Hi all, one variation that I have wanted to playtest, but haven't been able to do yet for lack of players/time, is to speed up the game.
So here goes:
1) Fastest play, invader gets three turns with 20 armies entering play a turn. This means just two reinforcement turns for the USA will be had prior to the invaders getting all their troops ashore.
2) Tapering reinforcements, invaders get their initial 20 units in the setup turn, then get 16/12/8/4 on the next 4 turns. This gives full boots on ground one turn early, but makes it possible to mount an attack a bit faster.
Now, both of these optional variations allow the invader to get their troops on the ground faster, so we have to give something to the USA player to keep the game close.
Here are my suggestions:
1) For every 4 armies the invaders get, give the USA player 1 partisan card. Initial setup thus gives us cards 1 & 2 have being drawn and played, and 1 laser has been placed and fired. If using either variation 1 or 2, give the appropriate number of cards to the USA player on the turns in question, so if 20 armies are granted on turn two, then the USA player gets 5 partisan cards, and thus 16 armies is 4 cards, 12/3, 8/2, 4/1.
Not having playtested this yet, some further advantages with regard to the cards may need to be allowed, in order to not imbalance the game. For instance, it may be needed to allow the USA player to "Hold" these cards rather than play them immediately, and this would also mean allowing them to be played in any order, after looking at all the cards. My thinking here is that, if the 1st variation is being played, the USA doesn't have time to do much, so letting them have a better use of their cards seems only fair.
2) For the lasers, consider that faster invader reinforcements means less lasers shots have accumulated over the number of turns played, so in either variation 1, try awarding 2 additional lasers in the first 3 turns, so that the USA gets 3 Lasers on turn one, 3 more lasers on turn two, and 3 more lasers on turn three. then skip giving the USA any additional laser for the next two turns.
The reasoning is: In a normal paced game, by the USA turn when all the invaders troops are on the ground, they will have fired 1+2+3+4+5+6 laser shots, for a total of 21, and then on the 7th and 8 turns, that total becomes 28/36 respectively, while 3+6+9 will only give 18 shots, the next two turns will give totals of 27/36 respectively, leaving us with just about the same total firepower, and after the 5th turn in a game using variation #1, you resume giving the USA player a new laser every turn, and thus the balance should be close to original. Note that after the third turn, the partisan cards would drop back to the standard two per turn.
Any thoughts on these variations?