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Subject: Euro + Ameritrash = Reese's Peanut Butter Cups? rss

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Ted Elrick
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I love big beefy board games like StarCraft, Eclipse, Star Wars OT Risk and Axis and Allies, but there are some major drawbacks. Play time and down time are the biggest ones, but I also always have the feeling that I'd like to see a deeper economy engine in them.

Then I started thinking, well the best economy engines are found in euros. Wouldn't it be cool if you could play a euro while you're playing an Ameritrash game. You play your turn in one while your opponent(s) are playing theirs in another.

THEN I started thinking, what if they were 2 parts of the same game. The money in the euro could be used to buy troops and the victory points could be used to conduct research or level up troops or boost morale or something like that. No longer do you have 1 giant turn while everyone waits, now you do your economy turn while someone attacks and then you attack while someone does their economy.

Is this a stupid idea? What games would go together?

Off the top of my head, Lords of Waterdeep could fuel a decent D&D themed game of HeroScape. Each team starts with 400 points of troops and you can buy more troops with victory points where 1 VP = 1 HeroScape unit point. The first team to lose all their troops loses the game.

Spyrium + Warmachine would be kind of cool. Any space based euro + Star Wars Risk or Starcraft Risk could work. Instead of getting reinforcements normally, you'd buy them with your euro money/VP. Some trading in the Mediterranean game combined with Napoleonic wars?

I'd love to get people's ideas below and I think I'm going to try this out with my buddies.
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Joe
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Cool thought. I will say that even though it looks like a wargame, Space Empires 4x scratches this itch for me. You might also REALLY enjoy Conquest of Paradise. Beautiful, short 4x game.

I'm writing my own 4x game to use with Ancient Battles Deluxe. There is a game that already does this but it's hard to find.
 
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Brian M
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You might want to check out Eclipse, Cyclades and Kemet for samples of solid, elegant mechanics with conflict-heavy themes.
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Darrell Hanning
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Snappleman wrote:
Then I started thinking, well the best economy engines are found in euros. Wouldn't it be cool if you could play a euro while you're playing an Ameritrash game. You play your turn in one while your opponent(s) are playing theirs in another.

THEN I started thinking, what if they were 2 parts of the same game. The money in the euro could be used to buy troops and the victory points could be used to conduct research or level up troops or boost morale or something like that. No longer do you have 1 giant turn while everyone waits, now you do your economy turn while someone attacks and then you attack while someone does their economy.


What you're referring to is simultaneous execution of an asymmetrical sequence of play.

Simultaneous resolution is seen in some games, and regularly exercised in others where the players are all familiar with the game system, and trusting of each other. This isn't that big a deal, but it can lead to other players losing valuable in-game context, as to the intentions of other players.

Asymmetrical sequences of play are another animal, and generally only found in very specific cases where the designer has essentially built the game around a certain disparity. This is most often seen in wargames, and in those often implemented to provide one side or the other some type of offensive/initiative advantage.

But to combine the two...well, that would be pretty, damn hairy.

For one thing, if one player is getting to do production before combat, and another player is not, then the first player is going to have a decided advantage, because they were afforded the opportunity to build additional forces, prior to commitment in combat.

And what happens when someone in their combat phase wants to attack you while you're in your economic phase? Do you stop and participate in combat? Or are you free from being attacked? (Which would certainly stilt the game in your favor.) Or - worse still - are you forced to dispense with economics, resolve the combat, and now resume enconomics with the affects of that combat altering your output?

This is probably just the tip of the iceberg - I imagine a lot of gamers thinking further on this could come up with even more difficulties.
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Ted Elrick
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DarrellKH wrote:
Snappleman wrote:
Then I started thinking, well the best economy engines are found in euros. Wouldn't it be cool if you could play a euro while you're playing an Ameritrash game. You play your turn in one while your opponent(s) are playing theirs in another.

THEN I started thinking, what if they were 2 parts of the same game. The money in the euro could be used to buy troops and the victory points could be used to conduct research or level up troops or boost morale or something like that. No longer do you have 1 giant turn while everyone waits, now you do your economy turn while someone attacks and then you attack while someone does their economy.


What you're referring to is simultaneous execution of an asymmetrical sequence of play.

Simultaneous resolution is seen in some games, and regularly exercised in others where the players are all familiar with the game system, and trusting of each other. This isn't that big a deal, but it can lead to other players losing valuable in-game context, as to the intentions of other players.

Asymmetrical sequences of play are another animal, and generally only found in very specific cases where the designer has essentially built the game around a certain disparity. This is most often seen in wargames, and in those often implemented to provide one side or the other some type of offensive/initiative advantage.

But to combine the two...well, that would be pretty, damn hairy.

For one thing, if one player is getting to do production before combat, and another player is not, then the first player is going to have a decided advantage, because they were afforded the opportunity to build additional forces, prior to commitment in combat.

And what happens when someone in their combat phase wants to attack you while you're in your economic phase? Do you stop and participate in combat? Or are you free from being attacked? (Which would certainly stilt the game in your favor.) Or - worse still - are you forced to dispense with economics, resolve the combat, and now resume enconomics with the affects of that combat altering your output?

This is probably just the tip of the iceberg - I imagine a lot of gamers thinking further on this could come up with even more difficulties.


I don't want problems, I want solutions soldier! Just kidding. I think one person would start off with their economy phase and then move into their attack phase and while the 1st player is attacking, the 2nd would start their economy. So, no attacking without economy. This would feel similar to most big 4x games except there would be overlap with player's turns.

Attacking a guy while he's working on his economy would be no big deal, just a slight interruption while he rolls defense dice or plays a defense card or whatever. It's actually much simpler than something like Space Cadets Dice Duel where everyone is doing everything at the same time, then all the action pauses while an attack is resolved. This is a little like Dice Duel, but not nearly as chaotic.

The main reason, I'm looking for this type of play is that some of the people I play with are VERY AP prone. I really don't like sitting there for 5 or more minutes while they puzzle out their turn. Sure, I can take my cell phone out, but I'd rather be planning out my next Lords of Waterdeep move or better yet, executing a series of intrigue cards while they plot out whether they're going to shoot an arrow at my wizard or cast a fireball on my ogre. Maybe I'm just playing the wrong games with them, but I have this problem with a lot of games I try.
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Michael Carter
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Snappleman wrote:
DarrellKH wrote:
Snappleman wrote:
Then I started thinking, well the best economy engines are found in euros. Wouldn't it be cool if you could play a euro while you're playing an Ameritrash game. You play your turn in one while your opponent(s) are playing theirs in another.

THEN I started thinking, what if they were 2 parts of the same game. The money in the euro could be used to buy troops and the victory points could be used to conduct research or level up troops or boost morale or something like that. No longer do you have 1 giant turn while everyone waits, now you do your economy turn while someone attacks and then you attack while someone does their economy.


What you're referring to is simultaneous execution of an asymmetrical sequence of play.

Simultaneous resolution is seen in some games, and regularly exercised in others where the players are all familiar with the game system, and trusting of each other. This isn't that big a deal, but it can lead to other players losing valuable in-game context, as to the intentions of other players.

Asymmetrical sequences of play are another animal, and generally only found in very specific cases where the designer has essentially built the game around a certain disparity. This is most often seen in wargames, and in those often implemented to provide one side or the other some type of offensive/initiative advantage.

But to combine the two...well, that would be pretty, damn hairy.

For one thing, if one player is getting to do production before combat, and another player is not, then the first player is going to have a decided advantage, because they were afforded the opportunity to build additional forces, prior to commitment in combat.

And what happens when someone in their combat phase wants to attack you while you're in your economic phase? Do you stop and participate in combat? Or are you free from being attacked? (Which would certainly stilt the game in your favor.) Or - worse still - are you forced to dispense with economics, resolve the combat, and now resume enconomics with the affects of that combat altering your output?

This is probably just the tip of the iceberg - I imagine a lot of gamers thinking further on this could come up with even more difficulties.


I don't want problems, I want solutions soldier! Just kidding. I think one person would start off with their economy phase and then move into their attack phase and while the 1st player is attacking, the 2nd would start their economy. So, no attacking without economy. This would feel similar to most big 4x games except there would be overlap with player's turns.

Attacking a guy while he's working on his economy would be no big deal, just a slight interruption while he rolls defense dice or plays a defense card or whatever. It's actually much simpler than something like Space Cadets Dice Duel where everyone is doing everything at the same time, then all the action pauses while an attack is resolved. This is a little like Dice Duel, but not nearly as chaotic.

The main reason, I'm looking for this type of play is that some of the people I play with are VERY AP prone. I really don't like sitting there for 5 or more minutes while they puzzle out their turn. Sure, I can take my cell phone out, but I'd rather be planning out my next Lords of Waterdeep move or better yet, executing a series of intrigue cards while they plot out whether they're going to shoot an arrow at my wizard or cast a fireball on my ogre. Maybe I'm just playing the wrong games with them, but I have this problem with a lot of games I try.


Good groups already do stuff like that in games where there isn't a problem with someone doing bookkeeping while another player is doing an action that doesn't directly affect the bookkeeping.

You have a people problem more than a game problem.
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I think you might like Wallenstein (second edition)/Shogun, you should check it out (same game, diff. historical theme/locales).

It's got that Euroish economic engine.
It's kind of Ameritrashy too with a lot of posturing and some battles and an awesome cube tower combat resolution system.

Plus, it solves the "wait around during one giant turn" problem.
Everyone at the same time plans out which actions they want to take and in which region. Then one by one you go through the different actions and they play out really fast. So the strategizing is done simultaneously. It does add a nice fog-of-war effect and makes you feel like a field general, first planning out strategy, then having to react on your feet to curve-balls thanks to the reality on the ground.
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Darrell Hanning
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Snappleman wrote:
The main reason, I'm looking for this type of play is that some of the people I play with are VERY AP prone. I really don't like sitting there for 5 or more minutes while they puzzle out their turn. Sure, I can take my cell phone out, but I'd rather be planning out my next Lords of Waterdeep move or better yet, executing a series of intrigue cards while they plot out whether they're going to shoot an arrow at my wizard or cast a fireball on my ogre. Maybe I'm just playing the wrong games with them, but I have this problem with a lot of games I try.


I can certainly empathize with that desire, as there is a regular in my group who consistently takes substantially more time on their moves than anyone else in the group. What simply exacerbates matters is that he wins more than his share of the time - but why wouldn't he, when he affords himself more time to think about his moves than the rest of us do?

It's something you live with, or you don't. If you don't, then you find workarounds, like Nerf bats or egg-timers, or picking games where that isn't going to be the problem. And in pursuit of such games, I'm right there with you, but there are one helluva lot of games I and others really like to play, and we're not going to let one person ruin that for us, nor are we going to blame game design for the problem.
 
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Daniel Fish
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Sounds like a cool idea. Based on your descriptions, sounds like you'll need games where
1) the non-turn players do not have to be heavily involved (as they may be busy with the other game)
2) where one does not need to pay close attention to your opponents turns during the game (either it doesn't matter at all what the opponent did, agree to tell each other what happened, or where the end-of-turn state makes it obvious what happened).

Although this will alleviate some down time, it seems like the more players playing, the less helpful it will be. Could actually be extremely interesting in a 2 or 3 player game, as you'd be practically playing continuously.

You'd probably need to carefully select and playtest the two games together to make sure the interaction of the games doesn't unbalance them.
 
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Snappleman wrote:

Then I started thinking, well the best economy engines are found in euros. Wouldn't it be cool if you could play a euro while you're playing an Ameritrash game. You play your turn in one while your opponent(s) are playing theirs in another.

THEN I started thinking, what if they were 2 parts of the same game. The money in the euro could be used to buy troops and the victory points could be used to conduct research or level up troops or boost morale or something like that. No longer do you have 1 giant turn while everyone waits, now you do your economy turn while someone attacks and then you attack while someone does their economy.



To some extent, older designs allowed for this by using economic forms.
You could (mostly) fill out your economic section while others were
working on the board. These also tended to si-move the economic side
of the game.
 
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Antike.
 
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As someone who is vehemently against economy based war games, I don't think that's going to work.

Adding an economic mechanic is first of all going to make the game take a lot longer. Not only do you have to worry about playing combat effectively, but now you have to manage how well your money flows. This then means a cycle of units disappearing off the board and then being replaced again and again. You'll spend a lot of time physically removing units, rolling die, managing resources and cash and figuring out what units you want to buy.

The current games that do feature income are usually the ones that take the longest. Axis & Allies, Risk and Nexus Ops are some to name. These games take a long time because progress just doesn't get made. Sure, you might take over some land on one turn, but on the next, your enemy gets guys and takes it right back. And this keeps going on. Nexus Ops actually doesn't take too much time, but then again the scale of the game is much smaller. And the game is about garnering VP in the end and combat is merely a means for that.

If you want a shorter war game, you'd be better off with games that give you a certain amount of men and you do not get them back like Memoir 44. It makes each man that much more important.

Finally, economic war games tend to have a giant snowball effect. If someone has his economy going better, he's probably going to produce more troops and therefore be stronger. It adds an element of unevenness that makes lopsided games happen more often. And the further the game goes on, the more of an advantage the richer player will be at. At this point, the losing player(s) probably should just concede because the outcome is pretty much decided.
 
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Enrico Viglino
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Revelade wrote:
As someone who is vehemently against economy based war games, I don't think that's going to work.

Adding an economic mechanic is first of all going to make the game take a lot longer. Not only do you have to worry about playing combat effectively, but now you have to manage how well your money flows. This then means a cycle of units disappearing off the board and then being replaced again and again. You'll spend a lot of time physically removing units, rolling die, managing resources and cash and figuring out what units you want to buy.

The current games that do feature income are usually the ones that take the longest. Axis & Allies, Risk and Nexus Ops are some to name.



You may (depending on whom you ask) have no idea of the definition
of a wargame, but you surely don't understand what a long one is.


Here are some longer ones without any economics:


Case Blue, The Campaign for North Africa, War in the Pacific (second edition).

These will take months (or years) to play.

When you consider some wargames with economics, like Hitler's War
or even the tiny WarpWar, which can easily be played in
a single session, it's obvious that including an economic model, as
with any detail, probably will increase playing time, but it certainly
isn't a primary factor in such.
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when you need complexity in your games , dont you think it is time to move to computerized game where the housekeeping/scorekeeping/mechanics are automatically handled by mr computer ?

i think complex boardgames are not fun because you wasted too much time doing the housekeeping/scorekeeping/mechanical stuff instead of playing..

HOWEVER

i would love to have a HYBRID betweed boardgame and some kind of computerized helper app, also some AI opponent from app..

i mean, how hard it is to make an AI that can resemble real human intelligence ? devil
 
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dprijadi wrote:
when you need complexity in your games , dont you think it is time to move to computerized game where the housekeeping/scorekeeping/mechanics are automatically handled by mr computer ?


No.

Quote:
i think complex boardgames are not fun because you wasted too much time doing the housekeeping/scorekeeping/mechanical stuff instead of playing..


Tastes (and capacities) differ.


Quote:

i mean, how hard it is to make an AI that can resemble real human intelligence ? devil



Actually, with most of the euro-style optimization problems,
it would actually be pretty easy to make a program that plays fairly well.

As you up the complexity though, like some players, computers find it
harder and harder to cope, and really obvious bugs in play arise.
 
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calandale wrote:
dprijadi wrote:
when you need complexity in your games , dont you think it is time to move to computerized game where the housekeeping/scorekeeping/mechanics are automatically handled by mr computer ?


No.

Quote:
i think complex boardgames are not fun because you wasted too much time doing the housekeeping/scorekeeping/mechanical stuff instead of playing..


Tastes (and capacities) differ.


Quote:

i mean, how hard it is to make an AI that can resemble real human intelligence ? devil



Actually, with most of the euro-style optimization problems,
it would actually be pretty easy to make a program that plays fairly well.

As you up the complexity though, like some players, computers find it
harder and harder to cope, and really obvious bugs in play arise.


do you know how to built AI for eurogsmes ?
 
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dprijadi wrote:


do you know how to built AI for eurogsmes ?



I know enough of the general principles to be able to build AI for most things.
Euros have the advantage that the AI can often be focused on simply optimizing
their own position based upon a single vector (VPs), so they look
a lot simpler than making a good AI for a direct conflict game.
The problem with (non-learning) AI though is that once a player
learns any tricks and flaws in the system, they can exploit them.
I guess that becomes just another game - like figuring out the
puzzle of the latest euro optimization machine. AI without learning
is uninteresting, IMO.

Another problem comes where player interaction comes into play. So, trading
in Settlers, or blocking moves in Carcassone are going to be harder
to cope with than building a nice little engine.

Building an AI is easy (trivial?). Building a good one is something else.
If it always loses once the player learns its tricks - or if it cannot
rationally assess a multi-player dynamic, what use is it?
 
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