Chris District
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I played the short scenario a couple nights ago for my first game. It took 5 full hours (we are so new and slow), and yet we still finished with a serious case of . Boy, ending after 3 coup cards, and only 20 event cards, sure is frustrating. We both felt like we were just finally starting to get control of some of the areas we wanted.

We're playing again tomorrow night, this time with a full table of 4. Unfortunately 3 of us have to work Friday, and we can't start until 9pm, so we will of course be doing the short scenario again. CURSES!

In the future, we plan to do more. But the medium scenario only adds another 8-12 Event cards (depending on how the decks shuffle), and the long scenario is an enormous jump which will require us to either a) start at noon on a weekend or b) dedicate 2 (or more) entire nights to one continuous game.

Has anyone tried playing with some intermediate number of cards/coups? What I mean is has anyone played with something like 4 stacks of 12 with 4 coup cards, or 5 stacks of 8 with 5 coup cards, or similar? There's a lot of space between the medium and the long that we could play with depending on how much time we can all spare. I'm wondering whether anyone has any comment about a good intermediate setup.

If so, I'd also be interested to know which board setup you choose to go with--short, medium or long. Seems like if you were going to use 4-5 coup cards, you'd want to just start with the "long game" setup since it represents the start of the war, right?
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chris leko
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The board setup I can't really help with, as I haven't tried to craft anything between the two.

But as long as your keep the number of cards in each "pod" relatively close to the scenarios in the book you should be ok. 8 cards in each campaign (stack) might be a bit short, so there's going to be a ton of coup rounds. Each player gets about 4 actions between rounds (with some variability due to shuffle). 12 sounds better to me.

If you did that, I'd say to probably go with the medium length board setup, and adjust it after more plays if you felt it wasn't balanced. I'm not quite sure how that setup is balanced (I remember it being pretty balanced across the board).
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Eric Guttag
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Hey Chris,

The Short, Medium, and Long Scenarios (historical) are all balanced for the Event Cards, Coup Cards, and Capabilities. You can certainly mix all 3 decks (1964, 1965, and 1968) together, but you won't get the balance of the current 3 Scenarios.

I'm sure there will be more Scenario variants developed, possibly one between the Medium and Long which most likely uses 4 Coup Cards and 48 Event Cards, for example, by either combining 12 cards from the 1964 deck and 36 cards from 1965 decks or the 24 cards each from the 1965 and 1968 decks. It's just a matter of time (and some toil by someone) for that to happen.
 
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Oerjan Ariander
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Hi,

IMO the Medium game's extra cards plus the Pivotals (plus a bunch of new Capabilities, if you use the Historical setup) is a fairly big step up in both complexity and length from the Short game. Saying that it "only adds 8-12 Event cards" is a bit misleading.

8-card Campaigns tend to accumulate rather more Resources than 12-card one do, especially for the COIN Factions, and on average they also see fewer US pieces sent Out of Play since the Insurgents have less time to inflict Casualties between resets. I'd strongly advise against a 4x8 or 5x8 Event deck, unless you want to give the US a boost.

You can easily do a balanced 60-Event scenario, using the Short/1965 setup with the following changes:
* The ARVN should be reduced to 15 Patronage (they only start the Short scenario with 20 Patronage to compensate for the minimal game length!).
* Only the Khanh Coup card should be placed in RVN Leader box.
* Each Faction receivez its Pivotal Event card.
The deck consists of 24 cards from the 1965 deck, 36 from the 1968 deck, and the 5 remaining Coup cards.

Coming up with a 48-Event scenario that is both balanced and varied is a bit harder, unfortunately. The 1965 deck only has 36 Events, so while Eric's first suggestion above works balance-wise it gets a bit repetitive since it uses the entire 1965 deck. Eric's other suggestion, using 24 cards from each of the 1965 and 1968 deck, offers better deck variation but runs a bigger risk of balance issues instead due to the composition of the 1968 deck...

For those who want to use the 1964 deck without running the Full scenario, I recommend the "Early Medium" 36-Event variant using the Full scenario setup without the Pivotals and 1968 part of the deck (to make it fully historical, use only the Khanh, Young Turks and one of Failed Coup Coup cards). This plays a bit faster than the 1968 Medium scenario since there are fewer pieces from the start and fewer weird special abilities to worry about. (I've forgotten who it was that first came up with it - sorry! )

Regards, Oerjan
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Chris District
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Pardon my complete new-ness, but what are the essential differences between each period of cards? I had just assumed that the historical events in each set were appropriate to the corresponding period, and that was it. Is there a difference in relative card strength? Card strength per faction? Or frequency of a certain "first to act" faction?

Given the immense level of detail in the rest of this game, I guess I should have assumed that there is more to the event periods than initially meets the eye...
 
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Oerjan Ariander
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Hang on a second, I obviously can't count - there are 48 cards in the 1965 deck, not 36! That means Eric's early scenario (12*1964 + 36*1965 + 4 Coups) should work OK as is both balance- and replayability-wise. Sorry 'bout that, Eric... but it means that we have viable scenarios for each multiple of 12 cards from 24 to 72

Regarding Chris's questions, my experience is that picking 24 out of 48 cards makes the outcome depend more on the exact cards that come up when I use the 1968 deck than it does when using the 1965 deck. OTOH, 36 of 48 1968 cards gives a balance similar to what I get with 24 out of 48 1965 cards.

Exactly what part of the card design it is that causes this effect, I don't know for certain. My best guess at the moment is that although the two Event texts on each individual card are usually roughly equal in power, and each Factions has roughly the same overall "total Event power" as the others in each historical deck, the 1968 deck probably has bigger differences between strong and weak Events than the 1965 one. This would mean that a larger percentage of the 1968 cards is needed to get the overall impact of the Events to even out over the course of a game, i.e., increasing the odds that all Factions get a chance to play some of their own strong Events.

Explaining why the decks ended up this way, if my guess is correct, is a lot easier: since the historical Short and Medium scenarios use 24*1965 and 36*1968 Events respectively, the playtests automatically put more emphasis on "evening out" the 1965 deck.

But as I wrote, this is my guess only. I could probably find out for certain from the playtest records, but that would take a lot of time... time that I suspect Harold and Volko would much rather want me to spend on Liberty or Death and Falling Sky

Regards, Oerjan
 
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Eric Guttag
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Hey Oerjan,

Not a problem. For a 5 Coup Card variant, could you do 36 from the 1965 and 48 from the 1968 deck? Also, would the markers out at the start be those like the Medium Scenario? Also, what Coup Card would be on top of Minh-Young Turks?
 
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Oerjan Ariander
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36+48 Events with only 5 Coups gives 16.8 Events per Coup, which seems a bit awkward. If you meant 24+36 Events, I discussed that variant in my first reply above...

/Oerjan
 
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Eric Guttag
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Hey Oerjan,

I obviously can't count either. I meant 24 cards from the 1965 deck and 36 cards from the 1968 deck.
 
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Chris District
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Last night we played the following setup:

"Long" game board setup
12 1964 cards first
12 1965 cards next
24 1968 cards last
(4 coup cards)
pivotal events
Started with Turks (i think) on the board so people could start using pivotals after the first coup

I have no idea whether it was technically "balanced" or not, but it felt like everyone got some cool events and we had a good time.
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