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Understanding Strike Teams, Ruffians and Criminals

Discussion in 'Strategy and tips' started by Thunderbrd, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    Here are the differences between Strike Teams, Criminals and Ruffians.

    Keep in mind that the Size Matters notes here on all three of these categories, regarding where they generally start off in relation to the core mod strength, is a guideline only. Where a specific unit is a combination of TWO of these categories, it could follow the general rules on either class, or a blend of the two depending on the situation.

    Additionally, ALL units begin at core mod strength if Size Matters Uncut is in use with Size Matters, making these footnotes completely moot on such an option arrangement.

    • A Strike Team is a military force comprised of specialized elite warriors who strike with stealth, speed and lethal precision. They start off being extremely anonymous as to what world leader is behind their actions, but lose that anonymity as the world becomes more affixed in its civil structure. Until that point, they are incredibly strong tools to use against foes when not officially at war. They never stop being useful, however, in taking out high-value, slightly vulnerable targets.

      Generally speaking, they are NOT intended for city infiltration unless they are ALSO criminals. The key differentiation here is that they ARE official members of the nation's military force. They do not spread crime to plots or to the city unless they are also criminals or ruffians.

      Under Hide and Seek, they are, with the exception of the Feline line, the strongest at camouflage invisibility. Generally, only canines and other strike teams can match their camo invisibility levels with camo VISIBILITY skills enough to see them at any distance.

      Since they are also very good at seeing those using camouflage, they make an excellent counter to enemy strike teams.

      In Size Matters, Strike Teams may not merge nor split because the effectiveness of the unit is primarily in each member of the group playing their role to support the other in a very specific manner. With Special Forces, for example, there is a defined amount of personnel, each with its own specialty, in a 'pod'. One may be a demolitions expert while another a sniper, another a gunner, and so on. Thus the term 'Strike TEAM'.

      Even for units as early as Ambushers, if the unit size was larger they would be less effective at stealth and if they were any smaller, they would lose combat effectiveness at a faster rate per man out than splitting would normally indicate.

      On Size Matters, strike teams usually start off at their normal core mod unit strength. For a unit with this many 'powers', this makes them rather terrifying. Units with greater merged volumes may find them little more than a nuisance, however, as they cannot merge to match them. But if a strike team can successfully develop itself with lots of promotions from XP gain, it can help them compensate for group size, so until they become lethal by being sharpened in the field, they tend to pick off less protected targets.

    • A Criminal is NOT a member of the military force but an under the table 'associate' of the state carrying out state interests in the act of upholding their own personal natures.

      They are NOT terribly strong fighters but CAN develop lethal combat skills if that is their focus with promotions. Primarily, they are best at infiltrating cities and causing trouble wherever they are. They spread crime to the cities they are in and, to a lesser degree, the plots they are on. Promotions can help them to enhance the crime they spread, just as Law Enforcement units can be trained to combat crime further.

      Criminals can perform a wide variety of missions, perhaps one of the most impressive ones being to generate significant amounts of espionage on opponents when in their cities. They can often steal plans and sabotage the latest construction project or training course for a new unit taking place. Criminals are sources of rot to send to infect your opponents, whether at war or not.

      They can enter and remain in neutral or hostile cities, even when at war, and unlike any other unit type, if inside a city, they stay put when a declaration of war is made! However, this all means they can never be used to capture, nor attack cities.

      There is a point in their upgrade chain when the criminal line blends with the strike team line. This unit is the Assassin. From this point forward, criminals become capable of Assassination actions, which allow them to take out some limited high-value targets on the same plot, even inside cities.

      Under the Hide and Seek option, early criminals are nearly as good as strike teams with camouflage invisibility, BUT this is not their specialty. They start off strong with a unique form of invisibility, disguise, which is not just an ability to make themselves look like someone else but is also their ability to act the roles they need to play to blend into society as a trusted citizen. While both disguise and camouflage waxes, improving for many unit upgrades, they gradually abandon camouflage completely and eventually disguise wanes in favor of political 'invisibility'. Political invisibility represents the advanced capacity to openly perform criminal acts while avoiding any repercussions due to strings pulled and bribes made on both local and national governmental levels.

      In the latest stages of the game, they become hackers and cybernetic rebels. Criminals also represent state-undermining political activists that can help to de-stabilize city loyalties to the crown, and this is most acute during the Renaissance with the Scoundrel unit. You can use criminals to assist in capturing a city with cultural influence.

      In Size Matters, criminals may not merge nor split because they are primarily a crime property spreading unit and properties cannot be scaled. They also have numerous missions where the results of the mission cannot scale either.

      Criminals tend to start off at one total size category shift lower than what you'd see in the core game so are, under full combat mod rule balance, given to be strong at escape but display combat weakness in comparison to other concurrent units. This helps to promote their role as less that of combat, and more that of social and economic warfare.

    • Ruffians are little more than mercenary barbarians working for the state. Unlike criminals, they do not attempt to blend with society and infect it from within. Instead, they stand apart, united against all sources of authority. Ruffians tend to be large groups of 'seemingly' independent militarized forces... 'freedom fighters' if you will. They 'claim' no allegiance to any government, though world leaders know they are likely on the payroll for someone. They specialize in being a major thorn in the countryside of any foe.

      Ruffians spread far more crime to plots than to cities and cannot even ENTER cities without capturing them and throwing them into anarchy, capturing cities for the barbarian player rather than for their technical owning player.

      Therefore, as it is for Strike Teams, cities cannot be safe harbors for them unless they are ALSO criminals (a crossover which most notably takes place at the Cutthroat unit.)

      Ruffians aren't as 'elite' as Strike Teams are but make up for it usually with large group sizes. However, like Strike Teams, they are very good at setting ambushes for the unwary.

      They do not have nearly the invisibility capacity as Strike Teams do, to the point that without Hide and Seek in play, they don't have any invisibility at all. And ON Hide and Seek, they have a minimal amount of camouflage, which they can enhance by hiding in forests. They can still catch the unwary off guard.

      Due to their barbaric ferocity in a fight, ruffians are usually quite powerful and possess a touch more base strength than you'd find on other similar units. They also require more upkeep than most. But it can be a costly affair to attempt to uproot them from your lands when they rumble across the border without respect for any nation.

      Ruffians can share space with barbarian units peacefully. They are therefore useless at combatting barbarian incursions, unable to attack or defend against barbarian units.

      I'd like to also add for them the ability to have them potentially 'purchase' barbarian units to swell their military power. When they do, said barbarians would join the nation but would immediately gain a promo that makes those barbarians a Ruffian unit and add commensurate gold cost for doing so... just as hiring a mercenary force would. But this is not in play for v37.

      In Size Matters, due to the fact that they spread crime, they cannot merge nor split. However, they do start off a size category shift stronger than their core game strength and are the only units which do. However, they can still be outmatched against heavily merged armies, so they challenge the foe they invade to commit to a truly intensive effort to build up a counteractive force.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
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  2. Galadrion

    Galadrion Warlord

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    Very clear, TBird, and it helps explain something that just happened in my current game. I had several Rogues stationed in Cumae, disrupting and destabilizing the Roman Empire under Augustus (I'm playing Heke of the Maori), when I got notice that Cumae had revolted and joined the barbarians. Couldn't figure out at first what had happened, until I noticed that Cumae no longer had a stack of my Rogues camping out - instead, there was a stack of Bandit Footpads. My Rogues there had suddenly met the requirements and autopromoted, overwhelming Augustus's lone city defender (a single Archer, if I'm remembering correctly).

    (Just to complete the story - though it doesn't really have much to do with this material - I promptly built a Composite Archer in my nearest city while sending my Bandit Footpads out from Cumae to destroy all units not my own in the area, and then once the new C.A. was built I sent it to occupy the now empty city. Probably the most painless - on my part, anyway - city capture I've pulled off since I started playing with C2C.)

    Edited to add this: Let me just say this, for a long-range campaign, Criminals + Ruffians make a very nasty combination. A stack of criminals in the target nation's most productive city or cities, to shatter their economy and production, followed by a stack of (banded-together) ruffians to completely overwhelm the (already disrupted) defenders. Perhaps salt in a collection of strike teams to fan out through the target's countryside, eliminating any reinforcements headed for the beleaguered city, and you can waltz in, take the city with a single garrison troop if you wish, and not face a war penalty, either in your own morale or diplomatically! It's not the sort of strategy that the AI is going to be particularly adept at, but for destroying a target... brr. As I said, nasty.
     
  3. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    You point out a few design flaws. Thanks for this!

    1) Rogues, based on the most recent assets, shouldn't be able to upgrade to bandit footpads now. This should keep them from taking the city they are in with an upgrade.

    However, there IS an upgrade from cutthroat to partisan that I'll have to make an adjustment in the code to keep from being valid unless the unit is NOT in a city.

    2) On the latest assets, ruffians cannot merge or split either. A game in progress could still have them merged though and that really cannot be reverse solved without further coding to address specifically that situation. But as stated elsewhere, I may need to ensure that if a unit that cannot merge or split is the next upgrade for a unit, the upgrade should be 'banned' until the unit to upgrade has merged or split to the base volume of the unit as if just trained.


    However, those stated, you're right that there is a tremendous amount of power in using all three wisely. In general, the counter for a strike team is canines and fast/tough(er) military units or other strike teams, while the counter for criminals is a strong Law Enforcement and the counter for a Ruffian is a military force designed to gain bonuses against them in battle. I do seek to teach the AI how to use these three types more effectively this version, but also how to counter them more effectively.
     
  4. Dancing Hoskuld

    Dancing Hoskuld Deity

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    The partisan is not a unit you should be able to build. It only comes from "events" when a city is conquered after a time point. Or we now have two sets of partisans.
     
  5. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    The partisan has been made available to build (we needed a ruffian upgrade at about that point and this unit fit the bill perfectly) but that doesn't stop it from being spawned by those same events.
     
  6. Dancing Hoskuld

    Dancing Hoskuld Deity

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    The problem is that they have two different objectives I thought. Partisans are "the resistance". Hummm...maybe it will work OK.
     
  7. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    Freedom Fighters qualify as Ruffians of a sort. Guerrillas are now their upgrade and they seem to fit along the same theme. I thought so anyhow... just one opinion I suppose.
     
  8. Dancing Hoskuld

    Dancing Hoskuld Deity

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    I'll need to get my morning coffee and think about it, but yes it seems that it will work.

    It also gives me some food for thought for what to do when you conquer a city earlier. I always thought that if there was a Military Instructor (ie settled GG) in the city then you should get some resistance fighters ever earlier than partisans.

    edit This is completely changing the roll of the current partisans. They were normal combat units whose task was to delay the advance of the conquering army and threaten to take back the city. Basically they delay the advancing army allowing you time to bring up your units.
     
  9. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    As for the threat to take back the city, perhaps I should, for them, remove the blend with barbs bit.
     
  10. Niveras

    Niveras Prince

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    I might suggest including here (and in the game pedia) a comment about handling criminals in your cities.

    I have some barb rogues and exiles in some cities that I can see with other stealth units (my own criminal units or a trained cat, for example) but can't seem to do anything about them at the moment. I have some LE units set to build up investigations but I've done so for 30 turns or more; I guess I just need to be patient? (The barb units popped up as a result of the high crime buildings so I never had an opportunity to even intercept them before they reached my cities.)

    I remember reading a discussion to this effect in one of the development threads a few weeks ago, but I forgot what the answer was.
     
  11. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    Yeah, it takes patience for the most part. It becomes important to try to push past the negative impact they are having and get crime reduced because many crime auto-buildings will give them more Insidiousness in the city (ways to cover up the evidence of their crimes or ways for those crimes to be harder to investigate because of other crimes taking place distracting the investigators from their own.) Insidiousness totals for a criminal unit are the direct reduction to the investigation % chance of success. Criminals can benefit from increased local insidiousness values from buildings in your city and bring insidiousness abilities of their own from base values on the unit type and from promos and buildups (but if they develop their insidiousness values in these ways, such selections would replace the crime enhancing or combat improving promotions they could've taken.)

    You can go into the city screen and hover over the black rook 'defense' symbol in the upper right quadrant of the city screen. This brings up the city defense help hover and I've included in that display a breakdown of the investigation check likelihood in the city as a whole. This % chance is the base chance of a criminal being investigated during turn processing. The chance is not final though as the criminal himself will further modify the check against him by his own Insidiousness value. But this at least gives you a concept of how high the investigation amount base is currently running and if its really low you can see why it may take longer still to detect them.

    The Investigation amount in the city can be elevated by multiple means. You can prioritize construction of buildings that add to investigation and remember that ctrl-A, pushed while on the city screen, will bring up the popup that can allow you to destroy (and get a little gold out of it) any buildings that you may have built that grow insidiousness values. You get the full amount of Investigation going to the total investigation in the city from the best investigating law enforcement unit, but you also get +.1 investigation for every other LE unit there + 5% of the Law Enforcement values of all other LE units combined. So while it takes a lot of them to do it, you CAN push your investigation levels in the city to the limit of the economic capacity to support these LE units. As it sounds like you've seen, you have promos and buildups that can get your LE unit(s) improved investigation capabilities.

    You can also put a priority on beelining to a law enforcement enhancing tech. Nothing will help you counter the insidiousness of criminals in your city so effectively as a solid upgrade and access to further buildings that can add investigation. Note that a game rule has been introduced to keep units from ever being able to upgrade while inside the confines of an opponent city so unless they at some point move out of the city and take the risk of being seen where they can be attacked outright, which of course requires you have strong visibilities developed against them so you do see them leave, they will never be able to upgrade to get better insidiousness values to counter the investigation improvements you'll get with the next LE unit line upgrades. Such upgrades are potentially so effective that investigation success is assured over time if you can keep the crime down from these criminal thorns in your side in the meantime.

    Yes, it can be frustrating to try to increase your investigation levels because adjustments are generally measured in .1% increments. So even high investigation levels can take a good while to finally get those pesky criminals into Wanted status. I've also just recently added messaging for when a criminal becomes Wanted. Once wanted, a local LE unit can be woken and can then use the arrest action (which shows up when there's a local 'wanted' criminal) to attack the wanted criminal - provided he's still in the city at that point - but they can attack wanted criminals in the field as if making an arrest as well.

    It's difficult, but not impossible, to elminate criminals once they've setup shop. If the criminal's insidiousness values are totally and nearly the same as the highest investigation in the city, it can take hundreds of rounds but through taking the gradual steps to suppress crime and enhance your law enforcement units, over time you should beat them out and eventually have a round experience some investigative success, at which point you can be very proud of your efforts and rejoice in the act of finally getting to go in and arrest these pains in the arse.


    This is exactly why it was important to get the spawning barb criminals from high crime into play - so that it would prompt the need to occasionally have to put some effort into investigation and arrest, even if you were very good at keeping external criminals from getting into the city. There's no point to a feature/challenge being in the game unless you're very likely to have to face it on occasion!
     
  12. Niveras

    Niveras Prince

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    Thank you!

    In particular, it is useful to know that insidiousness directly counters investigation. I've been quite lax managing crime in this city so presently it's at 350. There are five criminals in it now, and they're all at 22~% insidiousness, but meanwhile my best units only manage a meager 5.4% investigation.

    For now I'll toss a bunch of LE units to get the crime down then investigate more once that's at a stable level again.
     
  13. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    There's another strategy to use against criminals once you have Scoundrels. That's to use criminals against them!

    Scoundrels and beyond can use the Assassinate mission against any enemy criminal to attack them in the city.

    And yeah, that's what I'd advise you to do. Gotta get on top of the crime first!
     
  14. Dancing Hoskuld

    Dancing Hoskuld Deity

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    Can we have this as something clear that we can add to the crime concept page of the pedia
     
  15. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    'Clear' isn't my forte apparently since I wrote the above with that intention. But I do understand it needs to be simplified in its explanation. I'll... try again. Obviously the above isn't really intended for the pedia anyhow.

    I'll try to fit an explanation of investigation into the First Post, which IS a draft in preparation for the pedia.
     
  16. Dragonmosesj

    Dragonmosesj Chieftain

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    so how do you even defend against strike teams? I can't find any info about how to defend against the stalkers just sitting there and whittling away at my healers even if I have an armed guard on them
     
  17. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    Tips:
    • Most strike teams are both melee and archer units. You can use that against them if you promote your strike team hunters against these types.
    • Strike Teams are, if you're playing on Hide and Seek, completely reliant on camouflage invisibility. Heavily promoted dogs can usually spot them pretty effectively, at least at close range. If not on H&S, dogs work flawlessly to see them with.
    • Many like to use mounted units to hunt them down, for their speed (and for their pursuit values if you are on Fight or Flight) and natural high strength values. I like Axe units because they have such a strong natural anti-melee capability. They aren't as fast though and can sometimes miss the opportunity to attack when the dogs have spotted them.
    • Fight fire with fire. Another very effective strategy is to use your own strike teams to find and kill enemy strike teams. Strike teams can get very good at seeing camo invisibility and can get great promotions for combat against other strike teams as well, and can also, if working with other strike teams, potentially swarm in to surround and destroy your strike team foes very effectively. Sometimes they can even get very good at out-stealthing your foes. Admittedly, a good strike team hunting strike team has a lot of skills to focus on to get really good and they are taking large risks when they enter combat at first, so you'll probably go through a number of them before you get a couple of really experienced and effective ones in the field.
    • Escort your vulnerable with units that take the Armed Guard promotionline, and to be truly effective once strike teams start getting the capability to attack certain vulnerable unitcombats (unit types) first in a stack, you'll need to find units that are capable of strong defense that are included in the list of unit types that the strike teams attack first. One example is the Monk unit, a heavily combat capable healing unit. You can even make nearly any unit a healing unit with the right promotions, even an axeman, which puts it on the list of types that get attacked first, thus it will be the first unit to defend in that set of units that get pushed to the forefront of attack targets in the stack.
     

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