It’s cool, I have come up against resistance to the city bonuses idea virtually every time I try to persuade people of its merits, despite its evident superiority to me hehe. 😄
I made my case against National Objectives pretty clear when Larry and others originally proposed them for AA50. I still believe now, as I did then, that NOs are way more complicated and numerous than they need to be, and that there are better, easier, and more consistent ways to introduce money into the game. Moreover, I feel quite strongly that National Objectives (if they are included in a game) should be strictly optional, they shouldn’t be a requirement for game balance.
I also still believe, as I did when Revised came out, that absent some real in-game economic draw, VCs are pretty ineffective at influencing the way players approach the endgame.
Many players (the ones I play with anyway) simply do not find VC victory conditions satisfying, perhaps in much the same way that they did not find the Economic victory conditions in Classic satisfying. Outside of tournaments, I expect that many players will continue to ignore VCs, in favor of capital capture, because capital capture has an in game economic influence which is decisive during the endgame. You can state the official VC Victory Conditions as flatly as you like, by the book 100% (with “Axis need X” and “Allies need Y” and all the rest), and you will still see players ignoring VCs, or subordinating them to Capitals, because a VC win is like winning on a technicality. Often both the Victor and the Vanquished both go home feeling like the VC game lacks the sort of climax they desire. If the VC conditions are such that a capital must be taken regardless (to satisfy the total requirements) then VCs just seem redundant, or secondary at best.
What most people want out of the VC system is instead, a way for Axis to “Win” that does not require Moscow. A narrow win game, absent the capital capture dynamic, but this almost never pans out, because there are not enough VCs on the map…
And also (perhaps more importantly) because there is no strong mechanism in place to encourage vigilant tracking of “VCs controlled” in a given round by the players who are actually playing.
That is essentially what it comes down to right there, its a player tracking problem, not a systemic problem or a problem with the concept of the VC itself. The lack of diligent tracking comes from the fact that (in real game_play_ terms) VCs don’t do anything inside the game, but are used only to determine when its supposed to end.
I believe that by attaching bonuses directly to VCs controlled, you can start to get a game where VC tracking is imperative, and all players will pay closer attention to them. This mitigates the feeling of “losing or winning” on a technicality, because one or the other player got so caught up in everything else that needs to be tracked that they neglected to track the VCs! In TripleA for example almost everyone I know “unchecks” the victory by VCs in the game options, because of how annoying it is to see a multi-round game just get torpedoed right before achieving climax, after several hours invested, on a VC technical win.
My hope would be that, once you get players used to the notion that VCs have value (real value in terms of the games underlying framework of IPCs) then you could potentially use them to replace the capital capture dynamic.
But again, I don’t expect everyone to just hop on board with this idea because I say it’s great. Some players seem to rather enjoy having 28 complex rules for income bonuses, which are unavoidable, and which complicate the game’s economy in various ways. I’m just not really one of them haha. 😉
I will play Halifax using the City Objective bonuses and report back with my findings on overall balance by side.
I think G40, like most A&A games lately doesn’t give players enough cash in hand to overcome game breaking exploits or a single bad roll of the dice. For a game that takes nearly an hour to set up, there is very little margin for error when you’re actually playing, almost no room for recovery, because the unit replacement cost is so high relative to the economy. I believe this a problem which can be solved by adding more cash into equation. And that this actually accelerates game resolution rather than drawing it out, under the general principle that players are willing to risk more, when they have more.
NOs try to achieve the same, but they do so in way which is very rules intensive. In Global there are so many NOs, and they have such a huge influence on the gameplay… Such an overwhelmingly dramatic influence on the basic strategies at work, that the map itself, (and all the ipc values and information written on it) ceases to communicate the situation in a particularly meaningful way to players. You cannot survey it at a glance, but instead you have to be aware of all the NOs and all the stuff behind the scenes. OOB these are not presented as optional, and in gameplay terms they are basically mandatory. The game doesn’t balance well at all without them.
So that is the way I see it. To me a VC bonus scheme handles two separate issues with one simple mechanic. It makes VCs relevant, gets the money into play, and restores the map itself (over the NO page in the manual) as the primary way players evaluate their standing and situation vis a vis their opponent.