Subo: That makes a lot of sense to me. The variability of the more complicated opening will generate a lot of noise.
It also means AA50 will have a greater difference between LL and normal play.
I saw Flying Tiger put out a fine poll, but I wanted to include the magnitude of imbalance (bid) with the poll.
We’ll see how things have changed. Here are the results from April:
Allies need a $10+ bid to win 50% of their games 4 (9.1%)
Allies need a $5+ bid to win 50% of their games 9 (20.5%)
Even - With no bid or a small bid it is 50% either way 27 (61.4%)
Axis need a $5+ bid to win 50% of their games 3 (6.8%)
Axis need a $10+ bid to win 50% of their games 1 (2.3%)
Howdy. Lynxes posted a decent thread about bidding for the game. Since we have enough playing experience to start thinking about fixing game problems, I wanted to post some info not about specific changes, but on principles that result in good changes.
Instead of just thinking up random thoughts to “fix” the game, first figure out what makes for a good fix. The full CSub article on rule fixes (Paper #03) has a long discussion about good fixes, but here’s the crux of it:
Here are the principles the renowned Caspian Sub uses [though we weren’t renowned when we wrote the paper :-D]. You will find that these rules are wise, elegant, judicious, and damn sexy.
Rule Changing Principles
1. The Minimalist Principle: The minimalist principle says “Make the least changes necessary to fix actual flaws in the game.” If someone who is good at the game with the out-of-the-box rules becomes bad at the game using the new rules, you’ve changed the game either too much, unnecessarily, or inappropriately. Part of this principle is that new rules should follow the ‘spirit of the rules’ and not change basic game concepts.
2. The Market Principle: A bid system is the most precise game-balancing tool; a good bidding market will result in a balancing remedy within 1 IPC of a perfect balance.
3. The Expertise Principle: Changes should encourage creativity and expertise, not just reward brute force or simplicity. A good game balancer will add quality dimensions of game play, not result in a Crane Kick* or empty rules with little strategic value.
*Crane Kick: If do right, no can defense. Mr. Miyagi said it, so it must be true.
I do have one specific thought with the bid. There tends to be “bid inertia” in games such that bids stay artificially low for a long time. People don’t like to give up big bids, so the balancing bid can take longer to find. Here’s one very simple way to accurately and quickly raise the bids: use a bid-down system instead of a bid-up system.
Say you know three things: Player Big thinks the balancing bid is $12, player Cheap thinks the balancing bid is $4, and the actual balance for the game is closer to $8.
If you use a bid-up system, the bid goes like this:
Cheap: I bid $1 given to the weak team so I can take the strong team.
Big: I bid $3 given to the weak team.
Cheap: I’ll take it.
So both players are happy with the $5 bid. Big thinks the bid is $7 low so he’s happy, Cheap got an extra buck so he’s happy. But the bid is artificially lower than the optimal balance and the cheaper players will hold the bid down.
Now look at a bid-down system:
Cheap: I’ll take $40 to play the weak team.
Big: I’ll take $30.
Big: You bought it.
So again both players are happy. Cheap got $7 extra, and Big thinks he stuck Cheap for an extra dollar. But notice that with the exact same set of preferences the bid increased from $5 to $11 just by changing the bid mechanism. The fastest way to overcome “bid inertia” is to use a bid-down system.
Have at it.
BB82: Have at it with the papers. Post them wherever you want.
Russian double with BEL/WRU: It was done on occasion, but the risk/reward isn’t all that great. No because the risk is huge, but because the reward was so small. WRu/Ukr was much more common.
German 1st purchase: We went through several phases. In a FTF venue, I’d buy 2 or 3 tra against any player who I suspected would be unfamiliar with it. Against each other, 1tra was very common, but the most common opening became the UnBaltic. Hard to say what the next iteration would have been because we had just started finding some counters to UnBaltic that we really liked.
Thanks for the kind words; I’ll pass them on to the other editors.
bb82 - we had a few long discussions about the Russian openings in email threads but we never finished the paper about them. The paper was going to cover the Russian Double (UKR/WRU) vs the Russian Triple (UKR/WRU/BEL).
The upshot was that the Triple had a high risk/reward swing where it really was in the hands of the dice. Mighty Airforce preferred it; I preferred the Double. In LL I don’t know which I would prefer, but probably the Triple.
Ultimately it did not matter a lot because we began putting a bid unit in the European theater to break the Triple as a viable option.
And the bid:
Caspian Sub Bid Rules
1. Roll for high roll to see who gets the first bid.
2. Conduct the bid like “Name that Tune”. The player with the first bid says “I can win with the Axis and X IPCs.”, where X is the number of IPCs the bidder receives to play the Axis. You are always bidding to play as the Axis.
3. The other player either lets the first player have the bid or counters with a bid that is smaller than the first bid such as, “I can win with the Axis and X-2 IPCs.” This is a bid-down system.
4. Keep going until a bid is accepted. If the bid ‘goes negative’, then the bid becomes “I will take the Axis and give the Allies X IPCs.” Counter-bids then become higher values given to the Allies.
5. Once the bid is accepted there is a pre-game bid placement turn. Whoever is getting the IPCs may buy units to place on the board.
a) Unit costs are normal
b) Land units can be placed in any territory a power controls
c) Naval units can be placed with other naval units or in territories adjacent to a power’s land
d) There is a limit of 1 bid piece per territory
e) Powers cannot put their units in another power’s territory (i.e. no German pieces start in Japanese territory)
f) IPCs do not have to be spent on units. IPCs not spent on units can be given to any of the team’s powers.
6. Play starts as normal with the Soviets.
Yeah, for FTF games you do have to have a limit. We went with a 4-hour, 6 round game.
I do have the CSub rules. Very simple for box-players or TripA players:
1. Thou shalt have a new technology take effect at the end of the turn on which it was acquired.
2. Thou shalt not do more economic damage to an industrial complex than the income value of the territory under attack. This is a per-turn limit.
3. Thou shalt disallow any capital from being attacked with ground units until after that power’s first turn. Bombing raids and strafing with air power are permitted.
4. Thou shalt use the Caspian Sub bid system.
1. AA guns fire at each plane individually.
2. Subs submerge before the decision to press a battle is made. You can not retreat from a sea battle if the only enemy units left are submerged subs.
3. If a fighter spends all its movement points going to a sea battle and the carrier designated as its landing zone retreats, then the fighter is lost because it has no landing place.
4. Sub abilities are operational any time an opposing destroyer is not on the battle board.
5. In regard to transports, strict distinctions between combat/non-combat must be observed. For instance, a unit cannot be loaded during combat movement if the unit does not attempt to engage in combat that round.
Oh, and as to your questions, yes:
FTF is very different from online play due to the inherrent time limit.
LL, common online, is very different from regular dice.
Tournament rules differ and have a large impact on the game.
That’s one of the problems that will plague the AA50 discussions. 41 or 42? LL or regular? SBRs or no SBRs or an SBR fix? Tech or no tech? NOs or basic rules?
I’m quite sure that although everyone is in the same forum, they aren’t really discussing the same game ;-)
That was one of the CSub goals: a simple set of rule fixes that everyone could use without having to read a book of rules or alter the core game much. All discussion was then based on those rules.