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dieseltaylor

Why Variable Endings Suck

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Not all the time mind.

I do have a great conceptual problem with variable endings in attack/defence scenario as the longer time should almost invariably benefit the attacker. If we want true random endings that do not only favour one side - the game end should be randomly earlier also.

It may also benefit meeting engagements.

In CM*1 I suggested that fixed endings were very much required in attack/defence style games becuase of the benefit for the attacker only. I therefore suggested quite strongly that the fixed end was actually the time when the commander radioed in progress to date.

Whether part way through a battle or not I always assumed somebody higher up would require to be kept aware of the situation at regular intervals. If thta is when a game ends so be it.

For those who feel variable is the way to go then at least in CMx2 there is a chance that BF whilst tweaking will consider the correctness of my gripe thta variable endings tend almost universally to favour the attacker.

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If we want true random endings that do not only favour one side - the game end should be randomly earlier also.

What is the difference between saying:

"This game will randomly end at T30 + up to 10 turns"

and

"This game will end randomly at T35 +/- 5 turns".

It seems you would be happy with the latter but not the former, yet they are the same AFAICS

The important thing is whether the scenario designer designs the "optimum" point to be at T30 (in this case) or T35.

It's up to the designer to get this right, as with all aspects of balance.

GaJ

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...the longer time should almost invariably benefit the attacker.

I don't know, does it work out that way for all games with all players? I can conceive of the extra time working to the advantage of the defender as it would allow him to rally his troops and make a successful counter-attack. I guess it would come down to the style of play of the respective players, and that is information I don't have.

Michael

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Longer battles usually favor the attacker, true, but I think variable length endings are a counter to this. Without variable length endings offensive players who are relying on, or have no other option of, one last rush at the target flag, are hurt by variable length endings. If the game ends at a preset time the attacker knows exactly when he needs to launch his attack and doesn't have to worry about being repelled from the area he is in.

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It's all about scenario design. If the defender gets reinforcements late in the battle, additional time will let him use them to greater effect. If the defender's units are forcibly spread out over a large area (by way of a big map and different setup zones), he might need the extra time to concentrate his forces to first stop the enemy attack and then later counterattack (there is of course nothing preventing the defender from having objectives inside the attacker's setup area). If the attack starts pre-dawn, a longer battle might mean that the defender better can use his long range fire power as the light conditions improve. Etc.

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Interesting arguments.

GAJ - You are right the latter :

"This game will end randomly at T35 +/- 5 turns"

is far superior to

"This game will randomly end at T30 + up to 10 turns"

but not perfect as the length of undertime/overtime should not be revealed.

You say you cannot see the difference - possibly you cannot see it because it is a mind game action rather than mathematical. Without knowing the underlying mechanism of how likely a game is to end I can only speak from my knowledge of playing CM1 games.

Assuming that the scenario designer has had the game play-tested reasonably well the basic assumption is that the attacker can win by or on T40. And that must include surprise reinforcements. So the attackers thought processes are that he can guard against defeat by at least capturing drawable objectives+ by T40 and everything over is bunce. {bunce=idiomatic English meaning a slightly shady bonus}

The defender knows that in a correctly designed scenario he has at least a 50-50 chance of winning on T40 so the least he should be fighting for is a draw at that point. However he knows he needs to commit all his forces so that at the end of T40 he is in the best possible position. Planning to hold sufficient VP's to Turn 45 to get a win would be nice but you know the designer feels that the attacker has a win at Turn 40. This is very depressing.

Now if the scenario is 40 turns + ? or - ? the attacker aswell as the defender is under the cosh. Assuming you as an attacker now know the target time is 40 + or - then you have to believe that the game is balanced to be a 50-50 chance for either side to win at turn 40. The pressure is on to get safely within the period rather than to string it out.

I hope I have made that clearer however it is a subtle point and I suspect needs experiencing to feel the different pressure. I have worked an example:

Assuming the 25% possible extra turns from T40 you get to roll a ten-sided dice for how much longer it will continue. In your mind is that the same as on T40 rolling a six sided dice which is plus or minus from and including T45. Seems a lot chancier to me. : )

I see others feel that depending on circumstances a variable ending can be favourable for the defender however I think in all honsty we are scratching at possible justifications rather than the actuality of what happens in the vast majority of variable ending attack scenarios.

I do have a sympathy for variable endings particularly in ME's where everything is up for grabs.

Attack/defence the defender is invariably starting with his high point in VP's and it should by rights only go downhill from there. However the point about land grabbing on the final turn in a fixed ending in attack defence is valid. However is not my solution equally or more effective in obscuring the game end?

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give it a break, the designer should design the game to the extra time that one might see in a varable ending and if it goes 1 or 2 extra turns only, then that is a break to the defense. So plan the defence for all them extra posssible turns and hope the designer had you in mind. The set up is fine, it is getting designers to make the time still a pressure for the attack.

The game does not need the fix, the design does. If you are talking QB's then I have no imput on that.

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You can look at battle endings in multiple ways, and even throw in the RT player, who at least during tests of my scenarios always state (I need a little more time)...

As 'DT' states, if you find the time limit that should create the closest 50-50 chance of winning (which is a great concept but hard to determine) then you should be working around that time. Personally, if the 50-50 time is say, 40 minutes, I will make the battle 35 minutes with a plus variable of 10 minutes. Seems to work, until the next time an RT player comments that the battle should have another 25 minutes added on it. There is really no way to determine, but it is up to the 'feel' of the designer in what he is trying to create.

I find trying to make a scenario fit all these requirements is just not in my best interest, and as always, I create the scenario for what I like, and others can like or not, its not my concern.

Beside if you look at the quantity consistant forum posters, it is probably only 10% (if that) of the whole 'playing' community, so to me that is not enough of a random sample to get worked up over (this is concerning game play, scenarios, tactics, and not all the other great things discussed here).

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Though I can understand that e.g. an attacker has a time limit to reach his objective, the standard defender should not be stopped by some bell that rings for the attacker.

So in certain types of battles - or for certain types of players - there should be no battle length at all. Or the defender should be able to add overtime for his counter by clicking a button...

But no time limit might make the game a bit boring to some players. Just about as boring as 120 turn battles where the attacker has lots of time to do proper recce. Imagine you being on the defense and not seeing any enemy for 30 turns....

The time limit is there to enforce some action.

The overtime is to avoid last minute flag rushing.

Both are far from perfect. They don't fit each and every possible CM battle. But IMHO both work in the majority of cases.

There big advantage: They are simple and there had to be a simple solution for a (relatively) small problem.

IMHO the 30+x was preferred to the 35+/-x because too many people would plan on 35 turns with the latter and complain about early endings. And despite being a mathematician who should be able to rationally expect that it was possible, I still wouldn't like to see a battle end after 25 turns when it says 35+/-x. So I prefer the 30+x approach. It's 30 turns. And maybe some extra. But don't plan on it.

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I don't see how this cuts in favor of the defender. If I know I only have 40 Minutes to achieve my objectives, and it's 30 Minutes and I'm not there yet, then I'm going to push hard over the next 10 Minutes to win. It's the same as the Defender knowing that he has to hold out for 40 Minutes and therefore doesn't want to commit all his reserves in the first 10-15 Minutes if he can at all avoid it.

What I would like to see is a two side approved extension to play out the game for an agreed to extra number of turns. This could help out the instances where a scenario author (or QB setup player) doesn't allow enough time or at least not enough time for a particular method of play (WeGo vs. RealTime, Single Player vs. Multiplayer, QB Meeting Engagement).

Steve

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What I would like to see is a two side approved extension to play out the game for an agreed to extra number of turns. This could help out the instances where a scenario author (or QB setup player) doesn't allow enough time or at least not enough time for a particular method of play (WeGo vs. RealTime, Single Player vs. Multiplayer, QB Meeting Engagement).

Steve

I agree. You are the all-powerful Steve of BFC...

so let it be said, so let it be coded, so let it be done.

Throw another Red Bull in the jar and put the brain on it. :D

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