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Conquest of the Empire» Forums » Rules

Subject: clarification plz: catapults rss

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Stefan Saß
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I have a little problem with all the catapult buzz or to say the "common" agreement on the net they are overpowered.

Let's assume the following 2 players:
Player 1: Builds all out infantry
Player 2: Builds all out catapults

Does anyone have a dice calculator? How would the following combats would turn out? (attack and defense considered)

Example 1:
Player 1: 4 inf.
Player 2: 1 cat.

Example 2:
Player 1: 8 inf.
Player 2: 2 cat.

[...]

Even if you assume having so many catapults to hit every time with the combat advantage, won't the "Infantry Player" have too much bait to fair better or at least equal?

I would really appreciate an answer.

Best regards
Stefan Saß
 
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Nathaniel Dragon
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In case you haven't played the original Conquest of the Empire, I'll explain that there is an attack bonus for the person who has the most catapults in the battle. The bonus is calculated by subtracting the lesser amount of catapults from the greater. So, if I you had 4 catapults and I had 2, you would get a plus 2 bonus to your attack roll. There are no other units that are counted to determine this bonus.

I tried your examples out with on this Shadowrun dice probability calculator: http://www.pvv.ntnu.no/~bcd/SR/dicerollcalc.html

The results of example 1:
4 infantry trying to kill 1 catapult have 51.77% chance of success in 4 rolls.
The catapult has 19.75% chance of success to kill them all in 4 rolls (the minimum needed).

The results of example 2:
The 8 infantry have 39.53% chance of getting 6 twice in 8 rolls.
The 2 catapults have 23.26% chance to kill them all in 8 rolls, if neither gets destroyed.

To expand on your examples, if you had 12 infantry against 3 catapults the player with the 3 catapults gets an automatic kill each round of combat until one of the catapults is destroyed. Of course, those infantry have an 88.78% chance of success killing one of those 3 catapults, but only a 32.26% chance of rolling a 6 three times in 12 rolls.

In my experience with the game, you're not likely to see just a couple lonely catapults other than just in the beginning of the game. Once someone starts taking more territory, they often pick up more catapults. Eventually, you're likely to see a couple legions of catapults with other supporting units as fodder.

I eventually started using house rules to limit this too, but if you try out the new version of Conquest of the Empire, you'll find that the combat system is quite different.
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Sean Shaw
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In our experience, before it is a two player game no one has the cash to spend on catapults. Part of that is because one of your armies listed above is illegal...only seven units per army. Catapults can play into this to that where a city is a leader, and thus can only have 7 units max in it unless Caesar or a general is there too, but due to cost only come into effect in the endgame.

In a six player game no one is making the cash to create catapults over infantry.

So a player can spend their gold on saving for a catapult, or actually surviving all the others making infantry. Catapults are a sure way to suicide in anything over 3 players. Once one actually gets enough gold to make 3 catapults a round, which is where one normally can start seeing and advantage of getting catapults over infantry (due to that 7 unit maximum in a city), is where one hits that 100 Talent mark, creating inflation, and once again, catapults get too expensive. In fact, up until one is making around 350 Talents per turn, infantry seem to be the way to go due to inflation. Until you get to about two people, that's not going to happen. It's much easier just to flood the enemy with infantry.

Maybe we're all vicious little players, and go for the throat early on, but our experience is the only ones with the catapult problems are those in the endgame phases. Even then, depending on how many generals they have left, it's minimal, as the catapults are limited to 7 in an army and most battles occur around fortified cities at that point. So in the end, the defender has a +1 bonus over the attacker, but then the attacker reduces that as they get the first attack and can get rid of the first catapult of the battle a little over 50% of the time.

In that it becomes more strategic for us, I don't know where everyone get's this catapults are a problem thing, though I can see where they get the idea of catapults everywhere...but only in the endgame, as that's the only time where strategically and economically it seems an actual viable option.
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Sean Shaw
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I should note, that with the catapult ideology, that 350 mark is never really able to be met. I should admit that if two players are FAR enough apart (hence only ever in a two person game) then it does start with the typical amount of money in the high hundreds, but normally not before. Too much infantry at the cheap cost and an occasionally calvary being tossed at each other.
 
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Stefan Saß
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"The results of example 1:
4 infantry trying to kill 1 catapult have 51.77% chance of success in 4 rolls.
The catapult has 19.75% chance of success to kill them all in 4 rolls (the minimum needed).

The results of example 2:
The 8 infantry have 39.53% chance of getting 6 twice in 8 rolls.
The 2 catapults have 23.26% chance to kill them all in 8 rolls, if neither gets destroyed.

To expand on your examples, if you had 12 infantry against 3 catapults the player with the 3 catapults gets an automatic kill each round of combat until one of the catapults is destroyed. Of course, those infantry have an 88.78% chance of success killing one of those 3 catapults, but only a 32.26% chance of rolling a 6 three times in 12 rolls."


Thx for giving the numbers for a dicecalculator!

But what exactly are the conclusions from this numbers?

Example 1: Do they suggest the 4Inf-Player has the advantage over the Catapult player?

Example 2: As it is "unlikely" that no catapult is destroyed during the 8 rolls the number for the catapult player might be lower, so - if - is the Inf-Player still on the advantage side?

Regarding your expansion, as the numbers further seem to shift towards the catapult player, is there a "point" at which the favour finally switches? And where is it exactly?

The solution seems to be extremely interesting regarding gameplay, rules and strategy to my opinion!

 
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Mark Lohr
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As someone who has played COTE so many times... I would have to TOTALLY disagree with Sean Shaw about the Catapults.

I've played well over 20 games of four or five player Conquest and I've ALWAYS found the best strategy is to stock up on Catapults as quickly and as soon as you can!!

The "Plus ONE" combat advantage for EACH Catapult that you own is just SO POWERFUL that it crushes any opponent in just about any combat situation 99 percent of the time. (Even at the beginning of the game)

You start out the game with a home province worth 10 and a fortified city worth 5 for a total of 15. Most players can advance and take over more provinces on their turn to get their total wealth up to or close to 40. Well... that's what a catapult costs. Even if you don't buy a catapult your first turn (maybe because you buy a Cavalry or a Galley) you most certainly would buy a catapult your second time around (or else you would find yourself just TOO FAR behind in the Catapult Wars)!!

I'm guessing that Sean has either not played many games of Conquest... or isn't following the rules correctly... because the game REALLY is all about who can build up their Catapults the quickest. The player that does (usually someone with a 7-Catapult Legion) almost always dominates the game... unless some other players have kept up with the Catapults as well... or unless some players "Gang-UP" on the guy with the most Catapults.

Boy... I WOULD LOVE to play a game of Conquest against Sean and his friends if all they do is buy Infantry and Cavalry the first few rounds...
 
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Mark Lohr
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SO... in regards to your examples of how Catapults do against Infantry... Because Catapults have a plus one for each Catapult PLUS the fact that the enemy has to ALWAYS roll a SIX to take one out (Unless they have the combat advantage), that just gives a HUGE advantage to the player with the Catapults no matter how many Infantry they are going up against.

I would take a Catapult over Four Infantry any day of the week!! And any time during the game for that matter...
 
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Mark Lohr
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Even if you were going up against an army of 30 Infantry... I would still prefer the Catapults.

If you had 4 or more Catapults, you would hit "automatically" every round of the battle because of the "plus one" for each Catapult (Because a roll of four or better kills an Infantry)... whereas the person with the 30 Infantry would have to roll a six (at least 4 times, depending on how many Catapults). Yes... he would have 30 rolls to do that, but just try it out and see how many sixes you roll in 30 tries.

The thing is... the person with the Catapults gets an automatic "KILL" no matter what they roll because of the combat advantage. The person with the Infantry might roll enough sixes... but also, might not!! When you have the Catapults... you KNOW that you are going to do some serious damage!! With anything else, you HAVE TO roll well to win...
 
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Stefan Saß
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I would greatly appreciate it if we base our arguments derived on exact numbers like Nathaniel Bird did with the dice calculator instead of subjective impressions!

So my questions of my last reply have not been answered yet?
DERIVED FROM DICE CALCULATION:
1. Do 4 Inf have an advantage over 1 catapult in a combat situation?
2. Do 8 Inf have an advantage over 2 catapults in a combat situation?
3. Does the advantage narrow in margin if you expand to more units?
4. If, where is the turning point where the catapults "take the rule"?

thx in advance!
 
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Michael Orford
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Sean is right. Catapults are not useful in the beginning because they are support weapons. A catapult alone is crushed by four infantry. The catapult lost 8,282 times out of 10,000. 83% failure rate.

Catapults are, in fact, too strong in the original CotE BUT Sean should decimate anyone who buys catapults in the very beginning.

The problem with the way the rules are set up is that catapults SHOULD be very hard to hit as long as they are screened by infantry but they should be elementary once they are the only thing left.

I wrote a very "simple" java program to run the combat 10,000 times. I had the lone catapult have the advantage of first strike. I would be happy to send the java program to anyone who would like.

"Simple" is in quotes because the simplest java program still looks like gobbledygook to anyone (such as me) who grew up on BASIC.
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Michael Orford
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I should add that the AVERAGE loss to the infantry WHEN THEY WON was only slightly more than one unit (1.05 units). This is reasonable because the infantry will knock out the catapult on the very first turn almost half of the time.

Do not take this as that catapults do not work very well in a MIXED force early in the game. A few catapults standing alone make a tasty treat for the enemy but a catapult with six infantry is daunting.
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Michael Orford
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The infantry win even more often when 8 infantry are attacked by two catapults. Infantry win 88% of the time.

Six infantry attacked by two catapults have the advantage, winning 60% of the time but when you reduce the infantry to only five, the twin catapults finally have the edge: it is the catapults that win 60%.
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Jeff Staff
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We always stopped at maximum money per round at what 260 talents? Saving each round. We made hand written "checks". We'd also get like 3 legions of infantry to go "raid" the one with the most catapults coming to get you and buy them back. You are bound to get a few with 21 infantry and retreat at the last man to save your 3 generals.
 
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Mark Lohr
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Sounds to me like "Michael O" is confusing the "Eagle" games version with the "Milton Bradley" version.

In the MB version, Catapults are SO VERY POWERFUL... there is just no question about that.

Every game that I've played, whomever was the quickest to amass the most catapults was usually the winner.
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Mattias Elfström
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smallllama wrote:
I should add that the AVERAGE loss to the infantry WHEN THEY WON was only slightly more than one unit (1.05 units). This is reasonable because the infantry will knock out the catapult on the very first turn almost half of the time.

Do not take this as that catapults do not work very well in a MIXED force early in the game. A few catapults standing alone make a tasty treat for the enemy but a catapult with six infantry is daunting.

No they will not. They will actually knock out the catapult exactly 1/6 of the time since they need to roll a "6".

Note that in the MB version of the game you only roll one die no matter how many units you have.
 
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