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Quartermaster General» Forums » Variants

Subject: Discard variation - please playtest and report! rss

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Ian Brody
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One of the things I've decided I didn't like in the original Quartermaster General rules is the "player elimination" caused by a focused bombing campaign.

In playtesting, I felt the historicity was enhanced by the idea of a nation submitting (running completely out of cards) due in part to a bombing campaign. (I'm not sure if I back away from that position, and don't want to use this thread to debate the efficacy of strategic bombing.)

Rules variant:
If you are required to discard 1 or more cards from the top of your draw deck, and it is depleted, your team loses 1 Victory Point for each card you cannot discard. You do not (and cannot) discard cards from you hand.


Here are the implications:
- countries devastated by strategic warfare might still have some fight left, keeping these players in the game
- players hit with Economic Warfare will start to lose VPs sooner, and won't have the chance to trash a few janky cards instead of VPs. This might also happen late in the game for Germany, to use blitzkrieg or something might cost a VP instead of a worthless card
- The Allies might be better targets for Economic Warfare

I've already rejected the idea of giving the targeted player the choice to lose cards or VPs. (It's a corner case rule and greatly weakens economic warfare.)

I'm very interested in hearing your thoughts on this change. I'm interested in suggestions, but I'll almost always want to side of simplicity.

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Steve
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I've always felt there was a problem with performing economic warfare on a defeated nation. Rules as written, players are motivated to crush one player, and then repeatedly bomb the remnants, even while another opponent is still active.

In my opinion your suggested variant doesn't alleviate this problem.

I would rather see an unconditional surrender rule, whereby a defeated nation can choose not to play any further cards, but also cannot be targeted by further economic warfare. It feels unpleasant to continually drop bombs on a Japan incapable of responding, while Germany and Italy continue to fight.
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Ian Brody
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slashing wrote:
I've always felt there was a problem with performing economic warfare on a defeated nation. Rules as written, players are motivated to crush one player, and then repeatedly bomb the remnants, even while another opponent is still active.

In my opinion your suggested variant doesn't alleviate this problem.

I would rather see an unconditional surrender rule, whereby a defeated nation can choose not to play any further cards, but also cannot be targeted by further economic warfare. It feels unpleasant to continually drop bombs on a Japan incapable of responding, while Germany and Italy continue to fight.


Hi Steve,

We've played around with a lot variants based on your observation of the first comment. The first is that it is very rare that a country is actually defeated (home space occupied), and when we said not econ war when occupied, it didn't matter. Sometimes it happens with Italy. In real life, home space occupation was the condition of surrender.

The suggested variant in your third paragraph is not altered by my change, so is probably for a different thread. I myself would not change it since I am specifically trying to alleviate player elimination, and don't want to add extra rules, for what's really a corner case.

thanks
Ian


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Yury T
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We will try this variant.

At first it seems flavor to Axis. We never seen Britain, USSR or USA running out of deck and hand due to economic warfare and this sometimes happen with Germany, Japan and Italy.

In my opinion game is still harder for Axis.

So, at first glance I like this rule, because it gives Axis some, maybe just minor advantage.
 
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Heikki Laakkonen
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I have no problem to apply this variant. It is more fun to play the last cards instead of losing them just before one was about to.

At first thought I would say the Allies get more benefit of it. Now it may pay off to bomb Germany (the most likely case I think) in late mid game to prevent Axis from winning. With the Allies' decks being thicker I doubt that they are any better targets for bombing by Axis. And with this variant it is now impossible for the Axis to torpedo cards out of UK hands that feed Rationing and Bomber Command combo when the UK deck is depleted.
 
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Simon Derekx
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I like the variant. The historical explanation is good and it'll help mostly the beginner to not be disappointing when they run out of cards.
This kind of possibility is an improvment that we have in Quartermaster 1914.

I think we may give the opportunity to choose to the player: to discard from his hand or loose VP.

I will suggest:
If you are required to discard 1 or more cards from the top of your draw deck, and it is depleted, your team loses 1 Victory Point for each card you don't want to discard from your hand. You do not (and cannot) discard cards from you hand.
 
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Ian Brody
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Hessen wrote:
And with this variant it is now impossible for the Axis to torpedo cards out of UK hands that feed Rationing and Bomber Command combo when the UK deck is depleted.


I need to fix Rationing.
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Heikki Laakkonen
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IanBrody wrote:
Hessen wrote:
And with this variant it is now impossible for the Axis to torpedo cards out of UK hands that feed Rationing and Bomber Command combo when the UK deck is depleted.


I need to fix Rationing.


Usable only for the basic Build and Battle cards and/or as long as there are cards in the draw deck? (For example enthroning King Peter more than once feels a bit odd anyway.)
 
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James Hamilton
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_hk_ wrote:
We will try this variant.

At first it seems flavor to Axis. We never seen Britain, USSR or USA running out of deck and hand due to economic warfare and this sometimes happen with Germany, Japan and Italy.

In my opinion game is still harder for Axis.

So, at first glance I like this rule, because it gives Axis some, maybe just minor advantage.


It means that the Axis can still act but it will be at the cost of VPs.

I do like it taking away the virtual player elimination aspect though.

Will try it out and see how it pans out.

One thought though, can a player in this situation discard cards from hand to allow for a status card or other need to discard to be met?

:EDIT:
Just reread the variant, it would seem to allow any need to discard from deck to be paid at 1 VP. That is actually not a bad thing for Germany for sure. It means that there will always be options to use the big statuses.

I will run with this rule for all the games I play at Stabcon next weekend.
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James Hamilton
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I played five games over the weekend, all of them using this variant.

In two games the variant had no impact as there were no countries decked in any degree.

In the others VP were lost but countries were sill able to act.

In one of the 5 it more likely than not changed an Allied win to an Axis win as the Germans were able to fight on till the last and cling on to a lead. The game started with the Axis pulling well ahead (perhaps 12-15 points), the Allied pulled the score back to just get a lead with about 8 turns to go but then the Axis (mainly Japan) finally threw off the yoke and surged ahead again to a lead with the Germans continuing to act and blitz right till the last.

Overall everyone the rule was discussed with thought it was a great idea.

I for one will continue to use it.
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Luc
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Played three games over the weekend with the variant. My two cents:

The bomber gets to what they want, the points, faster. (I don't think anyone plays Economic Warfare cards with the primary intent to stop a player from playing the game, and if they do, they are a jerk.) Checking my stats, I have played this game 68 times to date. I've probably played Economic Warfare cards a total of ten times. This is for two reasons.

Firstly, there is an opportunity cost when playing any card, and I would rather affect the board state in some way if possible (especially early game). Secondly, it's not fun for the opponent if they get to the stage where they can't play the game. So the fringe situation where I'll play one is if all my other cards do nothing, and I won't have any meaningful effect on someone's deck.

Knowing that the hand won't be depleted is psychologically good for both bomber and bombee. It strengthens Economic Warfare cards by getting to the points sooner, while also making it more palatable for the bomber (you can play the game without pseudo-eliminating a fellow player). As the bombee, you can make plans for the cards in hand knowing that they won't be messed with, and unless you get bombed out before turn 13 ish (unlikely), you know you will, at least, have a card a turn.

Anothe small benefit is that it makes the rules explanation a little more straightforward. My normal rules explanation, "if you are forced to discard from your deck and you can't, you discard from your hand. If you can't discard from you hand, you discard 1 VP per card". Now, it's "if you are forced to discard from your deck and you can't, you discard 1 VP per card, instead." Much nicer.

A couple of thoughts:

1) What's your thoughts on optionally discarding from an empty deck (e.g. for Blitzkrieg)? EDIT: just saw this is addressed in the original post.

2) Devil's advocate - the wording of "You do not (and cannot) discard cards from you hand." is potentially confusing given the existence of the Discard Step (and Frontal Assault, etc.).

3) The original rules say "no deck > discard from hand", but say likewise, "no hand > discard from deck". If we are removing one, we should also remove the other. Just tried to think of a case where a player would have no hand but still have a deck, but I can't (theoretically possible with bolsters?). But let's take the case where the Soviets have a hand consisting of one Land Battle only, no deck, and a Frontal Assault (discard 2 from hand) in play. In that case, if "Blitzkrieg spending VP" is a thing, "Frontal Assault spending VP" should also be a thing.

As far as I can remember, there aren't any cards in the game that force a player to discard from hand. How about:


* Players are never forced to discard cards from hand. (Just for those familiar with the old rules)
* If a player has to (or chooses to) discard a card from somewhere and they can't, they must instead lose a VP per card.

Honestly, I don't know where I stand on the "Blitzkrieg discard a VP" issue. On the one hand, I like that it gives the player a meaningful choice and it simplifies the rules. On the other hand, it makes the new and revitalised EW a little bit less effective. The country is supposed to be decked, but wait, they aren't, and if the game has gone on long enough for a decking, the likelihood is they might have a good, relevant Status out.

Anyhow, I love the variant. What are your thoughts on the other kind of pseudo-elimination, Ian (the tank on the home space kind)?
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Heikki Laakkonen
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eadred wrote:
The bomber gets to what they want, the points, faster. (I don't think anyone plays Economic Warfare cards with the primary intent to stop a player from playing the game, and if they do, they are a jerk.)


I would say that the primary intent with Economic Warfare as Allies is nearly always to get a power out of the game. Winning is just easier if it is 3 against 2. As Axis VPs play a bigger role because exhausting an Allied power is so much more difficult unless it helps it by doing numerious Reallocations or discards.

eadred wrote:
The original rules say "no deck > discard from hand", but say likewise, "no hand > discard from deck". If we are removing one, we should also remove the other. Just tried to think of a case where a player would have no hand but still have a deck, but I can't (theoretically possible with bolsters?).


Yep, Bolsters help with that. Couple that with Reallocating Resources it is totally doable. I think that is easiest to achieve with UK. Like with 'Maginot Line' and 'Operation Banquet' combo. But unsurprisingly playing your hand cards away before your turn is not that preferable.

eadred wrote:
As far as I can remember, there aren't any cards in the game that force a player to discard from hand.


I assume you mean without the choice of the player because using some of the statuses, like 'Frontal Assault', discard cards from hand. There is the Soviet Response 'Heavy Tanks' but it needs to be triggered and also does offer a choice. Prelude expansion will add another quite similar card.
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Don Clarke
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I played my first two games ever of QMG at Stabcon (UK) last weekend, and thanks to Hammy, Axis Russ, Allied Russ, Andy, and several others for a great time. We used the base game only along with Ian's suggested variant rules. Personally, I much prefer the variant rules than the RAW. In the second game I played Germany and ran out of cards on turn 15. I was leathered by economic warfare by the US player and lost a lot of points, but remained dangerous with 3(!) land battles still in my hand and both Blitzkrieg and Action Bias in play. This felt both thematic (remember the Battle of the Bulge?) and fair to me as a player.

I too was initially surprised that a nation could still be bombed if its home area was occupied and/ or it had no pieces on the board. But I now feel there are many abstractions in this wonderful game that can nevertheless be rationalised successfully if you have the time and inclination, and this seeming flogging of a dead economy is merely another. In the end the Allies lost the game because they focussed on Japan, and didn't do enough to hamstring the Pact of Steel (Germany and Italy). Germany and Italy were economically flattened, to be fair, but still controlled Europe and Moscow with boots on the ground.

Another consideration is, I learned, that there are ways nations can be resurrected even after losing their home base. This is particularly thematic in the case of the Soviets, who would have resisted from the Urals had Moscow fallen. This is another good reason to take points, not cards, when a deck runs out.

Incidentally, both games were won by the Axis. Is this game biased? devil
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Don Clarke
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eadred wrote:
3) The original rules say "no deck > discard from hand", but say likewise, "no hand > discard from deck". If we are removing one, we should also remove the other. Just tried to think of a case where a player would have no hand but still have a deck, but I can't (theoretically possible with bolsters?). But let's take the case where the Soviets have a hand consisting of one Land Battle only, no deck, and a Frontal Assault (discard 2 from hand) in play. In that case, if "Blitzkrieg spending VP" is a thing, "Frontal Assault spending VP" should also be a thing.


Good point.
 
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James Hamilton
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yangtze2000 wrote:

Incidentally, both games were won by the Axis. Is this game biased? devil


The general consensus is that the base game as written is actually slightly biassed in favour of the Allies
 
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Don Clarke
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Hammy wrote:
yangtze2000 wrote:

Incidentally, both games were won by the Axis. Is this game biased? devil


The general consensus is that the base game as written is actually slightly biassed in favour of the Allies


I know, hence the ironic Devilment I suspect you'd have to play a lot with the same group to uncover any bias, which is testimony to the design.
 
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James Hamilton
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yangtze2000 wrote:
Hammy wrote:
yangtze2000 wrote:

Incidentally, both games were won by the Axis. Is this game biased? devil


The general consensus is that the base game as written is actually slightly biassed in favour of the Allies


I know, hence the ironic Devilment I suspect you'd have to play a lot with the same group to uncover any bias, which is testimony to the design.


FWIW the first three games of Alternate Histories I played had a combined winning margin (all went to turn 20) of 2 points :O Yup, two 1 point games and one with scores level.
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Don Clarke
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Hammy wrote:
FWIW the first three games of Alternate Histories I played had a combined winning margin (all went to turn 20) of 2 points :O Yup, two 1 point games and one with scores level.


That's phenomenal! Were you also using the Air expansion?
 
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James Hamilton
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yangtze2000 wrote:
Hammy wrote:
FWIW the first three games of Alternate Histories I played had a combined winning margin (all went to turn 20) of 2 points :O Yup, two 1 point games and one with scores level.


That's phenomenal! Were you also using the Air expansion?


Yup, all the expansions.
 
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James Hamilton
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Played a couple more games using this variant this weekend. I am still very happy with it and will continue to use it.
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Heikki Laakkonen
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I have played now about half a dozen games with this variant's rules. Only in one it had impact. The Allies could make the game go one more turn by bombing points away from Germany but could not turn the game in that time.
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