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Subject: Graveyard of Empires Playtest Session rss

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Jeff Gringer
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Graveyard of Empires Playtest Session: Taliban Rally
We're not excited by the unhappy flipside to the MANPADS event with the Coalition next up, so we opt to just do operations sans special activity, and lock out an event play.

We free rally in Pakistan for max G's in NW Frontier and Waziristan, while converting two G's in Balochistan to a base.

Rally further in Oruzgan, Kandahar, Kabul, and Nuristan. I realized I can rally anywhere in Pashtun provinces, regardless of support, which allows a cell to penetrate the capital.

Coalition is next.
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Mike Owens
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Coalition passed. Warlords is up for LimOp or pass.
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Jeremy Antley
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Warlords passed, then took their Op + Special to conduct a Rally + Cultivate combo.

New fields (base) sprung up in Herat, with two additional Warlord security units joining the two already present. Balkh and Baghlan also created new medicinal fields, only this time through hard labor of security units already on the scene. (two guerrillas were cashed in at each space for a base) Warlords also sent reinforcements to the outpost in Helmand and a lone scout up into the province of Badakhshan.



Coalition is up for limited op, event, or pass - with the next Propaganda Card on deck.
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Mike Owens
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So before I did my action, I double-checked everyone's victory margin. Turns out Government's marker is incorrect -- they are at 16 COIN, not 12, and is therefore COIN + Patronage is at 39, well over their victory margin.

Lemme think about this for a minute.
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Mike Owens
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I don't see any way I can stop the Government from winning. The only hope I had was taking the Breaktime event, but that would require me to roll a '7' on a d6. The Coalition can do a lot, but that ain't something they can manage.

Congratulations to the Government.
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Gordon J
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Wow, I thought I was at 35. Interesting.
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Jeff Gringer
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MikeO wrote:
So before I did my action, I double-checked everyone's victory margin. Turns out Government's marker is incorrect -- they are at 16 COIN, not 12, and is therefore COIN + Patronage is at 39, well over their victory margin.

I count 15 COIN population controlled, but with graftpatronage at 23 that still makes 38 on the track, 3 over, moot. Agree that the event can't change that. With the limit of removing only 1 cube per space, and him way out there for presence in the places he has troops, that won't give traction.

I have to say, dang. I could have built one more base in Ghazni, but I thought people would have just been gunning for me, when I thought I could improve my position still more.

I assume we're stopping now, no?
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Jeremy Antley
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Oh, that's on me. Had I known, I would have suborned him out of a few spaces or rallied to take control of Balkh. My fault for not paying attention.

Good game everyone.
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Jeff Gringer
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I notice for the second time the Coalition finished way back. I'm wondering whether from a balance standpoint they feel seriously constrained? At best they seem to amount to a potential spoiler. Or are they (arguably accurately) constrained by an uncooperative Government?
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Gordon J
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As Govt, again I was playing a little bit of a gun slinger on the last 5-6 cards, in the hopes a Prop. Card would pop. I knew it would make me a target, but just figured I'd take the risk. I think that is what gives this game that nice tension, because you can't be the nail that sticks up too much, because you'll get hammered, yet if you don't you'll never win.

Jeff, I have found it just the opposite in the F2F games I have played Coalition, that I find it kind of easy (or it has just been the kind of games we've played). I was going to say maybe Coalition VC should be higher, because all they need to do is get to 21 or 22 in victory conditions and that usually is within striking distance of one Surge move from winning. (In this game all you had to do was Surge out and you would have been at 30 for Support/Available, right?

I have to admit I was being uncooperative as Govt. But I have figured out that despite the fact there are two COIN factions and two insurgent factions, that you are very much, just as in AA, on your own, and the only thing that unites the clans is when someone else is going to win.

I was playing a very aggressive Govt. In the end I wasn't using Govern, I was able to push Govt. Troops around, and keep a presence with the Warlords so I could use Eradicate.
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Mike Owens
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Seems to me that Coalition is a tricky faction to play, because of the delicate timing of surging out for the win.

It's hard to say regarding this endgame. I assume that the last couple of cards would have gone down differently had we realized Gov't was over their win condition.

Even though this game ended with me so far back, I was definitely within striking distance. I could have Trained with this LimOp in Khowst to bring me to 23 Support & Avail, and then Trained in Kandahar in the Prop round to get to 26. Then it's only a 5-piece Surge Out to get to the VC.
 
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Volko Ruhnke
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Separate from Coalition, how are you all feeling about Govt? (Mirroring our discussion on the Google Group here...). Is Govt too hard to stop?
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Mike Owens
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My opinion is no, Government is not too hard to stop. Between Coalition reduction of Patronage by training in Kabul, and force-moving cubes to yield COIN control, and Warlords Suborn, and Taliban Infiltrate, there are enough ways to prevent Government from winning. I thin if we backed this game up to the point where Government went over their victory condition things would have played out differently.
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Gordon J
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Govt. shouldn't be too hard to stop since all three other factions have a way of reducing Patronage. But Govt can just shove a bunch of troops into a space and gain COIN control, which is easier than Coailtion and Taliban who have to put forces into a space and then have to do one more action to shift it to Opp/Support. So that aspect is easier on Govt.

It seems in a lot of the games I played there wasn't any cooperation among Coalition and Govt, both were just ships passing in the night, which I think is fine, both factions should have their own agendas. "Cooperation" comes down to Coalition taking govt. troops along on a sweep operation or to be used as cover against Taliban. And Govt uses Coalition Support spaces to "help" them Govern.

I think that might be something newbies have to get used to that even though Govt and Coalition are both COIN factions you don't have any more desire to see the other COIN win as you would any of the other factions.

I think Coalition has to make sure that they are very hands on with the Govt. Take them along on Sweeps, Air Lift them, don't just let Govt use their troops for whatever.
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Mike Owens
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There is also the Coalition strategy of running Government resources down to zero. This is a two-edged sword, as Jeremy and I are finding in our 2 player game. Zero-resourced Government can hinder the Coalition's victory condition (no Civic Action to gain Support) as much as it hinders the Government.
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Jeremy Antley
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I've been traveling, so a little late to the conversation here.

I also believe the Govt is not too hard to stop. With our game above, had I as the Warlords known that the Govt was above their victory conditions I would have suborned them out of spaces to deny COIN control. Even before the patronage nerf on Suborn, this still would have been a viable move. Taliban was dealt some tough events and a string of lim ops before the first prop card, but they were fast becoming threat right before the Govt win.

To echo Mike's thoughts above, I think the key to stopping the sudden creep out of Govt forces is to deny them resources. This also has the side effect of keeping a lid on the Coalition, as they can't use Govt resources to build up support.

While I didn't do it in this game, I think another way to deny Govt creep is to sabotage the LoC's headed to the north early on (at least from the Warlord perspective). Then they can't use their transport ability, forcing the main action to be carried out by Coalition.

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Volko Ruhnke
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Thanks all, and also for the additional thoughts on the Google side. vfr
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