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Subject: Requirements for selecting an Op rss

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Colin Taylor
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Hi,

I would normally ask this sort of question in the relevant title forum, but this is a question that applies to all COIN games, so I thought I'd ask here instead.

Is there a requirement that in order to select an Op, you have to be able to do the Op at that point? Or can you select an Op with no valid spaces, then create them through a Special Activity? With several SA's allowing for movement (Transport, Air Lift etc...), it is easy to imagine a situation where an SA is required to occur before the Op, otherwise the Op is not possible.

I know that the SA can occur before the Op. That is not in question. Rather, before the SA, can you select an invalid Op? My guess is that it is OK, and using an SA to create valid Op spaces, where there were none beforehand is fine. But I just didn't see anything in the rules that clearly confirmed one way or the other.

Thanks,

Colin
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Oerjan Ariander
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ColintheFlea wrote:
Is there a requirement that in order to select an Op, you have to be able to do the Op at that point? Or can you select an Op with no valid spaces, then create them through a Special Activity?

Technically the former, but in most practical cases the latter.

It all depends on which COIN game and which Special Activity you're looking at. In most cases you don't have to choose which Operation you will execute, much less where, until after you have already executed a Special Activity. At that point however you must choose and execute an Operation that makes your Special Activity legal to use. ARVNbot's way to "if none"-change its Op choice from Sweep to Assault to Patrol in case its initial Raid SA destroys its would-be Sweep or Assault targets is an example of this. In practise this gives the same end result as your second option.

There are however some Special Abilities that can only occur in spaces that have already been selected for a specific Operation, such as Ambush which can only occur in Attack (or, in FitL, March destination) spaces. In those cases you must obviously choose your Operation and start to select spaces before executing the SA - i.e., the same effect as your first option.

Regards,
Oerjan

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Colin Taylor
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HI Oerjan,

Hmmm, I think your example is a little different to what I'm asking. In your case, Sweep/Assault was legal at the time of selection, then Raid made it impossible to carry out. So a couple of examples to clarify:

If, as the US in FitL say, I want to Assault, must there be a legal Assault space on the map before I select it? Or can I use Air Lift beforehand, to create a legal Assault space? Can Air Lift be used to make Assault legal, or can it only be used to create supplemental Assault spaces?

Or to use your example, the ARVNbot. ARVNbot Sweep has no requirements limiting its use in the flow chart. It is the default choice if no other Op is taken. But then it says to Raid or Transport first. So, if there are no legal Sweep spaces at the point of moving into Sweep, can it use Transport (assuming there was no Raid) to create Sweep spaces? Or does it use "IF NONE", and move to Assault instead?

Thanks,

Colin
 
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Oerjan Ariander
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ColintheFlea wrote:
If, as the US in FitL say, I want to Assault, must there be a legal Assault space on the map before I select it? Or can I use Air Lift beforehand, to create a legal Assault space?

The answer to both these questions is "Yes". There is no conflict between them; the excluding "or" I marked in the above quote is your own invention. You are confusing yourself by insisting on choosing the Operation sooner than necessary.

Yes, there must be a legal space to Assault in before you can choose the Assault Operation. You can't formally choose an Operation unless you can legally execute some part of it.

Yes, you can use Air Lift before you choose what Operation you're going to execute to create legal Assault spaces, thus allowing you to choose the Assault Operation.

Regards,
Oerjan
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Colin Taylor
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OK, makes sense. What got me turned around is your answer in my Transport/Sweep FitL thread, where you said that Transport could be used to create Sweep spaces, but only if there were 2 spaces maximum. I couldn't work out why that would be, and why it couldn't create 3 Sweep spaces via Transport. The only thing I could think of was that there had to be at least 1 viable, selectable space for Sweep before Transporting.

In the rules, it also says:

FitL Rules wrote:
When a Faction per the Event Card sequence of play (2.3)
executes an Operation (3.0), it may also execute 1 type of its Special Activities


This I took as suggesting the Op is selected first, then any accompanying SA (though the SA can be executed before the Op). But now it is clear.

Thanks,

Colin
 
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Oerjan Ariander
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In the ARVNbot Sweep example, the bot only looks for 3 Sweep spaces maximum, and its top priority is spaces where it can Sweep in place (i.e., where it already has units).

Since the bot's Transport-before-Sweep instructions follows the Sweep priorities, if there already are three (or more) spaces where the bot can Sweep in place it will only use Transport to reinforce the top three of those spaces. If there are two or fewer - including zero - spaces where it can Sweep in space, it can use Transport to create a third Sweep space... or second or first, as the case may be.

IOW, the ARVNbot Transport-before-Sweep issue has nothing to do with your question in this thread...

The rules quote is referring to one of the options given to a 1st or 2nd Eligible Faction per the Sequence of Play (2.3) - basically, to the text in the Sequence of Play box you're going to put your Eligibility Cylinder in when you're done with your action.

Regards,
Oerjan
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Colin Taylor
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Well, it was related, but only because I confusingly made it so! I was essentially reading it as "at most two potential Sweep-in-place spaces". Now I reread you Transport/Sweep post, I totally get it. I was just reading it wrong!

Everything is clear now.

Thanks,

Colin
 
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Colin Taylor
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Hi Oerjan,

I wrote another post, but deleted it, as I wanted to lay out my query more clearly.

Oerjan wrote:
In the ARVNbot Sweep example, the bot only looks for 3 Sweep spaces maximum, and its top priority is spaces where it can Sweep in place (i.e., where it already has units).

Regards,
Oerjan


OK, fair enough. But doesn't Transporting before Sweep create those Sweep In Place spaces? When exactly are you defining those spaces where Sweep In Place is possible? It seems you are deciding that before Transport. But why do I need to satisfy existing spaces where Sweep In Place was possible first? If Transporting can create a new space, which we have confirmed it can, why are those spaces of a lower priority to the ones that existed at the start of the turn? If there were no Sweep In Place spaces at the start of the turn, we still check to see if Transport creates them. Once it has done that, are they not within the pool of spaces the ARVNbot considers during the Sweep priorities cascade?

For example, let us assume that ARVNbot is up next, and we have confirmed that Sweep is the Op it will take. It cannot Raid, so Transport is the SA. Before doing anything, we see there is 1 Sweep In Place candidate where ARVN already has pieces, but it is not at Support. It could do with extra Troops from Transport, to Sweep with maximum efficiency.

So, we start going through Transport. There are 3 spaces at Support, with enemies, but no ARVN, that Transport could get Troops to. Do we:

a) Set up 3 new Sweep In Place spaces, by Transporting to the Support spaces? Then, during the Sweep priorities, select those spaces for Sweep, as they are the highest priority.

b) Ignore the 3 spaces at Support that Transport could send Troops to, and instead, send them to the 1 space where Sweep In Place could occur without Transport, then to 2 of the Support spaces? Even though this would then enable Sweep in a lower priority space, it gets preference, as it existed before Transport.

If b) is true, when the USbot Air Lifts before Assault, must it support all existing Assault spaces before Air Lifting to new spaces, even if those new spaces satisfy a higher Assault priority? To me, I don't see any support within the rules for b). Rather, I would follow a). "Helping a priority" is either a series of spaces that the Op could occur in even without the SA, or it is a series of spaces where the bot would like to Operate, including those where it could, and could not, Operate without the SA, and where you decide on exactly which ones after the SA, not before. I don't see where it says to prioritize those spaces where it could currently Operate, over those where it couldn't.

Thanks,

Colin
 
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Fred J
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Hi Colin,

I just wanted to thank you for raising all these excellent questions and requests for clarifications. I have been playing FiTL for almost two years now but, when playing with the bots, I keep missing some subtle aspects of the flowcharts. I still dream about revised bots' flow chart which would be completely unambiguous and seld-contained. FiTL is such a great game!
 
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Oerjan Ariander
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ColintheFlea wrote:
Hi Oerjan,

I wrote another post, but deleted it, as I wanted to lay out my query more clearly.

Oerjan wrote:
In the ARVNbot Sweep example, the bot only looks for 3 Sweep spaces maximum, and its top priority is spaces where it can Sweep in place (i.e., where it already has units).

Regards,
Oerjan


OK, fair enough. But doesn't Transporting before Sweep create those Sweep In Place spaces?

It can turn one "Sweep into" space (per the final Sweep bullet) into a "Sweep in place" space by moving units there, thus potentially allowing the bot to select a new "Sweep into" space during the Sweep Op itself.

Quote:
When exactly are you defining those spaces where Sweep In Place is possible?

In the instant you evaluate the condition. For Transport, that happens when you look for Transport destinations, i.e., immediately before executing the Transport.

Quote:
But why do I need to satisfy existing spaces where Sweep In Place was possible first?

Because the Transport instruction tells you to "most help" the Sweep priorities.

The top ARVN Sweep priority is to Sweep in place, i.e., where it already has units.

Quote:
If Transporting can create a new space, which we have confirmed it can, why are those spaces of a lower priority to the ones that existed at the start of the turn?

Precisely because they did not exist at the start of the turn.

Quote:
If there were no Sweep In Place spaces at the start of the turn, we still check to see if Transport creates them.

It, not them. One new space, following the final Sweep bullet "then into one space".

Quote:
Once it has done that, are they not within the pool of spaces the ARVNbot considers during the Sweep priorities cascade?

Once Transport has created them, sure. But not before it has done so.

Quote:
For example, let us assume that ARVNbot is up next, and we have confirmed that Sweep is the Op it will take. It cannot Raid, so Transport is the SA. Before doing anything, we see there is 1 Sweep In Place candidate where ARVN already has pieces, but it is not at Support. It could do with extra Troops from Transport, to Sweep with maximum efficiency.

And what exactly is "maximum efficiency" for the ARVN? Part of your confusion here seems to be that you're trying to make ARVNbot's actions as good as possible for the US, but the two Factions don't have the same goals.

Quote:
So, we start going through Transport. There are 3 spaces at Support, with enemies, but no ARVN, that Transport could get Troops to. Do we:

c) Ignore the 3 spaces at Support that Transport could send Troops to; with no ARVN units they're not a priority at this point. Instead send Troops to reinforce the 1 space where Sweep In Place could occur without Transport, then into 1 new space to add the most COIN Control or, if that isn't possible, into a space with a VC or NVA Base (per the last Sweep bullet).

Quote:
If b) is true, when the USbot Air Lifts before Assault, must it support all existing Assault spaces before Air Lifting to new spaces, even if those new spaces satisfy a higher Assault priority?

Does USbot Assault have an explicit instruction to first select Op spaces where it already has units?

No, it doesn't. Its top priority is to remove NVA Control from Pop-1+ spaces; and since it doesn't have to select any Assault spaces until after the Air Lift it is perfectly free to use its Air Lift to create new Assault spaced. The USbot instruction to Assault wherever else it is possible to do so is the lowest priority in the USbot Assault instruction, after it has met all higher Assault priorities.

ARVNbot's Sweep instruction OTOH explicitly says to Sweep in place first, and only go looking for a new Sweep space if there aren't at least 3 Sweep-in-place spaces already. That locks the Transport SA into reinforcing existing Sweep-in-place spaces before it can create new ones.

Regards,
Oerjan
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Colin Taylor
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djord2 wrote:
Hi Colin,

I just wanted to thank you for raising all these excellent questions and requests for clarifications. I have been playing FiTL for almost two years now but, when playing with the bots, I keep missing some subtle aspects of the flowcharts. I still dream about revised bots' flow chart which would be completely unambiguous and seld-contained. FiTL is such a great game!


Hi Fred,

Thanks for the kind words. I am, in fact, working on a new way to lay out the bot instructions, that would hopefully make it a little easier to follow. Well, I say am. As you can see, I seem to have hit a mental roadblock in how the bots handle movement prior to executing an action. I read what says should happen. Then I read the rules. Then I can't overcome my difficulty in understanding.

I had made it through VCbot, then USbot. But I'm afraid to say ARVNbot may have beaten me. I probably need to take some time off, and do something else instead. It is a very frustrating experience for me. I see people post COIN games on Solitaire Games On Your Table all the time, and each time, I wonder why I'm so stupid, when all these other people are able to play without issue. It's not a fun experience. I was trying to change that, but I'm struggling.

Thanks,

Colin
 
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Colin Taylor
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OK, it's going to take me some time to digest all the responses in your message, but I would like to focus on just 2 things first, that I think are most critical to my understanding. First, I think you have contradicted yourself in this thread regarding the number of new spaces the ARVNbot can create through Transport. In the latest response, you say:

Oerjan wrote:
It, not them. One new space, following the final Sweep bullet "then into one space".


However, in an earlier post, you said:

Oerjan wrote:
Since the bot's Transport-before-Sweep instructions follows the Sweep priorities, if there already are three (or more) spaces where the bot can Sweep in place it will only use Transport to reinforce the top three of those spaces. If there are two or fewer - including zero - spaces where it can Sweep in space, it can use Transport to create a third Sweep space... or second or first, as the case may be.


So, either the ARVNbot can set up multiple new spaces, or it can set up just one. I just wanted to confirm which is correct.

Edit - Actually, rereading it, I think I may be wrong, and you have not allowed the setting up of multiple spaces in the second statement, but still just one. However, I'm leaving my question there, just to make sure.

Then, my second clarification, and I think one that I, and I suspect others, would most trip up on. That is regarding the requirement that Sweep In Place can only be supported by SA movement where the bot already has Troops.

Put in its most simple form, I don't understand the difference between wanting to Assault or Sweep in a space, and its connection to whether pieces are already present or not. Why does a Sweep need pieces, whereas an Assault does not? Ignoring the term "In Place", as that is just a function of just needing to distinguish between a Sweep occurring in the selected space, and an adjacent one. If we pretend that an adjacent Sweep is not in the rules, a Sweep and Assault become the same, i.e. an Operation that requires some of the acting Faction pieces to be present, to act on some pieces of the enemy.

So, if we take the first bullet of ARVNbot Sweep, and remove the extraneous information, we end up with this:

ARVNbot Sweep Bullet 1 wrote:
First, Sweep where there are Underground VC or NVA Guerrillas


Now, let's alter that to be applicable for Assault:

Pretend ARVNbot Assault Bullet 1 wrote:
First, Assault where there are Active VC or NVA GUerrillas


So, what is the difference? Why does one need pieces in place before the SA to be supported, and the other doesn't? I just don't see it. I know you say it is true, but I can't make the connection as to why that is. Until I do, I'm just not going to be able to progress. The only thing I can think of is that you are saying "in place" means "pieces must already be there", i.e. pieces are in place and ready, and it is in reference to the pieces themselves. Whereas I interpret that to mean "different to Sweep Into", i.e. do the Op in that space, not somewhere else, and it is in reference to geography, not pieces. With no "in place" for Assault, that is allowing you to move in pieces beforehand. Whereas I would say all Assaults are Assault "in place", and that the only reason that it is not written that way, is that there is no Assault Into option. In fact, if we look at 3.2.4, it says:

3.2.4 Assault wrote:
Select any spaces with the executing Faction's cubes and Insurgents (NVA or VC).


Doesn't this also imply that pieces must be present for Assault? Doesn't this suggest that the term "in place" is there to distinguish between a Sweep Op in a space that desires no Sweep movement, and a Sweep Op in a space that does desire Sweep movement?

Maybe one more question that would help. Under USbot Sweep, bullet 6, it says:

USbot Sweep[/q wrote:
Then Sweep in place wherever possible to Activate Underground Guerrillas (including after any Air Lift)


Extrapolating your ARVNbot Sweep In Place instructions, we cannot set up new spaces at this point with Air Lift, only supplement existing spaces where US Troops already exist. But then why the need for the section I bolded? That implies that there could be new spaces that were created by Air Lift. If only supplementing is allowed, there is no need for that statement, as Sweep would already take place in every eligible space. Just perhaps more effectively if supplementing.

Thanks,

Colin
 
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Colin Taylor
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Oerjan wrote:

Does USbot Assault have an explicit instruction to first select Op spaces where it already has units?

No, it doesn't. Its top priority is to remove NVA Control from Pop-1+ spaces; and since it doesn't have to select any Assault spaces until after the Air Lift it is perfectly free to use its Air Lift to create new Assault spaced. The USbot instruction to Assault wherever else it is possible to do so is the lowest priority in the USbot Assault instruction, after it has met all higher Assault priorities.

ARVNbot's Sweep instruction OTOH explicitly says to Sweep in place first, and only go looking for a new Sweep space if there aren't at least 3 Sweep-in-place spaces already. That locks the Transport SA into reinforcing existing Sweep-in-place spaces before it can create new ones.

Regards,
Oerjan


This, again, just reinforces that I don't understand. You say that USbot doesn't have to select spaces for Assault until after Air Lift. But neither does ARVNbot for Sweep, until after Transport. My interpretation of "helping" priorities is that I look at the list of written priorities, and see if I can create a space that would satisfy it at the time of selecting the Op spaces, just as you say to do for USbot Assault. Seeing as Transport movement is not Sweep movement, I don't see a reason it can't use Transport to set up a space where it will Sweep in place, when it comes to the Sweep Op. Once again, I point to Bullet 6 of USbot Sweep as supporting evidence:

USbot Sweep, Bullet 6 wrote:
Then Sweep in place wherever possible to Activate Underground Guerrillas (including after any Air Lift)


If USbot can only Air Lift to support spaces where US Troops already exist, then no new Sweep in place spaces would be created. If no new Sweep in place spaces are created, then the spaces possible to Activate Guerrillas would be the same before and after Air Lift. But Bullet 6 implies otherwise. Therefore, I take that as Air Lift is able to set up new Sweep in place spaces. Is that wrong?

Thanks,

Colin
 
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Juan Valdez
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ColintheFlea wrote:
I had made it through VCbot, then USbot. But I'm afraid to say ARVNbot may have beaten me. I probably need to take some time off, and do something else instead. It is a very frustrating experience for me. I see people post COIN games on Solitaire Games On Your Table all the time, and each time, I wonder why I'm so stupid, when all these other people are able to play without issue. It's not a fun experience. I was trying to change that, but I'm struggling.



Not sure if this helps, but I have similar difficulties with COIN and really, most other games.

However, I embrace the stupidity and simply blunder on.

For example, this afternoon, my usual opponent and I learned a game new to us, "Hearts and Minds." We both found some of the rules rather confusing, but, as is our custom, we just plow on, playing it however it makes sense at the moment. As the game progresses, we refine our understanding and change our play to better match the rules as we read them.

I realize in this case, refining the rules into a canonical flowchart, may preclude such laissez faire treatment of the rules.

But I don't personally think you're less intelligent than most of the rest of us. What you're trying to do is bona fide hard. I'm not the dullest knife in the drawer, and I would have _serious_ reservations about attempting to rewrite all those flow charts, at least, without getting paid so to do (I program professionally.) If it were easy, I'd knock out a python or ruby implementation this evening.
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Colin Taylor
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Hi Juan,

I'm usually totally fine with making a decision when rules are unclear. There are 2 reasons why I'm pushing myself for full understanding here:

1. Normally it's pretty clear what the downstream effects of a house ruling would be, and you can get a good idea whether you just made something easier, or more difficult. With COIN games, though, the current board state is tougher to read, and the impact of getting something wrong is difficult to assess.

2. If I'm trying to write something that will help me, and maybe others, I would like to get it correct.

Maybe that's not possible. I've interacted with many other COIN players who play solo, and don't seem to have the struggles I do, so I do take this as me not being as smart when it comes to COIN, as others are.

Thanks,

Colin
 
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Juan Valdez
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ColintheFlea wrote:
Hi Juan,

I'm usually totally fine with making a decision when rules are unclear. There are 2 reasons why I'm pushing myself for full understanding here:

1. Normally it's pretty clear what the downstream effects of a house ruling would be, and you can get a good idea whether you just made something easier, or more difficult. With COIN games, though, the current board state is tougher to read, and the impact of getting something wrong is difficult to assess.

2. If I'm trying to write something that will help me, and maybe others, I would like to get it correct.

Maybe that's not possible. I've interacted with many other COIN players who play solo, and don't seem to have the struggles I do, so I do take this as me not being as smart when it comes to COIN, as others are.

Thanks,

Colin



Totally get it, and definitely appreciate your energy, enthusiasm and drive to succeed in unraveling the bots. Respect!


I reserve the right to my opinion that you're selling yourself a bit short. =)
 
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Oerjan Ariander
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Back home from the Warehouse, so I can start working through the backlog again…

ColintheFlea wrote:
OK, it's going to take me some time to digest all the responses in your message, but I would like to focus on just 2 things first, that I think are most critical to my understanding. First, I think you have contradicted yourself in this thread regarding the number of new spaces the ARVNbot can create through Transport. In the latest response, you say:

Oerjan wrote:
It, not them. One new space, following the final Sweep bullet "then into one space".


However, in an earlier post, you said:

Oerjan wrote:
Since the bot's Transport-before-Sweep instructions follows the Sweep priorities, if there already are three (or more) spaces where the bot can Sweep in place it will only use Transport to reinforce the top three of those spaces. If there are two or fewer - including zero - spaces where it can Sweep in space, it can use Transport to create a third Sweep space... or second or first, as the case may be.


So, either the ARVNbot can set up multiple new spaces, or it can set up just one. I just wanted to confirm which is correct.

Edit - Actually, rereading it, I think I may be wrong, and you have not allowed the setting up of multiple spaces in the second statement, but still just one. However, I'm leaving my question there, just to make sure.

Bingo. Transport can set up exactly 1 new “Sweep in place” space by using the “Sweep into” part of ARVNbot’s Sweep priorities:
- If there were no “Sweep in place” spaces already, that new space will be the 1st.
- If there was one such space already, the new space will be the 2nd.
- If there were two such spaces already, the new space will be the 3rd.

If there are three or more potential Sweep-in-place spaces at the start of the SA, Transport will only reinforce existing potential Sweep-in-place spaces.

Quote:
Then, my second clarification, and I think one that I, and I suspect others, would most trip up on. That is regarding the requirement that Sweep In Place can only be supported by SA movement where the bot already has Troops.

Put in its most simple form, I don't understand the difference between wanting to Assault or Sweep in a space, and its connection to whether pieces are already present or not. Why does a Sweep need pieces, whereas an Assault does not? Ignoring the term "In Place", as that is just a function of just needing to distinguish between a Sweep occurring in the selected space, and an adjacent one. If we pretend that an adjacent Sweep is not in the rules, a Sweep and Assault become the same, i.e. an Operation that requires some of the acting Faction pieces to be present, to act on some pieces of the enemy.

Ignoring the words “in place” is to ignore the very thing you’re not understanding. How on earth do you expect me to answer when you tell me to leave out the core of your question??

There are a couple other areas that we need to discuss first, however:

1) Rule requirements vs bot priorities.
Several of the Ops and SA rules in chapters 3.x and 4.x list specific requirements that need to be met before a Faction is allowed to select a particular space for that action. The bot priorities described in rules 8.x tell you which spaces the bot would prefer to select for its Operations given the opportunity. These two are not equivalent, yet you very often seem to treat bot priorities as if they were rules requirements and vice versa - with confusion as the inevitable result. We’ll see an example of this further down.

2) When exactly Ops spaces are selected.
Operations spaces can be selected throughout an Operation. They are not selected before the Operation begins. They are definitely not selected during the execution of a preceding Special Activity. Choosing a space for a Special Activity is not the same thing as selecting that space for the upcoming Op. The bot will select its Ops spaces once it executes the Op, and not a second sooner. When it does, it can only select spaces that meet the rules requirements for that Op; and from those eligible spaces it will select those that match its bot priorities.

If a bot executes a Special Activity before an Operation, and the Special Activity priorities refer to the upcoming Ops’ priorities, the bot chooses SA spaces that meet the Ops priorities in question regardless of whether or not the Op requirements are currently met there. However, if an Ops priority says “in place”, then the presence of the Faction’s units is part of that priority and as a result any SA refering to that priority will also look specifically for “in place” spaces.

Executing an SA will very often change the priority status of the spaces involved, so that when the bot starts executing the actual Operation it may select Ops spaces in a different order or by using different priority bullets than when it chose spaces during the Special Activity – even though it is using the exact same set of priorities. For example, if a Transport or Air Lift SA adds Troops to a space that previously didn’t have any because that space matched the priorities’ “move into” bullet during the SA, that can turn the space into an “in place” space during the subsequent Op.

Quote:
So, if we take the first bullet of ARVNbot Sweep, and remove the extraneous information, we end up with this:

ARVNbot Sweep Bullet 1 wrote:
First, Sweep where there are Underground VC or NVA Guerrillas


Now, let's alter that to be applicable for Assault:

Pretend ARVNbot Assault Bullet 1 wrote:
First, Assault where there are Active VC or NVA GUerrillas


So, what is the difference? Why does one need pieces in place before the SA to be supported, and the other doesn't? I just don't see it.

The main difference was that very same “extraneous information”, i.e., “in place”, that you just removed. Having removed it, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that you can’t see any difference…
Quote:
I know you say it is true, but I can't make the connection as to why that is. Until I do, I'm just not going to be able to progress. The only thing I can think of is that you are saying "in place" means "pieces must already be there", i.e. pieces are in place and ready,

Correct so far.
Quote:
and it is in reference to the pieces themselves.

No. The “place” in “in place” refers to the space where the pieces are located, not to the pieces themselves.
Quote:
Whereas I interpret that to mean "different to Sweep Into", i.e. do the Op in that space, not somewhere else, and it is in reference to geography, not pieces.

I don’t see any real difference between your interpretation and mine, except for the above bit about “reference to the pieces themselves” that you invented and ascribed to me…
Quote:
With no "in place" for Assault, that is allowing you to move in pieces beforehand.

Correct. The Assault priorities for both USbot and ARVNbot are written to be used both by the Assault Op itself and by the preceding Transport/Air Lift SAs, so of course they make allowance for pre-Op movement. Such movement is after all the entire point of executing either of those SAs before an Assault.
Quote:
Whereas I would say all Assaults are Assault "in place", and that the only reason that it is not written that way, is that there is no Assault Into option.

Here you’re very clearly confusing rule requirements with the bot priorities. Rule 3.2.4 talks about the Assault Op in isolation, and when viewed in isolation an Assault is indeed always “in place”. The bot priorities in 8.7.4 and 8.8.2 OTOH are written for the Transport + Assault and Air Lift + Assault combinations respectively; and when you add a movement SA before an Assault Op you effectively create an “Assault into” option.

Quote:
In fact, if we look at 3.2.4, it says:

3.2.4 Assault wrote:
Select any spaces with the executing Faction's cubes and Insurgents (NVA or VC).


Doesn't this also imply that pieces must be present for Assault?

This rule doesn’t “imply” anything. It very explicitly requires that cubes must be present before you can select the space for an Assault Op.

It says nothing whatsoever about anything concerning Transport or Air Lift, however – unlike the Assault priorities in 8.7.4 and 8.8.2, which apply to these SAs whenever they precede an Assault Op.

Quote:
Doesn't this suggest that the term "in place" is there to distinguish between a Sweep Op in a space that desires no Sweep movement, and a Sweep Op in a space that does desire Sweep movement?

In what way does the Assault rule imply anything whatsoever about the bots’ Sweep priorities?

Your conclusion is partially correct, in that the term “in place” is included in the ARVNbot Sweep priorities to distinguish between those Sweep spaces (not “Sweep Ops”) that don’t need movement and those that do.

The way you arrived at that conclusion is badly off, however. Rule 3.2.4 Assault has nothing whatsoever to do with it, and you also seem to have missed that the bot priorities using the “in place” phrasing apply not only to the Sweep Op itself but also to any Transport SA that preceeds the Sweep Op – even though this entire discussion is precisely about how the Sweep and Assault priorities apply to the Transport and Air Lift SAs…

Quote:
Maybe one more question that would help. Under USbot Sweep, bullet 6, it says:

USbot Sweep
Then Sweep in place wherever possible to Activate Underground Guerrillas (including after any Air Lift)[/q wrote:


Extrapolating your ARVNbot Sweep In Place instructions, we cannot set up new spaces at this point with Air Lift, only supplement existing spaces where US Troops already exist. But then why the need for the section I bolded?

Because “at this point” the Air Lift has already checked, and possibly applied, USbot’s 3rd Sweep priority bullet that can move Troops into new spaces. If the Air Lift moves enough Troops per bullet 3 to both gain COIN Control and allow the upcoming Sweep Activate all Underground Guerrillas in its destination spaces, those spaces cease being “Sweep into” spaces and become “Sweep in place” spaces for the upcoming Sweep Op (which is then able to select up to two new “Sweep into” spaces of its own).

This is yet another way in which you confuse yourself, BTW: extrapolating from one set of priorities to another without taking the differences between them into account. In this case the ARVNbot and USbot Sweep priorities do things in the opposite order to each other: ARVNbot Sweeps in place first and moves into a new space last, whereas USbot looks first for spaces to Sweep into and Sweeps in place last. When you extrapolate from the one to the other without taking this reversed order into account, the conclusions you draw from your extrapolation risk being reversed as well.

Regards,
Oerjan
 
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On to the next post:
ColintheFlea wrote:
Oerjan wrote:

Does USbot Assault have an explicit instruction to first select Op spaces where it already has units?

No, it doesn't. Its top priority is to remove NVA Control from Pop-1+ spaces; and since it doesn't have to select any Assault spaces until after the Air Lift it is perfectly free to use its Air Lift to create new Assault spaced. The USbot instruction to Assault wherever else it is possible to do so is the lowest priority in the USbot Assault instruction, after it has met all higher Assault priorities.

ARVNbot's Sweep instruction OTOH explicitly says to Sweep in place first, and only go looking for a new Sweep space if there aren't at least 3 Sweep-in-place spaces already. That locks the Transport SA into reinforcing existing Sweep-in-place spaces before it can create new ones.

Regards,
Oerjan


This, again, just reinforces that I don't understand. You say that USbot doesn't have to select spaces for Assault until after Air Lift. But neither does ARVNbot for Sweep, until after Transport. My interpretation of "helping" priorities is that I look at the list of written priorities, and see if I can create a space that would satisfy it at the time of selecting the Op spaces, just as you say to do for USbot Assault. Seeing as Transport movement is not Sweep movement, I don't see a reason it can't use Transport to set up a space where it will Sweep in place, when it comes to the Sweep Op.

I’m beginning to think that you haven’t understood what ARVNbot’s Sweep priorities are in the first place...

ARVNbot’s highest Sweep priority is “First, Sweep with ARVN cubes and Rangers in place where there are Underground VC or NVA Guerrillas”. Its top Sweep priority is not about protecting Support or adding Control or anything like that; it is about spaces where the ARVN currently has units co-located with Underground Guerrillas. Because of this, “helping” ARVNbot’s highest Sweep priority means choosing Transport destinations where there are already ARVN units and Underground Guerrillas, i.e., where ARVNbot can already Sweep in place, but where it needs additional reinforcements to Activate more Guerrillas. Moving units into new spaces that don’t already have ARVN units does nothing to “help” when the priority needing help is spaces that already have ARVN units.

ARVNbot’s last Sweep priority bullet begins “Finally move Troops into 1 added space (if not yet at 3 Sweep spaces total)”. Applying this priority to the Transport SA, if and only if there aren’t already at 3 (or more) possible Sweep-in-place spaces and the bot still has units left to Transport, it will use the remaining Transport capacity to move Troops into 1 added space which then becomes a new Sweep-in-place space for the upcoming Sweep Op – which could allow the Sweep Op itself to use the same final priority bullet to select a new “move into” space of its own.

It seems to me that you’re ignoring the “Sweep in place” and “move into” clauses that form the topmost level in ARVNbot’s Sweep bullets, and instead try to pick Transport destinations based on the sub-priorities within each of those bullet – the ones Vesa call “tie-breaks”, that tell the bot how to choose between “in place” spaces (if there are more than three of them) or between “into” spaces (if there is more than one possible choice). If that’s the case, no wonder that you can’t figure out how it is supposed to work!

In marked contrast to this, the USbot Assault priorities don’t say anything at all about “in place” or “where there are currently US Troops”, but instead go straight to listing what USbot wants to achieve with the Assault: remove NVA Control, then remove Bases or other insurgent pieces, etc. Since the only thing the USbot Assault priorities say about where it is supposed to achieve these results is “first in highest Pop” (and that’s the lowest-tier tiebreak), an Air Lift to “most help” a US Assault is free to move US Troops anywhere the Assault could then achieve the prioritized results.

Regards,
Oerjan
 
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Oerjan wrote:

Because “at this point” the Air Lift has already checked, and possibly applied, USbot’s 3rd Sweep priority bullet that can move Troops into new spaces. If the Air Lift moves enough Troops per bullet 3 to both gain COIN Control and allow the upcoming Sweep Activate all Underground Guerrillas in its destination spaces, those spaces cease being “Sweep into” spaces and become “Sweep in place” spaces for the upcoming Sweep Op (which is then able to select up to two new “Sweep into” spaces of its own).
Oerjan


Hi Oerjan,

I've gone straight to this section of your response, i.e. about the USBot Air Lift + Sweep, as I feel this is the key to my understanding. Until I get this down, the AVRNbot questions will remain beyond my comprehension.

I've read through this paragraph a few times, now, and I think I remain confused. You seem to be suggesting that Air Lift movement alone is able to convert a Sweep Into space into a Sweep In Place space. I interpret it this way, as you are saying that Air Lift is before Sweep, and so if done to an extent that satisfies Control/Sweep Activation requirements of Bullet 3, that once you run through the Sweep priorities, it may be able to select other spaces for a Sweep Into.

However, in prior threads, you have ruled that USBot is NOT allowed to move into spaces without the ability to Sweep Into also. Therefore, it would not be possible for Air Lift to remove a potential Sweep Into target space, and thus allowing it to Sweep Into 2 other spaces. Am I wrong on that? If I am correct, then the "(including after any Air Lift)" section of the rules would not refer to that.

Thanks,

Colin
 
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ColintheFlea wrote:
I've gone straight to this section of your response, i.e. about the USBot Air Lift + Sweep, as I feel this is the key to my understanding.


I'm about to crash for the evening, this is a good place to dip into the conversation.

I spent a couple of days banging on some ruby code to automate US bot sweep and airlift. I didn't get very far. Implementing this is not exactly trivial, as noted above, the sweep and airlift are coupled. Hence, marching to a solution requires some sort of iteration at the least (as noted above). I'm definitely not an optimization weenie, but it smells like there is a linear programming problem lurking close by.

If I had this handed to me at work, I'd be having some very long and detailed discussions with Product Management.

Also, not a game programmer by trade.

Since I'm currently stalled on the relevant playbook example, I'll be following along as the conversation proceeds.
 
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ColintheFlea wrote:
Oerjan wrote:

Because “at this point” the Air Lift has already checked, and possibly applied, USbot’s 3rd Sweep priority bullet that can move Troops into new spaces. If the Air Lift moves enough Troops per bullet 3 to both gain COIN Control and allow the upcoming Sweep Activate all Underground Guerrillas in its destination spaces, those spaces cease being “Sweep into” spaces and become “Sweep in place” spaces for the upcoming Sweep Op (which is then able to select up to two new “Sweep into” spaces of its own).
Oerjan


Hi Oerjan,

I've gone straight to this section of your response, i.e. about the USBot Air Lift + Sweep, as I feel this is the key to my understanding. Until I get this down, the AVRNbot questions will remain beyond my comprehension.

I've read through this paragraph a few times, now, and I think I remain confused. You seem to be suggesting that Air Lift movement alone is able to convert a Sweep Into space into a Sweep In Place space. I interpret it this way, as you are saying that Air Lift is before Sweep, and so if done to an extent that satisfies Control/Sweep Activation requirements of Bullet 3, that once you run through the Sweep priorities, it may be able to select other spaces for a Sweep Into.

Correct.

Quote:
However, in prior threads, you have ruled that USBot is NOT allowed to move into spaces without the ability to Sweep Into also.

Also correct. (Emphasis of key word added.)

Quote:
Therefore, it would not be possible for Air Lift to remove a potential Sweep Into target space,

Not true. Having the ability to do something, as defined by the 3.x/4.x rules, is not the same thing as actually doing it.

A space can only be chosen as "Sweep into" by Sweep bullet 3, including during Air Lift, if it is possible to Sweep into it per rule 3.2.3 - i.e., there has to be at least one free-to-move US Troops in position to use Sweep movement to move into that space. In order for the space to be selected as a "Sweep into" Air Lift destination the in-position-to-Sweep Troop(s) also cannot be numerous enough to both take Control of the space and Activate all Underground Guerrillas there, because if they were numerous enough they wouldn't need any help from Air Lift.

However, the Air Lift by itself can sometimes bring enough Troops to both gain COIN Control in a "Sweep into" destination and allow the upcoming Sweep to Activate all Underground Guerrillas there. Or, more accurately, it can bring in enough Troops and SF to do it.

Even if you interpret Air Lift bullet 2's "as many Troops as helpful" to only move just enough Troops that the Sweep still needs to move in more, Air Lift bullet 4's moving as many SF as possible can still mess it up since it distributes the SF "evenly" - meaning a random roll if there's an odd number of SF to be distributed between 2 destinations. (With less strict interpretations of "as many as helpful", Air Lift bullet 2 itself could move in enough Troops to make the Sweep movement unnecessary.)

When that happens, then when the bot executes the subsequent Sweep Op there is nothing left to make Sweep bullet 3 Sweep-move additional Troops into that space: the Air Lift has changed it from "Sweep into" to "Sweep in place". And Sweep bullet 3 still looks for 2 "into" spaces during the Sweep...

Regards,
Oerjan
 
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Colin Taylor
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OK, so I think I'm getting closer. Just one example for you. I think I know the answer, but it would be good to confirm.

On the USBot turn, board state results in Sweep/Air Lift as the Op/SA chosen. There is a space that would be of the highest priority for a Sweep Into. However, whilst an adjacent space has US Troops, it doesn't have enough to spare a piece to Sweep Into that space. There is a space elsewhere (not adjacent) that could donate enough Troops to take COIN Control and Activate all Guerrillas in the target space. So, does it:

a. Air Lift Troops directly to the Sweep Into space?
b. Air Lift Troops to the adjacent space where US Troops exist, then Sweep Into during the Sweep step?
c. Ignore the target space completely, and continue searching for other targets?

Thanks,

Colin
 
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c. As I wrote above:
Quote:
A space can only be chosen as "Sweep into" by Sweep bullet 3, including during Air Lift, if it is possible to Sweep into it per rule 3.2.3 - i.e., there has to be at least one free-to-move US Troops in position to use Sweep movement to move into that space.

In your example there is no free-to-move US Troop able to Sweep-move into the space*, so the Sweep-into bullet skips it.

* Unless of course there are US Troops able to Sweep-move there from non-adjacent spaces via LoCs...

Note that the ARVNbot Sweep priorities don't require the "into" to be able to use Sweep movement to get there, so if the example had instead been an ARVN Transport+Sweep with at most two "in place" spaces already the space could be chosen as a Transport target.

Regards,
Oerjan
 
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Great, that's what I thought, so that's good.

Interestingly, though, if there was a US Troop able to Sweep Into from an adjacent space, but 2 are needed in the target, to take COIN Control, and Activate all Guerrillas there, can Air Lift provide the other Troop? I'm getting the feeling that the answer is no, as without the Air Lift, there is no valid Sweep possible. If the first ARVNbot Sweep priorities require the presence of an ARVN piece in a space for said space to be a Transport target, then USbot requires enough Troops present to take Control and Activate all Guerrillas. However, if it can do that, it no longer needs Air Lift support. This is part of the Op Priority, and so must be obeyed when selecting Air Lift target, right?

Thanks,

Colin
 
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ColintheFlea wrote:
Great, that's what I thought, so that's good.

Interestingly, though, if there was a US Troop able to Sweep Into from an adjacent space, but 2 are needed in the target, to take COIN Control, and Activate all Guerrillas there, can Air Lift provide the other Troop?

Yes. I explicitly stated that above, if you recall:
Oerjan wrote:
A space can only be chosen as "Sweep into" by Sweep bullet 3, including during Air Lift, if it is possible to Sweep into it per rule 3.2.3 - i.e., there has to be at least one free-to-move US Troops in position to use Sweep movement to move into that space. In order for the space to be selected as a "Sweep into" Air Lift destination the in-position-to-Sweep Troop(s) also cannot be numerous enough to both take Control of the space and Activate all Underground Guerrillas there, because if they were numerous enough they wouldn't need any help from Air Lift.


ColintheFlea wrote:
I'm getting the feeling that the answer is no, as without the Air Lift, there is no valid Sweep possible. If the first ARVNbot Sweep priorities require the presence of an ARVN piece in a space for said space to be a Transport target, then USbot requires enough Troops present to take Control and Activate all Guerrillas. However, if it can do that, it no longer needs Air Lift support. This is part of the Op Priority, and so must be obeyed when selecting Air Lift target, right?

This is where the "Air Lift where helpful" comes in. If it is possible to Sweep in some of the Troops needed, Air Lift may add the rest.

The ARVN case is not analogous: there the priority says to choose spaces that already have ARVN Units before anything moves (8.7.5 bullet 1), then move to reinforce those spaces (8.7.5 bullet 3), then finally move into a space that didn't have any ARVN units (8.7.5 bullet 4).

Regards,
Oerjan
 
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