I've been playing DP since November or so I guess, on about a weekly basis. My friend and I worked up through the basic scenarios and have now played about 6-7 versions of the full game.
Boy does this game take a long time! I don't know if everyone has this experience or not, but we'll often play from 7-8 at night until 2 in the morning, and then one player will concede the game when we're on turn 6 or 7. It might be that the game just takes a VERY long time (I blame my friend for being slow!), but it does seem to be a more substantial undertaking than the relatively limited number of units makes it seem. I think it's because the units are so diverse and there are so many interesting options each turn.
It's an EXCELLENT game, which I know won't be news to anyone, but I thought it was worth repeating. I've played a lot of games in my life (to the extent that I'm very surprised the original DP ever made it by me), and this is fairly unique as a fantasy wargame that really has some meat on it. I can't think of another game that has a similar level of complexity and is playable.
I give a slight nod to the Lunars as the stronger of the two main powers. I think the Sartar battalia as listed is clearly stronger, but the Lunars have more good infantry (hence more "virtual" troops under the replacement rules) and the FMC, which are extremely powerful. The most serious disadvantage the Lunars have in terms of the battalia is the physical weakness of their magicians, which makes the Sylphs (and, even worse, the Cannon Cult) a real danger. The Sartar magicians, on the other hand, are like regular combat units which happen to have a spirit attached.
The Lunars also seem better positioned vis-a-vis the minor neutrals, with the Hydra and Red Dragon virtually a given for them, as well as the Movement Spirit. They also arguably have the inside track on the Green Dragon, though Sartar can beat them there if they're determined enough (and brave enough to use their flyers as emissaries). They are closer to the Tusk Riders and favored to find the Puppeteers as well.
Balanced against that is Sartar's relative advantage with the major neutrals in diplomacy. The Dragonewts are a much better ally for Sartar than the Lunars (who have problems protecting the Eye), and the Exiles with their exotic magic are located much closer to the Lunar heartland than either the Exiles or Cragspider are to Sartar. It's much easier for Sartar to deploy without being scared of a sudden alliance ruining things for them. The Beasts are the only major neutral that seem more valuable to the Lunars than they are to Sartar.
Regarding the neutrals, so far we've found ourselves pursuing the Exiles and Androgeus most often. The diplomatic game often involves both of us bidding aggressively for those two, with one of us capitulating over the Exiles to try and obtain Cragspider or Ethilrist. We hardly ever even attempt to ally either the Grazelanders or the Beasts, as the late game involves both of us plowing all of our DPs into the Dragonewts.
We've actually played with a few modifications to the rules. One, which was prompted by discussions on the board, is that brontosaurus herds can be released before melee combat to charge through enemy stacks, disrupting a CF total equal to the herd's MgF. The second is that we give a -1 to the subsequent heroic escape roll every time one is successfully made and +1 every time one fails. These cumulative modifiers go away whenever the opposite happens to the previous roll (I.E. if someone misses two then makes one, the modifier becomes zero). We did this to remove SOME of the randomness surrounding heroic escapes. It makes for some weirdness (you're a lot more protective of your SH if your heroes have made a few successful escapes, particularly if the opponent has a dragon on the board), but we think the pros outweigh the cons.
Finally, we're playing that the net DP total needed to ally the major neutrals drops by two every turn after turn 4. So you only need 12 net DPs to ally the Exiles on turn 8, for example. We did this to reduce the "stranded DP" costs of having put a lot of DPs into a neutral but having the other person neutralize your diplomatic effort. The first few games we played we found that someone got a 30 or so DP lead in the Dragonewts and then both players plowed all their DPs in the the 'newts for the rest of the game (or until we stopped playing), since there was no better alternative for either of them (unless the person leading in the 'newt DP race elected to abandon them to pick up one of the other neutrals). I'm not sure that this has been a great success--it tends to lead to the same result (both people putting all their DPs into the 'newts) in the midgame, with the problem/advantage that the player who is losing the race knows which turn the 'newts will come in and can switch his diplomatic effort at that point to a different race. But the impact of the 'newts joining even as late as turn 13 is SO huge (given depleted troop totals in the late game) that it basically sets a deadline of "take the capital by turn X or else", so we might go back to the standard rules.
I'd be interested in other peoples' thoughts on the efficacy of the diplomacy system, and the relative DP costs of the various neutrals.
From: Stephen P Martin [mailto:ilium_at_juno.com] Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2002 10:29 AM To: glorantha-board_at_rpglist.org
Subject: Re: Questions about NG
> 1. There are a number of spirits that say, "although this is a
> spirit, it may use spirit magic". Does this mean that the unit fights
> normal melee combat but its MgF fights in the spirit magic combat
> like most spirits? Does it mean that it also has the option of using
> MgF in a physical magic attack?
Without looking at the rules, I seem to recall that this was the intent, yes.
> 2. Lots of the map seems to be a little "off"--in particular the High
> Tumulus where Tada's Warriors can be summoned looks to be spread across
> hexes, and a lot of the rivers run almost directly down hexsides, so
> actually move "along" the river you'd have to move in a zigzag fashion.
> seems like if the map was shifted a small bit down and to the left it
> be a bit more understandable, but the various ruins etc. all seem to be
> perfectly centered on their hex. Does anyone have any thoughts about
> aspect of the NG map? Many of the ridges are similarly somewhat hard
> ascribe to a particular hexside. These grey areas would be more
> understandable if the DP map was similarly vague in places, but it's
The French simply did a very bad job with this map, compared to the DP one. They got three holy places in completely wrong hexes, and used a really bad color scheme. But Keith is correct -- Oriflam somehow managed to use the wrong scale hex grid when they made the map, and because of the separation in location between graphic artist and production staff (as well as translators, also off-site), they simply didn't catch it. Or didn't know enough to know it was a problem.
Part of the reason for the difference between the DP and NG games by Oriflam is that the DP game was previously published, and they were simply translating it. The NG game was created for them from scratch, rules, map, counters, and all. So their working materials were much rougher, which probably made production more difficult.
Perhaps our Cyberboard Guru could inform us of his progress on getting that map on-line?
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