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Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975» Forums » General

Subject: How much luck mitigation and game time? rss

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UA Darth
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What are your options to mitigate luck of dice rolls in this game?

How long is the game? How long is the longest and shortest scenarios?
 
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Mark Buetow
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shadow9d9 wrote:
What are your options to mitigate luck of dice rolls in this game?


I've only played two games but the die rolls don't seem especially able to ruin things for one side. Obviously if you have more units, you'll do more damage and if depending on the roll for Ambushes or bombing raids, things can go better or worse. Generally speaking, some actions do better with more units (attacking, pacification) and some do better with less units (Evasion). But good strategy and tactics will mitigate any seeming preponderance of luck.

Quote:

How long is the game? How long is the longest and shortest scenarios?


You can start in any year and end in any year as there are setups and victory conditions for each. If you just played one year, you're looking at an hour or less. For all ten years, the published 6 hours would not be unreasonable. Players more familiar with the game might shave off a bit here or there.
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UA Darth
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Is the game comparable in luck to Twilight Struggle?

Do the shorter years seem balanced? Could you pick 2 years in a row to make a 2 hour game?

 
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Dan Raspler
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In Twilight Struggle, individual throws of the dice can have long-term impact. I think the swings of dice luck in H&M will only really start to hurt over the long run... it's more attritional.

You can definitely pick any two years of the war and fight it out in a couple hours. Whether it will perfectly balanced or not I cannot say.
 
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Mark Buetow
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It's historically balanced, I would say, meaning mid war the Allies will be a bit stronger.

The setups are given for each year and so are the Victory conditions. But the Victory conditions for each year are both given for an "auto" victory in case you're playing the whole war or an "end game" level if you are ending the game in that year.

It seems like the Designer has taken this well into account so that you can start and end at any point with reasonable victory conditions.
 
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John Poniske
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In war as well as our cardboard simulations, there is always an inescapable element of luck. But just as in war and our pseudo-wars, PREPARATION for bad luck usually mitigates it. Of course there are always times when throwing caution to the wind can unbalance your opponent and increase your chances of winning.

HAM attempts to mitigate the luck factor by following logic. Attack with the most and your chances are better. Bomb the largest target and your chances are better, attempt an ambush and your success is influenced on your concealment, try to be stealthy and escape - your odds are better if your group is smaller so as to go undetected. Regarding combat charts: the red (communist) player has less effective results than the blue (allied) player's chart due not so much to the ineffectiveness of communist troops but to the inherent air superiority and air support of allied troops. This, by the way, is removed in the late war scenarios when both the red and blue players use the same red chart to indicate removal of US air support.

Three other mitigating factors regarding cards should be mentioned. Players are allowed to draw five cards but play only four per turn (carrying one over into the following turn). This allows players to temper their luck on the card draw. At the same time campaign cards can be purposefully chosen based on the current game situation, few if any other games allow that. Third, the activation numbers on cards allow players to both buy the card event if they choose AND use any leftover RPs (Resource Points) to conduct movment, attacks, or attempt to affect the political situation. Oh, one more thing, the ability to stockpile RPs gives the cautious player a way out in tense situations so that rather than watch governments falter, attacks fail and pacification attempts fail, players can throw money at the problem and save their butts ... as long as the money lasts.

Overall, I'd say there are a number of luck-mitigating factors and I'm sure I haven't named them all. I tried to be historical and fair in the original version of HAM while Stan, the developer, took it a giant step further, polished it and made it shine. Many of the above mechanics are his work. Try it out, I'm sure, in the tension of the game, it won't be "luck" you're thinking about.
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UA Darth
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Thanks for your reply John.

What are your thoughts on the 1 year scenarios? Have they been well tested/balanced?
 
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Mark Buetow
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shadow9d9 wrote:
Thanks for your reply John.

What are your thoughts on the 1 year scenarios? Have they been well tested/balanced?


He'd better think so! laugh
 
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John Poniske
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Knowing Stan, I know they have been well tested. As for balance, c'mon, the war was somewhat unbalanced, so year by year the balance shifts some. As was pointed out earlier, initially and later toward the end of the war, the red player has the edge, in the middle of the war the blue player has an edge. An edge does not mean it is impossible to win, far from it. It means players brains are taxed a little more to outwit their opponents. Overall the scenarios are as balanced as they can be and still afford players a relatively historical feel.
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UA Darth
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One more thing. How long is the full game?
 
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Michael
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Seems to be around 6-7 hours once people understand the mechanics. The learning curve isn't all that steep. My two three year games lasted about 2 hours each and they were learning games.
 
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Stan Hilinski
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Malacandra wrote:
shadow9d9 wrote:
Thanks for your reply John.

What are your thoughts on the 1 year scenarios? Have they been well tested/balanced?


He'd better think so! laugh


It's really tough to balance some of the very short scenarios, especially around the Tet and Easter Offensives because some players will run the campaign and others won't, so it's tough to balance the two extremes. I would suggest running at least 2-3 years when the major campaigns are involved.
 
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