The Kb
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Hello all,

French player living in Atlanta with now 20+ games of cataclysm 1/2/3 people.

This game is amazing. It's a breakthrough in strategic game thinking. You are taking care of the big picture but you don't precisely know the details. Dice rules are another breakthrough moving in the right direction (before gaussian tail was considered as anormal and wargame players tend to optimize the game to avoid it. With new games, like 'to the last man' and 'cataclysm' only the gaussian tail matters, rest of the time nothing happends).

Coming back to business, two suggestions (I have plenty but the two below are critical to me)
1- Americain aid spoiling: most of the people spoil in their game China with US aid. It could also be spain or yougoslavia when a civil war happends. I'm not the first one to say it but it's very painful to play with on a regular basis.
There are two obvious ways to change rules to prevent it
(i) Us cannot spend aid in china before rearmement
(ii)Us offensive will cost 2 instead of 1
But both still allow America to quickly intervene wherever until the prerequisite has been completed.
Being as well a player of HoI IV, I would recommend to introduce another solution.
(iii) The us commitment counter doesn't start at civilian in fact there is a remote isolianism commitment box. Conversion ratio is 3:1 and while here, they can only build units. It will take them 2 flags from provocation (no dice) -active way- or end of the statu quo -passive way- to change their mind for civilian commitment.
Pros: if statut quo ends early, we transpose immediately in the existing rules. Nothing has changed, US at civilian and gets its flag. US will have the real tast of waking up the giant. It requires less skills and luck for Japanese player to match existing Japan.
2- For 2 players, scenario C1 needs imho two adjustments to avoid pure urss/allies optimization
(i)URSS needs to mobilize and to be at war to end the statu quo
(ii) During statu quo, UK and FR can only take a flag for a stability test if their stability level is at steady.
With (i) and (ii), C1 is then possible at two without a strong allies bias.

Last but not least, rule question. US is willing to enter the UK/FR alliance. Unfortunately, they miss their first 2 shot and therefore have 2 cubes of shame in alliance. Then France has the good idea to collapse. Now the allies are only UK at war.
(i) Can still the US try to join the 'alliance' with their own flag or do they need the UK flag to match ?
(ii) If a UK flag is needed to match, what do we do with the two cubes of shame ?

Best
Kb
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Kevin Bernatz
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Re: amazing / 2 breakthroughs / 2 suggested adjustments / 1 suggestion
There is a good chance that Aid at civilian commitment is going to be nerfed in some way with the next PPSD release. We're just not 100% certain on what path we want to take (which may include going back to an earlier version of the rules pre-release where Offensives simply were not allowed to be created at Civilian commitment). We changed the rule for a reason, but the excessive aid tactic was not spotted by playtesters as a result of the change and now it may be necessary to revert back to that rule or address the "Civilian aid" in a different way. Oops .

Re: your end question: The US cubes are useless and might as well be tossed. For the US to ally with the UK, they need to make their own separate Alliance roll (2 flags) and would need both UK and US cubes in the alliance box to gain any benefit (and would only gain the + based on the smaller number; i.e. the number of UK cubes).

This is one reason why we don't really feel the "force France to collapse early to end status quo" idea is a strong option for players as it forces the Allies to wait on attempting any alliance with France and the UK (along with handing the Germans the ability to do stuff in central Europe without generating Democratic flags due to interests).

-K

P.S. Your idea for scenario C1 with two players has some merit ... Scott, what do you think about requiring the Soviet Union to be at both Mobilization and War (or just removing the ability of the Soviet Union to end Status Quo by /going/ to Mobilization in the first place?). Again ... solely for playing C.1. with 2 players.
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Wendell
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Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
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Re: amazing / 2 breakthroughs / 2 suggested adjustments / 1 suggestion
I think nerfing US aid at least early in the game may be good; we had a lot of it in China in our recent game, too.
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The Kb
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Re: amazing / 2 breakthroughs / 2 suggested adjustments / 1 suggestion
Thank you Kevin for your quick answer. Looking forward for the update of the rules. I like the rule forbidding to build offensive at civilian.

 
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Tom Kassel
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Our long running and slow moving pbem campaign also featured substantial US aid to China in 1933 leading to a three way Democracy alliance by the end of 1933-34. To compound matters, the Soviet mobilized in 1935=36 (fearing the fascists would turn on them rather than deal with France.) The result seemed obvious but we played it out anyway as both Fascists and Soviets were doing campaign for first time.

In mid 41-42, all of Germany bar East Prussia is occupied by Demos, while Japan has taken the Chinese coast and Indochina. Soviets have Poland and Czechoslovakia but neglected to DoW the Demos and ravage the middle east.

It seems clear that in the event of early US alliance, whether before or after any nerfs, the Soviets need to act against the Demos. I suppose that can work in a three player game but isn't really an option with just two players where early US alliance is just game over.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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The rules changes we are considering:

1) It takes two offensives to generate one military action while at civilian commitment. This requires one offensive be in reserve when a second offensive is pulled from the cup. Added side benefit - the commitment play aid works again

2) No more than one aid per power per area.

This would substantially slow down US aid to China, but not eliminate it as an option.

Please note that wasted production at civilian commitment is an intended effect in the game. If you want to do more military stuff, you have to increase your commitment.
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Kevin Bernatz
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to clarify Scott's post:

1a) the 2:1 conversion for offensives (requiring one to be from reserve and one to be the counter just drawn from the cup to generate a single military action). Since aid is a military action, this will slow down any aid to civil wars while a power is sitting at civilian commitment.

1b) simply prohibiting offensives from being produced at Civilian commitment

2) [and entirely separate from 1a and 1b] limiting aid to one marker per area per power. This was the intent and pretty much what was seen in playtesting, so it more a 'lets make the rules more consistent with what the intent was'. Note that the only powers that might even want to send multiple aid to a single area would be the US or USSR if they had nothing else to build and were at a low commitment level ... so this is, we feel, an unintended effect of allowing offensives at civilian commitment.

-K
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Jonathan Entner
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Why not simply have offensives cost two resources at civilian commitment? Is clogging up the reserve an intended side-effect of 1a?

For #2, in normal civil wars, I agree. For the chinese civil war, I think one per army total would be better. Historically with the German support, I find it hard to picture US or UK support to that same army (warlord).


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Chris McDonald
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entner wrote:
Why not simply have offensives cost two resources at civilian commitment? Is clogging up the reserve an intended side-effect of 1a?

For #2, in normal civil wars, I agree. For the chinese civil war, I think one per army total would be better. Historically with the German support, I find it hard to picture US or UK support to that same army (warlord).




The problem is, how do you ever get 2 offensives in hand to spend them at the same time? You draw and resolve one chit at a time. To spend two, the second one has to be somewhere, and the only place for it to be within the mechanics of the game as they exist now is in the reserve. The alternative would be to create some other holding area which adds more rules and complexity.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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entner wrote:
Why not simply have offensives cost two resources at civilian commitment? Is clogging up the reserve an intended side-effect of 1a?

Yes, the clog is intentional. It also preserves the "flip your resources over to offensives" simplicity.

Quote:
For #2, in normal civil wars, I agree. For the chinese civil war, I think one per army total would be better. Historically with the German support, I find it hard to picture US or UK support to that same army (warlord).

That would change how we model the Spanish Civil War; that said, we are still considering other possibilities.
 
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Kevin Bernatz
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entner wrote:
Why not simply have offensives cost two resources at civilian commitment? Is clogging up the reserve an intended side-effect of 1a?


As Scott has mentioned, the '1 resource converts to 1 offensive' is maintained throughout all commitment levels. We will not be changing that.

Quote:
For #2, in normal civil wars, I agree. For the chinese civil war, I think one per army total would be better. Historically with the German support, I find it hard to picture US or UK support to that same army (warlord).


Do you really think that a Chinese warlord who has some German mausers and ammo, maybe an old artillery tube, would really turn down additional aid if the US or UK offered it? Hmmm...

Remember, we're abstractly covering a time period from '33+ where Germany was not necessarily viewed as 100% negative at all times (certainly /somewhat/ negatively, but - heck - so was the Soviet Union and the US and UK got into bed with THEM, so is it really that hard to fathom a US or UK looking the other way on aid to the same warlord to fight the Japanese?). We could add rules on not providing aid to the same side as a power you are at war with, etc. etc., but I think we're getting away from Cataclysm at that point and getting too ruler-y. "Global and simple" ... that is the Cataclysm way .

-K
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Jonathan Entner
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Apart from the historical note, "one aid per Chinese army" sounds pretty simple to me. And I think aid at the Cataclysm level is more than a few old Mausers, given what an offensive represents in the game.
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Marc Hanna
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sdiberar wrote:
The rules changes we are considering:

1) It takes two offensives to generate one military action while at civilian commitment. This requires one offensive be in reserve when a second offensive is pulled from the cup. Added side benefit - the commitment play aid works again

2) No more than one aid per power per area.

This would substantially slow down US aid to China, but not eliminate it as an option.

Please note that wasted production at civilian commitment is an intended effect in the game. If you want to do more military stuff, you have to increase your commitment.


Okay so these changes will nerf the allies (aka 'democracies' - takes too long to spell ) from flooding the aid to China and hence help the Fascists contend with a more historical approach in there.

Where's the 'gravy' for the Soviets? Aren't they the least likely to win? These changes help the Fascists and don't prevent the 'Chinese hook' into the empty backfield. The only power who can do anything about that abuse are the Soviets.

The argument has been that the Soviets would be 'deranged, crazy' to try to intervene in any actions in China. While I disagree, because I've seen no evidence of any expertise whatsoever in how to play the Russians -- except on a theoretical basis -- Kevin had remarked earlier that basically the Russians have two early game paths:

1) mobilize early and lose to the Allies
2) Do nothing and lose to the Axis.

Gosh, what a choice!? So is that it? No choice for the Soviets to act as nothing but a spoiler, to be treated with disdain by one or the other faction, given whichever path they choose?

Yes yes I've seen the unproven conjecture that the Soviets must wait for 'the precise moment' to stab one or the other in the back (whenever that may be and however that is supposed to be done since the Soviets don't get sneak attack capability and have to use flags to declare war as a single power in their faction, should that be necessary for the treachery).

In another thread (to tie this all together) there was a discussion of nerfing the Lend Lease to belligerent powers only. Which makes sense, should that decision be made, but still helps the Fascists more than the Soviets.

So, if this is a balanced contest (within reason), let's hear some real experiences of how the Soviets win given the cards they are dealt!

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Tom Kassel
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I've just finished a solo campaign intended to test "2 offensives = one action at civilian". In fact, it made no difference as Japanese ignored Chinese areas with US aid.

UK/France failed two alliance attempts and Germany mobilized and attacked France in 37-38, forcing a surrender through excellent vs crap die rolls. Germany then collected most of Europe through diplomacy and brute force, invading Russia in 39-40, taking Moscow and three other areas without shifting stability from steady.

In 41-42, the Soviets regained Moscow but lost several more areas and a Japanese triumph in Maritime Provinces sent stability down leading to a collapse at home front check.

By the finish, the UK had DoWed Italy and taken Libya and the US had finally passed Lend Lease at the third attempt.

It seems that a rational Fascist will do nothing to disturb the US with Japan.

It's a pity thet the crisis tables don't include mandated Japanese attacks on neighbouring armies.

Another approach might be make Lend Lease and commitment automatic once war starts, regardless of belligerent status.
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Kevin Bernatz
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Please note that the proposed changes aren't coming from a 'balance' point of view. They are coming from a view point of: We made a change near the end of playtesting that has apparently resulted in some gaminess above and beyond what we would consider acceptable; mainly the use of early US offensives to flood Chinese areas with aid. This wasn't caught in playtesting and was never the intent of the system..

So while I agree that the Soviets have the hardest path to win, we aren't necessarily convinced that anything needs to be done about 'balance'. There have been A LOT of playtests of Cataclysm and while I would put Soviet victories at less than 33%. If I had to place a guess on it, I would probably put Demo victories around 35-40%; Fascists around 30-35%; and Soviets around 25-30%.

-K
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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I will also say that a common thread throughout Cataclysm’s development was “looks like we have to nerf the Soviets again”, so we have lots of stuff we can put back in to help them if need be.
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Marc Hanna
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sdiberar wrote:
I will also say that a common thread throughout Cataclysm’s development was “looks like we have to nerf the Soviets again”, so we have lots of stuff we can put back in to help them if need be.


Ah that's good news to my demented Soviet brainstem! laugh
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Marc Hanna
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kbernatz wrote:


So while I agree that the Soviets have the hardest path to win, we aren't necessarily convinced that anything needs to be done about 'balance'. There have been A LOT of playtests of Cataclysm and while I would put Soviet victories at less than 33%. If I had to place a guess on it, I would probably put Demo victories around 35-40%; Fascists around 30-35%; and Soviets around 25-30%.

-K


Thanks for the reassuring data, good enough for me hahahaHAAAhahha devil
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