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Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar» Forums » General

Subject: Is this a good place to start with COIN? rss

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Karl Bernhardt
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Apologies if this has been asked elsewhere, but ...

I watched a video review of Pendragon where the hosts said it was a great game experience but definitely not the place to start for someone unfamiliar with COIN. As topics, Pendragon and Falling Sky appeal to me more than the other titles, so would Falling Sky be too difficult a start point?

I normally play wargames solo and mostly CC Ancients. I accept that by looking at the BGG ratings COIN is significantly more complex than CC:A, but would I be biting off more than I should? Subjective, I know, but I would appreciate comments from those more experienced.
 
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brian
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nedzhik wrote:
Apologies if this has been asked elsewhere, but ...

I watched a video review of Pendragon where the hosts said it was a great game experience but definitely not the place to start for someone unfamiliar with COIN. As topics, Pendragon and Falling Sky appeal to me more than the other titles, so would Falling Sky be too difficult a start point?

I normally play wargames solo and mostly CC Ancients. I accept that by looking at the BGG ratings COIN is significantly more complex than CC:A, but would I be biting off more than I should? Subjective, I know, but I would appreciate comments from those more experienced.

Andean Abyss was the first and I think most people agree Cuba Libre is the simplest of the series. Either of those would be my suggestion as a starting place. They seemed to get more complex or at least new twists as they went on, but I haven't played the newest yet to know for sure.
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Jay M
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I own and have played both Falling Sky and Pendragon. I think Falling Sky is a better candidate as a "first COIN."
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Tim K
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nedzhik wrote:
Apologies if this has been asked elsewhere, but ...

I watched a video review of Pendragon where the hosts said it was a great game experience but definitely not the place to start for someone unfamiliar with COIN. As topics, Pendragon and Falling Sky appeal to me more than the other titles, so would Falling Sky be too difficult a start point?

I normally play wargames solo and mostly CC Ancients. I accept that by looking at the BGG ratings COIN is significantly more complex than CC:A, but would I be biting off more than I should? Subjective, I know, but I would appreciate comments from those more experienced.


I cannot comment on Pendragon, but I've played most of the other COIN games. I think Falling Sky is a pretty good starting point. On the plus side its scope is on the smaller side. It also has a very viable short scenario. What I'd be most cautious about with newbs is its combat system. Most of FS's unique features are related to this and the German non-player. It can take some time to grok the details of the combat system.

My advice is download the Playbook and read the example of play. That should give you a pretty good idea of what you're getting into.
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Karl Bernhardt
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Thanks for the suggestions. Will certainly take up the idea of going through the playbook.
 
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David Goulette
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nedzhik wrote:
Apologies if this has been asked elsewhere, but ...

I watched a video review of Pendragon where the hosts said it was a great game experience but definitely not the place to start for someone unfamiliar with COIN. As topics, Pendragon and Falling Sky appeal to me more than the other titles, so would Falling Sky be too difficult a start point?

I normally play wargames solo and mostly CC Ancients. I accept that by looking at the BGG ratings COIN is significantly more complex than CC:A, but would I be biting off more than I should? Subjective, I know, but I would appreciate comments from those more experienced.


You can learn any COIN game but some are (somewhat) more complex than others. Pick the game that has the theme you enjoy.

With that said, Fire in the Lake, Pendragon, and Liberty or Death are the three more complex titles. Falling Sky, is a easier to learn.

I will say that I feel the easiest to learn is Colonial Twilight because it is only two player. The hardest part about learning COIN is learning what each faction can do.

EDIT: By the way, don't think that Falling Sky is a lesser game just because it is a bit less complex. It is a really great game.
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Yi Sun
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The rule itself is not hard to understand (yet it still take some time to digest and it is inevitable to open the rulebook when playing). However, I think the reason why COINs are relatively hard to hit the table is that it is so hard to teach.

So, as for the answer to your question, I would say it really depends on your gaming group. If they are also interested in this game just like you (or other COINs), it would be a good start, because the game itself is really good.
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Tim
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Re: Is this a good place to start with COIN
I started out with Falling Sky as my first COIN game and although there was a learning curve it eventually clicked. I found it very helpful to first play through the example in the playbook and play a game running all factions first before playing just one and letting the flowcharts run the other factions.

Have fun!

Cheers,
Tim
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Dave Terhune
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My first COIN was Fire in the Lake, widely considered to be the most difficult. You can start with any title. Just pick the one that appeals to you most.
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Jay M
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I'll give a reason -- as a COIN veteran, I feel challenged by Pendragon's quadrant of Military versus Civilian dominance on one axis, and Roman Rule and Autonomy on the other. It causes the victory conditions to change for both the Dux (Romans) and the Civitates. This is a degree of complexity beyond COIN -- which already had assymetric factions, and differing victory conditions, and loose alliances between certain factions.

So I would choose a different one because the real essential ingredient of COIN is the way the deck has the four symbols on the cards, and the eligibility system for who has the first choice of event versus command-special, etc. Pendragon has all of that PLUS the additional shifting of goals during play.

Could you learn it as your first COIN? Yes. But if the premise of the question is "between the two, all other things being equal, which is the better first COIN?" I'd say Falling Sky hands down.

One other factor -- Falling Sky is designed by Volko and his son, and Volko is the Founding Father of COIN, the first designer of the system. So one extra reason to start there.
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Jay M
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Having said that, I've got my second play of Pendragon (4 person) this weekend, and I'm really looking forward to it. It is a great game, I think.
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Alonso Alvarez
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Volfield wrote:
My first COIN was Fire in the Lake, widely considered to be the most difficult. You can start with any title. Just pick the one that appeals to you most.


This is an excellent advice, the best approach to COIN is choosing a topic that you actually care or are familiar with, that will help you to check the options that each faction can have.

Also and something that nobody had mention so far, I will suggest you find out witch one is actually available at the moment.

GMT will reprint all of them during the summer but if you really want to play one now, some titles are harder to find than others.

Andean Abyss is really scarce since there has not been a reprint until this year.

Fire in the Lake can fetch really high prices.

Same for A Distant Plain, the only one that I am missing at this point.

Cuba Libre and Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection have been reprinted before so they might be available.

Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar can be found.

And the one of the most recent one Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954-62 I believe you can get it directly from GMT right now.

And I forgot Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain
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Karl Bernhardt
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@ Race Bannon

Thanks for the explanation about the complexity of Pendragon.
 
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Karl Bernhardt
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Gorost wrote:


Also and something that nobody had mention so far, I will suggest you find out witch one is actually available at the moment.



This seems a very good point. GMT games often almost appear to be too popular for their own good.
 
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Craig Houliston
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Just a couple thoughts to add on to the excellent points already made:

Underscoring: play what is interesting to you. That can be a huge factor in getting through the learning curve because you want to play it.

FS is my favorite theme and COIN game. Just know that it is generally acknowledged that the Romans are the toughest to play. So, if you get a group to play, perhaps give the Romans to the more experienced player.

Colonial Twilight is a really interesting two-player twist on the typical four-player COIN games. Plays pretty fast, interesting, great theme, etc. Plus, it is available whereas some of the other COIN titles are currently out of print and likely won't be reprinted until the summer.

Enjoy!
 
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P. Fowler
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To drop in my $0.02:

For the most part, all of the COIN games are similar in their skeletons. Each player has their own separate goal, and player order and actions are determined by both card draw as well as other players' actions. Also, each faction generally has one action to build units and bases, one to move units around, and one to attack other players' units directly.

However, that is where the similarities end. Each game has its own flow, its own player dynamic, and other niceties that gives it its form. Everyone always recommends Cuba Libre but just because it is small and simple. There's nothing particularly wrong with that, but it's still just as much a bear as some of the other games. The better advice is the other way: pick the game which has the theme that interests you the most. That being said, some of the games have more complex mechanics:

- Andean Abyss is what I like to think of as the "prototype". It's still fun, but it's very basic.
- Cuba Libre is the compact version. There are minor changes such as one faction's base status but it's still worth playing.
- A Distant Plain introduces shared Resources between two factions and somewhat shared command. Also, a separate political status track that can affect one faction's abilities.
- Fire in the Lake has changing bonuses/penalties based on the current campaign, as well as a one-time-use interrupt event and one faction can only directly deploy units 3-5 times a game.
- Liberty or Death has "team" play, and in the full campaign one faction has no pieces on the map while another starts with no money at all! There is also a battle system complete with DRMs.
- Falling Sky also has a battle system, although less complex than LoD. Also, the Support/Opposition mechanic is not present in this game, instead opting for control of various tribes along the map.
- Colonial Twilight is two-player, and the standard Sequence of Play that is followed in most COIN games is removed in favor of an initiative that is given up when major actions are taken. This changes the pace of the game considerably.
- Finally, Pendragon like FS has no Support/Opposition. Also, the insurgent factions goal is to gain a foothold on the island while the other two COIN factions have a very unstable relationship that could crumble at any moment.

Also, there's the mention of solitaire play, using flowcharts to determine actions for the other factions. Most of the games do this well (although, IMHO, Colonial Twilight is very underwhelming in this department.)

To kind of summarize: If you find you enjoy the gist of the game but can't enjoy the specific details, there's 7 other games that might scratch the itch you want. But start with what interests you.
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