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Re: Thoughts on game balance



> > Then there's experience. If you have a very strong level 1 unit
> > (being able to wipe out other units 1-on-1 in one or two turns),
> > you get real monsters in later levels. This was the case, for
> > example, in Battle Isle where a single artillery, surrounded by
> > a ring of cannon fodder, could easily win or lose a map. (Admittedly,
> > this could be fun if the artillery happened to be on your end...)
> > In CF I did not want such units.
> 
> This is something I've only started experiencing (no pun intended), or rather, 
> noticing.  :)  It doesn't look like CF moves pieces from one field to the 
> next, though.

'Later levels' means 'later experience levels', not 'later maps',
in this context. You may have noticed the little white symbol next
to the '(6)' for unit health. This is the XP level indicator.
Units get stronger with more XP.

> > Finally, we have the AI. Making the game rules more complicated
> > usually makes the AI at least twice as complicated. This is somewhat
> > unfortunate, but also provides a very good reason for keeping combat
> > rules simple.
> 
> Personally, not that I'm volunteering to program the AI (although I might take 
> a crack at it sooner or later, since I'm planning on trying to use parts of 
> the AI to automate parts of the game for human players), but I tend to think 
> that the AI is something that shouldn't define the rules.  That would be the 
> tail wagging the dog.

In priciple, I agree. Unfortunately, in this case, that might leave us
with a dog with no tail at all (or a tail with no dog?).

> > > On defense, both artillery and air units seem to be stronger than they
> > > should.
> >
> > Well, the reasoning for the artillery units was that since they
> > are so slow and can't even defend themselves when attacked, they
> > at least need some protection so they are not obliterated by the
> > first gust of wind that happens to come along.
> 
> Actually, if you were after some sort of realism in this case, it is a fact 
> that artillery get obliterated by the first gust of wind that comes along.  
> :)

I don't think we're after realism. ;-)

> That said, I agree that artillery should be able to defend themselves when 
> attacked, but defense strength and attack strength are entirely different 
> matters.

Yes, but you were claiming the artillery was too strong in defense...

> Hm, it may be a personal preference.  I don't know about the regular Army 
> infantry, but I do know that US Marines, at least, carry some pretty advanced 
> AA weapons.  Of course, the Marines aren't "infantry" in the traditional 
> sense, and their mission is totally different than the regular Army's.  It 
> might be interesting to have a Marine piece, though, that has abilities that 
> regular infantry don't have.

That's mainly a matter of someone painting the graphics and convincing
me we need it ;-)

> > When talking about the number of turns it takes to detroy an enemy unit
> > it makes a vast difference if you fight a 1-on-1 or use a second unit
> > for support. Depending on the units the latter can easily double or
> > triple the number of hits.
> 
> I just learned about support, actually, and have been using it fairly 
> effectively (I won the Island Hoppers map using it, not that that map was 
> particularly hard already).
> [...]
> The other thing is that 
> the support method that's there actually gives an even greater advantage to 
> the army that has the most numbers.  I would tend to think that greater 
> numbers is already an advantage in itself.  But I don't yet have an opinion 
> on this because I only just learned about it.  ;)

That may be true. But then again, it's the only way to beat the 'hopeless'
maps...

> > > What do y'all think about a second movement phase after the firing phase
> > > is resolved?  I ask because that's how Ogre/GEV did it, you got a second
> > > movement phase for GEVs (Ground Effect Vehicle, aka hovercraft).  That
> > > made your GEVs very useful, if light, strategic pieces.
> >
> > In Battle Isle 2 (or was it 3, or both?) this was used as well, mainly
> > for recon squads. I also thought about adding this ability but it
> > doesn't work very well with combat resolution at the end of the turn
> > as is used in CF.
> 
> Actually, I seem to recall that Ogre/GEV had a turn sequence identical to what 
> Crimson has, except for the second movement phase.  First you move all of 
> your pieces, then you resolve combat, then you get your second movement.  You 
> also didn't have to choose targets as part of the movement phase, but I think 
> Crimson's interface for this is the best possible interface.  ;)  It would 
> work well, or at least it has in board games.  I'll see if I can throw 
> together a hack that does it so you can check it out.  I feel particularly 
> passionate about this one, because I'm a hit and run type of tactician, and 
> there aren't any opportunities for them that I've found, yet.

The only solution I can think of would be a second turn after having ended
your turn which seems dreadful and horribly wrong especially as it's
optional (i.e. only if you have such ambush units). I already see players
going berzerk in hotseat games: "Hey, why did you hit OK? That's my turn
you stupid #?$!" "No, it isn't! %$!" "Yes, it is. I didn't move my buggies,
yet!" "That's because I destroyed them, you &?*!"...

> > We made sure that all currently distributed maps can be beaten with
> > the current set of units and tactics available in CF (TM). ;-)
> 
> Just out of curiosity, how do you make sure?  I ask because it's possible to 
> design a map that is so hard that most people will say it's unbeatable, even 
> though it really isn't.  ;)

Well, I beat them. Simple as that. ;-)

> > > Oo, one more.  The suicide stand.
> > > [...]
> > friend and foe alike. It doesn't really fit the overall theme.
> 
> No, it doesn't, but it is something of a fact of military life in general.  
> When someone knows they have to hold a piece of ground for a length of time 
> but they can't possibly survive (supplies cut off, surrounded, etc., like 
> Custard at Little Bighorn, or any number of examples even during more recent 
> wars), they get a charge of adrenaline.

But if we talk highly advanced warfare those might not be humans, but
robots (not to think of strange alien races without adrenaline ;-)...

Jens