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Subject: Ranking COIN games by complexity rss

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Tomas Riha
Sweden
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Hi can anyone help me out pleae.

I would find a ranking of the COIN games based complexity very helpful.

Also including the upcomming titles to help me decide which ones to get.

Thanks
Tomas
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From bottom to top:

CL->AA---->AdP----------------->FitL--->LoD
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Jason Moore
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Liberty or Death is more complex than Fire in the Lake?

Uh oh. I may need more than the rest of this week off. And some anti-migraine pills.
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Volko Ruhnke
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I did one (with detailed explanation) in the most recent issue of C3i, Nr29.
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PC SJWGeek
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My five cents on the subject.

All of them share the same basic rules and when it comes to learning the system, I don't think their complexity really varies that much. Each of them has some unique twists, of course, but the basic engine works the same way in each of them.

When talking about complexity in the various COIN titles, we can identify those twists, but ranking them by complexity is another matter and subject to opinion. The COIN titles below are not ordered by complexity.

Cuba Libre has the smallest map. LoC's are replaced by Economic Centers, making all the (few) spaces easy to distinguish. The events are usually very straightforward. I can see why many players feel it's the least complex COIN title.

Andean Abyss has the most intuitive factions and faction interactions, IMHO, so it's a bit faster to determine what you should be trying to do in order to accomplish a certain goal.

A Distant Plain is a brain burner, mainly because the relationships between the various factions are so uneasy. Calling another faction your ally doesn't necessarily mean much, not for long. Useful temporary deals can be made with your worst enemy in order to gain an advantage against another. Bring a few towels to wipe the sweat and tears away.

Fire in the Lake introduces a few new mechanisms. It's commies versus non-commies, and depending on the number of players, is somewhere between AA and ADP in terms of faction relationships. If the players know what they're doing, tensions between allies can run high on occassion, but I still feel it's more straightforward than ADP.

Liberty or Death has the most complex victory conditions. Unless you keep your eye on the score at all times, it's all too easy to push another faction into an ass-whopping victory - while thinking you've already won. The movement rules may feel a bit difficult to learn at first - especially with previous COIN experience, possibly affecting complexity for some players.
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Oerjan Ariander
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I'd put ADP and LoD on the same level, with FitL higher than either... LoD's combat mechanics are more complex than ADP's; but OTOH its "LoC" equivalent is easier to use, the map is simpler, and there's no equivalent to ADP's interlocking Aid-Support-Patronage complex of game mechanics to worry about. FitL in turn has everything ADP has, plus more complex combat mechanics (though not up to LoD level), a larger map and far more pieces than either LoD or ADP.

LoD has more legal combinations of Ops (or "Commands", in LoD) and Special Abilities, though that can be both good and bad: bad because it allows more tricks with smart SA choices which can cause Analysis Paralysis in players who are so inclined (and it makes the NP flowcharts quite a lot more complex, too); but also good because your choice of Special Activity doesn't determine your choice of Operation to the same degree. (Less of a problem in ADP than in AA or CL, granted, but is there any ADP Govt player who hasn't at some point cursed the inability to Govern while executing a Sweep Operation...?)

The main difficulty I had with LoD early on is that except for certain Events you can't really hurt your allied Faction without shooting yourself in the foot or worse. Again this is both good and bad; bad because it can lead to some extremely frustrating situations, but also good because it greatly reduces the "kingmaker" tendencies present in the other COIN games: if your ally is ahead of you in LoD, the best way to catch up is usually to keep bashing your enemies instead of trying to backstab your ally (which is what you'd normally do in the other COIN games).

Also, the LoD rules use a lot more words and longer examples than the ADP rules. Volko's writing style in AA/CL/ADP/FitL is extremely terse and condensed, while Harold's isn't - in part because Volko has received quite a few comments about the terse style being difficult to understand. This makes the LoD rules use twice as many pages as the earlier COIN games, without actually having that many additional rules.

Regards,
Oerjan
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Zelroy wrote:
My five cents on the subject...

My comments on this. Between AA and CB the main difference is the size. Less pieces and small map helps keeping you focused. The rest is essentially equal.

Between AdP and FitL... After several plays i feel that faction wise the viable strategies are not as convoluted in AdP as in FitL, saving the infamous Warlords, a hard nut to crack. FitL is much more open and difficult to play. Also the operations are simpler and no pivot cards.

LoD: Pivot events, leaders, random battles, the most complex operation set in the series, forts, supply lines, double victory conditions... many things keep track of. Also sometimes the game trolls you. As patriots I had to play twice to realize that the Washington ability is a red earring and you do not want to seek battle with the British.
 
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repairmanjack wrote:
Liberty or Death is more complex than Fire in the Lake?

Uh oh. I may need more than the rest of this week off. And some anti-migraine pills.
Games that do not give you a headache are not worth it.
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Jonathan Entner
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FWIW, I like the style of the ADP and FitL rule-books. It's easier to look things up if I don't have to wade through a lot. To be fair, I haven't read the LoD rule-book, so I can't really compare them to it.

 
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chris mata
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which issue of c3i ?
 
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Volko Ruhnke
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The article on COIN Series complexity is in issue Nr 29. (Edited my comment above also to give the issue #). Volko
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chris mata
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Volko wrote:
The article on COIN Series complexity is in issue Nr 29. (Edited my comment above also to give the issue #). Volko

thanks. I am 1 or 2 behind.
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Mark Crane
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Where does Pendragon fit in the mix?
 
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Oerjan Ariander
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craniac wrote:
Where does Pendragon fit in the mix?
Relatively large map, by far the most elaborate combat mechanics in the series to date, lots of different unit types with similar but not quite identical abilities, four different types of Strongholds ("Base" equivalents), LOTS of random rolls, and victory conditions that change radically over time. None of the mechanics are particularly complex when viewed in isolation, but there are so. many. of. them, which means that there are also more interactions between them than in any other COIN game so far. I rate Pendragon as a bit heavier than FitL.

Regards,
Oerjan
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Chris Lampard
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Oerjan wrote:
craniac wrote:
Where does Pendragon fit in the mix?
Relatively large map, by far the most elaborate combat mechanics in the series to date, lots of different unit types with similar but not quite identical abilities, four different types of Strongholds ("Base" equivalents), LOTS of random rolls, and victory conditions that change radically over time. None of the mechanics are particularly complex when viewed in isolation, but there are so. many. of. them, which means that there are also more interactions between them than in any other COIN game so far. I rate Pendragon as a bit heavier than FitL.

Regards,
Oerjan
All of which make it a glorious game to play (IMHO).
 
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