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Subject: Chrome from special rules or cards rss

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Øivind Karlsrud
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I have always thought I would prefer to have historical details, specific events, etc. represented by cards, so that you get a lot of chrome without having to learn lots of special rules. And I do like CDGs. Here I Stand and Twilight Struggle are some of my favorites, and one of the things I like is that you get lots of specific events without special rules for them.

On the other hand, all the detail covered by the rules in a game like ASL, is also a big turn on for me. I have started looking at Great Battles of History, and I get the same turn on when reading the rules. There is so much historical information about weapons and tactics covered in the rules and the charts. So I'm not so sure anymore. I actually like reading up on special rules when playing a new scenario. Maybe in one scenario I have to read up on mortars, in another scenario I have to read up on night rules. Every type of equipment and every type of situation has rules for it. And if I play a scenario with mortars, rules for mortars will come into play. It's not dependent upon drawing a specific mortar card.

I think my opinion (I'm not sure yet) is that political events are best covered by event cards, while rules for equipment and different kinds of tactics is best covered by special rules. I want to be able to send my japanese troops on a banzai charge without waiting for a banzai card, goddammit.

What do you think?
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Ron A
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Rules you have to remember, cards you can just read them and boom, good to go. FOr me, I think I prefer cards vice rules for one time things. Of course, a lot depends on the scale of the game, and how frequently you're likely to need the special item.

In tactical games, I see your point about needing a mortar card to play mortars. I get some of that when I've played War Stories: Liberty Road.




On the other hand, in larger battle/operational level games, cards are probably better for one time events, such as



from Bulge 20


All of which pretty much is in line with everything you've said. Still, I think as far as newer/less experienced gamers, cards work better, which is why they are becoming more prevalent. I wonder if there is any hard data on this, re: are cards more or less common in (newer) wargames, and does scale of the game have any effect on the data?
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Confusion Under Fire
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I love cards.
Take CC for example, you know what cards are in your opponents deck but you never really know what is in his hand. I am guessing that CC players have wondered if the opponent has an Ambush card in his hand just before entering into melee or if he has a Fire card just as you Move out of cover into his LOS but I wonder how often players have wondered if he holds an Assault card or a Wire action. You know exactly the composition of your opponents deck but it is still an unpleasant surprise when something gets played upon you.

Some players have a problem with not being able to do something in CC just because they do not hold a certain card. I am tinkering with a system where most of the time you can do anything you want but the cards determine how good or how poor that action is executed. I did try using a table but found turning over a card was quicker especially as there were several items to check and each could bring a different result.

I also like the aesthetics and the tactility(?) of cards. You can also pack in a lot of information along with some flavoursome images.

Just thinking about it I thought about the wargames I have bought and realised that around half of them have cards in which are used in different ways. Some to drive the game - Combat Commander, some to activate enemy soldiers - Ambush, some for ammo - Tide of Iron and some for just information - Open Fire.

I love cards.
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Andrew Kluck
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I think a robust design can be explored with very little rules information on the cards, and if at all possible it should be. For instance Pax Porfiriana is a fantastic game, but the auction mechanic means every player must read every card which slows down play considerably. I've always wondered if the information on those cards couldn't be transmitted better with symbology ala Race for the Galaxy. I feel the same about 1714: The Case of the Catalans.

As far as flavor text on cards, great, just please clearly separate it from the important stuff. Blue vs. Gray does a great job with this.
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Pelle Nilsson
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I love to find special rules where they are needed.

Special rules for a unit? On the unit. This is why cardboard counters are great for non-trivial games.

Special rules for some area on the map? Print the rule on the map.

Special rules applying to some turn(s)? Print the rule in or next to the Turn Track.

Special rules for some (random) event? Print the rule on a card or in a random events table. Don't care which, as long as they are right there when they are needed.

If there is not enough space for a complete rule, at least include a reference to rules section so I can remember there is something special to remember about something, so I don't need to memorize the rulebook to remember even when I need to look things up. But ideally the rulebook is very thin and has no special rules because all the special rules are elsewhere as per above.

And try to fit as much as possible around the map and/or on separate player aide sheets or at least the back of the rulebook please. Important special rules can't be repeated many times enough. I am terrible at remembering (special) rules unless I have them right in front of me all the time.
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Øivind Karlsrud
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Thinking a little bit more about this, I think it's the fact that political events are unique and that it is easy to imagine a parallell world in which the exact same events did not happen. But events which could happen again and again (like banzai charges) I would rather be able to choose whenever I want, so that it can always be one of my tactical choices, not just when I have a card for it. But even if I'm not a fan of Combat Commander (yeah, I was thinking about Combat Commander, although I don't know if there's a banzai card), I think Combat Commander has a better system than ASL when it comes to ambush (as mentioned by whatambush), because in ASL one just rolls a die for this. There is no choice or bluff involved, just a random die roll. For me, always being able to choose a tactical option by invoking special rules trumps needing cards for them, which again trumps random die rolls to decide if they happen.

I also agree with Pelle that it doesn't hurt to be able to find the special rules where they are needed. In a game like ASL some rules are bit long to state on a counter, so this isn't always possible, of course.
 
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Andrew J
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oivind22 wrote:
I also agree with Pelle that it doesn't hurt to be able to find the special rules where they are needed. In a game like ASL some rules are bit long to state on a counter, so this isn't always possible, of course.
Although ASL does try to sometimes. I love those AT weapon counters with their own CRT on the back of the counter!
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Tom Swider
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I prefer using the rules, structuring the game with basic, advanced and optional rules. That gives you and your opponent control of what chrome to use. It also gives you something to talk about.
 
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Richard Irving
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To me a scenario based game that has a special element in some scenarios and not others, like AFV's, AT weapons, demo charges, amphibious rules, etc. is not really "chrome". These are essential to that scenario and something that can (should be) reviewed before play of the scenario.

"Chrome" is something that applies in very rare (possibly random) situation or maybe to a specific unit/space on the board. In the first case, cards are useful whether played as part of the turn order (as in OP/Event CDG's) or via random draw (CC uses a dice "rolls" on cards are marked with "event triggers" which cause the next card to be drawn to determine the event.)

To often designers put chrome in, but no reminders on the board, cards, counters etc. relying on the player's memory. I hate that!
 
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L. SCHMITT
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Quote:
you get a lot of chrome without having to learn lots of special rules
To play well, you have to know the cards... no real difference indeed.
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Joe Kong
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Any cards or rules that can diminish the almighty power of players are good!


 
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Pelle Nilsson
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santino el cato wrote:
Quote:
you get a lot of chrome without having to learn lots of special rules
To play well, you have to know the cards... no real difference indeed.
Only competitive players. I have no interest at all in playing a CDG so much that I know the cards in advance. You can never repeat the joy of playing a game like Paths of Glory for the first time and see various events show up for the first time and have to THINK about how to use them rather than memorize best-strategies based on precognition of future events.

My ideal CDG has so many cards that you don't ever (or rarely) see the same ones again, and you do not get an advantage from memorizing the contents of the deck and every time you play you will see new rare events you had no idea existed. Impossible to balance, but sounds like a lot of fun (and more realistic than games where you know in advance everything that may happen and all the rules).
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James Lowry
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You might want to look at Successsors. It has one common deck, and not that many cards, but you only go through about half the deck each turn, and the deck is reshuffled every turn, so you don't know which things are coming up right now.
 
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L. SCHMITT
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Quote:
You can never repeat the joy of playing a game like Paths of Glory for the first time and see various events show up for the first time
Well the first time I played it, I kept asking me where World War I was gone in this gamey mess...
 
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