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Alien: Invasion Risk» Forums » Rules

Subject: Putting the cards in multiple piles. rss

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James Hutchings
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What does this do which is different to having a single pile?
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THE MAVERICK
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apeloverage wrote:
What does this do which is different to having a single pile?

Hi James, thanks for your interest in AIR!

The use of multiple draw piles was intended to make the Earthling forces less predictable and to provide a means for gradually increasing the difficulty of the game as the invasion progresses -- contributing to the "fog of war" element while depicting a wily and resilient Earthling oppoent.

Since there is only one card for each country, "renewing" the draw piles puts potential events back into play for every country on the board. Because more cards are drawn as the invasion progresses, the draw piles will renew more often in the end-game since the cards are reshuffled and dealt back out any time a draw pile is exhausted.

While I haven't actually crunched the numbers, here are a couple of thoughts about how simply switching to a single draw pile would affect the game:

* The deck would be renewed less frequently, particularly in the end-game. Since the chance of any particular country card coming up would be decreased, Earthling forces would be a bit more predictable and "safe zones" would potentially arise from initial card draws after the deck was shuffled.

* A single draw pile would take away the tension that comes from watching the multiple draw piles getting closer to being renewed, as one or more of them dwindles down -- particularly in the end-game.

* And, on a lesser note, it could also change the character of the DEFCON cards. With a single draw pile, the DEFCON cards would seemingly become the "normal" reason for renewing the draw pile, as opposed to the potential double-whammy threat that they pose now -- sometimes combining a dramatic impact on your forces with an unexpected renewal of the draw piles.

It would be interesting to see how a single draw pile works, as a variant to adjust game difficulty, but my gut reaction is that it would make the game too easy to win.
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James Hutchings
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Thanks.

EDIT: If you used a die roll instead of drawing cards (the equivalent of shuffling the deck after each draw), would that make the game too hard?
 
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apeloverage wrote:
Thanks.

EDIT: If you used a dice roll instead of drawing cards (the equivalent of shuffling the deck after each draw), would that make the game harder still?

Yes, I think that would potentially take things to the opposite end of the difficulty spectrum.

After thinking about your question, I was considering whether a "draw-pile-renewal die roll" could be used with a single draw pile. Such a die roll could be modified based on various game circumstances to try and replicate the changing rate at which the draw piles renew.

For example, maybe the draw-pile-renewal die roll during the maintenance phase would be something like 2d6 minus the number of Earthling Capitals on the board.

There are a couple of ways that the result of a draw-pile-renewal die roll could be used. Perhaps it would specify the number of cards the player draws and discards during the maintenance phase. Or, the rules could specify that rolling over (or under?) a certain number during the maintenance phase means that the draw pile is to be renewed at that time.

However, such a procedure would still not replicate all the ways the multiple draw piles can become exhausted. The single draw pile would also necessitate a procedure where the draw pile would have to be renewed at any point in the game that it became exhausted and a card draw was called for.

I'll have to think about this some more next time I get the game on the table. It may be possible for a single draw pile and a renewal die roll to achieve roughly the same effect that I currently get from the multiple draw piles.

If you want to experiment with this idea, change the setup procedure as follows: after making the Go decision in setup, shuffle all 44 cards and then discard 2 cards face down to start the discard pile. The remaining cards are your single draw pile.

But that's the easy part. The hard part will be figuring out what the appropriate draw-pile-renewal die roll and modifier(s) should be!
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