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Subject: First purchase in the COIN series? rss

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Jared Inc.
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This game seems fascinating. If I learned anything from playing Labyrinth, it's that I enjoy the real-world relevance of simulating an ongoing conflict and Volko makes good games. I read the rulebook and was excited to pick up my copy when suddenly... Sold Out

Well then... Looking at the other entries in the coin series, Andean Abyss takes 6 hours (!) insuring that it will almost never see play and Cuba Libre's map looks a little cramped. Realistically, I'm probably going to wait for a second printing of a distant plain as its the one that grabbed my attention but this all got me wondering...

How similar are the COIN games? Do many of you own or play the other entries?
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Mark Evans
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I play all three and like them all for different reasons. Don't let the cramped quarters of Cuba Libre put you off. It is a great game. Andean Abyss is long. Distant Plain can be long if you play the Extended Scenario. I find Distant Plain to be my current favorite due to the unsettling feeling that this is still happening.
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Well, if you are patient, you might want to wait for Fire in the Lake, which is shaping up to be the king of the COIN series.

I enjoy Andean Abyss a lot (playing a game right now), but admit it might not be as accessible as Distant Plain due to less familiarity with its subject.

To the meat of your question, the COIN system is very similar across games, so learning one will make it easy to learn another.
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Brian Berg Asklev Hansen
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Cuba Libre is an excellent starter game, as its smaller map makes it less overwhelming the first time you try the COIN series
(not that it´s a difficult series in any way - but definetaly one with a certain "....hmmm what the heck am I supposed to do" feeling the first time you try it. Not unlike Labyrinth)

Cuba Libre is not just an intro game though and its smaller map makes it a very tense game in a different way than AA or ADP. I have played all the games in the series several times, and CL is probably my favorite one.

Brian
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Matt
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I got Cuba Libre after ADP, and I wish I had gotten it first. It is a great way to get your head around the system. And it is not a "beginner" game by any stretch of the imagination; it is just more compact.
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Randy Knight
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I very much recommend Andean Abyss. By far my favorite of the current 3 coin games! A beautiful game.

A Distant Plain is a decent game, but it is rather odd in the way the government and the coalition interact, which puts me off.

Cuba Libre is also a decent game, however I found it takes too long to develop strategies and implement them, while A Distant Plain and Andean Abyss allow one to devise and go for a variety of strategies, with enough turns to implement and judge the success or failure of the plans.

One knock against all three games is that there is a lot of luck involved in the card draws. I'd say luck can change the outcome, based on the timing of the cards.

Thats my two cents.

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tom moughan
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Context: I own all 3...and labyrinth.

If you thought Labyrinth was interesting yet heavy, I would start with either A Distant Plain of Cuba Libre. Andean Abyss, though great, requires a lot of bookkeeping on-board. The two levels of support and crowded small areas of the board can be a bit overwhelming to new players. The others are much more streamlined.

If I had to choose any of the current offerings as I ran out of a burning fire (after my child of course) it would be ADP.
 
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aslredbarricades wrote:


A Distant Plain is a decent game, but it is rather odd in the way the government and the coalition interact, which puts me off.


I wonder if you would elaborate on that because it disturbs me a little in the prospects for Fire in the Lake because my guess is that the US and ARVN and VC and NVA are going to interact similarly.


Quote:
One knock against all three games is that there is a lot of luck involved in the card draws. I'd say luck can change the outcome, based on the timing of the cards.


I don't know if it should really be a knock. Whenever the L-word is mentioned, I like to direct people to these links:

The L-Word
That Final Dice Roll

If I recall correctly, the author didn't care for Andean Abyss, but I think it was for other reasons than the random elements.
 
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Jason Albert
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Scottgun wrote:
I wonder if you would elaborate on that because it disturbs me a little in the prospects for Fire in the Lake because my guess is that the US and ARVN and VC and NVA are going to interact similarly.


They’re both COIN forces, but often working at cross-purposes. It creates tension and friction.

Like everything related to wargames (and everything else in the world, I guess), some people like what other people don’t like. For me, that very dynamic is why I enjoy ADP the most out of the three released so far.
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Dan Carey
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Time-wise, my experience is that A Distant Plain takes about as long as Andean Abyss to play. I've seen a couple of games of ADP end on the third or so propaganda card, which I have not seen in AA. The other games went on for multiple hours.
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John Rogers
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AlbertaClipper wrote:
Scottgun wrote:
I wonder if you would elaborate on that because it disturbs me a little in the prospects for Fire in the Lake because my guess is that the US and ARVN and VC and NVA are going to interact similarly.


They’re both COIN forces, but often working at cross-purposes. It creates tension and friction.

Like everything related to wargames (and everything else in the world, I guess), some people like what other people don’t like. For me, that very dynamic is why I enjoy ADP the most out of the three released so far.


Likewise. I enjoy all the COIN games so far but the Coalition/Government dynamic is delicious.
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Jeff Gringer
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AlbertaClipper wrote:
Scottgun wrote:
I wonder if you would elaborate on that because it disturbs me a little in the prospects for Fire in the Lake because my guess is that the US and ARVN and VC and NVA are going to interact similarly.


They’re both COIN forces, but often working at cross-purposes. It creates tension and friction.

Like everything related to wargames (and everything else in the world, I guess), some people like what other people don’t like. For me, that very dynamic is why I enjoy ADP the most out of the three released so far.

I assume that Jason's assumption is correct, if not, my bad.

I totally concur with the dysfunctional relationship between Coalition (US/NATO) and the Government (Karzai) makes for the best part of the game. Not only is the 'bad marriage' true to life, it makes for fascinating game play, 'cause they can't shoot at each other.

It also can give us all some insight into what Karzai and the Afghans are doing, and even evoke a twinge of sympathy for those guys. Which I read as another major plus of the game, since it teaches us something.
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Randall Garlington
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AlbertaClipper wrote:
Scottgun wrote:
I wonder if you would elaborate on that because it disturbs me a little in the prospects for Fire in the Lake because my guess is that the US and ARVN and VC and NVA are going to interact similarly.


They’re both COIN forces, but often working at cross-purposes. It creates tension and friction.

Like everything related to wargames (and everything else in the world, I guess), some people like what other people don’t like. For me, that very dynamic is why I enjoy ADP the most out of the three released so far.


So what you are saying is the COIN forces act a lot like a married couple.
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Eric Guttag
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Jared,

I currently own A Distant Plain and Andean Abyss, and plan to get Cuba Libre at some point. All of the COIN series have been fun to play, offering different challenges, and as one who play lots of solitaire COIN (like several dozens solitaire games of both ADP and AA), they play well solitaire or multi-player.

I got into the COIN series when I became a playtester for the 4th in the Series, Fire in the Lake because it is about Vietnam. I own two other Vietnam games (Silver Bayonet and Hearts and Mind), as well as Fields of Fire which has a Vietnam module. I'm glad I own these three games because there are very few wargames on Vietnam. But in my opinion, FITL (which when it comes out in July, will be the "crown jewel" of the COIN series) will be the best Vietnam game of them all.
 
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Jared Inc.
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Thanks for all the input everyone.

I ordered Cuba Libre today after hearing all the positive reviews. If I can find receptive players, I may have to pick up a few of the others.
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Max Packer
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The COIN games all have a very similar game mechanic that allow for the player to smoothly cross learn/play each. I own A Distant Plain and enjoy the politics of the different factions and how they interact. I don't mind the "luck" of the draw, so to speak. Life, love, and wars are all somewhat planned, but luck always plays a part (right place/right time theory). I do not own or play any other COIN's at the moment, but the new Vietnam game is on my radar.
 
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