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Cold War: CIA vs KGB» Forums » Variants

Subject: Making the game a tad more strategic rss

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Paul Blake
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After reading through the rules, and playing a few games, it seems to me that the strategic depth of this game is somewhat... shallow. There are meaningful decisions to be made, specifically in which agent to select, and whether or not to use a group's or objective's special ability. However, it doesn't really feel like you can make a significant impact on the outcome of any particular objective, since recruiting a group is very luck driven. I've thought of a possible variant which could help to lessen (but not eliminate) the luck factor.

The game is played as normal with the following changes to the rules:

-During Setup, deal a hand of 3 Group Cards to each player.

-During Briefing, each player refills his hand to 3 cards.

-During the first Briefing, reveal 3 Objectives instead of 1. During future Briefing phases, replace any objectives which were scored in the previous Cease Fire phase.

-During Planning, each player selects 3 agents to use, assigning one to each of the revealed objectives. If a player has fewer than 3 agents, he is assumed assign a Deputy Director to any unfilled objectives.

-During Influence Struggle, players may recruit a group from the deck or from their hand. They may also choose which objective to assign that group to.

-During Influence Struggle, the player with the Balance Token may choose to place it on an objective, or move it to a different objective if already placed: This objective is "In Negotiations", and may trigger a Cease Fire.

-Influence Struggle may now end in several ways:
-Both sides of an objective have their maximum population for that objective.
-The player not in possession of the Balance Token did not play a group card on the "In Negotiations" objective, if there is one.
-Both players pass.

-During the Cease Fire phase, only the objectives which triggered the Cease Fire are scored. This may include a combination of a maximum population objective and a balance token objective. If both players passed, all objectives are scored. If multiple objectives are scored, they are considered to be scored simultaneously. Special objective effects must be used before any scoring occurs.

-Group Card and Agent abilities only affect the objective to which they are assigned.

Basically, you're playing three rounds at once, you have a limited hand of cards, and a slightly modified method of ending an objective. It's not going to turn it into Chess or Go, but it does give you slightly more control over what's going on.
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Philip Reed
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I'm gonna have to give this a try. Good idea.
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Ray Diebel
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As a guy who likes strategy over luck any day, I think a major point of this games strategy is to mitigate the need for luck by maximizing the use of the cards you are fortunate enough, or unfortunate enough, to draw. How and when to use your cards is (not to be captain obvious, here) where your strategy needs to offset your opponents luck (or lack thereof).

I have played quite a few games and see that there is a HUGE play in selecting to pass to maintain a healthy capability to draw a card when needed...

And if you find yourself playing against another player using similar strategy, then your objectives will wrap up with stability values under...but that's fine too, and adds increased playability of the Master Spy.

In any event...your idea is interesting, but has a few shortcomings. 1, lack of cards. We have easily used more than 2/3 the cards for a single objective, and in one case ALL of them, and so trying to sustain more than one objective is tough.

Why not just start with a set hand, then add an action option. Instead of the action to DRAW AND PLAY A CARD (recruit a group), why not have an option to DRAW or PLAY a card. Maybe limit the hand size to the population limit, or even the limit minus 1. At least this way you can keep some level of control over when to recruit groups...but still not run a great risk of running out of (and having to recycle) the same cards to get through a group of multiple objectives.

In any event, I do think I will give your idea a try...
I just think it's quite a big step from the basic game, and I prefer "baby steps" when trying out new variations!

Anyway...game on!
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Paul Blake
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waitsfan wrote:
In any event...your idea is interesting, but has a few shortcomings. 1, lack of cards. We have easily used more than 2/3 the cards for a single objective, and in one case ALL of them, and so trying to sustain more than one objective is tough.


I question this. I don't have the game in front of me right now, but I believe the highest population on a single objective is 5. Assuming each of the six military cards came into play, was used, then refreshed by each of the economic cards, that still means that only 12 cards were discarded, with a maximum of 10 still in play. In other words, you could only have used 22 of the 24 group cards. You'd almost have to intentionally be trying to use up the deck to do this on a single objective.

Even assuming there is a Population 6 objective in the game, this would still be an unlikely (and unwise) sequence of events. It would mean that you're always using economic groups on military groups, you're never using military groups on ready economic groups, and you're not using military groups on military groups unless they've been used - twice. Were you remembering to reshuffle the discards into the group deck in the briefing phase?

At any rate, I see the thin distribution of cards to be a good thing, and I don't think it would be as thin as you are describing. After all, if you're investing so heavily in Cuba, I could simply choose to put my efforts into Vietnam. I could also try to trigger a cease fire on an objective to clear out cards, either through negotiations, or through filling the population limit.

Quote:
Why not just start with a set hand, then add an action option. Instead of the action to DRAW AND PLAY A CARD (recruit a group), why not have an option to DRAW or PLAY a card. Maybe limit the hand size to the population limit, or even the limit minus 1. At least this way you can keep some level of control over when to recruit groups...but still not run a great risk of running out of (and having to recycle) the same cards to get through a group of multiple objectives.


I had considered this, but when recruiting from the deck, it still means turning over a card with no further decision to be made. That just rubs me the wrong way.

Quote:
In any event, I do think I will give your idea a try...
I just think it's quite a big step from the basic game, and I prefer "baby steps" when trying out new variations!


Hmm... Guess I shouldn't mention my pure strategy variant yet, then, huh? It's quite a departure.
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Paul Blake
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Thedalek wrote:
I question this. I don't have the game in front of me right now, but I believe the highest population on a single objective is 5. Assuming each of the six military cards came into play, was used, then refreshed by each of the economic cards, that still means that only 12 cards were discarded, with a maximum of 10 still in play. In other words, you could only have used 22 of the 24 group cards. You'd almost have to intentionally be trying to use up the deck to do this on a single objective.


Nevermind. I forgot about the Nuclear Escalation event. Yeah, you could use all the cards on a single objective.
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Jonathan DeYoung
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The Media cards also let you discard cards. That means with the use of military and economic and media, you could be left with only 6 cards in the game.
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