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Subject: How to easily set fair winning conditions for all scenarios (suggestion) rss

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Rätsel Haft
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Freiburg
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There are complaints about some of the Scenios in Tide of Iron being imbalanced. Most gamers I know feel pretty annoyed when they realize after 3 hours of playing that there never was a fair chance of winning for one of the sides.
Well, I think there is an easy way how to deal with the issue. User Hector131 has developed a point buy system introducing a rational scale for unit values (see http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/29706). This allows not only to better develop new scanrios, but also to adjust the existing and imbalanced ones by adding units to the weaker party, as Hector already did for "At the Breakng Point" (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/382440/at-the-breaking-p...)

In case both players are familiar with any given scenario, I think there is a much easier way of fixing balance by simply making a "lowest(!) bid wins"-bidding on the weaker side.

For example: Both players agree on playing "At the Breaking Point".

Basic condition: They both believe that the German side is a litle bit too weak. Now here comes the idea:

- based on Hector's point buy system, each player secretly notes a bid
- Player A bids 45 points, Player B bids 60 on the German Side
- The bids are revealed
- Player A consequently is awarded, meaning he is going to play the German Side. He's allowed to spend his 45 points on whatever units he prefers, and decides to purchase a double-mortar and a single regular Infantry (2x19 + 7 = 45 points)
- He immediately puts them on the board (breaking with the rule of filled-up squad bases).
- That's it.

The outcome of the bidding, as a result of its nature, should always be fair and according to what both players believe reflects equal conditions for victory. I've applied the method multiple times in "Axis and Alies", and now twice in ToI. It is working fine for ToI so far.
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Lee Smith

Cedar Rapids
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I really like this idea, very nicely done. I'll be trying this the next time I play. Has anyone done a points total for the scenarios that come with the game?
 
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Sean D.
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Langley
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Excellent idea Adrian. I like it that you have taken put my idea to further use. One thing to note is that a full squad of 4 regular infantry would cost 28 points (7 for each individual infantry piece) with the excel sheet I posted previously. Of course players can adjust those values freely if they feel they should be different. As long as both sides agree before the game!

I had intended to write an analysis of every one of the scenarios in vanilla TOI. As everyone knows other things (and games!) come up in life so I have put that project on hold. It wouldn't be too hard to total up the point value for each scenario though. It might take me 10 minutes for each one at most. The hard part would be in analyzing and developing tactics that will beat your opponent!
 
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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The point building method is a valid way to learn how to play the game. But it is unhistorical and would likely never happen. I could not imagine Rommel and Montgomery ever agreeing to only field X number of infantry, artillery and armor each. I personally leave point building to fantasy games like WarHammer.

When working with historical events/scenarios I am sure the original combatants would have loved to have known if they had a "fair" chance at winning a confrontation. Fear and being outnumbered can enable a person to achieve great things.

I think the idea of making all scenarios fair and balanced is silly... Maybe in a game like Settlers of Catan or Carcassone I would expect this attitude but in historical conflict simulations, nope. If people are worried about fair and balanced why not play the scenario twice? Once from each side, tally up the total points and determine the winner, or play a series of scenarios campaign style.

My personal preference is to see a scenario where the underdog has to prevent the advantaged side from achieving a certain goal or produce a particular result. This will force players to learn the rules, how to create and implement a plan or strategy, and how to use available units.

If it takes a scenario being fair and balanced to get someone to play a game then more power to the point building system.
 
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Chris Hillery
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I think the idea of making the scenarios fair and balanced in terms of forces on the field is a flawed one. Of course historical situations were asymmetrical, and making the game play as though they were not is at some level missing the point.

I think what many people playing the game miss is that an scenario with asymmetric forces can be perfectly fair and balanced if the victory conditions are asymmetric too. One perfectly good way to do this is to award points based on holding or preventing the other side from holding certain key points on the field; there are others.

The base game scenarios have many variations on this, but unfortunately many of them are still unbalanced. The problem isn't that the forces are unbalanced, but that the victory point allocations in the scenarios aren't balanced such that each side has a relatively equal chance at gaining the same number of victory points.

By the by, the idea of playing both sides to balance scenarios isn't a very good one in this case. If you've got the time to play a 4-hour scenario twice, great. I rarely do, and even if I did I'd prefer the variety of two different 4-hour scenarios. The fact that you can play this way is no excuse for not making the scenarios at least roughly fair and balanced when considering the race for victory points.
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Rätsel Haft
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StevenE wrote:
I personally leave point building to fantasy games like WarHammer.


I think that reflects pretty well the different expectations players have towards a game like Tide of Iron. You see it more like as a simulation, while people like me expect a play experience in vein of warhammer, but in a more contemporary setting. I am just really really NOT into fantasy themes with elves, swords and such stuff. What I like about Tide of iron is its level of complexity and playability, the tactical demand, excessive dice rolling (yeah, shame on me ), having many different units etc. The circumstance that it is set in the historical environment of a real war is something I don't care about. In other words: I would welcome something like a Tide of Iron edition "Blue vs. Red" instead of "Allies vs. Axis" (which alone would probably make the game a lot more popular among my fellow gaming buddies, too, by the way, You see, many just reject the game because of the theme alone. But that's a different discussion. ...well, considering it again: Maybe even not so different).
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Kamu
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Panzerknacker wrote:
I would welcome something like a Tide of Iron edition "Blue vs. Red" instead of "Allies vs. Axis" (which alone would probably make the game a lot more popular among my fellow gaming buddies, too, by the way, You see, many just reject the game because of the theme alone. But that's a different discussion. ...well, considering it again: Maybe even not so different).


That's the problem I had with my GF, who dislikes historical wargames badly (too bad, because Axis & Allies Pacific just arrived to my FLGS and she's my only gaming partner). When I managed to convince her to play, she immediatle asked for the germans, which basically killed any hope of she liking the game.

So, yes, Blue vs Red could have saved me a lot of trouble.

I think the point system makes a lot of sense gamewise. And, you know, I play TOI as a game. Having similar chances of winning makes the game even more fun (yes, being the underdog pushes you to play better, but there's a limit on the handicap I can stand).
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