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Guardsman Promotion

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Fall from Heaven' started by Emptiness, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. WarKirby

    WarKirby Arty person

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    This is my point. You would have to use normal units to kill your way through every other unit in the stack before you could reach the mage. And by then, you could attack him with a normal unit anyway. What do you need an asassin for?

    If everyone can get guardsman easily, the asassin just becomes a normal unit with poor city attacking capabilities.

    Aggressive gives a free promotion that most people are getting anyways. It gives a headstart. It also makes all your units come out of the gate slightly more advanced than the enemy's. Combat I is significant because it gives extra strength in all areas, making a unit more competent on the whole. It's also a prerequisite to many things, meaning aggressive civs can specialise their units right out of the gate, rather than having to do the basic training first.

    Guardsman is a specific thing for a specific situation. And it's also quite hard to get. Hence, the bannor excel at something in particular, protecting the weak.

    If everyone could get guardsman easily, it would cheapen their trait.
     
  2. ExMachina

    ExMachina Warlord

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    That would be an interesting possibility. Would really depend on how it was implemented.

    Honestly, I think Auric is too gimmicky. Normal units have basically no defense against him, and he has basically no defense against the Godslayer. I wouldn't mind seeing his strength reduced slightly (if necessary) and allowing him to use a few bodyguards against Godslayer-wielding foes, but that's a completely different topic.

    This would only happen if people gave Guardsman to literally every unit they own. So yeah, they'd be great against Assassins, but they'd be slightly worse against everything else since they'd be giving up a Combat promotion (or whatever they would've taken instead) in order to take Guardsman.

    While that is all true, there are several factors here. Since Guardsman would be more easily targeted by non-Marksman units, players would need more Guardsman units in order to protect against assassins. So, while other players are promoting their armies with Guardsman, the Bannor can use those promotions on other things.

    I could see a second way Guardsman could be implemented:
    1. Guardsman would only increase chance to defend against Marksman units, and have some reasonable prerequisite (such as Combat 2 or 3). This would make Guardsman less common, but you would need less of them.
    2. In order for the Bannor's trait to be worthwhile, Guardsman would definitely need some sort of secondary bonus. Having Guardsman on all your units is gratuitous when you only need it on a few.
     
  3. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

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    The problem is that the guardsmen are not suposed to be combat troops but elite guards.
    I propose making the precs for guardsmen be combat 3 or 4 and making the guardsmen only defend the stack from normal units if there are no non guardsmen remaining in your stack.

    Prehaps it would be best to give the guardsmen promotion some sort of penalty vs non marksman units. That way it would be a tradeof rather than a bonus. It would make you ration your guardsmen.
     
  4. Phatkarp

    Phatkarp Warlord

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    My problem with guardsmen is that they get dogpiled to death immediately because they always insist on defending, even when they are half-dead. I suppose that is less of a problem if you have several guardsmen in your stack. but I've never experienced that luxury.
     
  5. Jet

    Jet No, no, please. Please.

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    Yeah, that's a no-brainer.
     
  6. Phatkarp

    Phatkarp Warlord

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    I'm changing my thinking on Guardsman. I think it's okay the way it is.

    The first thing to understand about Guardsmen is that they should not be front-line units. Instead, they should be kept back from the front line as a guard for your mages.

    Assassins force you to play the game very differently than it's played in vanilla civ - in particular, it changes how you position and move your troops on offense. In vanilla civ (I'm including BtS and Warlords in this category, btw) the strategy was to stack your units, move next to an enemy city, reduce the defenses, then attack. You kept your vulnerable units in the stack where they were protected.

    In FfH, with Assassins, you can't just put your vulnerable-but-valuable troops (I'm thinking mages and archmages) in the main stack because the Assassins will kill them. And you can't put them in your front-line stack with Guardsmen because the Guardsmen will get dogpiled, then the Assassins will kill your mages. Instead, you need to keep the mages where enemy assassins cannot reach them: behind your lines. To achieve this you need to manuver your troops so that you actually have "lines" that literally block the enemy from your mages. In other words, you need to have a "front" established so the assassins can't get in your rear and stab your mages.

    This makes the game a lot more fun and a lot more challenging. Certainly, it makes offensive manuvering a helluva lot more interesting.
     
  7. Emptiness

    Emptiness []

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    If you split your army into many stacks and advance as a front the enemy will tear them apart by attacking the stacks that are in poor tactical positions. In order to prevent an enemy breach you'll have to have a continuous line of stacks, and that means some of them will have to be on flat unforested land. Also, having fewer units in a stack increases the chance that the whole stack will be killed as a result of being overwhelmed.

    Even if your front is impenetrable there's the issue of caster usefulness. Depending on what spheres you have, the impact of your strategy will vary. Summoning undead from behind the lines works just fine, but it's hard to rust a foe's weapons from two squares away. Maelstrom would be worthless because you'd cripple 5 of your own stacks trying to wear down a city.

    And finally, if someone was able to use the front line strategy and make it work then what do they need the guardsmen for anyway? I guess invisible assassins would still be a threat, but most opponents aren't going to be able to crank those out.

    -------------

    The Guardsman promotion takes a fair bit of work to get. Combat I - IV + Guardsman means it's a L6 unit. That may be trivial for a hero, but other units have to survive a fair bit of combat to reach that point. Compare that to the difficulty of getting a Marksman: build it. Yeah, a unit with Guardsman is going to be much stronger than a newly built unit with Marksman, but the potential supply of Marksmen will always be greater than the potential supply of Guardsmen, once the ability to built Marksmen as been researched. If you flood your opponent with assassins (in an organized, strategic way rather than as lambs-to-the-slaughter) the Guardsmen will eventually all be dead. As it stands now, because of their increased chance to defend any stack they are in, they are easy to eliminate with normal units. This greatly reduces the chance that they will be able to serve their intended function.

    The opportunity to serve that intended function comes at a cost. You paid for it by purchasing the promotion, as well as the opportunity cost of not taking better promotions. That same L6 unit, for example, could have had Combat I, Shock I, C II & III, and S II. Or, it could have CI, Cover, and City Raider I - III. Both of those promotion paths are very useful and arguably better than the Guardsman path, unless you happen to need a unit that can protect a vulnerable but valuable weak unit. I think it is appropriate for units that have purchased Guardsman to have a little bit of hope that they will actually serve to protect against a Marksman.

    -------------

    I'd like to see Guardsman changed to:
    • Decreased chance to defend the stack
    • Guards against enemy Marksman units
    ... meaning that if the attacker has Marksman then a unit with Guardsman will always be selected first to defend the stack (no matter how injured it is). If the attacker doesn't have Marksman then the Guardsman will only defend the stack if all the units in the stack have a decreased chance to defend (ie only Guardsmen and squishies are left).

    The result of this change would be:
    • Guardsman will be protected from casual attackers until all of the non-squishy units have been defeated or severely wounded
    • Guardsman will defend squishy units against Marksmen
    • Marksmen will have the opportunity to bypass non-Guardsman defenders and overwhelm the Guardsmen, rendering the weak targets vulnerable
    This allows the Guardsmen to guard, and the Marksmen to still have a chance to take out vulnerable targets in a large stack.

    -------------

    This change would be problematic for the Elohim, because of their Guardsman trait. Recon and mounted units would be left defending the stack while archers hid behind them. I propose that all Elohim units that do not currently receive the Guardsman promotion should receive a promotion that reduces their chance to defend the stack. This would allow those units to properly be defended by the Elohim units that are probably better defenders (ie archers).
     
  8. Phatkarp

    Phatkarp Warlord

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    All very true. Which means you have to be careful, take risks, and accept losses. Aggressive razing with Horse Archers and Chariots helps ease this problem - keep your units parked on the favorable terrain, and loose your cavalry down to pillage and retreat back to the safety of the stack. In any event, the strategy results in a much more fluid and nuanced flow to the game.


    Very true. My experience has been with fire magic and water magic. Fireballs and Fire/Water Elementals can strike from a distance. My strategy doesn't work for spells that require proximity.

    Exactly. They would counter that rare invisible assassin, and they would be there in case your line was breached and chariots or assassins suddenly started attacking the mage stack.

    Let me put in a caveat: I'm still a huge FfH noob. So take all this with a Acheron-sized grain of salt. But I think that making the changes you suggest would render assassins relatively useless. If the stack has a guardsmen then they would have to dogpile the guardsman (which is strong and highly promoted), then the survivors would get the opportunity to attack the squishies. That's a lot of blood to spill to get at the squishies. Who would bother?
     
  9. Jules.lt

    Jules.lt Prince

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    anyone who really really want your squishes dead.

    That's the point of having guardsman: it's hard to get but it effectively helps protect against assassins. Unless they overwhelm him.
     
  10. Jet

    Jet No, no, please. Please.

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    Reading again, this is subtler than I gave credit for. Designing a counter to assassins is not a no-brainer.

    But I still think the idea I agreed with is worth trying, to give a little love back to the assassins:
    1. Marksmen target any Guardsmen, strongest first, before the weakest unit
    2. Guardsman has no effect against a non-Marksman attacker
     
  11. hbar

    hbar Constant

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    Heroes are always last to defend the stack (with the exception of mages/preists I think) so they are defended by guardsmen already. Having units with guardsman always defend was broken before, and would still be broken if it were reimplemented. The point of having someone to guard your soft units is just that, not having them run off and defend the perfectly competent stack every time something attacks.

    The best solution (IMHO;)) is to have guardsmen always defend when assassins are attacking, and have the strongest guardsman defend against each assassin. Other than that, the guardsman promotion should have no effect on defending order.
     
  12. zup

    zup Emperor

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    Yes. Make my hard earned guardsman useful.
     
  13. Mesix

    Mesix One of Porg

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    This sounds like a reasonable suggestion to me. How hard would it be to make them work this way? I've always thought of guardsmen as the defenders of mages and other soft units as well. Why sould a Phalynx need a guardsman? The strongest defenders should defend against most attacks. The guardsman prmoted units should pop up when a marksman promoted unit targets a weaker unit in the stack. If there is more than one guardsman promoted unit then the strongest guardsman should defend such attacks.
     
  14. WarKirby

    WarKirby Arty person

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    I do agree that guardsman is too hard to get as is.

    I think moving it to Combat II as the prereq, would be more balanced
     
  15. xienwolf

    xienwolf Deity

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    Location! Location!
    By the by... this is precisely how it works in Fall Further. So anyone wanting to try this system can see if it fits what they are envisioning.
     
  16. Monkeyfinger

    Monkeyfinger Deity

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    The only problem I have with guardsman right now is that non-Bannor civs can get it. Even though the requirements are stiff, it's still wrong.
     
  17. hbar

    hbar Constant

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    Thats like saying that only the svartalfar should get assassins. Bannor get guardsman for free, which is huge, but other civs surely learned how to station a guy with a sword and sharp eyes next to the mage tent.
     
  18. ExMachina

    ExMachina Warlord

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    The more I think about it, the more I'm starting to agree with this. I think I'm gonna try playing with FF's version of Guardsman. Though I'm gonna combine it with the Defensive promotion (double fortification bonus) to give the Bannor a little extra punch.
     
  19. nealhunt

    nealhunt Warlord

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    Is there any move under way with the development team to change the Guardsman/Marksman dynamic?

    Personally, I think Marksman is flat out broken from a fun perspective. I've quit dozens of games out of sheer annoyance - games I could definitely have won but which Marksman units would cause to drag out interminably.

    "Oh, look. I've built a 10-unit stack of cannons... again... maybe this will last long enough for me to capture 2 cities...

    while I build a 10-unit stack of cannons... again..."
     
  20. Homunculus

    Homunculus Chieftain

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    I have no idea as to the feasibility, but, if I understand the intended function of *guards* correctly..

    Guardsman should (only) defend if

    1) they have the best chance to win a defensive fight overall (ie. the normal defender selection)
    OR
    2) they have a BETTER chance to win the fight than the target selected by a marksman. They're trained as guards, yes, but they're not trained to be suicidal (a guard with two broken arms, a broken leg, and an eye stitched shut may not be dead, but he won't be standing guard at the mages' tent either)


    ..Writing that, that's probably EXACTLY why they get dogpiled...
    Since they'll be "overriding" the assassins' targeting so long as they're stronger than the mages... And then get targeted by the assassins BECAUSE they are the weakest unit.

    This doesn't explain, of course, how ONE would continue to be dogpiled while there are other guardsmen around.
     

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