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Twilight Struggle» Forums » General

Subject: Which Optional? rss

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Jack Smith
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The consensus seems to be that between two experienced players the game is slightly biased towards USSR. However despite a lot of reading here and on CSW I can't judge the effect on the game balance of including certain optionals.

So I would welcome opinions, especially from those who have tried them, on:

1. Just giving USA 3 IP to spend on the set up.

2. Use only the China variant (almost the same thing as 1. anyway)

3. Use the optional cards only

4. Use both the optional cards and the China variant.

I suspect 1. to 3. balances the game fairly evenly but 4. may be overkill.
 
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Daniel Hogetoorn
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I tried 1 and 3 and I would like to try the China variant once. However, I'm completely satisfied with 1 and 3. Looking at the members of the ETSL and the choices they make, almost everybody chooses to use the variant with optional cards, giving the US 0, 1 or 2 IP. Personally I think it's too strong to give the US extra IP, since it gives the US the possibility to score 4 VP in Middle East in the first headline. In the standard version this is not really a problem, since lack of optional cards sufficiently compensates this advantage.
 
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Jack Smith
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DeDaan wrote:
I tried 1 and 3 and I would like to try the China variant once. However, I'm completely satisfied with 1 and 3. Looking at the members of the ETSL and the choices they make, almost everybody chooses to use the variant with optional cards, giving the US 0, 1 or 2 IP. Personally I think it's too strong to give the US extra IP, since it gives the US the possibility to score 4 VP in Middle East in the first headline. In the standard version this is not really a problem, since lack of optional cards sufficiently compensates this advantage.


Yes, I did notice that tournaments seem to use a variety of options except the China plus optional cards. I assume the fact not everyone has the optional cards influences this as well. It does not help that stats will be thrown out by less experienced players not optimising the US play, allowing USSR to get a win early and distorting the apparent balance.
 
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Jacovis
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We just use the optional cards and leave the rest alone, it has worked considerably well on our end.

Cheers!

Jacovis
 
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Железный комиссар
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Giving the US 3IP works great (and a lot of league data supports that conclusion - maybe some wargameroom or ACTS guys could give you a reference), but make sure to disallow overcontrol of starting countries (except for Western Europe, since the US allocates a block of influence there anyway).

So for example, only 1 of the three would be allowed in Iran.

The optionals probably help with balance in a strict percentage-win sense, but don't address the probability of an Asia collapse when Iran starts with only 1 IP, so the balance is more swingy that option 1.

Don't bother with China - you lose interesting hand management.

Edit: also, if you're going to give the US 3IP without using the optional cards, ignore the starting influence in Canada, since that is keyed to NORAD (one of the optionals) and wasn't in the printings that generated the 60/40 data in the first place.
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Jack Smith
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Thanks for the replies, they have been very useful. As the China option is a bit fiddly and came long before the optional cards it makes sense to drop that. As the extra cards are more fun for us I think that's what I'll go for rather than extra IP.
 
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