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Subject: A gazillion questions rss

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Evolution isn't over
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Having sat down yesterday for a solo play-through with the rules and a couple of player aids from BGG, I now realise how much of this game I don't understand yet...

As they come into my head, and not in order of importance (this list will be edited):

Q1: If a defending unit retreats into a castle at the beginning of a combat and there are no units defending units left in the field, assuming the attacker does not storm and the defender does not sally, is that the end of the combat for those blocks for that turn?

Q2: If the attacker storms, then a battle commences, with the attacker deploying a number of blocks (if available)up to double the town rating, and the defender having double defence. Does the defender get to 'shoot' during storming?

Q3: If the defender sallies, then a battle commences. Does the attacker get to 'shoot' during sallies?

Q4: There can only ever be three combat rounds for the attacker, four for the defender if the attacker does not retreat in the 3rd round. Assuming this is the case, what are the possible outcomes if a defender withdraws all their blocks into a castle (assuming allowance compliance) at the end of the second round of a field battle?

Q5: 'Sieges (can) last more than one of the six game turns in a year'. True or false.

Q6: Six Frank blocks want to retreat in the third round of a field battle, having taken a pasting from four Saracen blocks. The Saracen blocks get to shoot at the Franks as they retreat, block by block. As there are only four Saracen blocks, can only four of the retreating Franks be targetted? If so, do you pick a Saracen block to target each of the Franks? That would mean that two Frank blocks are not shot at, correct? Or can the strongest Saracen block target all six Frank blocks, one after another?

Q7: In the scenario described in Q6, assuming the Franks were retreating down a minor road, not all of the could retreat in the third turn. What are the possible outcomes in the fourth turn? If there are too many blocks to retreat all of them in the fourth turn too, what happens to those that are unable to retreat?

I can see that there is a good game in here trying to get out, and I'd appreciate your help. Any rules rewrites that you'd particularly recommend to make this game a little more transparent to me would be most appreciated.
 
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MATTHEW SPRING
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Q1: If a defending unit retreats into a castle at the beginning of a combat and there are no defending units left in the field, assuming the attacker does not storm and the defender does not sally, is that the end of the combat for those blocks for that turn?

Yes. Unless the attacking blocks Retreat or Storm, a Siege is now in progress. Besieged blocks are subject to a Siege Attrition roll at the end of each Game Turn *except* the first Game Turn besieged. In the next Game Turn, the defenders may try to break the siege by sallying out and/or by bringing a relief force from elsewhere to initiate a battle in which the besiegers would be the defenders.

Q2: If the attacker storms, then a battle commences, with the attacker deploying a number of blocks (if available) up to double the town rating, and the defender having double defence. Does the defender get to 'shoot' during storming?

If the attacker chooses to Storm after the defender has withdrawn from the field/town into the Castle, then this is not a 'new' battle as such, but a continuation of the old.

For example, if the defending blocks *deploy in the field/town* for battle, but then each block chooses to retreat into the castle instead of 'firing' in Combat Round 1, then the attacker may not Storm in Combat Round 1. He may however Storm in Combat Round 2. If so, the defending blocks 'fire' just like they would in a normal battle (ie, defending 'A' blocks shoot first; then attacking 'A' blocks; then defending 'B' blocks; and so on), *except* they can only 'hurt' the *storming* blocks (ie, they can't hurt those kept in 'reserve'). One should bear in mind that a maximum of 2 blocks may storm Tyre & Tripoli (special cases: the towns were located at the end of narrow causeways).

If, however, the defenders never deployed in the field in the first place, but immediately shut themselves up in the Castle, then the attacker could Storm in Combat Round 1.

Q3: If the defender sallies, then a battle commences. Does the attacker get to 'shoot' during sallies?

Yes. The besieging blocks are now the *defenders*, as they hold the field/town. Hence, defending 'A' blocks shoot first; then attacking 'A' blocks; then defending 'B' blocks; and so on.

Q4: There can only ever be three combat rounds for the attacker, four for the defender if the attacker does not retreat in the 3rd round. Assuming this is the case, what are the possible outcomes if a defender withdraws all their blocks into a castle (assuming allowance compliance) at the end of the second round of a field battle?

Due to the defenders having withdrawn into the Castle, the attackers now control the field/town. They can Storm the castle in Combat Round 3, or they can retreat to where they came from, or they can simply sit tight. If they do the latter, then nothing happens in Combat Round 3 or 4; in short, a siege commences.

Q5: 'Sieges (can) last more than one of the six game turns in a year'. True or false.

True. Storming is a quick but potentially costly way to capture a defended castle. The cheap way is to maintain a siege over multiple Game Turns. Whilst the besieging blocks sit tight, each Game Turn that the defenders fail to break the siege they must roll for Siege Attrition on each block in the castle (to simulate the effects of disease on the cramped garrison).

Q6: Six Frank blocks want to retreat in the third round of a field battle, having taken a pasting from four Saracen blocks. The Saracen blocks get to shoot at the Franks as they retreat, block by block. As there are only four Saracen blocks, can only four of the retreating Franks be targetted? If so, do you pick a Saracen block to target each of the Franks? That would mean that two Frank blocks are not shot at, correct? Or can the strongest Saracen block target all six Frank blocks, one after another?

Each block 'fires' in its turn; the hits it inflicts are applied to the *strongest* block at *that moment*.

In your example, let's say the Franks were attacking and the Saracens were defending. Let's also say that one of the Frank blocks was an 'A' and that the other five were 'B' blocks; and that one of the Saracen blocks was an 'A', two were 'B' blocks and one was a 'C' block.

Here, because the Saracens are defending, their single 'A' gets to shoot before the Frank 'A'. Let's say it scores a single hit. That hit is *immediately* applied to the strongest Frank block - let's say here they were all at '2' strength, so the Frank player gets to choose the unfortunate block that receives the hit. He chooses one of the five 'B' blocks. The Frank 'A' block now gets to do something, and chooses to retreat.

Next, the two Saracen 'B' blocks get to shoot, and inflict 4 hits! Four of the five remaining Frank blocks are still at '2' strength, and one is at '1' strength. That means the Frank player can't apply a hit to the '1' strength block. Nor may he apply any more than one hit to any of the four '2' strength blocks (remember, each hit must be applied, one by one, to the *strongest* block *at that moment*). Hence, once hits are applied, we now have five Frankish blocks at '1' strength. It now falls to these 'B' blocks to move, and they all retreat - in the nick of time!

This leaves no targets at all for the Saracen 'C' block, which therefore cannot shoot.

Q7: In the scenario described in Q6, assuming the Franks were retreating down a minor road, not all of the could retreat in the third turn. What are the possible outcomes in the fourth turn? If there are too many blocks to retreat all of them in the fourth turn too, what happens to those that are unable to retreat?

According to your example as *I* interpreted it, six Frank blocks have attacked four Saracen ones. That means the Frank player *must* have used more than one road to attack (and have designated one group as Reinforcements, which enter in Combat Round 2), as no more than 4 blocks can attack up a *major road* and no more than 2 can attack up a *minor road*. They can retreat back down these roads, if the destination(s) is vacant or controlled by friendly blocks. There are retreat road limits, however: no more than 4 blocks may retreat down a major road and no more than 2 may retreat down a minor road. Blocks that cannot retreat must win or be eliminated.

If we turn your example round and say that the Saracens were attacking the Franks, then the Franks may retreat using any roads that the Saracens did *not* attack up, if the destination is vacant or controlled by friendly blocks. Again, road limits apply, and blocks that cannot retreat must win or be eliminated.

Hope this helps, and that I haven't misinterpreted any of the rules. I am a *huge* fan of this game and would very strongly encourage you to persist with it.
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Evolution isn't over
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Many thanks for your thoughtful clarifications and swift reply - very much appreciated.

Yes, I can now see how I've disregarded the road limitations in the assembling of the units in the example in Q6, but then wish to reapply them in Q7!
 
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