The rules

Discussion on how to play against other humans.
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Gusset
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The rules

Postby Gusset » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:59 pm

Hi all, it's been a while since I've posted here. I'm thinking about getting back into the game, VDC has some nice positives to it.

A post a few months back mentioned that there's a standing rule concerning when a player is allowed to attack, and I am not clear on it: a 'turn 115' rule, and a '4 systems' rule.

Can someone please explain how these combine? Is there ever combat prior to turn 115? Can a player attack with only 3 systems after turn 115, or must they have 4?

Thanks!

-Gusset

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Overlord2
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Postby Overlord2 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:36 am

Hey Gusset,

Welcome back!
'The 4 system rule' means you can't attack before you have 4 systems including homeworld.
Although Cyber, who invented this rule, was very angry when he was blitzed by a player, who managed to get 4 systems early (built 2 CS) and attacked him before 60s or so.

The 115 rule is my and Valprax's mutual invention. The idea under '115 turns of peace' is you can't attack or blockade colonies first 115 turns (can attack on 116th). No limitation for outposts or space combat. However, Val migh have some reservations, like no attacking outposts either, but I do not stick to it.

The logic why exactly 115 turns is that many races finish development by about this time, i.e. can get main economic techs and couple of main war techs like Zort armor and Antimatter drive. If you allow attacking earlier then many races won't be playable: they can't finish development, i.e. getting both base eco techs and war techs, so will have to skip something. But skipping war techs means defeat (death on arrival), so you are forced to skip eco techs. However if your opponent is faster (tech race) and gets both eco techs and war techs, while you get only war techs you are doomed in long run. Hence even if you repel attack or he repels yours no sense in continuation of the game, because you will be outteched severely and no chances of coping with next wave of confrontation. This rule of peace is artificial to smooth the unevenness of development of different races and make game more interesting.

However currently I'm working on rebalancing the game so that it allows to defend from attack at any time if played right. I want to add the so-called 'defense mode' instead of present post-warp (which doesn't work anyway). In 'defense mode' all races will start with 4 additional techs: ground batteries, fighter garrison, rad shield and positronic computer, i.e. you have two of three ground defense buildings. I tested this setting and succeeded in defending from blitz on turn 45. We shall see...

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Gusset
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Postby Gusset » Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:58 pm

Thanks for the reply explaining things, Overlord, much appreciated.

Unfortunately from my point of view, I was afraid that the answer would be what it was. I'll be direct and just come out and say that I don't like a hard turn limit on attacks.

I understand that because playing a game of MOO2 involves hours of a person's time, nobody wants to feel like their time was wasted when they get attacked early enough that they are unprepared. Unfortunately, though, I see it as one more step toward funneling every game into a narrow range of play styles.  By forcing a delay in attacks until after turn 115, and/or GIVING every player what they need to fight early on, options are reduced.

Isn't VDC supposed to be about making "very difficult choices", and making a player have to manage, among other things, the risks that come with those choices? We've already modified the maps to cater to high population races, so that race selection doesn't come with as much risk. Now we must also cater to the play styles geared to huge empires by making it easy and removing the risk of a disruptive attack?  A player should have to manage potential consequences of their decisions, rather than be "protected".

**I do believe that there should be some balance.**  I _am_ in favor of banning telepathic and omniscient picks. I also have no problems with forcing a player to reach a certain level of empire development before embarking on an invasion (4 planet rule sounds good to me). But a free ride until turn 115?  That's going too far.

I suspect that this argument has already happened while I was away from MOO. Those who know me are aware of my disdain for playing the "best" races and strategies. A t115 rule is just one more thing that forces players to play to them.

Thanks for reading.

-Gusset

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Overlord2
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Postby Overlord2 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:33 pm

I think you didn't get the idea of 115 rule. Let me give you an example. Lets say there is no rule. What will happen - the strategy of fastest race, which can get wartechs the earliest and build warships the fastest will dominate. Dict and probably uni will be dead... unfortunately you can't balance all races for all time spans. However, in 'defense mode' it will be possible to defend, though it won't be gauranted. Anyway, you need couple of games with competetive players to grasp the situation.

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Postby Gusset » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:20 pm

I think I have an adequate grasp of the situation...are folks like Bork, Dmitry, Cybersaber, Cabman, Siron, Skybandit, Red Dog, PK, etc. considered competitive? It has been a couple of years, but I am not quite so new. I've played long term and quick attack strategies, and I don't really favor either. However I always thought it was nice that power races that need time to really get going can be taken on by something other than a similar approach.

If a player finds himself in a situation where they have limited hope of victory in a prolonged game, they should have the option of setting a strategy in motion to hit their opponent before they get so far ahead they are unstoppable. Conversely, if a player wishes to race straight to a huge empire, and they decide to risk not picking up a few basic techs at the bottom of the tree to acquire a rudimentary combat capability, then they should have to live with that risk.

The enemy is called that for a reason. It's not as if defense techs are hard to come by early on...fighter garrisons and shields are right there, and a surprise attack on T100 is not a guaranteed success. Half of the players I listed above have demonstrated this to me in person (and boy, what fun, for all involved!).

The game already pretty much favors whoever can win the race to critical mass. Why stifle an approach that breaks the monotony?

As I said, I like the 4 system concept, as it does force a player to devote some resources to developing some semblance of an empire before embarking on galactic conquest, and it gives everyone a CHANCE to make those risky decisions for good or ill that I mentioned earlier. However I would like to ask: how was turn 115 arrived at?

-Gusset

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Cybersaber
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Attack Restrictions

Postby Cybersaber » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:32 am

I am fundamentally in agreement with Gusset. I am not a fan of a specific turn after which attacks are possible. The essential concept of MOO, which works so well that it has kept me playing the game for (gulp) 15 years, is scissors/paper/rock. There is no one "right" answer. So there should be some chance of an attack when a player is not prepared to meet it. Setting a pre-agreed turn after which attacks are possible rather ruins this element of surprise, and upsets the balance between a "quick" race like CyberTol and a "slow" race like Creative. However, there is also a "Prisoner's Dilemma" problem. Taken to the limit, where anybody can attack at any time, the optimum strategy is always a blitz. As Darza has aptly demonstrated to me several time, a blitz race/strategy will jump any other race/strategy every time, even if you know it's coming. So if there is no limit, both players are forced to blitz, which devolves into two very dumb races bludgeoning each other with low tech weaponry. The game essentially becomes "who can make a BB first?" The fun in playing such a simplistic strategy wears off VERY quickly. My "Attack Restriction" rule for the last few years has been that my opponent is free to attack me after building at least two colony ships AND getting at least Zortium armor. This restriction requires a modicum of empire development, and it does tend to push the attack envelope out past turn 100, which is where most players feel comfortable.

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Overlord2
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Postby Overlord2 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:58 am

My "Attack Restriction" rule for the last few years has been that my opponent is free to attack me after building at least two colony ships AND getting at least Zortium armor.

Lol, Bruce, you contradict to yourself. You said you like cybertol, but it uses tritanium armor most often. However with tritanium armor you can attack both at 70s and at 100s. So what is your position? When should be war allowed? If it is Zort, then I can attack much earlier with Zort than t100 too....

However I would like to ask: how was turn 115 arrived at?

With practice: this is the time when most races finish development and can get two basic war techs - Zort armor and Antimatter drive. It doesn't mean they will get armor and drives, someone can be behind in development, or take a risk and get something else. Trust me if you have prepared good attaсk for 116 it is very difficult to defend from such attack, even though you know in advance you should be ready...

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Attack Restriction

Postby Bork » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:48 am

Gusset,

If you have no restrictions there are only 3 real strategies and MOO2 becomes a guessing game.

Strat 1 is Blitz
Strat 2 is Blitz block
Strat 3 is Boom

Blitz beats Boom
Blitz can beat Blitz Block

Blitz Block should beat Blitz
Blitz Block will lose to Boom

Boom will lose to Blitz
Boom beats Blitz Block

When you look at the options Blitz gives the best opportunity to win. So blitz should be the overwhelming choice. The game basically becomes boring which is an opinion. The reason I and others feel it is boring is that the game is simply to build a Cruiser with decent attack ability a couple OPs and come flying in. There will be little combat and even if there is an opportunity for combat you may be in a fork position to defend which is a guess. Last the choice and use of weapons is very limited.

The game is basically a blitz if successful game over if it fails game over.

That being said I never did like the 115 rule. It is artificial and allows for tech races to boom unchecked too long. I personally like games going this long but I do agree it forces the game into a given set of tactics.

The rule about using Zort is too restrictive as well. Cyber Tol rarely attacks with Zort, also high tech races may never get Zort at all. They may value initiative over armor.

The optimum rule on my part is the 4 system rule. In using the 4 system rule it delays the blitz into a rush. It still allows for mid range weapon tactics, such as bombers and fighters. It allows a viable counter to the boomers at or around turn 95. Djigit is probably the best I've seen at the 4 system attack and continuing his attack while growing.

The best thing the 4 system rule does, is it stops the rock paper scissors game that occurs without a no blitz rule and leaves as many other options open.

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Gusset
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Postby Gusset » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:51 am

Well, I hope I have made my opinion clear: I'm opposed to protecting the most powerful races and play styles against the very few weaknesses they possess. MOO2, and VDC, provide a diverse game that I believe is reduced by anything that favors a specific play style (in this case, the already nearly unstoppable mega-pop empire).

Having voiced my opinions, though, the reality is that a system/tech/turn rule is something that can be agreed upon or not at game's start. It doesn't really matter a whole lot in the grand scheme, so I'll back off now that I have made my feelings known. If my opponent wants to implement it, I would likely agree to it quite often.

On a somewhat related note: OL, I strongly request that you do NOT go the route that you mentioned earlier that you are considering, of gifting technologies in order to give all players a ready-made combat capability. If you do, at least make it an optional switch or separate executable, because it would be the end of MOO2 for me. If players want to fight with things they don't have to go to the trouble of earning, there are other good games that offer that, like maybe Gratuitous Space Battles (which I want to try someday...) Don't take away the "Very Difficult Choice" element which you've worked to put into place! MOO2 is about decisions and consequences, not freebies!

In case my stance here has been taken further than I intend, I would like to say something: I like MOO2 (no secret there), and I think you are to be complimented for your work on VDC...Bruce has been trying to get me to re-join the MOO2 online community and play VDC for the past 2 years, and I've basically said, "No, I don't have time." Well, I finally decided to give it a go, and I like what you've done. Well done, and thank you!

-Gusset

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Gusset
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Postby Gusset » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:07 am

Hi Bork,

I'm not advocating all out early blitzing strategy. The T60 BB or cruiser is a cheap victory, I agree. I've never played that, never will, and heartily favor any rules that prevent it.

I've been intending to speak in terms of an early attack type strategy which quickly develops empire of modest size that can somewhat provide/support a sustained conflict. It has its own risk, and is in line with the X-system rule concept, and throughout this discussion I've been advocating that rule (my issue is with any time-related rule, not the need to develop an empire of some sort).

I believe it gives a good balance of preventing the "cheap rush to combat techs and stop there" strategy, and keeping players on their toes if they choose a myopic pop spree or a development tech rush. A T115-type strategy offers a guarantee that I don't think MOO2 should have.

I just want players to not be overly protected by rules that favor the mega-races. Keep MOO diverse!

-Gusset

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Overlord2
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Postby Overlord2 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:24 am

you mentioned earlier that you are considering, of gifting technologies in order to give all players a ready-made combat capability. If you do, at least make it an optional switch...

Sure, it will be optionable. As I mentioned, it will use the postwarp start option.

In case my stance here has been taken further than I intend, I would like to say something: I like MOO2 (no secret there), and I think you are to be complimented for your work on VDC...Bruce has been trying to get me to re-join the MOO2 online community and play VDC for the past 2 years, and I've basically said, "No, I don't have time." Well, I finally decided to give it a go, and I like what you've done. Well done, and thank you!

Thanks in return!

I've been intending to speak in terms of an early attack type strategy which quickly develops empire of modest size that can somewhat provide/support a sustained conflict. It has its own risk, and is in line with the X-system rule concept, and throughout this discussion I've been advocating that rule (my issue is with any time-related rule, not the need to develop an empire of some sort).

The flaw of X-systems by certain time is that it doesn't fulfil the underlying idea. Like Darza showed you can blitz with no techs on 60s, just build a few colony ships, land them and leave without development.
The question is really about what is the condition when the war is legal. Some people like more development and playing game with higher techs, some people like no compromise game, where victory is achieved by any technical means - any weapons will do, the main thing is to hit opponent when he is not prepared. I think the problem with VDC is that the latter style of play favours fewer races and limits weapon choice you can see in the game. While 115 rule allows much wider range of races and weapon choices. Though if two equally strong races meet under quick war strategy, game may last longer...Anyway, I'm happy to give you a game.


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