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Subject: Democracy unfairly penalized? rss

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Brad Johnson
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I have not played the game yet, but one thing struck me as I read the rules: Democracy is the only political type that can lose VPs (-1 for each minor neutral invaded). If not for that, Democracy would be a mirror of Communist (+1 VP for each minor neutral of a certain type). While I understand that this rule will force the Democracy player to act as the "policeman" (much like the real-life U.S.), it just doesn't seem totally fair. (I know: Life ain't fair.) I thought there might be something else, maybe in the political cards, to balance that, but I didn't notice anything. (There were a few cards that could only be played against Communist/Fascist powers, but there were also a few cards that could only be played *by* Communist/Fascist powers, so that seems like a wash.)

Can anyone confirm if this does put Democracy at a disadvantage or not? If it does, I'd like to think of a penalty for each other political type to balance it. Something like (just off the top of my head):

Communist: -1 for each minor neutral Democracy on the board (would force the Communist player to actively destroy Democracies)

Monarchy: -1 for each minor neutral adjacent to a region you control (would reinforce the colonial incentive and put the Monarchy player on a treadmill trying to "civilize" the whole world)

Fascist: -1 each time another player takes control of a region away from you (would require the Fascist player to be able to hold any territories he takes)
 
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Ted Kuhn

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Re:Democracy unfairly penalized?
tempus42 (#17987),

Well first, play the game a time or two before trying alternatives! Second, Democracies have an easier time of diplomatic blitz (vis a vis Communists and Fascists) because they are "closer to the center" of the political spectrum. This balances their VP loss for attacking minor neutrals. We've played dozens of games, and the government type just doesn't seem to be a major factor in who is winning.

Hope you enjoy it!
 
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Jay Little
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Re:Democracy unfairly penalized?
TedFK (#18406),

actually, the fact that they are closer to the political midground makes existing democracies more susceptible to conversion as easily as it creates the opportunity for a decomcratic player to covert other existing government types.

the monarchy has seemed to be the most powerful, as they can start the game with their capitol in a territory adjacent to a second continent, thus increasing their VP potential greatly from the very start.

fascism tends to be the second most powerful government type.

in every game we've played, the democracy player has been dead last... while not necessarily flawed, they have a hard time of it -- and the suggestion by some for the democrats to focus more on the other players than neutrals does not give them any advantage, as that is a tact any player can employ.

in my mind, the democracy has a very hard time making up for the inability to safely attack neutrals in an attempt to gain the much-needed economic or political cards...
 
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Ben Vincent
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Re:Democracy unfairly penalized?
Just off the top of my head...

What about giving democracies a Support Minor Neutral card at the beginning of the game?
 
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David Zammiello
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Re:Democracy unfairly penalized?
Played twice and so far Dems won one, and Fascists one the other. Same player won both times...
 
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Daniel U. Thibault
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Re:Democracy unfairly penalized?
tempus42 (#17987),
Quote:
«...will force the Democracy player to act as the "policeman" (much like the real-life U.S.), it...»

At the risk of starting a flame war...

If you really believe the U.S. are playing the role of a disinterested, devoted policeman in today's world, you're way, way off the mark. Enough said.
 
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Mark Taraba
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Re:Democracy unfairly penalized?
Urhixidur (#18773),

He never said "disinterested" or "devoted". The player that is democracy will defend the democracy minor neutrals for their own interest.
 
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Alan How
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Re:Democracy unfairly penalized?
tempus42 (#17987),
I have just played my first game of the expansion as a democracy and won. This was somewhat biased as there were 2 democracies, we were cooperating against the rest and didn't attack one another. So the second democracy came second in a 5 player game.

But we had so many strategies that we want to try that I feel pretty sure that the type of government does not rule the outcome.
 
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Bob Geiger
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Re:Democracy unfairly penalized?
Urhixidur (#18773),


Interesting comment, that the US as policeman is "...way, way, off the mark." Your comment actually attacks the game rules through challenging the political assumptions, i.e. shouldn't democracies get just as many points for conquering neutrals or just killing people, like the fascists and communists, because democracies (at least the USA and Nato states) are really no different (per your view-my 24 year old son has the same view).

I guess I must disagree. I think the game mechanics have it right.

Democracies still can invade neutrals, but suffer for it at home, thus the loss of points. The point really isn't whether democracies sometimes use military action to benefit their nation's interest. The point is that, in democracies, there is a cost to be paid in the form of a debate about whether it's justified. In fascist and communist states (and true Monarchies) no such debate takes place. No one questions whether an invasion is just or proper; only whether it will benefit the state (or the politboro, king or dictator).

And if you think the USA never gets involved in military action when it is at least partially motivated by humanitarian concerns, you are way off the mark.

Same assumption (war causes democracies trouble) is used in the game mechanics of the Civlization computer game.

Also, in the only ATTACK EXPANSION game I played so far, the game ended fairly early and a democracy player won due to points from surviving democratic neutrals. So I don't think democracies are disadvantaged. I am trying an 8 player game Feb 1 (anti-super bowl party) and will try to do a session report.

 
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MYOB MYOB
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Re:Democracy unfairly penalized?
Democracy is not as weak as everyone claims.

First, why was the penalty instituted in the first place? Because it's easier to get to Democracy than to Communism, so if they had exactly the same goals things would be messily pro-Democracy/Monarchy, with little chance for others.

Second, as to the negative VP for invading a minor neutral...the people who mention public opinion have it on the button. Look at the current Iraq situation. Bush is looking like a fascist because he went in and invaded Iraq on a flimsy excuse that has been recently shown to be utter...*censored*. People are getting highly mad at Bush and he'll have a harder time getting re-elected for it. He shouldn't be playing his democracy like a Monarchy or Fascism...it doesn't work that way.

In my experience, Communism, Democracy and Fascism are well balanced, and Democracy is probably the easiest of those to play because they can blitz and propaganda their way to victory, creating a Democratic League in areas far away from other players, and Diploblitzing around them to expand their borders however fast things will go.

Communism and fascism are harder to play. Simply put, a fascist constantly attacking minor countries will be expending resources like nobody's business, and for less gain than one would think. Fascism grows much stronger in the endgame when it can attack other players and rack up a surprise win, if it hasn't wasted so much energy that the other players can mop it up. My advice to fascists is to conquer Democracies and Communist minor nations, but to diploblitz the others. The victory points for conquest aren't -that- big of a deal.

Communism, meanwhile, has more options and more needs. Diploblitzing a democracy is all well and good, but a fascism must be invaded or propagandaed into seeing the One True Way. Generally speaking, communist conversion and diplomatic acquisition are much harder, but that balances out with the option to invade.

Finally, Monarchy? The superpower. As powerful a diploblitzer as Democracy, if not more so because one doesn't have the incentive to gamble and leave an independent monarchy to rake in points while they go after harder prey. Meanwhile, if one sets their capital in the Dutch East Indies then they can sweep through Asia. Personally, I think that the suggestion where bordering neutrals weaken the Monarchy is a good one. Wouldn't do much unless we're talking an isolated Central Asian territory, but it's a few points and that's always what makes or breaks it.

Also, it's the responsibility of the -players- to contain any power that gets too big. With my game group, we have a system for choosing our own governments so that each government has at least one player, and usually when the monarchy gets too big, the fascist takes it upon himself to go on a heroic crusade and give the Monarchist a kick in the butt for fun and profit...and then the Democracy gets hungry for the guy's exposed flank...and then the Communist blitzes a few neutrals in the Democratic League...

In short, Democracy is not weak. If anything, Democracy is much stronger than it looks...Monarchy is the weak link.
 
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Paul Kondon
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Re:Democracy unfairly penalized?
Ramidel (#26685),

To all regarding government types:

Pg. 7 of Attack! Expansion rules has a chart to determine which governments are in play. Governments don't duplicate until there are more than four players, and then only 2 of each, max. Fascists are recommended to be duplicated only with 8 players. So, there should always be a balance (roughly) in each game.

I don't think there is any balancing needed. I played Fascists first game, and got off to a jackrabbit start due to an abundance of minor fascists near me (and each other) to start my growth. The other two players soon turned against me, and the Democracy won by 8 points. Had I fewer diplomatic options, I would have attacked early, and scored more than 3 points from battles.

Second game, I won going away with the Monarchists (no Fascists), because I put my capital in Britain (western board only), and then blitzed Africa, while the other two bickered over South America. Had they teamed up late, then it would have been closer. Monarchists need to be kept in check, and are natural targets for late land grabs.

Third game, I was Monarchist again, and had a small lead until the last turn, when a clever Fascist broke off his war against the Communists, took two of my colonies (no vp's), and the 10 point swing allowed him to play the 13th eagle and win, beating the Communists by 2 points. Democratic player never figured out who to attack, and I held a Communist/Fascist-target-only card because I didn't know which of them would threaten to win.

Since some cards only affect Communists/Fascists, or hit them harder, and the Monarchists tend to spread out to get the bonuses, I think the Democracies having to restrain from casually invading minors isn't a severe penalty. With one of each usually in play, the different play styles will keep things balanced.
 
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John Rodriguez
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Re:Democracy unfairly penalized?
Warspite (#28323),

First game I played with 7 players I won as a democracy. Attack! has issues but I'm not sure unbalanced powers are a problem.
 
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Martin Lindström
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I agree that democracy is a little penalized, but I don't think it's that bad.

Personally, I think the only player who should ever invade minor neutrals is the fascist player, and only to gain extra VP.

The overwhelming majority of minor neutrals should be conquered through Diplomatic blitz. I could agree to an exception when Diplomatic Blitz fails and you absolutely positively need that territory.



As for the Politcal Actions, Democracy isn't helped much..
There is in my opinion only a single card that benefits solely Democracy, and that is "Free Elections".

Leader Assassinated is equally "less destructive" to Democracy and Monarchy.

And then we have the four "Threaten to Invade" cards versus the two "Partisans" cards that help/oppose the Fascist and Communist.
And here, I personally think that Fascist/Comm drew the longest straw. Threaten to invade does more to help you than partisans does to oppose you...
 
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