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Subject: Comment on the comments on Zoon rss

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Wim van Gruisen
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Having read several comments on this game, I'd like to react to some things that popped up several times, which I think are not entirely correct.

First, the game is often called "Stratego with cards". I agree only partially. I'd say that it is a mixture of Stratego and Chess, and cartoons. The only part that is really stratego is that the cards are hidden. However, when you get to know your opponent's deck a bit, you could recognise cards by the way they move.

The pieces themselves are rather chess-like. Each piece has its own move, minor pieces can capture major pieces - this is very different from stratego, where essentially all pieces move the same, and higher virtually always beats lower.

There is capturing the emblem, but that is as much "capture the flag" in stratego as it is "checkmate the king" in chess. Oh, and the emblem can fight back in this game - very much unlike Stratego.


Second, combat resolution. As mentioned in reviews here, each card has different numbers printed in the four corners. For example, a card can look like this:

5 3
3 1

To resolve combat, the two pieces in combat are turned upside down, given a few spins, and then each player picks a corner of his own card. A rather cumbersome mechanic, and several people suggested just rolling a d4 instead. Not a good idea.

Picking a corner is not as random as one might think; since the cards are not square, but rectangles, one can always distinguish diagonals. In the sample card above, one diagonal is 3-3, the other 5-1. The original resolution mechanic lets you choose your diagonal, rolling a d4 doesn't. Picking one diagonal is important. Imagine that you have the sample card, and you fight an opponent that has no combat value higher than 2. If you choose the 3-3 diagonal, you always win that combat; if you roll a die, you have 25% chance of losing. Likewise, if you fight an opponent that has a 4 in all corners, you'd want to pick the 5-1 diagonal; that one gives you 50% chance to win the encounter. If you roll the die to pick a corner, that chance is halved.

Note that people who complain that combat is too luck-dependent seem to have missed the importance of the diagonals.

I don't know what a good way to resolve combats would be, without the silly spinning of cards and picking of corners. Perhaps instead of rolling a d4, one could pick a diagonal and flip a coin.
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Gary Pressler
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Whymme wrote:
I don't know what a good way to resolve combats would be, without the silly spinning of cards and picking of corners. Perhaps instead of rolling a d4, one could pick a diagonal and flip a coin.


Interesting idea. The game is en route to me now. I had noticed the diagonals in some of the pictures on here. However, the placement of the diagonals is not consistant. NW-to-SE is usually the high-low diagonal, but not always. I can't imagine checking which diagonal was which, keeping it straight when the card is flipped, and then managing to catch the right diagonal when spun. If you can get much accuracy in getting a certain diagonal, then I suspect your opponent is spinning the card too slowly.

I was planning to stick with the d4 for now. (Although, I am more concerned that that this game will not be much played since I also have Navia Dratp.)

EDIT: Re-reading, maybe I have not understood the game correctly. I thought the corner was chosen by spinning the card on the table and then stopping it under a finger. Perhaps it is just turned around a few times and then held out to choose.
 
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GaryP wrote:
I thought the corner was chosen by spinning the card on the table and then stopping it under a finger. Perhaps it is just turned around a few times and then held out to choose.


It is held out to choose. Thus, there is a significant decision as described above. In fact, there are a lot of subtleties to the game that revolve around this diagonal concept; there was a lot of thought put into the mechanic.

I don't find the spinning thing cumbersome at all- players simply rotate their cards a little bit and then choose a corner of the opponent's card. The only real drawback is that you can't put the cards in card protectors, cause it "marks" them.

 
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