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Subject: Similar games to play with casual gamers ? rss

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bru laz
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Hi,

I really like the COIN series and played only very few games sadly, because most of my friends doesn't like heavy wargames like these.

Does any of you know some less complex games who could give a similar feeling as the COIN series ?

Thanks,

Bru
 
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Jacob Williams
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Maybe Star Wars Rebellion? It has a COIN feel.
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Georg Bauer
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Wir sind das Volk! gives me kinda a COIN game feel, with cards out that can be activated for events, cube pushing on a map and placement of wooden discs as a kind of "upgrade" for locations (in COIN usually bases, in WsdV life quality). Sure, it is more alike to CDGs, since the cards can be played for economy points or events and play order is handled quite differently, and it is only two players, but still, it gives me kinda that vibe. And definitely easier to get to the table with non-gamerly gamers than a COIN game. Histogames has two more games out with Friedrich and Maria which I haven't played (due to the minimum requirement of 3 players), and I think again, those are more CDG like than COIN like. But maybe still have a look at them.

But all said, I think nothing really comes close to the COIN games and I would maybe more look into the simpler COIN games instead of looking outside. Cuba Libre should be readily available right now and is a really great entry title, and Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar gives you the COIN engine with an ancients theme, which might go over with non-war-gamers better.
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Edward Pundyk
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"because most of my friends doesn't like heavy wargames weuros like these."

Fixed yer post.
 
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1775 Rebellion

Apparently they are working on a F&I War version as well.
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Georg Bauer
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Scottgun wrote:


That's a good one, too. Really enjoyed my first play with my wife, and it didn't scare her away, so that's a good sign
 
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Harold Buchanan
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bigbru wrote:
Hi,

I really like the COIN series and played only very few games sadly, because most of my friends doesn't like heavy wargames like these.

Does any of you know some less complex games who could give a similar feeling as the COIN series ?

Thanks,

Bru


In the context of casual games, I suggest GMTs Twilight Struggle - not that it is COIN but card driven, area control and elegant. An exceptional game.

Polisis another if you enjoy Twilight Struggle.

Sadly, Star Wars Rebellion is nothing like COIN. More like Scotland Yard........
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fightinlegalist1 wrote:
"because most of my friends doesn't like heavy wargames weuros like these."

Fixed yer post.


snore

Not this tired argument again
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Scottgun wrote:
1775 Rebellion

Apparently they are working on a F&I War version as well.


Yeah, that is a good recommendation, but with a few caveats.

It's not that close to a COIN game, and after several plays we've decided it's really only a 2 player game for us. 4 players is a different experience, and inferior in my opinion.

However, it takes very little time to teach and play.
 
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hankhankhank wrote:

Sadly, Star Wars Rebellion is nothing like COIN. More like Scotland Yard........

I've never played Scotland Yard, but I've definitely found that successful Rebel play in Star Wars: Rebellion involves aggressively seeking out weaknesses in the Imperial war machine and attacking them relentlessly. You want to put the Empire in a position where they don't have the resources to make big pushes anywhere and indeed have trouble holding on to what they have.
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Amaranth wrote:
hankhankhank wrote:

Sadly, Star Wars Rebellion is nothing like COIN. More like Scotland Yard........

I've never played Scotland Yard, but I've definitely found that successful Rebel play in Star Wars: Rebellion involves aggressively seeking out weaknesses in the Imperial war machine and attacking them relentlessly. You want to put the Empire in a position where they don't have the resources to make big pushes anywhere and indeed have trouble holding on to what they have.


I have not played Scotland Yard[?] or Star Wars: Rebellion, but I think the point was that the counterinsurgent in SW:R - i.e., the Empire - wins by finding the hidden rebel base, which really has nothing to do insurgency/counterinsurgency. Instead of quelling a rebellion by pacifying the population, it's a game of hide and seek...
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Kevin Walsh
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rstites25 wrote:
Amaranth wrote:
hankhankhank wrote:

Sadly, Star Wars Rebellion is nothing like COIN. More like Scotland Yard........

I've never played Scotland Yard, but I've definitely found that successful Rebel play in Star Wars: Rebellion involves aggressively seeking out weaknesses in the Imperial war machine and attacking them relentlessly. You want to put the Empire in a position where they don't have the resources to make big pushes anywhere and indeed have trouble holding on to what they have.


I have not played Scotland Yard[?] or Star Wars: Rebellion, but I think the point was that the counterinsurgent in SW:R - i.e., the Empire - wins by finding the hidden rebel base, which really has nothing to do insurgency/counterinsurgency. Instead of quelling a rebellion by pacifying the population, it's a game of hide and seek...

You have to not just find the rebel base, you have to destroy it as well. In practice, this does require pacifying the population, or at least brutalising it into submission.
 
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fightinlegalist1 wrote:
"because most of my friends doesn't like heavy wargames weuros like these."

Fixed yer post.


I believe the correct term is 'waro'.
 
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Amaranth wrote:
rstites25 wrote:
Amaranth wrote:
hankhankhank wrote:

Sadly, Star Wars Rebellion is nothing like COIN. More like Scotland Yard........

I've never played Scotland Yard, but I've definitely found that successful Rebel play in Star Wars: Rebellion involves aggressively seeking out weaknesses in the Imperial war machine and attacking them relentlessly. You want to put the Empire in a position where they don't have the resources to make big pushes anywhere and indeed have trouble holding on to what they have.


I have not played Scotland Yard[?] or Star Wars: Rebellion, but I think the point was that the counterinsurgent in SW:R - i.e., the Empire - wins by finding the hidden rebel base, which really has nothing to do insurgency/counterinsurgency. Instead of quelling a rebellion by pacifying the population, it's a game of hide and seek...

You have to not just find the rebel base, you have to destroy it as well. In practice, this does require pacifying the population, or at least brutalising it into submission.


Find v. destroy is irrelevant; the point is the ultimate goal is all wrong vis-à-vis the COIN series.
 
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Kevin Walsh
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rstites25 wrote:
Amaranth wrote:
rstites25 wrote:
Amaranth wrote:
hankhankhank wrote:

Sadly, Star Wars Rebellion is nothing like COIN. More like Scotland Yard........

I've never played Scotland Yard, but I've definitely found that successful Rebel play in Star Wars: Rebellion involves aggressively seeking out weaknesses in the Imperial war machine and attacking them relentlessly. You want to put the Empire in a position where they don't have the resources to make big pushes anywhere and indeed have trouble holding on to what they have.


I have not played Scotland Yard[?] or Star Wars: Rebellion, but I think the point was that the counterinsurgent in SW:R - i.e., the Empire - wins by finding the hidden rebel base, which really has nothing to do insurgency/counterinsurgency. Instead of quelling a rebellion by pacifying the population, it's a game of hide and seek...

You have to not just find the rebel base, you have to destroy it as well. In practice, this does require pacifying the population, or at least brutalising it into submission.


Find v. destroy is irrelevant;

I just explained exactly why the distinction is relevant. In practice, the Empire's actions in a game of Star Wars: Rebellion will be similar to the actions of a COIN faction in the modern COIN games, albeit a COIN faction with a Control victory condition as opposed to a COIN player with a Support victory condition*.

The game mechanics are obviously different, because Star Wars: Rebellion is among other things a simulation of Star Wars (one of those other things being a big box Corey Konieczka game).

Anyway, to get back to the OP, I personally wouldn't recommend Star Wars: Rebellion as a lighter alternative to COIN, because it's simply not very light. It's a big Ameritrash game, lighter perhaps than Forbidden Stars, but pretty comparable to, say, Runewars in terms of complexity.

* Kind of - an Empire player has no equivalent to a Govern Special Activity where they remove their own Support for benefit, and they don't have a high firepower ally to bail them out.
 
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Amaranth wrote:
rstites25 wrote:
Amaranth wrote:
rstites25 wrote:
Amaranth wrote:
hankhankhank wrote:

Sadly, Star Wars Rebellion is nothing like COIN. More like Scotland Yard........

I've never played Scotland Yard, but I've definitely found that successful Rebel play in Star Wars: Rebellion involves aggressively seeking out weaknesses in the Imperial war machine and attacking them relentlessly. You want to put the Empire in a position where they don't have the resources to make big pushes anywhere and indeed have trouble holding on to what they have.


I have not played Scotland Yard[?] or Star Wars: Rebellion, but I think the point was that the counterinsurgent in SW:R - i.e., the Empire - wins by finding the hidden rebel base, which really has nothing to do insurgency/counterinsurgency. Instead of quelling a rebellion by pacifying the population, it's a game of hide and seek...

You have to not just find the rebel base, you have to destroy it as well. In practice, this does require pacifying the population, or at least brutalising it into submission.


Find v. destroy is irrelevant;

I just explained exactly why the distinction is relevant. In practice, the Empire's actions in a game of Star Wars: Rebellion will be similar to the actions of a COIN faction in the modern COIN games, albeit a COIN faction with a Control victory condition as opposed to a COIN player with a Support victory condition.


When you cherry pick half the sentence, it's easy to take it out of context. For SW:R destroying may be more difficult than merely finding. But such a distinction is irrelevant to my point. SW: R has it ass backwards. Finding and destroying the rebel base is an end in SW:R. At best it's a means in any COIN game. And from what I understand, the 'hunt' for the rebel base is a key part of SW: R - thus Harold's comparison to Scotland Yard...
 
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Kevin Walsh
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rstites25 wrote:

When you cherry pick half the sentence, it's easy to take it out of context. For SW:R destroying may be more difficult than merely finding. But such a distinction is irrelevant to my point. SW: R has it ass backwards.

And my point is that in terms of actual gameplay the distinction is less than it appears. In practice, the Imperial victory condition is a Control condition, something which already has precedents in the COIN games.

rstites25 wrote:

Finding and destroying the rebel base is an end in SW:R. At best it's a means in any COIN game. And from what I understand, the 'hunt' for the rebel base is a key part of SW: R - thus Harold's comparison to Scotland Yard...

If you haven't played the game, why are you arguing with someone who has? Harold's statement that the game has nothing in common with COIN games is simply wrong, and that is what I am disputing.
 
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Amaranth wrote:
rstites25 wrote:

When you cherry pick half the sentence, it's easy to take it out of context. For SW:R destroying may be more difficult than merely finding. But such a distinction is irrelevant to my point. SW: R has it ass backwards.

And my point is that in terms of actual gameplay the distinction is less than it appears. In practice, the Imperial victory condition is a Control condition

Not in the current COIN sense of "Control condition".

COIN's "Control" conditions mean that you have to keep Control of multiple spaces over time. You usually know which ones even before the game starts.

The Empire in SW:R needs to take Control of one space, the one with the Rebel Base; and as soon as they do that the game ends. For the purposes of meeting the victory conditions, the Empire doesn't need to Control any other system than that single one. As soon as they're certain that a system does not have the Rebel Base in it (preferrably through probe droids, since that means that the Rebels can't relocate there later), they could withdraw all their units from it with no ill effect on their victory condition.

Of course keeping Control of non-Base systems helps by letting you produce new units and (probably more important) preventing the Rebels from producing new units of their own; but that doesn't change the fact that an entire game of SW:R is essentially equivalent to a single Sweep+Air Strike Op&SA in FitL...

/Oerjan
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bigbru wrote:
Hi,

I really like the COIN series and played only very few games sadly, because most of my friends doesn't like heavy wargames like these.

Does any of you know some less complex games who could give a similar feeling as the COIN series ?

Thanks,

Bru


Can you say what about COIN games you are trying to get in similar games? 1775 as mentioned above is a great, simple war game, but if you're looking for the "crabs in a bucket" feel of 4-player COIN, 1775 isn't the right game. Pax Porfiriana is a great "crabs in a bucket" game for 3 (and very good with 4 and 2) but if you're looking for a game with dudes on a map, it doesn't fit (thinking about it, Pax Pamir might be a good choice).
 
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Amaranth wrote:
rstites25 wrote:

When you cherry pick half the sentence, it's easy to take it out of context. For SW:R destroying may be more difficult than merely finding. But such a distinction is irrelevant to my point. SW: R has it ass backwards.

And my point is that in terms of actual gameplay the distinction is less than it appears. In practice, the Imperial victory condition is a Control condition, something which already has precedents in the COIN games.


As Oerjan notes, you're basically using "Control condition" in such a generic sense that it loses all meaning. There's a huge difference between "controlling" the geographic territory the rebel base happens to reside at and "controlling" a large proportion of the population, which is what is necessary in a COIN game.

And I'd note, there really isn't a COIN "control" victory condition per se - at least not in isolation. The two games where control is part of a victory condition for a COIN faction are ADP and FitL. In both cases, there are two coin factions: a foreign COIN force and a reluctant, domestic partner. In both cases, the domestic partner is posited as a somewhat corrupt entity, which is more concerned with the self-interests of the individual politicians running the "government." The heavy-lifting of manipulating the support of the population is left to the foreign counterinsurgent. The support/opposition dynamic is present and key in all COIN series games (sans Falling Sky, which is a different beast), it's just that in some the counterinsurgent isn't a single monolithic force, but two separate forces with competing goals and interests.

Quote:
rstites25 wrote:

Finding and destroying the rebel base is an end in SW:R. At best it's a means in any COIN game. And from what I understand, the 'hunt' for the rebel base is a key part of SW: R - thus Harold's comparison to Scotland Yard...

If you haven't played the game, why are you arguing with someone who has? Harold's statement that the game has nothing in common with COIN games is simply wrong, and that is what I am disputing.


Because I don't have to play the game to have knowledge of the game. And I do have extensive experience with COIN and have spent quite a lot of time contemplating the various COIN models. I was initially interested in SW: R thinking that it might be a modern Freedom in the Galaxy, which is considered a decent take on counterinsurgency by some (or at least includes some basic concepts that have been applied in other serious attempts to model counterinsurgencies). Upon further investigation, I concluded that comparisons to FitG ended with the theme - at least for my purposes.

The reality is that when you start breaking down the nuts and bolts of SW:R and the COIN series, the two really have nothing in common. You can always take any two boardgames and back out to some level of generality and find some common ground. But such an exercise doesn't really tell us anything about the game(s).
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Oerjan wrote:

The Empire in SW:R needs to take Control of one space, the one with the Rebel Base; and as soon as they do that the game ends. For the purposes of meeting the victory conditions, the Empire doesn't need to Control any other system than that single one. As soon as they're certain that a system does not have the Rebel Base in it (preferrably through probe droids, since that means that the Rebels can't relocate there later), they could withdraw all their units from it with no ill effect on their victory condition.

In order to meet their victory condition, the Imperial player has to obtain military superiority in every sector where the Rebel base could possibly be. They cannot do that without building on their initial economic superiority, and in order to do that, they have to have regard for the loyalty of the Galactic population and control over the Galactic population.

You can have perfect knowledge of the location of the Rebel base and, if the Rebels are too strong, it doesn't matter - you'll still lose.
 
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Kevin, you confuse the victory condition itself with the tools available/needed to achieve it.

To use a COIN analogy: In Andean Abyss, the Government needs to protect the LoCs that generate a large part of its income in order to have enough Resources to meet the Govt victory condition (high Support). Applying your SW:R logic to AA, you are saying is that protecting the LoCs is the AA Govt victory condition, instead of just a step on the path to achieving it.

Regards,
Oerjan
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Oerjan wrote:
Kevin, you confuse the victory condition itself with the tools available/needed to achieve it.

I'm not confusing them. I'm saying the latter are more important in terms of gameplay.
 
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Anyway, to contribute something useful to the thread, I'm going to briefly summarise the differences and similarities between Star Wars: Rebellion and the COIN games:

Similarities:

Theme - Fairly obvious

Asymmetry - While still using the same basic mechanics, the Empire and Rebels have different victory conditions, different abilities, and, to some extent, different unit compositions. I will add the caveat that the differences are not as profound in Star Wars: Rebellion as they are in most COIN games.

A distinction between popular opinion and military control - Star Wars: Rebellion tracks the opinions of the population in a system in a basically identical way to the way A Distant Plain does.

The relevance of popular opinion - While not as decisive as it is for some COIN game factions, the Loyalty of the population is important for both the Rebels and the Empire in terms of their victory condition and in terms of building their overall board position

Long payoff times - In both the COIN games and in Star Wars: Rebellion, it is common to take actions that are expected not to have any short-term payoff, as building a position from scratch takes time.


Differences:

Victory conditions - Addressed amply upthread

Asymmetry of information - Star Wars: Rebellion has information asymmetry between players. The COIN series largely doesn't, instead representing the information asymmetry between insurgents and counterinsurgents through the Underground/Active system, a system with no analogue in Star Wars: Rebellion.

Colocation - It is possible for opposing forces to coexist in the same space in the COIN games. This is not possible in Star Wars: Rebellion. This is partly an instance of the scope of representation, but not entirely so.

Scope of representation - The different games represent different things concretely and different things abstractly. Star Wars: Rebellion concretely represents force composition, in particular naval force composition, as well as local industrial capacity. The COIN games abstract these factors. The COIN games, on the other hand, concretely represent the presence and status of small urban guerilla cells, which are represented in Star Wars: Rebellion only abstractly through the Mission system. Rebel forces as represented by miniatures are effectively Main Force units. Sabotage Markers, present in both systems, have different impacts in each. And of course Star Wars: Rebellion has its leaders on the map, unlike most COIN games.

Other mechanical differences - Action denial is an important mechanic in Star Wars: Rebellion, and a barely existant one in the COIN series*. The COIN series has operations tempo for particular factions fluctuate semi-randomly, which has little equivalent in Star Wars: Rebellion. Overall, the Mission system in Star Wars: Rebellion is more like a CDG than it is to the COIN system's Event cards - though it is also a bit like the Operations menu in COIN. Star Wars: Rebellion also has more randomness in how individual actions are resolved than in most COIN games.

* I guess it could be argued that a Sweep Operation is a form of action restriction - not quite the same thing in my view.
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[q="Amaranth"]Anyway, to contribute something useful to the thread, I'm going to briefly summarise the differences and similarities between Star Wars: Rebellion and the COIN games:

Similarities:

Theme - Fairly obvious[/quote]

Is it? The "theme" of SW:R is basically an attempt to recreate the movies. A secondary of that might be some notion of rebellion and quelling the rebellion. But really it's about recreating many of the events from the movie in a strategic level game - i.e., seeing those events in game form at an "epic" level.

The COIN series is first and foremost a game of counterinsurgency and modeling how to combat an insurgency. In other words, it's not some secondary theme that provides a backdrop to illustrate some famous events.

Quote:
Asymmetry - While still using the same basic mechanics, the Empire and Rebels have different victory conditions, different abilities, and, to some extent, different unit compositions. I will add the caveat that the differences are not as profound in Star Wars: Rebellion as they are in most COIN games.


This such a general comparison that it is basically of no use. Myriad games employ asymmetric victory conditions/abilities.

Quote:
A distinction between popular opinion and military control - Star Wars: Rebellion tracks the opinions of the population in a system in a basically identical way to the way A Distant Plain does.


The tracking may be similar, but the means for manipulating it and changing it, not to mention its impact on the game are utterly different.

I'd also note that there's an argument that opposition is not equivalent to rebellion loyalty. In many ways the "opposition" that is track may not necessarily mean that a side is loyal to that faction. It can also merely mean that the population has turned against the legitimate or recognized government and the government's ability to govern has been compromised.

It also looks like the loyalty of a system is treated as more of a diplomatic endeavor than it is in the COIN sense of winning over 'hearts and minds.'

Quote:
The relevance of popular opinion - While not as decisive as it is for some COIN game factions, the Loyalty of the population is important for both the Rebels and the Empire in terms of their victory condition and in terms of building their overall board position.


Once we start examining the nuts and bolts of why "popular opinion" (which may not actually be popular opinion in the same was the COIN series), we see that the way it impacts and drives the game puts this ore in the differences column than the similarity column.

Quote:
Long payoff times - In both the COIN games and in Star Wars: Rebellion, it is common to take actions that are expected not to have any short-term payoff, as building a position from scratch takes time.


Again, when comparing games, the necessity of making long-term plans seems to provide no meaningful ground for comparing individual games.


Quote:
Differences:

Victory conditions - Addressed amply upthread


Yes, but you still fail to acknowledge how fundamentally different they are.

Quote:
Asymmetry of information - Star Wars: Rebellion has information asymmetry between players. The COIN series largely doesn't, instead representing the information asymmetry between insurgents and counterinsurgents through the Underground/Active system, a system with no analogue in Star Wars: Rebellion.


Interestingly, information asymmetry is baked into the COIN series through the rules. The asymmetry between the COIN and guerrillas is why a sweep is necessary to 'activate' guerrillas before they're able to be removed through another action later.

This is also an important area where "popular opinion" exhibits one of its secondary impacts. If a guerrilla faction moves into an area that is supportive of the government, and they do so with a sufficiently-sized force, the information asymmetry is reduced: the guerrillas come in "active" because of the government's ability to gather information among a supportive population.

Quote:
Colocation - It is possible for opposing forces to coexist in the same space in the COIN games. This is not possible in Star Wars: Rebellion. This is partly an instance of the scope of representation, but not entirely so.


You minimize this difference. This is actually a key aspect of the COIN model. As an insurgent, one of the things many factions must figure out is how to get underground guerrillas into a space with the opposing COIN faction. Not to mention the information asymmetry aspects discussed above. With out coexistence and just having "battle" commence when the two end up in the same space, underground guerrillas and other similar mechanics would be irrelevant to the COIN model.

Quote:
Scope of representation - The different games represent different things concretely and different things abstractly. Star Wars: Rebellion concretely represents force composition, in particular naval force composition, as well as local industrial capacity. The COIN games abstract these factors. The COIN games, on the other hand, concretely represent the presence and status of small urban guerilla cells, which are represented in Star Wars: Rebellion only abstractly through the Mission system. Rebel forces as represented by miniatures are effectively Main Force units. Sabotage Markers, present in both systems, have different impacts in each. And of course Star Wars: Rebellion has its leaders on the map, unlike most COIN games.


Again, this is a pretty fundamental difference. The reason the COIN series can generally get away with abstracting force composition is because it takes the position that when the forces actually engage in kinetic military operations, the counterinsurgent will win and do so decisively because it is the only conventional force involved. When the insurgents attack, they typically do so using guerrilla tactics: ambushes, etc. (although a game option, you will very rarely see an insurgent faction choose an attack operation without adding an ambush/assassinate special activity). It's not that the COIN series chooses not to focus on force composition per se; it's that particular force compositions really aren't important at the scale.

SW:R treats combat in a conventional matter as a battle between conventional forces.

Quote:
Other mechanical differences - Action denial is an important mechanic in Star Wars: Rebellion, and a barely existant one in the COIN series*. The COIN series has operations tempo for particular factions fluctuate semi-randomly, which has little equivalent in Star Wars: Rebellion. Overall, the Mission system in Star Wars: Rebellion is more like a CDG than it is to the COIN system's Event cards - though it is also a bit like the Operations menu in COIN. Star Wars: Rebellion also has more randomness in how individual actions are resolved than in most COIN games.

* I guess it could be argued that a Sweep Operation is a form of action restriction - not quite the same thing in my view.


I'm not quite sure what you consider action denial, but a lot of successful play in COIN games is action denial in a certain sense. The choice between a Operation v. an Operation and a Special Activity is all about shat you want/need to deny to the player following you. Similar decisions arise in terms of whether to act on a card or pass to block an upcoming event.

For the COIN faction, a lot of the game will be in getting police to locations to prevent or minimize underground guerrillas from marching in and to eventually conducting civic actions to shift support to the point where they cannot Rally in the space either. The same is true for building bases. Sometimes its good to have multiple bases in an area because of the benefit in rallying; it's also good in some cases so as to prevent anyone else from building a base. In essence, you're locking out/denying the opponent certain actions in certain areas in order to consolidate and protect your victory conditions.
 
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