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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Variants

Subject: "Confrontation" Twilight Struggle rss

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Alex McDunna
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I have an idea for a simple variant that removes the random die rolling, which I'm sure is a deterrent for some eurogamers. I love the game with the dice, and I think it is thematic for a war game, but I also think this variant would open up a lot more strategies, and reduce the occurrences of bad luck.

The way this works is that each player is given 6 cards labeled 1 through 6. Whenever they would roll a die, they play a card instead. However, you can't replay a card until one player has played all six, at which point both players put them all back in their hands and the process restarts. You now have to decide whether to go for a "super coup" by playing your six, or save it for later to win a difficult war. Realignments are now intense bluffing matches. This variant also makes space race A LOT more powerful because it is guaranteed to succeed and gets rid of bad number cards. I don't think this is a bad thing, because the space race was underutilized before. It would be interesting to see players reach the higher bonuses.

I call this "confrontation" twilight struggle because the card play system is similar to one of my favorite games: "Lord of the Rings the Confromtation". I haven't tried it out yet, but I'd be curious to see how it works if anyone wants to try it out.



 
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Antanas
United Kingdom
Derby
Derbyshire
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Space race would be totally broken. If you still had to roll for a space race, I'd maybe give this variant a chance.

Personally, I don't think the luck component has a big weight in this game. Make right decisions on the right time and you'll eventually outweigh some bad rolls. Does anyone think such scenario would improve the game:
* "well, you've only got xyz cards (dice replacements) left so I will do a coup because I know you've got no chance".
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Alex McDunna
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lebryant wrote:
Space race would be totally broken. If you still had to roll for a space race, I'd maybe give this variant a chance.


I actually think it would improve space race a lot by making it actually viable to fight for space, instead of just an afterthought discard mechanic. It also bugs me that there is almost no reason to go further than halfway on the track in the original rules.

Secondly, you have to be even more careful about going too far on the track because you will no longer be able to discard 2 op (and eventually even 3op) cards. This is especially dangerous for the Russian player.

Thirdly, one subtle aspect of the rule to combat the power level of the space race is that if either player uses all of their cards, then both players take back their played cards. Thus, by discarding low numbers on the space race, you help your opponent by potentially saving them from plying their low cards at all.

lebryant wrote:
Personally, I don't think the luck component has a big weight in this game. Make right decisions on the right time and you'll eventually outweigh some bad rolls.


I agree. That's why I suggest this as a variant instead of insisting that this is how the game should be played or anything.

lebryant wrote:
Does anyone think such scenario would improve the game:
* "well, you've only got xyz cards (dice replacements) left so I will do a coup because I know you've got no chance".


I assume you mean realignments since coups do not involve the other players dice. Personally, I do think that this might improve the game. I find the combat system in Lord of the Rings Confrontation to be really enjoyable, and I hate it when you realign a region and, due to bad luck, end up accomplishing nothing, or even something negative.

 
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Steve Parsons
England
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Interesting idea, although I suspect that the success of the game indicates that it doesn't need fixing. However, if the aim is to even-out the luck of the dice, but still preserve a measure of uncertainty, perhaps your rule could be modified as follows:

At the start of the game, each player is issued with one* set of cards, numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, which should be shuffled into a random order. These are kept face-down in front of her. During play, whenever a die roll is called for, the player instead exposes the top card of her own deck and uses that number, placing the card on a personal discard pile. After exhausting her deck, the player retrieves her discards, and reshuffles them to form a new deck with which to continue.

* MODIFICATION I
If a value could be established for the 'average number of die rolls per player per game', say N, this could be used to make it harder to predict the final card(s) to be exposed. 'One' in the above suggestion could be replaced by, say, N÷18 (rounded up, to the next whole number), so that each player would, on average, have to pick up her discards and reshuffle on average twice per game, very roughly corresponding to the transitions to Mid-war and Late-war.
Using this refinement, perhaps the reshuffle should occur when the player has exposed her last-but-one card, thus reducing the chances of successfully memorising cards (although it is still a possibility, if a player knows that her last two cards are both the same).

MODIFICATION II
If anyone is still unhappy that there will be an unplayed card in their hand under Modification I, then the following rule could be added:
Before reshuffling the unplayed card in with the discards, this card is exposed, and its complementary card is determined (ie, the complement of 1 is 6 and vice versa; 2 and 5 are complements of each other, as are 3 and 4). A card bearing this complementary number is then added to the opponent's deck. Any extra cards in a player's deck (whether discarded or not) are removed the next time that deck is reshuffled.

If I were to comment on my own post, I'd say its an interesting mechanic, but is unnecessary in TS, and unthematic, and could perhaps be used in a different game!
 
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Conan Meriadoc
France
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I'm a eurogamer at heart and I'm not deterred by the dice at all in this game, except maybe for the obligatory coup in Iran at the beginning of the game.

This seems an interesting variant, it sure changes a lot of the dynamics of the game.

Card retention seems key, though. I don't think I'd ever spend my last card(s) voluntarily, unless my hand is really bad and I need to space race something to avoid losing. I don't want to open dangerous opportunities to my opponent, even if avoiding dice rolls limits my available actions.

Which leads to specifics :
- Do Events work the same way, forcing you to blind bet (e.g. Olympic games) ?
- Can you choose to not roll a die and accept a 0 value ? e.g. if your opponent realigns, can he force you to empty your hand and reshuffle ?


Overall, I'm worried this would shift too much of the game into a micromanagement of "dice hands", taking actions that will benefit your available dice cards vs. your opponent's. I'm not too fond of the blind betting on realignments either, but if you plan around your opponent spending all of their good cards, they could be devastating. Guaranteed success for coups may lead to a lot more agressive play.

On the other hand, this can lead to very interesting mind games and different choices and scenarios compared to the base game. It will make coups and realignments fewer, but a lot more efficient; and it should allow players to go a bit farther on the space race (maybe too much)

This at least needs a try ! I'd be curious to hear session reports and what you felt was different from more mundane games.

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Steve Parsons
England
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I tend to agree with Conan's sentiment that
- I'm worried this would shift too much of the game into a micromanagement of "dice hands"

There is a nice little game which BGG informed me is called Footsteps or Quo Vadis (I used to refer to it as NU50 as it required 50 pieces each and I first saw it described in a Norwich Union ad) that has similarities to that micro-mechanic.
 
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Patrick Barry
United States
Williamsburg
Virginia
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Or you could use a system like KEMET does, where you have to discard one of your cards whenever you would play one of them. This keeps you from having perfect knowledge of your opponent's hand. Granted, the cards in KEMET have three factors on them, not one like TS does. Perhaps you could have cards with different factors for coup, realignment, and "event" rolls. I suspect there should be some opportunity cost in the middle of the other ranges for a high card in one range. Some play testing would reveal how to break these down and across how many cards, I expect.
 
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King in Green
Japan
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My variant on this would be more easily implemented on an app. I would have about 50 sets of dicecards for each side- more than would be used in one game- and flip the target rolls for space & Beartrap so high is always good. Now whichever side is luckier early on in the game is going to have a negatively skewed probability later on. This might have some odd effects on play but I'd be interested to try it sometime.
 
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Neuro Mancer
Croatia
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blueraja1 wrote:
I have an idea for a simple variant that removes the random die rolling, which I'm sure is a deterrent for some eurogamers. I love the game with the dice, and I think it is thematic for a war game, but I also think this variant would open up a lot more strategies, and reduce the occurrences of bad luck.

The way this works is that each player is given 6 cards labeled 1 through 6. Whenever they would roll a die, they play a card instead. However, you can't replay a card until one player has played all six, at which point both players put them all back in their hands and the process restarts. You now have to decide whether to go for a "super coup" by playing your six, or save it for later to win a difficult war. Realignments are now intense bluffing matches. This variant also makes space race A LOT more powerful because it is guaranteed to succeed and gets rid of bad number cards. I don't think this is a bad thing, because the space race was underutilized before. It would be interesting to see players reach the higher bonuses.

I call this "confrontation" twilight struggle because the card play system is similar to one of my favorite games: "Lord of the Rings the Confromtation". I haven't tried it out yet, but I'd be curious to see how it works if anyone wants to try it out.





To mitigate the effect of random dice roll i have idea to use two sets of tokens (one for each player)
Each set consists of 6 tokens with possible effects:

Military Intervention - Play before you play coup attempt or any War event in order to gain +1 Modifier on die roll. Degrade DEFCON by 1

Technological Breakthrough - Play before you discard a card for Space race (possible solutions for effect is to increase OPS value of card used for Space Race or maybe to Modify Space Race die roll by 1)

Subversive Operations - Play before you play a card for realignment roll(s) (also two possible solutions: Increase OPS value of the card used for realignment roll by 1, or maybe gain +1 modifier on realignment rolls)

Aggressive Propaganda - Play before you play a card for placing influence (increase OPS value of the card used for placing influence by 1)

Diplomatic Initiative - Play in response when your opponent plays a card for event. Event is cancelled but opponent may use its OPS value (maybe a little bit owerpowered and this one should be ommited)

Moscow-Washington Hotline or Washington-Moscow Hotline (depends if is US or USSR set) - If DEFCON drops to 1 in your action round, revert DEFCON status on 2 and opponent gains 1 VP.

Only one token can be played in one turn (to avoid simultaneously playing military intervention which drops DEFCON to 1 and then playing hotline)
 
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