Vikings: AARs

An 8 player map set in the Middle Ages during the height of the Viking Raids. Created by Erlend "Joe" Janbu. GM'ed by Nanooktheeskimo.

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Re: Vikings: AARs

Postby VGhost » 02 Feb 2017, 19:40

nopunin10did wrote:Additionally, the map can get pretty crowded with units once all the neutrals are taken. There are 176 territories to 85 SCs, a 2.07 ratio. Classic is 2.21, 1900 is 2.31, and Versailles is 2.26, for comparison.

This is something I've been looking at for a while now. The basic problem is the square-cube law's less famous cousin: area increases faster than perimeter. Unit supply depends on area, but borders approximate perimeter. So you end up with more units for a given length border the more supply centers you occupy. To maintain mobility, as the map size increases, the ratio of total territories to supply ought also increase; or the victory condition needs to decrease so that powers don't get big enough to completely jam up movement. Obviously it's possible to do some of each. I haven't worked out the formula (you can model the "ideal" situation with a hexagonal tiling), but the smaller victory condition for Viking is plausible, virtually required, on these grounds.

nopunin10did wrote:I wonder if the issue isn't so much the victory condition but rather how that victory condition compares to the number of units you start with (and the low neutral-to-starting-unit ratio). Classic Dip, for instance, starts players with an average of 3.14 units and has a victory condition of 18. That means on average, you have to grow to 5.73 times your starting size.

1900 is similar, with 3.57 per player and 5.04 growth factor required.

With Viking, however, going from 8.00 to 26 is just a 3.25 growth factor.

I think this is more a length of game thing then a problem as such. Many variants do have victory conditions set around the 5x mark - e.g. Baltic, with only 22 SCs total, has 3 home centers each and a victory target of 15 - but others don't: War in the Americas has 3.4 home centers (if I'm counting right) but the solo goal is 31, 9.12x growth! If there's something unusual, it's that Viking is a larger map with lower growth required, but that adds speed to the game.

The map could use some tweaking, I'm not sure it needs a major overhaul. It seems to me that we're talking about whether people like the style of this particular variant. I love the size, quick finish, and general gameplay "feel" turn to turn: I'm less sold on the map design and unit/power placements.

My major concerns are:

1) that it seems to break down into 2 or 3 "zones" very quickly - in this game, e.g. I had virtually no impact on the final outcome of the game.
2) the intertwining of powers makes it very difficult to find options in the beginning of the game.
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Re: Vikings: AARs

Postby Nanook » 25 Feb 2017, 06:08

I think once you start messing with the map size/distribution of SCs, and starting SC numbers for each power, you're fundamentally changing the game. Not every game has to hew to the same formula as Classic or it's most accepted cousins, 1900 and Versailles. Vikings is a game meant in part to allow play on a bigger map, without running into some of the pitfalls normally present on an enlarged map--namely, easy logjams and interminable games that end in large and/or unsatisfying draws more often than not (see world dip and world influence for two relatively recent examples of this). It's not a perfect variant by any means, but I think that it achieves most of it's goals pretty handily. It has a fast start (you basically start in a mid game situation), it doesn't drag on for eight months, it's more likely than not to end in a solo or a two way draw, and it requires you to play aggressively tempered by just enough patience.

So maybe it could use a little bit of rejiggering so it doesn't break down quite as easily into zones, as GhostEcho mentioned, but it doesn't need a complete overhaul by any means. It's an acquired taste in some ways for sure, but that's part of the beauty of the forum--games that aren't everyone's cup of tea still get run, and in some cases (like Vikings), those games are quite good despite not being perfect.

Bottom line, it accomplishes it's goals as a variant, whether you agree with those goals or not.
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