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Patrick Schifano

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Recently we played a game with Supports and Politics without combat where I as the Chinese claim-jumped my way to an impossible lead. This seems like exactly the kind of situation where bombing me back to the Industrial age would have been a good option to have around. Prelude finished, I have read some say Combat adds lots of time and others that love it. My questions for those with experience is.....

1. How does Combat make the game drag?

2. Why are you against combat?

3. If you were against it initially, what converted you to being a fan?

4. Anything else you want to say about combat?
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Did your opponents try to:

1. Protect their claims with humans or factory cubes?
2. Shift politics into war or anarchy so that they can also claim jump?
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Matt Watkins
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sir_schwick wrote:
2. Why are you against combat?


I'm not really a fan of it. I think it adds to the strategic options in the game and can be a great addition, but the rules are pretty fiddly and I can't hold them in my head enough to form strategies from them, nor reliably defend against them. I find that I avoid shifting politics to War specifically because I don't want to deal with the combat rules.
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Pawel Garycki
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My observation of combat is that the most affected are home orbits with constant bombimg from missile and raygun/missile crew. However with Exomigration Module the war is not so easy to start because you have a political treshold.
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Paul Agapow
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Matt_W wrote:
sir_schwick wrote:
2. Why are you against combat?


I'm not really a fan of it. I think it adds to the strategic options in the game and can be a great addition, but the rules are pretty fiddly and I can't hold them in my head enough to form strategies from them, nor reliably defend against them. I find that I avoid shifting politics to War specifically because I don't want to deal with the combat rules.


This is exactly my experience: it's massively fiddly and I haven't managed to work out how to effectively fight. (Had a player get ahead with a set of sites near Jupiter and he had to be brought down, but it seems like nothing the rest of us has was effective. To boot, it consumed a lot of your (the attackers) time and resources. So we decided it would be best to just out-compete him.)

How would I fix it? No real idea other than introducing special weapons tech that made combat more effective.
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Adam Gastonguay
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I believe everyone here has already nailed it down. It's one more strategic option, so it can add a lot more AP. But it's also a great way to knock someone down a peg or two if they're not careful and stretch themselves too thin (and great for "negotiations") which makes gameplay really awesome.

So if you don't mind the long game, definitely keep it in, it's worth it.

Didn't someone make a "combat cheat sheet" play aid somewhere? Maybe that would help some folks with the fiddly bits?
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Dom Rougier
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Combat cheat sheet

1. How does Combat make the game drag?

Doing things in space is expensive, long and difficult. Killing stuff can be comparatively easy, so it can set the game back, especially if you're blowing up a factory or lab.

2. Why are you against combat?

The length it can add to the game is the reason to be against it.

3. If you were against it initially, what converted you to being a fan?

The option for a losing player to catch up, or at least to threaten warfare to catch up is a huge reason to include it - it's also good thematically.

4. Anything else you want to say about combat?

It's a bit fiddly, but it gets the job done. Combat is usually very rare in High Frontier, but when it happens it can be decisive.
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Victor van Santen
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I played a couple of games of HF3, but didn't use the combat module thus far. Space colonization is hard enough as it is and we are not experienced enough as a group to add combat just yet.

However, to add to the discussion:
How would you rate the combat module with respect to player counts? With 2 players I would always play without combat, with 3 players it depends and 4+ I probably would tend to include it.
As I have not played it with combat so far (but with everything else colonization has to offer): Does this make sense? What are your experiences with combat w.r.t. player count?

Lastly, if combat is excluded, what breaks down in colonization? Politics obviously suffers as "war" is now pointless (except market trade value and not being a anarchy spot), but am I missing something except catching the leader?
 
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Doug DeMoss
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rbelikov wrote:
Did your opponents try to:

1. Protect their claims with humans or factory cubes?
2. Shift politics into war or anarchy so that they can also claim jump?


Speaking as one of the other players in the game, option 1 wasn't practical. There was one point where I could have abandoned a colony to protect a claim, but it would have cost me some time as I wouldn't have been able to move my primary mission (and he'd have just grabbed something else - Hygeia was probably the least valuable thing he could have grabbed, it was just the most convenient at the time), as I'd have needed to convert my rocket to an outpost for a couple of turns AND cost me a couple VP. To a large extent, it was just a drawback of having laser-prospected the Koronis for the Venture; there were plenty of claims available and they couldn't all be protected. If it hadn't been for those meddling kids events, I think I would still have made it to Asbolus in time to keep my lead, but this game, that was the point where EVERYTHING started to go wrong.

Option 2 was also impractical, because the Chinese understandably just stopped prospecting.

There's an argument to be made that you just need to be careful about laser-prospecting when the Chinese are about. I think that's the real issue we faced. Combat is just one of the possible mitigators.
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Adam Gastonguay
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demoss1 wrote:

There's an argument to be made that you just need to be careful about laser-prospecting when the Chinese are about. I think that's the real issue we faced. Combat is just one of the possible mitigators.


That's a very good point.

I usually only play 1,2, or 3 player, so the powers of the players really change the game. Unlimited research hand size? Research actions are different. Chinese? Prospecting is different. NASA? Boosting is different. ESA? Negotiations & engine choice are different.
 
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demoss1 wrote:
Combat is just one of the possible mitigators.


Why combat specifically, as opposed to anarchy / wartime, which allows everyone to claimjump? I would think that claimjumping to take your claim back is a more effective option than combat, assuming the Chinese do not protect their claims for the same reasons you did not.
 
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silent117 wrote:
How would you rate the combat module with respect to player counts? With 2 players I would always play without combat, with 3 players it depends and 4+ I probably would tend to include it.


At least in theory, I think actual combat makes sense primarily in a 2p game. This is because (I think) the cost of HF combat is high and reduces the standing of both parties relative to other players. For three or more players, I think combat is an effective strategy primarily between two runaway leaders competing with each other for 1st place. (An exception is a few futures where combat is the only way to prevent the game from ending.)

That said, the feeling of a cold war (i.e. the threat of combat or claimjumping) is great in HF with the combat option on.
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Patrick Schifano

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rbelikov wrote:
demoss1 wrote:
Combat is just one of the possible mitigators.


Why combat specifically, as opposed to anarchy / wartime, which allows everyone to claimjump? I would think that claimjumping to take your claim back is a more effective option than combat, assuming the Chinese do not protect their claims for the same reasons you did not.


I, as the Chinese, had built my first factory leading to a black side refinery floating on a freighter to wherever was needed. My rocket was a fortuitous combination of speed and fuel thrift; de laval with a mass of three including robonaut(without radiator since the claim would be someone elses). So this meant any spot I jumped I usually had a factory cube on within a turn.
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sir_schwick wrote:
I, as the Chinese, had built my first factory leading to a black side refinery floating on a freighter to wherever was needed. My rocket was a fortuitous combination of speed and fuel thrift; de laval with a mass of three including robonaut(without radiator since the claim would be someone elses). So this meant any spot I jumped I usually had a factory cube on within a turn.


Did you use the freighter module, and how did you land the refinery?
 
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Dom Rougier
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rbelikov wrote:
At least in theory, I think actual combat makes sense primarily in a 2p game. This is because (I think) the cost of HF combat is high and reduces the standing of both parties relative to other players. For three or more players, I think combat is an effective strategy primarily between two runaway leaders competing with each other for 1st place. (An exception is a few futures where combat is the only way to prevent the game from ending.)


All of this is entirely correct - the threat of combat is more important than the act, and it's something that will hurt both players involved, to some degree.

The upshot is that it's entirely possible that there could be 0-1 instances of fighting in the game, but you might spend a large amount of time worrying about it.

I don't think the combat module is vital, but it does interesting things for the game.
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Doug DeMoss
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rbelikov wrote:
demoss1 wrote:
Combat is just one of the possible mitigators.


Why combat specifically, as opposed to anarchy / wartime, which allows everyone to claimjump? I would think that claimjumping to take your claim back is a more effective option than combat, assuming the Chinese do not protect their claims for the same reasons you did not.


You can't claimjump if there's a factory there. They weren't JUST taking the claims (which would have been only a minor nuisance at worst - I really wouldn't have minded for the most part since I already got what I wanted from them), they were using them.

 
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Patrick Schifano

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rbelikov wrote:
sir_schwick wrote:
I, as the Chinese, had built my first factory leading to a black side refinery floating on a freighter to wherever was needed. My rocket was a fortuitous combination of speed and fuel thrift; de laval with a mass of three including robonaut(without radiator since the claim would be someone elses). So this meant any spot I jumped I usually had a factory cube on within a turn.


Did you use the freighter module, and how did you land the refinery?


You are correct I would have been cheating if I landed my freighter(legacy) on most of the rocks I jumped. What I really did was have my fast rocket meet my slower freighter the turn before claim jumping/industrializing. Doug can tell you for several years my freighter would start heading to Earth, then come back to Ceres zone to go another direction until my plans starting working out better.
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Victor van Santen
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rbelikov wrote:
silent117 wrote:
How would you rate the combat module with respect to player counts? With 2 players I would always play without combat, with 3 players it depends and 4+ I probably would tend to include it.


At least in theory, I think actual combat makes sense primarily in a 2p game. This is because (I think) the cost of HF combat is high and reduces the standing of both parties relative to other players. For three or more players, I think combat is an effective strategy primarily between two runaway leaders competing with each other for 1st place. (An exception is a few futures where combat is the only way to prevent the game from ending.)

That said, the feeling of a cold war (i.e. the threat of combat or claimjumping) is great in HF with the combat option on.


Interesting thought. So in a nutshell, it would prolong but balance the game for 2p.

After we have some more experience, we might try combat to see how that affects 2 players. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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Pawel Garycki
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In game theory the 2p win-lose games see a lot of direct interaction which is often violent. And there is no trading (other than trading based on NOT knowing the real value of transactions, when one party loses on trade but does not know it).
3p games see a lot of trade, especially between selected players according to the current leaders (usually two leaders trade with the third party). There could be some combat but its cost is high.


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Tom W -
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Combat isn't hard - lasers shoot first (1d6 one target), then missles (2d6 to whole stack), then buggy attack. The only one I end up needing to look up is the buggy attack.

Best defense is to cover yourself with lasers, with 1 missle as backup. If you disable the attacker before they attack then you are fine.
 
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