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Subject: New rules working? rss

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Roger Greenwood
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what's the verdict on the rule changes so far? We had a couple of games tonight that were close and very different. French Indian ambushes took away the British troops very heavily in one game. There was a lot of raiding and ambushing. The games felt very different. We had not previouosly made much use of Indian leader/priests but they were in frequent use today.
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Flannel Golem
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In my experience, the HH strategy is blunted but still a viable route for the British to take. Limiting Home Support to the discard deck's cards seems a fine change, eliminating the overly abusive aspect of that strategy. Raids have become more dangerous with their expanded ranges, but are not much more effective for it -- certainly not enough to base a strategy on, at any rate.
I feared the changes would make the French side too strong, but I believe British sudden-death captures of Quebec still dominate. Only now the British rush across Nova Scotia has been slowed, perhaps enough to allow the French to gear up militarily in time? I'm not quite sure of that yet, but it's possible. Still not a whole lot of time to pursue non-military activities though, so far as I can tell...
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Tim Seitz
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No. I'm pretty confident the changes don't do enough to balance the game. The game is a little different, of course, but the fundamental advantages of the British deck remain: better mil and money density.

That said, unless you're an expert player, you probably won't notice any issues. In fact, for most players, I imagine French are going to seem pretty strong with their initial point lead, excellent raid/ambush defense, cheaper military, and easier expansion.
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Tom
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out4blood wrote:
No. I'm pretty confident the changes don't do enough to balance the game. The game is a little different, of course, but the fundamental advantages of the British deck remain: better mil and money density.

That said, unless you're an expert player, you probably won't notice any issues. In fact, for most players, I imagine French are going to seem pretty strong with their initial point lead, excellent raid/ambush defense, cheaper military, and easier expansion.


What would you suggest to fix it, Tim? To clog British initial deck with boat and maybe some other cards?

I very much liked that old proposition to tie maximum number of regulars/artillery at your disposal with number of towns/fortifications had, what makes perfect thematic sense (as to offer winter quarters to the troops). At least some of turns British would need to use for development instead of going all military from the start.

Edit: Oh, I forgot that I shouldn't read strategy forumsshake
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Alex Rockwell
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out4blood wrote:
No. I'm pretty confident the changes don't do enough to balance the game. The game is a little different, of course, but the fundamental advantages of the British deck remain: better mil and money density.

That said, unless you're an expert player, you probably won't notice any issues. In fact, for most players, I imagine French are going to seem pretty strong with their initial point lead, excellent raid/ambush defense, cheaper military, and easier expansion.


My take is that they are excellent and interesting rules changes, but arent sufficient to balance the hammer against experts like Tim Seitz.
They are definitely a step in the right direction though.

French need some more defensive and starting help to fend off the british attack. But the french dont need to be powered up versus standard strategies. Something like starting fortifications of Lousiburg, plus more optimal ways to use crappy starting hand combos (such as several furs, 1 ship, Infantry, no trader - you cant launch an attack, you cant trade, you have no good way to dump cards or make use of an action other than expanding and adding a card to your deck that will hurt your aiblity to defend against a concentrated attack strategy).
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Tim Seitz
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solkan1 wrote:
out4blood wrote:
No. I'm pretty confident the changes don't do enough to balance the game. The game is a little different, of course, but the fundamental advantages of the British deck remain: better mil and money density.

That said, unless you're an expert player, you probably won't notice any issues. In fact, for most players, I imagine French are going to seem pretty strong with their initial point lead, excellent raid/ambush defense, cheaper military, and easier expansion.


What would you suggest to fix it, Tim? To clog British initial deck with boat and maybe some other cards?

Well, for every 2 cards you use to clog, you're probably only talking one extra action, because a hammer player is just going to reserve everything... unless you make it useful for some other strategy. This is where the boat comes in. British with boat can actually try an expansion strategy, which the French are much more comfortable with. So, that's probably one option.

Another approach would be to try to fix the issues with deck density, either increasing French RAs or decreasing British RAs, or altering the money mechanism for either or both sides. I feel French are fine with money. In a siege, they have the ability to earn a lot of money. The problem with that approach is that the balance right now is very fine. French are very strong early on with 6 usable military, whereas British only have 2. ("Usable" defined as military that can be played without impacting their money engine.) With good play, the French should be able to take Pemaquid, but perhaps not be able to settle it.
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Tom
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out4blood wrote:
Well, for every 2 cards you use to clog, you're probably only talking one extra action, because a hammer player is just going to reserve everything... unless you make it useful for some other strategy. This is where the boat comes in. British with boat can actually try an expansion strategy, which the French are much more comfortable with. So, that's probably one option.

Sounds encouraging. Considering the rules changes are not officially worded yet and the fact that bateaux in British initial deck would be a very very minor change, maybe Martin will decide to add this one also in the official document?

I'm rather certain that finding a broken strategy will take me a lot of time and games played with satisfaction but still, knowing there is a strategy that will make this game unplayable for me in the future is kind of downhearting.
 
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Ray
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Imho the game is very close to being at its sweet spot being stronger for French when learning the game and stronger for British after mastering the game. I'm happy with it as it is now, but of course would still applaud taking it even further in balancing for the expert players -- if it can be done without one siding it to far the other way for beginners.

Tim, When you talk about changing RAs are you talking whats in the starting deck (what you work with at game start) or whats in the Empire deck (total in the game)?
 
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Tim Seitz
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wtrollkin2000 wrote:
Tim, When you talk about changing RAs are you talking whats in the starting deck (what you work with at game start) or whats in the Empire deck (total in the game)?

Empire deck
 
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Tim Seitz
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I asked Brer Bear if he was able to/interested in implementing a community mod for the game, to better balance it. His initial impression is that most people believe it's fixed now.
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Andrew Martin
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My friend and I played two games last night. Two total newbs...and the resulting decks were very inefficient. He won with the British 56-55 in the first game and then I won with the French by successfully laying siege to Boston in the second.

The games took much longer than I thought they would....but both of us were new and our decks DID stagnant from time to time with a lot of discards (which may or may not have been needed...we did tend to stare down certain strategies at times rather than go with the flow).

Both of us really enjoyed it. And it's good to hear from the experts that any remaining issues after the rule changes MAY ('may' because it's probably too soon to tell for sure) only affect the expert game. Because frankly....while I expect to get a fair amount of enjoyment out of the game I don't expect to become an expert.

Do the experts deserve a game that last longer for them? Maybe...it's hard for me to say...but I still don't think most games would survive this amount of scrutiny and if the puzzle is 'solved' I hope the experts enjoyed the ride and find another game to play to death. I do think AFAoS has merit and deserves some credit for creating a genre (although I'm sure some might chose to debate this last point).
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Chris Ferejohn
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out4blood wrote:
No. I'm pretty confident the changes don't do enough to balance the game. The game is a little different, of course, but the fundamental advantages of the British deck remain: better mil and money density.

That said, unless you're an expert player, you probably won't notice any issues. In fact, for most players, I imagine French are going to seem pretty strong with their initial point lead, excellent raid/ambush defense, cheaper military, and easier expansion.


Isn't that kind of the point? The British are supposed to have a better deck, better military, and more money, while the French have the advantage of starting with a big lead.
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Tim Seitz
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cferejohn wrote:
out4blood wrote:
No. I'm pretty confident the changes don't do enough to balance the game. The game is a little different, of course, but the fundamental advantages of the British deck remain: better mil and money density.

That said, unless you're an expert player, you probably won't notice any issues. In fact, for most players, I imagine French are going to seem pretty strong with their initial point lead, excellent raid/ambush defense, cheaper military, and easier expansion.


Isn't that kind of the point?


What?! One side is supposed to have a 100% win rate against the other?
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Richard Young
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It is a tricky business to design a game that has inherent asymmetry and yet be equally balanced as to outcomes. Wilderness War presents a similar situation with quite different approaches to using cards to drive the action. There, the British are at an initial disadvantage which the French must exploit (primarily by raiding) so as to build up an insurmountable VP lead before the inevitable British military strength advantage starts to turn the tide. How well balanced that game is has been the subject of some discussion, with the conclusion (mine at least) that the French have to move fast, make few if any mistakes, and be lucky into the bargain. Yet, I've not seen anyone maintain that WW was in any way broken. Besides, there was a reason that the majority language of North America was to be English, not French (and not German either, yet WWII games also abound).

The challenge to balance asymmetry with play balance seems to be harder to manage in this specific implementation, but I credit Martin with yet another innovation and for staying with his creation in order to fine tune it. Is play balance there now? Tim and several others are saying, much as a couple of characters from "Gladiator" were heard to say, "not yet..."

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Kenneth Stein
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It might be remembered that Wilderness War also needed a "fix" after awhile. The one very important event card for each side that increased hand size was allowed to be dug out of the discard pile (!) if the other side's card had been played. I'm not aware if there was such a furor at the time.
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Chris Ferejohn
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out4blood wrote:
cferejohn wrote:
out4blood wrote:
No. I'm pretty confident the changes don't do enough to balance the game. The game is a little different, of course, but the fundamental advantages of the British deck remain: better mil and money density.

That said, unless you're an expert player, you probably won't notice any issues. In fact, for most players, I imagine French are going to seem pretty strong with their initial point lead, excellent raid/ambush defense, cheaper military, and easier expansion.


Isn't that kind of the point?


What?! One side is supposed to have a 100% win rate against the other?


Har dee har har. Nice selective quotation. What I said was that the point was for the French to start with a VP lead and for them to try to hold it/end the game before the British can overtake their VP lead or (more likely) take Quebec with their superior economic engine and military.

What was (and possibly still is) broken is that this turned out to be too difficult for the French to do - an English player aggressively thinning his deck and using the HH could overwhelm the French way too quickly - even if they held out for a little while they were not moving the game towards completion. The new changes, in theory, allow the French player to more effectively stymie the British player (e.g. with more effective/faster raiding of Halifax) to give them a shot.

It's certainly possible that the changes did not move the needle far enough, but would you at least agree that is the point?
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Alex Rockwell
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cferejohn wrote:
The new changes, in theory, allow the French player to more effectively stymie the British player (e.g. with more effective/faster raiding of Halifax) to give them a shot.

It's certainly possible that the changes did not move the needle far enough, but would you at least agree that is the point?


I think the changes are good for the game, but the needle didnt move much in terms of balance.


* Removing French Bateaux: Significant gain for the French. They didnt need it, they have plenty of cards with a Bateaux anyway. Yay!

* No reserving of locations: Probably hurts the French. British Hammer simply gets governor now, uses it and reserves it. French cant get out of bad starting hands via reserving their bad locations.

* Improved Raiding: Can help the French if you get into a 'quagmire' position (i.e. the intended way to play the game), as the French have better Native control with two priests and the unstealable natives. However, in practice it might help the British during a mililtary focused small deck game:
French get Coureurs, British get either a Natives or a Rangers. Both decks have 1 extra card now that needs to be held in hand. (If played, you spend an action discarding the other guys card. You cant not buy one or they wreck you). The British money engine is 3 cards big and is not really disrupted by card held in hand. But the French money engine is Trader + X furs, and losing 1 size of hand space costs you money on traders. So I think this hurts the French in a small deck game.

* Home support change: Means the British cant get and draw and put a military unit right into a seige. But the French cant either. I am not sure how this changes things, but its definitely not massively in France's favor or anything.
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Richard Young
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I remember how running into a well-read and practiced Chess player, after I had been playing intuitively and re-actively for some years and thought myself pretty good, who totally wrecked my enjoyment of the game. As I surveyed his bookshelf and, after being introduced to all the various openings and defenses that had been analyzed to death by famous Chess Masters, I gave up. Could I have still enjoyed the game recreationally by enlisting only amateurs such as myself? Probably, but I didn't think so - and there was no way at that time I was going to devote the hours of study in order to play the game "properly." My point is not so much that Chess is unbalanced (although there is the theory that baring a mistake the best Black can hope for is a stalemate), but that there are lines of play that you deviate from at your peril. It is apparent that similarly here there is a "script" of sorts, for at least one side, that is hard to defend against.

Thanks to the interweb, we are finding these things out about a host of games that peak our interest a lot earlier. Luckily, I suppose, the game is new to our group and I've resigned to not reading much more about the finer points of this game but enjoy it with my friends as we explore it together for as long as possible. The concept is really intriguing - trust Martin to do it again!

I guess the question then becomes: about how many games will we get to enjoy before the brutal truth starts to emerge, after which time we have to learn to enjoy this game the way you would, say, The Alamo?
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Tim Seitz
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There's a BIG difference.

Chess has been analyzed for centuries and there have been millions of expert-level games. AFAoS has only been out for a few months, and issues were immediately discovered.
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out4blood wrote:
There's a BIG difference.

Chess has been analyzed for centuries and there have been millions of expert-level games. AFAoS has only been out for a few months, and issues were immediately discovered.


Yes, thanks for that Tim. So, how many games then? Assume we are "middle of the road" when it comes to advancement...
 
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Tim Seitz
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How many games until what, exactly?
 
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Bubslug wrote:
I guess the question then becomes: about how many games will we get to enjoy before the brutal truth starts to emerge, after which time we have to learn to enjoy this game the way you would, say, The Alamo?
?
 
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Bubslug wrote:
Bubslug wrote:
I guess the question then becomes: about how many games will we get to enjoy before the brutal truth starts to emerge, after which time we have to learn to enjoy this game the way you would, say, The Alamo?
?


For context, how do you (and evidently others) enjoy The Alamo? As a non-competitive simulation?
 
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out4blood wrote:
There's a BIG difference.

Chess has been analyzed for centuries and there have been millions of expert-level games. AFAoS has only been out for a few months, and issues were immediately discovered.


Point of order. Chess evolved over time. Other point of order. Some traditional games or similar have subsequently been solved. Gripping hand. Symmetric games are easier to spot problems in.

B>
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thepackrat wrote:
Symmetric games are easier to spot problems in.


Not at all sure about that, in the abstract. The first games I ever saw seriously suggested as games but in fact broken were "fox and geese" type games. For example there is one known (possibly among other names) as Maharajah and the Sepoys. White has a full set of chess pieces on their start squares. Black has a single Maharajah, a combined queen and knight. Superficially it seems an OK game. Until you discover that a careful White can win. In fact it turns out to be worse than that, as I think Martin Gardner published. White can execute a script that ignores Black entirely except for the overriding rule to break script and capture when you can, and one small conditional case near the end.
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