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Subject: Allies in battle rss

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Rob Doupe
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Question about allies in battle.

Let's say the French player moves a naval unit into North America and follows with an army unit. There are currently a British fleet and a Spanish army in North America and Britain and Spain are allies. If the French player attacks the Spanish player, but does not declare a Naval battle, can the British Fleet count as Naval Support for his Spanish ally in the land battle?
 
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Chris Shaffer
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Re:Allies in battle
No. You can only call for allies to support naval battles if you have a naval unit in the territory.

There is, in fact, no reason for the French player to decline to declare a naval battle. Since the Spanish player has no fleet in the territory, he cannot call on the British fleet for help, and the French player will get the naval support bonus in the land battle with no risk.
 
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Paul Sauberer
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Re:Allies in battle
TheCat (#447199),

This is not stated in the rules.

What is stated in the rules is that

1. An army unit must be present in order to make a land attack.

2. Alliances are made after an attack is declared but before the dice are rolled.

3. "Players that are allied together can attack and defend together. All an ally can do is add his army/navy units to another player's total, he cannot use any benefits... The ally can also specify which units will fight, e.g. he may say that he will fight with his naval units but not with his army units."

The third point implies that allied units are considered in the same way. Since alliances occur after an attack has been declared, there is no danger of the messy situation of an ally supplying the only land units in a battle. All that is at stake from a naval battle is support for the land battle. Nothing of permanence is acquired from naval combat as it is from land combat.

The American Revolution is a prime example of an ally (France) supplying an attacker with naval support when the attacker had no navy of its own.

Now it may be that the official ruling that naval allies cannot support, but then someone ought to rewrite all those history books because the British did not lose at Yorktown.
 
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Inno Van
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Re:Allies in battle
Well, actually, in the rules posted online to BBG on 11-15-2004 by Martin Wallace, on page 6 there is the line "If both players decide to fight then naval combat occurs. A player only has the option to fight if he has at least one naval unit in the area"

which does not appear in the earlier printed version of the rules.

But even this doesn't spell out explicitly the whole attacker must have a fleet/defender can defend with just an Alliance Tile even if they don't have a fleet present difference between attackers and defenders. (Hunt for a different thread on this board to find this)
 
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Paul Sauberer
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Re:Allies in battle
Innovan wrote:
Well, actually, in the rules posted online to BBG on 11-15-2004 by Martin Wallace, on page 6 there is the line "If both players decide to fight then naval combat occurs. A player only has the option to fight if he has at least one naval unit in the area"

which does not appear in the earlier printed version of the rules.


It's in my printed copy of the rules at the top of the second column of page 4.

This applies after alliances are set though and since "players that are allied together can attack and defend together" this does not preclude having a lone allied naval unit in a potential naval battle.

But even this doesn't spell out explicitly the whole attacker must have a fleet/defender can defend with just an Alliance Tile even if they don't have a fleet present difference between attackers and defenders. (Hunt for a different thread on this board to find this)


Beats the heck out of me. However until told otherwise I would go with the "It doesn't say they don't and what good is having complete control over an alliance if it can't help you when you need it?" I'd allow it.
 
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Inno Van
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Re:Allies in battle
Well, this scenario is well off into the realm of rules-lawyer will-never-happen-in-an-actual-game land.

Would someone ever not take an obvious and easy naval bonus? No.
Considering you always have to bribe someone with gold to have them help you (or cut some other deal) and even then still beg them on bended knee to get them involved, would anyone ever turn down an enthusiastic ally willing to help for free? You might check them for brain fever first, but no.
Are player allies ever this helpful in real life? No.

Letting a player ally initiate naval attack on their own after the attacker or defender decides not to risk their own fleets in the area in a combat violates the rule that if a player is in the attacker or defender role in a combat they must commit all units possible in the area for that combat phase. On that basis alone I'd say if a player with the option of naval combat opts out, then there is no naval combat.

But also the wording is "players ask for allies after the attack has been declared." "Ask" means invite. Again, the players in control are the attacker and defender, not the allies. That's an important thing in a 7 person game. It doesn't say "Allies decide on their own if they want to participate or not", "Allies may overrule a declining attacker or defender and force a naval combat anyway" or "Allies may barge in whereever they're not wanted".

Not that the high cost of unrest wouldn't cut that behavior short rather quickly. Well, for a rational player anyways, but this whole scenario jumped the tracks from what a rational player playing in their own self interest would do long ago.


 
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Paul Sauberer
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Re:Allies in battle
Innovan wrote:
Well, this scenario is well off into the realm of rules-lawyer will-never-happen-in-an-actual-game land.

Would someone ever not take an obvious and easy naval bonus? No.
Considering you always have to bribe someone with gold to have them help you (or cut some other deal) and even then still beg them on bended knee to get them involved, would anyone ever turn down an enthusiastic ally willing to help for free? You might check them for brain fever first, but no.
Are player allies ever this helpful in real life? No.


Someone might ally for no gold if the outcome of the battle would affect the balance of control in an area.

Letting a player ally initiate naval attack on their own after the attacker or defender decides not to risk their own fleets in the area in a combat violates the rule that if a player is in the attacker or defender role in a combat they must commit all units possible in the area for that combat phase. On that basis alone I'd say if a player with the option of naval combat opts out, then there is no naval combat.

No one is talking about having an ally initiate naval combat on their own. The question has to do with what happens if there is no naval unit of one player in the area but there is one of an ally present.

From the rules:

Quote:
If naval combat can occur then the attacker must state first whether he wishes to fight a naval combat. If he declines then the defender gains the naval support bonus.


So the scenario goes like this:

1. France declares land attack.
2. Spain asks Britain to ally.
3. Britain says, "Yes, in exchange for what we agreed upon, I will commit my navy."
4. France says, "I decline naval combat."

Now does Spain get the +1 naval support bonus because France declined a naval combat that could occur? Or does no one get the bonus because Spain did not have a navy herself, so Britain's navy technically did not create a potential naval combat?

Given the rules that says

Quote:
Players that are allied together can attack and defend together.


I would say that the former would apply and Spain gets the +1.

But also the wording is "players ask for allies after the attack has been declared." "Ask" means invite. Again, the players in control are the attacker and defender, not the allies. That's an important thing in a 7 person game. It doesn't say "Allies decide on their own if they want to participate or not", "Allies may overrule a declining attacker or defender and force a naval combat anyway" or "Allies may barge in whereever they're not wanted".

And to the best of my knowledge no one has sugested that they can.

Not that the high cost of unrest wouldn't cut that behavior short rather quickly. Well, for a rational player anyways, but this whole scenario jumped the tracks from what a rational player playing in their own self interest would do long ago.

Why? If France and Britain were close in victory points, why wouldn't the British player have an incentive to ally with Spain and try to prevent the +1 bonus from going to France and making it more likely for France to gain a perhaps sizable number of victory points? The incentive might be even greater if Britain was relatively low in unrest and losing the fleet would not be that big a deal if France decided to fight and Britain lost the sea battle.

I can definitely see this scenario or something like it coming up.
 
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Inno Van
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Re:Allies in battle
So you're saying the question is "Can a defender with no fleets and no Alliance Tiles fleets ask player allies to commit fleets in the area to help them in naval combat?"

I say no because "A player only has the option to fight [Naval Combat] if he has at least one naval unit in the area" from second column of page 4.

You say yes because if he makes an agreement with an ally then the allies unit is his "one naval unit". It doesn't explicitly say the naval unit has to be of the player's own color.


 
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Rob Doupe
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Re:Allies in battle
Innovan (#447963),

Well, this scenario is well off into the realm of rules-lawyer will-never-happen-in-an-actual-game land.

This situation came up in the first battle of our first game of SoE. Then it came up twice more in the same game.

As was noted above, there certainly is an incentive for an ally to risk a navy when the attacker is threatening to overturn a 3-way tie for first place control.

Our thinking was if the attacker doesn't want to risk a naval battle, he cedes naval support to any allies of the defender. There's certainly historical examples of this sort of thing. If there's no official ruling on this matter, we'll continue to handle it our way.
 
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Jon Dieringer
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Re:Allies in battle
Rob Doupe (#447166),

From the online rules
"Players that are allied together can attack and defend together. All an ally can do is add his army/navy units to another player's total, he cannot use any benefits he has onwhich means the attacker gains the naval support bonus. If both players decide to fight then naval combat occurs. A player only has the option to fight if he has at least one naval unit in the area."

I guess how explicit should we take he in 'A player only has the option to fight if he has at least one naval unit in the area.'?

DOes it mean he as himself or his own naval units or he and his allies. I would guess the former.
 
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Martin Wallace
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Re:Allies in battle
chemist (#448572),

A player can choose to fight a naval combat if an allied player has a fleet in the area and that player allows the fleet to fight. Thus a player without a fleet can still fight a naval action by using another player's fleet.

Hope that is clear

Martin Wallace
 
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Jon Dieringer
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Re:Allies in battle
Mr. Wallace,

Doesn't this cause a lot of timing issues? Say I was the attacker without a fleet and I had an ally. The defender has one fleet. I must choose a naval battle before I have called for allies so I don't know if I am completely eligible to fight until that step comes as agreements before the attack is declared are nonbinding.

This is how I see naval combat:

1) Attacker declares if he wishes to fight naval combat
2) Defender does the same
3) Attacker calls for allies
4) Defender calls for allies
5) Roll

Is this correct? The rules are a little fuzzy here. Otherwise, great game!

Jon
 
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Paul Sauberer
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Re:Allies in battle
chemist (#448824),

You don't have to declare a naval battle before you call for allies.

You do have to declare an attack and pay for it before you call for allies.

The timing is

1. Attacker declares and pays for attack.
2. Attacker asks for allies.
3. Defender asks for allies.
4. If there is a possible naval combat, attacker decides if he wants to pursue it.
5. If attacker pursues naval combat, defender decides whether or not to engage.
6. Naval combat, if any, is resolved.
7. Land combat is resolved.

So the presence of allies is decided before the question of a potential naval combat comes into play.
 
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Inno Van
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Re:Allies in battle
How irrevocable is declaring whether to participate or not in Naval Combat? If the Attacker says "I decline" and the Defender says "I'll take the bonus" can the Attacker then change his mind back and say "You'll have to fight me if you try for it."? Can a player wait to see which naval ally fleets commit and then change their mind and still decline Naval Combat before the dice roll?
 
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alan beaumont
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Re:Allies in battle
Rob Doupe (#447166),
Quote:
There are currently a British fleet and a Spanish army in North America and Britain and Spain are allies. If the French player attacks the Spanish player, but does not declare a Naval battle, can the British Fleet count as Naval Support for his Spanish ally in the land battle?

No, no no no no.
A player only has the option to fight if he has at least one naval unit in the area.
Until WARFROG have the grace to publish an official errata this must stand.
Incidently, Cornwallis didn't get his navy in time, because the commander had tied with a French fleet, not because it wasn't trying.
 
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Inno Van
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Re:Allies in battle
Martin Wallace IS Warfrog (well, along with Hammy), and the one most familiar with all the playtesting they did of the game.

He's also busy as hell getting Conquest of the Empire, Railroad Tycoon AND the Warfrog Byzantine game all finished, in addition to holding down his day job. It's very kind of him to take what's left of his non-existant time and actually post here on BGG.


 
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Paul Sauberer
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Re:Allies in battle
Innovan wrote:
How irrevocable is declaring whether to participate or not in Naval Combat? If the Attacker says "I decline" and the Defender says "I'll take the bonus" can the Attacker then change his mind back and say "You'll have to fight me if you try for it."? Can a player wait to see which naval ally fleets commit and then change their mind and still decline Naval Combat before the dice roll?


I would say that the action of declining to fight is the equivalent of rolling the die. They both resolve the awarding of naval support. I also think that "asking" for allies also includes the actual forming of alliances. Otherwise you could have a stalemate.

"OK, Mr. Attacker, you've asked for allies. How many allied units are you going to have?"

"No, Mr. Defender, I'm not going to tell you first. It only says that we ask for allies first. You tell me how many units are allied with you."

"Well, Mr. Smarty Pants Attacker, it doesn't say I have to tell you first. So I'm not going to tell you. You tell me."

"Nuh, uh. You tell me first."

"You tell me first."

Etc., etc. until the other players pummel these two into unconsciousness.

So, since allies are allocated before combat commences, the attacker knows the force composition before he makes the decision to decline naval combat.

 
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Rob Doupe
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Re:Allies in battle
Frog1 (#448677),

Thanks for the clarification.


 
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John McCoy
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Re:Allies in battle
Innovan wrote:
How irrevocable is declaring whether to participate or not in Naval Combat? If the Attacker says "I decline" and the Defender says "I'll take the bonus" can the Attacker then change his mind back and say "You'll have to fight me if you try for it."?


The rules state that:

"If naval combat can occur then the attacker must state first whether he wishes to fight a naval combat. If he declines then the defender gains the naval support bonus."

As I see it, this means the attacker's decision is final. If he chooses not to fight the naval battle the defender gets the bonus, period. Whether the defender was willing to fight for it in this case is immaterial, because the attacker's decision not to fight has given it to him.
 
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John McCoy
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Re:Allies in battle
Rob Doupe wrote:
Frog1 (#448677),

Thanks for the clarification.




Yeah, thanks very much! meeple
 
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Inno Van
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Re:Allies in battle
As I see it, this means the attacker's decision is final. If he chooses not to fight the naval battle the defender gets the bonus, period. Whether the defender was willing to fight for it in this case is immaterial, because the attacker's decision not to fight has given it to him.

Not only is that immaterial, but apparently so is having a defending fleet of your own or one of an ally present in the area material, either.

The particular part of the rules is "If [the Attacker] declines [Naval Combat] then the defender gains the naval support bonus." bottom of page 4 1st column. Which just threw me for a loop and I first thought was a misprint, but is now starting to make sense. If you go by the strict timing viewpoint, that is.

If the attacker has already declared that there will be no fight for the naval bonus, it becomes really easy for the defender to find an ally who will, at virtually no risk to themself, help you by giving you the +1 naval support bonus by just muttering a few words. So I guess they just decided to streamline the game and give it to you automaticly, even if you don't have any fleets or an ally present. It's kind of a bonus for defenders.

Contrawise, anyone without a fleet of their own is still going to find it darn tough to get anyone willing to ally fleets with them if there is going to be a naval combat. Because the ally of a player with no fleets of their own takes full casualities and all the losses. Win and roll a 7? The ally takes the loss. Lose or tie? The ally takes the loss. Lose or tie and roll a 7? The ally takes two loses.

From what I've seen 1-1 fleet combat is largely a mutual assured destruction scenario, with each side looking at a 69% chance of losing their fleet. There's many far better ways to help someone than risking a 69% chance sacrificing your fleet to just give an unprotected control token a lousy +1 to their land combat.

As Martin has said before, the ally should reflect carefully before taking such an action.
 
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John McCoy
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Re:Allies in battle
Innovan wrote:
As I see it, this means the attacker's decision is final. If he chooses not to fight the naval battle the defender gets the bonus, period. Whether the defender was willing to fight for it in this case is immaterial, because the attacker's decision not to fight has given it to him.

Not only is that immaterial, but apparently so is having a defending fleet of your own or one of an ally present in the area material, either.



No, the Defender does need to have a fleet present, either his own or an ally's. The passage I quoted starts with "If a naval combat is possible...." A naval combat is only possible if both the attacker and defender have fleets. The situation where only one side has a fleet is handled elsewhere in the rules, where it says that the person with the fleet gets the naval support bonus without fighting.

So to sum up:

A) If only one side has fleets available to fight, they get the naval support bonus.

B) If both sides have fleets, the attacker must decide if he wants to fight a naval battle. If he declines, the defender gets the naval support bonus. If the attacker decides to fight a naval battle but the defender declines to fight back, the attack gets the support bonus.

C) If both sides decide to fight then a naval battle occurs, and the winner of the naval battle, if any, gets the support.


Innovan wrote:
If the attacker has already declared that there will be no fight for the naval bonus, it becomes really easy for the defender to find an ally who will, at virtually no risk to themself, help you by giving you the +1 naval support bonus by just muttering a few words. So I guess they just decided to streamline the game and give it to you automaticly, even if you don't have any fleets or an ally present. It's kind of a bonus for defenders.


Player allies have to decide if they are in or out before the attacker declares if he wants to fight a naval battle.

 
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Inno Van
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Re:Allies in battle
>"If a naval combat is possible...."

If you read the quote in context it's a reference to naval combat not being possible in the German States or Central Europe.

I agree with your conclusions, although I believe section A is superfluous since section B will gave the same results.

Now the tricky question that I'm not entirely sure of the answer to: You're in an area that allows naval combat. Neither side has fleets. Does the defender get an automatic +1 naval support bonus?

By a strict reading, it seems yes.
 
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Anthony Simons
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Re:Allies in battle
Innovan (#450070),

Quote:
Now the tricky question that I'm not entirely sure of the answer to: You're in an area that allows naval combat. Neither side has fleets. Does the defender get an automatic +1 naval support bonus?


By a strict reading, no. Ties result in no support for either side.
 
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Inno Van
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Re:Allies in battle
That's ties in combat dice results after the dice are rolled, unfortunately.
 
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