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Subject: Quite frankly, I find this game below average at best rss

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LC
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matt.jolly wrote:
I agree - it was a cheap shot about theme. But that's not the point about knowledge I was making. The leaders in the Cold War couldn't know what cards their opponents might hold, and only got one play of the game, with a very considerable price for a catastrophic loss. This means that fundamental mechanics underpinning TS are emphatically different from the Cold War, including both the possibility of a replay and detailed card knowledge.

M

It's a game. Not a simulation.

Sounds like a snarky thing to say, but it comes up with a lot of games. Particularly, for some reason, Agricola.
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Matt Jolly
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Gamemanue wrote:

So, are you saying that any game about the Cold War should be a "one-shot" deal with zero replayability?

You could make the same argument about any game based on a historical event. People only got one shot at the Revolutionary War, WWII, the American Civil War, and every other war ever fought. Do you undermine any war or historically based game because it doesn't completely reflect reality?

Please don't put words into my mouth. Of course not. As Rackenhammer's post may imply, it's the metagame I have an issue with. And the problem is that compared with many operational games, CDGs as a group reward card memory as much as other approaches to play. And I believe that the Cold War is a conflict where this element of the metagame is least appropriate. It means that paradoxically the more you play, the less what you are doing shares anything with the original event. Interestingly I find the effect is far smaller with, for example Paths of Glory, and as an aside I need to think more about why.

For me (and your mileage may vary) replayability for the Cold War is more convincing if it allows me to experiment with different decisions, not by feeling railroaded by a script generated by a slightly different card draw. A big issue of the time was decision-making under uncertainty, and whilst for all games this will be a feature of replay, CDGs suffer particularly from this, especially if the deck is asymmetrical or has asymmetric effects.

I also realise that it is not your point, but that made by some others to the effect that the KGB and CIA were trying to find the cards held by the other side is a red herring at best. The continuing employment of these agencies is fair evidence that they were not particularly or at least consistently good at doing it. This comes back to the decision-making under uncertainty point I made above.

In the end though, I think it is a matter of taste. For me TS is not a great game as it doesn't represent the bits of the Cold War in which I am interested, and the metagame is more about becoming good at the game than about gaining a deeper insight into the history.

As for your last point
Gamemanue wrote:
Do you undermine any war or historically based game because it doesn't completely reflect reality?

Of course not. I am a fan of Memoir '44 for heaven's sake. But I would like them to reflect some of reality, and recognising that no game is going to reflect all of it, I'll play more repeatedly the ones that reflect my own irrational and uninformed prejudices of what is important.

Cheers,

Matt
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Matt Jolly
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Lawcomic wrote:
It's a game. Not a simulation.

Sounds like a snarky thing to say, but it comes up with a lot of games. Particularly, for some reason, Agricola.

I don't think it's particulary snarky, but I do think that the game vs simulation debate is a little stale. I played TS originally because I was told it was a fantastic game about the Cold War. It is a good game. It is about the Cold War. But it's not for me a good game about the cold war. It's like chess is a good game, and it's theme is ancient/mediaeval warfare, but it's not a good ancient warfare game.

If games aren't intended to be simulations, why not just play them with abstract counters? The idea surely is that you can use your own knowledge of the source material to inform your gameplay, or you can use your knowledge of the gameplay to influence your understanding of the subject. Or both. TS is a simulation, just not (in my opinion, and I would be the first to accept that others may not agree with me) a very good one.

The mapping of events in the real world to events in the game is actually quite close (more so than in the average 'Bulge game for example), and this is a thing that many games find hard to do. But the mapping of the decisions is not so good. I find myself making decisions because I know what cards must be "left" - not ever really an option in the real Cold War.

It just doesn't work for me. Sorry.

Cheers,

Matt
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From the designer's notes in the rules:

Quote:
We use the term “game” advisedly. Twilight Struggle does not
reach beyond its means. Wherever there were compromises to
make between realism and playability, we sided with playability.
We want to evoke the feel of the Cold War, we hope people get a
few insights they didn’t possess, but we have no pretensions that
a game of this scope or length could pretend to be a simulation.



Personally I think that this is probably the tensest game that I have ever played. I almost never feel sure of victory, and am constantly wondering what is happening on the other side of the hill. There are many things about it which could probably be improved, but to me it seems to have succeeded in its design goals admirably.
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Martin Presley
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matt.jolly wrote:
Lawcomic wrote:
It's a game. Not a simulation.

Sounds like a snarky thing to say, but it comes up with a lot of games. Particularly, for some reason, Agricola.

I don't think it's particulary snarky, but I do think that the game vs simulation debate is a little stale. I played TS originally because I was told it was a fantastic game about the Cold War. It is a good game. It is about the Cold War. But it's not for me a good game about the cold war. It's like chess is a good game, and it's theme is ancient/mediaeval warfare, but it's not a good ancient warfare game.

If games aren't intended to be simulations, why not just play them with abstract counters? The idea surely is that you can use your own knowledge of the source material to inform your gameplay, or you can use your knowledge of the gameplay to influence your understanding of the subject. Or both. TS is a simulation, just not (in my opinion, and I would be the first to accept that others may not agree with me) a very good one.

The mapping of events in the real world to events in the game is actually quite close (more so than in the average 'Bulge game for example), and this is a thing that many games find hard to do. But the mapping of the decisions is not so good. I find myself making decisions because I know what cards must be "left" - not ever really an option in the real Cold War.

It just doesn't work for me. Sorry.

Cheers,

Matt

As Paul just pointed out, TS is not and was not intended to be a simulation. But I wanted to address the bolded part, about why games have theme. I don't think it's especially to reward or enrich our knowledge of real-world events, though it can. I think theme's primary function in almost any game is to create a narrative, or to give a structure for creating one. "I played card 098, it removed card 008 from play, which lead to a deterministic victory state" is much less compelling and viscerally satisfying as "I aimed by lightning bolt at my enemies minion, which cleared the way for a final, all out attack", even though they mean the same thing. Theme is what makes a game resonant, what allows us to put more than the purely analytical part of ourselves into something, and adds tremendously to the quality of the overall experience.

When I play Twilight Struggle, I can feel a certain tension, and my decisions have extra weight since I am making actions that affect the globe, even if that is a fiction. Twilight Struggle's gameplay does not feel to me dissonant with its theme; quite the opposite, it feels integral. I think this is what most people, including designers, expect from their games, and I do think TS meets this bar excellently. Yours it may not, but that is an exceptional expectation you put on a game.
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Steven Cameron
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hoobajoo wrote:
When I play Twilight Struggle, I can feel a certain tension, and my decisions have extra weight since I am making actions that affect the globe, even if that is a fiction.

And in that one game where Fidel was sent into space three times, only to return on the final USSR card play to give the USSR domination of Central America right before final scoring, I could feel the warmth of the sun on Castro's face, as he waved at his cheering supporters as they marked the rise of communism and the end of his four decade space exile.
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John Paul was known as "Space Pope" for a reason.
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I'll admit, I can definitely see why the "metagame" aspect of Twilight Struggle could be considered it's weak point. In many, in fact probably most games, the first turn is a struggle over Iran and Central Asia. This is for no other reason than the way the map and opening influence is laid out; it's purely a function of the game mechanics, and not really derived from the historical source material.

Deck knowledge, on the other hand, isn't really a theme-breaker for me. This is mostly because, with few exceptions, many of these Events were not the direct result of the decisions of Superpowers, but things with which they had to deal with or could take advantage of. Foresight was seen as the key to victory, hence the huge investment in intelligence agencies.

Now, naturally, a historically-accurate game (I mean a game session in which things happened as they did in reality) would probably be the sort of game two noobs would play, if for some miraculous reason they did not blow up the world. The draw of Twilight Struggle, for a history buff, is to test yourself against the leaders of time in how they dealt with their hands, as it were; can you do better than Gorbachev in rescuing Communism from decline?

So I don't the scriptedness, as such. What bugs me is when what is "scripted" has little reference to the events or capabilities of the time. There aren't that many in TS, but they stick out. (Incidentally, this is one of the reasons I've come to rate 1989 higher than Twilight Struggle. The metagame is a lot more open, allowing for some real variations in play strategy right from the beginning, and the events are sufficiently powerful that even knowing the deck doesn't diminish the chaos factor too much.)
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JM and AG clearly stated, in their famous note, that the initial draft of the game was way more complicated and longer, and that they had to cut a lot of things away because they simply had not the time to test them.

And considering that TS is already a pretty long game (and more interesting the more a game last) that's quite reasonable.

What i don't like of this game is that, just like chess, the more you learn it the more it becomes an autoplay, to the point that while a skilled player is almost surely going to stomp a noob, sometimes said noob provides more interesting games cause he plays in a way no "Twilight Strategy Reader" will ever consider possible.

Apart from that, and quite sadly, the outcome of this game is very often dictated by drawing luck in the Mid War. It can't be helped: drawing this card or not in the Mid Car can instantly turn you hand from a nightmare to a breeze, or the opposite. And the more this kind of luck tend to focus on one player, the more the game is set. MAYBE, focusing the game slightly more on the dice and less on the deck would have mitigated simple things like "I draw ABT Treaty while my opponent draw Summit".





 
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Sarchiapon wrote:
JM and AG clearly stated, in their famous note, that the initial draft of the game was way more complicated and longer, and that they had to cut a lot of things away because they simply had not the time to test them.

And considering that TS is already a pretty long game (and more interesting the more a game last) that's quite reasonable.

What i don't like of this game is that, just like chess, the more you learn it the more it becomes an autoplay, to the point that while a skilled player is almost surely going to stomp a noob, sometimes said noob provides more interesting games cause he plays in a way no "Twilight Strategy Reader" will ever consider possible.

Apart from that, and quite sadly, the outcome of this game is very often dictated by drawing luck in the Mid War. It can't be helped: drawing this card or not in the Mid Car can instantly turn you hand from a nightmare to a breeze, or the opposite. And the more this kind of luck tend to focus on one player, the more the game is set. MAYBE, focusing the game slightly more on the dice and less on the deck would have mitigated simple things like "I draw ABT Treaty while my opponent draw Summit".






The luck factor is wildly overstated. Yes, if it is COMPLETELY imbalanced a skilled player could lose to a SLIGHTLY less skilled player. I would think that the same players end up in the Top 3 of the TS tournament every single year at WBC would prove luck is not a very significant factor.
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Sarchiapon wrote:
JM and AG clearly stated, in their famous note, that the initial draft of the game was way more complicated and longer, and that they had to cut a lot of things away because they simply had not the time to test them.

And considering that TS is already a pretty long game (and more interesting the more a game last) that's quite reasonable.

What i don't like of this game is that, just like chess, the more you learn it the more it becomes an autoplay, to the point that while a skilled player is almost surely going to stomp a noob, sometimes said noob provides more interesting games cause he plays in a way no "Twilight Strategy Reader" will ever consider possible.

Apart from that, and quite sadly, the outcome of this game is very often dictated by drawing luck in the Mid War. It can't be helped: drawing this card or not in the Mid Car can instantly turn you hand from a nightmare to a breeze, or the opposite. And the more this kind of luck tend to focus on one player, the more the game is set. MAYBE, focusing the game slightly more on the dice and less on the deck would have mitigated simple things like "I draw ABT Treaty while my opponent draw Summit".

I'd actually argue that an exceedingly poor hand in Early War (particularly is RS/P is involved) is actually more detrimental because Early War development usually often shapes the rest of the game.

Either way, Rob hit the nail on the head.
 
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positivelyrob wrote:
The luck factor is wildly overstated. Yes, if it is COMPLETELY imbalanced a skilled player could lose to a SLIGHTLY less skilled player. I would think that the same players end up in the Top 3 of the TS tournament every single year at WBC would prove luck is not a very significant factor.

MD1616 wrote:

I'd actually argue that an exceedingly poor hand in Early War (particularly is RS/P is involved) is actually more detrimental because Early War development usually often shapes the rest of the game.

Either way, Rob hit the nail on the head.

On the other hand this is a game that last quite a bit, and while everyone can easily accept (not quite so actually, but whatever) that the Russian MUST stomp the early war by default, it is less appreciatable when luck keep siding with the winning player cause the best cards keep falling into his hand even in the Mid War. If the game's overall duration was shorter, it would be easy to call it a day and just begin another game, but that's not always feasible.

 
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Sarchiapon wrote:
positivelyrob wrote:
The luck factor is wildly overstated. Yes, if it is COMPLETELY imbalanced a skilled player could lose to a SLIGHTLY less skilled player. I would think that the same players end up in the Top 3 of the TS tournament every single year at WBC would prove luck is not a very significant factor.

MD1616 wrote:

I'd actually argue that an exceedingly poor hand in Early War (particularly is RS/P is involved) is actually more detrimental because Early War development usually often shapes the rest of the game.

Either way, Rob hit the nail on the head.

On the other hand this is a game that last quite a bit, and while everyone can easily accept (not quite so actually, but whatever) that the Russian MUST stomp the early war by default, it is less appreciatable when luck keep siding with the winning player cause the best cards keep falling into his hand even in the Mid War. If the game's overall duration was shorter, it would be easy to call it a day and just begin another game, but that's not always feasible.


I don't think most experienced players would agree that USSR can only win if he leaves Early War with a point lead.
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MD1616 wrote:
Sarchiapon wrote:
positivelyrob wrote:
The luck factor is wildly overstated. Yes, if it is COMPLETELY imbalanced a skilled player could lose to a SLIGHTLY less skilled player. I would think that the same players end up in the Top 3 of the TS tournament every single year at WBC would prove luck is not a very significant factor.

MD1616 wrote:

I'd actually argue that an exceedingly poor hand in Early War (particularly is RS/P is involved) is actually more detrimental because Early War development usually often shapes the rest of the game.

Either way, Rob hit the nail on the head.

On the other hand this is a game that last quite a bit, and while everyone can easily accept (not quite so actually, but whatever) that the Russian MUST stomp the early war by default, it is less appreciatable when luck keep siding with the winning player cause the best cards keep falling into his hand even in the Mid War. If the game's overall duration was shorter, it would be easy to call it a day and just begin another game, but that's not always feasible.


I don't think most experienced players would agree that USSR can only win if he leaves Early War with a point lead.

Infact i wrote "winning player", not "Russian" .
 
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Sarchiapon wrote:
JM and AG clearly stated, in their famous note, that the initial draft of the game was way more complicated and longer, and that they had to cut a lot of things away because they simply had not the time to test them.

And considering that TS is already a pretty long game (and more interesting the more a game last) that's quite reasonable.

What i don't like of this game is that, just like chess, the more you learn it the more it becomes an autoplay, to the point that while a skilled player is almost surely going to stomp a noob, sometimes said noob provides more interesting games cause he plays in a way no "Twilight Strategy Reader" will ever consider possible.

Apart from that, and quite sadly, the outcome of this game is very often dictated by drawing luck in the Mid War. It can't be helped: drawing this card or not in the Mid Car can instantly turn you hand from a nightmare to a breeze, or the opposite. And the more this kind of luck tend to focus on one player, the more the game is set. MAYBE, focusing the game slightly more on the dice and less on the deck would have mitigated simple things like "I draw ABT Treaty while my opponent draw Summit".






I hate how much skill determines who wins, and how much luck determines who wins.

Well, if you don't like better plays winning all the time, and you don't like when luck has an impact on the outcome of the game, what the hell is supposed to determine the winner?
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hoobajoo wrote:
Sarchiapon wrote:
JM and AG clearly stated, in their famous note, that the initial draft of the game was way more complicated and longer, and that they had to cut a lot of things away because they simply had not the time to test them.

And considering that TS is already a pretty long game (and more interesting the more a game last) that's quite reasonable.

What i don't like of this game is that, just like chess, the more you learn it the more it becomes an autoplay, to the point that while a skilled player is almost surely going to stomp a noob, sometimes said noob provides more interesting games cause he plays in a way no "Twilight Strategy Reader" will ever consider possible.

Apart from that, and quite sadly, the outcome of this game is very often dictated by drawing luck in the Mid War. It can't be helped: drawing this card or not in the Mid Car can instantly turn you hand from a nightmare to a breeze, or the opposite. And the more this kind of luck tend to focus on one player, the more the game is set. MAYBE, focusing the game slightly more on the dice and less on the deck would have mitigated simple things like "I draw ABT Treaty while my opponent draw Summit".






I hate how much skill determines who wins, and how much luck determines who wins.

Well, if you don't like better plays winning all the time, and you don't like when luck has an impact on the outcome of the game, what the hell is supposed to determine the winner?

I don't like the countless games i have played where luck is completely on one side, because such games can last two hours anyway but they are not interesting at all, even if you are winning. The fact that such a long duration make a replaying unlikely does not help. I mentioned the Mid War because i got the impression that lucky draws are more important at that time, both when it comes to get really powerful cards and avoid some really nasty ones.

I accept that these kind of games can happen because, in a sense, there is nothing you can do about it. You like the game, you take it as a whole, even if not ALL games are of your liking.

I never said, moreover, that i don't like skill. I just feel that this game is a little like chess, the kind of games that sometime makes you agonize between a "fun move" and the best one, which is usually obvious. But i guess that what's almost always happen with games with a very competitive playerbase.

 
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The best move in TS is usually obvious? That's news to me...
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MD1616 wrote:
The best move in TS is usually obvious? That's news to me...

In any game with a competitive scene, someone always claims this. Nine times out of ten, they are only considering the immediate impact of a move, and don't see the larger strategic concerns that add the depth to the game.
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MD1616 wrote:
The best move in TS is usually obvious? That's news to me...

One of the interesting aspects of the ongoing BGG versus Moc and BGG versus Theory games has been the frequent and sometimes strong disagreement as to best move by multiple posters I recognize as very skilled players. I've never thought the best move was usually obvious, but these games have highlighted an even greater disagreement among experts than I had anticipated.
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positivelyrob wrote:
The luck factor is wildly overstated. Yes, if it is COMPLETELY imbalanced a skilled player could lose to a SLIGHTLY less skilled player. I would think that the same players end up in the Top 3 of the TS tournament every single year at WBC would prove luck is not a very significant factor.

I'm somewhere in the middle on this. Competitive results show that the top players consistently do the best. On the other hand, luck definitely can play a major role in any single game, and it's entirely possible for a reasonably competent player to beat even one of the best players in the world if luck is on his side. To me, this is part of the genius of the game because it makes games against opponents of different skill levels still potentially competitive.
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How is this thread still getting responses... Must be the clickbait title.
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I know I'm ashamed of myself.
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District wrote:
How is this thread still getting responses... Must be the clickbait title.

Hey, this is probably the most respectful, productive "I don't like this game" thread I've ever seen on BGG. We all care about this game, and like talking about its merits, and it's great we can do that without name calling or blatant trolling.

Or it's the title. But either way, it got you to post, right?
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dragon0085 wrote:

It is kind of like playing poker if beyond just 8 of diamonds, this card as 'force every player to put 2 chips into pot' and 9 of diamonds 'the player to your right draws 1 more card', so not only do you have to figure out you hand, the pure number of effects is a vast negative.


The easiest is to explain with a metaphor, say you have typical chess, but now each pawn has a special rule. Your leftmost pawn can move 2 spaces every turn, the next pawn can attack units in front of it, the 3rd pawn can hit 2 diagonals away... does all this add 'depth' or fun?

Both of those examples sound amazing and would probably make their respective games actually enjoyable to play provided they helpfully laid out all the abilities on the cards/pieces. Hell, the second example is basically The Duke, and I love that game to pieces.
 
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Puerto Rico and Race for the Galaxy are more positive games, while Twilight Struggle is a negative game.

IN PR and RFTG you are building something, gaining more things, growing your options and abilities. I have not played either of those games, yet, but this is what I saw of them. I hope this is right, if not correct me.

In Twilight Struggle, you are dealing with negative things. It is a crisis management game. Yes you are trying to build your influence around the world, but rather than having mostly good events aid you, you have mostly bad events trying to stop you, as things in the world happen (simulated by card play). Sometimes you know something is coming up and you might be able to work around it (bad card in your hand), sometimes you will cause a bad event for your opponent to give him a headache (good card in your hand).

It is a very cutthroat game in my opinion, as you go for each others throat/influence right away and be a nuisance wherever you can. The beauty is in switching the dynamic with certain events, trying to gain the initiative and being the person to dictate and forcing your opponent to respond rather than to lead. Play a scoring card gives your opponent breathing room and he can start trouble. Play an event that eliminates an opponent from a critical area and he will have to respond, trying to break back in there or ignore it and it will cost him in points.

Playing that one beneficial event that aids you greatly or hurts your opponent makes these individual situations feel much more interesting to me. Because in all that darkness of this struggle for world domination, as we explore new coasts to find new worlds, a shining ray of hope shines upon the beauty that is De-Stalinization.
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