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Absolute Victory: World Conflict 1939-1945» Forums » Variants

Subject: 4 player variant rss

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Mike Metcalf
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I posted this in another thread but an old one. Since 4 of us are playing this in a few days, I thought I would make this a new subject and hope it is read and commented upon.

So, I had a crazy thought about a 4 player game and the mechanics of passing (ending a turn). The axis in a 4 player game splits up nicely; Japan and Germany. The UN is messy. The 2 players on the UN side may actually need to change as the game progresses (playing the '39 scenario). The eventual Soviet player may be playing China early on and someone will need to take the US later on and even think about Pacific vs Europe differing US players.

The problem with a 4 player game is the mechanics of passing. It would be most interesting if the 2 axis and the 2 UN players each had a revolving impulse without always needing to negotiate each pulse. But, with the passing rule no one dares pass unless you have run out of options entirely. You may shut down your ally before he is ready.

So, what if a rotation is instituted e.g. Germany, CW, Japan, China/US each having one pulse. To create the fog-of-war (strategic style), make the second pass of a cycle no longer be a definite turn ender. Say have the second passer roll a d10 and the turn ends on a 1 or 2. A third pass in a row might end the turn on a 1-4 and, of course 4 passes ends the turn definitively.

Just an idea. Any ideas/disparaging remarks?
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Stephen Rochelle
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eaglevet wrote:
The problem with a 4 player game is the mechanics of passing. It would be most interesting if the 2 axis and the 2 UN players each had a revolving impulse without always needing to negotiate each pulse. But, with the passing rule no one dares pass unless you have run out of options entirely. You may shut down your ally before he is ready.
Mostly, this revolving impulse thing strikes me as an artificial construct you've created in lieu of more collaborative play options that forces parallel optempos between the two "halves" of each side (however they happen to be split at a given point, and whether or not the UN "split" is equivalent to the Axis one) -- and that that forced parallelism doesn't have any justification to it beyond "this is how we're forcing a division of responsibility and pace-of-play amongst the players".

I mean, sure, I see the problem you're wanting to address with respect to passing, and the proposed solution is better than a straight-up "second pass ends the turn" matter, but that's a substantial degree of uncertainty in the turn ending being injected into the system. Addressing the root cause by not imposing the artificial phasing constraint looks like a mechanically simpler and historically superior option.
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Mike Metcalf
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<sigh> just an idea punctured in mid-flight.
 
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Doug Cooley
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I would imagine that each player would have a good idea of what they want to get done in a given game turn, even know how to proceed with, say, an offensive for many pulses. At that point, you're mostly concerned with who has the highest priority in terms of taking the next pulse.

In the end, unless you are playing so that only a single player would win, there is no reason to pass unless everyone on a side is happy with their turn. Or unhappy but unable to improve their situation! Occasionally you want to pass to see what your opponent will do, but with WC scenarios I'd think you can always do something somewhere that won't be affected by the particular wait and see strategy.

The bigger problem is what to do when two players both feel they need the next pulse Right Now and can't come to aagreement. In that case, you could flip a coin, give one side or the other Supreme Commander status that changes from turn to turn, or my favorite, alternate who gets to decide the next impasse, sort of like a doubling cube in Backgammon.

I'm very much looking forward to trying this out solitaire, probably just the VE game for now. Good luck with your game, I'll be interested to see what you came up with.
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Mike Metcalf
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Appreciate the response. My idea is all based on making a 2 player game into a 4-5 player game without slowing it down. I love player/commander interaction (meta-gaming) but attempting this large game with every pulse open to allied discussion/negotiation/yelling will slow it down quite a bit. My idea is to keep every player involved either doing a pulse or planning for his next opportunity. Both these speeds the game. We will see if I can convince my colleagues to try this.
 
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Stephen Rochelle
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How about this: adapt the codebreaking mechanic by giving each faction a "pulse priority" marker. Pulses are free so long as everyone on the side agrees, but the player with the priority marker can use it like a trump to end the discussion and take the next pulse, no questions asked -- but passes the priority marker to the ally to his left.

Avoids the artificial rotation when everybody agrees where the priority is, but permits some cut-ins.
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Mike Metcalf
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kind of like that.
 
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Mike Metcalf
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We canned any change to pulses for our marathon 4 player session of AV; very little time wasted between allies as to who got the next pulse.

The axis splits nicely for 2 players but not so the UN. We played the '39 campaign. We gave the US and China to one player with the CW/USSR to the other. After two events prevented the Chinese from attacking Japan unless attacked first, the whole China war became static with boring consequences for the Chinese. This is a long game and the US was far from entering so we gave the USSR over to China/US. This is also boring until Barbarossa. Barbarossa just pulverizes Russia which is not fun either.

Basically, if 4 people plan to play this, begin with the '41 scenario. Also warn the Russian that bad tidings are on the horizon and Russia may not last as a Great Power very long.
 
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