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Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar» Forums » Rules

Subject: Belgae bot queries (Forts, Enlist) rss

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Shonai Dweller
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Excellent game. Been playing solo for a while now. After several false starts and crushing defeats, I'm now just coming up to the final straight of what should be my first Pax Gallica Roman victory vs the bots. So long as I can keep those damned Aedui down...

Now, two questions regarding what seems to be odd behavior on the part of the Belgae bot. I'm assuming either I'm reading the bot rules incorrectly or there's some historical/balance reasons to blame but:

1) Unlike citadels, the bot seems to completely ignore roman forts. Spending all it's time rallying, building up it's forces, only to have the Romans turn up and claim a free defense bonus.

Bot text 8.5.1:
"If the Belgae have Ambiorix or a group of more than three Belgic Warbands in any region where the Romans, Arverni, or Aedui have an Ally, a Citadel, a Legion or separately more than three pieces, the Belgae may battle as follows..."

Do they perhaps not know how to dismantle an abandoned fort? Don't think it's worth it?

2) Enlist. Ambiriox is in Nervii, the Romans have taken over Atrebates, a massive German force have settled in Treveri (German control). Just soften up the Romans by enlisting the German hordes to march into Atrebates before mopping up right? Wrong.
It seems that, in this case, the Bot instructions won't allow any enlist command other than March in Place or Rally. Making the German horde fatter, but not of actual use unless Romans foolishly venture over there.

Bot text 8.5.1 (ENLIST, bullet 2)
"If (Battle) not possible, they cause a Germanic march with at least four Warbands and the most Warbands able as follows. If able, move them out of a Belgica or Germania Region and into a Region Controlled by a player then Non-player enemy (Romans, Arverni or Aedui). If not March within a region in order to Hide or remove Scouted markers from at least four Revealed Warbands and the most possible".

Trevari is so nice, Germans won't leave to help their buddies? Some sort of representation of a lack of Ambiorix' control in non-Belgic regions?

Please let me know if I'm reading the above correct and would be nice to know if there's some kind of reasoning of what I think is odd behavior (if only 'balance').
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Didier Renard
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Based my limited experience (2 games), the Belgae bot does not seem to perform well. Although I think I had some marches wrong (8.5.5 is not really simple).

Your interpretation seems correct. I had the same observation and question regarding forts.
With enlist, would it be sensible to remove the restriction on the regional origin, especially to target a player?
 
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Oerjan Ariander
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I'm curious: in what way do you think moving German Warbands into Atrebates would help Ambiorix?

* He can't use them to Battle the Romans there until he can execute a second Enlist Special Ability - assuming both they and the Romans are still there at that point, i.e., the Romans have neither wiped the Germans out nor Marched away to leave the Belgae and Germans to fight it out in Atrebates.
* They don't contribute to Belgic Control there (except during some, but not all, Enlist Special Ability uses). Once the Command+Enlist action ends, the Germans immediately cease counting as "temporary Belgae".
* If the Romans decide to Battle the Belgae in Atrebates, the Germans will just sit and watch without getting involved.
* If the Germans are still in Atrebates by the next Winter they're very likely to Raid and/or Battle the Belgae there, and might also Rally a Subdued Tribe there (making it harder still for the Belgae to kick them out).

While I agree that having a bunch of Germans in Treveri should make Ambiorix nervous, the only space I'd consider moving them to would be Sequani - moving them as far as possible away from the Regions the Belgae are most interested in... Mandubii is a very distant second, but only if there are no Belgae at all left in Atrebates.

***
Regarding Forts, they don't contribute to anyone's VPs and often take several Losses to destroy. Including Forts in the list of conditions that make BelgaeBot Battle makes it quite easy for a Roman player to lure it into attacking a lone Fort with 4-7 Scouted or Revealed Warbands (so they can't Ambush and only inflict 1 Loss per Battle)... and if that Fort keeps passing its Loss rolls, BelgaeBot could spend an entire Campaign just trying to storm that lone Fort. (This can happen against Citadels too, but the risk is far lower - both because there are more Forts than Citadels in the Regions the Belgae are most interested in, and because the other Gaul Factions can't Scout to prevent the Belgae from Ambushing.)

With the current bot rule BelgaeBot will take the opportunity to storm lone Roman Forts whenever they're already doing Battle against more profitable targets in other Regions during the same Command, but not if the Forts are the only targets for Battle.

Regards,
Oerjan
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Shonai Dweller
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Marching the germans into Atrebrates would, as you say, force the Romans to march out or deal with them. Belgae bot seems to end up with Rally-Enlist every turn so plenty of time to march them somewhere else before winter. Also come winter if they're still around, apart from a bit of playful raiding, even if they have a bigger blob of hidden warbands (doubtful), Germans will target that forgotten Roman fort for battle over the Belgae hordes (player over non-player). Actually German march would probably see them leave anyway (again, player over non-player).

Anyhow dubious strategy aside, the point is that as soon as Germans leave Belgic/German lands, unlike the player, the Belgae bot loses control of them (besides March in place and rally).

Also, besides a random bout of impetuosity, Belgae bot usually opts for the "25 warbands + Ambiriox death blob" strategy so they don't often get seperate battles where they could target the fort. It's just kind of funny to see the yellow swarm of barbarians milling around fort as if it isn't there.

-- edit
Oh, maybe it's precisely because the Germans are much more chummy with the Belgae bot than the Belgae player that the bot gets less control? Balance. Hmm...
 
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Oerjan Ariander
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Shonai_Dweller wrote:
Marching the germans into Atrebrates would, as you say, force the Romans to march out or deal with them. Belgae bot seems to end up with Rally-Enlist every turn so plenty of time to march them somewhere else before winter.

In other words, you're effectively proposing having different sets of bot instructions for the early Event cards in a Campaign (allowing Enlist to move into Belgica) and the later cards (making Enlist send the Germans away again before Winter). While it would certainly be possible to do this, adding bot mechanisms to determine when to switch from the Early-Campaign instructions to the Late-Campaign ones would increase the bot complexity quite a bit.

Quote:
Also come winter if they're still around, apart from a bit of playful raiding, even if they have a bigger blob of hidden warbands (doubtful), Germans will target that forgotten Roman fort for battle over the Belgae hordes (player over non-player).

Good point about the Fort - for the first Winter. After that they'll revert to harassing the Belgae.

Bad idea to allow any more German Raiding than absolutely necessary though. When the Belgae have already been battered by the Romans they usually don't get very many new Resources during the Harvest, so allowing the Germans to steal any of the Resources remaining at the end of the Campaign can hurt the Belgae pretty badly.

Quote:
Actually German march would probably see them leave anyway (again, player over non-player).

Nope. The Germans only ever Winter-March out of Regions they Control, and only with those Warbands they don't need to Control the Region. The only time all German Warbands are going to leave a Region voluntarily (i.e., without being Enlisted) is when there are enough German Allied Tribes in the space to maintain German Control even without any Warbands there.

Even if they do leave they only target Regions with player Control, not just player presence; so if the Roman player moves so he doesn't Control any of the spaces adjacent to Belgica come Winter (ideally preventing anyone else from having Control there either, facilitating Supply) any Germans leaving Atrebates are just as likely to go deeper into Belgica or back to Treveri as they are to go south.

The only ways for the Belgae to throw Germans out of Belgica once they have gotten in is to Enlist them to March away, or to destroy them in Battle. Either option would require additional instructions that BelgaeBot doesn't currently have - since it was designed to not bring any Germans into Belgica in the first place

Quote:
Anyhow dubious strategy aside, the point is that as soon as Germans leave Belgic/German lands, unlike the player, the Belgae bot loses control of them (besides March in place and rally).

So? Aside from a few Events, no-one else can control the Germans at all. Parking the Germans somewhere that the Belgae themselves aren't very interested in and where the Germans get in the way of one or more of the other Factions is a pretty good way to use them. (Which is why I prefer shuffling the Germans off to Sequani rather than allowing them to stay in Treveri.)

Quote:
Also, besides a random bout of impetuosity, Belgae bot usually opts for the "25 warbands + Ambiriox death blob" strategy so they don't often get seperate battles where they could target the fort. It's just kind of funny to see the yellow swarm of barbarians milling around fort as if it isn't there.

Which is yet another reason to not bring any Germans into any space the Belgae want to keep Control of for themselves: it would force the Belgae to split off forces from the death blob to retain that Control...

Regards,
Oerjan
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Niko
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I think what needs to be realized is that the answer to "Why doesn't the bot follow the optimal course in [insert scenario here]" is "Because it's too complicated to program and what it currently does is enough to make it challenging"

That's aside from the fact that what you or I think may be optimal may not actually be the best course of action.
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Shonai Dweller
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I'd point out that Belgaebot specifically moves Germans out of Belgica every time it gets an Enlist (fairly often) so I'm not sure why you think they'd be stuck there. Bot also won't send Germans to Sequani either if they're stuck in Treveri.

But, yeah OK I guess there are complications and complex bots aren't much fun (Roman march makes my head hurt already).



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Oerjan Ariander
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Shonai_Dweller wrote:
I'd point out that Belgaebot specifically moves Germans out of Belgica every time it gets an Enlist (fairly often) so I'm not sure why you think they'd be stuck there.

I think so because the Enlist instructions very explicitly state that only groups of at least 4 German Warbands are Marched at all, including to remove Scouted/Revealed status. Groups of 3 or fewer German Warbands are left in place by Enlist.

Quote:
Bot also won't send Germans to Sequani either if they're stuck in Treveri.

Which is why I commented that I prefer to move them to Sequani instead of leaving them in Treveri. I'm not the BelgaeBot, you know

Regards,
Oerjan
 
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P. Fowler
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Shonai_Dweller wrote:
I'd point out that Belgaebot specifically moves Germans out of Belgica every time it gets an Enlist...

Not really. They move Germans from Belgica, but not necessarily out of Belgica.
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Shonai Dweller
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Turbine2k5 wrote:
Shonai_Dweller wrote:
I'd point out that Belgaebot specifically moves Germans out of Belgica every time it gets an Enlist...

Not really. They move Germans from Belgica, but not necessarily out of Belgica.

Towards other factions. So the example I gave at the beginning, out of Beligica. There's no way they'd be stuck there unless another faction had taken over the whole of the Belgic lands, in which case the Belgae have bigger issues to worry about.

Anyway this is kind of going round in circles. I only wanted to know if there was a reason Belgaebot stops marching Germans once they've left Germania/Belgica (or if I'd read the instructions wrong). Thanks for the answers!
 
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Bob S.
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Shonai_Dweller wrote:
1) Unlike citadels, the bot seems to completely ignore roman forts. Spending all it's time rallying, building up it's forces, only to have the Romans turn up and claim a free defense bonus.

Bot text 8.5.1:
"If the Belgae have Ambiorix or a group of more than three Belgic Warbands in any region where the Romans, Arverni, or Aedui have an Ally, a Citadel, a Legion or separately more than three pieces, the Belgae may battle as follows..."

Do they perhaps not know how to dismantle an abandoned fort? Don't think it's worth it?


For my own clarity: The bot does not target a "lone" fort, but will certainly send Ambiorix and friends to attack (say) three Auxilia and a fort, yes? (since Allies, Citadels, Legions, Warbands, Auxilia, and Leaders are all "pieces")

Cheers,
/Bob
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Niko
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Borz wrote:
Shonai_Dweller wrote:
1) Unlike citadels, the bot seems to completely ignore roman forts. Spending all it's time rallying, building up it's forces, only to have the Romans turn up and claim a free defense bonus.

Bot text 8.5.1:
"If the Belgae have Ambiorix or a group of more than three Belgic Warbands in any region where the Romans, Arverni, or Aedui have an Ally, a Citadel, a Legion or separately more than three pieces, the Belgae may battle as follows..."

Do they perhaps not know how to dismantle an abandoned fort? Don't think it's worth it?


For my own clarity: The bot does not target a "lone" fort, but will certainly send Ambiorix and friends to attack (say) three Auxilia and a fort, yes? (since Allies, Citadels, Legions, Warbands, Auxilia, and Leaders are all "pieces")

Cheers,
/Bob
Yes, the "separately" refers to a single faction having enough pieces, not to the type of pieces (but it sounds like you already knew that based on your post)
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Volko Ruhnke
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Thanks all for the answers and discussion!
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