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Subject: Is Plasma Missile a must-pick technology? rss

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Jeff Chamberlain
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stephenhope wrote:
charlest wrote:
I just wanted to chime in and say that my group has not had any issues with PMs. They've appeared in most games and I don't recall the winner ever possessing them.

Most of our tech points are spent on the extra disc technologies, improved hull (someone jumps on this every game it appears and totally loads up their dreadnaughts with multiple improved hulls), the Advanced Resource gathering techs, and the Orbitals/Monoliths.


Seconded.


And I will second that again. Plasma missiles have come up in a number of our games, but no one has ever built the super-dreadnought that people keep mentioning, and if they did, I'm pretty sure it would take them so long that it would be fairly easy for me to prep a counter. And that counter might not even be a ship build, but maybe I storm in with much cheaper interceptors and keep pinning him when he tries to move his dreads around forcing him to waste actions just bringing the extra fodder he needs to unpin his dreads. Or maybe I load up starbases with my own plasma missiles and put them in the path of his dreads. Sure, their weaker, but they'll likely take out at least one of the dreads, and the SBs are much easier to replace.

My experience so far in this game is that building up ship schematics is really about efficient planning (economy of actions) and less about having the uber ship. Because it seems that the player who spent the most time trying to fine tune his ship schematics was usually the loser because he ends up wasting too many actions doing things other than getting more points. Attacking is important, and being aggressive is valuable. But it seems to me that being quick and efficient about it is key. If i see an opponent slowly working up toward and uber ship, I'll likely (if I can) just attack them before they finish, and force them to use that uber ship recovering the ground they lost while they were building it.
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Allan Clements
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dedindahed wrote:
rook2pawn wrote:

PM-hull-cannon is not a rock paper scissors situation. If it were then Hull would counter PM. To say it counters, show me the math. ill show you my math.

Given a 2-Hull situation, one tile of PM means two dice. All other things being equal, a 50% success rate (1 success roll and 1 fail roll) means Hull Loses. And that's when you're trying to counter PM. If youre not even trying, you get insta-gibbed.

Show me the math where this is rock paper scissors.

PM is imbalanced.


Err. your maths are wrong.

For an expected roll of 1 hit 1 miss, you need to be on 4+ to hit, so you must also have a +2 computer, so we have PM + computer vs 2 hull.

Also you need to inflict ONE MORE damage than hull points to destroy a ship, so BOTH missiles need to hit to destroy the 2 hull ship.

Seems like a reasonable counter to me......


Well a computer is assumed, and the non-missile ship is assumed to have at least 1 weapon.
 
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David Winter
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Kamakaze wrote:

Well a computer is assumed, and the non-missile ship is assumed to have at least 1 weapon.


But the comparison was based on a straight 1 vs 1 missiles vs adv hull.

The "assumed" computer costs, the "assumed" weapon is standard on all ships.

And even if we do grant the +2 computer as a freebie, THE HULL IS STILL NOT MATHEMATICALLY INFERIOR....
 
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Tomas Plečkaitis
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MillertimeRC wrote:
What you're talking about involves four technologies, some high tier. Yes any one player that manages to get all of that will have a very strong military, and then what? How far in the game was it before the player was able to buy all these technologies, get them equipped, build the dreadnaughts and move them into attacking position? Was that player actually able to influence the winner of the game at this point?

the point is if someone succeeds to get these 2 tech and nobody else has PMs then play is no more interesting. Shields and hulls against 16 orange dice modified by +6 are worth nothing. Pinning? Do you think that player getting these tech has only 2 dreadnaughts and other players are much wiser as they prepared 8 interceptors in advance? Normal play is that you already have 2 dreadnaughts near center, a few cruisers and interceptors before you grab PM in 5-7 round. In this certain play player was not leading. After getting tech and packing ships he took universe center from other player. In other rounds he overtake most valuable hexes around by packed 2*PM+4 cruisers. Nobody could even do anything. Result is 49vp vs 27 next.
 
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Riku Riekkinen
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tms_ wrote:
the point is if someone succeeds to get these 2 tech and nobody else has PMs then play is no more interesting. Shields and hulls against 16 orange dice modified by +6 are worth nothing.


So two fully armed Pm dreadnoughts. That could be stopped by a single dreadnought with 3xPhase Shield, 3xImproved Hull, Power Source & Engine.

In smaller skirmishes an interceptor with Gluon Computer & Plasma Missiles is likely to lose to an interceptor with IMproved Hull & Ion Cannon.

Now some PM believers say that PM guy just reconfigures his fleet after the opponent has added shields / reduced them. But if we have a player who has taken Neutron Bombs, Power Source, Plasma Missiles & Gluon Computer vs player who has taken Improved Hull, Fusion Source, Advanced Economics, Quantum Grid & Phase Shield. After the PM player has run out of actions, the other player has 4-5 actions left (2 from Quantum Grid, 1-2 from AE, 1 from passing last turn after the PM guy). So I find the PM guy adjusting his fleet according to his opponets quite ridicilous. Also even though the other guy has needed one more action to get the techs, note that Advanced Economy & Quantum Grid start producing actions as soon as you pick them up. So I think the scenario still favors PM guy resource wise.

Now I do think that plasma missiles are extremely powerful. And I've seen games won with those (at least I credit them to PMs). But the game winning ability is also true to many other techs. If they wouldn't be able to massive damage, they would be just useless (as would be the whole higher Military tech tree). I've also won a 4er game with all other players having the plasma missiles, but me (in fact it was the latest game I played). And I attacked the last round (so PMs are not guaranteed to win even on the defense).

tms_ wrote:
Normal play is that you already have 2 dreadnaughts near center, a few cruisers and interceptors before you grab PM in 5-7 round.


The "traditional" PM rush is done by picking them up at turn 3. So I think your group isn't holding them in very high priority after all.
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Allan Clements
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The PM player can research Quantum Grid too and other economy techs if they are available, and you don't need a better power source to make use of missiles (just stick to positron computers).

Also don't forget that you need to spend lots of actions to configure your ship just to counter missiles, leaving your ships vulnerable to any ships with more normal weapons than you. The missile player however has ships that will 100% guarantee to kill anyone who has not built ships specifically to counter them (the odds of missile ships failing against "normal" ship designs is small enough not to matter).

It also depends on the size of your empire as to how many actions you have left.

Quote:
So two fully armed Pm dreadnoughts. That could be stopped by a single dreadnought with 3xPhase Shield, 3xImproved Hull, Power Source & Engine.


Does that ship even have a gun? If that is all you have then the missle player can just fly past your dreadnaughts just as it is said that we can fly "around" a player using missile fleets.
 
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Riku Riekkinen
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Kamakaze wrote:
The PM player can research Quantum Grid too and other economy techs if they are available,


And the Quantum Grid guy can take Plasma Missiles. But the Quantum Grid guy has then had a huge economy boost in the mean time.

Kamakaze wrote:
and you don't need a better power source to make use of missiles (just stick to positron computers).


But then the PM dreadnoughts aren't even as good as in the previous exmples.

Kamakaze wrote:
Also don't forget that you need to spend lots of actions to configure your ship just to counter missiles, leaving your ships vulnerable to any ships with more normal weapons than you. The missile player however has ships that will 100% guarantee to kill anyone who has not built ships specifically to counter them (the odds of missile ships failing against "normal" ship designs is small enough not to matter).


yes, the non-PM guy is going to be in more trouble fighting 2 front war. But I thought the point of this thread was the PM guy can just walk over anyone.

Kamakaze wrote:
Quote:
So two fully armed Pm dreadnoughts. That could be stopped by a single dreadnought with 3xPhase Shield, 3xImproved Hull, Power Source & Engine.


Does that ship even have a gun? If that is all you have then the missle player can just fly past your dreadnaughts just as it is said that we can fly "around" a player using missile fleets.


No, that doesn't have a gun. You don't need a gun to stop PM only fleet. If they fly past you, they cut their own retreat route in which case they are destroyed, if they don't manage to destroy the ships that might pop up there. And of course its not easier to fly past a ship with no guns than past ship with guns.
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Chris Miller
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rook2pawn wrote:

PM-hull-cannon is not a rock paper scissors situation. If it were then Hull would counter PM. To say it counters, show me the math. ill show you my math.

Given a 2-Hull situation, one tile of PM means two dice. All other things being equal, a 50% success rate (1 success roll and 1 fail roll) means Hull Loses. And that's when you're trying to counter PM. If youre not even trying, you get insta-gibbed.

Show me the math where this is rock paper scissors.

PM is imbalanced.


It seems to me that most people complaining about the PMs being overpowered are just doing math and not actually playing the game. There are so many variables that affect the effectiveness of any tech or strategy, not just the PMs.

It's easy to say that based on math, a ship with a certain configuration will beat another ship with this other configuration. If this were a game that awards victory simply to the person that picks the best tech tiles and arranges them on a ship diagram then you would have a valid point. Just a few of the variables that you're not considering: if and when the technologies become available, other players buying them first (which leads to the issue of ending your turn early to get first buy, which makes your early turns less efficient), getting the resources to buy equip and build these specific designs, getting the ships into combat without the many many strategies that can be used against it.
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Allan Clements
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So, you see nothing wrong with building ships without guns to fight off missiles??? (not that you can attack the player with missiles with such ships)

All other ship components are relatively balanced with each other, even when you attempt to build the perfect counter to someone elses ship, you usually get a few rounds of combat, with damage on both sides.

With missiles none of that matters,, one player rolls dice once and then it is over (one way or the other)

In a real game, I have yet to win a battle against true missile fleets (not just dreadnoughts), that player has not always won, and I don't think that really matters, it is just that fights become binary and uninteresting.

For now we are using the hole rule that shields are twice as effective against missiles. We like it, we find that missiles get used in addition to other weapons, and one phase shield is enough to deter people from building pure missile fleets.

 
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Viktor Karlsson Mantel
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I have played about 6-7 games and no one have ever picked the plasma missile.
 
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Riku Riekkinen
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Kamakaze wrote:
So, you see nothing wrong with building ships without guns to fight off missiles??? (not that you can attack the player with missiles with such ships)

All other ship components are relatively balanced with each other, even when you attempt to build the perfect counter to someone elses ship, you usually get a few rounds of combat, with damage on both sides.

With missiles none of that matters,, one player rolls dice once and then it is over (one way or the other)

In a real game, I have yet to win a battle against true missile fleets (not just dreadnoughts), that player has not always won, and I don't think that really matters, it is just that fights become binary and uninteresting.


I do agree that missiles make combats more boring. So while I don't think its necessary for the whole game balance, I'll welcome the counter tech warmly. I'm not involved in the design or playtesting, but from a session report read from BGG I understand that there is going to be tech(s) for that in the expansion.
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Sébastien Volle
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So, the consensus now that people have a few more games under their belt is that PMs might not be as powerful as it may seem at first. We've seen that as powerful as they may be, PM can be countered with sufficient hull, or rendered useless by pinning their carrier, etc.

But this brings me to the second part of my original post: what about Antimatter Cannons? Are they a good offensive alternative to PMs? They are even more expensive, they roll only on die which make them more random and less flexible and they have a hefty *4* power requirements.

In the 15 games I've played, I think I only saw them in action once, to their owner demise since he was easily countered with an interceptor swarm.
I guess they're still pretty scary and are the bane of the big ships. But that sounds situational at best.

My current position on this topic is: definitely not worth it. Stick to Fusion Cannon, grab some hull and an actual useful economic tech and forget about AM altogether.

So, what am I missing here? Thoughts?
 
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Charlie Theel
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Seboss wrote:
So, the consensus now that people have a few more games under their belt is that PMs might not be as powerful as it may seem at first. We've seen that as powerful as they may be, PM can be countered with sufficient hull, or rendered useless by pinning their carrier, etc.

But this brings me to the second part of my original post: what about Antimatter Cannons? Are they a good offensive alternative to PMs? They are even more expensive, they roll only on die which make them more random and less flexible and they have a hefty *4* power requirements.

In the 15 games I've played, I think I only saw them in action once, to their owner demise since he was easily countered with an interceptor swarm.
I guess they're still pretty scary and are the bane of the big ships. But that sounds situational at best.

My current position on this topic is: definitely not worth it. Stick to Fusion Cannon, grab some hull and an actual useful economic tech and forget about AM altogether.

So, what am I missing here? Thoughts?


In our group Anti-matter cannons have been bought every game. I think it coincides with the fact that Improved Hull is often purchased.
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Chris Miller
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Seboss wrote:
So, the consensus now that people have a few more games under their belt is that PMs might not be as powerful as it may seem at first. We've seen that as powerful as they may be, PM can be countered with sufficient hull, or rendered useless by pinning their carrier, etc.

But this brings me to the second part of my original post: what about Antimatter Cannons? Are they a good offensive alternative to PMs? They are even more expensive, they roll only on die which make them more random and less flexible and they have a hefty *4* power requirements.

In the 15 games I've played, I think I only saw them in action once, to their owner demise since he was easily countered with an interceptor swarm.
I guess they're still pretty scary and are the bane of the big ships. But that sounds situational at best.

My current position on this topic is: definitely not worth it. Stick to Fusion Cannon, grab some hull and an actual useful economic tech and forget about AM altogether.

So, what am I missing here? Thoughts?


My thought is that it's not only possible to play the game without a strong military, but it's possible to play it well and win doing so. It's so situational depending on the number of players, their chosen race, their exploration choices, their tech path choices, their aggressive/passive stance, and so on.

I think the real answer is that this game doesn't have any "must pick" technologies because there are so many viable paths to victory but they will be different from game to game. I think some of the techs are close to must buy levels but they are not ship upgrade components.
 
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Tomas Plečkaitis
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Sorry, but ships packed with -6 shields or hulls have no chance against 16 orange dice +6 computers. You can't pack enormous shields and enormous hulls on the same ship. The only tech that can counter is other player PMs.

Yesterday in another Eclipse session player with ridiculous PM ships won again. This time won only by 4vp as was not playing very wise and all other players were playing almost cooperatively. There were 3 PM tiles on offer. The first player who grab it packed all his ships, the second player packed only one ship because upgrade tiles have ended Sure nobody else was interested in remaining 3rd tile anymore. The PM player attack against other PM player was useless because all ships were auto-cleaned in PMs struggle (we play with simultaneous missile attack rule). So as mentioned PMs are the only effective defense against PM player. So if you have nuclear you need cannons only against other PM player.
 
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Eetu Immonen
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tms_ wrote:
-- There were 3 PM tiles on offer. The first player who grab it packed all his ships, the second player packed only one ship because upgrade tiles have ended Sure nobody else was interested in remaining 3rd tile anymore. --
Eclipse rulebook, p. 6 wrote:
Component limitations: Ship Part Tiles and Damage Cubes are unlimited, so in the unlikely case they run out, use a substitute.
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Tomas Plečkaitis
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Pawndawan wrote:
[q="Eclipse rulebook, p. 6"]Component limitations: Ship Part Tiles and Damage Cubes are unlimited, so in the unlikely case they run out, use a substitute.

thank you! We have about 10 plays now and missed this explanation. I suspected these are unlimited, but as it was never problem for my own ships I was too lazy too browse the rule book
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Chris Miller
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tms_ wrote:
Sorry, but ships packed with -6 shields or hulls have no chance against 16 orange dice +6 computers. You can't pack enormous shields and enormous hulls on the same ship. The only tech that can counter is other player PMs.


Why not? You can do this as easily as 4 PMs and +6 computers...

Quote:
Yesterday in another Eclipse session player with ridiculous PM ships won again. This time won only by 4vp as was not playing very wise and all other players were playing almost cooperatively. There were 3 PM tiles on offer. The first player who grab it packed all his ships, the second player packed only one ship because upgrade tiles have ended Sure nobody else was interested in remaining 3rd tile anymore. The PM player attack against other PM player was useless because all ships were auto-cleaned in PMs struggle (we play with simultaneous missile attack rule). So as mentioned PMs are the only effective defense against PM player. So if you have nuclear you need cannons only against other PM player.


You were playing with one major rule wrong and one house rule regarding PMs so whatever the outcome of that game was doesn't really mean anything as to the balance of the technology when played as written.
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Tomas Plečkaitis
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MillertimeRC wrote:
You were playing with one major rule wrong and one house rule regarding PMs so whatever the outcome of that game was doesn't really mean anything as to the balance of the technology when played as written.

Our house rule and mistake doesn't change the fact that the only effective technology against PM+GC is other player PM. In case of single PM player who knows how to use this tech others are smoking...

Yes, you can survive with 6 hulls and 6 shields dreadnoughts if you have luck just to defend your hex for one round
 
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Riku Riekkinen
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Seboss wrote:
So, the consensus now that people have a few more games under their belt is that PMs might not be as powerful as it may seem at first. We've seen that as powerful as they may be, PM can be countered with sufficient hull, or rendered useless by pinning their carrier, etc.

But this brings me to the second part of my original post: what about Antimatter Cannons? Are they a good offensive alternative to PMs? They are even more expensive, they roll only on die which make them more random and less flexible and they have a hefty *4* power requirements.

In the 15 games I've played, I think I only saw them in action once, to their owner demise since he was easily countered with an interceptor swarm.
I guess they're still pretty scary and are the bane of the big ships. But that sounds situational at best.

My current position on this topic is: definitely not worth it. Stick to Fusion Cannon, grab some hull and an actual useful economic tech and forget about AM altogether.

So, what am I missing here? Thoughts?


The AM cannon is not very popular at my group either. But its picked regularly up at some point, because people want max points from the grid tech track. And after its picked up it is regularly put to use, since after all there are many cases in which its strictly better than plasma cannon (or ion cannon)... all the times when you have that extra energy available.

As examples for strictly grid based interceptor builds there are: Antimatter Cannon+Improved Hull+Fusion Source+Nuclear Engine which wins more than loses to a PM interceptor and is extremely dangerous even to larger ships with heavy hulls... or Antimatter Cannon+Positron Computer+Fusion Source+ Nuclear Engine which is more dangerous to ships without missiles.
 
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tms_ wrote:
Sorry, but ships packed with -6 shields or hulls have no chance against 16 orange dice +6 computers. You can't pack enormous shields and enormous hulls on the same ship. The only tech that can counter is other player PMs.


Sure you can. 2 Dreadnoughts with 3 Phase Shields, 2 Improved Hulls, and any one cannon. The missile fleet would have to roll 6 hits to destroy both dreadnoughts, and if they only hit on 6, then you expect only 2.67 hits out of 16 possible. So they might take out one of your dreadnoughts in the initial volley, but then their suddenly defenseless dreadnoughts are toast if you've cut off their retreat.
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Peter O
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We use antimatter cannons all the time. Great counter to the most popular tech (and actual "must pick" tech) in Improved hull. PMs are powerful but not unstoppable in our games, just how they should be.

It also doesn't make sense to be someone who worries both about PMs being overpowered AND the counter vessels being weak to other players. Either the PM person is overpowered and getting ganged up on, or he's not overpowered and the "counter vessel" player is getting ganged up, or PM is overpowered and everyone at your table rolls over at the mere threat, rather than playing diplomatically and strategically wise.

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Joseph Cochran
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tms_ wrote:
Our house rule and mistake doesn't change the fact that the only effective technology against PM+GC is other player PM. In case of single PM player who knows how to use this tech others are smoking...

Yes, you can survive with 6 hulls and 6 shields dreadnoughts if you have luck just to defend your hex for one round


So wait, PM+GC+upgrades+builds... what were the other players doing while he built this armada? That's still the thing that gets me about this: if someone has the resources to build a PM+GC armada, they're probably winning the economic race as well, so it wouldn't really matter WHAT kind of fleet they have since they're likely beating you in the rest of the game too.
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D K
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I also think antimatter cannons are weak because they draw 4 power.

On dreadnoughts, if you put more than one AM cannon on a ship then you generally also need two power sources. So you can go from two plasma cannons to: I) one plasma and one AM, II) two AM and an extra power source. Not that much of an improvement for a quite expensive tech. Also consider that plasma cannons are less likely to waste hits by "overhitting" a weak ship.

Any ideas on how AM cannons can be put to good use?

Sometimes they get picked because PM and plasma cannons are not available, or because the tech VPs are needed, but otherwise AM cannons have not been picked much.

(It could be useful to put AM on interceptors, but the problem with using many smaller ships is that it takes a lot of actions to move them around.)
 
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Sébastien Volle
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What about the fact that they roll just on die? They potentially do a whooping 4 damage each, but only to a single target. It never ends well against a multitude of interceptors with fusion cannons in my experience.
 
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