So what I am trying to say is: If you say G40 is broken, then point to TripleA, not the game itself. Sure that insight doesn’t help the current discussion, since we here play mainly TripleA anyways (I guess), and the only solution for me would be not to use BC, but that’s a little unrealistic I have to admit.
I just wanted to state this, so that no one is to think the developers did a bad job.
I disagree. You can’t put this on tripleA.
TripleA doesn’t change the rules of the game or alter the starting balance of forces in any way. What it does do is to remove the normal barriers to entry and allows people to play more matches against competent human opponents than would otherwise be possible. It accelerates the pace at which play testing occurs.
You’d have to go back to the days before the Internet and the Hasbro CD in the 90s, if you really wanted to see what A&A used to look like. The way it is now, a dozen skilled players can play more games in a month, than were probably played during the entire design process.
When the play testing is done face to face it takes way way longer. Back in the day, this required annual tournaments, just to get enough people in the same room who knew what they were doing, to get any kind of reasonable data set on play balance. Think about how much longer it takes, to learn the game and then to organize matches between players of comparable skill face to face.
From a design standpoint, a digital platform makes it much harder to develop a game where player inexperience, the general complexity of the ruleset, and the labor intensive requirements of the board set up, can be used as an easy way to prolong shelf life. I would submit that without the computer, there would probably be no way to determine the real game balance in Global at this point, within like 5 years of its release, just between yourself and a few players in your living room.
What tripleA has done for games since Revised, is just like what the Hasbro CD did for Classic, allow players to compete at a much higher level, inernationally, and clock many more games than would ever have been possible face to face.
I support digit gameplay as the best way to playtest the OOB A&A games. If we’re really serious about designing a “forever” game, that is balanced by sides and lasting, its “alpha” development phase should be conducted digitally first, since you can isolate balance issues or distorted play patterns much more quickly.
Battle Calculators have been around for a while, at least since email was invented, and since people began playing against each other in PBEM games. The calc in tripleA makes it a lot easier and faster to use in live play. Basically any player can now use the advantage that before might only have been available to a mathematics whiz on the fly, but it’s still up to you how to use it. I don’t generally calculate battles during a live game, since I like to live dangerously, but for those who do, it’s just one more way to heighten the level of gameplay.
What I like about tripleA is that it helps to develop a concensus at the level of international gameplay, among skilled A&A players who might not otherwise get a chance to play each other. I think it helps to facilitate a lot of these discussions that we find interesting on the forums.
Absent a digital game platform and saved games, most of the evidence for A&A playbalance is anecdotal, and its a lot harder to have these rich conversations about it, since the experiences and analyses of the game can be so divergent in different gaming groups when it’s just face to face after action reports.
I do appreciate the feeling that Elrood articulates though. It’s hard to design a boardgame that can keep pace in the digital era. But I’d rather use the machine to make a better game, since I think its possible to do that and still create games that are true to the spirit and still fun to play face to face over the long haul. I also don’t see a whole lot of great alternatives. King Ludd lost his crown a while ago.
2 cents banked
Ps. Just for the record, I also think the developers did a good job. That said, it’s in the nature of the A&A game that there is always room for improvement as time goes on. And I think a digital platform can really help with that, since it allows us to play more games, track the development of the gameplay, and share ideas about it with greater ease and more detail.