Initiative

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Morbio
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Initiative

Post by Morbio » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:08 pm

I have a few questions regarding initiative and I can't seem to find anything in the on-line help - please let's not sidetrack this post about the quality of the online help :wink:

How is it determined? I think it is related to the number of skirmishers and commanders, but I'm not sure. I know there is a dice roll involved too.

Is there any historical basis for the initiative process? Or is it simply a way of deciding, perhaps steeped in TT tradition?

Finally, I beleive the choice of terrain is also strongly influenced by the initiative result. Again, is there any historical basis for this, or is it just traditional?

Linking back to the questions recently posted regarding How to beat to the Bosporans (see Tactical Tips 01: Fighting the Bospos), then I think that one of the reasons why they are so hard to beat, particularly for HF armies, is because they generally win initiative and get to strongly influence the terrain. One of the suggested tactics for beating Bosporans is to herd them off the battlefield, or pin them to impassible terrain to fight them and this relies on being able to move reasonably quickly, in order without loss of cohesion because of unfavourable terrain, and clearly if the terrain doesn't favour this then the HF army is up against it.

If there is no historical reason for it, why not make initiative and terrain influence random?

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Post by Blathergut » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:27 pm

In TT, initiative is determined by a die roll, influenced by amount of mounted + commander quallity. Once you have initiative, you get to choose the terrain setting (steppes, woodlands, agricultural, etc.). Both players then get to choose from a preset selection (depending on the main terrain) and try to place them.

In PC it is determined by amount of mounted and commander quality...but I forget the exact numbers... :cry:

I suppose it is a way to mirror history where one army might stay up in the hills and not come down to play unless things were advantageous. A designer would have to explain why it was made as is I suppose.

In TT it has always kept the games interesting. There is usually not too much on the field, and it tends to clump on the sides.

I dislike many of the PC maps because the terrain is generally right through the middle.

As to where to find the info...seems to me it was mentioned in posts somewhere along the way and was put on the -add-to-the-help list...maybe it hasn't made it in yet. I couldn't see it with a glance through HELP.

Morbio
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Post by Morbio » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:44 pm

Blathergut wrote:I suppose it is a way to mirror history where one army might stay up in the hills and not come down to play unless things were advantageous. A designer would have to explain why it was made as is I suppose.
I can agree with that, but what relevance has that to the numbers of horse units and quality of commanders?
Blathergut wrote:I dislike many of the PC maps because the terrain is generally right through the middle.
I guess if it wasn't in the middle then it wouldn't come into play (much) and then every game would be fought on a flat open space, meaning terrain would become no more than window dressing.

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Post by Xiggy » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:50 pm

I play armies a lot of LH. If I create the game I tend to get the initiative, if I respond to an open game, I don't. Light horse and foot have very little if any effect on the PC game. (I occationaly play Numidian with 36 + LH and routinely lose initiative against foot armies)

I would like to know what the equation is just for fun.

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Post by batesmotel » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:57 pm

The TT formula is:

+1 if at least 12 mounted stands up to 23 (this is from memory)
+2 for 24 or more mounted stands
+1 if CinC is an FC
+2 if CinC is an IC

I'm not sure exactly what the PC version uses but I believe it is something like this. (The numbers of mounted stands for the TT may be off but are about the right ball park.)

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:58 pm

Xiggy wrote:I play armies a lot of LH. If I create the game I tend to get the initiative, if I respond to an open game, I don't. Light horse and foot have very little if any effect on the PC game. (I occationaly play Numidian with 36 + LH and routinely lose initiative against foot armies)

I would like to know what the equation is just for fun.

There was a dialoge box that used to pop up explaining why you lost initiate when you launched a DAg battle, there was also a check box to make it go away which I clicked on a while back..... Wonder if there is any way to get it turned back on? Maybe something in the INI file?

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Post by 76mm » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:30 pm

On what I think is a related question, I'm continually puzzled by the maps that come up when I win the initiative--I recently won the initiative when I selected a "mixed" map type, and got the second most restrictive map I have ever seen, with woods and rough ground scattered all over the map. On the other hand, I can win the initiative after choosing a "closed" map (or whatever the most restrictive is) and get a map which is entirely open other than a woodline and fields on my opponent's edge of the map.

I think that choosing the battlefield was a critical skill for any ancient commander, and players should have more ability to choose the map that they fight on. While it probably wouldn't be too fun to let the commander winning the intitiative to actually cherry-pick their map all of the time, but it might be good to allow the player to choose any of three maps presented in sequence (ie, when you reject one map, you don't know if the next will be better or worse, and you only have three chances).

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Post by davouthojo » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:48 pm

For some reason I still get all pop-ups....the initiative one is:

+2 for having an inspired commander
+2 for having greater than 12 light horse, cavalry, camelry, light chariots
+1 for having 5 to 11

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Post by cothyso » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:43 pm

What FOG needs is a random terrain generator, based on a few variables chosen by the players in a limit of terrain points to spend (much like DBMM terrain placement round).

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Post by deeter » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:48 pm

Terrain selection would be terrific but I wonder how convoluted in would be to do on the PC. It was suggested before that several maps be offered to the player with initiative to choose from. That would be easier to implement, I'm guessing. And we could avoid some of the nightmare maps we often get stuck with. As it is, I've never seen any resemblance between the maps generated and the player's choices.

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Post by cothyso » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:55 pm

it would be relatively simple:

a) dice roll for initiative (player A wins 12 to B's 6)
b) defending/ambusher player picks a general terrain type
c) each player picks in turn a feature (available for point b)'s picked terrain type) costing x points, some features excluding others until they've spent all their points (A has 12 points to spent, B only 6)
............ A picks a plain on center 6 points
............ B picks a hill on right side 3 points
etc
d) eventually each of them can negate one of other player's choice (and even paying for it, if they've kept points unspent)
e) the computer generates a map considering all of the above

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Post by deeter » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:02 pm

That would require numerous back and forth interactions to set up a game and the devs are adamant about keeping things simple.

Deeter

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Post by cothyso » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:04 pm

well, then even simpler would be letting player A pick only 2 and player B only 1 (from a drop-down list) then generate the terrain.

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Post by Morbio » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:27 pm

deeter wrote:Terrain selection would be terrific but I wonder how convoluted in would be to do on the PC. It was suggested before that several maps be offered to the player with initiative to choose from. That would be easier to implement, I'm guessing. And we could avoid some of the nightmare maps we often get stuck with. As it is, I've never seen any resemblance between the maps generated and the player's choices.

Deeter
I like that proposal. It simulates a real-life decision process..... the scouts report the enemy is heading towards potential battlefield A (Wood, Open Plain, Hills,etc.) the commander has to decide whether to engage them or not. He decides not to. Later the scouts report the enemy has changed direction and is now entering potential battlefield B, the commander has to make a decision again. If he doesn't attack the scouts report the move to potential battlefield C - he now needs to attack because the army is restless... or the enemy is approaching a town... or the light will be insufficient to wait longer....

So, it could be an interesting process. If option A was perhaps slightly favourable then do you attack or hope for something better?

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Post by Morbio » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:29 pm

So, back to one of my original questions....

Is there any historical basis for the current decision process (i.e. the amount of horse units and commanders) or is an arbitrary decision?

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Post by cothyso » Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:49 am

a terrain generator would be much, much better.

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Post by Malty666 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:55 am

Agreed. A terrain generator would be superb.

Alternatively, there should be a way to import custom generated maps into the DAG map selector.

It would let interested players create map packs and add considerable variety without draining development resources. If both players don't have the same maps installed, it selects one that is common to both.

That shouldn't require major surgery to the current system...
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Post by 76mm » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:12 am

Malty666 wrote:Agreed. A terrain generator would be superb.
I don't understand how a "terrain generator" resolves problems associated with getting an inappropriate map for the side which "won" initiative?

As explained above, any sistem which requires interaction between two players to create a map would take too long and is impracticable.

Having one side being able to generate the map for a battle would allow cherry-picking and be too one-sided.

Being able to import custom maps for DAG games would be excellent, but it still leaves the problem of how maps for particular battles are selected.

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Post by Malty666 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:56 am

Oh I agree with you 76mm - a terrain generator would be complicated and will slow the game down while we go back and forth with terrain choices.

But it would be nice if we could solve the problem and get one :lol:

However, failing that holy grail, importing custom maps for more variation on the choice of terrain would help a lot.
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Post by cothyso » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:11 am

Because..

Right now the problem is with having to pick a map from a different list of maps for each of one of the 5 terrain types. The pick would be as good, or as bad, as those lists and maps are made.

But..

The maps are few, and after a few tens of matches, you'll have them picked up again, and again and yet again. e, you'd give your right hand for a terrain generator. Custom made maps allowed is not a solution, as they can be made biased. By then, you'd kill for a map surprise.

Now..

A terrain generator for a hexagonal tiled map is not a so complicated thing to do. Yes, it can still get bad maps as output, but only if the programmers put together an terrain generation algorithm in a couple of days, and without testing it at all.

As for player interaction regarding the pre-generation phase, I can't see how it could be that difficult or complicated, as it can be done in only 1.5 turns:
a) player A posts the challenge
i) he picks his type of map choice
b) player B accepts the challenge
i) picks his own type of map choice
ii) the initiative dice is thrown: if 1st player won, his type of map choice will be used to generate the terrain, if he lose, the 2nd player's type of map choice is used (of course, you need a rule for this, maybe one player gain the initiative, as the other player gain the terrain; you may want to consider ambushes, defences, forced battles, etc; all of them can be solved by dices thrown in this sub-step)
iii) the player B asks for one feature in terrain (from a list of the already decided terrain type): none (ie let terrain generator do whatever it randoms to), a hill in center, a river on left, negate the other player's choice (only the winning dicer of a sort of rule may get this option, and maybe only if it has a 3 flags commander), no valleys, no woods, etc
c) player A
i) gets his own terrain feature choice
ii) map is generated using all of the above info
d) game begins

If you don't want players to pick some terrain features for the map, then you can skip b) iii) and c) i) (c) i) actually becoming b) iii) and d) becoming c) or even b) iv)). You can also let the side with a 3 flags commander has 2 terrain features choices, or access a larger lists of terrain features, and have the side with only 1 flag commanders have no terrain feature choice at all.

Anyway, this is the map picking system I intend to include in the computer wargame I am working on my free time.

Doesn't look too long, or too complicated to me, don't you agree?

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