Friday, September 23, 2011

Combat Maneuver Type

To recap: This blog entry discussed the three Non-Player General (NPG) Character values (Aggressive, Bold, and Cautious). This blog entry linked the NPG Character values to the three Maneuver Types (Combat, Positioning, and Defensive) and the order in which those maneuvers would be selected. In this entry will focus on the Combat maneuver type, and how to further break it down to find the move the NPG should make.

When I look at possible moves to make, and try to determine which move is better (when I have a limited number of PIPs and cannot make all desired moves), I tend to look at one factor: what is the total combat advantage I will gain by making the move. What do I mean by that?

As shown in the figure above, assume that I use a PIP to move the group of two red Blade elements into contact with the two white Auxilia elements. This results in two combats to resolve: one at 5 to 3 and one at 5 to 3, modified by overlaps resulting from the previous combat (it may be a 4-3, 5-3, or 5-2, depending on who, if anyone, recoiled). As you cannot determine who will win until the dice are rolled, a simple method of calculating the combat potential is to score the combat differential of all the combats resulting from the moves.

So in the example above, the move results in two combats, each of 5-3 or +2, so the move receives a score of +4. The move below, in which two red Blade elements are moved into contact with three white Auxilia elements, results in a score of +3.

Note that if the three white elements were Psiloi, with a combat factor of 2 each, the move would be scored +5, so even though the red Blade elements are moving into a position of overlap, because of the superiority in combat it would rate higher than the first depicted.

Now this is very similar to the original scoring system with the Tactical Engine in DBAS, but the idea is to provide a series of rules of which are the "best" maneuvers and only use the scoring as a tie breaker. So, what are the best combat maneuvers?

In my mind, clearly the best combat maneuvers are (in order):
  1. Results in the destruction of the enemy element if the score is tied.
  2. Results in the destruction of the enemy element if the score is beaten.
  3. Results in the destruction of the enemy element if the score is doubled.
  4. Where the worst possible result for the enemy element is it fleeing.
  5. Where my element would be destroyed on being doubled, but the enemy element would not.
  6. Where my element would be destroyed on being beaten, but the enemy element would not.
  7. Where my element would be destroyed on being tied, but there enemy element would not.
In these cases, scoring is easy ... if all the elements in the maneuver are the same, and facing similar opposing elements. But what happens when a group maneuver results in some combats at order # 3 and some at, say, #5? Use the worst case.

That's the start of the idea. Next I will focus on Defensive Maneuvers.

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