Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

A Distant Plain» Forums » General

Subject: Kabul: Less than 3 patronage? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Will Pearson
England
Leicester
flag msg tools
Never drop a crate!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Trying to play a 4-bot game to try and learn ADP, but got stuck almost immediately. Tried hybrids without much luck either.

At any rate, is it possible to reduce patronage if it's already below 3? e.g. if it's at 2, can I still train in Kabul as Coalition and convert 2 patronage to 2 resources, or can you only convert 3 for 3?

Couldn't see a clear answer in the rules or play aids. Then again I am retarded
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ivor Bolakov
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
For the cost of training? It's 3 per space.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Train
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Now, don't be hard on yourself.
I know several pinheads, and they are all contributory members of society!
Two of them even drive hybrids too...

There are several instances in the rules when a number is preceded by the words "up to" but this isn't one of them.
I think the subtext here is that there is always a minimum of corruption in the Afghan government; it will never be entirely clean by Western standards.
This is after all how they get business done: note the special rule in 1.5.1, second bullet where Government can pay Warlords Resources out of Patronage, 1 for 1, whenever either is doing something.

I also note that the transfer of Patronage is one of the options marked OR, after placing cubes.
So you do Civic Action OR build a Base (if Government) OR transfer Patronage to Resources (if Coalition).
But you don't have to do any of these, you can just place cubes.

But perhaps your question is in relation to the bot flowchart for Coalition.
In this case 8.8.2 second bullet says "exactly 3", so if you don't have that, then you can't do it.

Speaking more broadly, my personal take on it is that there is no way on earth these flowcharts can possibly anticipate and pre-emptively deal with every circumstance that could arise in a game.
And the best way to deal with these situations is to use your common sense and imagination, much as you would if you were sitting there playing a four-sided game against yourself with no script to follow (which people have been known to do).
Lightning will not strike you.

You're free, not retarded!

Brian
9 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Will Pearson
England
Leicester
flag msg tools
Never drop a crate!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the catch on "up to", 3.2.1 makes more sense now, on closer inspection the flowcharts seem to deviate from the RAW as well. Filling in the blanks isn't a strong point of mine so certain rulesets are harder than others.

Not sure if Ruhnke was cribbing off Hermann or vice versa, but everything reminds me of Churchill, which I had to sell off pretty quickly as I couldn't grok it, determined to learn COIN though, just wish FITL was available as it's more detached subject matter.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Train
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

I think you are doing the right thing using the bots to learn about what's important in playing the game.
But it's also important not to get stuck in what the flowcharts may or may not be saying, each bot is aimed at satisfying a set of priorities - in other COIN system games (e.g. Cuba Libre) the rules contain a bit of "guidelines" text to help you suss these out, and use your brain to help the chart act accordingly.

Volko's COIN system and its bots predates Churchill by quite a bit.
Andean Abyss was being developed and tested around 2011, and the flowchartlike bot comes originally from his game Labyrinth which was worked out in 2009-10ish.

Brian
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oerjan Ariander
Sweden
HUDDINGE
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Mark Herman picked up the flowchart-bot concept when he and Volko co-designed "Fire in the Lake", the year after ADP.

Regards,
Oerjan
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Will Pearson
England
Leicester
flag msg tools
Never drop a crate!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ran into another issue with the Gov't actng on "Prison break" as well, in the end let Gov't choose one of the two insurgent factions to pay up and gain a guerilla.

Given up on the VASSAL module for now: don't have the table space to commit at the minute and it's far, far to fiddly to try and use on a VDU.

Edit: Just realised that Brian commenting was *the* Brian from the box.

I know a lot of people don't like the "R-word", but my 4th badge isn't just for show, missed several years of school, put up with countless years of abuse and landed in ER more than once, it's a reflex to reclaim the word as it were.

Other than the F2f issues, for me it's a crapshoot with programmed instructions as when it comes to filling in the blanks it's pathologically impossible for me, like a black hole in your head, it's unnerving and I know I come across as salty for it, completely unintentional. There's a lot of love for the system and it works for most.

Not sure if I'm off piste at this point, just didn't want to come across as an entitled arse before.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Train
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't like the R-word either (and I'm an Aspie).
Perhaps I shouldn't have used it even though you did.

And I thought I might have come across as rather testy, but honestly, 3/4 or more of the questions we get about the COIN system games are about the bots and how do I interpret this or that statement....
Most wargames are for 2, and most of them are played alone, with the player taking both sides.
Very few of them have featured the kind of flowcharts or programmed AI that are found in COIN system games.
My gut feeling, and perhaps I'm wrong, is that the more elaborate the AI, the more the game becomes a process of "find the flaw in the AI and exploit it", the way many people play computer games... and if you leave it simple and almost like a set of guidelines (which is how they were explained in Cuba Libre), the more imagination the player can apply, almost as if he were playing without a script, up to a point... but he has some help in figuring out what's important in playing the game, but not a prescription of the best or only way to play the game.
Got to be a useful midpoint in there somewhere.

Anyway, now who's rambling, I must be off piste (which perhaps is better than being piste off).

Brian

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Vez A
Germany
Kiel
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb

Having just recently completed the design of alternative / redesigned bots for A Distant Plain (due out this year still in the C3i mag), I thought I'd post a comment.

When encountering problems with the bots, it's worth keeping in mind that there's a considerable learning curve to internalizing, first, the regular rules of play of a COIN game and, then, the specific ways the bot guidelines seek to make use of the possibilities afforded by the rules of play. The bot guidelines do not (probably cannot) spell out most of the taken-for-granted, rules related background knowledge that, however, will be needed to parse the bot guideline. In that sense, soloing these games does involve a good amount of that "filling the blanks" when parsing the bot guidelines.

My experience of, both, observing myself learn a new COIN game and its bots (as I did recently with Falling Sky) and having seen a good few Vassal logs of playtesters testing my bots variant, tells me the following. At least 50% of the frustration that people are having with the bots come from the fact that they are still grappling with the rules of play. The bots tend to take quite a bit of rap for what's only partly their fault.

(The rules of A Distant Plain, for instance, allow pretty subtle stuff to be done with things like the Govt's Train + Govern combo or the Taliban March with their ability to march again combined with some of the relevant capabilities. And so, either you'll learn it from the bots, or you're kind of presumed to know of those possibilities when deciphering the bot guidelines.)

ltmurnau wrote:
Speaking more broadly, my personal take on it is that there is no way on earth these flowcharts can possibly anticipate and pre-emptively deal with every circumstance that could arise in a game.


That's so true. There are about gazillion possible board states that the game can take, while the number of board states the designer encountered during playtesting is quite a bit smaller.

ltmurnau wrote:
leave it []the bots simple and almost like a set of guidelines


Brian's right saying there's a whole tradition in wargaming of playing two-player games alone with a single person in charge of both sides. From that perspective, there probably is an audience for looser, guideline-like bot flowcharts that simply suggest a possible strategic venue of play.

Yet, there's also an emerging community of solitaire gamers (see the monthly Solitaire Games on Your Table list here on BGG) who are increasingly playing the COIN games. These folks tend to look for what they are used to (perhaps from their Eurogaming world): a solitaire game that completely takes care of the opponent play such that you're fully focused and rooting for your side. (Yet, of course, the COIN games are a lot more complex and multi-layered than most other soloable games out there, so there's a certain clash of expectation and reality, so to speak.)

Right, so I've gone off piste as well. Now, where are the Après-ski facilities ...
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oerjan Ariander
Sweden
HUDDINGE
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Continuing from Vesa's post, loose guidelines work fine for a solo player - but the COIN bots are intended as much to fill the vacancies in 2- and 3-player COIN sessions, since you can't just leave out any Faction in the COIN games.

In that situation, loose guidelines would leave a lot of leeway for the players to "fill in the blanks" in the bot instructions to their own advantage.

/Oerjan
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Train
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Right now I'm elbows-deep in the bot for Colonial Twilight.
Since there are only two factions in the game, that makes the job that much simpler.
I hope.

Brian
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron Hunt
United States
Riverton
Utah
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm sure that it's been said before, but I, for one, am very grateful for the work you folks put in on the bot rules and flow charts.

As an often solo gamer, thank you.
5 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.