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Subject: Mayfair Edition - developers seeking feedback rss

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Alan Emrich
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Hey, everyone. I'm Alan Emrich, who has a long association with the 2nd and 3rd editions of A HOUSE DIVIDED. I'm currently lending a hand to Coleman Carlton at Mayfair Games, who is working on the new edition of the game to be published later this year.

If you, too, have a long history with this game and want to help guide the next edition to become the best it can be, we're having a discussion over at the ConSimWorld A HOUSE DIVIDED Forum (with me moderating) right now at:

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX/.ee6d065/1099

If you'd like to pop by and contribute (and take a look at the how the new counters are shaping up), I could sure use your helpful thoughts and opinions. I'm forwarding all the relevant stuff to Coleman and Frank Chadwick via email.

Thanks!

Alan Emrich
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Kent Reuber
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Thanks Alan. As I mentioned in my post on CSW, one thing that I think would help AHD would be to consolidate, comment on, and recommend sets of optional rules. I think new players are really stymied by the range of options allowed and it would be nice to provide some guidance.

Along these lines, I wonder if the basic rules should be deprecated to "learning rules" (or even omitted) and the advanced rules be made the standard. As a similar example, the original War of the Ring game included some "starter" rules, which many players bypassed. I believe these starter rules were dropped in the second edition.
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Christopher Hill
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Very cool! This edition will have to be top notch for me to purchase it though. I am really happy with my Phalanx copy. Not sure what I would do to make it better. I'll have to think on it some.
 
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p55carroll
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I agree with Kent's comments, above. What would help most, IMO, would be to keep the standard rules right in the forefront. There's no need for a "basic game" in a game this simple; today's gamers can handle what I believe is currently called the "advanced game."

Worst of all, right now there's some confusion as to what's part of the "advanced game" and what counts as "optional." If optional rules are published, keep them well to the back or in a separate booklet, and make it clear they're to be used only if agreed upon by players ahead of time.

In short, just one set of rules, please.


(Oh, and this new edition had better be good. I own all three of the others and don't want to have to buy a fourth--but I won't be able to resist.)
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Contemptus Mundi
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I think this game needs quite a bit of help.

The rules are clumsily written. Initial setup requires you to read the entire rule book or you'll miss that Union draft pieces don't enter play until later in the game! Reinforcement instructions are messy... "only place a new militia in a city that only has one." or something equally vague.

And then there's the board. Who's the genius that decided to have the counters entirely cover the name of the city? Geesh, that is soooooo friggin' annoying I can't believe it made it into production! Now, how am I supposed to find the 6 Confederate cities I need to capture to win the game when their names are covered with a #$&%@ counter? AAAARRRHGHHH! Put the city names UNDER the box this time, so people don't have to memorize the entire map. And put blue and gray victory markers on the cities that qualify for victory conditions so I don't have to put markers all over the place.

While you're at it, put markers on the board to indicate where the starting militia pieces should be placed... and make a space for the draft pieces to be placed on the turn counter.

I'm not done. The map is too busy with that cross hatch dollar bill motif strewn all over the place. Way too busy and makes me dizzy to look at the thing.

Other than that, it's a great game!
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Jan Tuijp
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I think mr. LoweringTheBar is a bit harsh. I have to agree though he has a point. Several actually. His recommendations make sense.

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Contemptus Mundi
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Ironically, I was setting up the game again after a one year hiatus when I found this post and all of my frustrations overflowed. I really hope they make a few of these changes and don't only listen to the fans who've been playing this game since Reagan's first administration and think it's great just the way it's always been.

Designers need to pretend that their games are airplanes and they're selling them to people who don't know how to fly, instead of assuming everyone is a pilot. Sometimes these rules seem to be written as though they were intended for the playtesters.

I didn't mean to hate on it too much, although I think the points are valid. It's a game that I like, and I want to see become better so I'll buy it again and recommend it to others.
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Stefan
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The optional rules need ratings on how much they help each side and how diffrent mixes of them shift the balance. I dont think just having the same number of favouring optional rules for both sides assure it is still balanced. It is most likely more complex than that, but just hard to tell if you are a beginner. So some suggestion here might be a good addition to the rules.

Something like the player mats in the 3.1 pack would be great. But please be sure to mark what is normal and what is optional rule there.

Some basic strategical hints how to play each side should be added to the rule book. More historical backgrounds and reasoning for the set of rules would be nice as well.

Oh, and PLEASE change this cover art! How ugly....
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/1261028/a-house-divided
Test of Fire has desirable style of graphics.
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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LoweringTheBar wrote:
I want to see become better so I'll buy it again and recommend it to others.


So you'll be posting your thoughts for them over at the other forum then? Sounded like such feedback would need to be over there to be taken into consideration.
 
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William Gaskill
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Simply LEADERS.The Grant/Lee/Sherman doesn't really cut it.
A ACW Game really needs all those leaders,If you can't spend 3/4 of the
Game trying to get Ben Butler to do something ...where the funwhistle

OD
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Stefan
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They should manage to read 2 forums if they want input. Alan posted here so he should check this as well.
NuMystic wrote:
LoweringTheBar wrote:
I want to see become better so I'll buy it again and recommend it to others.


So you'll be posting your thoughts for them over at the other forum then? Sounded like such feedback would need to be over there to be taken into consideration.
 
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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BadPritt wrote:
They should mange to read 2 forums if they want input. Alan posted here so he should check this as well.


I don't disagree, but Alan's post was to specifically asking people to share feedback on the other forum. He could have simply asked for feedback here, but didn't. Hence my suggestion that anyone who really wants to be sure their thoughts are considered might want to post them there.
 
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Alan Emrich
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I'm looking here, too!

Alan Emrich
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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Alan Emrich wrote:

I'm looking here, too!

Alan Emrich


Glad to hear it Alan!

I shall now retire to the corner and keep quiet.
 
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Stefan
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Old Dwarf wrote:
Simply LEADERS.The Grant/Lee/Sherman doesn't really cut it.
A ACW Game really needs all those leaders,If you can't spend 3/4 of the
Game trying to get Ben Butler to do something ...where the funwhistle

OD

I agree that the leaders are an important part of the CW, but I dont think they really fit the scale of AHD. Leaders is almost the only optional rule I don't use right now.

Maybe if they were handled diffrently, for example bound to some units/area...etc.
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p55carroll
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BadPritt wrote:
I agree that the leaders are an important part of the CW, but I dont think they really fit the scale of AHD. Leaders is almost the only optional rule I don't use right now.

+1
 
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Mark Crane
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I want the sense when I open the game that I'm looking at a single, coherent, well-tested set of definitive rules.

If optional rules are provided, I hope they are in an appendix and include a rationale for each variant that explains why players may wish to include it.

There are games out there whose rules are always in a state of flux, and they feel like game "kits" more than a complete, polished experience.
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Matt Hiske
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A Cool looking battle board that units are placed on would be awesome for the new edition.
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Stefan
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Variation on victory conditions for a new edition
After a couple of games 2 things poped up that might be issues that could need some changes in a new edition:

1. I think it is very hard for the south to win (Advanced rules + all optional rules except Leaders, Novice Union Player and Extended length).
The reported high win ratio in 1st edition should be mainly caused by the old Cav Blitz-Krieg rule (Cavalry was able to conquer enemy home ground even when leaving boxes alone without infantry.). Some maybe even didnt use the command table from the advanced rules which could make the south win just by drastical differences in number of marches.

2. If the south doesent win early by cav raiders the game could lead to dragging defense battles in Atlanta and Richmond.

I like this suggestion I stumbled across at Consimworld that might help with those 2 problems:

Quote:
"Richard Hilton - Feb 8, 2004 3:25 pm (#576 Total: 1053)
Victory Conditions
The following are a suggested addition and modification to the victory conditions. Both are easy to implement, are intended to add a bit more historical flavor, and together seem balanced. They are:

1. At the end of the October 1864 turn, Confederates win if the difference between the Union and Confederate army maximum (ignoring impact of Union drafts) is less than 19.

This addition is obviously aimed that the impact of an election loss by Lincoln, which for simplicity is made dependent on control of recruiting cities. By my reckoning, the historical difference was 21, so the Union player can do a bit worse and still survive to fight on.

2. Union wins if at the end of any Confederate player-turn he simultaneously owns all 7 Confederate major recruiting cities (i.e., all those with a value of 2 or 3), or controls 6 such cities and the remaining one is out of supply according to the advanced game supply rules.

This slight modification helps avoid the super-stack bitter-end last-stand of entrenched crack Confederate infantry in a single city that tends to occur in close games. At some point, the Confederate player is forced to defend the supporting city to a major recruiting city as part of the strategy for defending the major recruiting city itself. Otherwise, eventual defeat for the defender is certain through attrition alone. (The obvious historical precedent is Petersburg to Richmond).

For play balance purposes, one could adjust the critical difference between Union and Confederate army maximum levels in #1, and/or the number of major Confederate recruiting cities that the Union player may isolate rather than occupy to win in #2."

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@@.ee6d065/627
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Dave Heberer
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Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean that really got out of hand fast.
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I eventually traded the game after wanting so much to love it. I played a couple times with just basic rules and once or twice with a more experienced player and some advanced rules.

The main thing that drove me crazy was the cavalry raids into northern cities. This didn't seem to reflect anything like what I thought was historical for the time period. I'm not a scholar, but I am a mildly interested person in the time period. While southern armies advancing into the north was a threat, spending most of my very limited army command (due to the optional rule favoring the south in the beginning for command) on making sure some rogue cavalry unit couldn't get into any number of places was really annoying.

So, if there is a way to make the opening not all about blocking cavalry from auto winning for the south I would consider that a plus for the game.
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p55carroll
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i7dealer wrote:
So, if there is a way to make the opening not all about blocking cavalry from auto winning for the south I would consider that a plus for the game.

It would be a plus for historical accuracy. Unfortunately, it would be a minus for game balance. If the South has no chance of winning that way, it has little chance of winning at all. That's historically accurate, but it doesn't make for a fun game.

I'm happy to just stretch my imagination and think of the cavalry raids as somewhat like the "invasions" launched by Lee and attempted by Bragg. Cavalry commanders like Forrest and Morgan ended up starring in the West anyway, and Stuart did it in the East. So, assume it's not strictly cavalry--that the raids abstractly represent flexible, aggressive Southern movements.
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Jan Tuijp
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i7dealer wrote:
The main thing that drove me crazy was the cavalry raids into northern cities. This didn't seem to reflect anything like what I thought was historical for the time period. I'm not a scholar, but I am a mildly interested person in the time period. While southern armies advancing into the north was a threat, spending most of my very limited army command (due to the optional rule favoring the south in the beginning for command) on making sure some rogue cavalry unit couldn't get into any number of places was really annoying.


I have not played the game much yet (difficult to find players) but this puzzles me. What do cavalry raids accomplish for the South? They can't conquer territory but their own. As soon as they leave, the territory returns to the North, is it not?

 
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p55carroll
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Jan Tuijp wrote:

i7dealer wrote:
The main thing that drove me crazy was the cavalry raids into northern cities. This didn't seem to reflect anything like what I thought was historical for the time period. I'm not a scholar, but I am a mildly interested person in the time period. While southern armies advancing into the north was a threat, spending most of my very limited army command (due to the optional rule favoring the south in the beginning for command) on making sure some rogue cavalry unit couldn't get into any number of places was really annoying.

I have not played the game much yet (difficult to find players) but this puzzles me. What do cavalry raids accomplish for the South? They can't conquer territory but their own. As soon as they leave, the territory returns to the North, is it not?

Cavalry controls a space as long as it occupies it. Send enough cavalry units north, and you can tip the balance to a Confederate victory.
 
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Jan Tuijp
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Ah. But is that not easy to counter by the Union by establishing a fine cavalry of their own?

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Stefan
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What set of rules are we talking about?
With Advanced rules and 3.1 I think CSA Cav Raids mainly lost their power:

If you occupy a recruitment city in the north
1. you are out of supply most of the time so you can't recruit there and will loose units from stacks >1 at start of your next turn
2. you are an easy target for large union Cav stacks (they are in supply there easily), cause you can't retreat to unfriendly recruitment cities
3. you lose ctrl the momment you leave it (that changed from 1st edition and is my guess why it was considered "balanced" game back then)

Maybe we fail to see some important strategical options for the south, but without I think it's chances of winning are low and Mayfair might consider some changes in 4th edition (maybe like the one from consimworld, see posting above.)
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