with COIN.

My experience with ADP is limited (I was a playtester for CL and have also enjoyed numerous AA sessions), yet ADP strikes me as the most complex of the three.

For what it's worth, COIN plays terrific solo even without using the bots - the conceptual complexity, endless twists and turns, and an engaging narrative all contribute to a fine solitaire experience.
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Steve Carey wrote:
For what it's worth, COIN plays terrific solo even without using the bots - the conceptual complexity, endless twists and turns, and an engaging narrative all contribute to a fine solitaire experience.


In fact i would recommend playing all factions in a solo game to learn the system (regardless of the actual game chosen). The core rules for all games are very simar and playing all factions helps a lot in understanding the game. On the other hand, i wouldn't recommend trying to lean the game with jus the rules. They (unfortunately) sound way (!) more complicated than the games really are...

All three of them are wonderful games.
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Adam Parker
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Mikaelh wrote:
Hi, I'm looking for a new wargame and this series looks interesting. Would it be a good place to start with the "A Distant Plain" game or is there any one of the previous two games that you would recommend over this one?


Question 1: Mike, are you an experienced war gamer?
Question 2: What COIN topic available interests you most?


If you answered "YES" to Q1 and "Afghanistan" to Q2, then go buy A Distant Plain.

If you answered "NO" to Q1, then unfortunately I would not recommend ADP.

It's not that the game is hard - it isn't.

The rules though are not well written and it's really disappointed me a week after having the game on my table. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this game to the non-war gaming general public as is.

Even some of the card text is so disjointed as to make me doubt my thinking - and in a recreational game that is a bad thing.
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Steve Carey
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Adam Parker wrote:
The rules though are not well written...


I have to disagree here, Adam - for such an innovative system, the COIN rules (plus supporting play aids) do a very good job at explaining things. It's properly putting those rules into practice where difficulties can occur.

Adam Parker wrote:
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this game to the non-war gaming general public as is.


I do agree with you here - the conceptual complexity of COIN is not easy to grasp, so the system is much more suited for wargamers in my opinion.
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chris leko
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Adam Parker wrote:
Mikaelh wrote:
Hi, I'm looking for a new wargame and this series looks interesting. Would it be a good place to start with the "A Distant Plain" game or is there any one of the previous two games that you would recommend over this one?


Question 1: Mike, are you an experienced war gamer?
Question 2: What COIN topic available interests you most?


If you answered "YES" to Q1 and "Afghanistan" to Q2, then go buy A Distant Plain.

If you answered "NO" to Q1, then unfortunately I would not recommend ADP.

It's not that the game is hard - it isn't.

The rules though are not well written and it's really disappointed me a week after having the game on my table. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this game to the non-war gaming general public as is.

Even some of the card text is so disjointed as to make me doubt my thinking - and in a recreational game that is a bad thing.


I'm not sure I'd agree with you here. Granted ADP doesn't have as much playtime as the other two on the series, but it's a quick transition from the other games, and the rule book is almost the same between them.

Andean Abyss was one of the first wargames I've played and I didn't have any real issues with the rulebook or cards, and I haven't seen any problems on ADP.

ADP is definitely the most complex of the series, but I think k anyone can play it and understand the rulebook. I do know that some of the playbook might be a bit off, but that tends to happen for many games. The best way to learn the game is just to play it a few times, paying close attention to the player aids, that's how I learned AA.
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Adam Parker
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Steve I love the concept of COIN and everything in it - I played Andean Abyss for weeks.

But in ADP:

Quote:
"3.3.2...PROCEDURE: The executing Faction moves any of its Guerrillas desired into adjacent spaces (1.3.3). Warlord Guerrillas move once only. Taliban Guerrillas may conduct additional Marches (paying for added destinations) if the destination was Pashtun. Guerrillas moving from 1 space to another move as a single group. Set Guerrillas of a moving group to Active (1.4.3) if:
• The destination is a LoC, or — for Taliban March —a non-Pashtun space (1.3.2-.3), or — for Warlord March — Pashtun, AND
• The moving group’s number of Guerrillas plus the number of enemy Guerrillas and, for Taliban March only, cubes in the des- tination space exceeds 3."


Now, I understand what this means, after having read it initially 3 times. But it is far from clearly written.

Quote:
"8.1.2 Procedure Guidelines...
• Remove enemy Bases before other pieces, Underground before Active Guerrillas, and Police then Troops evenly (each space); otherwise select randomly among enemy Factions. Remove pieces to be replaced even if no pieces are available to replace them (1.4.1)."


I have no idea what that means at all.
 
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Adam Parker wrote:
Steve I love the concept of COIN and everything in it - I played Andean Abyss for weeks.

But in ADP:

Quote:
"3.3.2...PROCEDURE: The executing Faction moves any of its Guerrillas desired into adjacent spaces (1.3.3). Warlord Guerrillas move once only. Taliban Guerrillas may conduct additional Marches (paying for added destinations) if the destination was Pashtun. Guerrillas moving from 1 space to another move as a single group. Set Guerrillas of a moving group to Active (1.4.3) if:
• The destination is a LoC, or — for Taliban March —a non-Pashtun space (1.3.2-.3), or — for Warlord March — Pashtun, AND
• The moving group’s number of Guerrillas plus the number of enemy Guerrillas and, for Taliban March only, cubes in the des- tination space exceeds 3."


Now, I understand what this means, after having read it initially 3 times. But it is far from clearly written.

Quote:
"8.1.2 Procedure Guidelines...
• Remove enemy Bases before other pieces, Underground before Active Guerrillas, and Police then Troops evenly (each space); otherwise select randomly among enemy Factions. Remove pieces to be replaced even if no pieces are available to replace them (1.4.1)."


I have no idea what that means at all.


I actually find the second quote easy to understand, especially when combined with the sentence you left out:

Unless otherwise specified, once
spaces involved are selected, Non-player Factions:


It's a shopping list of how the non-player factions work when removing 'enemy' cubes.

Now don't get me wrong the terse nature of the rules have left me scratching my head as well, especially some of the card wording, just wanted to comment on the piece of text you quoted though. Playing repeated solo games has helped though.
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Thanks Pete. I think in this one it would be good for me to buddy up and take a Coalition approach to learning

I'm not giving up on it. I think there's a wonderful engine here on a very important topic. But I hate putting my playing time into rules lawyering. You know what I mean.

If you're ever at Milsims we should bring our manuals and sit down with a coffee a few doors down!
 
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Adam Parker wrote:
Thanks Pete. I think in this one it would be good for me to buddy up and take a Coalition approach to learning

I'm not giving up on it. I think there's a wonderful engine here on a very important topic. But I hate putting my playing time into rules lawyering. You know what I mean.

If you're ever at Milsims we should bring our manuals and sit down with a coffee a few doors down!



Man I'd never get any work done.

I don't get over to Milsims as much as I would like though.
I agree there is an amazing game in here, and I'm trying to get my act together and write up a detailed session report to show how much I love it!
 
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Mike
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Adam Parker wrote:

Question 1: Mike, are you an experienced war gamer?
Question 2: What COIN topic available interests you most?


If you answered "YES" to Q1 and "Afghanistan" to Q2, then go buy A Distant Plain.

If you answered "NO" to Q1, then unfortunately I would not recommend ADP.

It's not that the game is hard - it isn't.

The rules though are not well written and it's really disappointed me a week after having the game on my table. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this game to the non-war gaming general public as is.

Even some of the card text is so disjointed as to make me doubt my thinking - and in a recreational game that is a bad thing.


Thanks! I'm not sure I'm that experienced, but I do own ASL and Combat Commander and I usually don't have too much problems with learning rules. The problem is teaching them to others if they are too complex. Too much book keeping and reading the manual during playtime can
intimidate some people.
I think Afghanistan is probably more interesting as a theme but I want the most fun for my buck when I pick a game.
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Mikaelh wrote:
Thanks! I'm not sure I'm that experienced, but I do own ASL and Combat Commander and I usually don't have too much problems with learning rules... I think Afghanistan is probably more interesting as a theme but I want the most fun for my buck when I pick a game.


Hi Mike, I think then that you should go with A Distant Plain. ASL qualifies you for it

But never forget - with Combat Commander we have an example of one of the best rules writers in the business. Next to Mark Simonitch, Chad Jensen heads my pantheon of rules-craftsmen I respect.

And Lee Brimmicombe-Wood (Bomber Command) is the master of Play Aids.

(Volko is the master of bloody-good, unique game design )
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Mike
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Adam Parker wrote:

Hi Mike, I think then that you should go with A Distant Plain. ASL qualifies you for it

But never forget - with Combat Commander we have an example of one of the best rules writers in the business. Next to Mark Simonitch, Chad Jensen heads my pantheon of rules-craftsmen I respect.

And Lee Brimmicombe-Wood (Bomber Command) is the master of Play Aids.

(Volko is the master of bloody-good, unique game design )


Thanks for the advice! Always interesting to get to know some new game design!

The map of Cuba Libre looks less fun to me, linear rather than the Distant Plain map where regions are more connected? Perhaps this has little effect in the game?

I'm leaning towards A Distant Plane.
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Adam Parker wrote:
But never forget - with Combat Commander we have an example of one of the best rules writers in the business. Next to Mark Simonitch, Chad Jensen heads my pantheon of rules-craftsmen I respect.

Note that Mark was the editor on ADP (and the rest of COIN).

I agree with you that the Combat Commander rules are an epitome.

Volko
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Mikaelh wrote:
The map of Cuba Libre looks less fun to me, linear rather than the Distant Plain map where regions are more connected? Perhaps this has little effect in the game?


The map in CL appears tight, but it is deceptive. You are constantly rubbing shoulders with other players thus making each and every decision rather tense (and often with a sense of urgency, too).

The smaller CL map works exceedingly well in practice.
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Jakub Glazik
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I would recommend also Quick Scenario for Andean Abyss. Tested it a few times, also with players new in this business (some even new in wargames) and it works great. Game with new players, so with full rule explanation have taken about 3-3.5 hours.
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