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Vader
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Re: [ALPHA] THE WORLD AT WAR comments/feedback

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 15:37

Interconnecting wheels, with wheels within wheels; interlocking causes and effects.

I do not believe the plummeting oil prices alone can account for the Soviet collapse; nor can defence spending alone account for it, nor the declining respect for the central government resulting from the Perestroika alone.

Some factors are greater, some smaller; some could in hindsight have been deflected relatively easily, others remain more troublesome — but these factors, and other processes going on at least since 1980-ish, add to a vector sum that historically ends where it does.

From my perspective, building a plausible story is more about tweaking the component vectors to bring the sum where it needs to be, rather than introducing large, sweeping cataclysmic events with little or no foundation in preceding causes.
[i]Before[/i] clicking that response button — [i]are you sure you actually [b]read[/b] it?[/i]

...[i]and[/i] checked if something more was posted on the subject [b]after[/b] it? ;)
 
AEB
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Re: [ALPHA] THE WORLD AT WAR comments/feedback

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 15:45

It certainly wasn't one cause that brought down the Soviet Union just like it wasn't one cause that brought down the Western Roman Empire.

The USSR was going to collapse at some point in time, the fact is that point was 1991. What we are all trying to find is what changes to the variables could keep the USSR not just in existence but also sufficient strong enough to face NATO in a hot war as occurs in TW and sustain a war from 1997 to 2000..

It is really not that easy.
 
Evildrsmith
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Re: [ALPHA] THE WORLD AT WAR comments/feedback

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 16:29

ok, a couple thoughts, so I'll do them as separate posts to avoid TL:DR.

When it comes to the national settings in the background and whether people care.

Pretty much everyone is going to play their first game in Poland (perhaps moving into Germany), because that's the default start position.
Since FL have also given us a Swedish setting, that might get a fair few number of players setting their campaigns there too.

But pretty soon, American players will want to set their games in the US (which I suspect is at least partly why the 1st edition supplements moved from Europe to mostly set in the USA).
Most of us that aren't French are probably not going to be setting our games in France (Sorry Nicolas :) ).
Most players won't be rushing to set their games in the UK, either.

So the 'national backgrounds' need to work mostly for players from those countries, since they are the players (in crude terms, FL's customers) that care about those areas most, will most likely be using that data, and will be the ones that are picking holes in the background if it doesn't stand up to a bit of scrutiny.

Players are (perhaps) more likely to run games outside their initial (fairly narrow?) outlook if different locations are manifestly different to each other, and provide a different game experience.

So a 'war-zone Poland /Germany', a 'Survivors UK' and a 'political' France seems a better combination than a 'war-zone Poland/Germany', a 'war-zone UK' and a 'war-zone France', where the difference is the languages spoken, the weapons used and perhaps the precise level of devastation.
 
AEB
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Re: [ALPHA] THE WORLD AT WAR comments/feedback

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 16:41

I was surprised that more people who backed the Kickstarter were from the USA than every other nation combined. How subsequent sales will go and if that split remains will depend on how the US market views the new addition.
 
Evildrsmith
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Re: [ALPHA] THE WORLD AT WAR comments/feedback

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 16:54

AEB - Thanks for the oil price chart.

I think it was Fenhorn that said small changes could have big impacts, and perhaps it would be helpful to look at what changes would be needed to bring the background closer to what those of us that have issues with it currently could accept with reasonable suspension of disbelief.

It seems to be that the SU is way too strong, NATO way too weak, and the rebuild of the SU forces way to quick and easy.
I've previously posted somewhere or other the thought that Desert storm in 1991 could become the war-on-terror style regime change in Iraq: that could bog down the US (and a few other nations) and also mean that military spending is more focused on counter insurgency kit than upgrading things for WW3. Also, training for high intensity warfare suffers.
As the war drags on, throw in some disunity amongst other NATO countries. That weakens NATO somewhat

With Libya/Syria/Iran backing the insurgency, now add the SU supporting the insurgency through proxies. Throw in the Iranian/Saudi proxy war in Yemen starting a bit earlier. Add a rumour that Pakistan has supplied Saudi with a nuke (wouldn't need to be true, just the rumour of it would scare the markets). Oil prices now rocket (perhaps).
That gives the SU the cash to stave off collapse for a few more years.
Then, there needs to be a credible trigger - a desperate act to stop the collapse of the SU seems credible in theory, but I can't think of one....
A partial break up of the SU, with the Baltic states becoming independent, followed a few years later by re-annexation by SU, leading to a partial NATO response? Some nations go to war, others don't until the war lands on their territory?
 
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Acebuckeye13
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Re: [ALPHA] THE WORLD AT WAR comments/feedback

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 18:07

But pretty soon, American players will want to set their games in the US (which I suspect is at least partly why the 1st edition supplements moved from Europe to mostly set in the USA).

I mean, speaking as an American player, post-apoc stories set in the US are a dime a dozen—we love to write about ourselves getting blown up/balkanizing/collapsing into general anarchy/etc. So while the Twilight: 2000 system and setting would work perfectly fine for US-centered games, I'd personally find anything set in the US inherently less interesting than the existing European setting.
 
swedishtrex
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Re: [ALPHA] THE WORLD AT WAR comments/feedback

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 18:18

But pretty soon, American players will want to set their games in the US (which I suspect is at least partly why the 1st edition supplements moved from Europe to mostly set in the USA).

I mean, speaking as an American player, post-apoc stories set in the US are a dime a dozen—we love to write about ourselves getting blown up/balkanizing/collapsing into general anarchy/etc. So while the Twilight: 2000 system and setting would work perfectly fine for US-centered games, I'd personally find anything set in the US inherently less interesting than the existing European setting.
I am swedish and while i will start in sweden with my campaign i am more like you, i intend on moving it to the UK within 6 months and connecting the resistances :)
 
Evildrsmith
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Re: [ALPHA] THE WORLD AT WAR comments/feedback

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 18:50

Well Acebuckeye and Swedishtrex have put me in my place :)

Though Acebuckeye does sort-of make my point: more of the same is boring, something different is interesting
 
Olefin
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Re: [ALPHA] THE WORLD AT WAR comments/feedback

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 21:33

Great discussion here. I'll just make two quick points:

1. "Plausible" is not an absolute term. What's plausible varies immensely from person to person. No matter what backstory we'd write that ended up with scattered US troops in Poland in the year 2000, it would be called implausible by some - and rightly so (because this core premise simply is not realistic, as we now, in hindsight, now - but it's still fun to roleplay in!). Of course, I'm not saying we should not aim for plausibility at all, but creating a backstory that everyone will feel is fully plausible is not possible. You will need to suspend your disbelief, some more than others.

2. I think far too much has been made about the Soviets being invincible and such. This is just not in the Alpha documents. Yes, the Soviets need to be a poweful threat to the player characters for them to be an interesting threat, but they are not described as some all-powerful force anywhere in the books. Here are two quotes on the matter from the Player's Manual:
"The fighting rages for weeks. The US-led forces fight desperately against the more numerous Soviet forces, leaving both sides severely battered." (page 148)
"The fractured Soviet Army still outnumbers NATO elements, but no one can be said to have “won” anything." (page 09)

That said - some changes, large and small, will be made to the backstory as we move from the Alpha to the final game.
Except Tomas that is not how page 148 reads - so perhaps you havent kept up with the Alpha - you keep leaving off the critical part - "In the end, the NATO divisions of Operation Reset are overrun. survivors fleeing into the woods." Verbatim page 148 - meaning you only quoting half the story - and that last line means the Soviets have won and destroyed EIGHT FULL NATO Corps that are at leasts 25000 men each (as you said they were the size of pre-war NATO divisions). So when are you going to admit you wrote a Soviets Uber Alles Alpha and that your start basically destroys NATO and the US Army - as the Players Manual makes it very clear that this was everything the US and NATO had left
 
JerryB
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Re: [ALPHA] THE WORLD AT WAR comments/feedback

Wed 02 Dec 2020, 09:25

One thing I'd add is the problem of incongruities and the way human imagination works. RPGs settings tend to unravel over time if they have certain in-built incongruities from the outset. As more people apply brain power to a setting, the more it can potentially become unravelled if it's core has various flaws. Now, no setting is one hundred percent bullet-proof, but if problems of logic, inter-relations, etc are problematic from the outset then the setting is shooting itself in the foot. It could also potentially limit future output for that rpg, and thus the rpg will die a slow death. If an rpg is to have legs and potentially be a source of income for a publisher, it's going to need a certain amount of setting consistency in order for that to happen.

Okay, it will be tricky to come up with a setting structure that satisfies everyone, but perhaps it would be useful to reach some sort of consensus about what does and doesn't work. If it's possible to amend and tweak things, so much the better. Otherwise, one would have concerns about the lifespan of the rpg and the potential for new material to be written for it, free or commercial.

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