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+  Flying Buffalo Forums
|-+  Battle Plan (and WWBP)
| |-+  Battle Plan Rules
| | |-+  1939 Variant- Discuss needed change
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Author Topic: 1939 Variant- Discuss needed change  (Read 3623 times)
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« on: October 04, 2012, 03:12:02 PM »

I just found out about this forum, and I don't believe that the majority of long time players are aware of it. Still, I would
like to start a discussion on this variant. Perhaps we can try to reach out to the player base and Rick if we can get some
good, workable ideas.

Firstly, I enjoy this variant as a change from the Real and Equal Forces diplomatic rat race. 3 page NAPs, mega-alliances,
all kinds of things can get your blood up after playing too many of those. The 1939 variant, while more pigeonholed as
far as victory conditions are concerned, can provide a needed change of scenery for WWBP players. However, there are
some glaring problems with it that make it less popular. For the current 1939 game I am in, it took over A YEAR to fill (:

First problem - uneven starting positions, making for certain positions having better (or worse) chances to win. Just throwing that our there, I have no real answers for that, but it is true. Given that it starts with a historical basis, you have to accept
that going in and just do the best you can and have fun. Perhaps victory conditions, and/or starting assets could be tweaked. I will leave that open to debate.

Second problem- some positions are boring, and/or have literally NO chance to affect the outcome of the game. This is the
immediate concern to me. It's a no wonder the games don't fill with some of these positions no one wants. As one player just told me after dropping ; "I am done playing the sacrificial lamb as Brazil/Portugal..." and dropped. That positions is truly
sad- minimal starting forces, no chance to defeat any other player 1 v 1, let alone be more than a speed bump. If you choose to be neutral and actually get deals to stay in the game- well, congrats, you can pay a turn fee for 20 turns and have a lab rat do your orders! Colombia/Mexico/Cuba is really only a hair better.

Some of the majors powers are not much better; or, in the case of the Balkans, make no historical sense, and was put in to afford better play balance. I think it succeeded in that to some degree, especially with the introduction of powerful spaces
as minors, so that their offensive capabilities were rightfully muted (ditto Chinese minor spaces). However, this becomes a
position with no historical reality, which goes against the whole concept of the game as a WWII alternate reality game.

Without going on about more detailed problems, I would like to throw this idea out there as a quick fix to the 2nd problem.
Let's COMBINE the Brazil/Portugal and Colo/Mex/Cuba position into one. Simply let ONE player do orders for both positions.
Have that position get all the VPs as currently described in the rules- but simply divide them by two at the end of the game.
Even combined, they would have slightly less starting forces than Arg/Ch/Peru and Benelux, but more industry than both.
So what? Someone could actually try something with the position, maybe actually sign up for a game and not dread getting
the short straw and playing that position.

Ok, I have other ideas- like taking Balkans out as a player position and making all his spaces minors, with various player's having an HPI in them that tries to reflect both history and play balance- but I now open the floor to Lin and whoever else cares enough to discuss this issue. Thanks in advance for any constructive discussion!

Don Palmer
Lin Goldstein
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« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2012, 06:16:33 PM »

This forum has been promoted by Rick in most of his EMail PBM newsletter posts, but perhaps some players
aren't on the EMail list.   Or the Waiting list post?

OK, if I haven't been invited to respond, I probably wouildn't, as Palmer's comments are all valid, but
Rick won't make the changes he is requesting in the game, as he says he doesn't have access to the source
code.   The thing he could do, give CCM and BP to the same player, would necessitate having that player
score the two positions seperately.

At first, China and Balkans were even stronger.   Rick kept the same forces, but made ETU, CFU, and
CGU minors.   In one early game, Japan and China allied and Japan went after USA, and China sent
armies overseas to Central and Souith America.   In the early days, Balkans won way more than 1/13
of the time.   The only game that I could win, I chose not to, as my relations with another player were
based on him winning the game, and me coming in a close second, so instead of attacking a space
which would give me more than enough to win if I got it, and the game ended that turn (and I would
have gotten the space and the game did end), I didn't try to take it and came in 2nd.   Other games
were supposed to end up in a tie between the key alliance players -- neither did.    Then there
is WW273 which is undefined right now, although it looks like a likely allied victory, but who will
win with so many players doing well wtih VPs?

BP is weak, and CCM weaker, but both players are very close to USA, CCM by land and BP through WWA.
As USA is very weak in the opening, these players can ask or extort USA for a longterm price, so they are
stronger than first appears.   For instance, BP could agree to USA's offer for a NAP only if USA agrees to
eliminate ACS if ACS attacks BP.   That benefits USA as then all of ACS and BP would be 10 point
terrirtory for USA, about 80 points for BP's territory that usually goes to ACS in South America.   USA
wouid have no choice but to accept, in most cases, as if Japan is able to attack the USA, USA will
need to use the East coast navy to defend the West coast, and cannot afford to defend in WWA against BP
with the navy.   Also, those playing BP or CCM have asked for the position; nobody is assigned a position
that he didn't ask for.

In general, with the different positions available, some are more of a challenge than others, and maybe
that can lead to a factor if the decision of which ones to ask for -- whether you want an easier position,
or a harder position.    Also, there are the positions that need to be aggressive to win -- Germany, Japan,
and Russia -- ones that need to hold on -- Britain and France -- ones to suvive -- China, Balkans, and
the minors -- and one to help others get back their original countries -- USA.   And the VP list gives
many countries points if Benelux ends the game with EBE, ENE, ELU, or EDE (I think I got that list
right), and USA 200 points if China ends the game with a country beginning with C.   Also, Britain
probably wants Russia on the allied side, but gets points if Russia doesn't get a warm-water port.
In Starweb, merchants and berserkers win more often, but merchants get points only by persuading
others to give them (In 2 starweb games I was in, I engineered a game-wide strike against giving
the merchant points), and berserkers usually need to be left alone in order to win and are more
vulnerable if a war against them starts.   That is why Rick's victory points for Starweb didn't work --
players didn't stop the merchants or fight the berserkers.  If Rick's victory points for 1939 don't work,
it's probably the same thing.   

1939 isn't really a WWII simulation, as Germany normally has a morally superior leader to Hitler, and
Britain or Russia can make a profitable alliance with Germany from turn 1.   In fact, when I played
Japan, I allied with a Germany-Russia alliance and as Germany, I allied with Russia and Great Britain.
Other non-historical alliances tend to become more difficult with the VP condtions, but not impossible.
Also, the most army wins in an army battle, without adjustments for terrain, other defensive advantages,
and skill as a general.   In Mobius I and Feudal Lords, general strength matters, and there is a random
factor, too.  Futhermore, army can freely cross the sea, without concern for transports or supply
considerations.    That is why Japan is such a threat to the USA in the opening of a 1939 game; the
sleeping Giant has a shortage of military factories and Japan's nearly three times lead in armies can
all cross the ocean without needing transports.

And I hate to contradict Palmer, as he may well know the situation better than me, but I recall that
Germany got pro-Axis governments in the Balkans, then convinced them to join him in his attack
on Russia.   Later, these Balkan goverments collapsed and became pro-Allied.   Diplomacy or propaganda?
But the army available to the Balkans seems very high.  Play balance?

Anyway, there's my initial 2c.    Should be an interesting discussion upcoming with Palmer, I wonder if anyone
else will join in.

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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2012, 03:25:12 AM »

Thanks for the response Lin, you are an excellent player who knows the history of this variant.

I agree with many of your points. However, in the interest of getting more people to play, games to fill up, I still think letting one player play BP and CCM is worth a try. You  mention an early attack or extortion by this position is possible. That may well be true, but I think that is overblown. Remember, the Argentina/Spain position still remains, and has more armies and navies than BP and CCM combined. Would not a response to such an action by a combined BP/CCM player be for USA and Arg/Ch to ally, squeeze them, and split victory points that, save for Panama, are not overlapping?

Also, as you say, the USA position is to survive to gain back spaces for other players later in the game. This could be very appealing to the Arg/Ch player, who often gets kicked out of Iberia, or is not strong enough to hold it from a European player who simply takes it around T24.

If Rick can't change the source code, I see this as combination as the most viable option to improve the overall game. Simply adding their scores and dividing by two  does not seem like a hard proposition. As for Balkans, and history, you make some good points, but if the source code is hard to change that should be left for another time.

Don Palmer
Lin Goldstein
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2012, 01:00:01 PM »

Flying Buffalo doesn't seem to have a problem filling the games, once there are 13 signups, so someone
is signing up for B/P and C/C/M.   If you read my previous message carefully, I said (or meant to say) that
your proposal to combine the two is good, and I suppose FBI could manually halve the scores.   However,
CCM does get a big bonus for conquering all of South America, so the VP situation for combining them
isn't good.

My suggestion that B/P and C/C/M should get USA to attack A/C/S, if A/C/S attacks B/P or C/C/M,
in exchange for the NAP. was meant to be if they were played separately, not combined.   I remember
in my game as Japan that I needed B/P or C/C/M to help me vs USA in order to make the conquest.
Actually, the USA defended well, I think if he had stayed in the game he might have been able to defeat
our combined invasion, anyway, but he was ticked off and decided to drop when B/P attacked him.

The ratio of points that come to Iberia to the points for USA is 500 to 30.    Probably too much for USA
to want to help A/C/S (or B/P if that is the case), unless A/C/S sweetens the offer.
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2014, 10:54:15 AM »

I am playing in my first 1939 Variant.  I had sworn off all Real Forces games since it seemed like there was always a winning big alliance and just not much fun.  And too much need to be a diplomat.  But I decided to try the 1939 version.  I am really enjoying my first game - as Japan.  And I am benefiting from advice from a number of the long-time better players.

I am not experienced enough in the 1939 game to give any long-term suggestions.  But I think that my take on the game is that the enjoyment is not so much to win as to just experience the play.  The conditions are so much different than a regular WWBP or Anonymous WWBP game that it is a fresh change of scenery for me.

I do think it would be somewhat less fun to be one of the minors but I guess I will volunteer for one to "do my time".

I hope more players sign up for the 1939 variant - I plan to continue playing it myself.
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