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Subject: What is up with point based victory in war games? rss

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Patrick Moore
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I played dust with my regular group the other day, and allthough there are allot of things I like about it the gameplay wasn't very satisfying. I think this boils down to a trend of applying a points-race to a conquest game.
In two games the score was spread by a point or two by the leaders with the others not too far behind. The question is, what do these points really represent? When we hit 40 points only one player out of four was really "in trouble" as far as thier tactical or economic situation and the game could have continued on for ever with that being the case. There was no clear victory and I don't see reasonably matched players ever having a clear victory in the game unless luck played a big role.
The point I guess I am trying to make is there seem to be allot of games that use a point system to determine victory but the points don't represent anything other than a time limit to the game. This is fine in a fairly abstract game like catan, but in a war game the points just don't mean anything.
 
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mark sellmeyer
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it's a eurowargame. they go by a point system that ends the game right about the time you might have a player get eliminated, but also gives you an actual end time.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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artmark wrote:
it's a eurowargame. they go by a point system that ends the game right about the time you might have a player get eliminated, but also gives you an actual end time.


A eurowargame? That's a joke, right? If not, Nexus Ops and Risk 2210 A.D. must be "eurowargames" also, because you score points to win them too.

It sounds like the O.P.'s group did a lot of turtling. Knock out your opponent's capitals if you want to win decisively.
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Pete Belli
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Interesting thread...

Quote:
...a point system that ends the game right about the time you might have a player get eliminated, but also gives you an actual end time.


Under laboratory conditions, yes.

I like this system (a similar idea was used in S.P.Q.RisiKo! by the same designer and it worked fairly well) and as mentioned below if a player wants to force a showdown he or she is welcome to try.

In my opinion, these systems punish those who try to "turtle" in a multi-player contest because of the dynamic interaction between the other commanders.

Just my 2 geekgold
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Patrick Moore
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No we were really playing agressivly, wishing we had more attacks. The point being though what do these points represent?
Played allot of nexus ops and risk 2210 and the point system isnt as much an annoyance in those. In Nexus ops the point of the game is to complete missions and player elimination is not usually a factor. In Risk there is usualy a tactical victory associated with point victory. But in Dust the points seem to be divorced from any sort of tactical superiority. It just seems like a cop-out from the designer's point of view, limiting options to keep the players neck-and neck throughout the game.
Somewhat like shogun, wich is fun but not really a conquest game, you have limited actions wich limit the size of your empire.
I guess I just had higher expectations from dust, we will still play it on occasion but the ending is just very flat.
 
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phookadude wrote:
The point being though what do these points represent?


You earn victory points for controlling capitals and power sources. That is typical territorial control, pretty much the same as in Risk 2210 A.D. or Axis & Allies.

The other way you gain points is for majorities in land units, sea units and production centers. Land and sea are obviously military superiority, and a production center advantage is just like the economic victory in Axis & Allies.

The only twist is the knockout rule - a guy who doesn't control a capital can't win. I don't see where any of that is odd or unusual in a conquest game.
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Patrick Moore
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I guess I am too much a "simulationist" to accept what amounts to close ties in a war game. Accepting the fact that it isn't really a war game might do it for me, but they have little tanks! Cute little tanks! Sigh.
 
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phookadude wrote:
I guess I am too much a "simulationist" to accept what amounts to close ties in a war game. Accepting the fact that it isn't really a war game might do it for me, but they have little tanks! Cute little tanks! Sigh.


Simulations and cute little tanks seldom meet. And I'm not sure what "close ties" have to do with simulations - many real wars have ended in stalemate.

Still, if you are interested only in total victory, what's stopping you from playing until you take all of your opponent's capitals? It sounds to me like knocking a player out when he loses his capital would solve your problem.

It's not like you would stop trying to capture resources or build the biggest army if you didn't get points for doing so. The game would play the same, but would just take longer. That's all the point based victory is really about - keeping the playing time shorter.
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You can always decide to play the game out to the "bitter end".

One reason that the Victory Point system is there is to prevent the game from dragging on forever.

Dust gives players a variety of ways to gain victory points, allowing you to use different strategies.
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Brian Blad
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Anyone find that this game goes very very quickly with Victory Points?
Anyone play it like a traditional "Risk" game by not counting VP and playing until the other player is eliminated? If so, how did it play out?
 
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Panzer wrote:
Anyone find that this game goes very very quickly with Victory Points?
Anyone play it like a traditional "Risk" game by not counting VP and playing until the other player is eliminated? If so, how did it play out?

We set out to do it that way once, but after playing for a while, we decided to stop at the VP ending, rather than having players get removed from the game and have to sit around watching the last two struggle to the death..
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James Pack
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I agree with the ending being very flat. I've always had a problem with the game ending and their being a winner (thats not me) without me thinking that I've lost. The points totals seem very low. We played and I got hammered by a couple of other players and was ready to hit back and the forth player then appears with the points needed to win.
 
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Peet Smith
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It's a perfectly valid option to play until one player has 4 capitals, or more than half the VK zones, or something like that. If your group decides that they don't mind player elimination and like a game to go on much longer, then by all means do it this way. In that case you can award extra production instead of points, so the majorities and VK tokens still mean something.

Peet
 
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Miljenko Murkovic
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JimmyP wrote:
I agree with the ending being very flat. I've always had a problem with the game ending and their being a winner (thats not me) without me thinking that I've lost. The points totals seem very low. We played and I got hammered by a couple of other players and was ready to hit back and the forth player then appears with the points needed to win.


I had the same experience. VP needed to win are very low. Game lasts 5-6 turns, and you get to attack on average 2.5 times/turn. Totaling maybe 12-15 in a average game !!!shake I was just warming up, planing a big invasion, and it was all over. I hate this game system. Other time I lost just because other player luckily took 2 of my power sources in the last turn, very frustrating.
 
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Gabriel Manasan
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You should try the longer rule-set then, where power sources are worth just 1/3 VP. For that matter nothing is stopping your group from agreeing to double the VP target.

For my part, I quite like Dust's VP system, as it is directly linked to clear strategic locations on a map. And I'm quite happy to play a short game rather than have a game drag past the point where the winner is already obvious.
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Miljenko Murkovic
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@Gabriel Manasan

I will try playing with Epic rules, and possibly with double VP needed to win. In other games that use dice combat system (example Risk) you get to play maybe 150-200 fights during a game, and in Dust you get no more than 30, and this makes every fight crucial. Few unlucky dices throws, and you lose. In for example Risk, more dice throws means unlucky throws average with lucky throws.

Maybe I'm also new to this game, and its system. In all (2 games so far), every one was protecting heavily his capital, and all the fights were over few power sources. One turn is mine, next turn my opponent takes it back. Few turns and its all over. I don't see much fun in that.
 
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WARNER AIREY
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Why point based? Answer: Excitement. Nothing keeps things more interesting than a ticking clock - like on a time bomb.

Every move you make matters. And, as players reach the required VP threshold, it causes desperate last ditch efforts to prevent victory. Heroic, doomed, occasionally successfully but usually futile and suicidal attacks on player capitals.

It might work. It might merely stave off defeat for one turn. But the results are always entertaining - sometimes hilarious.

I am very appreciative of the Victory Point concept, both for the constant pressure it creates, and limited turn length. But it comes down to what sort of game you want to play. If you want to play all night, or prefer to spend weeks pushing counters over a Europa sized hex map, there are plenty of other games with different approaches, out there.
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Michael B. Hansen
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pete belli wrote:


In my opinion, these systems punish those who try to "turtle" in a multi-player contest because of the dynamic interaction between the other commanders.

Just my 2 geekgold


Dust still leaves room for a more sophisticated kind of "turtling". The victory condition (track) + various options on the part of opponents, demands careful planning if you want a "turtling" strategy to succeed.

This feature in itself, makes it a significantly more interesting game than any version of Risk in my opinion.
 
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Sphere wrote:
artmark wrote:
it's a eurowargame. they go by a point system that ends the game right about the time you might have a player get eliminated, but also gives you an actual end time.


A eurowargame? That's a joke, right? If not, Nexus Ops and Risk 2210 A.D. must be "eurowargames" also, because you score points to win them too.


Seeing this old thread, I wonder whether I would have made my point more effectively had I offered A Victory Lost and Grand Illusion: Mirage of Glory, 1914 as examples of wargames that use victory points. Not that it matters; we all have our preferences.
 
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Tomas Inguanzo
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If you want the victory points to represent some facet of real war, just think of them as a measure of your opponents' "war weariness", for lack of a better term.

Not every war ends with the enemy capital in flames and their king clapped in irons. Lots of wars end when one or more countries have simply had enough and don't want to fight anymore, even if they have military power to spare. Vietnam is a just one example.

In the world of Dust, if you're sitting pretty with lots of land, lots of Vrill, and more than one capital, your enemies get discouraged, their leaders lose popularity, etc. After a measured amount of such war weariness, they sue for peace, even if their generals are begging for just one more offensive.
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