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Subject: problem with new map rss

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Tim K
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They posted a sneak peak of the new map at GMT, which you can see here:

http://www.gmtgames.com/nnts/TSMap11.jpg

The problem with the new map is the re-formatted space race. I am a long-time space buff (I even worked for NASA at Johnson Space Center in college between 1982 and 1984 and have friends who still work there).

In the context of Twilight Struggle, the space race is ultimately about getting to the moon, not building a space shuttle and space station. The original maps have a better timeline - Sputnik, Laika the dog, Gargarin in space, Leonov's space walk, Apollo 8's slingshot around the moon, and Apollo 11 are universally regarded as major space race milestones. Apollo 8 was a major public relations coup, and was specifically undertaken because Grumman did not have the Lunar Module ready. The Gemini program had multiple goals, including a space walk, earth orbit rendezvous, and earth orbit docking (Neil Armstrong showed very impressive decision-making under pressure on Gemini 8 after an extremely dangerous malfunction in the Agena docking module). Arguably earth orbit rendezvous and docking are more important milestones than a space shuttle and space station because they demonstrated techniques and skills that would be used on Apollo.

With regard to a space station, technically the first space station was Salyut 1 in 1971, launched while the Apollo program was still ongoing. NASA did launch Skylab in 1973, but if it was so important in the space race, why didn't Congress authorize funding for more than just three Skylab missions? Why did we let Skylab crash to earth in 1979, well before the end of TS's timeline?

The Space Race was effectively over when Neil and Buzz sent audio and video from the moon. There may be other worthwhile changes to the new map, but GMT would be well-advised to reconsider the changes to the Space Race track and restore the original.

Tim K.
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Jason Sherlock
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The problem with the space race is that it is a very rare occasion that anyone ever gets to the moon in a game, much less by 1969.

I think that there were true aspirations of space stations and lunar or even Mars colonies, but funding got cut in the early 70's for any serious further steps into space. This seems to be what happens in TS. Most games get to about 1/2 way or so on the space race, and then funding gets cut (players can't invest further card or time resources). So, the rework makes sense to me.

Remember, this game doesn't just cover the cold war up to 1970, but into the 80's where space programs could still be interwoven with national pride, such as the US fleet of space shuttles, or with propaganda of space defense systems, "Star Wars".

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Andrew MacLeod
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I agree with everything you said, Tim, 400%!!!! My feelings exactly.
The problem with the current TS Space Race Track is that players generally never end up getting a man on the moon, or do not do so until well into the 1980's. Even more typically, the game might end with the greatest space accomplishment being a Space Walk (or less!); and that bugs people.
However, we've got to remember that the Space Race was not some sort of inevitable, historical, technological progression that HAD to happen. It ONLY happened because there was the Cold War going on. And the accomplishments that were achieved happened ONLY because the respective governments of the two superpowers saw those objectives as being valuable in their struggle against the "enemy". In other words: "Go to the moon? Yes! IF it makes the capitalist pigs/commie reds look bad and increases our prestige and our technology!" The rather slow pace of space technology in a typical Twilight Struggle game realistically portrays "alternate history" governments that would have seen more value in couping Thailand, or whatever, than in sending monkeys into space. If there had been no Cold War, I suspect that there might have been a successful manned landing on the moon.....but not until the 1990's! Furthermore, without the Cold War, I suspect we'd probably have another couple of decades to wait before we'd be communicating with each other over this thing called the internet.
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Tim K
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Admittedly, I am new to TS. Sounds like the space race is poorly designed in an otherwise great game. Even still, the changes don't solve everything; strictly speaking, the entire space race should happen on turns 3, 4, and 5.

I would still suggest the new track feature "Man in Space", then "Space Walk", not "Man in Orbit". Since Gagarin's flight was orbital, it made Al Shepherd's suborbital flight look anticlimactic.

Tim K.
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Tim K
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houjix wrote:
I suggest a variant where you eliminate the last two boxes. I promise it will barely affect gameplay, and you'll see that the space markers can realistically reach the levels you expect thematically.


In light of the comments from experienced players, the new space race track is more reasonable than my initial reaction suggests. If it better fits real history to gameplay then I think it's a design improvement. I notice landing on the moon still rewards only one player, as I think should be the case.

I can live with it. Anything better would probably require a major design change, and I'm not suggesting that. I would still like to see "Walk in Space" replace "Man in Orbit".

Tim K.
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Trent Garner
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I definitely like the latest design myself, and appreciate the newer Space Race Track quite a bit, as it does seem to play out in a more "historical time-line" kind of way with the new picture set. This is more of an esthetic than mechanical change, but flavor is one of this game's strongest points and anything that makes the flavor even richer is a good thing to me!

At the very least, the newest design is better than the design from last week, IMHO. Nice work.
 
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LJ Schroeder
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I find them equally tasty.
 
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I don't mind the new spaces, but it bugs me that they don't match the illustrations. 'Man in Space' is a communications satellite and 'Eagle Has Landed' is a man in space. Weird.
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Andrew MacLeod
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I see, Tim, you said: "If it better fits real history to gameplay then I think it's a design improvement."
Hmmm: I think you may be profoundly disappointed with Twilight Struggle. Why? Let me give a few examples, other than the fact that a moon landing rarely takes place in a typical game:
-during the real Cold War, the USA was at either Defcon 3 or 2 for a grand total of about one month or so for the entire Cold War. In a typical game of Twilight Struggle, the players are at Defcon 2 for the great majority of the game!
-Pope John Paul II frequently becomes pope....in the early 1960's!
-the Marshall Plan often ends up becoming "the Kissinger Plan", since it can easily be delayed until the 1970's
-in the games I've played, NATO is rarely formed!
-a military invasion of Italy (Brush War) is not uncommon...and yet World War Three is not a result
-frequently, Vietnam is an isolated island of American control for the entire game
-etc, etc, etc.
Twilight Struggle (as someone has already said) is an abstract portrayal of the Cold War: it is NOT AT ALL a realistic simulation. The events of the Cold War are in the game, yes; but it is utterly at the whim of the players as to when and how they will be played, resulting in an "alternate history" that looks radically different from anything that actually happened.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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I would not call half that stuff unrealistic, unless by unrealistic you mean "doesn't exactly follow the history book"

In other words "Unrealistic" means something very different from "Non historical" - to me, saying "unrealistic" implies "This couldn't have really happened"

I think DEFCON is a thematic name for global tensions, not a direct reflection of where the US has set their particular level (since DEFCON affects the Soviets as well). And I also think Brush War is internal strife, not a military invasion.
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Andrew MacLeod
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Statalyzer wrote:
I would not call half that stuff unrealistic, unless by unrealistic you mean "doesn't exactly follow the history book"

In other words "Unrealistic" means something very different from "Non historical" - to me, saying "unrealistic" implies "This couldn't have really happened"

I think DEFCON is a thematic name for global tensions, not a direct reflection of where the US has set their particular level (since DEFCON affects the Soviets as well). And I also think Brush War is internal strife, not a military invasion.


Sorry about that, Statalyzer. I've given you the wrong impression, since (I agree) I should have said "non historical". I consider Twilight Struggle to be VERY realistic (and just a darn good game, too!). All I was attempting to say, though, is that if you're expecting TS to be an accurate "simulation" in even the remotest sense of the old hex-and-counter-wargame simulation, then you WILL be disappointed. And your comments about how DEFCON in TS is a thematic name for global tensions, you're right: it's thematic, but it is definitely not a simulation. And from the sounds of what the OP has said, it sounds (to me, anyways!)like he's looking for a SIMULATION of the Cold War, as opposed to a very well-THEMED game about the Cold War.
I, however, have not at all been disappointed with Twilight Struggle....I've just been disappointed with my string of near run losses as the American player latelyyuk!
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Tim K
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amacleod wrote:
if you're expecting TS to be an accurate "simulation" in even the remotest sense of the old hex-and-counter-wargame simulation, then you WILL be disappointed.


TS sounds just like all the other CDGs I've played. In a recent game of For the People my sister's husband triggered the Emancipation Proclamation in the Summer of 1861... wildly ahistorical to any student of the Civil War. And the same almost happened again this weekend. I think CDGs are often great games, but I'm not expecting accurate simulation.

Another point of view is that the cards add flavor and aren't meant to represent the exact events portrayed at that specific time. The same point of view can be extended to the Space Race track.

Tim K.
 
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Carl Anderson
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htjester wrote:
The original maps have a better timeline - Sputnik, Laika the dog ...


Couldn't agree more.
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Aleksander Zav
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carl67lp wrote:
htjester wrote:
The original maps have a better timeline - Sputnik, Laika the dog ...


Couldn't agree more.


Me too
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Isaiah Tanenbaum
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sbszine wrote:
I don't mind the new spaces, but it bugs me that they don't match the illustrations. 'Man in Space' is a communications satellite and 'Eagle Has Landed' is a man in space. Weird.


I completely and strongly agree. While I like that the moon actually has a chance of getting landed on in the new version, it really bothers me as a graphic designer that the illustrations have nothing to do with the text. The distressed "USA" font compared to the normal "USSR" font is also a "twitch-worthy" nitpick.

But overall I think the new map is gorgeous and look forward to playing with my now-pre-ordered copy.
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