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Setup Changes Do Happen
#1
Newer players rarely say anything, but older players that have played for decades sometimes get startled when setups change for kingdoms.  We don't typically announce a change to a kingdom's setup, and I think little things like that help keep the game fresh between new releases or even new variants within a version.

But a few notes here.  Presently, no kingdom starts with more than 13 influence.  The lowest is 9. 

Elves, Dark Elves, Dwarves, and Rangers had minor bumps or a special ability added in the last several months.

Very recently, the Red Dragon has been made stronger in brigade toughness, and the Giant brought into line with that, instead of surpassing the RD fairly significantly which we discovered on the transition.  Again, a single value isn't that useful for ranking brigades.  There is terrain, special abilities, leadership, retreat factors, magic, etc.  But one brigade vs. one brigade with no leaders, magic, in the plains, etc, would see the top several like this:
RD Red Dragon
GI Giants
PH Phoenix
TR Trolls
RA Rangers
WT Wights
OG Ogres
BL Black Dragons

Then there would be perhaps the Ancient Ones, who have great starting leaders and magic, but only a few brigades.  At the very bottom would be Recruits, who would need   perhaps 7 brigades to match 1 Red Dragon brigade in the plains!  Dragon Lords, take heart!  Those with Recruits, you gain a lot by training to Veteran.

We are changing some PC starting values.  In general, you will see more variability.  Villages will be less generic and predictable, such that there may be a key village (or town) in a region worth almost double that of another.  Mountain PC's have a 15% advantage in gold, but are -15% in food production.  Plains PC's produce 20% more food, but 10% less gold. 

Capitals have increased values across - census, defense, gold and food for their terrain, and the capitals of the Sorcerer, Warlock and Witchlord (now) will have about 5k higher defense independent of terrain than other capitals.
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#2
I love the random variations you mentioned here. It will make things stay interesting. Thanks.
The Frost Lord,
Centurion in the Military War College
Pioneer of Alamaze
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#3
Thanks for posting this here, I really appreciate the disclosure and the gesture! I'm not someone who typically likes surprises of this nature, and so messaging them is a big plus, in my book.

You're obviously free to make tweaks and changes as you see fit, but I personally am looking forward to the whole "freezing" of Second Cycle. It will be nice to have a stable rule and setup environment, to go alongside the exciting variety of the forthcoming Choosing!
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#4
Exciting stuff.
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#5
for those 2 cents that mean nothing. I love that things are coming out for all to know

I agree set-up changes do not need to be made public as they are seen when you play the kingdom. As long as the changes are documented in both T0 and set-up. I think this is likely one of the things that has gotten players upset the most. when we know something is different but our set-up does not show this. I know I was very annoyed when my RD leaders kept dying when my set-up said +35 and later seen in the 300 forum they only had +10(have not played RD again so no idea if this was fixed). We know something is up and want to send support a message but have no hard proof because we are only playing one game with bad results.

overall brigade strength for sure should be mentioned globally as it was here. Thanks for that. I may consider playing the RD again. If troops fight differently or emissaries have different odds this is someone we should know. As done here we do not need to know the exact numbers but a relative idea of what we are looking at.

Towns and villages making more based on terrain type. nice to know and good for the game will help make R3 and R7 more gold based regions as they should be. This is an items I think is perfect to let players figure out

Towns and villages with higher randomness - I know I started noticing it in game 167 when I was not able to take R5 until I had 18 points worth of PCs normally used to taking a region with about 14 or 15. I had just thought is was part of UM new engine we must live with and not a deliberate change. Personally I dislike these type of changes as they add more luck into the game and take away from winning based on skill. Moving further in this direction is something that will drive me personally away from the game.

adding defense for mage kingdoms. Nice they need all the help they can get to start out.

overall good stuff.
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#6
(04-11-2015, 12:39 PM)Jumpingfist Wrote: for those 2 cents that mean nothing.  I love that things are coming out for all to know

I agree set-up changes do not need to be made public as they are seen when you play the kingdom.  As long as the changes are documented in both T0 and set-up.  I think this is likely one of the things that has gotten players upset the most.  when we know something is different but our set-up does not show this.  I know I was very annoyed when my RD leaders kept dying when my set-up said +35 and later seen in the 300 forum they only had +10(have not played RD again so no idea if this was fixed).  We know something is up and want to send support a message but have no hard proof because we are only playing one game with bad results.  

overall brigade strength for sure should be mentioned globally as it was here.  Thanks for that.  I may consider playing the RD again.  If troops fight differently or emissaries have different odds this is someone we should know.  As done here we do not need to know the exact numbers but a relative idea of what we are looking at.

Towns and villages making more based on terrain type.  nice to know and good for the game will help make R3 and R7 more gold based regions as they should be.  This is an items I think is perfect to let players figure out

Towns and villages with higher randomness - I know I started noticing it in game 167 when I was not able to take R5 until I had 18 points worth of PCs normally used to taking a region with about 14 or 15.  I had just thought is was part of UM new engine we must live with and not a deliberate change.  Personally I dislike these type of changes as they add more luck into the game and take away from winning based on skill.  Moving further in this direction is something that will drive me personally away from the game.

adding defense for mage kingdoms.  Nice they need all the help they can get to start out.  

overall good stuff.

I would be interested in knowing if there is a separate defensive brigade strength figure independent from the offensive strength.

Is the offensive number a precise indication of how kingdom brigades absorb losses or for example do dwarves or rangers take losses better than their brigade values might suggest.

Thanks!
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#7
Hawk,

This is a bit difficult to answer.  We have our old time players that want things as they were.  And we are about to that point where (finally) we can leave Classic alone, with the migration to the new platform pretty much done to a fine point.  Just fixing anything we think is not as intended, and I think we are close on that.  Believe me, I personally haven't wanted to spend all these many months getting "final 2nd cycle changes" done.  For all these 28 years, we have never published brigade values, etc.

In Classic, as it came back from NC, yes, there was essentially one value, so brigade strength was the determinant of defensive value.  This is not what I intended, but I honestly can't recall how I left the Symphony program with Phil about 1990.  I know better how we resolved combat in Fall of Rome beginning 2004.

As we have made the adjustments to combat, we have altered the defensive values some, especially for "The Bigs".  A reason I suspect that in NC changes like RD brigades having archers, cavalry and infantry instead of dragons, was to fit into the original model of troop types I did when first constructing Alamaze.  So each brigade type would have a certain number of 4 kinds each of missile, cavalry, and infantry.  For example, infantry might be light, medium, heavy, or guards.  Each subclass had a different value.  The composite of the number of each subclass and their values would determine values per phase.  This however ended up penalizing brigades like Red Dragon, and even Giants.  When we started making adjustments in Clipper, I learned in the migration some were made in Clipper and some weren't, so the Giants had a major defensive bump and the Red Dragons did not.  We have fixed that in java.  We also have adjusted various other values for defense strength of some brigade types, breaking from the strict calculation of how many expert archers or medium cavalry to more reflect the kingdom.  But in 2nd Cycle, we have only done that for a few kingdoms and not that big a departure.  The ranking I showed above is based on the product of brigade strength and defense.  So the Red Dragons, at the top, have something like a 5000 strength per brigade and a defense of 4.0, to give them a product of 20,000 for comparative purposes.  The Giants may have a brigade strength of 4350 and a defensive value of 3.2 for a product of 13,920.  The "product" is not actually used anywhere in the code, its just a means for me to evaluate the overall strength of a brigade.  Again, the product doesn't consider terrain, defensive adjustment, leadership, morale, etc. 

In The Choosing, I will be making more changes to these values.  I don't favor posting a complete table as I hate the idea of Alamaze being reduced to working a spreadsheet.  It was incredibly difficult to invent the entire method of infinitely variable text results to communicate battle phases and outcomes with text only instead of just posting numbers.  I'm not inclined to change the entire character of Alamaze by just posting every value in every aspect of the game.  Players should play the game as intended = as an adventure fantasy campaign with lots of uncertainty and incredible variability. 
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#8
Players should play the game as intended = as an adventure fantasy campaign with lots of uncertainty and incredible variability.


I like this.
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#9
I am happy not knowing the math behind it myself. Fall of Rome was a lot more open in this regard and, honestly, I feel like it took away from the game a bit.
 Lord Diamond

Please do not take any of my comments as a personal insult or as a criticism of the game 'Alamaze', which I very much enjoy. Rather, I hope that my personal insight and unique perspective may, in some way, help make 'Alamaze' more fun, a more successful financial venture, or simply more sustainable as a long-term project. Anyone who reads this post should feel completely free to ignore, disregard, scorn, implement, improve, dispute, or otherwise comment upon its content.





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#10
I think there's an important distinction between exploring new Kingdoms and rules and strategies (all good), and "change and mystery" for its own sake (not necessarily good).

Even in the most creative and "mystery" based type of fantasy game, role-playing games, there is a consistent rule set, and when a fighter swings a sword or a wizard casts a spell, the dynamics and expected results (or probabilities) are known by the player.

When the rules are changed, those changes are publicized and disseminated in things like errata, patch notes, or even something like a GM's house rules. House rules are a GM's prerogative, but you'd better believe that without some communication of that, players are going to be perplexed (and not in a good way) when their spells aren't working as expected.

All that to say, I'm excited by the prospects of the Choosing, but I'm also motivated to find out as much as possible about every new Kingdom, and explore and ponder the implications of new rules and strategies, as quickly as possible, so that I can play competently and well.

And I would also posit that this has always been the case with the Alamaze community, even to the earliest Oracle articles that revealed the 320/330 formulae, and even to this day with the release of Frost Lord's incredibly helpful calculators.

I'm also not a big fan of secret tweaks and changes, even minor ones, simply because they result in a lack of stability with respect to expectations and an inability to rely on prior learning and experience.

I would even argue that this exact concept is why it has become standard for game companies to release patch notes for updates, so that people can understand what has changed as they apply the patch. This is just good communication and messaging, and not "gameplay by spreadsheet" or whatever.

I understand this is Rick's company and he can run it however he wants, but I believe the viewpoint I'm expressing is a common one, even a majority one, and my hope is that it will be taken into consideration.
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