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Subject: Use of Larger Counters in Original Design was a Good, Innovative Idea rss

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John Collis
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Folks:

This game was way ahead of its time, and I am really glad that MMP decided to republish it. Phil Kendall really had some out-of-the-box thinking with:
- Pre-determined player actions;
- Declining victory conditions/Fatigue of War; and,
- Foreign reinforcements.

The one innovation that I miss is the use of different-sized counters to provide additional limited intelligence. Gamewise, limited intelligence ranges from what you can see on the board:
(1) Nothing: don't know anything is there until you move in;
(2) Unit holders: something is there, but it units are held off map;
(3) Stacks: You know how much of something is there, but not what it is; and,
(4) All there: You can look through the enemy's stacks.

Angola's inclusion of larger units was an innovation that gave you more information - somewhere between (3) and (4) above. So now you could look at a stack and see how many of two different types of units are there. I don't know of any other game that does this; I would have expected a status marker to denote that something special was there.

It's a real shame that the game was such a sleeper for so long, because I think the hobby could have benefited from many of these innovations much earlier.

It's a disappointment that larger counters weren't included. I have recently corresponded with the developer asking that better resolution graphics be provided, than those proofs available on CSW. His responses suggest that this omission was an intentional change of the design (not a cost-cutting measure), that the game plays better without it, that people shouldn't be playing it this way, and that MMP providing graphics/PDFs/counters was unlikely to happen. Based on my correspondance with MMP, I don't expect them to budge on this issue - this note is just a placeholder for a good idea that was discarded.

I will print my own larger counters and play with the game. While I understand that elegance is game design is having nothing left to take away, removing the larger counters, though seemingly minor, was a mistake. Really, the game was near perfect, and the only 'development' required was re-writing the rules to make them more accessible, and bullet-proof - a job admirably done.

Cheers,

John Collis
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Adam Starkweather
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I do believe John is completely wrong here and even if we had included larger counters, they would have been in off-board displays. The only nice thing would have been the room for art. Resistance to change is hampering John's ability to see new things and experience them.

But that's cool. I hope he does what he needs to do to make the game fun for him - but it won't be the game we tested and printed. And we're pretty damn proud of it.
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Jonathan Harrison
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adamant wrote:
Resistance to change is hampering John's ability to see new things and experience them.

This certainly is not the sort of comment I feel good seeing a game developer make publicly about a game player.

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Adam,

Although I think I agree with most of your post, the response is a bit harsh, coming from someone attached to the project.

As a customer, John has every right to change the game anyway he sees fit and he is only pointed out his initial dispointment with the current state of the game. As we see quite a lot here on the geek.

It would dare to state that that is one of the reasons, why this place is so popular in the first place.

I would have espected a more respectfull answer from someone attached the a company like MMP.

Cheers, Haring
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Ian Wedge
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Haring wrote:
Adam,


As a customer, John has every right to change the game anyway he sees fit


Isn't that exactly what Adam said he could do?
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Charles Vasey
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Right after he stopped beating his wife.....
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John Collis
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Folks:

Adam - "Resistance to change is hampering John's ability to see new things and experience them."

Adam really doesn't know me, so this carries no weight. I have a very esoteric game collection with many innovative and different systems. I engage change and new experience enthusiastically. What the RB version offered was 'change'; what MMP regressed to was a lack of change to a standard mechanic.

The original game had these counters, and Adam decided to remove them. I did try the game without the larger counters, twice. I decided I didn't like it, and reflected on the clever mechanism that was removed. I decided to make my own counters and found the graphics on CSW. When printed out, the resolution was crap. I asked Lee if he could make a better set of graphics available and he deferred to Adam. What followed were a series of emails with Adam. While he had posted on CSW about the possibility of making these graphics available, his emails suggested that without these counters, the game was better, and people should play the game the way it was published by MMP. Moreover, he didn't want the game perceived as a sub-par release by the exclusion of larger counters, or later, a clamour for their availability. While I respect his opinion, it seems odd that he wouldn't facilitate an original game owner's desire to play the game the way it has been played for decades. If I was in Adam's shoes, I would have provided the graphics - not a big deal on MMP's end.

Adam was very timely in his emails to me, and without him as a sponsor/patron, we wouldn't have this nice package now. I am grateful to him and MMP for this.

Cheers,

John Collis
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Kev.
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John Collis wrote:
Folks:

Adam - "Resistance to change is hampering John's ability to see new things and experience them."

Adam really doesn't know me, so this carries no weight. I have a very esoteric game collection with many innovative and different systems. I engage change and new experience enthusiastically. What the RB version offered was 'change'; what MMP regressed to was a lack of change to a standard mechanic.

The original game had these counters, and Adam decided to remove them. I did try the game without the larger counters, twice. I decided I didn't like it, and reflected on the clever mechanism that was removed. I decided to make my own counters and found the graphics on CSW. When printed out, the resolution was crap. I asked Lee if he could make a better set of graphics available and he deferred to Adam. What followed were a series of emails with Adam. While he had posted on CSW about the possibility of making these graphics available, his emails suggested that without these counters, the game was better, and people should play the game the way it was published by MMP. Moreover, he didn't want the game perceived as a sub-par release by the exclusion of larger counters, or later, a clamour for their availability. While I respect his opinion, it seems odd that he wouldn't facilitate an original game owner's desire to play the game the way it has been played for decades. If I was in Adam's shoes, I would have provided the graphics - not a big deal on MMP's end.

Adam was very timely in his emails to me, and without him as a sponsor/patron, we wouldn't have this nice package now. I am grateful to him and MMP for this.

Cheers,

John Collis

A Noble post.
Nice.
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