Both Sides of The C.O.I.N.


Initial ramblings:
This COIN malarkey is a real brain tester *scratches beard in a thoughtful manner, adopting intellectual pose but quickly deselects pose when the realisation hits that I have no beard and it was, in fact, a beard belonging to the bloke sat opposite*

Counter Insurgence is the key to Volko Ruhnke’s game concept and in the one I own, Liberty or Death, four players are able to pit themselves vying for control of the US in seventeen hundred and frozen stiff. Imagine, if you will, a Tory, a Patriot, an Indian, a Loyalist and a Frenchman all walk into a bar…

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Liberty or Death

Meat & Potatoes:
“What? Four meaty players…there are five potato people at the start of the joke above (one that was never finished) and what has all that got to do with solitaire gaming?” I imagine you will all be shrieking at your screen. Well, logically, those clever chaps at GMT games have everything under control. Logic being the operative word here. All the factions in the game have their very own Bot. A Series of logic commands that enable we, the budding, intrepid gamer to inserrect America. The flow diagrams give everything a player needs to work out how an AI opponent will react to the current game situation. And it doesn’t stop there. Oh crikey, no! All 3 opponents can be worked as bots (actually all four factions could be played as AI, which poses an altogether different game…if solo is one player, I have no idea what to call no-player games…No-lo?)

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This lends for an incredibly challenging set of opponents, especially as, say for example I were playing the British…well the Indians are allied to me but have their own sneaky, cunning game victory agenda. As an aside, I should inform you that I have fallen a cropper to this Bot deviousness. Playing the British, I helped and took advantage of the Indian faction to aid my cause only to have the rug pulled from under me, discovering the Indian faction benefited from my progress and won during the 3rd Winter Quarter.

Artificial Intelligence:
The system is incredibly well thought out and really does provide, at least for me, a superb, challenging solo game experience and one I have to admit to having returned to many, many times. Replayability for the solo variant is as good as the multiplayer and it is possible to play any faction (or allied pairs). Sooo many choices then! The decisions on the respective Bot flow charts strangely ooze unique Bot intelligence.

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Cunning Bot Flow Charts

A little scary, really, as the Bots invariably and ruthlessly scupper my well thought out tactical game-plan. The choices of responses/actions to be taken by a Bot make each opponent play and feel very different to each other, reacting uniquely to how situations are developing on the board.

Nitty Gritty:
I openly admit to loving this game as a solo venture but have to admit I still have to revert to the gamebook/rule book for guidance. It may be my complete lack of intelligence but I struggle at times with the phraseology on the bot flowcharts. Now I understand information has to be truncated to make a concise, easily readable player sheets or we would be left with a pretty hefty document the size of a medium sized whale. It may be the wording in some cases, as you work your way down the *do x if y is happening in z location* if not move to next line of text…etc*…I’m not always sure if it is ‘either’, ‘and’, ‘or’ and get myself muddled, hence the need to refer to the long hand version.

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The rules for solo play are good and make logical sense, with some handy examples of how the solo game works using the customary GMT playthrough example game.

This, I imagine would prove to be useful…I, however, watched Ricky Royal’s playthrough series…in fact it was an accident stumbling upon said video series that got me interested in the game in the first place…then I was further persuaded by Katie’s Game Corner.

Multiples of Solo:
As a multiplayer game adapted to solo play, this is a masterpiece. The commands controlling the opponent retain all the tension and competition the multi-player game offers. The Bot logic sheets work very well (ambiguous wording aside) and allow the solo player to fully immerse themselves in the power struggle of the North American Insurrection.

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This fantastic system (which I have experienced in A distant plain, Liberty or Death and the up & coming Pendragon title) lends its self perfectly to the solo player, making a very successful multiplayer series accessible to solitaire gamers

This C.O.I.N Bot earns its self a whopping  rating of 8/8 (sides on the octagonal gaming table)



 

A link to …of Liberty, death and colonial Insurrection the main Liberty or death write-up

#3 …of Liberty, Death and Colonial Insurrection

 



 

Something for the Weekend Sir?!

 

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