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Subject: Randomness rss

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Gerald Gan
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I played my first game of Andean Abyss awhile ago, and though this could be attributed to inexperience, I felt that the suddenness of the propaganda cards were a bit too random. You can't really plan for them, and the final propaganda card even limits the players to simply using limited actions. Am I alone in feeling this way? Is it just the inexperience talking?

Was the randomness an intentional part of the design? If so, what does it represent?

Don't get me wrong... I liked the game... heck, even loved most aspects of it. I just can't wrap my head around the randomness of the propaganda cards.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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The randomness of the Propaganda cards means you always have to play with the scoring / win conditions in mind. You cannot control the timing, and therefore cannot "game" the scoring. I imagine this is entirely intentional.
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Gerald Gan
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sdiberar wrote:
The randomness of the Propaganda cards means you always have to play with the scoring / win conditions in mind. You cannot control the timing, and therefore cannot "game" the scoring. I imagine this is entirely intentional.


But couldn't it be something like, shuffling the propaganda card into the last 4 or 5 cards in each fifteen card stack? This still adds tension and uncertainty, but a lot less wild swings.
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Todd Quinn
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Volko can best answer this from a designer's perspective. However, from a player's perspective I think that the element of randomness that does exist makes for a much more tense experience.

You do have some idea. Once you get the first Prop Card, you will at least know there will not be another until the next 16 cards begin. So if it was the 7th card, you know you have between 9 and 25 cards to the next one.

So you are left with difficult decisions such as how late do I leave patrolling the LoCs or how long can can I wait to take out those bad guys in that area I want? How late do I (AUC/FARC) go all out Terror in the hope my guys will be flipped back underground again soon. Or how late do I send all my (FARC) guys into Bogota in an attempt to take it over. For me, this adds a lot to the experience.

The no March just prior to the last Prop Card was introduced to restrict a potential ploy by FARC to move all of its insurgents into Bogota at the last possible moment.

So I urge to embrace the slight randomness and enjoy the difficult and tense decision-making it engenders.

Todd
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Raiyfe wrote:
But couldn't it be something like, shuffling the propaganda card into the last 4 or 5 cards in each fifteen card stack? This still adds tension and uncertainty, but a lot less wild swings.

That still gives you a "safe zone" where you know you don't have to worry about scoring. I think the extreme swings are designed to make you play on the edge of your seat at all times.
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Todd Quinn
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sdiberar wrote:
Raiyfe wrote:
But couldn't it be something like, shuffling the propaganda card into the last 4 or 5 cards in each fifteen card stack? This still adds tension and uncertainty, but a lot less wild swings.

That still gives you a "safe zone" where you know you don't have to worry about scoring. I think the extreme swings are designed to make you play on the edge of your seat at all times.


Agree completely. You can never relax!

Todd
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Gerald Gan
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sdiberar wrote:
Raiyfe wrote:
But couldn't it be something like, shuffling the propaganda card into the last 4 or 5 cards in each fifteen card stack? This still adds tension and uncertainty, but a lot less wild swings.

That still gives you a "safe zone" where you know you don't have to worry about scoring. I think the extreme swings are designed to make you play on the edge of your seat at all times.


Yes, but since everyone tends to pile up on the leader, wouldn't there be a tendency that the winner would be the guy to luck in to the last "full action" card before the propaganda card is revealed? I understand how it is supposed to add tension and that it keeps you on your toes... but after a game of back-and-forth smack the leader, I just feel that it should lead to something more climactic after playing for 4-5 hours, instead of having the one who won simply lucking into a "right place right time" type of thing.

With four fairly competent players, I really can't see anyone pulling off an auto-victory in the first three propaganda cards except thru sheer luck of the draw. It isn't that hard to gang up on the leader, and in some small way screw with the guy in second place as well.
 
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Todd Quinn
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You should play it some mate. Then you will see.

Todd
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Dave Eisen
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The inability to plan for the endgame is in fact my biggest concern about the game as well. I understand the intent, but I also expect this to frustrate me.

Of course, yes, I should play the game.
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Pete Martyn
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Though I don't have the box in front of me, I'm pretty sure the designer's notes comment a good deal on the randomness of the Propaganda cards. They do indeed represent something: namely, the difficulty of actually getting the public or the world at large to agree that one has won a COIN campaign (or insurgent uprising.) The Propaganda cards are considered to be ongoing throughout each campaign, and their resolution represents pivotal moments where the hearts and minds of the country are, for whatever number of semi-arbitrary reasons, most susceptible to persuasion and declarations of success. Sometimes, yes, it will seem like the winner was the lucky SOB who got the final action right before the Prop card. But I think time will demonstrate that more often than not it will go to the person who not only earned the victory, but sustained it over time. And in the world of COIN, that's the sort of victory that matters.
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Lance G
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If everyone knew when the cards would come up it would ruin the game.

Sry, no time to expound.
 
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Gerald Gan
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4x scalper wrote:
If everyone knew when the cards would come up it would ruin the game.

Sry, no time to expound.


Care to elaborate?
 
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Juan Carlos Goyes
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Raiyfe wrote:
I played my first game of Andean Abyss awhile ago, and though this could be attributed to inexperience, I felt that the suddenness of the propaganda cards were a bit too random. You can't really plan for them, and the final propaganda card even limits the players to simply using limited actions. Am I alone in feeling this way? Is it just the inexperience talking?

Was the randomness an intentional part of the design? If so, what does it represent?

Don't get me wrong... I liked the game... heck, even loved most aspects of it. I just can't wrap my head around the randomness of the propaganda cards.


I agree completely with you. This kills the game for me.
 
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Volko Ruhnke
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Fair enough.

Naturally, I disagree with the OP that Prop Rounds cannot be planned for. The gradually increasing probability of their appearance can be precisely calculated, if you like. There is at least a 1-card advance warning. Their effects are entirely known.

The limitation on operations with the penultimate card, noted in the OP as an additional feature of randomness, in fact dampens that randomness (that's it's design purpose) by steeply limiting the ability of the factions who benefit the final moves of the game to overly exploiting that privilege.

True, the Prop cards' exact timing is unknown. If that bothers, even that timing can easily be made known simply by adding the Prop cards to the bottom of the piles after rather before shuffling, if such determinism is to the group's taste. (It very much is not to mine). Such a variant might even bring a killed game back to life for some ...

As to what the variable appearance of Propaganda Rounds represents, I address that in the Design Notes on page 29 of the Playbook.

Regards, Volko
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Juan Carlos Goyes
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Volko wrote:
Fair enough.

Naturally, I disagree with the OP that Prop Rounds cannot be planned for. The gradually increasing probability of their appearance can be precisely calculated, if you like. There is at least a 1-card advance warning. Their effects are entirely known.

The limitation on operations with the penultimate card, noted in the OP as an additional feature of randomness, in fact dampens that randomness (that's it's design purpose) by steeply limiting the ability of the factions who benefit the final moves of the game to overly exploiting that privilege.

True, the Prop cards' exact timing is unknown. If that bothers, even that timing can easily be made known simply by adding the Prop cards to the bottom of the piles after rather before shuffling, if such determinism is to the group's taste. (It very much is not to mine). Such a variant might even bring a killed game back to life for some ...

As to what the variable appearance of Propaganda Rounds represents, I address that in the Design Notes on page 29 of the Playbook.

Regards, Volko


Hello Volko, thanks for your prompt reply I really appreciate it thumbsup. To be perfectly honest, I don´t agree 100% with the OP, the limitation on operations with the penultimate card dampens the randomness and it is appreciated. I will try to play the game knowing the location of the propaganda cards. I think that would fix my main problem with the game.

Once again thanks.
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Patrick Riley
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I completely understand the original poster's frustration. In your first games while you are on the learning curve, it can seem unfair when an opponent unexpectedly wins. It can seem that they won mostly because they were able to act first right before a propaganda card. And there's no doubt that being randomly selected to act first on the card before propaganda is a big advantage.

But that said, I disagree that it breaks the game. One you get a few games under your belt you will understand that much of the game experience is planning and positioning yourself for the next propaganda card. Not only should you be thinking about if players currently meet their victory conditions, but if the next card to be revealed could potentially be a propaganda card, you need to be considering if each faction would be able to attain their victory condition on the upcoming card.

A lot of our group discussion revolves around this, "You know, if Propaganda comes up next, FARC is going to be able to terror in these five departments, putting themselves at 27 Bases+Opposition. You may want to keep that in mind when you make your move."
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Volko Ruhnke
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jgoyes wrote:
... I will try to play the game knowing the location of the propaganda cards. I think that would fix my main problem with the game.

That's terrific! Please let us know how it goes! Cheers, Volko
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Simon
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i shuffle the bottom card into the bottom 5, the others i keep random.

I think whether this is an issue depends on your strategic approach. As the FARC i like trying to take the capital. For this to work, you need to know that the propoganda card is in the next 3 to 5 cards from when you attack. I don't necessarily want to know exactly where it is (I think the game would break if the player new exactly when as everyone would wait and strike simultaneously) but anywhere in 15 cards can be a bit to chaotic.

I generally find this works well. It means there's tension through most of the game, but the players can all make a more calculative attempt at winning at the end.
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Juan Carlos Goyes
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DukeofChutney wrote:
i shuffle the bottom card into the bottom 5, the others i keep random.

I think whether this is an issue depends on your strategic approach. As the FARC i like trying to take the capital. For this to work, you need to know that the propoganda card is in the next 3 to 5 cards from when you attack. I don't necessarily want to know exactly where it is (I think the game would break if the player new exactly when as everyone would wait and strike simultaneously) but anywhere in 15 cards can be a bit to chaotic.

I generally find this works well. It means there's tension through most of the game, but the players can all make a more calculative attempt at winning at the end.


You might be right! Will try it this way.
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Gerald Gan
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DukeofChutney wrote:
i shuffle the bottom card into the bottom 5, the others i keep random.

I think whether this is an issue depends on your strategic approach. As the FARC i like trying to take the capital. For this to work, you need to know that the propoganda card is in the next 3 to 5 cards from when you attack. I don't necessarily want to know exactly where it is (I think the game would break if the player new exactly when as everyone would wait and strike simultaneously) but anywhere in 15 cards can be a bit to chaotic.

I generally find this works well. It means there's tension through most of the game, but the players can all make a more calculative attempt at winning at the end.


I'll try this as well. Maybe take it a step further, by leaving the first 2 Propaganda cards as is, shuffling the third into the bottom half of its respective pile, and then shuffling the final propaganda card into the last 5 cards. I find that the surprise appearances of the first two propaganda cards aren't too big a deal, but I wanna have at least a hazy idea of where the third one is. Then, as you said, having a more approximate idea of the final one lies.
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Don't Blink
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Or, you could put a Prop card every 7 cards deep.
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Rémi Lemaire
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I like to play with each pile of cards having exactly 16 cards in it, and to keep each pile clearly separated. So at least you know when there is no risk to draw a Propaganda card, and otherwise it is straightforward to evaluate the probability, which reduces a little bit the uncertainty.

Rémi
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Volko Ruhnke
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Make sense! The probabilities remain the same, you are simply making it easier to access information that you are permitted to have about the state of the deck. vfr
 
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