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Subject: The luck element.... rss

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Peter Blaschke
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Hi everyone!

I like TS and I enjoy playing it, but there was and still is a big black cloud hanging over this game. I mean the coups....

Fact is that the first coups (usually about Iran) can give the game a particular twist. If the coups in Iran go well for the Soviets the position can get difficult for the US pretty quickly. Couple this with Vietnam Revolts in the Soviet hand and its Good Bye Asia...

If it is the other way round, the US usually can grab an early foothold in Asia with all consequences connected thereto.

I am aware that of course the developments outlined above are not a 100% given and that much depends on the cards the players have on their hands, but the point I want to make should be clear. The initial stages of the game to a large extent are influenced by three die rolls (the first three coups).

I always found this hard to accept, in particular in connection with a game that holds itself out as strategy game. Imagine the the first three moves of a game of chess would depend on a die roll... At a number of occasions I already had the feeling that I lost the game not because I played badly but because the initial coups did not work out.

I would be interested to hear what the community has to say in this respect.

All the best
Peter
 
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Dan Carey
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Having played the game about 12-15 times, I'd say that it is not luck dependent, certainly not the first three coups. Luck is a far bigger factor with the cards you get than the coup die rolls. Yes, those can be rough at times, but this is about the real world, where things don't quite go the way you want them.
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Ben Kyo
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I haven't found the first three coups to be all that decisive in determining game outcomes. There is enough randomness throughout the game that it usually balances out. If you find yourself relying on T1 coup outcomes too much, perhaps you should try some less luck-dependent openings?
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Adam Blanchard
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PeterBl wrote:
Imagine the the first three moves of a game of chess would depend on a die roll...


You can't compare TS to Chess in this way and I feel like this comment hurt your argument. This is not an abstract strategy/perfect information game like Chess. Real life battles within campaigns & wars are subject to many indeterminate factors which can't be predicted and demand fore-planning and good tactical responses to account for. Some randomization element is needed to simulate this, and most all war games have used dice to this effect. Granted, TS is more simplified than many war games which use things like probability charts to create more realistically balanced randomization, but that simplicity is also why TS is far more popular with a more mainstream gaming crowd. Maybe you should look into some more complex war games/simulations if this really bothers you. Or you could just play Chess, which as a war game, is far less thematically accurate than Twilight Struggle.
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Haytil Reivesman
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For me, the luck of the draw feels much more decisive and arbitrary than the die rolls.

Who drew Destalinization? And who got Red Scare played on them during a decisive turn full of 2 ops cards?

Those, with a few others, are far more game-altering (even game-breaking?) than coups, whose randomness and outcomes are well-understood. If you're throwing the dice to flip a country, you're consciously placing your fate in the hands of lady luck - and you know the odds of success.

But there's no such decision to be made when it comes to who drew what in the first few turns.

eNonsense wrote:

You can't compare TS to Chess in this way and I feel like this comment hurt your argument. This is not an abstract strategy/perfect information game like Chess. Real life battles within campaigns & wars are subject to many indeterminate factors which can't be predicted and demand fore-planning and good tactical responses to account for. Some randomization element is needed to simulate this, and most all war games have used dice to this effect. Granted, TS is more simplified than many war games which use things like probability charts to create more realistically balanced randomization, but that simplicity is also why TS is far more popular with a more mainstream gaming crowd. Maybe you should look into some more complex war games/simulations if this really bothers you. Or you could just play Chess, which as a war game, is far less thematically accurate than Twilight Struggle.


More to the point, in a real life battle or war, one cannot account for all the factors of luck. Whereas in Twilight Struggle, the possible outcomes and variance of die rolls are well-understood.

When I send my troops into battle, there are any number of unknown factors I can't control, judge, or consider, which will add a considerable "luck" factor to the battle.

When I send my ops into a coup, I know that the die roll is going to be 1-6 - and I can calculate (based on the ops, stability, and current influence) what the odds of a successful coup are. I can use all this in my decision-making process and - if the odds aren't good enough - I can go with an alternative strategy. Well-known probabilities introduce "luck" to strategy, but it's still 100% strategy, because I can calculate those probabilities and incorporate them into my decision-making process. Can't do that in real life.
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Peter Blaschke
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haytil wrote:
When I send my ops into a coup, I know that the die roll is going to be 1-6 - and I can calculate (based on the ops, stability, and current influence) what the odds of a successful coup are. I can use all this in my decision-making process and - if the odds aren't good enough - I can go with an alternative strategy. Well-known probabilities introduce "luck" to strategy, but it's still 100% strategy, because I can calculate those probabilities and incorporate them into my decision-making process. Can't do that in real life.


Granted, that is of course correct. I do this whenever I coup in this game. But my point was that in Turn 1 as USSR you have practically no choice other than couping in Iran twice (provided that the first coup was successful and the US coup it back or you missed for the first time already). What sensible options do you have? The Set-Up is in a way that I am practically forced to coup and to rely on the Luck Factor. When I coup later it is my owen choice, but not in Turn 1.
 
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Peter Blaschke
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Benkyo wrote:
I haven't found the first three coups to be all that decisive in determining game outcomes. There is enough randomness throughout the game that it usually balances out. If you find yourself relying on T1 coup outcomes too much, perhaps you should try some less luck-dependent openings?


I am always happy to learn. What resonable alternatives are there for the USSR other than couping in Iran (or Italy)?
 
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Alex
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PeterBl wrote:
Benkyo wrote:
I haven't found the first three coups to be all that decisive in determining game outcomes. There is enough randomness throughout the game that it usually balances out. If you find yourself relying on T1 coup outcomes too much, perhaps you should try some less luck-dependent openings?


I am always happy to learn. What resonable alternatives are there for the USSR other than couping in Iran (or Italy)?



If USSR has headlined Vietnam Revolts, moving in to Thailand is a very effective and destabilizing move.
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Peter Blaschke
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afafard wrote:
PeterBl wrote:
Benkyo wrote:
I haven't found the first three coups to be all that decisive in determining game outcomes. There is enough randomness throughout the game that it usually balances out. If you find yourself relying on T1 coup outcomes too much, perhaps you should try some less luck-dependent openings?


I am always happy to learn. What resonable alternatives are there for the USSR other than couping in Iran (or Italy)?



If USSR has headlined Vietnam Revolts, moving in to Thailand is a very effective and destabilizing move.


Okay, first of all this requires the USSR has this Card. Nur DEFCON will ne at 5 then, enabling the US to Coup in Thailand and/or Vietnam, which would force the USSR to heavily overprotect both spots.
 
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Alex
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Because of Vietnam Revolts, USSR has +1 on all subsequent coups in SE Asia.
A USA coup in Thailand is probably the worse thing to do (drops DEFCON to 4 and, in case of success, highly exposed to counter coup at ops +1).

See Sankt play this opening here.
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