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Subject: balancing the Coalition and Government rss

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Jeff Kouba

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I have a couple of games under my belt now. It's a fascinating game. I'm enjoying the interplay between the factions.

I'm finding the Coalition/Government partnership especially intriguing. They have shared interests, but the Government also wants to skim off the top of the Aid.

What I'm still trying to figure out is how the Coalition needs to balance its requirement of COIN control in order to do Civic Action, while at the same time not giving the Government control of too much.

The Coalition wants to bring train Government pieces onto the board, for several reasons. Serving as cannon fodder to prevent costly Coalition casualties is one of them, but the Coalition also needs COIN control in spaces, and doesn't want to do that by putting all the Coalition pieces on the board. COIN control is easier to achieve by putting enough Government pieces into a space.

However, COIN control is directly tied to the Government's victory conditions. By putting Government pieces on the board, the Coalition is helping the Government win.

So, in your experience, how does the Coalition best balance that? How does the Coalition avoid going to far in helping the Government win, while at the same time using the Government pieces it needs?
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Gordon J
United States
Eagan
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The best way I think is for Coalition to go into space with Govt. cubes, train and Civic Action and all of that, get it to Support, and then get those pieces out of there, leave the Support space alone so that way the Govt. is no longer collecting the COIN VPs. Which means I think as Coalition is to use your Air Lift to go to out of the way spaces the Govt can't get to easily, do your deeds and then Air Lift them out of there or Sweep Govt pieces out of that space. It's a long process but it has to be done if you are playing with a crafty Govt. player.
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Kevin Walsh
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It's an interesting one in the short scenario because the Coalition starts with all its bases on the board, and I think the Government starts off with Police in all those areas. (Although I guess you can dispose of the Police with Patrol - never really thought of that).

I had my first game yesterday, playing Obama's War, and after a monstrous level of military success before the first Propaganda round where every Taliban base in Afghanistan was destroyed and there was about 20 Support, I figured I'd try to surge out before the 2nd Propaganda round. I pulled out my bases along with the troops, and the Government was able to Govern away most of my Support. If I'd left my bases still down, I might have been able to win.

The Government won in the end*, though the Taliban were in a pretty scary position, because they had Mullah Omar and a lot of high population areas were uncontrolled.

* 12 Event cards were under Propaganda card 4. I was sick.
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Sam Butler
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Note that the Government cannot skim off support where there is also a Coalition base. So, as the Coalition, it is advantageous to place Coalition bases in the highest-population spaces that are at support (or planned to be at support in the future). This allows the Coalition to keep the Support established, without fear it can be skimmed off routinely -- although be forewarned, there is at least one card event that will still allow the Government to skim off said support, but that is a special case.

Note though that the Coalition will have an easier time achieving victory if a minimum number of total spaces are at Support...you can only redeploy from 3 spaces maximum (plus the available track), and you also want fewer pieces on the board overall.

Another handy Coalition tactic is to bring Government troops along on a Sweep or Transport, since Government troops are killed off before Coalition troops (in general, barring a special event).

As the Government, don't be afraid to abandon a location for greener pastures, allowing the guerillas to target Coalition forces. You need to spread out a bit more, so you can get COIN control of a higher total population of spaces. That said, be aware that you will lose some COIN control (likely in the highest-population spaces) when the Coalition redeploys, so if it seems likely they will withdraw soon, you may not want to relocate your cubes back at those spaces.

I have also noticed in 2 Long 4-player games (one currently in progress but about half done) that it seems the Taliban and Warlords are worse off to start with than the Coalition and Government. The Taliban and Warlords can eventually crawl back (in fact, in the first game, the Warlords won; the second game is in progress still, will be finished up by Vassal shortly after New Year's)...but both times, at first the Taliban was pretty weak, and the Warlords were a bit stronger but not incredibly strong, until about the halfway point. I think this might be intended design (although it also may be because we are playing factions new to us)...but in the Long game at least, it appears based on my very limited experience that the Government can focus on skimming off support at first easier than may be possible later on in the game.
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butsam wrote:

I have also noticed in 2 Long 4-player games (one currently in progress but about half done) that it seems the Taliban and Warlords are worse off to start with than the Coalition and Government. The Taliban and Warlords can eventually crawl back (in fact, in the first game, the Warlords won; the second game is in progress still, will be finished up by Vassal shortly after New Year's)...but both times, at first the Taliban was pretty weak, and the Warlords were a bit stronger but not incredibly strong, until about the halfway point. I think this might be intended design (although it also may be because we are playing factions new to us)...but in the Long game at least, it appears based on my very limited experience that the Government can focus on skimming off support at first easier than may be possible later on in the game.


I'm playing Coalition in the 4-player game Sam is referring to.

I think the COIN team can crash out of the gates quickly, putting the Insurgents on the defensive early. Between Train and Surge it's easy to drop a lot of cubes on the board quickly. The insurgents, on the other hand, have to slowly build up their forces.

One of the things I'm trying to do with our current game is to not help the Government put troops down. I will put down a few cubes here and there as meat shields or to maintain COIN control but that is the extent of it. This frees up money to spend on Civic Actions so I rushed out to an early lead by getting a lot of gov support early. Just do a minimum of training a whole lot of Civic Actions. It also forces the government to use the Training action to drop cubes when they might prefer to do something else.

I think it's worthwhile for the Taliban to do an early Attack on COalition forces. This keep them honest so that the Coalition feels some pressure to keep their troops surrounded by blue. Otherwise, the Coalition will just Airlift and Surge around the board without concern for losing any cubes.

One thing I've noticed about our game is that weak insurgents help the Government more than the Coalition. Just spam cubes around the board and unless the insurgents are contesting control it's easy to establish COIN control.

Brian
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