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Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection» Forums » General

Subject: Question regarding learning curve and AI rss

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Kevin Morgan
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I recently purchased Liberty or Death: American Insurrection because I enjoy the subject matter and the system appealed to me for it's uniqueness.

I have yet to delve into it, but I have a question for the those experienced with the system. Almost all the reviews I have read regarding COIN games (in general) are quite positive, but one recurring view seems to be that learning the game using the BOTS is not the way to go. Most recommend finding someone to play with or playing as multiple factions.

Considering that these games are actually some of highest rated for solo play by GMT, why does that seem to be the consensus? I would think that "using the AI" would aid in understanding the cause and effect of decisions and allow you as the player to react more naturally to the dynamics of the game. Having to "think" for multiple players and counter your own actions seems like it would introduce an inherent bias to decisions that would actually make the game harder to learn, at least in terms of strategy.

I appreciate any thoughts on the subject before I get around to tackling this.

Thanks!
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Brian Train
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If this is your first game in the COIN system, you will likely need some practice or human assistance/intervention to suss out the mechanics of the game.
Once you have done that, reading the examples of play in the playbook, and the rules for the different bots will help you to understand the priorities baked into them, and why they are priorities.
Then you play with the bots, and all becomes clear.

Skipping that first step and going right to trying to parse the flowcharts while playing a full-on game, with not much of an idea of what to do or how to do it, is a very stop-and-go, frustrating experience reported by many hands.

YMMV, of course.... other people consider learning the bots a trivial exercise.

Good luck and enjoy the game, whichever path you choose.

Brian
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The Mirror
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Otis38 wrote:
I recently purchased Liberty or Death: American Insurrection because I enjoy the subject matter and the system appealed to me for it's uniqueness.

I have yet to delve into it, but I have a question for the those experienced with the system. Almost all the reviews I have read regarding COIN games (in general) are quite positive, but one recurring view seems to be that learning the game using the BOTS is not the way to go. Most recommend finding someone to play with or playing as multiple factions.

Considering that these games are actually some of highest rated for solo play by GMT, why does that seem to be the consensus? I would think that "using the AI" would aid in understanding the cause and effect of decisions and allow you as the player to react more naturally to the dynamics of the game. Having to "think" for multiple players and counter your own actions seems like it would introduce an inherent bias to decisions that would actually make the game harder to learn, at least in terms of strategy.

I appreciate any thoughts on the subject before I get around to tackling this.

Thanks!


Hey Kevin,

The thing with COIN games is the sheer amount of information that is required to play at a decent level. And so it can be difficult to process everything at once even without the added info required to understand the AI mechanisms. I would suggest that you try and learn the game in steps maybe not using the AI bots until your third play. I would highly recommend starting by going step-by-step through the play through, simply encoding the basics through imitation. Then for your next game, try the shortest scenario playing all of the factions yourself, not really trying to win, though you may find yourself favoring one faction over the others. Personally I enjoyed this step enough to do so a few times in a row, read up on the different strategies in the playbook for each faction to understand it better. Finally, once you feel like you can navigate through a game fairly well, learn the AI bot mechanics and give it a whirl. Of note: early on, the AI often take longer to play than making choices yourself since you're going through programming code-esque flowcharts, but once you get the hang of the they'll speed up as well.

These games are supremely rewarding solo plays, they just have some challenges to play them well and smoothly.

Good luck!
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Harold Buchanan
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Hey Kevin

It is critical that you set up the game and play through the tutorial step by step. Then continue on your own - by the end of game one it will take root. I don't recommend using the bots until you are very very well acquainted with the game. I also suggest you play alone until it all makes sense.

Once you add other players you can start teaching by eliminating Special Activities. Once they other players get up to speed you can add them back and continue play. Just make sure everyone understands the game takes a hand full of plays until a player becomes truly competitive.... Investment required.

I have also seen some threads or blog posts on how to learn COIN that I thought were very good - can't find them now of course....

Good luck and keep us updated on your progress!

Harold
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Brian Train
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Here are two good ones:

http://ludobits.com/blog/posts/cuba-libre-coin-pedagogy

http://ludobits.com/blog/posts/the-5-worst-mistakes-ive-made...

Brian
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Kevin Morgan
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Wow, thanks for the great input everyone. I'll definitely approach it as suggested.

May be a bit before I get to it as I'm just getting into D-Day at Tarawa, but it's probably next on my playlist.

Thanks again!
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Pete Martyn
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I'll say this for the bots: once you do get to them, they're going to continue your education in a big way! I've played two other COIN games prior to this and decided to learn it by playing a couple of games in which I simply soloed all of the factions. Both of them ended in only two campaigns -- I was definitely having fun, but the strategic nuances of some of the factions were escaping me. In particular, I seemed to have a really hard time getting things accomplished as the British or Indians.

Now I'm doing my first playthrough with the bots, taking the Patriot faction for myself, and man, they have me running scared! The British bot locked down all of the cities, built a lot of support, and then sent huge armies into the colonies (I was thankfully saved by an early winter) while the Indian bot has amassed a startling number of war bands and has basically claimed North Carolina for itself.

I'd definitely follow the advice of others here -- start with the tutorials, then try a few games without the bots, just playing to the best of your abilities. And then, once you've got the mechanics figured out, expect the bots to teach you a heck of a lot about all your strategic missteps!
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