Small quirks (Full Version)

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nalivayko -> Small quirks (3/5/2011 11:15:13 PM)

1) African cavalry has defence factor of 2. In my mind the defense factors represent the size of the unit. Thus, Roman legions are larger than Spanish units and yet Macedon phalanx is larger than Roman legion. The defense factor 2 of African cavalry is meant to represent larger Carthaginian cavalry numbers. Is this a correct statement?

If all of the above is true, why is African cavalry defense factor diminished during city battles? I could understand why it's attack factor is halfed, since cavalry is forced to fight dismounted and is as effective (or less as is the case with light cavalry in game) as regular infantry. However, should it not remain the same in size?

If the defense factor is meant to represent something other than size, how come the other cavalry units do not get it halfed.

My apology is this is already addressed in the manual, I couldn't find it.

The same thing probably applies to some other cavalry units as well: Companion, Syracusaen and Macedon.

2) Generals retreating from camp battles. Should they not be forced to fight to the death, just as they do in city battles? I don't have strong feelings about this one, just want to know the reasoning behind this.

3) Syracusaen AI. After Syracusae switched sides (back to Rome), it kicked my two Spanish units out of Messana. Despite being leaderless, they were never attacked by the enemy, even though Romans had plenty of moves left (all generals were holed up in Rome) and Syracasae possessed a superior army.

On one hand, I do think it's "smart" of the Sicilians to hold back from the struggle (they have all the Sicilian cities and may wish to spare their army from a loss of a unit or two). And yet, when Syracusaens are controlled by Carthage, I never spare their units, always removing them first. This "waiting" strategy benefits the human and not the AI, not sure it's fair.

mercenarius -> RE: Small quirks (3/10/2011 5:10:04 AM)

1) The defense factor is combination of size and armor and discipline. Yes, the Macedonian Infantry units have a defense factor of 3 in part because it represents a larger number of soldiers (using a deeper formation). The cavalry units with a DF of 2 are getting it mostly because they are presumed to be more heavily equipped and are also something of an elite unit.

Cavalry have smaller defense factors in city battles mostly because they represent fewer men than infantry units do. It's true that the Numidians probably ought to have a defense factor of 1/2 in city battles. But I didn't want to introduce fractional defense factors. And I assumed (that word) that an army might have some spare weapons that could be used to reequip some cavalrymen. Mostly I just allowed the 1 DF for lighter cavalry in city battles as a way to avoid some complexity.

Also, some units don't have their defense factor reduced because I thought that the difference between them and the "elite" cavalry is actually lessened when fighting on foot. For example, the Spanish and Gallic cavalry ought to be somewhat closer when fighting on foot in contrast to, say, the Macedonian Cavalry.

I still think that the real problem here is that African Cavalry are too numerous and thus too hard to justify as "elite" units like the Companion, the Syracusan, and the Macedonian cavalry units. But I don't want to change the current play balance right now.

The "1 2" infantry units have a higher defense factor mostly because they are generally thought to be "heavier" infantry than the Spanish or the Gallic infantry. And more disciplined on average. That would not be nearly as true for the veteran Spanish Infantry that Hannibal took with him to Italy, but what the heck.

2) The idea with camp battles is mostly that it's hard to attack an army which has favorable terrain. Consider an army that has the high ground. If you try to go around it, it can just retreat to another hill position with good flank security. Otherwise you have to go at it head-on. And some variation on that is built into the combat resolution system. If you really outnumber an army defending in its camp, you may destroy it in two rounds or during pursuit. In that case maybe you did manage to surround them.

The thing about a city is that it can't move. It just can't keep shifting from one position to another to avoid battle on even terms. It's much easier to surround a city.

The variation in the terrain really matters here. It's no so easy to avoid battle in Africa. You often can, but it's risky to count on it.

3) The AI should be able to direct a Syracusan general to make attacks against hostile armies and cities. I will have to check on this.

nalivayko -> RE: Small quirks (3/10/2011 7:45:48 PM)

1) Ok, makes sense now.

2) I only have one problem with that answer. It would be actually much easier to surround a camp than a city. If the camp is located in location which prevents surrounding, it would also prevent an early escape. However, if I use my imagination and replace camp battle with camp battle/favorable terrain, the problem disappears. Plus, the rule benefits both the AI and the human.

3) Thank you. In my latest games Syracusan AI again appears dormant after switching sides.

mercenarius -> RE: Small quirks (3/11/2011 9:48:42 PM)

OK, I have looked at the "dormant AI" problem a little bit and I don't think that anything is actually wrong.

Just for a little background: the Spanish units being ejected from the city is a normal event. When Syracuse switches sides the game uses a simple formula to decide who retains control of contested cities. The weaker party in that city is moved into the field.

I believe that the reason the AI didn't do anything to your army on Sicily was solely due to prioritizing. The AI has a limited number of Command Phases to use each turn just as the Carthaginian player does. I think that the Syracusan commander was probably assigned the task of attacking your army in the field, but the mission priority was low and the AI simply ran out of Command Phases before it could activate the Syracusan General. The mission priority was low because your army there was so small.

I did test a similar scenario on my development machine and that is exactly what happened. Now - to be very strict in methodology - I didn't test (yet) with the scenario of Syracuse switching and then switching back. But I don't think that it makes any difference to what I outlined above, except that you now had one or more armies in Sicily that were potential targets for the AI.

Anyway, if this happens again and you have a saved game which you can post then please post it and I will check that exact saved game. Otherwise I believe that this problem is solved.

nalivayko -> RE: Small quirks (3/12/2011 5:17:40 PM)

That was my idea at first, that AI ran out of commands. But then all five Roman generals were in besieged Rome, none made a move that turn, there was but one navy that did nothing and Romans had no forces (save for the leaderless garrisons in Sardinia and Corsica). Those two Spanish units were helpless prey and Romans truly had nothing better to do.

Now, it is possible that each Roman general did indeed made a move (got activated and did nothing in Rome). In which case Syracusan forces got no commands assigned. Then this is the problem with prioritizing albeit not a serious one.

mercenarius -> RE: Small quirks (3/12/2011 9:01:48 PM)

OK, I see that I didn't read your original post well enough. And you have been tactful in reminding me. [;)]

You could have said: idiot! read the original post! [:D]

I'll try to duplicate those conditions and see what is happening.

nalivayko -> RE: Small quirks (3/12/2011 10:46:12 PM)

Yeah, I could have, but what if I'd come across too harsh, hurt your feelings and then you'd never get around making another game? [:D] Where's my benefit in that?

mercenarius -> RE: Small quirks (3/16/2011 12:01:46 AM)

OK, I have duplicated your problem #3 and I see that this is a small bug in the AI. Basically, the fact that there is no leader commanding your army in the field is causing it to be ignored. The fact that Syracuse changed sides and then changed again is not a factor - except that it did cause a leaderless army of yours to be placed in the field.

Eventually we'll release a 1.0.4 with corrections for any bugs found in 1.0.3. This error will be corrected then. For now, well, I'll just ask the players to live with it.

This error has to do with the code that keeps leaders from deploying into the field and then going right back into their city. I allow that to occur at the Introductory level but not at the higher levels of play. That is to keep the players from being bored by pointless behavior from the AI (and to save Command Phases from being wasted by the AI). Unfortunately the AI doesn't detect this particular situation and "see" that it should deploy and attack your leaderless army.

If the leader in Syracuse did have the minimum number of units for standard field operation then he would have deployed (just to operate in the field) and then he would have attacked your army. At the Normal level of play, that minimum is 5 field units, but at the Hard level it's 6 units. I believe that this is the reason that the Syracusan general stayed in the city - he didn't have 6 field units available.

nalivayko -> RE: Small quirks (3/18/2011 7:53:01 PM)

Bingo, that explains it, thank you. I certainly can live with it for now.

I do see Roman generals sneaking behind my lines with 2-5 units on Hard, but only when the Roman numbers diminish greatly.

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