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Subject: How about just letting the bots cheat? rss

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Peter Kossits
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Happens quite frequently that the next card up for the bot is not a great fit for the strategy/objective that comes off of the chart. Then you have to go fishing for a different card or start thinking about 2 card plays and the amount of time you spend processing the bot's move just skyrockets.

I was just wondering this evening if it would make things smoother just to automatically give the bots the logistics value for all Military cards while ignoring all restrictions.

Would make the game a lot harder, but I don't really care. I want to be able to expend less brainpower and time on the bot's move and concentrate on the side I am playing. A lot of other games (ex: Labyrinth) allow the automated enemy to cheat on card play and on-board play to speed things up.

I know the game has just come out, but has anyone ever tried this?
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John Steidl
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Anything is fair game. I think Mark intended Erasmus as a starting framework. If you want a tougher game, one way is certainly to relax card restrictions. Another way (my approach) is to apply more judgment to his moves. Of course the latter takes more effort from the player, not less. The right answer is whatever works to give you the most enjoyable experience.

It would be fun to hear more about different folks' experience in tuning the bot. Maybe we can make this a thread to do that; thanks for starting it!
 
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Peter Kossits
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Thanks for the reply. I had something happen in my session yesterday that kind of highlighted what I don't like about this as a solo game.

Allied Bot wanted to attack Rabaul as per chart. I had few forces in the area so calculated my requirements and moved units from Hawaii in range for a 2 card play. Took a look at the OPS value of the next card so I could pick a port close enough and also checked the Japanese reaction ahead of time.

Then when the next card came up, I was ready to spring the attack for the bot and I noticed only then that the card had a restriction for only one infantry unit being used. No good, I need two marine units to meet the ground requirements. OK, no problem. I'll use the card as an Op card instead. Recalculated everything and found that the lost activations meant I no longer met the Air/Naval requirement. And then I felt like the previous card play was a mistake and the entire 2 card play was wrong.

Situations like this happen all the time, where a HQ or unit restriction turn managing the bot into too much of a puzzle and the card order you set up at the beginning of the turn doesn't really work.

Now I'm sure that a real Allied player could have made this work out somehow by resequencing the order of the cards and looking ahead into the future more. I try to do that for the side I am playing, but I really want to avoid having to do it for the bot's side. Play is much smoother if you can just move to the next card in the list and run with it.

I ended up stopping play at that point, but later in the evening I was thinking that just by ignoring the one infantry unit restriction, I could have continued, expending very little effort, and the game would have progressed into an interesting situation. And then I had the idea of ignoring the HQ and unit type/number restrictions for the bot's cards. For intel roll purposes, if the bot has declared one battle hex, treat it as an Op card play. If the bot has declared more than one battle hex, treat it as an Event card play.

To balance out the extra activations given out here to make the Rabaul attack work easily, I have no doubt that the bot would also be wasting some activations or being inefficient in other ways later on down the road.


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John Steidl
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Great example of a situation where it makes sense to ignore a restriction for Erasmus. Also a great example of how important it is to plan ahead when you're playing as a normal human.
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Drake Coker
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It seems like a good way to handle the bots is to treat them as supplying the grand strategy and the default tactics for achieving that strategy, but that you can/should adjust when the tactics don't make sense. I treat the specified card ordering as the default when no other factors dominate, but not as an absolute rule.
 
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Peter Kossits
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Does it take you significantly longer to process a bot turn than your own turn? What you're describing is not smooth. You're trying to make something work with a specific card, waiting for it to fail, and then looking for another card and repeating the process and moving on to a new potential objective after all card fail. I don't know, I don't really play my own hands quite like that.

If you by default use the highest Log value in the bots hand and ignore HQ/unit restrictions (and flavour text and extra benefits?) and check to see if something works and it doesn't, you're guaranteed it won't work for any other card you have, as long as you use the same approach for those as well.
 
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Peter Kossits
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Well, just tested it out. It did help a little bit not having to worry so much about the card text. The end result of ignoring the restrictions was just a few more activations thrown the bot's way here and there.

But, I still couldn't get out of turn 4 before throwing up my arms in frustration, so I know that restrictions on cards are not the main problem for me.

Oh well, was worth a try.

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John Steidl
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peterk1 wrote:
But, I still couldn't get out of turn 4 before throwing up my arms in frustration, so I know that restrictions on cards are not the main problem for me.

Have you tried playing against yourself as an alternative? Or if you don't want to have to think for both sides and don't mind a human opponent, I'm happy to play a Vassal game.
 
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Peter Kossits
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Hi John,

Gave it another go with my after breakfast coffee, saw something I didn't last night and got my bot game unblocked again. So much of this game is "board vision". It's a lot like chess in that way, except 25 hexes is harder to do than 8 squares.

I'd love to play a PBEM game if you're game (peterk at look.ca). I'll take the Allies.

p.

 
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John Steidl
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peterk1 wrote:
So much of this game is "board vision". It's a lot like chess in that way, except 25 hexes is harder to do than 8 squares.

As great as the physical components are, the Vassal module has some wonderful visual supports.
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