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Post 29 Mar 2017, 9:21 am

Perhaps this should've been in the "Variants Lab" but oh well.

As you might imagine, I need a break. But I will very likely host again someday, and these are some things I'm thinking about doing in my next game. Bear in mind these are my own thoughts, and players may talk me out of these or introduce other concepts into the next game I host.

No more starting unlimited range for Russia and the USA.
I would have it so that the A power can hit any province in the world, but the player must decide which colony to build the nuke to reach the target.

No More Arbitrary Voting Delay:
As soon as the world's player pool has taken over enough votes for the ABB coalition (aka, any coalition) to win, the voting begins! This will add a lot of unseen dynamics, and force the split of the votes and the orders. I wish I had done it with HoV, but it is important to see how the votes went before you respond with your spring orders.

Especially at the start of the game, I find it very interesting seeing who is going to build what where. Particularly so with the USA, UK, France and even though he did not get the opportunity, China. Are they going to super solidify their homeland? Place armies or fleets in the colonies? Build a wing as a symbol of trust to the other allies in the area? I think it would be interesting for that to happen more often. I was planning to have all players have at least 2 SCs. One capital and one SC at least several game years away. The main problem with this is the weakest nations by this ruleset would have a fleet/army and a wing. This would force recalibration of the entire power scheme. This would also alleviate some strain of drawing the short straw of an E nation with a geographical disadvantage. Instead of the game at stake, it's "just" your colony. Getting all playable nations to have a colony works well with...

Alternate Timeline:
Have fun changing the details of history a little bit (and a lot) to get the world how we need it. Things like the continental United States being split into Confederate States of America, and perhaps even the Republic of California and/or Texas. Have world war two end in a stalemate. Germany starts larger with the famous acquisitions of France and Poland. Things like that.

Direct Sequel:
Use the History of Victory map and set it in the future. Some nuked cities have been rebuilt. Some nations have acquired independence again. Make a lot of the supply centers for the larger nations be dormant like how Russia/USA starts NWO traditionally.

No more forgiving deadlines:
I started HoV as a relaxed game, and I kept that true with forgiving deadlines as often as I could. But to be strictly fair to all players, a super strict deadline is fair for people of all time zones.

No more validating:
The biggest problem that I have with validating is the vigilance required. It's not that I don't want to spend the time, but that sometimes I don't have the time. I had more time during the week when I started HoV. I was able to validate orders more. As time went on I couldn't really do that anymore. So the people that happened to have invalid orders the second half of the game didn't have that safety net of the first half of the game. Yes there were oodles of fine print to not rely on it, but I feel the consistency throughout is more fair.

Less Fancy Maps Presentation:
I can do the support lines, the convoy and nuke arcs in my sleep. Which is good because if you do it for 44 players, you get sleepy. By removing them, the workload is reduced and I should be done computing the outcome of battle before I'm so tired I can't count anymore when it comes time to update that table upright.

More Clear Base Map:
I'd like to make the starting map larger to the point where no unit will ever cover up the label of what's province it is in again.
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Post 29 Mar 2017, 10:11 am

Zeldark wrote:No more starting unlimited range for Russia and the USA.

Disagree: USA should absolutely have unlimited range. It is the most powerful nation on the board, and as such is already a global target. Without the ability to protect its colonies, USA will be at a further disadvantage overseas. Russia, meanwhile, has no colonies to defend, but that also means less opportunity for growth. The unlimited range given to Russia helps balance it with the other B-class nations.

Zeldark wrote:No More Arbitrary Voting Delay

Disagree: There's a case to be made for an earlier voting schedule, but under this rule we would have begun voting at the end of year 2. The game needs a chance to breathe a little before voting begins.

Zeldark wrote:Colonies

Unfortunately, I disagree again. Colonies are fun, but they are intended to mirror global influence from the larger nations. If everyone has a colony then it's far less interesting what people will do with them. That said, giving a few colonies here or there to Russia and/or some of the C-class nations could be interesting.

Zeldark wrote:Alternate Timeline

This is just variant mapping. It would be fun to come up with some new maps to use with the same rules, but we shouldn't change the "base" map too drastically. I don't really see a "need" to break up the US for instance.

Zeldark wrote:Direct Sequel

An interesting idea, but as above this is basically just a variant map. Not really sure how this would be set up.

Zeldark wrote:No more forgiving deadlines

I prefer forgiving deadlines. I know I avoided many NMR's throughout the two games I GM'd by allowing orders to come in after the deadline. The downside is, if I allowed those orders, then I had to also allow other changes. That said, this is a GM-specific call and not a rule.

Zeldark wrote:No more validating:

There is no need to validate orders. Most players just want to know if their orders were received or not. *Sometimes* I would message someone back if I noticed an egregious error or something that didn't make sense. This is not necessary, but most people were grateful. In general, though, players should sink or swim on their own. It's not the GM's job to monitor the orders, just to adjudicate them.

Zeldark wrote:Less Fancy Maps Presentation

Yes, please. Don't get me wrong, the maps were fantastic, but it took far too long for both the GM and the players to get results out. The players want results. The GM wants sleep. Anything that makes both of those happen sooner is a good idea. I would forget the nuclear warfare maps, and you can drop the retreat and adjustment maps. The results of those seasons are more important to show than the action.

Zeldark wrote:More Clear Base Map

Don't let me stop you, but larger maps could make posting more difficult.

Sorry to be overly negative. I like new ideas, and have tried many myself (with less than stellar outcomes). in the end, we almost always end up right back where we started. The base game is basically fine where it is in my opinion. Many of these changes would actually classify as a NWO variant, which isn't a bad thing. In fact, I would welcome it, just as long as it is clear up front that it is a variant of the base, and not a replacement. I suspect it would get a better reception that way.
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Post 29 Mar 2017, 12:11 pm

Many of these changes would actually classify as a NWO variant, which isn't a bad thing. In fact, I would welcome it, just as long as it is clear up front that it is a variant of the base, and not a replacement. I suspect it would get a better reception that way.

Personally I love the idea of a NWO variant. The potential is enormous and could be a lot of fun for us jaded veterans. In fact most of the changes that Joe is mooting here would only really work in that context. For example, the idea of scrapping unlimited nukes for USA/Russia is a bad one if it's just a change to the base game, but combine it with an alternate timeline and it would make a lot of sense.

The obvious change in an alternate timeline concept would be the 'Harry Turtledove' scenario of a divided USA. There's masses of potential here.Not only would it make the North America region much more competitive and interesting (and justify more stars being placed there), it would also open up some other regions which are currently American colonies to be given over to alternative powers. In a divided America scenario it's likely that Japan would have risen to be a bigger global power. One way to simulate that would be to give them Guam or Okinawa (or maybe scrap the NK nation and make Korea part of Japan). That would lead to a three-way battle in Asia between Japan/China/Russia which would have a lot of potential. The same divided USA scenario would probably have resulted in the Ottoman Empire surviving WWI more or less intact, so we could see a stronger Turkey.

This all ties into the concept of more colonies. I agree that everybody having colonies is daft, but a timeline in which no dominant superpower arose would have resulted in more countries having them. Germany could end up with a colony in Namibia or the South Pacific, Italy could have one in Ethiopia and so on. This would allow us to reduce the number of players down to 30-35 quite easily without having too negative an effect on game balance, which in turn would make it easier to fill the game.

It's worth looking into I think.
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Post 29 Mar 2017, 2:00 pm

No more unlimited range for USA/Russia

I believe these should be kept. More below.

No more arbitrary voting delay

I agree that this should be kept, if for no other reason than the practical purpose that voting is a bunch of extra steps for the players/GM to do when there is very little likelihood of the game ending in the first few years.


One of the things that I like about NWO is the asymmetry of it. I like that there are countries that start with a single supply center, some with two, and some with more. I also don't think that China/Russia need to have colonies necessarily. It would be kind of cool to have a small power that also has a wing colony, but I don't think it should be universal.

Alternate Timeline/Direct Sequel

Go nuts! Though I think part of the draw of NWO is also that it tries to mirror the current geopolitical status of the world.

No more forgiving deadlines

Obviously this is more of a continuum. For big games like this, having hard deadlines is important. But in the end, this is at the discretion of the GM. I don't think polling players to ask about a deadline change is the right way to do it. You should just make a decision and go with it.


I wouldn't validate orders. That just takes too much time. Players need to be responsible for their orders and not rely on a GM who is already spending a ton of time running a game to do it for them. Sending receipts is easy enough (in fact if you just make an email address just for orders, you can create an auto-reply).

Less fancy maps

They were cool, but yeah anything you can do to make it less onerous and time consuming for the GM is better.

Also regarding MAD orders, I definitely think these should be toned down to one or MAYBE two "if" statements each.
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Post 30 Mar 2017, 8:36 am

Zeldark wrote:No more starting unlimited range for Russia and the USA.

I disagree with this. Partly because it's anti-historical, but also because they need it. I've played in 3 NWO games now, and I think this is the best I've seen Russia do. And as the US player in the game before this one, I certainly didn't find the unlimited range overpowered. I don't see that there's a problem here that needs solved. The A/B powers aren't that great as it is. Yeah China ran away with it last game, but that was just because of how the players played it not because anything is overpowered.

Zeldark wrote:No More Arbitrary Voting Delay:

This could be ok. You could try this and see what happens. I think I'd want to up the number of votes required if you did. In fact I kind of think we should do that anyway All the games I've been in ended immediately as soon as voting started, and it feels like that's because so many players just want the game over when we get there.

Zeldark wrote:Colonies

I don't love this idea. It feels very artificial and forced. I think there's a lot of value in the 1 sc powers. Plus having a 2 center power with the 2 centers in different areas is a little weird. If you want to do that, I'd leave the board alone and just have some players play two powers as one. (E.g. have Vietnam and Ecuador be treated as one country.) You can just pretend those two countries are starting out allied, and it would function exactly the same as having colonies without mucking up a board that works reasonably well.

Zeldark wrote:Alternate Timeline/Direct Sequel:

These are really just map variants. I'm ok with map variants in general, though I do think there's a lot of value in replaying the same map over and over making minor tweaks to improve it as you go along. When you run a map variant a single time you've got a high risk of having the map be unbalanced in ways you didn't intend. There's nothing wrong with that though. It can be fun. I don't think I'd do it if I was running the game though.

Zeldark wrote:No more forgiving deadlines/No more validating/Less Fancy Maps Presentation

I think all this is fine. IMO, this is really up to the GM and we should just be happy they are running it at all! In general I think it's up to the players to get their orders right, and not the GM's job to proofread it for them. And anything that makes the GM's job easier is a plus in my book.