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Subject: Please help me get this back to the table! rss

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Mark Turner
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I posted earlier about the disappointing evening of QMG:AH with my games group. Mainly, because the extreme early advantage given to allies both in terms of starting position and early scoring opportunities proved insuperable for the axis, even when it played what seemed to have been a very solid opening.

I have invested in this game, and still think it's a fantastic piece of design, but I desperately need evidence and testimony to help me win over a group that had heard great things, but after playing the expansion now rates it somewhat lower than snakes and ladders.

It seems this could be a much more balanced experience by skipping the Chinese and French points. The factions would still play as always, but the supply centres only score if a main player army is on them.

In both games we played, that would have given the axis a decent chance of building their war and points machine and getting into some actual back and forth entertainment, rather than being steamrolled and humiliated in five rounds.

To be honest, I struggle to understand why a game which already favoured the allies chose to create a situation which favours that side even further, but I can see that this expansion was designed for a small group of advanced players extremely well acquainted with every card.

For normal playgroups, however, who only manage to get this out once in a while, I suspect a massive rebalancing is in order, and would be interested in learning whether any variants have worked in practice.

This is, in fact, the only way I see myself managing to get this game back to the table. I want to be able to post a thread which my group can read and think, okay, one more time. They are smart open people, so will be amenable to persuasion by fellow gamers.

Please help me out!
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Don't play with the expansion anymore?
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Mark Turner
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sdiberar wrote:
Don't play with the expansion anymore?

Can it really be so unplayable? Surely some tweaks could make it better?
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James Hamilton
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I too was concerned when I first read the new expansion. 4 points extra to the allies at the start of the game is a lot.

We played the game out of the box with the Air Marshall expansion as well and initially the Allies pulled ahead but a strong Japan and Germany eventually getting going (it took a few turns to clear Western Europe) with Italy doing its usual job of grabbing points meant that the Axis pulled the gap back and won by a narrow margin when the Allied last minute bombing session failed to do enough damage.

If you think that the game is unbalanced then perhaps you need to tweak things to give the Axis an edge. There is a promo rule called Prepared for War or something like that. Why not allow the Germans and possibly the Japanese to have a status or response card in play from the start of the game. That should more than make up for any edge the Allies get.

When the Axis are always winning then perhaps you can let the Allies have one country Prepared for War (Britain makes sense).

We are going to keep playing the rules as they are and see where it goes. So far not enough games to tell what the balance is.

Alternatively have players bid in VP to be on a given side or bid for the country they wish to play and then use the difference between the bids on each side as a start of game offset.
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Mark Turner
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Hammy wrote:
I too was concerned when I first read the new expansion. 4 points extra to the allies at the start of the game is a lot.

We played the game out of the box with the Air Marshall expansion as well and initially the Allies pulled ahead but a strong Japan and Germany eventually getting going (it took a few turns to clear Western Europe) with Italy doing its usual job of grabbing points meant that the Axis pulled the gap back and won by a narrow margin when the Allied last minute bombing session failed to do enough damage.

If you think that the game is unbalanced then perhaps you need to tweak things to give the Axis an edge. There is a promo rule called Prepared for War or something like that. Why not allow the Germans and possibly the Japanese to have a status or response card in play from the start of the game. That should more than make up for any edge the Allies get.

When the Axis are always winning then perhaps you can let the Allies have one country Prepared for War (Britain makes sense).

We are going to keep playing the rules as they are and see where it goes. So far not enough games to tell what the balance is.

Alternatively have players bid in VP to be on a given side or bid for the country they wish to play and then use the difference between the bids on each side as a start of game offset.


Something like this is required.

The trouble with the bidding idea - which has been the suggested balance mechanism a while now - is that it also requires a degree of fore-knowledge, and adds to the setup paraphernalia, whereas in my experience people say 'I want to be x' and that's how it rolls.

Maybe we had a very unusual couple of starting hands, but I suspect there is a serious issue here for non experts, and one which a bidding mechanism does not address.

I feel its a matter of a couple of turns. It just takes that long for axis to shore up western europe and start a points machine. But right now, it's just too brutal. A standard 5 point advantage would help, or no score for china or france.

One way or another, this does need fixing, I have no doubt. I'm not spring chicken in board game, and hugely respect what has been achieved in this series, but see what I see, and this expansion is currently - for non experts - very unbalanced.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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MrMT wrote:
this expansion is currently - for non experts - very unbalanced.

Perhaps non-experts shouldn't play with the expansion? It's by no means mandatory, in fact many expansions to many games expect players to know the game well before including them. It's not just more content.
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Mark Turner
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sdiberar wrote:
MrMT wrote:
this expansion is currently - for non experts - very unbalanced.

Perhaps non-experts shouldn't play with the expansion? It's by no means mandatory, in fact many expansions to many games expect players to know the game well before including them. It's not just more content.

Yes, it's looking that way.

The base game was already unbalanced, but I guess it felt less so with familiarity.

This expansion is insanely imbalanced, but I assume less so with world class experts.

So yes, I do guess the moral is 'don't dream of playing this expansion unless you are play-tester level familiar with the game'.

I just wish it had advertised itself as such, to avoid ordinary fans making the mistake of thinking it would be a more balanced version of the original game.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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MrMT wrote:
I just wish it had advertised itself as such, to avoid ordinary fans making the mistake of thinking it would be a more balanced version of the original game.

I don't recall any of the marketing being about making the game a "more balanced version". Mostly it was about adding more variety.
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Ian Brody
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In playtesting, the Axis won more than the Allies. But the game more frequently ended earlier than 20 rounds compared to the base game.

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Nicholas Avallone
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The French and Chinese require specific French- or Chinese-cards in order to do anything, including battle or build, so the inclusion of those pieces on board is not as big a deal as it seems. They are a speedbump that slows the advance of an Axis that has been made much more powerful by the inclusion of some very potent cards.

And if you do play a card for the French or Chinese, you are sacrificing a turn that would normally be use to shore up the UK or US.

In all the games I've played, this seems to balance nicely. Most of the PbF games have ended with Axis victories, BTW:
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/159473/quartermaster-gen...

I think the crucial thing for AH is that as the Axis, you need to really move fast during the first few moves.
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Luc
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MrMT wrote:
The base game was already unbalanced, but I guess it felt less so with familiarity.

MrMT wrote:
This expansion is insanely imbalanced, but I assume less so with world class experts.


A third thread on the same topic? wow

Both of your qualifications refer to experience in the game. Which makes me think.

Did you change the teams at all in your two games? And, had any of the players played the base game before? If so, how much?

Since you keep asking, try these:

1) Split up the experienced players

or

2) Put all the experienced players on the Axis team

or

3) Any of the three suggestions I made in your other thread

or

4) The suggestion Hammy made above

or

5) The suggestion silentdibs made above

or

6) The best suggestion of all:

Just play the game more and see what happens
. Both Ian and Nic reported that the game was playtested extensively and the Axis won slightly more than the Allies. A sentiment that Nic repeats, above. EDIT: oh, and Ian. Perhaps the best Axis strategy is not immediately apparent and obvious (perhaps in the base game too?). So, use Reallocate Resources and get warring.
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Mark Turner
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eadred wrote:


A third thread on the same topic? :wow:


Yes - call it a cri de coeur.

I want to find a way to get a regular group together to explore and enjoy this game, as it ticks all the boxes for me.

But it's proving so hard to do, as with every group I play with, no matter how we mix up, the experience often ends up so similar. ie, huge advantage to allies.

So I end up in this curious universe, with lots of people on this forum telling me one thing, and real life application telling me something entirely different. I can only assume I live in a strange place where every game we play is significantly pro ally, but every game everyone on this forum plays is entirely balanced. Alternate experiences, indeed.

So forgive the scratched record, but i want to make this work. I've paid the entry fee, and don't want to give up after a couple of games. But it's proving difficult. So for lack of much engagement here, I keep scratching.

On the plus side, people in my group actively called for a return of the Victory of Death game instead, as they all enjoyed it, and felt it was more amenable to all players.
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Alec Usticke
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Perhaps starting more topics to complain about it will help.
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N P
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My advice is get some 1 on 1 matches going. They move much faster than 6 players. You will see much better coordinated strategies that way. You should play the Axis and when you get 6 again, you can help by directing your team somewhat. The beauty of the game is it's easy to learn, quick to play, but hard to master. This expansion adds so many combos and possibilities it really changes the game. I really like the expansion especially when Germany gets rolling they are really hard to push back now.
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Mark Turner
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austicke wrote:
Perhaps starting more topics to complain about it will help.


Perhaps.
 
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Mark Turner
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Braveheart wrote:
My advice is get some 1 on 1 matches going. They move much faster than 6 players. You will see much better coordinated strategies that way. You should play the Axis and when you get 6 again, you can help by directing your team somewhat. The beauty of the game is it's easy to learn, quick to play, but hard to master. This expansion adds so many combos and possibilities it really changes the game. I really like the expansion especially when Germany gets rolling they are really hard to push back now.


I suspect this may indeed be the way to go.

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Nicholas Avallone
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And make sure you've got all the rules right!

I wonder if the addition of French & Chinese cards confuses people, like thinking there's an extra card play available to them, or that they can use a UK Build for a French piece.

You'd be surprised by how often people think that Australia Forms the Directorate of Manpower actually places an Army in Australia, rather than simply allowing UK to use a Build Army card there on a subsequent turn.

Little errors like that can skew the whole game.
 
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Mark Turner
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Smolin wrote:
And make sure you've got all the rules right!

I wonder if the addition of French & Chinese cards confuses people, like thinking there's an extra card play available to them, or that they can use a UK Build for a French piece.

You'd be surprised by how often people think that Australia Forms the Directorate of Manpower actually places an Army in Australia, rather than simply allowing UK to use a Build Army card there on a subsequent turn.

Little errors like that can skew the whole game.


Yes, I can see that (re Australia). I'm pretty sure we played it right, and the UK player was a seasoned gamer so I suspect he did what he should, but boy, the UK rushed out India and Australia in no time flat, and there was little we could do to stop him.
 
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Mark Turner
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Smolin wrote:
The French and Chinese require specific French- or Chinese-cards in order to do anything, including battle or build, so the inclusion of those pieces on board is not as big a deal as it seems. They are a speedbump that slows the advance of an Axis that has been made much more powerful by the inclusion of some very potent cards.

And if you do play a card for the French or Chinese, you are sacrificing a turn that would normally be use to shore up the UK or US.

In all the games I've played, this seems to balance nicely. Most of the PbF games have ended with Axis victories, BTW:
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/159473/quartermaster-gen...

I think the crucial thing for AH is that as the Axis, you need to really move fast during the first few moves.


Perhaps I need to get involved with the PbF.

I know, I know I have overposted on this topic, but it's only because I really really love the concept here, and can't understand how it's fallen so flat when so many people are having a blast.

We are in an era where games basically get one chance to make a good impression, and if something backfires with 5 other people, twice in a row, it can be hard to recover.

Maybe playing online can help me out here.
 
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Mark Turner
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eadred wrote:

Just play the game more and see what happens.


Of course, I know this.

But how. Thus this thread.

With enthusiastic support I believe I can turn this around :)
 
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Nicholas Avallone
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MrMT wrote:
Smolin wrote:
And make sure you've got all the rules right!

I wonder if the addition of French & Chinese cards confuses people, like thinking there's an extra card play available to them, or that they can use a UK Build for a French piece.

You'd be surprised by how often people think that Australia Forms the Directorate of Manpower actually places an Army in Australia, rather than simply allowing UK to use a Build Army card there on a subsequent turn.

Little errors like that can skew the whole game.


Yes, I can see that (re Australia). I'm pretty sure we played it right, and the UK player was a seasoned gamer so I suspect he did what he should, but boy, the UK rushed out India and Australia in no time flat, and there was little we could do to stop him.


Yeah, in your game summary, you mentioned that UK occupied both Australia and India. That takes a minimum of 4 rounds, which is a significant investment of time. That's 4 rounds that Germany & Italy could be locking up Europe unopposed, invading Britain, and/or double-teaming the Soviet Union.

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James Hamilton
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Two more plays to report, all with experienced players.

Both went to the full 20 turns. Both ended in Axis wins, one simply because the Axis win ties and one by just over 20 points.

On the basis of my 3 completed games the game is clearly biased in favour of the Axis.

The last game saw a hamstrung Japan that never saw a Sea Battle card in the whole game but despite that the Japanese managed to clear Western USA twice and from turn 4 or 5 they scored a minimum of 4 points a turn rising to 7 a turn at the end of the game.

Italy as is now traditional was the main scorer for the Axis in the mid game and just held on till the end but its score had dropped to only 3 a turn at the end. Italy was able to clear the British from India after an early build in Australia then Singapore let the British build into India by turn 7 or 8.

German started very slowly, Westwall and the Landkreuzer meand that the Allies held back from attacking until Magic cleared the Landkreuzer but then Atlantic Wall made an appearance to add to the defensive excitement.
By the mid game the Germans had managed to get 5 armies onto the board in Western Europe, Germany, Italy, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The Soviets had many armies in play and had pulled their home base back to Siberia. A combo of Afrika Korps then Autobahn allowed the redeployment of the whole Wermacht into he Middle East, India and Khazacstan followed by a broad front attack to smash the Soviets from Ukraine, Moscow and Siberia on the same turn.

Lots going on lots to think about.
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Mark Turner
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Hammy wrote:
Two more plays to report, all with experienced players.

Both went to the full 20 turns. Both ended in Axis wins, one simply because the Axis win ties and one by just over 20 points.

On the basis of my 3 completed games the game is clearly biased in favour of the Axis.

The last game saw a hamstrung Japan that never saw a Sea Battle card in the whole game but despite that the Japanese managed to clear Western USA twice and from turn 4 or 5 they scored a minimum of 4 points a turn rising to 7 a turn at the end of the game.

Italy as is now traditional was the main scorer for the Axis in the mid game and just held on till the end but its score had dropped to only 3 a turn at the end. Italy was able to clear the British from India after an early build in Australia then Singapore let the British build into India by turn 7 or 8.

German started very slowly, Westwall and the Landkreuzer meand that the Allies held back from attacking until Magic cleared the Landkreuzer but then Atlantic Wall made an appearance to add to the defensive excitement.
By the mid game the Germans had managed to get 5 armies onto the board in Western Europe, Germany, Italy, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The Soviets had many armies in play and had pulled their home base back to Siberia. A combo of Afrika Korps then Autobahn allowed the redeployment of the whole Wermacht into he Middle East, India and Khazacstan followed by a broad front attack to smash the Soviets from Ukraine, Moscow and Siberia on the same turn.

Lots going on lots to think about.


Delighted to hear this!

It's stories like this that encourage me to keep on trucking with this game.
 
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Andrzej Fiett
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MrMT wrote:
game which already favoured the allies chose to create a situation which favours that side even further(...)
The base game was already unbalanced(...)
This expansion is insanely imbalanced(...)

Hammy wrote:
the game is clearly biased in favour of the Axis

Then it is obvious that QG is totally unbalanced: it favors both sides!
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Mark Turner
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Andy44 wrote:
MrMT wrote:
game which already favoured the allies chose to create a situation which favours that side even further(...)
The base game was already unbalanced(...)
This expansion is insanely imbalanced(...)

Hammy wrote:
the game is clearly biased in favour of the Axis

Then it is obvious that QG is totally unbalanced: it favors both sides!;)


:)

Well, it could be that the allies are favoured in a match between two inexperienced teams, and the axis once the teams become more experienced.

Or that it's balanced, but the axis has a far more brutal learning curve, which requires all three players to be firing on all cylinders, whereas the allies can do fine making some mistakes here and there and cruising along.
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