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Subject: Rule 7.32 Walls absorb 1 BP loss without reduction rss

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Michael Sosa
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I had originally posted this as a rules question but realize it should be included here as a variant. I wonder how Mr. Berg feels about this variant?

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/145840

Here is Neil Randall's view on it:

(7.32 - Optional) Each Wall Point counts as 1 BP for battle purposes (if the Defender chooses to use the City/Town in battle), except that each City/Town Wall Point counts for 2 BP when distributing losses, if the defending player chooses to use the City/Town for that purpose. [Addition] Furthermore, unlike the losses assigned to combat units, each Wall Point can absorb one Battle Point without being reduced (see Example below). To indicate a loss in Wall Points, place a –1 or –2 Wall Points marker under the City or Town marker to reflect the new Wall Point level.

 
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Michael Sosa
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I don't understand, why wouldn't you want to double the wall point value when distributing losses?
 
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Neil Randall
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"Choose" is only about whether or not you decide to use the town or not. The word "can" is there because there are times when you might want to lose a wall point as a way to take a 1-BP loss (instead of losing an LI, say).
 
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Michael Sosa
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In this optional rule, does the free 1 BP wall absorption work like the HI / LG unit reduction in that two walls cannot both absorb 1 BP before one wall is reduced? In other words, a city can choose to have each of its two available walls absorb 1 BP instead of reducing a wall for 2 BP loss.

I'm not sure which way to go on this. Applying the unit reduction rules would dictate that a full city cannot freely absorb 2 BP without reduction. But perhaps being able to absorb 2 BP loss is too strong.
 
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Michael @mgouker
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Michael, that's right. Only the last wall can absorb 1 point. Here is the write up for it:

Note: It is important to remember that _defenders_ assign their losses.

Wall Absorption

Extra left-over BP of damage DOES NOT eliminate a wall. For example, if a City has 4 Wall Points and takes one BP of damage, the 1 BP of damage is absorbed by the wall. IT DOES NOT FALL.

Example 1 – A town with 1 LI for a sum of 3 BP takes 30% damage or 1 BP. The defender can choose to absorb 1 BP to the wall. The wall does not fall.

Example 2 – Same town. 1 LI and its walls for 3 BP takes 60% damage for 2 BP. The defender removes 1 LI for 1 BP and the wall absorbs the other BP.

Example 3 – A city with an HI and its walls for 8 BP. It takes 10% damage and absorbs the entire amount in the wall with no losses.

Example 4 – Same city takes 40% or 3 BP. It reduces an HI for 2 BP and lets the other be absorbed by the wall. Likewise it can lose a wall for 2 BP and let the other point be absorbed.

Example 5 – Same city takes 50% or 4 BP. It removes an HI and lets the other point be absorbed by the wall.


Note that you cannot absorb two points to the walls (one point each) and not take damage.
 
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Michael Sosa
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Comments by Neil Randall on this rule:

"Yes, they were, but keep in mind that these are 25-year turns, and also keep in mind that taking a city or town in this game represents capturing the surrounding large area as well.

But that said, I have been playing with the rule that a wall can absorb 1 BP without loss, and it's been successful, so I encourage it.

However, be sure to apply it correctly - you can't absorb a 1 BP loss if you actually have a 1 BP loss you can take. So if you have a town with an LI unit, say, and you take a 1 BP loss, you must lose the LI unit. Similarly, if you have an HI with a city and you take 1 BP, you must flip the HI unit (even though that's actually 2 BP loss).

I'm also experimenting with a more liberal version of this, in which the town/city walls can actually absorb the 1 BP loss instead of applying it to the units, but that will take a bit more doing. I would like to couple it with a stability loss if you lose a city or town (2 stab points for a city, 1 stab point for a town). But that's just experimental at this point."


Neil I'm not sure I like this strict approach. Its an additional detail to remember that may not be significant. It forces a decision when defending a city, whether to lose defending units so that the weakened attacker (not many dice roll shifts) will risk smashing against the wall if he cannot roll at least a 3 or better, or drop a wall for 2 BP. That decision could depend on whether a 1BP or 2BP loss would affect the combat ratio (shifts) for the next attack. In most cases though I think the 1BP wall loss (absorbing 2BP loss) would be preferred over unit loss because even if losing 2BP of units doesn't affect the ratio for the next battle, it may do so for the following battle. Also its cheaper to repair walls than rebuild 2BP of units. Thus the strict approach would only have an impact when a small army attacks an undefended city or town. A high roll is then needed to force a 2BP loss on the city / town and avoid the 1BP absorption rule.

The liberal approach is simpler and doesn't require the above decision. You always try to lose units so that 1BP is absorbed by the walls. One possible negative of this is that over a long battle the defender acquires a big benefit but that would simulate history right?

I've been playing with the liberal approach, I will reluctantly try the restricted interpretation above.
 
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Neil Randall
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Well, I could simply be wrong. I remember thinking this through back when I came up with the variant. I do see the point, however.

So let's make it that it can simply absorb the losses without losing the BP - i.e., the "liberal" variant.
 
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Neil Randall
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So ...

(7.32 - Optional) Each Wall Point counts as 1 BP for battle purposes (if the Defender chooses to use the City/Town in battle), except that each City/Town Wall Point counts for 2 BP when distributing losses, if the defending player chooses to use the City/Town for that purpose. To indicate a loss in Wall Points, place a –1 or –2 Wall Points marker under the City or Town marker to reflect the new Wall Point level.

[Addition] Furthermore, unlike the losses assigned to combat units, each Wall Point can absorb one Battle Point without being reduced, and in this way can "shield" defending BP from losses.

EXAMPLE #1: An LI is using a full-strength Town for defense. In the battle, the defender takes 1 BP losses. The Town wall point absorbs the loss, so the defender is unaffected. Had the defender taken 2 BP losses, either the LI or the wall point would need to be destroyed.

EXAMPLE #2: An HI and an LI are defending in a full-strength City (9 BP total). The defender takes 50% losses, so must lose 5 BP. Each of the wall points can absorb one of these BP losses, so an option for the defender here is to eliminate the HI unit (3 BP), leaving the LI and the full-strength City intact.

[Michael - does the above cover what you've been doing?]

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Michael Sosa
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Ha ha, now I know you are human! I often wondered how you can keep so many games in your head, espcially good and complex ones!

Michael Gouker and yourself some months back posted here that in the same way you cannot choose to reduce two HI to absorb 4BP loss but must instead kill one and then reduce the other, walls absorption works one at a time. This only applies to cities because they start with two walls available to be reduced. In a battle where the defender is in a siege he can utilize one wall to absorb 1 BP, not both walls to absorb 2 BP total. Allowing each wall in the city to absorb 1 BP each would indeed be too powerful due to the nature of the combat system. It would require a overly large army with many shifts to exceed the 2BP damage on a city.

So this is how I have been playing and so far I think it is working well. You may want to add to your above rule clarification:

[Addition] Furthermore, unlike the losses assigned to combat units, each wall points can absorb one Battle Point without being reduced, and in this way can "shield" defending BP from losses. However cities with two wall points may only use one such wall point to absorb a battle point loss per battle without reduction. Note that for each battle the wall can absorb 1BP without reduction, it is only when absorbing 2BP loss that the wall is reduced. This simulates defenders repairing minor damage to the walls between sieges.

EXAMPLE #2: An HI and an LI are defending in a full-strength City (9 BP total). The defender takes 50% losses, so must lose 5 BP. One of the wall points can absorb one of these BP losses, but both walls cannot absorb one point each simultaneously. Thus an option for the defender here is to eliminate the HI unit and the LI (4 BP total), absorb 1BP loss with the city walls, and thus allow the full-strength City to remain intact. This process can be repeated in the next attack on the city.

I think the above rule should be incorporate into the advanced game and not listed as optional. Same with the Roman cavalry rules. I'm just not a fan of optional rules, but I do like basic and advanced games. The problem with optional rules is that I like to play with them but I have to get everyone to agree to use them because they are "optional." Better to ask, shall we play the basic or advanced game?

Anyway thanks for your continued efforts in developing this great game Neil. Are you going to WAM? Perhaps we can play a game of Pax then.
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Neil Randall
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This sounds good, Michael. And you're right about not allowing each wall point to absorb 1 BP - I didn't actually mean it that way, but it sure came out that way. Your rewrite is great.
 
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Michael Sosa
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So currently the rule is:

(7.32 - Optional) Each Wall Point counts as 1 BP for battle purposes (if the Defender chooses to use the City/Town in battle), except that each City/Town Wall Point counts for 2 BP when distributing losses, if the defending player chooses to use the City/Town for that purpose. To indicate a loss in Wall Points, place a –1 or –2 Wall Points marker under the City or Town marker to reflect the new Wall Point level.

[Addition] Furthermore, unlike the losses assigned to combat units, each wall points can absorb one Battle Point without being reduced, and in this way can "shield" defending BP from losses. However cities with two wall points may only use one such wall point to absorb a battle point loss per battle without reduction. Note that for each battle the wall can absorb 1BP without reduction, it is only when absorbing 2BP loss that the wall is reduced. This simulates defenders repairing minor damage to the walls between sieges.

EXAMPLE #1: An LI is using a full-strength Town for defense. In the battle, the defender takes 1 BP losses. The Town wall point absorbs the loss, so the defender is unaffected. Had the defender taken 2 BP losses, either the LI or the wall point would need to be destroyed.

EXAMPLE #2: An HI and an LI are defending in a full-strength City (9 BP total). The defender takes 50% losses, so must lose 5 BP. One of the wall points can absorb one of these BP losses, but both walls cannot absorb one point each simultaneously. Thus an option for the defender here is to eliminate the HI unit and the LI (4 BP total), absorb 1BP loss with the city walls, and thus allow the full-strength City to remain intact. This process can be repeated in the next attack on the city.
 
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Nate Merchant
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I know this is 2.5 years later, but with Pax up for a reprint, I think it's safe to re-state how fiddly and arcane these Wall rules are. MGringo has as usual explained the rules well, but he has to write them out. It would be great if the developer and the designer could re-do these rules so that they can be easily explained--face to face, even--to new players.

 
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Michael Sosa
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Hey Nate!

There is one other optional rule which I think merits consideration as a standard rule: eliminate the paying of 1T for an activation. It is so rare that a player avoids an activation, and when doing so he is nonetheless still required to draw the event card in case it is a must play, I think the whole idea should be removed. What do you do with those extra talents?

Spend them on ships! Gouker has hit on a naval rule modification that allows units on ships to remain off shore until the end of a turn, removing a whole series of complicated calculations from the game. The effect of this rule is to increase the importance of navies, as now failing a continuation does not require the amphibious force to land in enemy territory and allows the possibility of naval strikes into the interior. These were the types of raids that Carthage conducted in the 1st Punic War for example when they enjoyed naval superiority.

After a 1.5 year break from Pax I'm ready to play online again, are you interested in finishing a game with the above optional rules?
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