Ben Bosmans
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Hi,

The Conflict of Heroes: Eastern Front – Solo Expansion adds so much tension and extreme good solo play for this game that I wonder if anyone tried already playing a 2 player game with the cards of the solo expansion ?

Since this week I can play a lot of "catch up" gaming sessions with my son, I wanted to show him this new COH solo play.

So we will play a few solo missions together, but I think this new system could be used for the 2 player game too.


---
I would simply replace the AP system with the solo cards pull and use the CAP's as in the basic rules.

Any idea from the designers or play testers themselves ?

Thanks for a reply from those who experimented already...

If there is no one who experimented with this, I think I am going to test and post about it in the future...


EDIT: I do think that the basic AP use is still a good mechanic also, but only when you use it as a variable AP per unit (and if possible even held secret for the other player until you spend them all), like suggested as an option in the basic game.

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This was discussed from the beginning and is definitely a viable option. Uwe even offered ideas on how dice could be used to determine the AP threshold after each action (search the early threads).

The only thing left would be the reshuffle mechanic. Since the AI using a card for orders will something reshuffle the deck, something would need to trigger that same random reseeding of the pile (other than "let them all run out").

Perhaps a die roll and reshuffle on a 12? Or even easier, if you draw a card for AP determination, then if that card has an reshuffle order at the top, you reshuffle immediately and then redraw for the AP check?
 
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Ben Bosmans
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klkitchens wrote:
This was discussed from the beginning and is definitely a viable option. Uwe even offered ideas on how dice could be used to determine the AP threshold after each action (search the early threads).

The only thing left would be the reshuffle mechanic. Since the AI using a card for orders will something reshuffle the deck, something would need to trigger that same random reseeding of the pile (other than "let them all run out").

Perhaps a die roll and reshuffle on a 12? Or even easier, if you draw a card for AP determination, then if that card has an reshuffle order at the top, you reshuffle immediately and then redraw for the AP check?


Thank you, I remember it now (too many games to follow LOL). And indeed some cards are marked to reshuffle again.

I think this motivates me to play all basic box scenarios again while I can play with 2, which is very rare for me but now and then I play with 2

Perhaps Uwe could even include this card play option in the rules of the following expansion.

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In light of this, I plan to play the regular scenarios solo against myself using the AP spent check. I even acquired Price of Honour and Storms of Steel since the Solo came out for this very purpose.

I like having the Solo missions too, but instead of adapting the old missions to the solo system, just using that one feature will make a world of difference. I didn't like CoH for solo before because of the herky jerky activation staggering each move, etc. and only having a single active unit at a time. This combined with the 3 dice method for determining CAPs each turn, I think CoH just rocketed in playability.
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Ben Bosmans
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Yeah, I think everyone who experienced this new solo expansion multiple times will feel something like : "This is IT."

I can understand someone new will need to adapt a little bit in his first 2-3 solo playing sessions, but after you get used to the system, this game screams "killer" really.

Smooth, fast, tense, easy, a major innovative new system is born. And it is logical we want to transfer this play to the basic 2 player CoH system as well.

Of course everyone can and will and must play their other WW2 games as well, me included (like the DDay series, or the upcoming grand tactical Dauntless game), ... BUT you simply feel there is some awesome stuff added to basic CoH with the Conflict of Heroes: Eastern Front – Solo Expansion.

I expected a great system, it just beats it far more than I ever thought.

Starting up the game now with my son and adding the cards ...




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I see one advantage with this variant: It is easier to teach. The rules for activation, especially shared activation and how you can add units to those who share an AP pool, are a bit hard to explain, expecially if playing with kids.

I will only use it for solo though, because there are some big disadvantages to using this system. It means there will be much less tension when choosing to use a unit. When you activate a unit using the normal rules, the clock starts ticking, and it will be spent once it uses it's AP pool. That makes it hard to decide if you should activate or spend precious CAPs, and thus postpone activating the unit. With this variant, you will lose this tension. There's really no reason not to save the CAPs as long as you can.

Another problem with it is that although the average number of APs may be right, the standard deviation is much larger. You will have a very high probability of getting just a few APs. Granted, you will have a higher probability of getting more than 7 APs too. 3d6 hi-lo, OTOH, has an average of 7, but a smaller standard deviation than 2d6. So this variant goes in the opposite direction of 3d6 hi-lo, in this sense.

The third problem is that it will be difficult to make plans. I like to know up front that this unit will have let's say 9 APs. I could like a variant in which each unit must roll for being spent after a certain number of APs, so that you are guaranteed a minimum number of APs, but I wouldn't like not knowing before I start moving whether a unit will get 1 AP or 20.

In short, this variant will introduce too much luck for my taste. That may be realistic enough, but it's just not fun for me. To me, it's a necessary evil for solo (I can't imagine how complex an AI with rules for which unit to activate would have to be).
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I don't see a difference in tension and planning. In this system you need to risk to spend the unit or not and you can migitate that risk with spending precious CAP's.

Certainly for group moves this is very tense as I played already 20 times ... and demonstrated that in a replay of the solo 3 scenario.

The fact you now use this system against a player can be dynamite.

Also the fact you can activate and reactivate a unit is better since it will put your opponent in an unsure state.

I wonder if you even PLAYED this solo expansion already in view of these above remarks as the tension in this game is now EXCELLENT.

Or are these remarks just another camouflaged post to hype the latest love for ASL.
No problem with that AT ALL ... but at least play the new game first.

I know I played roughly 20 sessions now of CoH in just the few latest weeks. 18 with the solo expansion, 1 with a 2 player (standard scenario "2" today against my son) and one with the Firefight Generator.


This game will not hit the shelves for very long. It simply is too good.
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I think there is more tension in the card system. In the standard AP system, while you know your unit has 9 AP worth of actions and you can plan, your opponent also knows this and can anticipate. For example, the opponent knows you are unlikely to spend the unit with a significant amount of APs left, hence he knows you will likely order the unit next turn. In the card system the opponent only knows you will activate any unspent unit. Much more tension that way.

Plus, on the planning side, while you can still make plans with your units, you must account for some of your plans being disrupted by units being spent unexpectedly or at least before you can complete your plans. This only adds more tension. I also like having to plan at a higher level for multiple units, as backup, or contingency plans, should the unexpected happen.

I think what may also be needed, along with the card spent-check system, is a way to eventually end the round (and restart another), possibly before all unspent units have the chance to act. That is, no longer have a fixed number of rounds or a predictable number of activated units per round, but instead something like a 2 player mission track.
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Ben_Bos wrote:
I don't see a difference in tension and planning. In this system you need to risk to spend the unit or not and you can migitate that risk with spending precious CAP's.


Maybe there isn't less tension overall, but the decision on whether to activate or spend CAPs is obvious. You should always activate, because there is no extra cost to activating early. In the regular game you may be afraid to activate because if you only need one action you may waste the rest of the APs. You also have to spend the previously activated unit.

But the real reason I don't want to use it is the extra luck it introduces. Never knowing when a unit will be spent, and the fact that there's a higher probability of extreme results like getting only 1 AP, will make sure of that. I'm not saying it's not realistic (it's probably more realistic), but it's the kind of blind luck I don't like in a 2-player game (I like playing competitively, remember). But it is the only way to make an AI for the game, because you don't need rules for when to activate, which is a very difficult decision in the regular game. There is an AI for that in the regular game, but it's more like rough guidelines. Making a real AI for it would require a very complex and tedious flowchart.
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oivind22 wrote:
Ben_Bos wrote:
I don't see a difference in tension and planning. In this system you need to risk to spend the unit or not and you can migitate that risk with spending precious CAP's.


Maybe there isn't less tension overall, but the decision on whether to activate or spend CAPs is obvious. You should always activate, because there is no extra cost to activating early. In the regular game you may be afraid to activate because if you only need one action you may waste the rest of the APs. You also have to spend the previously activated unit.



And this is why I said you didn't play the new game mechanics.

1. First it is in your very interest to use CAP ... COMBINED with the card draw so your group moves won't be halted ... I illustrated that with a replay of mission 3 where movement across the board was awesome, fighting that AI. No early CAP spending would be foolish or better use it intelligently ANY time.

Surprise of war here.

2. You can migitate luck with this system: say you absolutely need to fire with that unit, but also do not want it to become spend: you fire at 4 AP ... and add 2 CAP to migitate the card draw number.

MORE tension, much more fun.

3. You don't need to activate one group or unit and then finish before being spend... You can - like the computer version - go back to units.

Which makes the actions much more fluid and tactical in nature, certainly against human opponents. LONG term planning is essential with ALL risks involved.

The sitting duck mechanics you always hated is much reduced now. You STILL need to plan ahead but the tactical play is broadened instead of limited.

Add the unknown tactical cards for players and you get a hell of a game.

------

Play the new system at least before making comments.

And yes, I can forget about ASL now. These games play in minutes instead of hours staring at rules and CoH STILL retains a lot of hardware.

Look, ASL is a great system, but frankly unplayable for me above infantry rules over 25 years.

This thing gets played A LOT. And while it will never replace a hardcore simulation of a certain WW2 fight, like the upcoming grand tactical Operation Dauntless: The Battles for Fontenay and Rauray, France, June 1944, it succeeds in getting that WW2 hardware playing itch.

With a fraction of the rules and look up of ASL, which btw is not really a hardcore simulation of a particular historical fight either.



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Ben_Bos wrote:
And this is why I said you didn't play the new game mechanics.

1. First it is in your very interest to use CAP ... COMBINED with the card draw so your group moves won't be halted ... I illustrated that with a replay of mission 3 where movement across the board was awesome, fighting that AI. No early CAP spending would be foolish or better use it intelligently ANY time.


I haven't played it yet, but it seems obvious to me that you should never take CAP actions first. It must be much better to see which units need it. Since you don't activate units anymore, there is no reason to use CAPs in order to save the unit for later. Yes, the may become spent, but that's just more reason to save CAPs, so that you can use them for units which became spent too soon.

Quote:
2. You can migitate luck with this system: say you absolutely need to fire with that unit, but also do not want it to become spend: you fire at 4 AP ... and add 2 CAP to migitate the card draw number.


Yes, but there is luck, and more of it than in the regular game.

Quote:
3. You don't need to activate one group or unit and then finish before being spend... You can - like the computer version - go back to units.


This is exactly what I don't like about the computer game.

Quote:
The sitting duck mechanics you always hated is much reduced now.


Yes, I can see that this is an advantage of this system.

Quote:
Play the new system at least before making comments.


I will play it when I receive it, which should be soon. It's on it's way. But I don't think my comment on the luck aspect can be in doubt. This variant will mean that more extreme results in the number of APs you get is likely, even though the average is still 7. In theory, there is no limit to how many APs a unit can receive, and there is as much as 1/7 chance of receiving just 1. This can't really be doubted. If it really annoys me when I play it, is impossible to say before I play it, but I know that I generally dislike more luck in games. I'm just speculating that it is something I will not like.

Quote:
And yes, I can forget about ASL now. These games play in minutes instead of hours staring at rules and CoH STILL retains a lot of hardware.


I wasn't going to bring up ASL this time, but you know I like it. It can be played just as quickly as CoH, it depends on the size of the scenario. I think I would play a small ASL scenario faster than I play CoH, because the constant back-and-forth in CoH is a bit disruptive to gameflow for me.

Quote:
This thing gets played A LOT. And while it will never replace a hardcore simulation of a certain WW2 fight, like the upcoming grand tactical Operation Dauntless: The Battles for Fontenay and Rauray, France, June 1944, it succeeds in getting that WW2 hardware playing itch.


I'm looking forward to Operation Dauntless too.

Quote:
With a fraction of the rules and look up of ASL, which btw is not really a hardcore simulation of a particular historical fight either.


I would argue that neither is Operation Dauntless (or Red Winter, which uses the same system). But that's not why I play them. Wargames must give me a good historical feel, and be fun. That's it. ASL and Red Winter both does that. CoH too, but I like it less than ASL and Red Winter. But that's just my preference.

Anyway, I am excited to finally get the solo expansion (and the firefight generator).
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pisqueeter wrote:

I think what may also be needed, along with the card spent-check system, is a way to eventually end the round (and restart another), possibly before all unspent units have the chance to act. That is, no longer have a fixed number of rounds or a predictable number of activated units per round, but instead something like a 2 player mission track.


I've also thought about this and maybe an easy way to do it would just be to have some kind of dice roll check (or even a plain count) every time you reshuffle or get to the end of the card deck, it could be as simple as roll d6, if you roll equal or less than the number of times youve had to reshuffle the deck, the turn ends. Otherwise just come up with some kind of rough scale for how many APs would be used given 7 per fresh unit but that would probably be more of a pain to monitor. You'd need to check how often the deck is likely to be reshuffled in a scenario or general game to get a rough guide for how to define the dice roll needed to check but at least a reshuffle would be an easy "clock tick" event to tie to some kind of random or predetermined check for end of round as well.
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The Solo expansion card deck gives an almost equal chance of "spent" status to all AP values from 1 to 6, therefore an easy and obvious method to add to the base game without having the solo expansion is simply to roll a d6 after your turn, and the unit is spent unless you can roll lower than the AP you just spent with that particular unit/group.

The actual distribution is (I think) 11-9-9-9-10-7 but I think it would be interesting to try a solo style system even when playing 2P and using the d6 method described above. Of course it does mean a dice roll after each turn (kind of like Band of Brothers in reverse haha), but you would have otherwise been drawing a card by using the solo deck method.

It's still worth noting that there are some gameplay advantages to a non persistent style AP in making activation of units a bit more precarious and more careful management of CAPS etc, but its incredibly easy to try the different methods and decide which one you like best (just like the rules as written with the 7 AP / 3d6 variable AP / 36D variable and hidden AP, of course the Solo system is also an "official" modification - and it would be interesting to see if Uwe has plans to make this an official mod of the multiplayer game - but because the AP odds on the solo cards are so close to even (but NOT exactly, see numbers quoted!) its an easy "try it and see" substitute for those of you waiting to get hold of the Solo box


Oh - even though it's a shame the Solo and FF box weren't packaged and sold together (air / content ratio too high for both boxes!), its really a shame that given the price point, the Solo box didnt include TWO player aid cards so that you could have the rules reminders AND the solo AI flowchart visible at the same time!
 
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rafci80 wrote:
It's still worth noting that there are some gameplay advantages to a non persistent style AP in making activation of units a bit more precarious and more careful management of CAPS etc, but its incredibly easy to try the different methods and decide which one you like best (just like the rules as written with the 7 AP / 3d6 variable AP / 36D variable and hidden AP, of course the Solo system is also an "official" modification - and it would be interesting to see if Uwe has plans to make this an official mod of the multiplayer game - but because the AP odds on the solo cards are so close to even (but NOT exactly, see numbers quoted!) its an easy "try it and see" substitute for those of you waiting to get hold of the Solo box


I have just started playing the solo expansion, and I know what I prefer: 3d6 hi-lo, from the original game. The brilliance of the solo system is that it makes it possible to make an AI without very complex rules about which unit to activate, and I like it for that. But when playing against others, I'll rather play 3d6 hi-lo. It gives just the right amount of randomness for me. I think an even better system would be to keep the AP track secret from the opponent, so that it is possible to bluff.

But this has everything to do with personal preference, so trying all the different systems, like you say, is a good idea. I like games which puts me in control. I want to know how far this unit can move etc., and I want to be able to order my men to do whatever I want them to do (although they may fail because of my opponent's actions). That's why I like ASL and prefer to play CoH with the original rules, and also why I don't like chit-pull games, or card-driven games like Combat Commander or Richard Borg's Command & Colors games (I like card-driven games with operation points, though).
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rafci80 wrote:
pisqueeter wrote:

I think what may also be needed, along with the card spent-check system, is a way to eventually end the round (and restart another), possibly before all unspent units have the chance to act. That is, no longer have a fixed number of rounds or a predictable number of activated units per round, but instead something like a 2 player mission track.


I've also thought about this and maybe an easy way to do it would just be to have some kind of dice roll check (or even a plain count) every time you reshuffle or get to the end of the card deck, it could be as simple as roll d6, if you roll equal or less than the number of times youve had to reshuffle the deck, the turn ends.

Haven't tried this but this sounds like a great idea. Having a variable end to the turn instead of when both players pass is precisely what the game needs to address the oft-mentioned weakness whereby one player is out of APs/CAPs and the other player can activate his units with impunity.

Sure, you could rush your unit towards your opponent's units but the turn may end and all units may refresh.

I don't play much, if any, 2P CoH anymore, but if I do, I will absolutely try this idea.
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oivind22 wrote:
rafci80 wrote:
It's still worth noting that there are some gameplay advantages to a non persistent style AP in making activation of units a bit more precarious and more careful management of CAPS etc, but its incredibly easy to try the different methods and decide which one you like best (just like the rules as written with the 7 AP / 3d6 variable AP / 36D variable and hidden AP, of course the Solo system is also an "official" modification - and it would be interesting to see if Uwe has plans to make this an official mod of the multiplayer game - but because the AP odds on the solo cards are so close to even (but NOT exactly, see numbers quoted!) its an easy "try it and see" substitute for those of you waiting to get hold of the Solo box


I have just started playing the solo expansion, and I know what I prefer: 3d6 hi-lo, from the original game. The brilliance of the solo system is that it makes it possible to make an AI without very complex rules about which unit to activate, and I like it for that. But when playing against others, I'll rather play 3d6 hi-lo. It gives just the right amount of randomness for me. I think an even better system would be to keep the AP track secret from the opponent, so that it is possible to bluff.

But this has everything to do with personal preference, so trying all the different systems, like you say, is a good idea. I like games which puts me in control. I want to know how far this unit can move etc., and I want to be able to order my men to do whatever I want them to do (although they may fail because of my opponent's actions). That's why I like ASL and prefer to play CoH with the original rules, and also why I don't like chit-pull games, or card-driven games like Combat Commander or Richard Borg's Command & Colors games (I like card-driven games with operation points, though).




3.0.1 Variable AP Allocations

Optional Rule - Additional Fog of War: For added suspense,
players may decide to roll the 3D6 under a cup, keeping the
results secret. Instead of setting the Track Sheet to the amount
of APs received, the player tracks how many APs have been
spent. Only once the unit has used all of its available APs and is
spent, must the player show his opponent the dice result.

With this way you have a hidden ap chart.
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