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First Strike and Odds

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by EditorRex, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. EditorRex

    EditorRex Master of Allusion

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    I understand the mechanics of how First Strikes and the subsequent promotions work, thanks to some great posts on other threads. However, I'm noticing some unexpected results whenever First Strike is in play. First Strike does seem to word as I would personally expect. But it seems to defy the game's Odds calcultions.

    I generally try not to reload due to a lost battle, but I did in these cases for purpose of experimenting. In one case my opponent had First Strike and I did not. I was attacking a basic Archer defending a city on plains with a +10% Chariot. Odds calculator gave me a 60% chance of winning the battle. I reloaded at least 6 times and never won the battle.
    I've done similar tests in similar situations with other unit combinations (Rifles v. Longbows) when the defender has First Strike. I consistently see the unit at a First Strike disadvantage being successful in a lower percentage of battles than the Odds predict.

    I'm not 100% certain about this next statement, but I believe I have observed: A Rifle with identical promotions except for lacking First Strike being told it had identical Odds to a Rifle in the same stack that did have First Strike in attacking the exact same Cossack inside a city. In practice however, the Rifle with First Strike tended to win the battle more often and with less damage.

    I've also seen surprising success when my unit has the First Strike edge. I can have only middling odds of winning a fight and be attacking suicidally to soften my opponent, but end up with the win most of the time if the odds are at all close (say at least 30 percent).

    All of this begs the question:
    Does the game's Odds calculator correctly assess First Strike?
     
  2. Carboniferous

    Carboniferous Warlord

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    Just a guess, but try selecting the option 'New random seed on reload'.

    And yes, the odds calculator does work correctly with first strikes.
     
  3. A_Canadian

    A_Canadian Chieftain

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    Carboniferous how would you know if the odds generator works correctly with the first strike?
     
  4. dirtyparrot

    dirtyparrot Upholding Brannigan's Law

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    I'm not really sure if the odds are accurate, but the game certainly overrates them and you'll get goofy things like a highly promoted drill unit with lower odds of survival defending instead less promoted modern units.
     
  5. starrywisdom

    starrywisdom Warlord

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    At 60% chance - only having a 6 test sample isn't really relative. If you had done it about 40 times, then yes. You could easily flip a coin 6 times and have it land on the same side 6 times in a row, 40 times the chances of it are very slim.(The odds here are 60% and not 50% but it's a marginal increase especially with only having a test sample of 6).
     
  6. Jerrymander

    Jerrymander Epistemologist

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    This gets really annoying, and kind of makes the whole Churchill
    -longbow-spam strategy weaker.

    First Strikes seem to make combat riskier, and TMIT has deduced that the odds calculator seriously overestimates the value of First Strikes. That being said, I love to slap Drill promotions on my gunpowder units.
     
  7. Issus

    Issus Chieftain

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    i think someone once said that a first strike, on average, is worth 1.766666 base strength.
     
  8. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Deity

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    What an odd thing to say. 1 + 69/90 ?
     
  9. Zechnophobe

    Zechnophobe Strategy Lich

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    1) When you reload a game, and redo a fight, the exact same outcome will occur. It saves a 'random' seed to prevent cheesing a battle by refighting it.

    2) Cossacks can get Flanking II, which makes them immune to first strikes, making the odds the same.

    Also, you really need to do a LOT more testing then a few runs to check 'odds'. It is far too likely to win at 2% victory chance, or lose at 98% to think that a few random losses/wins invalidates the calculator.
     
  10. Carboniferous

    Carboniferous Warlord

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    Because I once worked through the calculation and had a go at implementing it myself. (With the idea of calculating the expectation value of the damage to the winner.) The only issue that I am aware being discovered with the odds calculator concerned withdrawal of seige when the damage equated to the maximum allowed.

    The maths involved is not that hard (pre-university level) - if you know what the binomial distribution is, then you shouldn't have trouble.

    As far as I know, the odds calculator was a user contributed mod which was added into the core dll - the original game did not ship with it.

    Whilst I cannot prove there is nothing wrong with it, it has been heavily scrutinised, including by people who clearly have degrees in maths, so you probably need to present some evidence that it is flawed, if that is your view.
     
  11. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    no way is that true. 1.76 base strength is huge- that's basically the difference between a regular swordsman and a praetorian. I guess if you're talking about units like infantry that might be true. It's still weird and innacurate to give any easy conversion between the 2, because they're just so different.
     
  12. Zechnophobe

    Zechnophobe Strategy Lich

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    So, a first strike (not first strike chance) will give you an extra combat round at the beginning of battle, where failing it deals no damage to the unit. Or at least, I'm fairly sure that's how it works, I haven't brushed up on this in a while.

    Taking that into account, remember that the amount of damage you deal per round is based on the comparative strengths (By percentage). That means that it cannot possibly have a fixed 'base strength' comparison.

    If you have low odds per round of damaging, and deal less damage. Each first strike will not be very effective.

    If you have high odds, then your first strikes will have high odds of hitting, and do high damage. Thus they are very effective. If you check the combat log, you will often need 4 or 5 successful combat rounds to win. Thus a unit with high combat ratio and high first strike numbers may very well deal all damage to the opponent during first strikes, and come out unscathed.

    The moral of the story, is that First strikes are much more advantageous to give to stronger units. This is part of the reason why Oromo -> Infantry can be a killer transition. 5 XP built Oromo's with drill 4 turned into early infantry are crushingly powerful against lower tier units, and will survive a large number of combats with little to no damage. You do not get 'worn down' as easily.
     
  13. Saltydog

    Saltydog Chieftain

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    Weird, I was just playing as Washington and promoted Navy Seals up the drill line and their odds against badly damaged Mech. Infantry in a fully bombarded coastal city were in the 50% range but consistently won. I wondered the same thing.
     
  14. Akkon888

    Akkon888 한국 사람

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    I thought that having a first strike meant that in one combat round instance where you would normally take damage, you would instead use a first strike and the damage during that combat round would be nullified.
     
  15. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Deity

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    2 First Strikes means if he hits you in the first two rounds, you take no damage.

    It does not mean the first two times he hits you, you take no damage.
     

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