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A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: POLL: Tides of Battle rss

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Piotr Kaplon
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Poll
I play...
with Tides of Battle
without Tides of Battle
      293 answers
Poll created by piotkap


I find Tides of Battle to be a very good idea. They add certain unpredictability to battles and, well, battles are chaos. A player is a leader of his faction, makes strategic choices, and has limited control over field commanders. Without Tides of Battle I would probably roll a d3 or d4...
It is hard - I could win three games where final battles were lost because of Tides of Battle. Skulls are really annoying. But it's worth it in my opinion... but I'm not a big chess/Diplomacy fan.
I'm curious - what do you think about? Are Tides of Battle used by most players? Thus the poll...
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Georgios P.
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So far we're playing without them, but I can easily see them included in our games eventually, when the game seems too stale because we're all sticking to our "proven" strategies.
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Nacho Facello
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I didn't even try them because I don't like the idea of adding randomness to combat. It's already random enough without knowing what the other player will play.
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Steven
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Should there a third option?

"Sometimes?"
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Andy Day

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nachof wrote:
I didn't even try them because I don't like the idea of adding randomness to combat. It's already random enough without knowing what the other player will play.

Using this interpretation, Chess and Go are both random games.
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Darren Nakamura
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SW_Cygnus wrote:
Should there a third option?

"Sometimes?"


I haven't played first edition, and I haven't yet played my copy of second edition, but I intend to start without them, then maybe add them in after a few plays to see how they feel, then make a decision based on that. It may very well be a "when we feel like it" option.
 
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Zack Stackurski
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My group feels the need to further randomize combat in first addition by making each player draw three cards then having their opponent randomly pick which one was used in the combat...

The Tides of Battle cards will be a welcome improvement.
 
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Nacho Facello
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Gylthinel wrote:
nachof wrote:
I didn't even try them because I don't like the idea of adding randomness to combat. It's already random enough without knowing what the other player will play.

Using this interpretation, Chess and Go are both random games.


Not really. There is randomness every time there's hidden information.
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Andy Pickard
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My group played our first learning game without them, but the consensus was that we would try using them soon. Several players were really interested in adding some random element to combat.
 
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Dan Wells
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We tried it with ToB, and liked it well enough, but decided to try it without for our second game. We found that playing without made combat more strategic, it made support more important, and it made alliances more important and interesting. We'll probably try ToB again after a few more games, to see if we like it better when we're better players, but I suspect we'll continue to play without it.
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Adam Hoffman
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SW_Cygnus wrote:
Should there a third option?

"Sometimes?" :p


Some players have suggested playing with a subset of the cards. For example, you might play with the 0s and 1s only. This introduces some randomness while still allowing players to reasonably guarantee victory without a landslide.
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Henry Coleman
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My group unanimously agreed to use Tides of Battle cards for our first plays. The idea of knowing the result before hand didn't really appeal and our group like to make calculated risks. I think it also encourages combat. I can't imagine we'll ever play without them.
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Dave de Vil
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The acid test of TOB is this: does it speed the game up by stopping players from methodically counting up every possible point in a combat?

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Adam Hoffman
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Angry Martian wrote:
The acid test of TOB is this: does it speed the game up by stopping players from methodically counting up every possible point in a combat?



I think a better test is this: does it ever cause the player who played best to NOT win?
 
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Georgios P.
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r0gershrubber wrote:
Angry Martian wrote:
The acid test of TOB is this: does it speed the game up by stopping players from methodically counting up every possible point in a combat?



I think a better test is this: does it ever cause the player who played best to NOT win?


I've yet to see a game where the player who played the best, actually won. It was usually the player who was sharing a border with the player who played worst, who managed to win. With six players at least the balance of the game is so tightly intertwined, that being the best player just gets you to stalemate. But sitting next to the worst, allows you to be victorious.

I like the idea of the ToB cards, but right now I'm happy playing without them.
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Kim Brebach
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SW_Cygnus wrote:
Should there a third option?

"Sometimes?"


I cant vote in this poll because I absolutely believe it needs a "sometimes" option. The Poll doesn't provide an accurate option range to provide valid results. I daresay at least one third of individuals and MOST groups polled will say sometimes. Game groups consist of people with different opinions who want different experiences from time to time. ToB are an optional addition intended to be used or not used and alternated.

In our group of 6 the answer is Sometimes for some, always for others and never for some.

I think there will be a growing trend to fine tune the deck to taste too.

Some of us enjoyed it so much we are even considering an alternate deck with cards added for further subtle surprises such as opponents cavalry count as infantry, your retreated units count their strength etc etc... Plenty of room for the unpredictability of battle here. The battles in the books often had unpredictable outcomes and in my view ToB reflects that well. But its optional. You'd be missing out if you don't at least try a series of games both ways. Use of the ToB deck has had quite variable impacts across the few games we have played - sometimes decisive, sometimes meh. Which again feels right to me...
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Kim Brebach
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I know it aint science but you also have to be aware this polls doesn't reflect the views of the average gamer, it reflects the views of the committed / addicted / hardcore BGG gamer who I think are likely to be more committed to purist game forms.
 
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Piotr Kaplon
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SW_Cygnus wrote:
Should there a third option?

"Sometimes?"


I'ts not a sociological survey, I wanted to force voters to choose one or the other and, preferably, write a few words about their choice. Undecisive ones can make theirs after reading all the posts

I'm suprised about the results so far, maybe because I'm used to games that require dice... and I believe that battles have an inherent element of chaos... you prepare a great army, attack inferior forces... and boom, shit hits the fan.

Anyway, there is something about the idea that game without ToB is more 'pure strategy' and maybe I will try to play once or twice without them...
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Georgios P.
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I think the people I introduced this game to preferred playing without cards, because the complexity of the game was already something they weren't used to. So having some control over the outcome of battles made the game more approachable to them.

If there had been a random element - like the ToB cards - they would have probably given up on the game altogether for being too overwhelming. If you're not used to it, it's not easy to get a handle on controlling chance or at least limiting your risks.
 
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Frank Franco
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I'm one of the biggest advocate of 'dice' or 'randomness' in combat there is on BGG.
But Game of Thrones does not need it. I haven't tried TOB, but I have played plenty of GoT and I can't see this option as anything but aweful. GoT is not about mashing armies together, and if it becomes that (which is what this encourages) then the game falls apart.
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Keith Sletten
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The house cards aren't really all that "random". If you've played the game and know somehting of your opponents, you can often figure out what is going to played. I like the touch of chaos the ToB cards add to the game. They really only make a difference in fights that are close.
 
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Kim Brebach
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Quote:
I'm suprised about the results so far, maybe because I'm used to games that require dice...


I personally agree with you and generally like a little randomness in battles but I'm not surprised by the results of your poll...

It's an interesting and valid question, but I think the construction of the poll options (with no "sometimes" option) has skewed the possible results into how individual BGG players would most often prefer to play, not how their game groups, usually made up of players with different opinions, actually decide to play their various games.

So the discussion here is framed around hardcore BGGers personal preference rather than the reality of play groups actual choices re whether to play with or without ToB. Not that personal opinion isn't valid if thats what you are trying to get at.

Just saying.
 
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Kim Brebach
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Mr Skeletor wrote:
I'm one of the biggest advocate of 'dice' or 'randomness' in combat there is on BGG.
But Game of Thrones does not need it. I haven't tried TOB, but I have played plenty of GoT and I can't see this option as anything but aweful. GoT is not about mashing armies together, and if it becomes that (which is what this encourages) then the game falls apart.


That is some pretty certain condemnation coming from someone who admits they have never tried it!

I too have played lots of AGoT and loved the vibe of Version 1.0 and its various optional expansion elements. You are welcome to hold the purity of version 1 in high esteem, but, like life, most things are rarely black or white. The ToB cards have 2 sides.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of playing with ToB as i see them.

Advantages
1 They add a little chance to battles for those who like that
2 They can lead to a little attrition (skulls) so even the probable victor must consider the chance of losses - this reduces the extreme "all or nothing" battle risk of AGoT just a little.
3 They can speed up play as players may spend less time calculating best plays
4 Because of the randomness they allow players in a weaker position due to evolving geopolitical factors a slightly improved chance to pull out a miracle victory or 2 and stay in the game. How many games have you seen one player get crushed, and face an overwhelming logical probability of further drubbings and lose all motivation to slog it out for 3 more hours with no hope? Yes diplomacy is a key part of the mix, but for some, so is hope that the gods of battle might smile on you occasionally.
5 the ToB deck can easily be tweaked to minimise the variability range (eg remove the +3s) to your groups' taste.
6 they can help break deadlocks at notorious choke points leading to a more fluid game
7 they encourage slightly riskier play - ever had those games where no one will do anything for the first 5 turns?
8 they reduce the competitive advantage of players with the better knowledge of all the house cards (THEM right?!)

Disadvantages
1 they add a little chance to battles for those who hate that
2 they allow "bad" players to win battles through luck
3 they reduce the chance of certain victory when you have your blade to your weakling opponents throat
4 they allow carefully supported / managed choke points to fall due to luck
5 they reduce the relative significance of the choice of house cards during battles somewhat - a key part of the game
6 they reduce the competitive advantage of players with the better knowledge of all the house cards (YOU right?!)
7 they can lead to a longer game because they lead to an increased amount of battles because people are more likely to take a chance on a battle
8 because they are based on chance they can hurt a weak player even more than they would have otherwise been hurt (more swords and skulls)

I'm sure there are plenty of other advantages and disadvantages to ToB.

My perspective is that they are a fine optional rule which your group can always play with, never play with, or best of all; alternately play with as the mood takes your group - adding a significant change in feel to the game either way. To condemn ToB without trying them out a few times, and FORCE your group into the one way of playing this game just seems a little... limited. But everyone to their opinion / taste I guess.
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Ian Forsey
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I'm a fan of ToB cards, and mostly because of the skull icon. I love it that even when you know you are definitely going to lose a battle, you can always take one of their units with a skull icon - especially when someone is attacking with only one unit.

I can see why some people might not like that, but I love the random element it brings to the game.
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Amin
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Angry Martian wrote:
The acid test of TOB is this: does it speed the game up by stopping players from methodically counting up every possible point in a combat?



Sadly this only slows down my group's games further, as players methodically count every possible point in combat -now including the possible effects of Tides of War cards - before starting a battlesnore

When we play with a timer it is doable. But so far there hasn't been much enthusiasm for playing with Tides of War cards.
 
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