David Goulette
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Hi Brian,

I have a question about your choice of deck construction. You opted for the Cuba Libre/Distant Plain method where you shuffle propaganda cards into each 5th of the deck (for the full scenario). This makes it possible for back-to-back propaganda cards or prop cards that are very close together.

In Liberty or Death, we instead shuffle the winter quarters cards into the bottom 4 cards in each chunk. This ensures the Winter quarters are spaced out but adds some uncertainty as to when it will occur.

Now, thematically, I realize that winter is a little more predictable than propaganda. :-) But aside from that, are there game play and/or balance reasons why you opted for this system? Do you think playing with the LoD deck construction style would work well? Or is the game designed for your method?

Thanks!
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Brian Train
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Personally I like the ADP method, which gives you Campaigns of very variable length (I don't think back-to-back Prop cards are any more or less likely than 2 Prop cards 24 cards apart).
I like the unpredictability.

I also think that knowing that each time, "OK, we've played 8 cards, from now on I am going to act as if Propaganda is imminent, because it is" will give an artificial style to play of the last few cards.
This might also be the preference of a frustrated Government player, knowing there is a fixed time when he will get a resupply of Resources (since he can't gain new Resources during play except by Passing or a lucky Coup roll).
However, counterinsurgencies don't have that certainty.

You could use either method.
Lightning will not strike you if you do it LoD style, but I think it does not fit the theme, and will likely lead to some gamey/gimmicky play near the (almost set) end of each Campaign... which I do not like.

Again, that's my personal preference and my design intention, but some players may want that (in my view quite artificial) predictability.

Good question, though... thanks!

Brian
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sloop hmsstarling
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I've played a few games of Colonial Twilight and a lot of games of A Distant Plain, and I really like the uncertainty of a Propaganda card popping up at any time. I think it is more thematically appropriate to the kinds of insurgencies in Colonial Twilight and A Distant Plain, and I especially think the no-preview card draw method of Colonial Twilight really fits in with the uncertain timing of the war in Algeria, things could happen without warning and often did. Back to back Propaganda cards isn't a lot of fun, and the short scenario could be really short if the 2nd and 3rd are back to back, but the chances of that happening are pretty small, and if it ever does, well perhaps there is a learning moment in spinning the narrative that flows from that experience. Nail biting unpredictability is one of the most intriguing aspects of these games, and one of the reasons why I'm so drawn to them! It's a whole lot like real government!
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Brian Train
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Glad you agree!
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Justin Green
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When I set up the deck I've been ensuring that there are 5 events before the first propaganda card.

The others are all shuffled into their respective piles as described in the rules.

This is something that I started doing while playing Cuba Libre and being frustrated with propaganda cards coming up too early in the game before much had happened.

I've found that to be more of an issue for me than the prospect of back to back propaganda cards.

There are things I like about both the high variance method used by Cuba Libre and Colonial Twilight and the lower variance method used by Liberty or Death and Falling Sky.

It's cool that the deck construction can help set the overall tone of the game.
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Jari Kemppainen
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userid122002 wrote:
When I set up the deck I've been ensuring that there are 5 events before the first propaganda card.


I like this idea. Once upon a time we were playing an Andean Abyss and the 2nd card was already a Propaganda. This helped some (can't remember which) faction a lot and the game was won by that faction on the 2nd Propaganda.
 
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David Goulette
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Thanks all for your thoughts. I don't have strong opinions about this but I can see the trade-offs.

Brian, I completely understand your points and they make sense. I appreciate your explanation of how the design fits the theme. I will certainly play the game with your design. Once I have more plays under my belt, I might give variants a try. I agree about the "gameyness" of the endgame if you knew roughly where the last prop card is.

My feeling (and take this with a grain of salt since I haven't play tested it) is that there is a big swingy difference between the two following situations:
1) Back-to-back prop cards where the second gets discarded,
versus
2) Prop cards separated by 1 event card where both get played.
I feel like having at least 1 or 2 events between props would keep your design points, but ensure that all 5 props occur. Just my thoughts at the moment.
 
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David Goulette
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userid122002 wrote:
When I set up the deck I've been ensuring that there are 5 events before the first propaganda card.

The others are all shuffled into their respective piles as described in the rules.

This is something that I started doing while playing Cuba Libre and being frustrated with propaganda cards coming up too early in the game before much had happened.

I've found that to be more of an issue for me than the prospect of back to back propaganda cards.

There are things I like about both the high variance method used by Cuba Libre and Colonial Twilight and the lower variance method used by Liberty or Death and Falling Sky.

It's cool that the deck construction can help set the overall tone of the game.


Justin, I agree with you about CL and your idea is one I might try. (I have a lot more plays of CL under my belt.) An early prop card puts the government in a big hole right away that will be very difficult to come back from. It drops aid right away and makes everything more expensive. But,... it is true that you know the second prop card will take a long time to come... so momentum cards would be even more powerful.
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David Goulette
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jari58 wrote:
userid122002 wrote:
When I set up the deck I've been ensuring that there are 5 events before the first propaganda card.


I like this idea. Once upon a time we were playing an Andean Abyss and the 2nd card was already a Propaganda. This helped some (can't remember which) faction a lot and the game was won by that faction on the 2nd Propaganda.


I'm thinking "out loud" here...

I guess the devils advocate position would be the following:
if an early prop card comes, and all of the players are experienced, then everybody can bash the faction with an advantage.

One thing I like about COIN is that the system is self regulating in this way.
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Justin Green
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anaturalharmonic wrote:
jari58 wrote:
userid122002 wrote:
When I set up the deck I've been ensuring that there are 5 events before the first propaganda card.


I like this idea. Once upon a time we were playing an Andean Abyss and the 2nd card was already a Propaganda. This helped some (can't remember which) faction a lot and the game was won by that faction on the 2nd Propaganda.


I'm thinking "out loud" here...

I guess the devils advocate position would be the following:
if an early prop card comes, and all of the players are experienced, then everybody can bash the faction with an advantage.

One thing I like about COIN is that the system is self regulating in this way.


Yeah, I definitely don't mean to suggest that there's any big game balance issue that arises, it's more just something that bothers me.

I suspect it would bother me less with CT than it did with CL since CT seems to be less swingy overall.
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Brian Train
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With teaching or learning games, I often do or suggest what Justin does: shuffle the first Prop card into the bottom six of the first deck.
This way new players can get at least a few Ops in before going through the Prop Card sequence.

Brian
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Rex Stites
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userid122002 wrote:

This is something that I started doing while playing Cuba Libre and being frustrated with propaganda cards coming up too early in the game before much had happened.



Why is this a problem? Do you think it strongly favors a faction and unbalances the game?

To me, it's just one of the things that shapes the character of that particular game. It's neither good nor bad.
 
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David Goulette
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rstites25 wrote:
userid122002 wrote:

This is something that I started doing while playing Cuba Libre and being frustrated with propaganda cards coming up too early in the game before much had happened.



Why is this a problem? Do you think it strongly favors a faction and unbalances the game?

To me, it's just one of the things that shapes the character of that particular game. It's neither good nor bad.


You might be right. The amazing thing about the COIN system is that it is self-regulating. I mean that there cannot be a "game breaking" mechanism or strategy because the players can always bash the leader. And bashing the leader is not a bug, it is a feature of the game.
 
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