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Subject: Analysis of Damage vs. True Action Cost rss

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Hung Nguyen
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Purpose:

To analyze the pre-shield damage per "true" action cost of each weapon on the ship, including the actions required to generate energy and pull batteries. Note, the scope of this analysis is not to cover specific threats that are vulnerable to specific weapons (pulse gun vs. energy cloud), but instead to look at the true cost of the actions.

Assumptions:

*** Each scenario has an assumption on how much energy will get created/pulled on the various energy actions
*** People are in place to use the weapons. Obviously this is most likely never the case, but when you average out that users will have to always travel to get to a particular weapon, it's an 'ok' assumption. Unfortunately it's the best that you can do without ultra specific scenarios.
*** You cannot generate "3.5" or pull "2.5" energy from the central reactor in a real game, but these numbers were chosen as a estimate of what each action would realistically generate in the game.
*** Based on undamaged weapons.
*** Assumed 3 damage for pulse cannon, but this value can change based on the number of threats available.
*** Interceptor analysis is based on the fact that they will fly out and always attack each turn
*** Interceptor "other" action is picking up the battle bot

Terminology:

Base Action = The action to fire the weapon
Other Actions = Other actions required to fire the weapon.
Total Actions = Sum of Base/Other Actions
Damage/Action = Damage divided by Total Actions

Methodology

For example, if you fired the central laser in the "best case" scenario, it would require an additional 1/5 of an action because someone filled up 5 energy with a single action. For the side reactors it would be 1/3 of an action to move 1 energy over (out of the 3) and the 1/5 to generate the energy. The "Realistic" scenario uses the same approach, but instead of 1/5 of fan action for the central laser, it is instead 1/4, to reflect the fact that only 4 energy was created on the B refill action.

See below the tables for my analysis.

Best Case Scenario

Reactor
Central Reactor
Side Reactor
Energy Per Action
5
3




Damage Type
White Laser Cannon
Red/Blue Heavy Laser Cannon
Light Laser Cannon
Rockets
Pulse Cannon
Damage
5
4
2
3
3
Base Action
1
1
1
1
1
Other Actions
0.20
0.53
0.00
0.00
0.20
Total Actions
1.20
1.53
1.00
1.00
1.20
Damage/Action
4.17
2.61
2.00
3.00
2.50










Realistic Scenario

Reactor
Central Reactor
Side Reactor
Energy Per Action
4
2.5





Damage Type
White Laser Cannon
Red/Blue Heavy Laser Cannon
Light Laser Cannon
Rockets
Pulse Cannon
Damage
5
4
2
3
3
Base Action
1
1
1
1
1
Other Actions
0.25
0.65
0.00
0.00
0.25
Total Actions
1.25
1.65
1.00
1.00
1.25
Damage/Action
4.00
2.42
2.00
3.00
2.40










Sub Optimal Scenario

Reactor
Central Reactor
Side Reactor
Energy Per Action
3.5
2.0





Damage Type
White Laser Cannon
Red/Blue Heavy Laser Cannon
Light Laser Cannon
Rockets
Pulse Cannon
Damage
5
4
2
3
3
Base Action
1
1
1
1
1
Other Actions
0.29
0.79
0.00
0.00
0.29
Total Actions
1.29
1.79
1.00
1.00
1.29
Damage/Action
3.89
2.24
2.00
3.00
2.33










Interceptor Analysis


Number of Attacks
1
2
3
4
5
6
Damage
3
6
9
12
15
18
Base Action
1
2
3
4
5
6
Other Actions
1
1
1
1
1
1
Total Actions
2.00
3.00
4.00
5.00
6.00
7.00
Damage/Action
1.50
2.00
2.25
2.40
2.50
2.57












Analysis

The central laser and the rockets are the clear winners in this analysis, even when you factor in inefficient refilling of energy. I wasn't expecting this large of a discrepancy between the white and red/blue lasers, but it appears that the extra action to pull over energy makes them significantly worse. In the "Realistic Scenario" damage per action of the red/blue heavy laser was nearly 40% lower than that of the white heavy laser.

Although the interceptors do not require any energy to use, the initial action to retrieve the battle bots puts them in a significant hole, and only after attacking 4 times, does it reach the damage/action efficiency of the red/blue heavy lasers (in the realistic scenario).

Conclusion

This analysis does not specify what to do in specific scenarios, as it does not take into account threat weaknesses or the requirement to focus down a threat and prevent a specific negative effect. However, it does show the relative value of each attack factoring in the total action cost.

The data shows that the rockets are only second to the white heavy lasers and because of the limited supply, should be used to focus down difficult threats as opposed to killing a easy threat in one turn. If a user decides to go out into the interceptors, they should consider remaining out there for the rest of the game to gain the most benefit without using additional energy.

Lastly, it is probably obvious to most players, but the same threat in the red and blue zones will require more true actions to handle because of the additional actions required to bring over energy into those zones. The rechargeable lasers in the red/blue zones allow a person to do more raw damage, but at the cost of additional actions.

Please let me know if you have any comments or any suggestions in making the analysis better! I'm curious to see if these assumptions are valid and how the analysis corroborates with anecdotal evidence from actual game play.

-Hung
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Dylan Gould
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This is helpful!

2 quibbles: I think that 3 damage from the Pulse Cannon is really optimistic, and I think that 3 damage from the Interceptors is fairly optimistic.

On the Pulse Cannon, I rarely hit more than 2 threats, at least in single action missions. And I frequently only hit 1 threat. So I think its damage should be downgraded to 2.0 or even lower. But of course, Pulse Cannon would improve if we played double action missions, since the threats would be more tightly packed on the tracks.

On the Interceptors I'd also downgrade their damage, but not as much. Interceptors only do 3 when targeting a single threat, which I'd say happens about 2/3 of the time that they hit anything at all. If they target 2 or more threats, then they're outputting 2 or more damage, but again in single action, it's almost always 2. So I'd rate them at 2.67 damage. Also at best I'll only get 3 hits, and at worst I'll miss everything (which DOES happen occasionally), but the thing I just realized is, with the Variable Range Interceptors you've gotta think of some of those attacks as movement actions.
 
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Anthony Maurasse
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fishboy wrote:
So I'd rate them at 2.67 damage. Also at best I'll only get 3 hits, and at worst I'll miss everything (which DOES happen occasionally), but the thing I just realized is, with the Variable Range Interceptors you've gotta think of some of those attacks as movement actions.


Not so much. You still do damage even when switching rows. You do damage literally every turn you are in space.

Overall, I don't discount statistical analysis in games, but this chart severely oversimplifies Space Alert. The white cannon isn't superior because it can't get support fire without using the pulse cannon. The lateral cannons aren't inferior because they can do 6 damage with only 1 energy, and they are also the only weapons on the ship that can do 6 all the way to range 3.

Intercepting uses way more than 1 action, because you have to get bots and then move to upper red. Of course, if you claim that it only takes a single action "in context" then the whole chart is moot. You use whatever weapon is closest and most effective, pulling energy to the sides isn't a waste of time because only a truly incompetent crew would all simultaneously be in the white zone, shields use energy, rockets/pulse/interceptors aren't usually an option due to range (unless you wait until the enemies are so close that they may have already damaged the ship), and your cards might not allow you to use an option that provides a 10% energy bonus in a game where energy cubes always round up.

I just don't see the point of all this. It would be more efficient to coordinate maneuvers (gambits that cover as much ship space as possible) instead of calculating action costs.
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Cameron Chien
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I just don't know how any of this helps in the chaos of a mission.

Plus most threats can't change trajectories, so it doesn't matter if the white main laser cannon is more efficient, if the threats are in the Red or Blue zone it is moot.

Cameron
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Dylan Gould
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Quote:
Not so much. You still do damage even when switching rows. You do damage literally every turn you are in space.

No, you output damage only when you use a Battlebots Attack card OR when you use a C button action to move 1 range further out into space, assuming you use the variable range interceptors rule from The New Frontier. (When you play a C, the attack only affects threats in the destination range.) But if you leave a blank space (a Wait action), then you drop back by 1 range and you do not perform an attack. So you don't do damage literally every turn you are in space. Edited: I was wrong about these bits; you are supposed to get an attack, even on turns when you move closer to the Sitting Duck.

And sometimes I output damage with full knowledge that my attack will hit nothing, but I do it anyway because I want to maintain my current range out in space or move out further to be there before the threat gets there. This is what I meant when I said that you have to think of some of them as movement actions rather than attacks.
 
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Cameron Chien
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No, you should do damage when you leave a blank and move back towards the ship.

Cameron
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Dylan Gould
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Oh wow, I think you're right! I just re-read the rules on the variable range interceptors. It doesn't say explicitly that you attack on turns where you drop back from 3 to 2 or 2 to 1, but if you assume that they do, there's a couple of sentences that make a lot more sense.

Thanks!
 
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Sean McCarthy
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fishboy wrote:
Oh wow, I think you're right! I just re-read the rules on the variable range interceptors. It doesn't say explicitly that you attack on turns where you drop back from 3 to 2 or 2 to 1, but if you assume that they do, there's a couple of sentences that make a lot more sense.

Thanks!


I'm pretty sure the base game rulebook just says that you attack if you're in space. But it's easy to forget things like that, that are equivalent to something else in the base game but not the expansion.
 
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