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Subject: Rethinking Neutral VP Spaces. rss

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Philip Thomas
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Reflecting on how Persian Push games are almost always won by the CPs (Secret Treaty games usually by the Allies but there's a fair proportion of CP wins as well), I wonder if there could be a different way to handle the Neutral VP spaces.

A solution I have seen suggested is that the person who violates Persian Neutrality loses a VP. But this doesn't seem very interesting, because 1 VP is almost never decisive.

How about pre-assigning Neutral VP spaces? Athens and Teheran could start "Allied Neutral" and Hamadan and Isfahan "CP Neutral". If you capture a Neutral space on your side, you don't get any VPs for it. You still get all the other benefits of occupying the space (You control the space,it becomes an RU VP space, if its Athens you are now protected against Subs etc- these benefits are not available until you actually move into the space, making it different from normal Allied or CP spaces).

Playtesting this would provide fresh data. Its possible that the reason PP wins for the CPs is not the VP count but the fact that it forces the Russians to use precious time conquering Persia. In which case the variant would still show disproportionate PP wins...

Anyone want to try it out?
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Brian Stock
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I think we actually had this very rule in effect for a while during the playtesting process. The neutral VP squares were always a tricky thing.
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Kevin Anderson
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I think this over analysis is interesting but doesn't really prove anything. I just finished a game where I went all-out early with the Russians to snap up Persia.
I did so but ultimately watched the AP position utterly collapse like the proverbial house of cards as the Russians were so weakened by doing this [Gorlice/Tarnow is a killer] the Turks were eventually able to sweep through the north areas easily.
There are far too many other factors involved to trace the reason for AP or CP wins over who violates Persian neutrality first.
TURN 3 PARVUS, rolling a 1 then a 2 on consecutive attacks on Gaza, Russian corps in the Balkans that arrive too late to make any difference, The Gorlice/tarnow corps lost for 4 turns (?!), 2 1's in a row rolled for a TU LCU in Galicia (2 VPs lost), Greece at the bottom of your TW deck, and being forced to hold cards for later play.
I routinely get "Allenby" and related cards before "LG takes Command", Romania is always buried also, I never get a turn 3 Parvus as CP, and the list goes on and on.
A game can be decided by crap die rolls alone. I once conceded a game after 5 turns or so after rolling 5 consecutive 1's and a 2.

This is an interesting discussion certainly, and I understand the 2 point swing of neutral VPs and Qum but to say the outcome of games hinge on Persia alone doesn't seem right.
I'll take a Turn 3 Parvus as CP or a 1st turn TW Greece without Constantine as AP over getting to Persia first any day.
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Philip Thomas
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A3RKev wrote:
I think this over analysis is interesting but doesn't really prove anything. I just finished a game where I went all-out early with the Russians to snap up Persia.
I did so but ultimately watched the AP position utterly collapse like the proverbial house of cards as the Russians were so weakened by doing this [Gorlice/Tarnow is a killer] the Turks were eventually able to sweep through the north areas easily.
There are far too many other factors involved to trace the reason for AP or CP wins over who violates Persian neutrality first.
TURN 3 PARVUS, rolling a 1 then a 2 on consecutive attacks on Gaza, Russian corps in the Balkans that arrive too late to make any difference, The Gorlice/tarnow corps lost for 4 turns (?!), 2 1's in a row rolled for a TU LCU in Galicia (2 VPs lost), Greece at the bottom of your TW deck, and being forced to hold cards for later play.
I routinely get "Allenby" and related cards before "LG takes Command", Romania is always buried also, I never get a turn 3 Parvus as CP, and the list goes on and on.
A game can be decided by crap die rolls alone. I once conceded a game after 5 turns or so after rolling 5 consecutive 1's and a 2.

This is an interesting discussion certainly, and I understand the 2 point swing of neutral VPs and Qum but to say the outcome of games hinge on Persia alone doesn't seem right.
I'll take a Turn 3 Parvus as CP or a 1st turn TW Greece without Constantine as AP over getting to Persia first any day.


Turn 3 Parvus is a strong CP factor, although more difficult to measure because naturally there are fewer games. In the most recent competiton there were 2 Turn 3 Parvus games which were split evenly Allies and CPs. In the rather larger data set (60 games) of games I have played, there have been 13 Turn 3 Parvus games, with 4 Allied wins and 9 CP wins.

As for Gorlice Tarnow, unless Romania has already been played and the Dobrujda Corps can be sent off, you simply have to take the 2VP hit, those Russian Corps are so vital.

Regarding Greece, I usually take Athens during Limited War, so I really couldn't care what happens to the Greece card, but of course this is another Neutral VP issue...
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juerg haeberli
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Kevin,

Luck will always play a role in a carddriven game system where combat or other important events ( Jihad )
are decided by die rolls.
The point with the 4 neutral victory spaces and the neutral Jihad space is that they are a built in factor which gives the AP in about 3 out of 4 cases a big victory point swing. Even if you take the persian VP spaces with the Russians and loose them afterward you are doing 3 vp's better copared to the CP taking them all first. In the end the neutral Persian vp spaces are one of many elements which make up the grey zone between a hopelessly lost and a completely won position.
To come back to your post...a turn 3 Parvus brings you
a good distance closer in the grey zone to having a won position for the CP add to this a turn 4 Bulgaria you probabely have covered over 50% of the way, add to this no AP invasions during the first year and you have
probabely reached the completely won position. As you can see a lot of things can throw you back on your way through the grey zone. To name a few : A fully sucessfull Churchill coupled with no u-boats for you, AP gets the invasion cards early and not all in the same hand, late Bulgaria and so on...
You shouldnt loose your LCU in Gallicia since you can repair it, as Phillip wrote Athens is usually taken during limited war ( 2 victory points are to good )
and so it goes on. In the end the 3 vp swing in Persia is a 3:1 advantage for the AP built in into the game.
The further discussuion would now be gives that the AP to much a head start in the gray zone and if yes how to fix that. I find Phillip's idea intresting and will be happy to test it sooner or later.

Phillip,
We almost never take the 2 vp hit for Gorlice/Tarnov maybe we should compare notes about the CP play in our respective environment. Unfortunately mine is rather limited with one regular opponent.

Best regards.

Jürg
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Philip Thomas
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I tend to take the 2 VP hit when the Dobrujda Corps isn't available, which should be about half the time. Which Corps do you tend to remove?
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juerg haeberli
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Depends on how many corps are on the board and how agressive the turks are. Usually in our games there is a Russian corps in Persia thats stalled against the turk elite corps and 2 corps defend/attack in the caucasian Russian front. It's sometimes possible to go on defense in Persia with a stack of 2 elite and a cav division. But it seems that usually the ottomans do not exert enough pressure in our games to force the 2 vp hit. Which brings us to the question : How agressive sgould the ottomans be against the Russians. Whats your experience on this front. It seems that during the early game this is the main attrition front for the turks which means over agressive turk dispositions can play into allied hands. On the other hand if you can maul the Russians early you have no problems waiting for the Russian revolution. Since for me the CP replacement base is the game deciding factor I tend to be on the conservative side when it comes to attacks against the Russians.
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Philip Thomas
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haeberich wrote:
Depends on how many corps are on the board and how agressive the turks are. Usually in our games there is a Russian corps in Persia thats stalled against the turk elite corps and 2 corps defend/attack in the caucasian Russian front. It's sometimes possible to go on defense in Persia with a stack of 2 elite and a cav division. But it seems that usually the ottomans do not exert enough pressure in our games to force the 2 vp hit. Which brings us to the question : How agressive sgould the ottomans be against the Russians. Whats your experience on this front. It seems that during the early game this is the main attrition front for the turks which means over agressive turk dispositions can play into allied hands. On the other hand if you can maul the Russians early you have no problems waiting for the Russian revolution. Since for me the CP replacement base is the game deciding factor I tend to be on the conservative side when it comes to attacks against the Russians.


I am absolutely on the conservative side when it comes to attacks against the Russians- but if they have 5 or more VPs then I start to counter-attack. I generally find the Russians need all their Corps to acheive 5 or more VPs. But if the Revolution appears to be inevitable then I might consider sending a Corps away.
 
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juerg haeberli
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Hey Phillip,

Some further thoughts concerning the change of neutral vp's in Persia.
Your idea strengthens two tendencies.
a) Does the CP still want to attack neutral Persia for 1 vp ? ( Assuming it looses neutral Persia in the course of the game)

b) Does the AP still want to go active in the Balkans if it get's no vp out of Athens.

I think a is a very good question since the CP has to spend resources to get all the vp's in Persia. If you swing for 3 vp's this seems a good idea but for one.....

b) There will still be an incentive to be active in the Balkans just to force the CP to defen the Galliapoli beaches and to gain the easy vp there at the end but even now most of the time the AP takes Athens and that's it. ( Or is this different in your environment ?) So there will be even less action in the Balkans.

Maybe we should go back to an old staggered vp change like whoever invades Persia looses a vp and turn 3 Parvus is a vp for AP and turn 6 Parvus ( or later ) is a vp for CP.

What do you think.

Best regards.

Jürg
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Philip Thomas
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a) Its not just 1 VP, its 3 VPs (the Russians will inevitably take the 2 CP Neutral spaces if the Turks don't move in) in the short term. In the longterm it isn't even 1VP. (The Russians will eventually retake Teheran at which point its just the same as if the Cps didn't take it.) So the question becomes is it worth it to delay Russians, which I would think it usually is.
edit: of course historically Russians went into Persia not Turks so maybe its not that bad a thing not to give a great incentive for Turks to enter Persia. Gives them the option to do other stuff.

b) Yes, the Allies tend to just take Athens at the moment (and maybe Lamia so they can dig in in the mountains). Not sure what can be done about that. The Allies need a Balkans presence for Balkans offensives late game, but its often ignored. Actually making Athens a neutral VP space was meant to decrease the attractiveness of grabbing Athens for the cheap permanent VP, but I can see it works the other way too.

The trouble with a VP award for violating neutral persia is that usually the game is an autowin so 1Vp doesn't matter. But I'll keeep thinking about it.
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juerg haeberli
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So wecome down to the question how often is the AP sucessfull in delaying the Russian revolution in a "normal" game ? What do the statistics say ? If the incentive for CP to go in is to keep the AP from delaying the revolution then the idea with the controlled neutral vp's in Persia seems good but the question is couldn't the CP use the resources spent in Persia to dig in at other important vp spaces at the russian front ?

Best regards

Jürg
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Ahmet Ilpars
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I think Philip's idea makes perfect sense. Especially historically.

1. Turkey had no wish to directly control Persia. Persia was the 1 Ottoman front that did not change since mid 18th century. Ottoman government already had a friendly relations with offical Persian government. On the other hand Russia saw Persia as 1 of their main target areas for expansion.

2. Britain and France had good relations with Greece. They only take control of Athens after they faced huge supply problems.
 
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Yan P.
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Under these rules, would the AP still get the +1 VP from successfuly playing "Greece" as the event?
 
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