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Subject: Handicap rss

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Robert Bracey
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I'm looking to set up suitable handicaps for people I play with. As a rule I've played more games than anyone I play against (though not a huge number) and this is a big advantage - even if I offer tactical analysis of positions at they come up.
So I'm wondering what levels of morale handicap are suitable. Giving up 1 or 2 points of morale seems doubtful, but giving up as much as 6 (which is the area I'm instinctively feeling towards) feels a bit much.

On an aside its a realy pity the design didn't run the morale track to 30 - as it would have allowed a beginner to be given an extra buffer of morale which seems more useful to them.

Robert
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Geoffrey Ulman
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RobertBr wrote:
On an aside its a realy pity the design didn't run the morale track to 30 - as it would have allowed a beginner to be given an extra buffer of morale which seems more useful to them.


If that's the only thing stopping you, just print out a simple new moral track on a piece of paper, or keep track of it in some other way...
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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ulmangt wrote:
If that's the only thing stopping you, just print out a simple new moral track on a piece of paper, or keep track of it in some other way...

Or use a "+30" marker with the regular track.
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Chris Montgomery
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Just stack some counters at the top of the morale chart (whatever handicap you think is appropriate), and remove those first when morale is lost . . .

As for a handicap - I'd argue against it. The learning curve in Napoleon's Triumph is steep. I should say "competent play" is difficult to get to. But once a player is there, the playing field really does level out. Maybe five games or so and your opponents should be pretty competent players.

If you REALLY WANT to have a handicap, for a new, new player who's never played before, 5 morale seems good. After two plays, drop it to three, after two more plays, drop it to one, after a fifth play, drop it to none.

OR EVEN BETTER - just play the game normally, and whoever loses gets +1 morale the next game. If they lose again, +2 morale, if they lose again, +3 morale, until they win, at which time, the morale handicap is subtracted by one. Or conversely (and probably better) - have the WINNER'S morale DECREASED by 1 each time he wins, etc.

Cheers. Happy gaming.
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Robert Bracey
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When I first played, myself and the other player learned the game simultaneously - which worked great. Unfortunately my edge over new players is now so large some of the fun goes out of it for them. I know it took me three or four plays before I was beginning to grasp the tactical elements well enough to be playing without crass errors.

So most people think 5 points is a reasonable handicap?
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An important reason I think NT is learner friendly is that it's Victory Condition is easily tweakable. You can tweak other wargames - e.g., Rommel in the Desert, EastFront - only by changing the rules significantly. This isn't recommended for people who are trying to get the rules straight and only done to balance out problematic scenarios. So far, NT seems to be very balanced to me, but tweaking is great for beginners.

Five points? Damn it will cost me the game but if it would persuade more people to play with me? Yes.
 
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Chris Montgomery
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Another possible tweak is to use army strength points, by either subtracting or bidding for lower strength levels - So if you bid "French 1" and won, you'd have to change out a starting French block for one less strength.

Just another possible way to handle the handicap that would have a definite, immediate on-board effect.

The way I like to get people interested in this game is to just play it, and explain each and every nuance as we play to show why I am doing what I'm doing, and what my opponent ought to be thinking about from his side of the table. It really does help new players grasp the game much, much better.

After I make a decision, I discuss with them what thoughts should be going through their head and what realistic decisions they can make, and why. In this game, there is usually a "safe" choice and a "risky" choice - amongst experienced players, the "risky" choice rarely pays off in the long run. But at some point, you have to commit, and in that sense, I think the game really does have the feel of a Napoleonic battlefield from the general's perspective.
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