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Cataclysm: A Second World War» Forums » Reviews

Subject: My first impressions, mostly playing solitaire rss

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Jesse Edelstein
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So I've played about a dozen times now -- mostly against myself in shorter scenarios on VASSAL, but also once in a 3-player online game of the full scenario. (Fascists took that last one after the Democracies gave up the ghost in 1943.) And come to think of it, the only other WWII grand strategy board game I've played is Axis & Allies, which is not exactly comparable. Take my opinions with a little salt, is my point, because I'm not a heavy-duty wargamer yet.

But there are reasons I've never played a more wargame-style WWII treatment: the chrome, the exceptions to exceptions, the buckets of dice, the tables to reference, and the rest of that baggage. Probably this is unfair to modern wargames, but it made me attracted to Cataclysm's er, Euro-ness. You know what I mean: the dice mechanism (you just take the highest number you roll, though double/triple sixes do "explode"), the birds-eye view where one or two chits could represent an entire field army, the political aspects and stability checks, and the open-ended narrative. It advertises what want to see in a WWII game and it delivers, which is why I'm pretty enthusiastic about Cataclysm.

I guess that might as well be the entire review (design good!) but I'll
also share some thoughts on the system from what I've seen so far:

I think the rules are good in general and well-written enough to figure out almost all the time. But I do find myself wishing some of the more obscure rules were a little more compact to fit in my brain or a cheat sheet. I can never remember some detail about the Chinese Civil War or naval movement, and it can be frustrating to have to paw through the rules and Playbook again. This will likely get easier with more exposure but it's been kind of a hump to get over.

Man, there are never enough units! I mean economic pressure is part of the game of course, but I swear I'm always 1 or 2 units shy of the perfect formation. I guess you go to war with the army you have, huh? But as a consequence, it seems like front lines rarely form. In Operation Barbarossa I'd expect to have some Soviets defending all vulnerable areas, which they are at the beginning of the scenario. But it's hard to replace losses during major enemy activity, and I inevitably find I can only afford to defend a few strong points. So it's less like a front line and more dropping everything I've got in Moscow. This isn't really a problem, and you can always suppose that division-level forces are represented by the invisible one-die defenders in every land and mixed area, but it was something I kind of missed.

Gotta say, I really like the chit pulling system. I kind of wonder how the game would be if reserves were nerfed a little, so the players could do less to influence randomness? This might be frustrating. But anyway, the order of chits creates a lot of tension without feeling like random number generators rule the day.

Speaking of which: this game has really granular dice rolls. If you roll a 4 to fail an alliance roll, the next roll will be a little easier but the loss of two flags really stings, and that next roll might be too late. This happened more or less in the multiplayer session I played, where the US never fought a battle because I could never get them allied with the UK, and the Japanese easily got a bunch of points from inland China and eastern Russia, with nary a provocation to the US. Pressure helps somewhat but you can get pretty starved for flags when your opponent is determined not to give you any, I think. I'm not sure I consider this kind of swingy randomness to be a real problem but it can be difficult to deal with in some cases, like trying to get America to use all those dang units!

I still have to wrap my head over naval ops, as I haven't managed as Japan to ward off America even when Japan has the naval advantage. Using spare military actions to capture ports is a pretty big deal, right? I've always played Japan renouncing the WNT early so I can build an awesome fleet, but maybe that's the wrong move. Anyway, the usual outcome of the Pacific in my solo runs is that US puts logistics and lots of units in the Philippines, captures Okinawa after a couple tries, and invades Tokyo just after. Not sure how to slow this down unless I get lucky and knock out the Philippines before the Americans can react.

I'm rambling at this point. I look forward to learning it in more depth and maybe even getting my physical copy one day. (Don't order from 3rd party retailers, duh.) And thanks to the designers for this excellent game!
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Mike Frantz
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The granularity of the dice rolls is a concern for me. In the playbook it's acknowledged as a risky strategy (looking for alliances), but it seems that the constant failure could have been designed better. Like if you wanted an alliance you could assign more resources to achieving that...it just seems so swingy. Get an early roll for success and it plays out so differently than if you fail for 3 in a row. Obviously that's something they were ok with, but with limited opportunities to play, the difference of engagement based on those rolls can make for unsatisfactory play experience (not fun) for some players.

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Kevin Bernatz
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That is why we built in the +1 for failed actions, so if you do the same action again it mitigates it.

Any game with dice has this negative 'effect'. What if the first 10-12 attacks that you rolled were all 1's and 2's (where a 6 is good)? Even in a traditional CRT-based game, that is going to make an unsatisfactory game experience for the players.

We are aware of this concern, so don't think we haven't put thought into it. Ultimately one just has to decide on where to draw the line on 'probability' versus just 'bad rolling'.

-K
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Mike Frantz
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I didn't mean to imply that it was a capricious decision. Your example is a little disingenuous though. It's 10-11 rolls of the dice. This is 1-3 with large and binary consequences. Also, CRT's are typically less binary with a number of levels of success and failure, so the odds of having consistent, unmitigated failures gets very small (not impossible, for sure).

In any design there is a balance of random outcome combined with size of consequences combined with frequency of rolls. There are many, many ways to "tune" this, and you decided on one particular tuning for a number of reasons.

I'm worried the balancing done here doesn't align with my preferences, that's all. I'm a Euro guy at heart and resolution randomness is a problematic mechanic. Most wargamers are much more comfortable with that approach.
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Kevin Bernatz
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I intentionally mentioned the 10-12 to try /not/ to be disingenuous ... so that was not my intent. I've actually seen that in a wargame recently (thankfully not by me, but it was my partner in a 2 v 2 game....ugh).

I do think you are right that most wargamers tend to view a few bad rolls as nothing (which is why I went with the higher number). Most of the time the thought is "there are enough rolls that it will average out in the end", but every wargame has this problem. Wargames with weather REALLY have this problem, as a string of unlucky weather rolls can really skew the game for one side or the other if each side prefers opposite conditions. Most designers accept this as statistically unlikely, but I know that doesn't really help mitigate the issue.

FWIW, the only countries it should really impact are Italy and France, and Italy less than France if they can optimize the use of their Il Duce Flag (which gives them two dice instead of their normal one).

Someone better at determining dice probabilities can run the numbers, but a 1 Effectiveness power (e.g. France) having three attempts at something (first = +0; second = +1; third = +2) versus a 2 or 3 effectiveness power should have quite a large difference in probability of success. My bet is a 2 effectiveness power should have somewhere around a 70-80% chance of success with 3 attempts. If this seems 'low' for you, then I agree that Cataclysm may not be an ideal game for you. We fully appreciate that it isn't going to be a game for everyone for many different reasons.

I'll also note that part of the design was to make the game play relatively quickly for a game of this scope (e.g. World in Flames covers 1939 - 1945 but could take up to 12-18 months (real time) to play, meeting weekly for several hours. One could easily play 20-30 games of Cataclysm in that time, so the randomness inherent with the dice should "average out" over different games, if it doesn't at least average out within the same game. That is the hope, anyway (but if you're a person who only plays each game once or twice, then ... yeah, it isn't going to help you if you got unlucky on the statistical probability end).

Anyway, I'm glad you popped over to at least check the game out. Anyone who likes Dim Sum and owns the anniversary edition of WoR is always welcome .

-K (who loves Dim Sum, but got into WoR too late to even consider buying the Anniversary edition...)
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Marc Hanna
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I recently played what was described as one of the 'best Euro designs ever' and I found it highly deterministic and annoyingly abstract and won't be partaking again. If I'm going to play something like that, I'll invest my time in chess or go.

Part of the charm of this game IS the granularity of the dice rolls and it's nothing worth complaining about in a review, imo. If someone is worried about the vagaries if random chance, this is definitely the wrong design for them. Sorry to be blunt but don't worry you won't find me at the euro tables complaining about the deterministic outcomes, I promise
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Mike Frantz
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I think it's exactly the kind of thing you want in a review...so people know what they are getting into. Also this isn't purely about random vs deterministic. Most Euros have a lot of randomness, it's just applied in different ways (input vs output, or less binary results, low consequence)

I haven't played the game and I'm very excited to give it a go. It has a lot of very interesting abstractions and I love some of the choices to keep it at a truly strategic scale which is so rare. This was one of the few design decisions that felt a little off to me...again, very much a personal thing. My background and preferences would have liked some way to smooth out some of those high consequence, binary results. But yeah, I can totally see how others love the storytelling aspect and maybe the verisimilitude of the frustrating difficulties inherent in diplomacy. It's all good. Like I said, I haven't played, and maybe the consequences aren't quite as high as it looks, in which case the issue isn't that big.

All said it looks fun (and frankly looking through the playbook has given me a bunch of ideas for my own design).

Dim sum....mmmmmm...been too long. Frankly, its' been too long for WotR as well.
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Marc Hanna
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chuckles2000 wrote:
I think it's exactly the kind of thing you want in a review...so people know what they are getting into. Also this isn't purely about random vs deterministic. Most Euros have a lot of randomness, it's just applied in different ways (input vs output, or less binary results, low consequence)


Granularity is absolutely worthy of being mentioned for the sparkle and flair it delivers in Cataclysm; it's core to the design and flavor of the game. What I said, it's not worth complaining about.

As for the euro-randomness comparison, the euro-game I played did have randomness in the form of card draws, but I wouldn't call it 'a lot' -- nevertheless, all well and good to have some changeability. To clarify, I am speaking of combat result randomness being purely deterministic, again, in the particular game I played. That's what I didn't like.

I do hope you enjoy this game! cheers
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Adam Ruzzo
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chuckles2000 wrote:
The granularity of the dice rolls is a concern for me. In the playbook it's acknowledged as a risky strategy (looking for alliances), but it seems that the constant failure could have been designed better.


The +1 to failed rolls really does smooth out the issue IMHO. It will take 2-3 attempts on average to get the French and British allied. There's an 89% chance of success on three attempts and a 98.7% chance on 4 attempts. It's virtually impossible to spend more than 4 flags in a row on an alliance attempt with the French.

That having been said, I think you're looking at this without considering the full situation. Specifically, you're looking at the alliance between the UK and France as an unequivocal "good" thing for the allies. It has its benefits (more flags for the UK; ability to drag UK into war before mobilization), but it also has it's detriments. Aside form the flag cost (which could be spent improving commitment or pressuring the US), it breaks Stresa Front and gives Italy and Germany each a flag.

Getting lucky on turn 1 with an alliance could mean you open up Germany to grab Romania with a few lucky rolls due to Stresa Front being broken so early (Normally by the time Stresa Front is removed Germany doesn't have enough spare flags). Everything is a tradeoff!
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Bill the Pill
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I rolled 42 d6 in a game of Wellington once, and none came up 5 or 6. Sometimes the dice are cruel.
Ironically I ended up on the winning side.
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Mike Haggett
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Quote:
I rolled 42 d6 in a game of Wellington once, and none came up 5 or 6. Sometimes the dice are cruel.


Yes, that was a classic moment. To paraphrase Mark Herman and Sal Vasta, "The dice love no one, but they hate me."
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Argothair _Bialyvich
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To jump into this little debate:

(*) Yes, the effectiveness / cube of shame / granular rolls all clearly reflect a series of deliberate design decisions that have both pros and cons. They make the game shorter and more varied (good) at the cost of making it somewhat less fair (bad).

(*) No, it's not possible or even desirable to totally eliminate chance from a board game; chance is part of what makes the exercise a 'game' rather than a sport or a discipline. Some amount of random variation adds to the fun. Different people will prefer different amounts of variation.

(*) My personal opinion is that Cataclysm's alliance mechanic falls squarely on the side of "too much chance." The result of an alliance roll is very important, because failing to get an alliance can totally lock one of the nations out of the central drama of the game. It's not just a matter of losing -- when you can't get an alliance, you wind up feeling irrelevant and you have less to do, which isn't fun. Although it's theoretically possible to guarantee success on an alliance roll by spending 10 flags in a row, in practice an enemy declaration of war will always fatally interrupt that effort -- the victim (e.g. France) will need to stop pushing the alliance to use flags on propaganda to cope with the effects of losing core territories, and the would-be rescuer (e.g. England) will need to stop pushing the alliance to use flags to get to mobilization. If you're not at mobilization yet, then you can't join an alliance with a power that's already been invaded, because you wouldn't be able to join the war. Once either party spends even one flag on propaganda or mobilization, you lose all of your progress toward the alliance.

The odds of France and England being unable to forge an alliance despite spending a total of 6 flags is (2/3) * (1/2) * (1/3) = 11%. I think that if UK-French alliances are supposed to be a mainstream strategy, then the risk of catastrophic failure should be much lower -- somewhere around 2% or 3%. I don't mind crazy luck in a lightweight game like Yahtzee or Ticket to Ride, but if I'm going to bother to setup a three-hour strategy game like Cataclysm, then I want to see the game's outcome decided much more by skill than by luck.

Bridger is right that alliances have some negative effects, but that doesn't mean that it's OK to waste 6 flags chasing an alliance and wind up with nothing to show for it. If you spend 6 flags on an alliance and succeed, you might be able to hang on by reinforcing Paris, despite the additional flag for Germany and Italy. If you spend 6 flags on an alliance and fail, you will quickly lose the game, even if Stresa Front is still in effect.
 
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Adam Ruzzo
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I don't see the alliance question as "if you fail, then it's a catastrophe," but rather "if you fail, the game is completely different.

If the UK and France get an alliance in the normal timeline, the game will likely continue in a historical path. Germany will likely attack France, and be at war with the UK after France collapses.

If the UK and France spend a bunch of flags and *can't* get the alliance, then the game goes off in a different, but not *worse* direction. It is not a direction that makes the Fascists more likely to win or the allies more likely to lose. Instead, it's a direction that forces closer cooperation between the Soviets and the Allies. For instance: I very rarely provide Lend Lease to the soviets in a normal game (maybe for one turn if they look on the ropes) because the Soviets usually get the Romanian resource and don't need help from the US. If the UK and France are paralyzed until the 41 turn due to multiple "wasted" flags then the Soviets need to start talking with the west. Get in a scuff with the Japanese so that they are belligerent and the US can start sending them Lend Lease in 1937 or 39. Have the Soviets send any excess flags to the British or French to get them in the war sooner and threaten the Germans flank.

The fact that this is 3-sided game means that if chance favors one side the other two will generally work together until the game looks more balanced again, and then they will stop working together (US will cut off lend lease, Soviets will stop sending flags, in the above example). That balance of power doesn't *always* work. Sometimes chance can just swing wildly to one faction, but I find it rare that a player's choices were irrelevant to the outcome of their faction.

There are alternate strategic options too. If the UK/France alliance doesn't seem to be working, it might be worth giving up on France and starting to go for the UK/US alliance. If France is likely to fall anyway, getting the US in earlier is a good counter-strategy.
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Marc Hanna
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Argothair wrote:



The odds of France and England being unable to forge an alliance despite spending a total of 6 flags is (2/3) * (1/2) * (1/3) = 11%. I think that if UK-French alliances are supposed to be a mainstream strategy, then the risk of catastrophic failure should be much lower -- somewhere around 2% or 3%. I don't mind crazy luck in a lightweight game like Yahtzee or Ticket to Ride, but if I'm going to bother to setup a three-hour strategy game like Cataclysm, then I want to see the game's outcome decided much more by skill than by luck.


I'll say it again, part of the charm of this game is the granularity. You are saying you can't tolerate a 1/10 chance of no alliance, but are okay with a 3/100 chance. Why? 9/10 chance of the alliance you claim to be absolutely necessary isn't that bad of a chance! And what's wrong with a little negative drama -- does everything have to go perfectly such that 10% of time you have to curse the alliance mechanism -- this is intolerable?

The problem with your reasoning is that it's not at all decisive that a disaster occurs for the democracies when the alliance is not achieved. How do you justify this reasoning? Have you played this out 50 times, 100 times? How do you know that you won't get that mobilization extra flag for any number of various reasons out of your control? How do you know the fascists aren't also on a slippery slope of their own creation getting greedy at your bad luck, while getting stabbed by the Russians (whom people seem to claim always get the Romanian resource but I bet none of them has played this campaign enough times -- 50-100 -- to even assess a reasonable probability of this occurring from game to game! I bet there is a 9/10 chance of that not happening, right? Well, anyone really know?)

We keep getting these disaster scenarios as a means to complain about the design. Last time someone was lamenting Germany having bad luck in complaint. Next time it will be the Soviets, etc.

This is not how to view this game. It's called 'Cataclysm' for a reason. Nearly every situation is opportunistic based on the current situation and what is drawn from the cup. One time Germany loaded the cup with offensives and couldn't draw any, the Soviets drew everything out and overran them... what's good drama for one player is bad for the other -- that is how it is.

The game is unpredictable. You have to play each situation as best you can. All these theoretical analyses of worst case scenarios adds little to our knowledge base of chit-draw by chit-draw game-play in the trenches. That's just my opinion, and surely some of us have a lot of fun analyzing ways out of these traps the dice have dragged us into.

Look , if you are really bothered by this, you should concentrate on playing C.6 the WW2 campaign where the cast of characters is clear and focus on the war effort is the name of the game. But you are still going to have granular results and complain about your luck, I guarantee it... just a different manifestation of the many-headed God of chance cool


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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Mark, I don't think Argothair is complaining about the game as harshly as you describe. He has been playing and enjoying it, as far as I can tell. If he wants to share what he likes and doesn't like about it, in what seems to be good-faith interest in exploring the game deeper, he has every right to do so.

That said, based on our design work and years of testing, the UK/France alliance is not make-or-break for the Democracies. In the historical timetable, the alliance didn't form until after the rump Czech state was annexed (removing Status Quo) and just before the joint DOW on Germany in late 1939. Obviously it didn't save France, and the UK went on to survive over half a turn alone until the Soviets and Americans were drawn in as well.

Deciding how hard to push for that alliance is one of the paths we set before the Democracy player(s). We don't suggest it is necessary, it depends on context and personal strategy.
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Adam Ruzzo
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Actually, upon thinking about it...I think the reason the Soviets always get the Rumanian resource in our games is because we always forget the Diplomatic Opportunity rule, which favors Germany picking it up if the Soviets fail to take the area.
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Marc Hanna
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Bridger wrote:
Actually, upon thinking about it...I think the reason the Soviets always get the Rumanian resource in our games is because we always forget the Diplomatic Opportunity rule, which favors Germany picking it up if the Soviets fail to take the area.


right! that sticky note on page 20 needs to stay stuck
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Marc Hanna
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sdiberar wrote:
Mark, I don't think Argothair is complaining about the game as harshly as you describe.


well Scott, when I see this kind of talk (below) I see the impression differently than you (!), not accounting for hyperbole of course (of which I am often most guilty).

But what I meant to emphasize is that we don't have enough data to accurately make these sorts of assessments and that's true not only for Argothair, but all of us reading this, with the possible exceptions of you and Kevin.

I dare say we could benefit from some kind of common database, similar to that used by the ASL peeps, where we tabulate information relevant to these issues. I think this would benefit the Cataclysm community mightily. How to set up the software would be one thing to figure out, what kind of data would be another...

http://www.jrvdev.com/ROAR/VER1/default.asp

'My personal opinion is that Cataclysm's alliance mechanic falls squarely on the side of "too much chance."'

'when you can't get an alliance, you wind up feeling irrelevant and you have less to do, which isn't fun'

'I don't mind crazy luck in a lightweight game like Yahtzee or Ticket to Ride, but if I'm going to bother to setup a three-hour strategy game like Cataclysm, then I want to see the game's outcome decided much more by skill than by luck.'
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Honosbinda quoting Argothair wrote:
'My personal opinion is that Cataclysm's alliance mechanic falls squarely on the side of "too much chance."'

'when you can't get an alliance, you wind up feeling irrelevant and you have less to do, which isn't fun'

'I don't mind crazy luck in a lightweight game like Yahtzee or Ticket to Ride, but if I'm going to bother to setup a three-hour strategy game like Cataclysm, then I want to see the game's outcome decided much more by skill than by luck.'


I think those are fair criticisms. Cataclysm is a peculiar carnival ride, it's not for everyone. I think Argothair is engaging the game with an open mind.
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Marc Hanna
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It's either for him or not, hard to tell.

Anyway, --- more to the point I'm making --- I think the emphasis should be on gathering more data at this point of game maturity, rather than engaging in criticisms based on a few playings and assumptions. I'll admit I've made that mistake -- most likely in relation to whether or not it's of any use to Posture the Soviets at Collective Security.

Gathering more data is a better example of open-mindedness, more so than making quick conclusions on some probability calculations.

A fine example was the thread of a player who kept losing as the Japanese then found a way to win in the C.4 scenario. Gathered more data and gained more experience, new ways of seeing things, more wisdom, etc. etc.

cheers marc
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Argothair _Bialyvich
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Cataclysm is a peculiar carnival ride, it's not for everyone. I think Argothair is engaging the game with an open mind.


Lol, yes, indeed. I certainly find this game captivating -- it's been occupying an enormous amount of my attention for the last month, all of it in a good way, and I'm grateful for that.

It's hard to tell whether this is a game that I'll want to keep playing repeatedly over the next year -- is this my new favorite game, or is it just something that I enjoyed and will be moving on from? Right now, I'm leaning toward the latter, in part because I would prefer a game with somewhat less luck. As always, preferences vary, and you are all entitled to your own opinions.

I don't agree that players should rack up 100 games before making claims about the game's balance or luck factor. Certainly the opinion of such a player is entitled to extra weight, but I don't think I've ever played 100 games of *anything* except perhaps Chess, Mancala, Race for the Galaxy, and Coloretto -- all of which can be played in less than 20 minutes, which is part of why I've racked up such a high play count.

For a game like Cataclysm, which takes 2 hours even when it goes quickly, racking up 100 games means investing 200 to 600 hours of play...which is something I would only consider doing for one of my all-time favorite games. Part of what I'm writing about here and exploring with all of you is the question of whether Cataclysm is the kind of game that I *want* spend 200+ hours on. My hope is that my opinions will be helpful to other players who might be considering a similar question, and perhaps to the designers, as feedback that they might choose to consider if they ever make a second edition or design another game.
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Marc Hanna
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Argothair wrote:


For a game like Cataclysm, which takes 2 hours even when it goes quickly, racking up 100 games means investing 200 to 600 hours of play...which is something I would only consider doing for one of my all-time favorite games. Part of what I'm writing about here and exploring with all of you is the question of whether Cataclysm is the kind of game that I *want* spend 200+ hours on. My hope is that my opinions will be helpful to other players who might be considering a similar question, and perhaps to the designers, as feedback that they might choose to consider if they ever make a second edition or design another game.


Yes, agreed it's a lot of time for one person. That's why the data needs to be centrally collected from multiple playings by many people. Forgive me for being misleading that everyone needs to play it that many times, but I am convinced that more can be learned further down the road than venturing early opinions -- however, it's not unusual for us gamers to do just that!

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Argothair _Bialyvich
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That's why the data needs to be centrally collected from multiple playings by many people.


Ah, I see. I suppose a central database might be useful, and I'd be willing to log my games if there's a software tool that makes it reasonably easy to record an entry. If you want specific statistics on how a game is behaving that can answer detailed questions like "How does an alliance affect the odds of victory" or "How many resources does Germany collect on average," then you'd probably need an app for online play, ala Through the Ages. I understand the data they gathered from thousands of games of recorded online play was useful to the designers of that game in crafting their second edition. If you'd be willing to settle for some higher-level data like "what scenario, who won, on what turn, by how many points," then I think you could rely on self-reporting from players, but I'm not sure how much you'd learn...most of the scenarios seem reasonably balanced in terms of "which player is going to win," and if the balance is off by 60-40, then that can usually be handled with a bid or by assigning the stronger power to the weaker player.
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Marc Hanna
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Argothair wrote:

Ah, I see. I suppose a central database might be useful, and I'd be willing to log my games if there's a software tool that makes it reasonably easy to record an entry. If you want specific statistics on how a game is behaving that can answer detailed questions like "How does an alliance affect the odds of victory" or "How many resources does Germany collect on average," then you'd probably need an app for online play, ala Through the Ages. I understand the data they gathered from thousands of games of recorded online play was useful to the designers of that game in crafting their second edition. If you'd be willing to settle for some higher-level data like "what scenario, who won, on what turn, by how many points," then I think you could rely on self-reporting from players, but I'm not sure how much you'd learn...most of the scenarios seem reasonably balanced in terms of "which player is going to win," and if the balance is off by 60-40, then that can usually be handled with a bid or by assigning the stronger power to the weaker player.

All of this is well said. Scientifically we don't know if the data is useful until we collect it, but we still need to decide what to collect!

In the end, all the ASL collection site handles is the won-loss record, any balance provisions used, and comments as to whether they would recommend the scenario or not. Many people are willing to submit this for every game.

But that's not the only data I'm thinking about here for Cataclysm. Although I don't think either of us know if these scenarios are reasonably balanced yet, and the data collected would help players decide if bids are needed -- and how much. Particularly useful in tournament situations is won-loss data; we use it all the time to select scenarios to play in tournaments of ASL and if one side or the other should get the balance provision for that side, which is included on every ASL scenario. Collecting this data might also provide some descriptive data on how the scenario was won, what gambits were used or was this yet another opportunistic win, etc.


To clarify, I am not trying to compare ASL to Cataclysm other than they have a data collection method in use online and the system is easy to use. Actually ASL has at least one other fan-driven site that collects data like this.
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