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Reinforcements
05-30-2013, 01:28 PM
Post: #1
Reinforcements
Currently there is no limitation to reinforcing an existing combat. Because of this, it is possible to tie up a huge fleet indefinitely by continually sending a single frigate as a reinforcement. It doesn't seem to make sense to force a 100 ship fleet to stay put each turn as an opponent continues to send a single frigate into combat. This makes the game less fun, as both sides can tie up each others' fleets in this manner. The only way around this is for the large fleet to retreat, but then the fleet will waste a turn going to a nearby owned planet. This issue will be especially frustrating to players who don't figure out the retreat solution.

I would propose implementing the same "overwhelming fleet" rules when sending reinforcements into combat. That way a frigate wouldn't actually be able to engage a 100 ship fleet. This would also prevent small ships from dying when sent on long missions to a planet that subsequently gets invaded by a large fleet (the ship would instead retreat once it arrived at the battle site)

An alternative would be to allow the victor to relocate ships after a victory, even if the opponent has sent in reinforcements. But I don't like this approach since it significantly lessens the viability of reinforcements. I'm not against reinforcements, I'm just against reinforcements for the sole purpose of tying up a large fleet due to a quirk in how the game is built.

What do others think?
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05-30-2013, 10:27 PM
Post: #2
RE: Reinforcements
(05-30-2013 01:28 PM)Skins0815 Wrote:  Currently there is no limitation to reinforcing an existing combat. Because of this, it is possible to tie up a huge fleet indefinitely by continually sending a single frigate as a reinforcement. It doesn't seem to make sense to force a 100 ship fleet to stay put each turn as an opponent continues to send a single frigate into combat. This makes the game less fun, as both sides can tie up each others' fleets in this manner. The only way around this is for the large fleet to retreat, but then the fleet will waste a turn going to a nearby owned planet. This issue will be especially frustrating to players who don't figure out the retreat solution.

I would propose implementing the same "overwhelming fleet" rules when sending reinforcements into combat. That way a frigate wouldn't actually be able to engage a 100 ship fleet. This would also prevent small ships from dying when sent on long missions to a planet that subsequently gets invaded by a large fleet (the ship would instead retreat once it arrived at the battle site)

An alternative would be to allow the victor to relocate ships after a victory, even if the opponent has sent in reinforcements. But I don't like this approach since it significantly lessens the viability of reinforcements. I'm not against reinforcements, I'm just against reinforcements for the sole purpose of tying up a large fleet due to a quirk in how the game is built.

What do others think?

I was the OP for implementing the "overwhelming fleet" rule in the first place, so I am an obvious supporter.

It would be nice for each turn of combat, the same rule applied as the initial battle. Count up the value of ships remaining, add in all new ships from any source (allies included), and see if the value is 10 percent. If not, the new ships are rejected. If so, reinforcements arrive.

As it is, someone with a large fleet can attack a starbase. The following turn, a frigate can arrive to tie down a fleet with 40 titans, to hold it until the following turn, when a real fleet can come. If the person with 40 titans retreats, they lose all their troop ships and colony ships. Holding down a fleet should have a cost (10 percent of fleet cost, to be specific).

@Skins: I am tying down your fleet in the big MP game, but to be fair, I am throwing every single ship I own every turn, not just a single frigate. I am obviously not doing it to tie you down for my fleet (or another fleet). There is no other fleet that can compete against your fleet, that isn't allied to you. But I would be perfectly happy (and prefer it) if my ships were to bounce back in horror when faced with the awesomeness of your death-dealing fleet.

My best guess is that calculating in-combat and entering-combat isn't super easy. Rocco could chime in on that one.
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05-31-2013, 06:16 AM
Post: #3
RE: Reinforcements
(05-30-2013 10:27 PM)Diebo Wrote:  My best guess is that calculating in-combat and entering-combat isn't super easy. Rocco could chime in on that one.

There are more edge cases involved, which can make the "simple rule" quite complex if we go down this path.

Should a ship being produced at a planet under-siege be allowed to join the combat?

Should a starbase being produced (or updated) be allowed to prolong the combat?

I am ok with the current implementation, in that it is still better than what we had before. Before a person would simply spam frigate whereever they wanted to in order to tie down your fleet; thus the choice of being tied down was in the hands of your opponent.

Under the new ruleset, the choice of getting your fleet tied down is in your hands, not your opponents. If you aggress into hostile enemy space, you are probably already expecting to get attacked.
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05-31-2013, 06:55 AM (This post was last modified: 05-31-2013 06:56 AM by Mezmorki.)
Post: #4
RE: Reinforcements
This does circle back to an alternate idea I raised a while ago...

In brief - it was the concept of "pinning" - and it might provide a much cleaner solution to this thread’s topic.

Here's the idea:

If the smaller force is 10% or more the size of a larger force (consistent with the current mechanics), the two forces are both pinned and combat will ensure as normal.

If the smaller force is less than 10% the size of the larger force, the larger force is NOT pinned, but the smaller force is pinned.


What does this mean? Basically, a larger force is free to move out of combat however they wish if they are not pinned. The smaller force is pinned, and may be engaged. Depending on whether the larger force leaves or stays.

In terms of specific implementation, I'd make it so that regardless of what happens when the forces meet, both players get the "battle" button and can assign orders normally. For the unpinned player, you could rename the “battle” button “Engage” or something to suggest they have a choice.

Regardless, the difference is that some or all of the unpinned force could be assigned a movement order to fly to another system, in which case those units would not remain in the battle when it's processed. This means, for instance, that you could send the bulk of your unpinned fleet away but leave a few units behind to eliminate their scout or smaller fleet if desired.

You mentioned, as justification previously against this idea, that the current system made sense because scouts auto-run, as they should try to do as part of a scouting mission. I see two issues with this however:

(1) If I can see your scouts on route to my system, why would my forces not fly out to intercept the scout? Sure, maybe you will successfully scout me, but you have to put your scout at risk and I have a chance to destroy it.

(2) Following this, you already have a mechanism in the game to try and save your scout - assigning it a retreat order. That's cool and already adds some uncertainty/risk. Further, it might play into making super-fast armored scout ships instead of cheap empty frigates.

Last – you could if you wanted add some special rules related to pinning, like Starbases always pin hostile fleets regardless of size – if you were so inclined.

This is the idea. Thoughts?
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05-31-2013, 06:46 PM
Post: #5
RE: Reinforcements
(05-31-2013 06:16 AM)rocco Wrote:  
(05-30-2013 10:27 PM)Diebo Wrote:  My best guess is that calculating in-combat and entering-combat isn't super easy. Rocco could chime in on that one.

There are more edge cases involved, which can make the "simple rule" quite complex if we go down this path.

Should a ship being produced at a planet under-siege be allowed to join the combat?

Should a starbase being produced (or updated) be allowed to prolong the combat?

Roc, I would advocate for both of your edge cases to be able to tie down the fleet. You have already solved this problem by allowing mid-combat attacks on planets. I have no problem with a large fleet being stymied on an opponent's planet if that large fleet has failed to take over the planet. My issue is when the large fleet has conquered all the planets (and is therefore now in home territory) it can be tied up with frigates. Maybe I'm not thinking of some edge cases here but it sure seems like any external ships coming in from outside the planet should get bounced per the "overwhelming force" rules to avoid this problem of tying up large fleets.
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05-31-2013, 11:28 PM
Post: #6
RE: Reinforcements
(05-31-2013 06:46 PM)Skins0815 Wrote:  Roc, I would advocate for both of your edge cases to be able to tie down the fleet. You have already solved this problem by allowing mid-combat attacks on planets. I have no problem with a large fleet being stymied on an opponent's planet if that large fleet has failed to take over the planet. My issue is when the large fleet has conquered all the planets (and is therefore now in home territory) it can be tied up with frigates. Maybe I'm not thinking of some edge cases here but it sure seems like any external ships coming in from outside the planet should get bounced per the "overwhelming force" rules to avoid this problem of tying up large fleets.

I will look and see how easy that can be to implemented. What I don't want to happen is what did happen when overwhelming force was originally implemented, in that a few serious bugs got through last minute.
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05-31-2013, 11:30 PM
Post: #7
RE: Reinforcements
(05-31-2013 06:55 AM)Mezmorki Wrote:  If the smaller force is 10% or more the size of a larger force (consistent with the current mechanics), the two forces are both pinned and combat will ensure as normal.

If the smaller force is less than 10% the size of the larger force, the larger force is NOT pinned, but the smaller force is pinned.

My largest issue with this idea was that there is literally no support, anywhere in the game, to allow for interacting with a fleet at the galactic level that is currently in combat. Thus, the idea that a fleet can be in combat, but not "pinned", is a large initial barrier for implementation.
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05-31-2013, 11:45 PM
Post: #8
RE: Reinforcements
(05-31-2013 11:28 PM)rocco Wrote:  
(05-31-2013 06:46 PM)Skins0815 Wrote:  Roc, I would advocate for both of your edge cases to be able to tie down the fleet. You have already solved this problem by allowing mid-combat attacks on planets. I have no problem with a large fleet being stymied on an opponent's planet if that large fleet has failed to take over the planet. My issue is when the large fleet has conquered all the planets (and is therefore now in home territory) it can be tied up with frigates. Maybe I'm not thinking of some edge cases here but it sure seems like any external ships coming in from outside the planet should get bounced per the "overwhelming force" rules to avoid this problem of tying up large fleets.

I will look and see how easy that can be to implemented. What I don't want to happen is what did happen when overwhelming force was originally implemented, in that a few serious bugs got through last minute.

I think this is a good idea to try. And if not this version, perhaps next when there would be more time. +1 from me.

In the meantime, players can play with a "gentleman's agreement" to not pin fleets with a single frigate, if that is something all of the players want and agree to. That is what I needed to do prior to the overwhelming forces fix.
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06-05-2013, 06:50 AM
Post: #9
RE: Reinforcements
This should be implemented as describe now (ie, fleets moving into to combat from other systems should obey the "overwhleming force" rule).

If you experience anything to the contrary, please let me know.
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06-10-2013, 10:31 PM (This post was last modified: 06-10-2013 10:35 PM by Mezmorki.)
Post: #10
RE: Reinforcements
I'm going to raise another point about the "overwhelming force" rule that I find irritating, as shown in this example:

Enemy AI sends 3 cruisers towards one of my undefended worlds. I jump my fleet over there to defend. Result: Enemy cruisers run away due to overwhelming force!

Seriously?! This wasn't an AI scouting force we are talkig about.

So in order to kill the cruisers I should have sent LESS than overwhelming force in order to engage them in battle, and by consequence risk more damage to my ships then they would otherwise take. Using overwhelming force, when force is called for, is one of the pillars of military doctrine - but apparently not in SO?

More to the point - how am I even supposed to be able to know if I'm sending overwhelming force or not? I can't see the total production value of the enemy fleet, let alone my own fleet to determine.

I'm being pretty honest when I say that this whole "overwhelming force" mechanic, as a band-aid solution to frigate spam tying down fleets, is having vastly more unintended consequences on gameplay than is being recognized. It isn't logical, its wierd, and causes problems. I know I'm ranting - but I think a more creative solution needs to be explored.

Frankly - how about overhwleming force just results in the smaller force being automatically eliminated with no battle. That would be infinetly better, more realistic, and avoid all the silly issues we now face.
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