So Dave and I took another crack at this and in preparation for the Gencon Tourney, took out all but 2 of the escalation cards. Didn’t play with a bid this time, I was the Allies.
Taking the Escalations out works well. I support this change–there are 6 copies (including the identical Zombie Rise) in the deck to start. Greg’s rule also says that you can’t draw a second escalation when you are resolving the first–at most you will draw 2 cards.
OOB, having 6 Escalations and also reshuffling them back into the deck, led to more confusing and overlapping play. Sometimes you could have 3-4 cards active, all at once–this rule change means at most you will get 2, and at most, twice per game. Even if you aren’t playing with the Tournament Rules, I’d suggest removing escalation (and zombie rise) from the game when they appear, then they can at most be seen 6 times.
Almost every new player I’ve introduced to this version said “dang, why do we keep drawing that draw two card!” Having 3-4 special powers/rolls on one turn seems kind of abusive and too luck driven (one game we had 2 of the “draw special reinforcements” and so the Russians got 3! free units for each of 3! zombie liberated territories).
See you at Gencon, Good Luck, Have Fun. Jon