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Subject: OCS vs. EotS rss

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David Stoffey
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So I've tried to learn the rules to Empire of the Sun three times now. Every time, I read through the rules, finish them, and feel that I know just as much about the game as I did before I started (which is very little). Contrary to that, I read the OCS rules over two days to learn Reluctant Enemies and found them to be very easy to grasp (by comparison to EotS) and very straight forward!

This is not to say the OCS rules are better written or better to understand than EotS. Different strokes for different folks, but I was surprised, as both games are often put on the same level of groggy-difficulty to learn and understand. I'm excited to try Reluctant Enemies this weekend and while I'm sure there will be hiccups, the rules honestly weren't that bad!

So I'm curious, why does OCS get such a bad reputation for rules difficulty? Also, are there people who found EotS easier to grasp than OCS? Which rule set do people find easier to wrap their heads around?
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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My impression is that EotS is considered complex because it is different, and not because it is difficult.

I strongly suggest putting pieces on the map and running an operation to see how the rules work.
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Tonny Wille
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If you want to learn Empire of the sun... I suggest watch the vassal module tutorials that airjudden made. They are very good to learn the game.

The problem with OCS is that the big problem isn't the rules, it is what to do on the map that causes a lot of trouble. A lot of new players feel a little lost when they start playing the game a first time and it can take a few games before becoming "efficient"
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David Stoffey
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durchske wrote:
If you want to learn Empire of the sun... I suggest watch the vassal module tutorials that airjudden made. They are very good to learn the game.

The problem with OCS is that the big problem isn't the rules, it is what to do on the map that causes a lot of trouble. A lot of new players feel a little lost when they start playing the game a first time and it can take a few games before becoming "efficient"


So you're telling me that when I sit down to play this weekend I may know the rules but have no clue what I'm doing? That basically sounds like any time I sit down to play a game!
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Chad
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Mark Herman has series of Youtube videos that were very helpful for me to grock EoTS. Playing well is of course a different story....
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Stoffey wrote:
durchske wrote:
If you want to learn Empire of the sun... I suggest watch the vassal module tutorials that airjudden made. They are very good to learn the game.

The problem with OCS is that the big problem isn't the rules, it is what to do on the map that causes a lot of trouble. A lot of new players feel a little lost when they start playing the game a first time and it can take a few games before becoming "efficient"


So you're telling me that when I sit down to play this weekend I may know the rules but have no clue what I'm doing? That basically sounds like any time I sit down to play a game!


Exactly this! OCS is a game of supply efficiency. Not just how to you move and aggregate supply but how much force projection you can squeeze out of your supply allotment. There are tricky interactions between the rules and maps for each game that become almost set-piece moves.

EoTS by contrast is just plain different, mechanically, from almost all other games you've played. The way force projection works, the way that supply is abstracted. In all its a brilliant package and altogether the design sings. But like others have said, I'd just run through the procedure for running operations right thru to post-battle movement (which can be a game in itself). Get the mechanics down first.
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David Dockter
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sdiberar wrote:
My impression is that EotS is considered complex because it is different, and not because it is difficult.

I strongly suggest putting pieces on the map and running an operation to see how the rules work.


Strongly agree (VERY different...this is good). Also, there are some good podcasts that explain the game. And, there has been continuous staff games on the EotS Consimworld board. Anyone can join either side and you will learn A LOT about the game and the associated strategy.

Best, and still state of the art, WWII strategic/op game that exists.
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Hunga Dunga
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New badge: Wargamers without a clue.

I'm first in line...
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David Stoffey
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Hungadunga wrote:
New badge: Wargamers without a clue.

I'm first in line...


I'd buy five!
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Wilbur Whateley
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Stoffey wrote:
So I've tried to learn the rules to Empire of the Sun three times now. Every time, I read through the rules, finish them, and feel that I know just as much about the game as I did before I started (which is very little). Contrary to that, I read the OCS rules over two days to learn Reluctant Enemies and found them to be very easy to grasp (by comparison to EotS) and very straight forward!

This is not to say the OCS rules are better written or better to understand than EotS. Different strokes for different folks, but I was surprised, as both games are often put on the same level of groggy-difficulty to learn and understand. I'm excited to try Reluctant Enemies this weekend and while I'm sure there will be hiccups, the rules honestly weren't that bad!

So I'm curious, why does OCS get such a bad reputation for rules difficulty? Also, are there people who found EotS easier to grasp than OCS? Which rule set do people find easier to wrap their heads around?


I've never had the impression that OCS had a bad reputation for rules clarity.

OCS is a model of clarity compared to EotS.

I never had any trouble understanding what the rules in OCS mapped to in terms of reality. If you understand what the rules represent, they are a lot easier to understand and remember.

When I sat down to play EotS face to face, I recall doing a B-17 bombing operation against a Japanese base. My opponent did a "reaction move" of moving the Yamato to the port, because its defense strength was so high it could not be damaged by the bombers, and its anti-aircraft strength increased the chance that the (very high altitude) strategic bombers would be shot down.

As far as I could tell, EotS does not map to any sort of reality at all, which is why its rules are so difficult to understand.

Imagine sailing your most valuable battleship deliberately TO a port under continuous air attack to increase the port's air defense....mystifying.....

I may not agree with Dean Essig's thesis on how and why WWII operations happened, but I can understand his thesis. EotS is just an alternate reality, where the U.S. is better off not defending islands in 1941/early 1942 because their Political Will requires recapturing islands, not holding onto them. Makes no sense at all - the more successful your defense against the onslaught, the lower your morale! Imagine Nimitz wanting to lose the Philippines and Midway so he could get the chance to recapture them and keep that Will up.

I sold that game quickly. The idea of the U.S. surrendering in 1943 because it held onto too much territory in 1941 was just too much to take in the name of "design for effect." This designer is known for that, e.g. the "unfortified Washington" in For the People, to force the Union to attack. Washington was, in fact, fortified. It comes down to taste whether you can stomach this kind of historical distortion in the name of lighting a fire under the player's rear end to get him to attack. Personally I prefer better victory conditions to historical distortion.

OCS has its oddities, but EotS is in a league of its own in terms of being bizarre, and the style of the rules makes it worse.

Note I played it in 2008, it is possible some of this nonsense has been corrected since then.
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Joel Tamburo
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chuft wrote:
Stoffey wrote:
So I've tried to learn the rules to Empire of the Sun three times now. Every time, I read through the rules, finish them, and feel that I know just as much about the game as I did before I started (which is very little). Contrary to that, I read the OCS rules over two days to learn Reluctant Enemies and found them to be very easy to grasp (by comparison to EotS) and very straight forward!

This is not to say the OCS rules are better written or better to understand than EotS. Different strokes for different folks, but I was surprised, as both games are often put on the same level of groggy-difficulty to learn and understand. I'm excited to try Reluctant Enemies this weekend and while I'm sure there will be hiccups, the rules honestly weren't that bad!

So I'm curious, why does OCS get such a bad reputation for rules difficulty? Also, are there people who found EotS easier to grasp than OCS? Which rule set do people find easier to wrap their heads around?


I've never had the impression that OCS had a bad reputation for rules clarity.

OCS is a model of clarity compared to EotS.

I never had any trouble understanding what the rules in OCS mapped to in terms of reality. If you understand what the rules represent, they are a lot easier to understand and remember.

When I sat down to play EotS face to face, I recall doing a B-17 bombing operation against a Japanese base. My opponent did a "reaction move" of moving the Yamato to the port, because its defense strength was so high it could not be damaged by the bombers, and its anti-aircraft strength increased the chance that the (very high altitude) strategic bombers would be shot down.

As far as I could tell, EotS does not map to any sort of reality at all, which is why its rules are so difficult to understand.

Imagine sailing your most valuable battleship deliberately TO a port under continuous air attack to increase the port's air defense....mystifying.....

I may not agree with Dean Essig's thesis on how and why WWII operations happened, but I can understand his thesis. EotS is just an alternate reality, where the U.S. is better off not defending islands in 1941/early 1942 because their Political Will requires recapturing islands, not holding onto them. Makes no sense at all - the more successful your defense against the onslaught, the lower your morale! Imagine Nimitz wanting to lose the Philippines and Midway so he could get the chance to recapture them and keep that Will up.

I sold that game quickly. The idea of the U.S. surrendering in 1943 because it held onto too much territory in 1941 was just too much to take in the name of "design for effect." This designer is known for that, e.g. the "unfortified Washington" in For the People, to force the Union to attack. Washington was, in fact, fortified. It comes down to taste whether you can stomach this kind of historical distortion in the name of lighting a fire under the player's rear end to get him to attack. Personally I prefer better victory conditions to historical distortion.

OCS has its oddities, but EotS is in a league of its own in terms of being bizarre, and the style of the rules makes it worse

Note I played it in 2008, it is possible some of this nonsense has been corrected since then.


I read this post then broke my copies out of both games, and sat there wondering "what games did he play"? Neither EotS or For the People even resemble these statements.

Empire of the Sun never has the US surrendering in the first place. A Japanese victory is clearly stated in the rules as them getting better terms than they historically did.

Next, I think he means the Progress of the War mechanic. All it states is that if the US does not take a number of named locations on the map each turn (starting on Turn 4) equal to the lesser of 4 or the number of ASPs it has, 1 Political Will is lost.

Going to Washington D.C in For the People. It starts with a Fort and the river rules mean that the CSA can never get at it by directly crossing the Potomac opposite it - they have to curve off to the West just like history.
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Joel Tamburo
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Now as to grasping the different games. OCS is much more a traditional war-game which makes it a bit easier to grok quickly. EotS uses a lot of new mechanics and as such takes longer to absorb. But once you "get" it it is second nature.
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Wilbur Whateley
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Joelist wrote:
chuft wrote:
Stoffey wrote:
So I've tried to learn the rules to Empire of the Sun three times now. Every time, I read through the rules, finish them, and feel that I know just as much about the game as I did before I started (which is very little). Contrary to that, I read the OCS rules over two days to learn Reluctant Enemies and found them to be very easy to grasp (by comparison to EotS) and very straight forward!

This is not to say the OCS rules are better written or better to understand than EotS. Different strokes for different folks, but I was surprised, as both games are often put on the same level of groggy-difficulty to learn and understand. I'm excited to try Reluctant Enemies this weekend and while I'm sure there will be hiccups, the rules honestly weren't that bad!

So I'm curious, why does OCS get such a bad reputation for rules difficulty? Also, are there people who found EotS easier to grasp than OCS? Which rule set do people find easier to wrap their heads around?


I've never had the impression that OCS had a bad reputation for rules clarity.

OCS is a model of clarity compared to EotS.

I never had any trouble understanding what the rules in OCS mapped to in terms of reality. If you understand what the rules represent, they are a lot easier to understand and remember.

When I sat down to play EotS face to face, I recall doing a B-17 bombing operation against a Japanese base. My opponent did a "reaction move" of moving the Yamato to the port, because its defense strength was so high it could not be damaged by the bombers, and its anti-aircraft strength increased the chance that the (very high altitude) strategic bombers would be shot down.

As far as I could tell, EotS does not map to any sort of reality at all, which is why its rules are so difficult to understand.

Imagine sailing your most valuable battleship deliberately TO a port under continuous air attack to increase the port's air defense....mystifying.....

I may not agree with Dean Essig's thesis on how and why WWII operations happened, but I can understand his thesis. EotS is just an alternate reality, where the U.S. is better off not defending islands in 1941/early 1942 because their Political Will requires recapturing islands, not holding onto them. Makes no sense at all - the more successful your defense against the onslaught, the lower your morale! Imagine Nimitz wanting to lose the Philippines and Midway so he could get the chance to recapture them and keep that Will up.

I sold that game quickly. The idea of the U.S. surrendering in 1943 because it held onto too much territory in 1941 was just too much to take in the name of "design for effect." This designer is known for that, e.g. the "unfortified Washington" in For the People, to force the Union to attack. Washington was, in fact, fortified. It comes down to taste whether you can stomach this kind of historical distortion in the name of lighting a fire under the player's rear end to get him to attack. Personally I prefer better victory conditions to historical distortion.

OCS has its oddities, but EotS is in a league of its own in terms of being bizarre, and the style of the rules makes it worse

Note I played it in 2008, it is possible some of this nonsense has been corrected since then.


I read this post then broke my copies out of both games, and sat there wondering "what games did he play"? Neither EotS or For the People even resemble these statements.

Empire of the Sun never has the US surrendering in the first place. A Japanese victory is clearly stated in the rules as them getting better terms than they historically did.

Next, I think he means the Progress of the War mechanic. All it states is that if the US does not take a number of named locations on the map each turn (starting on Turn 4) equal to the lesser of 4 or the number of ASPs it has, 1 Political Will is lost.

Going to Washington D.C in For the People. It starts with a Fort and the river rules mean that the CSA can never get at it by directly crossing the Potomac opposite it - they have to curve off to the West just like history.


I don't feel like refuting everything you say, it's a waste of my time, but if you care about the truth, read these:

EotS:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/66799/campaign-game-vic...

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/465354/comparison-betwe...

FtP:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1542887#1542887
 
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Joel Tamburo
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Seeing as I actually play both games and read both rulebooks, I think it is pretty obvious who cares about the truth here.

Your FtP thread is a kook claiming he has a perfect plan, when in reality it takes poor Union play to lose Washington. One of your EotS threads isn't even speaking of the topic at hand and the other is a dopey thread about a gambit in a variant game start (1941 using the IAI card) which hasn't been valid since v1.0 and even then it was quickly errata-ed out.

If you want to HONESTLY appraise both games, use the current editions (just like you would for any game). Otherwise it's just a smear job.
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Wilbur Whateley
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Nah. You miss the point entirely, which is that criticism of games improves them over time. Fanboys improve nothing.

EotS was broken as published and FtP had a grossly ahistorical portrayal of Washington. Those are facts.

"Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it."
 
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Wilbur Whateley
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Joelist wrote:
Your FtP thread is a kook claiming he has a perfect plan


That's an interesting reaction to

MarkHerman wrote:
Thanks for the AAR and your thoughts on the design. The 'beef up' the Washington Defenses with a +2 started at the first WBC when Washington was falling regularly.
 
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Nick Wade
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Hungadunga wrote:
New badge: Wargamers without a clue.

I'm first in line...


I would but I wouldn't know how...
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Richard Diosi
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I'm not sure OCS has a rep as a complex rules set its just that some have thought it has too much accounting. I do not personally believe this is true as the math of supply, though difficult to master, is not hard to comprehend rules wise.
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Joel Tamburo
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boldl wrote:
chuft wrote:
Joelist wrote:
Your FtP thread is a kook claiming he has a perfect plan


That's an interesting reaction to

MarkHerman wrote:
Thanks for the AAR and your thoughts on the design. The 'beef up' the Washington Defenses with a +2 started at the first WBC when Washington was falling regularly.


In his defense, the first WBC was before that post, not after.

And to quote Herman's end thought, "I am confused about the point on whether losing Washington ensures a Union defeat. It certainly does not, although a -30 SW hit is not something to sneeze at. I have been keeping statistics on the game since its publication (over 8 years) in tournament play with a wide range of players. The statistics remain firmly at 50-50 with minor shifts when someone figures out a new strategy for one side or the other, which soon gets countered. Check out the current online tournament page to see another example of these outcomes across a wide range of players."

Not that what you're saying isn't also accurate. But the OP of that thread is a kook.


Actually, nothing he posted was accurate. Mark's post was him being nice and not outright calling the guy out. the only version of the game where DC was vulnerable was the Avalon Hill original print run, and that was because they gutted the rules to reduce the complexity, which among other things left out essential components of the river rules. The correct river rules started in the first GMT edition, and in there the CSA cannot cross the Potomac to DC because a Union Fort (like in DC) always prevents CSA river crossing.

In the same vein, all his EotS statements are inaccurate. It had a minor victory glitch involving a corner case play (IAI) that was stamped out right after publication. Probably should not have happened but that's what happens when a complex game goes through play testing and development - you risk missing something.

Another example - his B-17 vs. Yamato example. A B-17 (Long Range Bomber) unit by itself in the game is not strong enough to damage ANY unit without rolling a Critical Hit. Moving Yamato into the space does not impact that at all. Also, unless the Japanese also have an air unit in the combat Yamato has zero change of damaging the Bomber because surface units by themselves cannot inflict damage on active air units. It's stuff like this which shows lack of credibility.
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Joel Tamburo
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DocStryder wrote:
I'm not sure OCS has a rep as a complex rules set its just that some have thought it has too much accounting. I do not personally believe this is true as the math of supply, though difficult to master, is not hard to comprehend rules wise.


I agree. It isn't too hard to pick up. And as the versions of the game have evolved the supply accounting has become easier and also some bizarre game situations have been smoothed over.
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Wilbur Whateley
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Joelist wrote:
Actually, nothing he posted was accurate.


A true believer, eh? Herman's words I quoted above about adding a defensive bonus to Washington due to too many people taking it do not carry any weight?

Well here's some more of his words, about EotS.

"The path to victory for this strategy is to capture all 14 resource hexes, reduce US PW from 8 to 4 (surrender of Malaya, Philippines,
DEI, and Burma), and deny the Allies PoW by avoiding the historical Japanese defense perimeter and creating easy targets. The Japanese then hope to force the Allies to fail PoW two times (turns 4 and 5), and look for a combination of a favorable draw of PW events in conjunction with the potential surrender of Northern India to drive PW to zero by game turn 6 (May-August 1943). This strategy works, especially if the Allies do not respond correctly. This strategy seems to dominate Japanese play at this point in time (the Summer of 2008)."

http://www.c3iopscenter.com/currentops/wp-content/uploads/20...

Quote:
It had a minor victory glitch involving a corner case play (IAI) that was stamped out right after publication.


Nonsense.
 
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Joel Tamburo
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chuft wrote:
Joelist wrote:
Actually, nothing he posted was accurate.


A true believer, eh? Herman's words I quoted above about adding a defensive bonus to Washington due to too many people taking it do not carry any weight?

Well here's some more of his words, about EotS.

"The path to victory for this strategy is to capture all 14 resource hexes, reduce US PW from 8 to 4 (surrender of Malaya, Philippines,
DEI, and Burma), and deny the Allies PoW by avoiding the historical Japanese defense perimeter and creating easy targets. The Japanese then hope to force the Allies to fail PoW two times (turns 4 and 5), and look for a combination of a favorable draw of PW events in conjunction with the potential surrender of Northern India to drive PW to zero by game turn 6 (May-August 1943). This strategy works, especially if the Allies do not respond correctly. This strategy seems to dominate Japanese play at this point in time (the Summer of 2008)."

http://www.c3iopscenter.com/currentops/wp-content/uploads/20...

Quote:
It had a minor victory glitch involving a corner case play (IAI) that was stamped out right after publication.


Nonsense.


Now keep reading in the article, and note that the strategy has a very real downside. In fact, it even states such right in your snippet...."if the Allies do not respond correctly". You keep pulling snippets and things out of context and in the process just make yourself look less and less credible.

And yes the glitch was a minor corner case that required playing the 1941 scenario specifically and the use of IAI specifically and it was very quickly errata-ed out. Unlike you I actually play the game and know what I am talking about.
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Joel Tamburo
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Stoffey wrote:
So I've tried to learn the rules to Empire of the Sun three times now. Every time, I read through the rules, finish them, and feel that I know just as much about the game as I did before I started (which is very little). Contrary to that, I read the OCS rules over two days to learn Reluctant Enemies and found them to be very easy to grasp (by comparison to EotS) and very straight forward!

This is not to say the OCS rules are better written or better to understand than EotS. Different strokes for different folks, but I was surprised, as both games are often put on the same level of groggy-difficulty to learn and understand. I'm excited to try Reluctant Enemies this weekend and while I'm sure there will be hiccups, the rules honestly weren't that bad!

So I'm curious, why does OCS get such a bad reputation for rules difficulty? Also, are there people who found EotS easier to grasp than OCS? Which rule set do people find easier to wrap their heads around?


Hi David!

Sorry bout the kerfuffle, a spot of bother with someone needing to return under their bridge...

As to learning EotS, which rules version are you using? It helps so that we are on the same frame of reference. Version 3.0 is current, and is in my opinion the easiest for a new player to grok.

Regarding learning tools, Mark Herman did a number of videos on YouTube as have other players that lay out the game nicely. As EotS rolls out a lot of new concepts it can be a bit difficult to pick up right off the bat.

As to videos:

John Steidl's excellent series: https://youtu.be/CocTkcvEJlw

Mark Herman's strategy look: https://youtu.be/p6JvE9stgSc
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chuft wrote:
Nah. You miss the point entirely, which is that criticism of games improves them over time. Fanboys improve nothing.

EotS was broken as published and FtP had a grossly ahistorical portrayal of Washington. Those are facts.

"Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it."


How, he has spoken. Its broken .. and his hands are larger than average.
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Wilbur Whateley
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Joelist wrote:
Now keep reading in the article, and note that the strategy has a very real downside.


You miss the point again. My point with these quotes was that (a) Washington was made ahistorically weak by the designer to force the Union to be more aggressive and (b) deliberately not expanding as much as they could was the dominant strategy among players of the Japanese in 2008 (when I tried EotS) because it has the effect of making the U.S. frequently give up on the war in 1943. The "reality" the game was simulating is one where the U.S. gives up on the war in 1943 because the Allies were too successful in their defense in 1941. I don't find this at all believable.

The designer uses these sorts of design-for-effect mechanisms to encourage certain player behavior and he says so in the bodies of text I linked to and quoted. Since they do not map to reality as we know it, such mechanisms can be hard to understand. I simply don't believe that successfully holding onto territory in 1941 would make the U.S. give up on their war aims in 1943. I don't have any opinion on the weak Washington because the Civil War is not my thing, but I do recall a lot of controversy about it at the time among Civil War history buffs.

Quote:
In fact, it even states such right in your snippet...."if the Allies do not respond correctly". You keep pulling snippets and things out of context and in the process just make yourself look less and less credible.


In both cases I quoted the relevant text that supported my position. (You have provided no evidence for yours whatsoever.) I also linked to the source so readers could evaluate the entire text for themselves. I certainly am not going to quote an entire strategy article, that would be absurd.

Quote:
Unlike you I actually play the game and know what I am talking about.


Why would I keep playing a game I didn't like? Inter-service rivalry and Political Will are not the things I want to be the foci for a WW2 Pacific game.
 
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