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Age of Conan: The Strategy Board Game» Forums » Rules

Subject: Is the combat crap or were we playing it wrong? rss

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Jacob Fulwiler
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Ok, a player attacks with an army strength of 4 against an army of 3. The attack rolls 4 dice and all of them hit. Since there is no possible way the defender can have more successes than that, is there even a point for them to roll?

When we played, the game seems to weigh very heavily in favor of the attacker. The rules don't seem to mention anything about individual hits removing units, only successes.
 
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hmmmm, so a stronger army rolled really well and this resulted in a situation where the weaker army could do nothing but suffer a defeat. I don't see how this constitutes "crap combat."
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Nigel Buckle
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Highest number of hits = win combat -> loser removes a unit and combat continues.

Yes, seems to favour attacker (you get to hit on an extra icon), although really favours controller of Conan if he's present ...

Cards can alter things a bit, hit on extra icons, reroll dice, etc.

Personally I like the balance being with the attacker - means you don't see people turtling all the time, instead game play is a bit more fluid with players encouraged to attack rather than build up defenses everywhere.

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Matt Thrower
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Combat is indeed heavily weighted in favour of the attacker. Not only does he get an extra success face on the dice, but of course he gets to choose the circumstances of the attack which can be particularly critical in this game.

I get the reasons behind this design choice, but I found that whilst it didn't make combat "crap" it did make it a bit dull. Nine times out of ten, the attacker will win, so there's no real tension in rolling the dice.

I've discussed it in greater detail in this review:
http://fortressat.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view...
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Francesco Nepitello
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MattDP wrote:
Combat is indeed heavily weighted in favour of the attacker.


Did you consider that the defender wins on ties?

Francesco



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Jorge Arroyo
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Francesco Nepitello wrote:
MattDP wrote:
Combat is indeed heavily weighted in favour of the attacker.


Did you consider that the defender wins on ties?

Francesco


Exactly. See http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/390728

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Matt Thrower
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Francesco Nepitello wrote:
MattDP wrote:
Combat is indeed heavily weighted in favour of the attacker.


Did you consider that the defender wins on ties?


I did indeed. But the attacker ..

* Gets an extra success face
* Gets various bonuses if he's the Conan player and Conan is involved
* Can usually set things up to ensure he gets more dice
* Can usually set things up to ensure he maximises use of his kingdom and strategy cards
* May well be in possession of an artifact that grants him bonus dice or a "win on a tie".

In the games I played, successful defence rolls were pretty rare.
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Francesco Nepitello
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MattDP wrote:
But the attacker ..

* Gets an extra success face
* Gets various bonuses if he's the Conan player and Conan is involved
* Can usually set things up to ensure he gets more dice
* Can usually set things up to ensure he maximises use of his kingdom and strategy cards
* May well be in possession of an artifact that grants him bonus dice or a "win on a tie".


Would you rather have an attacker lose easily to a defender, when he went to the length of ensuring that all you listed above is on his side?

Francesco
P.S.
To avoid sounding antagonistic - answering only with questions - I will add that an attacker gets access to the advantages you described by playing well, and by paying for most of them a cost that could be spent elsewhere.
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Scott Humpert
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Don't forget that in a Siege (defender has a tower, fort, or city in the province), the defender can roll dice equal to the province rating (if higher than his number of armies).

This may make those higher valued provinces less attractive for an enemy to attack, and easier to defend with fewer armies.
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Nigel Buckle
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I haven't found 'attacker always wins' is such an issue with this game.

Attacker usually wins if they've organised stuff to get the necessary advantages - and you can end up burning though lots of cards doing it. Especially if you're trying to take an area in one hit with forced march.

Occasionally I've seen attacks fail - sometimes the defender plays an unexpected card, sometimes you get bad rolls even after re-rolls.

You just need to adjust your play appropriately. What's a killer is to lose a large army (either as attacker or defender) because it takes so many actions to rebuild it.
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Christopher O
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Bataar wrote:
Ok, a player attacks with an army strength of 4 against an army of 3. The attack rolls 4 dice and all of them hit. Since there is no possible way the defender can have more successes than that, is there even a point for them to roll?

When we played, the game seems to weigh very heavily in favor of the attacker. The rules don't seem to mention anything about individual hits removing units, only successes.


There is a possible way, if the defender has special kingdom cards which permit additional hits.

Also, as others have pointed out, combat continues until one army is eliminated or retreats.

I've found the combat to favour the attacker to a small extent, but the net effect of this little "edge" is to promote actual movement on the board - in many other strategy games of this type (area movement, kingdom-building) there is a tendency to "turtle" when there is too much of an advantage for defenders.
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
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MattDP wrote:
Nine times out of ten, the attacker will win, so there's no real tension in rolling the dice.


If you don't think you're going to win, there's very little reason to attack, so the only attacks made are those likely to win.
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Jacob Fulwiler
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I've only played it once and we were misplaying some other rules so maybe on the next play through, this will make more sense, but it seemed odd that if the Defender rolled perfect, they can't even damage the Attacker or somehow force them to remove a unit since they don't have to force march, the attacker doesn't sacrifice a unit to continue attacking.
 
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Steve Hope
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I think the big focus of this game is on maximizing your chances to succeed when you attack, since the limiting factor on your VP acquisition is likely to be the number of military actions you are allowed to take (perhaps only 10 or so in a game). So it's a good thing that with proper planning/preparation you can be very likely to succeed.

The best defense is to demonstrate the strongest possible resistance and then hope that you scare other players into attacking a weaker target. Unless they are very silly they won't attack when they don't have a very good chance to win, and it would be a bad game if the defender could easily create an impenetrable defense.

EDIT: Took out an irrelevant reference to luck.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Bataar wrote:
...it seemed odd that if the Defender rolled perfect, they can't even damage the Attacker


You're leaving out the fact that the attacker rolled perfect as well.

Let's apply a bit more logic: on an average roll by the attacker (2 hits with 4 dice), the defender wouldn't even need a perfect roll to win, they would do so with 2 hits.
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Niko Ruf
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Bataar wrote:
but it seemed odd that if the Defender rolled perfect, they can't even damage the Attacker or somehow force them to remove a unit since they don't have to force march, the attacker doesn't sacrifice a unit to continue attacking.


The attacker still risks losing a unit on the subsequent contest. To keep things simple, the designers did not include the option that both players lose a unit in the same contest. Since a battle is usually a series of contests and most of the decisions that can influence the result are made before either player rolls (except using sorcery to reroll), I don't see a problem.
 
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David desJardins
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I haven't found the attacker always wins. First game, first turn, I lost a combat against a 3 province that rolled 3 hits. Few turns later, lost against a 2 province that rolled 2 hits. Of course I ended up losing in a landslide (only a 2 player game). So maybe I have the opposite concern than you do.
 
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James Boyd
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Something else to consider is the end result even if it is slanted towards the attacker:

- in a seige the territory is now NEUTRAL and the Attacker has to conquer it for themselves;
- in a battle the Attacker has to conquer the territory for themselves (via campaign), starting over on the left most icon.

An Attacker can't swoop in and take a territory away and put it in his camp without putting some significant resources into the effort. I like it.
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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DaviddesJ wrote:
First game, first turn, I lost a combat against a 3 province that rolled 3 hits.


You do understand that you only lose one unit in the contest, regardless of how many hits are rolled, right?

That said, I've seen two games where players got off to a bad start by losing battles they had good odds of winning. The loss of tempo is definitely tough to recover from.
 
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David desJardins
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Sphere wrote:
You do understand that you only lose one unit in the contest, regardless of how many hits are rolled, right?


Yeah. It's just the loss of the unit, plus the loss of tempo. And it happened to me twice in my early expansion phase.

Plus raising new units to try again is especially inconvenient/expensive/wasteful if you haven't been able to take a second province yet, this seems like a design detail that screws the player who's unlucky on turn one (why not allow the military action to give you two units both in your home province if you want?). I happened to have a card that gave me one extra unit for free in a friendly province, otherwise it would have been an even more complete disaster.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Plus raising new units to try again is especially inconvenient/expensive/wasteful if you haven't been able to take a second province yet, this seems like a design detail that screws the player who's unlucky on turn one (why not allow the military action to give you two units both in your home province if you want?). I happened to have a card that gave me one extra unit for free in a friendly province, otherwise it would have been an even more complete disaster.


If you haven't taken a province, you should consider using emissaries to win an intrigue contest before recruiting units with a military die. A province with a tower is controlled, and you can put the second military unit there.
 
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David desJardins
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Sphere wrote:
If you haven't taken a province, you should consider using emissaries to win an intrigue contest before recruiting units with a military die. A province with a tower is controlled, and you can put the second military unit there.


Yeah, I know that, but that's a loss of tempo too, right? Because you don't have the military conquest as an adjacent friendly province to help win your first intrigue contest.
 
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Yeah, I know that, but that's a loss of tempo too, right?


Yup, you lost it the turn you failed the attack, and what's gone is gone. The important thing is to make sure you don't lose any more.
 
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David desJardins
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Sphere wrote:
Yup, you lost it the turn you failed the attack, and what's gone is gone. The important thing is to make sure you don't lose any more.


You lose one full turn repeating the battle, because you need to choose another military action to re-attack the province. And you lose one half-turn from the unit you lost when you expected to win. Those are gone for sure.

The problem, I think, is that you generally also have to lose another half-turn. Either you lose a half-turn spending an entire military action to recruit just one unit, or you lose a half-turn because you take an intrigue action to gain a second friendly province, in order to recruit two units with your military action, but in that case your intrigue action is a half-turn behind everyone else's, because they are all using their first military conquest as a +1 modifier for their first intrigue action, and you aren't getting that modifier so you need an extra emissary move to get the same odds.

You wouldn't have to lose that additional half-turn if the rules just let you recruit two units in your home province with a military action. I can understand why the rules were written not to allow recruiting multiple units per province at the front, but restricting players from recruiting new units efficiently until they get a second one just seems to me like piling on to the player who got bad luck.
 
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I don't entirely agree with you, but we're getting along so nicely that I'm not going to argue.
 
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