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Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/7/2010 7:17:14 AM   
Bullman

 

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I probably played 15min of the demo and realised there was something unique and different about the game that warranted buying the full game.

- unique, elegant and original single player game design, that I believe (surprisingly) does not suffer from having no multiplayer (playing as Hannibal vs the CPU Roman opponent is definitely a great challenge and I would hate to be a human opponent waiting on me to complete my turn)
- remarkably clever use of relatively simple/functional "period" style graphics/maps/presentation/interface that not only makes you feel like you are playing an authentic "period" game, but also serves to highlight just how great the actual game mechanics are
- a nice balance of simple yet deep level of historically based strategic (and tactical) considerations and game mechanics that provide plenty of scope for re-playability without being overly simplistic or complex

I hope the developer is encouraged to develop more games based on the same engine/mechanics. Perhaps another campaign might be better suited for inclusion of a multiplayer mode (PBEM, TCP/IP).

A few questions now:

a) I understand that during combat some units get "to hit" bonuses depending if they are defending a camp or a town/city, or if their leader has a higher command rating or if they have a circle around their attack factor.

However for each attack factor does the chance a unit have to score a "hit" or "rout" have anything to do with:

- the number and/or type of friendly units in the frontline?
- the number and/or type of enemy units in the frontline?
- the difference between the total number of friendly units and enemy units in the frontline?

eg. Does a lone unit on the frontline have just as much chance of scoring a hit/rout on the enemy regardless of whether it is facing a lone enemy unit or the maximum eight enemy units on the frontline?

eg. Does having a balance of cavalry, infantry and elephants on the frontline provide each unit with some kind of "combined arms" bonus when attacking?

b) Is there any reason why the number of cards the Roman CPU opponent has available to play is not shown? The game does tell you how many cards they start have at the start and it is possible for the player to keep a mental tally of the cards as the CPU plays/draws cards but should that really be necessary?

c) Does the fact that Roman generals can be promoted/re-elected to consul, proconsul, praetor etc matter, or are the differences in the senate positions just cosmetic? Also does this list of Roman senators represent ALL the current Roman leaders that are in play at the time?
Post #: 1
RE: Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/7/2010 10:41:22 AM   
NefariousKoel


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There is no strength ratio comparison between armies.

Each point of attack factor on your committed troops equals 1 die roll. So those 2-strength units get 2 dice and can cause up to 2 hits. I believe the system is based on d6 or 2d6 per roll but I don't know that for sure. I guessed that due to James mentioning a regular 1-strength unit has approximately a 16% chance of scoring a hit so I figured it was 6-sided dice being emulated.

There is no combined arms bonus for mixing unit types but most people find that mixing units will generally give you a good balance between higher chances of causing hits and more hits in quantity.

I saw mention of the AI's cards-in-hand being shown before, and I think it may be on a to-do list but Mercenarius will be the one to tell you.

The Roman elections can (and often does) cause each Roman army with a leader be appointed a new leader (who replaces the previous one in the same position) if he is not re-elected. This can make the Roman armies' general rating vary quite a bit in the early game but the Roman Senate eventually starts getting wise to which ones are the better generals and will start electing better ones more regularly as the game goes on. So you may have some cakewalks against pushover generals in the early game, they generally (doah pun) get better as each game progresses.

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RE: Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/7/2010 12:15:29 PM   
Bullman

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: NefariousKoel
There is no strength ratio comparison between armies.


OK. So you essentially have the same chance of scoring a hit or a rout with one unit regardless of whether you are facing 1 enemy unit in the frontline or completely out numbered by a full house of 8.

Next question:

d) What is the difference in probability in scoring a "Hit" as opposed to a "Rout", and is the "Rout" probability affected by the enemy leader's command rating (if one is present)?

ie. Does a general's command rating give a kind of "morale bonus" to his units making them less likely to rout during any combat round?

And another question comes to mind:

e) When an army/fleet "Intercepts" another army/fleet, are there any "bonuses" attributed to the "intercepting" army/fleet?

quote:

ORIGINAL: NefariousKoel
There is no combined arms bonus for mixing unit types but most people find that mixing units will generally give you a good balance between higher chances of causing hits and more hits in quantity.


I doubt then that mixing units together (as opposed to just using the most powerful ones, which I believe are the circled 2 attack value units) will result in higher chances of hits/routs. Certainly including (weaker) units just to absorb casualties is a separate issue unrelated to just scoring hits/routs.

quote:

ORIGINAL: NefariousKoel
I saw mention of the AI's cards-in-hand being shown before, and I think it may be on a to-do list but Mercenarius will be the one to tell you.


OK, I look forward to it.

quote:

ORIGINAL: NefariousKoel
The Roman elections can (and often does) cause each Roman army with a leader be appointed a new leader (who replaces the previous one in the same position) if he is not re-elected....


Not sure you understood my question. If you check the Roman senate election results, some leaders are elected "consul", some "proconsul" others "praetor". Does it matter which one of these they are elected?

(in reply to NefariousKoel)
Post #: 3
RE: Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/7/2010 6:40:03 PM   
Bodders

 

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Others have mentioned the boardgame Hannibal:Rome vs Carthage but in fact this seems to be pretty much a direct port of a much earlier and more obscure boardgame from 1983 called Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic War 219-202 B.C.

I played this several times as I did like the 'Punics Tricks' options cards and the Senates which felt very 'right' for the period. Of course you never got to play them and it suffered a bit as a two player game with so much emphasis on Walled Cities and sieges which didn't feel very much like Hannibal as no Roman player worth his salt would ever fight a pitched battle against Hannibal. I have to say it works a lot better with a Roman AI who will do stupid things initially and get better as he goes on and kudos to the designer for that. It very much feels to me like a solitaire boardgame against a very well designed tough system now and that's a compliment.

Now, I'm going on memory here but the combat system worked something like - every attack factor is one dice, rout on a five, hit on a six. Those with circles get +1 to their dice so effectively rout on a '4', hit on a 5 or 6. In other words, the chance to rout is always the same (1 in 6) but to hit varies between 1 in 3 for 'bonus' and 1 in 6 for 'normal' units. Every point of difference between the two commanders allows a single unit to double its combat factors.

My memory gets hazier after that I'm afraid - I'm sure I remember turning '2' defense factor units round (they could absorb one hit that would heal at the end of battle) so you had to do a lot more hits to knock anyone out. Because of that it might've been rout on a '4', hit on a '5' or '6'. This may have been changed for the computer game. I also do not recall at all how cities modified things - they might've ignored the first few hits and routs or changed the number needed. I think they also gave a bonus to defending units.

I'm sorry I can't be more help and I know it's frustrating for those of us who like to know all the underlying numbers but my friend owned the game, not I and no longer has it. I would, however, assume that it's a simple 'number of attack factors = number of dice' roll and there's nothing more sophisticated around different units or a better commander losing less troops to rout.

For the different ranks (consul, proconsul, praetor etc.) that would effect who would be in charge in any battle (Consuls above Praetor) and possibly stacking limits though that could be other games confusing my poor memory :D In the computer game, I'd say it's either just for 'fluff' or just to decide if two are together then who's in charge.

< Message edited by Bodders -- 10/7/2010 6:46:04 PM >

(in reply to Bullman)
Post #: 4
RE: Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/7/2010 7:27:34 PM   
NefariousKoel


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From: Murderous Missouri Scum
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bullman

d) What is the difference in probability in scoring a "Hit" as opposed to a "Rout", and is the "Rout" probability affected by the enemy leader's command rating (if one is present)?

ie. Does a general's command rating give a kind of "morale bonus" to his units making them less likely to rout during any combat round?


Pretty sure Bodders answered the Rout chance properly as another 1 in 6. The only things the leaders command rating effects is the highest leader gets bonuses to his die roll and he can also forgo that bonus to return a routed unit back to his line every turn.

quote:

And another question comes to mind:

e) When an army/fleet "Intercepts" another army/fleet, are there any "bonuses" attributed to the "intercepting" army/fleet?


No, no intercept bonuses. Actually there are no bonuses in fleet battles at all, it's always a level fight other than what you brought to the party.

quote:


I doubt then that mixing units together (as opposed to just using the most powerful ones, which I believe are the circled 2 attack value units) will result in higher chances of hits/routs. Certainly including (weaker) units just to absorb casualties is a separate issue unrelated to just scoring hits/routs.


Well sure, if you have all 2+ units they will provide the best result. However, I've never had that many and I don't think it's even possible. In some cases the 1+ circle attack units such as Spanish Infantry are valuable in the front line for me such as storming a city (so the bonus can help offset the defender's bonus). Of course you don't have to finesse it, you can use sheer numbers but the outcome can be quite unpredictable every round. Placing at least one 2-defense infantry in there to soak up hits is always a good choice, too.

quote:


Not sure you understood my question. If you check the Roman senate election results, some leaders are elected "consul", some "proconsul" others "praetor". Does it matter which one of these they are elected?


I believe it only matters as to which field army the previous office holder was in as that's the one the new guy takes over?

< Message edited by NefariousKoel -- 10/7/2010 7:28:52 PM >


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RE: Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/7/2010 10:53:28 PM   
mercenarius


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I'd like to chime on the offices that Roman leaders have. The office itself does not affect the leader's performance or his employment by the AI.

However, Consuls are elected first so they usually will be placed with the largest armies on the map. If the Roman Senate is influencing the elections then the new Consuls will usually be among the best leaders elected that year.

Sometimes a Consul is chosen to replace a Roman leader who is overseas. In that case the Consul may not be taking over a large army.

If an overseas leader has his office extended then he'll be a Proconsul or a Propreator, because he was not, technically speaking, reelected. The technical term is prorogation. But that's just chrome, really. It doesn't influence how the AI uses that leader.

Leaders in Africa, Sicily, or Spain who are replaced always have their replacements take over the replaced leader's army. But in Italy (and Corsica and Sardinia and even Gaul) that's only true for a leader who was conducting a siege. Otherwise the new leader (including reelected leaders) are placed where the Roman Senate wants them to be placed. The idea is that the new leaders can travel during the winter and take up their commands in the spring.

The point of announcing the elections is primarily to allow you to quickly see if the quality of Roman leaders has gone up or down.

Also, note that overseas leaders are not always replaced. Sometimes they are recalled and their army is left without a commander. This should only happen for armies in a city. The game doesn't tell you directly that this has happened. You need to look for yourself. But there are at most 5 Roman generals on the map, and this shouldn't be too hard.

< Message edited by mercenarius -- 10/7/2010 10:55:05 PM >


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Forced March Games, LLC

(in reply to NefariousKoel)
Post #: 6
RE: Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/8/2010 3:50:38 AM   
Bullman

 

Posts: 29
Joined: 7/2/2005
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Thanks for the replies.

quote:

ORIGINAL: NefariousKoel
The only things the leaders command rating effects is the highest leader gets bonuses to his die roll and he can also forgo that bonus to return a routed unit back to his line every turn.


Not exactly. The high command rating general that rallies a unit after a round of combat (not possible when storming a city) has his command rating halved for all future rounds of combat. It could still be possible that the general still has a higher command rating than his adversary that next round and can subsequently rally another unit next round.

quote:

ORIGINAL: NefariousKoel
In some cases the 1+ circle attack units such as Spanish Infantry are valuable in the front line for me such as storming a city (so the bonus can help offset the defender's bonus).


Yes I am aware that Spanish infantry are good for attacking cities and have used them effectively. It is not mentioned in the manual but mentioned somewhere in the game itself I believe (can't find it now that I am looking for it). I even have the impression that Spanish infantry with the circled one attack value are better at attacking cities than using Gailic Infantry with the circled two attack value (I may be wrong???), but I am not sure "how" they are good for attacking cities though. Units defending in a city being stormed get both attack and defence bonuses and you mention that Spanish Infantry "bonus can help offset the defender's bonus", but HOW does it actually work? Does it reduce or negate the defenders attack and/or defence bonuses?

quote:

ORIGINAL: mercenarius
I'd like to chime on the offices that Roman leaders have. The office itself does not affect the leader's performance or his employment by the AI.

However, Consuls are elected first so they usually will be placed with the largest armies on the map. If the Roman Senate is influencing the elections then the new Consuls will usually be among the best leaders elected that year.

Sometimes a Consul is chosen to replace a Roman leader who is overseas. In that case the Consul may not be taking over a large army.

If an overseas leader has his office extended then he'll be a Proconsul or a Propreator, because he was not, technically speaking, reelected. The technical term is prorogation. But that's just chrome, really. It doesn't influence how the AI uses that leader.

Leaders in Africa, Sicily, or Spain who are replaced always have their replacements take over the replaced leader's army. But in Italy (and Corsica and Sardinia and even Gaul) that's only true for a leader who was conducting a siege. Otherwise the new leader (including reelected leaders) are placed where the Roman Senate wants them to be placed. The idea is that the new leaders can travel during the winter and take up their commands in the spring.

The point of announcing the elections is primarily to allow you to quickly see if the quality of Roman leaders has gone up or down.

Also, note that overseas leaders are not always replaced. Sometimes they are recalled and their army is left without a commander. This should only happen for armies in a city. The game doesn't tell you directly that this has happened. You need to look for yourself. But there are at most 5 Roman generals on the map, and this shouldn't be too hard.


Interesting historical background information!

(in reply to NefariousKoel)
Post #: 7
RE: Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/8/2010 6:00:20 AM   
mercenarius


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The circle indicates an "Attack Bonus" but this terminology is unfortunately a little confusing.

In a battle each side essentially gets to roll percentage dice for each attack factor they have in the front line. Each "roll" produces a hit, a rout, or nothing. A unit with an AF of 2 gets two rolls as it were, and can score two hits, two routs, one of each, one hit, one rout, or nothing. If such a unit has been doubled to 4 it gets four rolls and you can figure out the possibilities.

Each side does this each round in a battle. It doesn't matter that one side is defending in a tactical sense. Any unit on that side that has a circle around its attack factor gets that bonus.

This bonus increases the chance that a hit will be scored on each "roll" of the dice. For a Pitched Battle the percentages are something like:

Without Attack Bonus: hit 10%, rout 15%.

With Attack Bonus: hit 30%, rout 15%.

In other battles the base percentages are different, but the principle of the bonus works the same way. So the "Attack Bonus" for units with a circled AF are more deadly attacking or defending in that they will score more hits than a unit with the same AF and no bonus.

In city battles the defenders get an advantage but it's expressed in the base percentages. Basically the tougher the city, the easier it is for the defenders to score a hit or a rout. Defenders with an Attack Bonus adjust the percentages the same way as in a Pitched Battle. The only difference is that the base is different.

The percentage for scoring a hit and a rout are different when attacking a city, but the bonus works there in the same way.

Attack bonuses help you in the sense that the faster you wear the enemy down, the sooner the enemy stops hurting you. But it only helps in determining how much punishment you dish out. It never changes how much punishment one side gets from the other side.

A higher defense factor comes into play in absorbing the punishment the other side caused in the current round of combat. If you score 4 hits against Legions, that's two units lost. Four hits against Spanish Infantry will cause four units to be destroyed, obviously. Of course, you decide which units will be lost unless your front line is overwhelmed.

In battles that allow a Command (or Leadership) Bonus, the principles are the same. This Command Bonus increases the likelihood of each AF scoring a hit when it "rolls the percentage dice" as it were.

The manual explains the values for a leadership bonus, but just remember that it's based on the difference between the two leaders. If Hannibal is fighting against a leader with a Command Rating of 4, his leadership bonus will be a full 20% for every unit in the front line. On the other hand a leader with a rating of 7 fighting against a 6 is going to give only 2.5% for each unit in the front line. In that case, by the way, rallying a unit is more important than keeping a "full" bonus of only 2.5%. But sometimes for Hannibal it makes more sense to forgo rallying a unit if he doesn't really need to.

Does this help?


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Forced March Games, LLC

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RE: Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/8/2010 8:52:13 AM   
Bullman

 

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Thanks for the extra combat details.

Can you please comment on whether there is anything particularly special about Spanish Infantry when attacking cities? Was I dreaming that I saw something written somewhere about them perhaps being particularly effective vs cities?

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RE: Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/8/2010 6:07:44 PM   
mercenarius


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Spanish Infantry are effective for you when attacking cities. It's because their attack bonus helps overcome two disadvantages: 1) you don't get command bonuses in city battles, so a large command rating (like Hannibal's) doesn't help and 2) the base percentages for the attacker in city battles are somewhat tighter.

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James Warshawsky
Forced March Games, LLC

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RE: Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/8/2010 6:14:16 PM   
vonRocko

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bullman

Thanks for the extra combat details.

Can you please comment on whether there is anything particularly special about Spanish Infantry when attacking cities? Was I dreaming that I saw something written somewhere about them perhaps being particularly effective vs cities?


I seem to remember what you are refering too. IIRC the example was given in regards too the attack factors. It mentioned how it is better to have a 1 factor with the bonus, then to have 2 factors without the bonus circle. Like using a spanish infantry instead of gallic infantry, if you have a choice.

(in reply to Bullman)
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RE: Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/9/2010 1:51:23 AM   
Bullman

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: mercenarius

Spanish Infantry are effective for you when attacking cities. It's because their attack bonus helps overcome two disadvantages: 1) you don't get command bonuses in city battles, so a large command rating (like Hannibal's) doesn't help and 2) the base percentages for the attacker in city battles are somewhat tighter.


OK...so are they any more effective at attacking cities than any other unit with the circled 1 AF, like the regular Roman legion units (disregarding that Roman legions have 2 defence points, not 1)?

(in reply to mercenarius)
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RE: Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/9/2010 5:45:17 PM   
mercenarius


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quote:

OK...so are they any more effective at attacking cities than any other unit with the circled 1 AF, like the regular Roman legion units (disregarding that Roman legions have 2 defence points, not 1)?


In a word, no.

_____________________________

James Warshawsky
Forced March Games, LLC

(in reply to Bullman)
Post #: 13
RE: Great game! Some gameplay questions... - 10/10/2010 3:09:18 PM   
Ron

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: mercenarius

The manual explains the values for a leadership bonus, but just remember that it's based on the difference between the two leaders. If Hannibal is fighting against a leader with a Command Rating of 4, his leadership bonus will be a full 20% for every unit in the front line. On the other hand a leader with a rating of 7 fighting against a 6 is going to give only 2.5% for each unit in the front line. In that case, by the way, rallying a unit is more important than keeping a "full" bonus of only 2.5%. But sometimes for Hannibal it makes more sense to forgo rallying a unit if he doesn't really need to.

Does this help?



Yes I have to agree, in any battle even remotely questionable I have foregone the Command bonus without hesitation to rally Troops, and with the randomness of scoring hits in battles it generally seems the best course.


(in reply to mercenarius)
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