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Cataclysm: A Second World War» Forums » General

Subject: Cataclysm vs Triumph and Tragedy? rss

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EDG
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I'm learning how to play GMT's Triumph and Tragedy game and Cataclysm caught my eye... it looks like it has a similar kind of sandbox-like scope to T&T at least - start in the 1930s, and then you may or may not evolve into having a world war by the end of the game.

How similar are the two games? Cataclysm looks a lot more random oddly enough, if I'm understanding what I've seen of it correctly. But I am kinda intrigued by it...
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Phillip Gooden
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I mean, it'd be hard to cover all the differences, as outside the theme (WWII sandbox) they're not really that similar. T&T is card-based, while Cataclysm uses a randomized chit-pull system. Cataclysm is also based around letting you play individual nations, unlike T&T which is 2-3 players. Also, Cataclysm covers Europe, North Africa, and Asia, while T&T covers Europe, North Africa, and parts of the Middle East and Southern Asia (though a new game is coming out soon focusing on the Pacific Theater--and it's supposed to be fully compatible with T&T). That said, if you want to know details, you can read the Cataclysm rulebook. It's in the game's Files section here on BGG.
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Adam Ruzzo
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I've been reading through the Cataclysm rules recently and I have a lot of experience with T&T (even as a playtester). One thing they both share is that they are "systemic" rather than "crunchy." By that I mean that they create a system and then tweak the components of the system to model historical particulars, rather than creating a system and then providing a large number of exceptions and special cases that work differently, and outside the system.

As an example: IN T&T, the diplomatic cards appear to allow very ahistorical outcomes, and indeed that can be the result. However, the deck is seeded with the Yellow cards which can be quite valuable and lean each faction towards historical choices. The Axis gets options in Eastern and Central Europe (plus Latin America) on those cards. Russia gets Yugoslavia, Spain, and Czech (IIRC). The West gets options including the US, Greece, etc.

The result is that even though these cards don't make up the entirety of the deck, they still push things in a historical direction. Not absolutely, but gently. It's built into the system. They didn't add a bunch of rules that specifically give The Axis a bonus if they use cards on historical Axis allies, for example. It is built into the system. You don't need to explain extra rules when the system itself takes care of the historical narrative.

Similarly, Cataclysm is a series of well put together systems with a few small pieces of it tweaked to represent historical aspects. There are a small number of special rules for each country, but outside that every power plays using the same systems. The differences are baked into their force pool options, effectiveness stats and placement on the map.

I admire and enjoy games that take this Systemic approach. It's often a real pain in the ass to design, but the outcome is worth it IMHO.

Where they are difference is mainly in the combat system. T&T uses a traditional 4 step block = 4 dice combat system. It puts quite a bit of emphasis on this aspect of the game.

Cataclysm on the other hand uses an Operations mechanic that results in a much higher level of abstraction. You're not moving around 6-10 blocks. Instead, you're moving around 1-2 counters representing large military groups and 1-2 air forces supporting them in each operation.

Finally, the time scale is very difference. T&T is much more granular, with each turn representing a year, and 3 specific combat rounds in each year. Cataclysm turns represent 2 years and can have up to 9 or more operations per faction within that turn (though in practice it's likely to be more like 3-6 main offensive operations with extra operations being used to support the main operations).


In conclusion: T&T feels like a more traditional wargame, though systematized and euro-like. Cataclysm is more abstract even than T&T, and tries to put a lot of emphasis on the political aspect in addition to the military.

I have played quite a bit of T&T, but I am still eagerly awaiting the cataclysm release.

Hope that helps!
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Wendell
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Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
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Philip and Adam covered a lot of the differences.

As Adam noted, Cat is definitely intended to be grand strategic - you're not a general, you're a president or prime minister setting overall policy directions, not micromanaging operations. That's why Cat's units are armies and fleets.

I've played over a dozen games of Cataclysm and three games of T&T; I find Cataclysm far funner and more satisfying.

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Joe Kong
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I have played a few games of T&T. Still I am eager to try Cataclysm.

IMHO, any 3-player competitive game is hard to design. In T&T starting geographic positions of great powers make it even harder for all three players to balance and rival each other.

I believe Cataclysm is a multi-player game that will be more interested when full player counter is presented.

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Adam Ruzzo
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Cataclysm is pretty clearly a 3 player game which can be easily split to accommodate up to 5 people. I rarely prefer to go beyond the number of players a game was designed for, at least not on my side. I am a control freak
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Bridger wrote:
Cataclysm is pretty clearly a 3 player game which can be easily split to accommodate up to 5 people. I rarely prefer to go beyond the number of players a game was designed for, at least not on my side. I am a control freak


Many of our test games were with a full table of five, especially face-to-face. Most of our VASSAL test games were just three players, though.
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Adam Ruzzo
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I guess what I mean is that it's a Three *side* game (three player in the game theory definition of "player"). I wouldn't want to share control of my side unless the game was too complex for me to do everything myself. I don't think I'd have any trouble playing all three axis powers or all the allied powers. Therefore, I wouldn't want to lose the extra gameplay. Mostly I'm trying to minimize downtime for myself, and if others are able to play as efficiently as me, I assume they would also.

However, I feel that this is likely a better 5 player game than, say, Axis and Allies (which is just SUPER boring to spend 10 minutes on your turn and then wait for 50 minutes while everyone else plays).
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EDG
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imawesome13131313 wrote:
T&T is card-based, while Cataclysm uses a randomized chit-pull system.


I did have a quick look at the Cataclysm rulebook and I have to admit I didn't really get the "randomized chit-pull system". Does that mean that everything that happens is random? How would you be able to plan anything? I'm clearly missing something here, right?
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Bridger wrote:
I guess what I mean is that it's a Three *side* game (three player in the game theory definition of "player"). I wouldn't want to share control of my side unless the game was too complex for me to do everything myself. I don't think I'd have any trouble playing all three axis powers or all the allied powers. Therefore, I wouldn't want to lose the extra gameplay. Mostly I'm trying to minimize downtime for myself, and if others are able to play as efficiently as me, I assume they would also.

However, I feel that this is likely a better 5 player game than, say, Axis and Allies (which is just SUPER boring to spend 10 minutes on your turn and then wait for 50 minutes while everyone else plays).


Two thoughts ...

In our last game, I played the French and the Americans. Both sides required close coordination with the British player and that, to me, is far more realistic than having complete control. With complete control, the Americans ramp up for war in 1933 and roll up the table in 1935. The game models in a simple but effective fashion how hard it was to overcome American isolationism and reluctance to engage in what was viewed as a European problem to be solved by Europeans.

As for downtime ... not much. The American player plays the French until the US is more directly engaged and the French are exhausted (or surrendered). The chit pull mechanism allows you to know what actions/units/flags are in the cup but not the order in which they will be pulled, so I rarely felt disengaged by what was happening on the board. Also, the game has a fun narrative, so you want to see what happens next ...
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Hawkeye
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EDG_ wrote:
imawesome13131313 wrote:
T&T is card-based, while Cataclysm uses a randomized chit-pull system.


I did have a quick look at the Cataclysm rulebook and I have to admit I didn't really get the "randomized chit-pull system". Does that mean that everything that happens is random? How would you be able to plan anything? I'm clearly missing something here, right?


I think the randomized chit-pull works quite well. What's in the cup isn't random, but the order they come up is, which produces a narrative that is not in lockstep with history but still determined by events as they unfold. I was able to plan quite well, but not all my plans worked out. I suspect that was true historically as well.
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