Why do units have separate attack and defense values?

Field of Glory: Empires is a grand strategy game in which you will have to move in an intricate and living tapestry of nations and tribes, each one with their distinctive culture.
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kvnrthr
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Why do units have separate attack and defense values?

Post by kvnrthr » Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:11 am

Nothing gamebreaking, but this does weird me out. Unless you're defending from behind walls or fortifications, if you deployed for battle in the open it doesn't really matter who is "attacking". You line up your troops, the other guy lined up his, and who is invading who is irrelevant.

This creates the odd situation where an elephant fighting a battle in a friendly province ("defence") has less than half the combat power of an "attacking" elephant.

Now, if you want to give a separate combat value for troops in forest/mountain/fortification, that makes more sense. An elephant isn't going to help defend a fort after all. But modifiers already do that.

Hendricus
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Re: Why do units have separate attack and defense values?

Post by Hendricus » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:16 am

Looking forward to the answer of the developers. Behind walls it's clear who is defending, but on an open battlefield it's not so clear.

Geffalrus
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Re: Why do units have separate attack and defense values?

Post by Geffalrus » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:46 pm

I've thought about this a lot, and haven't really come up with a good answer other than trying to push players to be more aggressive with their armies, maybe? It's a little weird since that dynamic doesn't exist in FoG2.

Picking up from the previous comment.......it would make a certain sense if instead of att/def, units had combat values in different terrain types. So you'd see a number next to mountain, plains, hills, forest, etc. You wouldn't need the separate trait penalty section in that case. Granted the numbers would be slightly more complicated maybe. *shrug

Maybe it helps the AI?

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Re: Why do units have separate attack and defense values?

Post by Batman6794 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:07 pm

I really like the idea of a unit’s battle rating being based on terrain. You’re 100% right that a different rating for attack/defense is very odd for this age of combat.

GiveWarAchance
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Re: Why do units have separate attack and defense values?

Post by GiveWarAchance » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:03 pm

I think it is better with seperate attack & defense stats. Some units are good at one or the other like an unarmored Celtic warrior with a 2-handed sword is dangerous attacking and a large, soft target on defense. It seems every unit is better at one or the other like heavy infantry with a big shield and strong armor lose a lot of attack cause they have only one hand on their weapon and are slowed and tired by the heavy armor but on defense it is a very hard target.

Soar
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Re: Why do units have separate attack and defense values?

Post by Soar » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:00 pm

GiveWarAchance wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:03 pm
I think it is better with seperate attack & defense stats. Some units are good at one or the other like an unarmored Celtic warrior with a 2-handed sword is dangerous attacking and a large, soft target on defense. It seems every unit is better at one or the other like heavy infantry with a big shield and strong armor lose a lot of attack cause they have only one hand on their weapon and are slowed and tired by the heavy armor but on defense it is a very hard target.
That would make sense if a high Attack value made units more likely to inflict damage and a high Defense value made them more likely to resist it, but that's not how it works in the game. Before a battle starts, the game determines which side is the attacker and which one is the defender, and the base combat strength of the attacking side's units is based solely on those units' Attack value, the defending side's solely on their Defense value. Having a high Defense value provides zero benefit to units engaged in an offensive battle and vice versa.

Southern Hunter
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Re: Why do units have separate attack and defense values?

Post by Southern Hunter » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:35 pm

Yes, precisely. It really doesn't make any sense (as I pointed out in my thread on the battle system).

Geffalrus
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Re: Why do units have separate attack and defense values?

Post by Geffalrus » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:26 pm

Soar wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:00 pm
That would make sense if a high Attack value made units more likely to inflict damage and a high Defense value made them more likely to resist it, but that's not how it works in the game. Before a battle starts, the game determines which side is the attacker and which one is the defender, and the base combat strength of the attacking side's units is based solely on those units' Attack value, the defending side's solely on their Defense value. Having a high Defense value provides zero benefit to units engaged in an offensive battle and vice versa.
It's more like "attack" = invasion and "defense" =......counter invasion? From a game perspective it does result in a situation where you try and aggressively engage an enemy army with your elephants and phalanx (due to high attack vs. def values). But I really don't know why a phalanx invading a region has more combat value than one defending it. Having hills add to defense is a time honored convention in many strategy games. But that usually means the unit is sitting on the hill fighting against someone going up the slope. The bonus makes perfect sense in that picture. Does that make sense at the region level that we're working with? And why would a phalanx occupying a defensive position perform worse than one attacking? I get more confused the more I think on this.

When it comes to leaders, however, I do think the attack/defense dichotomy works a little better. Because then you're talking about how competent the general is at planning an invasion or countering one. But I think it would be more interesting to have generals that rolled different amounts of dice when fighting in different region terrains. And with more variables, you'd be more likely to have a general with SOME usefulness rather than just being a 0-0 dud.

USGrant1962
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Re: Why do units have separate attack and defense values?

Post by USGrant1962 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:09 pm

The older AGEOD engine had postures for each force - assault, offensive, defensive, or passive. Perhaps this is a simplification of that system. But I agree, while differing attack/defense values make sense in a strategic/operational scale, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense in terms of the set piece battles of the time.

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Re: Why do units have separate attack and defense values?

Post by Pocus » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:27 am

It's admittedly mostly a game mechanism to introduce more differences into units. Empires has a few penchants to represent things also as a boardgame where probably this would be more accepted. I know that's artificial, but it gives some more flavor to units.
Unit adaptability to terrain is represented with abilities. And we don't want to go overboard here where for each terrain you get a kind of efficiency rating of the unit with 20+ % stats.
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Geffalrus
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Re: Why do units have separate attack and defense values?

Post by Geffalrus » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:21 pm

Pocus wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:27 am
It's admittedly mostly a game mechanism to introduce more differences into units. Empires has a few penchants to represent things also as a boardgame where probably this would be more accepted. I know that's artificial, but it gives some more flavor to units.
Unit adaptability to terrain is represented with abilities. And we don't want to go overboard here where for each terrain you get a kind of efficiency rating of the unit with 20+ % stats.
That's not a crazy rationale, to be clear. I think the part where I have the most trouble with it is where you intersect with how attack vs. defense is calculated by the game engine during the WEGO resolution of player turns. Having battles turn out so differently based on who is attacking vs. defending can put a lot of pressure on the game to appear clear and fair when it comes to determining who the attackers/defenders are.

Just thinking out loud: instead of having static attack/def values and then separate traits........what if you had that section of the unit card listing the terrain types and the combat value of that unit when in that terrain. So an example would be:

Phalanx:
Open - 7 (in my head, plains/steppe/desert are reckoned the same)
Hills - 6
Forest - 2
Mountains - 3
Marsh - 2
Assault - 5
Flank Zone - 4

Legion:
Open - 7
Hills - 7
Forest - 3
Mountains - 4
Marsh - 3
Assault - 7
Flank Zone - 4

Mercenary Infantry:
Open - 5
Hills - 6
Forest - 4
Mountains - 4
Marsh - 4
Assault - 5
Flank Zone - 4

This would allow maybe even more granularity between units, and they'd have clear strengths and weaknesses pushing you to select different units for different jobs. Especially when combined with the other characteristics like move speed, HP, Exertion, Ranged Attack/Defense, and Besiege/Resist.

Bonuses and Penalties to invading/defending a region make more sense at the General level since that's more in the realm of logistical planning. Knowing where to march, what routes to take, how aggressive to be, how cautious to be.......all of those make a lot of sense associate with the general. So I don't think they'd necessarily need to change.

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Re: Why do units have separate attack and defense values?

Post by GiveWarAchance » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:54 pm

Soar wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:00 pm
GiveWarAchance wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:03 pm
I think it is better with seperate attack & defense stats. Some units are good at one or the other like an unarmored Celtic warrior with a 2-handed sword is dangerous attacking and a large, soft target on defense. It seems every unit is better at one or the other like heavy infantry with a big shield and strong armor lose a lot of attack cause they have only one hand on their weapon and are slowed and tired by the heavy armor but on defense it is a very hard target.
That would make sense if a high Attack value made units more likely to inflict damage and a high Defense value made them more likely to resist it, but that's not how it works in the game. Before a battle starts, the game determines which side is the attacker and which one is the defender, and the base combat strength of the attacking side's units is based solely on those units' Attack value, the defending side's solely on their Defense value. Having a high Defense value provides zero benefit to units engaged in an offensive battle and vice versa.
I think Panzercorps has a proper system that uses both att & def in every round so both values apply to every attack as long as both units can fire a shot. It is not a perfect system cause it doesn't work for units that have a powerful gun but no armor like the Nashorn and 88 guns cause they get wiped out from return fire instead of one-shotting enemy tanks from afar like in real life cause panzercorp is made up of battalions instead of single units so one-shots wouldn't be fair. I think in an ancient warfare game, the panzercorps att/def system would work well but the siege weapons like catapults would suffer like the 88 with a strong attack but zero defense.

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