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Subject: MPLA set recruitment rss

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António Vale
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We had our first game last night and had some doubts about the recruitment rules, which caused the MPLA player to spend the whole game whining about not getting enough troops.

The rules give two options for MPLA set recruitment. First option happens if it controls Luanda, giving afterwards a choice how to distribute troops between Luanda and Cabinda. We interpreted this as meaning the MPLA itself had to control Luanda; since Luanda starts and remained under FAPLA control, this option was never valid.

The second option gave rise to further doubts: the player aids state that if the first option doesn't apply, then the MPLA recruits in Cabinda; however, the rules say this only happens if the MPLA/FAPLA alliance doesn't control Luanda, and we stuck to this interpretation.

The upshot of all this is that the MPLA never had any troops from set recruitment the whole game (apart from some in Cabinda from FAPLA recruitment options). Did we play this right, or should the MPLA have been getting troops in Luanda?
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Jon Gautier

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Looks like you played it right.
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Proudly annoying Capitalists since 1959
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That was exactly my gripe with our first game (as noted in my comments section of the game).

for some reason it didn't feel right, and it's damn hard to control Luanda as MPLA (which is about the only way, not to be totally dependend on the FAPLA).

Cheers, Haring
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mark of carnage
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The MPLA should be able to take 1 or 2 towns near Lusa early on to get themselves at least a couple of variable reinforcements.

Haring wrote:
it's damn hard to control Luanda as MPLA (which is about the only way, not to be totally dependend on the FAPLA).

Cheers, Haring


Haring, do you mean that too many MPLA armoured cars, tanks and arty units get bogged down keeping Luanda safe and that stops them taking towns/cities elsewhere. I've noticed that as a problem for the MPLA. I think though that the FAPLA/MPLA side are geographically set up to need to work closer to together than the UNITA/FNLA side need to. So, not sure it matters too much that the MPLA struggle to get infantry as long as the FAPLA and MPLA players have a good working relationship...

Luanda is a tough one to defend and you got to have it well covered especially once that 25+ FNLA column comes steaming in a few turns after the fall of Cabinda.
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Carlos Ferreira
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I was the whining player.

I could agree with this. No reinforcements for MPLA, well we must live with that, what buzzes me is:

Quote:

Hints on Play
4. Don’t neglect Cabinda. Make sure it is well-garrisoned.


How can I do this with no Reinforcements? With 2 units that I get from FAPLA? If we do it we will get no reinforcements in Luanda.

I can only see Cabinda lost on Turn 2... at the most. So why can we do a good Garrison of Cabinda and Luanda.

The only Infantry MPLA gets is from the Variable Reinforcements, so if the other alliance (Unita and FNLA) starts by getting everything on the MPLA cities and towns there is no way for the Governmental alliance survive... I will try to play this game again, but if this is correct I don't see how MPLA and FAPLA will do it. FAPLA alone don't have any chance to survive to the FNLA steam roller of 25+ units for Luanda, and without it the game is surely lost.

BIG disappointment shake.
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mark of carnage
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brainst0rm wrote:
I can only see Cabinda lost on Turn 2... at the most. So why can we do a good Garrison of Cabinda and Luanda.

The only Infantry MPLA gets is from the Variable Reinforcements, so if the other alliance (Unita and FNLA) starts by getting everything on the MPLA cities and towns there is no way for the Governmental alliance survive... I will try to play this game again, but if this is correct I don't see how MPLA and FAPLA will do it. FAPLA alone don't have any chance to survive to the FNLA steam roller of 25+ units for Luanda, and without it the game is surely lost.


I'm not convinced yet that Cabinda should be done in a set way by either side. I think the trick is to bung a column marker on Cabinda asap so the FNLA don't know how much you got. You don't have to religiously place 2 MPLA infantry in Cabinda every turn and you have to accept that it will more than likely be lost eventually. I'm not saying under garrison it but don't necessarily chuck 2 infantry in there every turn. Just do enough to make Cabinda as big a logistic problem as possible for the FNLA and no more.

On Luanda- Tanks and engineers provide the MPLA with some extra strength points. And don't forget the Cubans. Leaving just one Cuban Infantry unit in an MPLA column on Luanda together with an assortment of armoured cars and tanks will add to the FAPLA infantry and whatever else they can conjure up to mount a pretty good defence against that FNLA steam roller when it comes. I think it is important for the FAPLA/MPLA side to keep a lot of 'plusses' in Luanda just to hold it in the end game. It is unlikely to be very mobile because it will most likely be a mix of FAPLA and MPLA assets but it should be able to match and hopefully beat the FNLA when they come with that 25+ merc filled column.

I have same fears you have about Luanda being taken by that FNLA monster column that comes down a few turns after the fall of Cabinda but you can see it making its predictable journey down the map over several turns so you have plenty of time to build up a good defence as an alternative to galavanting around the provinces.
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António Vale
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brainst0rm wrote:
The only Infantry MPLA gets is from the Variable Reinforcements, so if the other alliance (Unita and FNLA) starts by getting everything on the MPLA cities and towns there is no way for the Governmental alliance survive... I will try to play this game again, but if this is correct I don't see how MPLA and FAPLA will do it. FAPLA alone don't have any chance to survive to the FNLA steam roller of 25+ units for Luanda, and without it the game is surely lost.
I partially agree that this doesn't sound too right, though I think we're probably missing something here due to not knowing the game well.

However, to be fair towards the middle of the game the other factions were close to maxing out their infantry pool, so the MPLA was usually getting more reinforcements than anyone else. We probably played rather poorly, but all these rules mean, Cabinda notwithstanding, is that it just took the MPLA a bit longer than the other factions to max out its pool, and that its goodies were mostly locked away in Luanda.

Regarding the FNLA steamroller, at least for me that wasn't what it felt like in our game. In fact, FAPLA got off the starting blocks first with a steamroller of its own coming out of Luanda. By the time we had to abandon the game due to the late hour, the situation near Luanda was pretty much one of stalemate, with huge columns facing each other just north of the capital. The big deal by then was the big UNITA column coming from the south.

I would think the organizational difficulties of bringing the UNITA and FAPLA reinforcements to the front line, coupled with the counter limits, contribute to balance the situation. The big question for me then is how fun it is to play the game as the MPLA; your reaction during our game would seem to indicate the answer is not much...
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Carlos Ferreira
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I wouldn't say that it was not fun... well definitely it wasn't fun, but this entire situation was unexpected. Now that I know what I would get (or in this case I wouldn't), I will be prepared for it.

The fact that on the initial setup I only got on port without big chances of going from there to any other place as I was blocked, was also other fact that maybe a lot different with other luck ?!?! Don’t know.

For me, as I said the biggest disappointment is the overall Cabinda situation. I don’t agree with mark of carnage, as I really don’t see Cabinda to last more than 2 turns, well, maybe 3, and this is odd, because the rules clearly make you think that Cabinda is defendable or at least it makes you believe that you could set a good garrison there and I don’t see why. Maybe I’m too dumb to play this game... I will keep playing Carcassone
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Jim F
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Well, we might not have been playing it right but we allowed MPLA and FAPLA to recruit in Luanda and Cabinda. Made taking Cabinda and Luanda tough but no one was complaining whistle
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Anthony
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brainst0rm wrote:
For me, as I said the biggest disappointment is the overall Cabinda situation. I don’t agree with mark of carnage, as I really don’t see Cabinda to last more than 2 turns, well, maybe 3, and this is odd, because the rules clearly make you think that Cabinda is defendable or at least it makes you believe that you could set a good garrison there and I don’t see why.


I disagree, Cabinda is there to try to convince the FNLA to throw resources to its resolution; resources that could be better used to secure the North or help UNITA push North.

It's the only area on the board that does not have a control marker but provides 1 VP for the FNLA/UNITA alliance. The MPLA is there to make it as hard as possible to get it.

The fact that MPLA units can't be destroyed in a loss that requires a retreat is HUGE, in addition FNLA forces have to Straggle which weakens their forces until they can regroup them at the beginning of the next turn.

On another note, historically speaking, it makes sense that the FAPLA receives more troops in that it was the armed forces of the MPLA.

This is what I love about this game. The asymmetric nature of the game gives each faction it's own unique challenges to overcome in order to win. While MPLA can't muster a lot troops the UNITA can only give two orders for the first two turns.

Like any of these type of games the more you play, the more you find viable strategies and strengths of each faction.

As they say your miles may vary.

edit: spelling

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mark of carnage
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brainst0rm wrote:
I don’t agree with mark of carnage, as I really don’t see Cabinda to last more than 2 turns, well, maybe 3, and this is odd, because the rules clearly make you think that Cabinda is defendable or at least it makes you believe that you could set a good garrison there and I don’t see why.


Turn 1 the FNLA cannot be sure of beating the MPLA stack adjacent to the FLEC Base as it will be on odds of 1-1. They can try for it but if they fail it might set them back even more than they anticipated.

Turn 2 the MPLA pull back and leave just 1 infantry. That will waste one of the FNLA column A cards. They do same for the next jungle area.

So lets assume the FNLA have got the jungle space adjacent to Cabinda at end of turn 2. I think that's good going. By this time the MPLA have a brigade and a couple of infantry in Cabinda and the FNLA column A is at best 1 brigade and 3 infantry at best because they didn't wait around beyond the 1st turn reinforcement of the FLEC base*. Now they are at 1-1 and the bit Anthony highlighted about the special retreat rules for Cabinda makes a real difference. Any retreat by the FNLA column A causes it to straggle an infantry unit and makes a 2nd attack in turn 3 somewhat chancy. MPLA putting a column marker in Cabinda might even make the FNLA want to wait until they get a reinforcing column into the area adjacent to Cabinda to merge into a big one to take out the city.

I can see Cabinda lasting to turn 4 and longer with an incompetent (or unlucky) FNLA player.

Then on turn 5 they got to take a turn to play column A to get that column to the the area adjacent to Zaire and then play column A again and hope to roll a 5 to get into Zaire where they have to end their move.

So it's turn 6 before they make the journey south towards Luanda having picked up more reinforcements from Zaire.

Maybe it will be turn 5 or 7 depending on how it pans out.

All this assumes the FNLA are not being distracted by activity elsewhere on the map.

I think it's a huge worry for the MPLA/FAPLA but very very predictable and I think the first time you play it might come as a bit of a surprise because you got a lot to think about with just learning the game but surely once you got the hang of it the problem can be countered.

Now, I've been musing on the idea that the FNLA shouldn't bother with Cabinda at all. Just leave your 3 infantry in FLEC Base to fester for the entire game and head south with all the FNLA can muster from the start of the game!

*When moving off with a column in a reinforcement area I always try to leave 1 infantry behind so that a column marker can be placed straight onto it at the end phase before getting more reinforcements later in the turn.
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Anthony
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mark of carnage wrote:


Now, I've been musing on the idea that the FNLA shouldn't bother with Cabinda at all. Just leave your 3 infantry in FLEC Base to fester for the entire game and head south with all the FNLA can muster from the start of the game!


The only thing with that is depending how long the game goes on you will have troops piling up there, as during set recruitment 2 units are added every turn.

It may very well be a viable strategy but locking up troops could be tough as attrition starts to hit the longer the game goes on.
 
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mark of carnage
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drmabuse00 wrote:
The only thing with that is depending how long the game goes on you will have troops piling up there, as during set recruitment 2 units are added every turn.


Why do you have to put 2 infantry in FLEC Base every turn?

Rule 12.3 states ‘FNLA can recruit four infantry units in Zaire. Until Cabinda falls at least two of these Units must be placed in the FLEC Base.’

It doesn’t say the FLA ‘must’ recruit infantry. The word ‘can’ does not necessarily compel anything. The word ‘can’ simply indicates an ability to do something and implies a choice of whether to take that action or not. ‘can’ generally has the same meaning as ‘may’ unless it is ruled otherwise. Perhaps Jon could clarify this.

I’ve been playing that 12.3 means you can’t place up to 2 infantry in Zaire Proper in the Set Recruitment phase unless you have actually placed 2 infantry in Flec Base. As they are placed in the same phase I assumed Rule 16 could not be invoked.


Surely it cannot possibly mean anything else otherwise it would make Rule 16 absurd. Rule 16 states ‘If a player does not have enough counters to bring a certain type of Unit into play, then he may remove a Unit of that type from elsewhere on the map and bring that into play (though he is not forced to).’

If ‘can’ means ‘must’ then all that will happen is players will frequently implement Rule 16 and pick up units placed in Set Reinforcement to place somewhere else in Variable reinforcement. Rule 16 seems to be an oddity in the rules. If it’s there, use it. I think it would be used more frequently if ‘can’ means ‘must’ in 12.3.

If your right I’ve been playing this so wrong surprise
 
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Daniel Harrison
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Oficial errata (from Consimworld folder):

Quote:
Rule 16 [change]
Delete the entire second paragraph of Rule 16.
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Jon Gautier

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Also here on BGG (in fact, it was posted here first).
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