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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Initial Deployment (+ firepit-map, Texas hold'em, Stalemate and double-or-nothing!)

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Initial Deployment (+ firepit-map, Texas hold'em, Stalemate and double-or-nothing!)

    Greetings fellow vikings! This is my first post in this forum and it (basically) concerns initial deployment. Its a little long, so please abide.

    Admittedly, the chess-originating idea of two opposing parties with a no-man's-land between them is an excellent choice for generally balanced matches. However, the more-than-chess nature of the game (i.e. unequal units) along with the actual deployment-mode can generate a number of awkward situations like: the fire-pit map (no introductions needed!), or like battles where defensive-teams are stacked in a corner holding their ground and just waiting for the opponent to break-lines (and pay for it). Yes, situations like these can lead to interesting matches, but also to a lot of frustration. So, in order to further enrich this experience and add an extra level of "flavor" to the game, I have the following questions/suggestions/points (please excuse re-issues!).

    [0] Who acts first? Am I missing something, or is it unknown (until too late) which team will act first? The acting-order for each team is clearly the one displayed (left-to-right) in the banners when the match-finder concludes, but who will act first? Its a pain to have your WH propped for a charging-tempest and have him staggering after finding out that the opponent had the same idea, and got to act first!

    [1] More-maps please! Open up more maps and make them more varied and interesting, with obstacles, hazards (coals, ice, water, swamps) etc. Symmetries are, of course, welcome, helping to keep things fair for both parties. I'll not talk more on this because there's a dedicated "Request" thread elsewhere.

    [2] Alternative deployment-modes:
    --[2a] Unit-by-unit: Each faction places one unit, which is revealed to the opponent, who then places his own unit, and-so-on until all units are placed.
    --[2b] Varls-revealed: Those big giants are tough to miss in an opposing party, and are typically placed up front. So, each faction first places his varls which are then revealed to the opponent, and then each faction secretly deploys its archers and raiders.
    --[2c] Re-arrangement stage: An intermediate stage (after the deployment) where the two parties can have a small number of re-arrangement moves (rules?), secretly or openly. Something like "castling" in chess.
    --[2d] Open-space: Free-up the entire map for deployment, in any of the above modes (or the original one), and see what happens!

    [3] Texas hold'em: Give the option of a small number of changes (secret or open) to each teams' build, after the opponent is chosen (prior to the deployment). For instance, each team is allowed to swap 1-2 units from his barracks or swap 1-2 units in the active-build ordering.

    [4] Stalemate: One (somewhat relevant) point about the endgame. Picture this (based on a true story): both opponents are left with one bowmaster each, at the same ARM+STR+WP+EX and say 14-15 tiles apart. Each BM can make a "falcon-hit" that directly kills the opponent, but, she's too far away... Each BM has to move a little closer to be ready for the kill in the next-move, but, doing-so will give the advantage on the opponent's next turn (exertion-move + falcon-hit) to finish the match. Both players realize this and chat about it; stalemate. So what is my suggestion? Implement an "offer-draw" option. I understand that this is not in the "spirit" of TBSF, and the renown-bonus is a marginal +2 for the winner in such situations, but hey: Would you move if you were me? I eventually did. And died. Twas a good match though!

    [5] Double-or-nothing: Finally, what would you say to an "offer double-or-nothing" button? For instance, this could be invoked once or twice (only) during anytime in the game and it would double the renown-value of the remaining-kills (or add a fixed bonus or something). Declining would mean forfeiting the match.

    Thanks for abiding to the end of the post! I'm looking forward to your feedback.

  2. #2
    I don't think 5 is a good idea; I'm not clear how it'd be implemented. I do agree that there needs to be a more clear way of knowing who goes first, though.

  3. #3
    top goes first

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    @franknarf: OK, thanks. So its NW (or NE) that goes first, and then SE (or SW). From what I know, playing the whites in chess is as close as match-deciders go. It couldn't be much more different in TBSF.
    Last edited by Aleonymous; 03-25-2013 at 02:13 PM. Reason: Address the person replying.

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    @d2r: My motive for "double-or-nothing" was that, sometimes, matches seeming won turn out to be defeats (and vice versa). So, one might get excited and offer a double-or-nothing (e.g. renown-value on say 3 remaining units) imagining that he'll get a +3 bonus. If the other opponent feels up to it, he'll take it and perhaps win (double renown) or, if he's scared, he might forfeit the match and the opponent wins (without anymore kills nor renown though!). If the one who offered the "double-or-nothing" eventually loses, well... He gets no more renown for any of the kills after the challenging.

    That's my basic outline of this mode. I got inspired from backgammon matches, where luck plays a more important role, and you got to win a number of matches to win the overall session.

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    Senior Member Butters's Avatar
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    I personally don't really feel there is a problem with deployment, but I appreciate the creative suggestions.
    Alternative deployments modes look like they could generate a big mess, but may be interesting.
    The double-down thing, I'm not sure either. I can see it used by the better player to bully a losing party into either losing their renown for the match (which they most likely need) or giving them more renown to farm. People might just get into double-downing at the beginning of the match to score more renown. In the end the situation you intend it for would be likely to be a minor occurrence...
    The Hold'en thing seems unnecessarily complicated. If the goal is to create surprise team deployments, why not just have a game mode with hidden team composition, to be revealed only when the match actually starts ?
    Sorry if I sound negative. Just going for constructive criticism here.

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    Superbacker bruther's Avatar
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    More maps would certainly be fun, and I like suggestions 2a and (especially) 2b.

    I also had no idea how to tell which player was going to move first (is franknarf right? I haven't gotten to check...), but I kind of liked that-- it means exactly that you can't count on getting to make that first move with your charging warhawk, so putting him first in your initiative and at the head of your formation is a risk. If indeed it is possible to tell which player will move first while setting up, then I would actually suggest removing that and making the player order random!

    I've never experienced a stalemate standoff like you describe, Aleonymous, but it is interesting that such situations can arise; maybe a "draw" option would be nice, although I can't see it being used very often.

    The only quibble I'll take with the OP is: I still don't understand why people talk about turtling up in a corner like it's a serious strategy. Is someone out there actually winning matches against seasoned players by turtling in a corner? That sounds grand to me! My archers would bust up the front line's armor, and then I'd battering ram a warhawk up and tempest their front line and watch the heavy impact fireworks-- without ever exposing any of my other units to danger! It has seemed to me all along very clearly that this combat system rewards the first strike; I don't see how anyone can be winning by trying to counterpunch from the corner. But, maybe I just haven't seen it done correctly...

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    Senior Member Butters's Avatar
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    Yes, player on top goes first, every time. No question about that.

    And no, I haven't seen turtling in a corner be effective, ever. Or any form of turtling for that matter. Don't claim to have seen it all though.

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    Junior Member tornesj's Avatar
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    Another idea... What do you think about adding some kind of 'Initiative' stat to different kind of units and then determine the first player depending on the total 'Initiative' of the build?

    I think something like that would be better than just randomize the first move

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    Senior Member Butters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tornesj View Post
    Another idea... What do you think about adding some kind of 'Initiative' stat to different kind of units and then determine the first player depending on the total 'Initiative' of the build?
    For some reason, I was convinced until recently that this was actually how it worked.

    I'm not sure what type of build (effectively, units) should be given priority though.
    Varls should be slower than raiders or archers. A 1-varl or 0-varl build should systematically start before a 2-varl build (that could make the viability of such builds significantly better).
    Not sure about raiders and archers ..?

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    @tornesj: Yes, it sounds interesting, and (as Butters points out) it could already be loosely implemented. I've yet to battle a one-varl team (or use one!) to make a statistical observation, though.

    What you just outlined, used to be implemented in the (awesome) Fallout 1&2 games. There, the acting-order of the turn-based combat-system was as follows: Each unit had a "perception" rating used to determine acting-order regardless of faction! That meant, that if a two-faction combat (say 5-vs-2) was initiated, and your 2 units were of lower-perception than all 5 units of the opponent, you could end-out dead before even acting once!

    Using a similar initiative-mechanism in TBSF (instead of the defined order in the Proving-Grounds and the "random" up/down rule for first-play) could probably help lift the two-Varl-per-team restriction, at a cost: Varls, being heavy and slow, would act last in this principle, so, by the time they'd get to play they could be seriously crippled (if placed up-front and close to enemy archers/raiders).
    Last edited by Aleonymous; 03-26-2013 at 12:22 PM. Reason: Minor rephrasings

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruther View Post
    I've never experienced a stalemate standoff like you describe, Aleonymous, but it is interesting that such situations can arise; maybe a "draw" option would be nice, although I can't see it being used very often.

    The only quibble I'll take with the OP is: I still don't understand why people talk about turtling up in a corner like it's a serious strategy. Is someone out there actually winning matches against seasoned players by turtling in a corner? That sounds grand to me! My archers would bust up the front line's armor, and then I'd battering ram a warhawk up and tempest their front line and watch the heavy impact fireworks-- without ever exposing any of my other units to danger! It has seemed to me all along very clearly that this combat system rewards the first strike; I don't see how anyone can be winning by trying to counterpunch from the corner. But, maybe I just haven't seen it done correctly...
    Stalemate standoffs like that are not very common, you're right. I've seen only one in the 50-60 matches I've played so far. Most endgame situations are clearly resolvable by "simple" mathematics. The only scenario where these stalemates can arise is when the remaining combatants are off-range and of the same type (archer-vs-archer, or both non-archers). In these cases, the "first-to-act" is not an advantage since you first gotta come in-range. Reckless charges are punished! Its still thrilling though!

    Concerning "turtling" (I didn't know the term ), from my experience it's not a very good strategy, at the end-of-the-day. But, in any case, its always a pain to engage such a team, wasting 1-2 rounds just advancing... The firepit map offers another good paradigm: archers on-the-other-side-of-the-pit, feeling safe and not counting on the kamikaze-charge of a full-health warhawk! Woe to them.

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butters View Post
    I personally don't really feel there is a problem with deployment, but I appreciate the creative suggestions.
    Alternative deployments modes look like they could generate a big mess, but may be interesting.
    The double-down thing, I'm not sure either. I can see it used by the better player to bully a losing party into either losing their renown for the match (which they most likely need) or giving them more renown to farm. People might just get into double-downing at the beginning of the match to score more renown. In the end the situation you intend it for would be likely to be a minor occurrence...
    The Hold'en thing seems unnecessarily complicated. If the goal is to create surprise team deployments, why not just have a game mode with hidden team composition, to be revealed only when the match actually starts ?
    Sorry if I sound negative. Just going for constructive criticism here.
    constructive criticism is more welcome than destructive compliments!

    I agree that alternative deployments could be a pain, at start. Acting on inertia, all changes are hard to cope with at the beginning, but can prove better at the end. I'm sure the Stoic people have resulted here with a lot of beta-testing and balancing. The one big-truth behind all this is that a simpler-game is most easily learned and appreciated for its core features.

    Concerning the double-or-nothing, it could also be implemented in a no-penalty approach, like most features in TBSF. Picture this: during such a "double-or-nothing" offer, the challenger eventually gets {double,normal,normal}-renown when the opponent:{accepts & loses, accepts & wins, declines}, respectively. The opposite for the challenged. In this way, no one gets to lose any renown (from what they'd normally earn) while smart-gamblers or good-estimators get the better of it. Most importantly, nothing happens if the challenged one declines! Nevertheless, I understand your fear about renown-inflation in favor of stronger/more-experienced opponents though. This is another issue altogether.

    Finally, about the Texas hold'em suggestion, no need to drown me in my too-deep scenarios! Just picture the simple-version: Each player is defining a series of 9 units (in fixed order) instead of 6 (again in fixed-order) in their proving grounds. After the opponent is chosen, each player has 30sec to click/check the 6/9 units he's going to use, without altering the predefined order. Finally, each opponent knows both the units and the order, prior to the match, as presently done. That seems rather simple to implement in my opinion, while also adding some versatility to the team setups.

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    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aleonymous View Post
    Stalemate standoffs like that are not very common, you're right. I've seen only one in the 50-60 matches I've played so far. Most endgame situations are clearly resolvable by "simple" mathematics. The only scenario where these stalemates can arise is when the remaining combatants are off-range and of the same type (archer-vs-archer, or both non-archers). In these cases, the "first-to-act" is not an advantage since you first gotta come in-range. Reckless charges are punished! Its still thrilling though!
    Had a non-conventional stalemate today while streaming - 0/17 Warmaster vs 3/7 Bowmaster (both rank1, Warmaster with 2ex). These are the rare case of course (in fact, I could have 7/7 archer by making another move 3 turns before), but they should be dealed with somehow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleonymous View Post
    I agree that alternative deployments could be a pain, at start. Acting on inertia, all changes are hard to cope with at the beginning, but can prove better at the end. I'm sure the Stoic people have resulted here with a lot of beta-testing and balancing. The one big-truth behind all this is that a simpler-game is most easily learned and appreciated for its core features.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aleonymous View Post
    Finally, about the Texas hold'em suggestion, no need to drown me in my too-deep scenarios! Just picture the simple-version: Each player is defining a series of 9 units (in fixed order) instead of 6 (again in fixed-order) in their proving grounds. After the opponent is chosen, each player has 30sec to click/check the 6/9 units he's going to use, without altering the predefined order. Finally, each opponent knows both the units and the order, prior to the match, as presently done. That seems rather simple to implement in my opinion, while also adding some versatility to the team setups.
    Even considering this modes to be viable, this would not be implemented for long as it's too hard to code and insert into the current game system and devs are more concentrated on finishing single player.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleonymous View Post
    Concerning the double-or-nothing, it could also be implemented in a no-penalty approach, like most features in TBSF. Picture this: during such a "double-or-nothing" offer, the challenger eventually gets {double,normal,normal}-renown when the opponent:{accepts & loses, accepts & wins, declines}, respectively. The opposite for the challenged. In this way, no one gets to lose any renown (from what they'd normally earn) while smart-gamblers or good-estimators get the better of it. Most importantly, nothing happens if the challenged one declines! Nevertheless, I understand your fear about renown-inflation in favor of stronger/more-experienced opponents though. This is another issue altogether.
    Man, you played too much poker double-or-nothing seems to be not that suitable for this game, it's not about gambling (unless you are in awe of Thrashers).
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    Senior Member loveboof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by franknarf View Post
    top goes first
    Quote Originally Posted by Butters View Post
    Yes, player on top goes first, every time. No question about that.
    I'm probably just being a bit dumb, but what about the matches that play left to right (or vice versa - depending on your side)... Or are all the maps roughly top/bottom, just at slight angles?

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loveboof View Post
    I'm probably just being a bit dumb, but what about the matches that play left to right (or vice versa - depending on your side)... Or are all the maps roughly top/bottom, just at slight angles?
    Its NW (or NE) that goes first, and then SE (or SW).

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by netnazgul View Post
    Had a non-conventional stalemate today while streaming - 0/17 Warmaster vs 3/7 Bowmaster (both rank1, Warmaster with 2ex). These are the rare case of course (in fact, I could have 7/7 archer by making another move 3 turns before), but they should be dealed with somehow.

    Even considering this modes to be viable, this would not be implemented for long as it's too hard to code and insert into the current game system and devs are more concentrated on finishing single player.

    Man, you played too much poker double-or-nothing seems to be not that suitable for this game, it's not about gambling (unless you are in awe of Thrashers).
    I'm beginning to think you guys are right! Strict math-driven mechanics are probably better received for this kind of game than chances.

    What I had in mind was old-school RPGs where the hits' magnitude was decided on dice-rolls like 1d12 or 3d4, 2d6. That meant that weapons with the same max-power (12 in this example) had different probability-distributions (mean values etc) in the available damage-ranges. There was critical hits & misses too. All that added a different spice to the combats, the element of surprise, luck! In TBSF, with chances mostly out of the picture (at least, until late endgame), there's bound to be a perfect build and a perfect strategy, i.e. a lose-proof approach to the game (the Klutz...). Anyway, I'm sure that continuous play-testing, feedback and re-designing will help to keep the game challenging and in balance!

    Concerning all those strange suggestions etc, I agree with you, netnazgul, that it's better to leave the devs alone to deliver the SP game a.s.a.p.

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by netnazgul View Post
    Had a non-conventional stalemate today while streaming - 0/17 Warmaster vs 3/7 Bowmaster (both rank1, Warmaster with 2ex). These are the rare case of course (in fact, I could have 7/7 archer by making another move 3 turns before), but they should be dealed with somehow.
    Forgot to ask: Who won? From your tone, I guess it was the opponent's WM...

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    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    It was a friendly and we both called it a draw Then I moved archer first, so it was a recorded friend loss for me
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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    So, if I'm getting it right, the BM (3/7, effective range 3+5=8) needed two hits to kill the WM (0/17, effective-range 4+2ex=6), where the latter only needed one. Yeah, that sounds pretty unconventional, but, I guess that the more-experienced you get, the more further-away you can identify such stalemates (or checkmates).

    That scenario brings me again to the "hit-and-run", a feature completely expelled from TBSF. Actually, is there a thread for it, or was it dumped from day1, in alpha/beta? I see the practicality of it (i.e. it simplifies gameplay quite a lot) but I admit I'd have it also the other way around, i.e. allow both run-n-hit and hit-n-run. OK, it would be a pain to hunt-down archers hitting-and-running, and yes, it is kind of "off-putting" that archers get the most kills than most other units. But, in any case, here's how I'd do it:
    (1) Penalize movement-range for hit-n-run, e.g. -1 or -2 tile from normal.
    (2) Prohibit hit-n-run entirely when special abilities, especially actives but also some passives (e.g. puncture) are used.
    (3) Nerf the archers altogether, especially their str, but also armor.
    That change-combination could re-balanced the game, perhaps...

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