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Subject: C3i #30 Govt-bot Patrol question rss

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Jesse Edelstein
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I just picked up the variant bots and I'm playing a solitaire game as the Warlords. In the current board situation I have 1 guerilla each on 4 of the 1-Econ LoCs.

The problem is that the Govt bot seems to prioritize Patrol, even when it doesn't seem to help it. Right now, the Govt cannot fulfill the criteria to Assault, but it will always try to Patrol since I have "2+ Player pieces on LoCs", as the flowchart puts it. When it Patrols, it puts just 1 cube on each LoC to protect them, and there's no possible free Assault because the Govt requires 2 cubes to cause any losses.

Am I overlooking something? It seems like I have Govt stuck in a loop that it might never break out of, with repeated useless Patrolling.
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Lee Massey
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Brian Train?
 
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Kiel
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If the Patrol is "useless", that is, nothing happens at each sequential priority (no further cubes moved onto the LoCs or Assaults possible), then just follow the If None arrow down to Train.

Or am I misunderstanding something in the situation you've got there?
 
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Jesse Edelstein
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masil wrote:

If the Patrol is "useless", that is, nothing happens at each sequential priority (no further cubes moved onto the LoCs or Assaults possible), then just follow the If None arrow down to Train.

Or am I misunderstanding something in the situation you've got there?


"Useless" was an overstatement. It's not that the Patrol is doing nothing on the board, it's just not helping the Govt-bot much. It doesn't seem to resolve the problem of Warlord pieces on LoCs, which is the reason the Patrol is being triggered.

This isn't as noticeable now that I've played things out a little more, though. Maybe I'm reading too much into it.
 
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Ok, I think I see the issue. At first I got worried that you had discovered a flaw in the design that sees the Govt bot engage in repeated Patrol operations for no gain.

But, if I get you right, you're pointing out that the diamond trigger for Patrol keeps firing (due to the player having some of his Warlord pieces on the LoCs) even though the Govt does not actually end up conducting any of the Patrol steps (but passing on to another operation instead via the If None arrow).

I think, looking at the overall picture, this kind of behaviour is OK. I mean, while the Patrol diamond gets triggered, the operation that the bot performs in the end will not be Patrol but Train (or Sweep even).

Also, if the Warlords player did get more than one of his guerrillas on a LoC, then the Patrol would actually result in an Assault as the Govt would first get Police/Troops on a highest Econ LoC to equal the number of player pieces there, and thus having at least 2 cubes on such a LoC, the assault that follows would remove one Warlord guerrilla.

True, the assault leaves the other Warlord standing on the LoC still, but that's OK, since per the rules of play regarding when the Taliban will flip active during their Marches, some Warlord presence on the LoCs is OK from the perspective of keeping the LoCs Taliban and Sabotage free.

How are you otherwise finding the bots, Jesse? I'd be very interested to know your overall experience playing against these bots as the Warlords. And how is the Coalition bot performing? (It's very tricky to tune the Coalition such that they keep the Taliban in check while also not allowing the Govt or the Warlords player run away with it.) Are you encountering major problems with the interpretation of any of the bot priorities? If so, which ones?
 
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Jesse Edelstein
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I'm finding that the bots make pretty capable opponents! I just finished a solitaire Extended scenario and barely won as the Warlords. I only had 11 uncontrolled pop but that was just enough to come in 1 point ahead of both Taliban and Govt.

I haven't found any serious interpretation issues with the bots so far. One thing I really like about the new bots is that they are more complex in their decision-making but easier to run than the traditional CL bots. The formatting is really a huge improvement for making instructions clear. Another cool thing is that the bots balance going after the player(s) with trying to win themselves, so they usually feel fair.

In my game, Coalition bot took a lot of casualties from the Suicide Bombers capability, so it never had a lot of spare Troops to look for trouble. After a couple campaigns, all of the Troops were tied up guarding Coalition Bases so the bot stopped making any Sweeps outside base areas. Struck me as rather realistic, actually. I did wish that the bot would bring more Troops from Available to go on some large-scale guerrilla hunts, but its score would have plummeted, so the conservative strategy is understandable.
 
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Congrats on beating the bots as the Warlords, Jesse.

jmedelstein wrote:
One thing I really like about the new bots is that they are more complex in their decision-making but easier to run than the traditional CL bots. The formatting is really a huge improvement for making instructions clear.


Thanks for this comment. Better playability through improved formatting was one of my key design aims, so it feels very good to hear the goal has been achieved!


jmedelstein wrote:
In my game, Coalition bot took a lot of casualties from the Suicide Bombers capability, so it never had a lot of spare Troops to look for trouble. After a couple campaigns, all of the Troops were tied up guarding Coalition Bases so the bot stopped making any Sweeps outside base areas. Struck me as rather realistic, actually. I did wish that the bot would bring more Troops from Available to go on some large-scale guerrilla hunts, but its score would have plummeted, so the conservative strategy is understandable.


This is really interesting. I'll take note of this and, if and when the bot gets revisited, we'll have to think of possible counter-measures.
 
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