[XML] infected neutrals

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Postby richardgarr on Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:27 pm

I like the attack when provoked option, If neutral is attacked during round #(arbitrary #) it will attack , so if you need to kill off a neutral to gain a pathway or a bonus (whatever the reason) , you must make sure you are prepared for the retaliatory attack. This would be a good way of players having some control over where, and when a neutral army will be unleashed.
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Postby The Weird One on Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:18 pm

I think this is a good idea.
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Agreed - Neat idea

Postby KingCoolDaddy on Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:22 pm

I like it too... Just quirky enough that it might be a blast!
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Postby the_fatty on Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:28 pm

The Weird One wrote:I think this is a good idea.


second that
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Postby cicero on Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:49 am

Thanks to all for your posts to date. I am quite excited that so many are straightforward, supportive "let's do it" type replies.
Equally other replies questioning, or suggesting alternatives to, my original post are very thought provoking ...

Twill wrote:Or you could get really cutting edge, set up a rules based system for deciding if they should attack (for an AI coding example, see ... <snip> ... Or there are other systems this could be based on other than territory names or randomly. For example, it could be based on who holds the most territories, who has killed the most natives (revenge is sweet), path of least resistance, path of most resistance, closest target (map makers would have to take this into account in their designs), only attack when provoked (i.e. attack only if attacked first), attack if relative player armies in country being attacked is less than 10% or above 75% (easy pickings vs desperation), set by the map maker ("motives"), randomized motive but announced.
Just to reiterate my position my suggestion is not about AI players. It's an interesting topic, but not for this thread. Perhaps AS players? Artificially Stupid? That describes my zombies pretty well. ;) [Continuing the off topic train of thought - I like the idea that the site provides a programmable AI engine that could, perhaps, be 'programmed' using XML or something. Each of us would be able to write our own AI code and paste it into the engine. There could then be AI tournaments etc with the points going to the programmer ... Like I said - interesting, but off topic ;)]

Twill wrote:I think alphabetical territories is a mistake because in some maps (because this feature hasn't been designed for) the computer would always go one way. Always.
Yes. They would always behave in an utterly predictable manner. (And this will apply equally to maps designed before zombies and those designed specifically with them in mind.) But that doesn't mean you could predict the behaviour with any certainty until it was too late. I'm probably being a bit over the top here, but I think a sub-chaotic behaviour would result. There would be a kind of "butterfly effect" possible in that players could radically change the route of the zombies by attacking tactically.

Twill wrote:For example, in midkemia, Qwan starts with 6 neutrals, it would always attack earennial, which would suck to start there, kind of like alcatraz in LA.
I agree that this option would not suit some maps. And certainly some of the newer maps with pre-defined large numbers of neutrals may not be appropriate. Remember that neutral zombies is intended as an option not a default setting. It should be switchable just like Fog of War. Some maps will suit NZ's (Neutral Zombies) and others won't - we all have our preferences for certain game options on certain maps and this intended to be another option.

Twill wrote:it's just too simple of a system and will get boring after a while, there needs to be uniqueness if not randomness. if you have a classic map, and neutrals end up in kamchatka, they will always attack Alaska, Alberta, Northwest tarritories, greenland, iceland, great britain, n. europe, s. europe, egypt, congo etc etc etc. no matter what the opposition looks like - it's like a one player suiciding in a 3 person stand off - someone always gains and someone always loses, and nobody likes being on the losing side and nobody can control it.
And this is where the sub-chaotic behaviour kicks in I think ...

Firstly I agree that if the set up is on Classic as you describe and this position is at the start of the game. If you ignore all other factors, the NZ's will progress along the route you describe. But those other factors are (i) the players. And we're not going to be ignored!! And (ii) the dice. I think these will affect the zombies route too ...

Let's assume that you, Twill, are a player whom it would suit perfectly for the NZ's to pursue the route described. Fine. You'll do nothing to stop them and will try to make the best of your advantage. However I really don't want them to turn up in Europe and so I'll attack them ... [At this point in my post I began to describe a hypothetical game to illustrate potentially alternate outcomes, but it gets too long to make good reading - see my closing comment.]

Twill wrote:I like the idea, it needs a lot of work before we consider implementing it though :)
I think it needs less work than you think. :) But you've got me thinking enough that I'm going to go and do some play testing on Classic map (since I have the board game) and report back to the thread ...

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Postby richardgarr on Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:57 pm

Just thought I would bump this, so I people might have something other then the million threads on the CC bug, to read.
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Postby hasaki on Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:10 pm

I just read your idea I and i dont think it will work. As you said when the N-army reaches 4 armies it will attack. Apart from a dead beating player the
N-army will never have over 4 armies on any one place at any one time.

So I just don't see the point in having something like this unless the N-armies could build up to a sizable force before attacking.
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Postby richardgarr on Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:57 am

hasaki wrote:I just read your idea I and i dont think it will work. As you said when the N-army reaches 4 armies it will attack. Apart from a dead beating player the
N-army will never have over 4 armies on any one place at any one time.

So I just don't see the point in having something like this unless the N-armies could build up to a sizable force before attacking.



Originally it was suggested that the N armies receive 1 man per terr each turn.
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Postby cicero on Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:12 am

hasaki wrote:I just read your idea I and i dont think it will work. As you said when the N-army reaches 4 armies it will attack. Apart from a dead beating player the N-army will never have over 4 armies on any one place at any one time.

So I just don't see the point in having something like this unless the N-armies could build up to a sizable force before attacking.

Imagine the position on Classic map that Twill suggests above. Let's look at the zombie army on Kamchatka over a few turns.
Note I am ignoring players and any action they might take, ignoring card sets and also I am assuming winning dice on every attack for the zombies.] This serves to better illustrate my response to the point that you have raised although it is certainly not realistic gameplay.

Round 0 - Neutral Zombies (NZ's) in Kamchatka 3 armies.

Round 1 - add 1 army to all NZ territories - Kamchatka 4.
Attacks - Kamchatka to Alaska.
End Position - Kamchatka 1, Alaska 3.

Round 2 - add 1 army to all NZ territories - Kamchatka 2, Alaska 4.
Attacks - Alaska to Alberta.
End Position - Kamchatka 2, Alaska 1, Alberta 3.

Round 3 - add 1 army to all NZ territories - Kamchatka 3, Alaska 2, Alberta 4.
Attacks - Alberta to Northwest Territory.
End Position - Kamchatka 3, Alaska 2, Alberta 1, Northwest Territory 3.

Round 4 - add 1 army to all NZ territories - Kamchatka 4, Alaska 3, Alberta 2, Northwest Territory 4.
Attacks - Northwest Territory to Greenland & Kamchatka to Irkutsk.
End Position - Irkutsk 3, Kamchatka 1, Alaska 3, Alberta 2, Northwest Territory 1, Greenland 3.

Round 5 - add 1 army to all NZ territories - Irkutsk 4, Kamchatka 2, Alaska 4, Alberta 3, Northwest Territory 2, Greenland 4.
Attacks - Greenland to Iceland & Irkutsk to Mongolia.
End Position - Mongolia 3, Irkutsk 1, Kamchatka 2, Alaska 4, Alberta 3, Northwest Territory 2, Greenland 1, Iceland 3.

Round 6 - add 1 army to all NZ territories - Mongolia 4, Irkutsk 2, Kamchatka 3, Alaska 5, Alberta 4, Northwest Territory 3, Greenland 2, Iceland 4.
Attacks - Mongolia to China, Iceland to Great Britain, Alberta to Ontario ...

Which, I guess, is a rather long-winded way of saying "if a zombie army gets isolated it will build up beyond 4". :)

When I first ran through this sequence - as a start to some play testing as mentioned in my previous post - I was concerned that the zombies appeared too strong. They appear to be taking over pretty rapidly don't they?

But this simply confirms that ignoring players makes the gameplay unrealistic.

So I simulated a full game. I dealt random territories to 5 players on the Classic map. [5 x 8 = 40 which leaves 2 neutral territories for the zombies.] I deliberately chose Kamchatka as one of the zombies territories since it had already come up in this thread and the other was randomly assigned - Congo.

I played for each of the players in turn and of course the zombies at the end of the round. The Kamchatka zombies did progress to Alaska and then Alberta, but made it no further - they were wiped out in round 6. The Congo zombies did not progress at all but survived until wiped out in round 4.

The effect of the zombies was relatively subtle - as I would expect, and hope, in such a scenario. Some players in Africa deployed but did not attack - since it made sense to wait for the zombies to attack another player according to the rules - hoping to take advantage after the battle. The player in Africa immediately threatened by the zombies (pink) was able to hold them below the 4 army horde required to make an attack and seemed to use the dynamic to build up a stronghold in that continent. It may have been that the zombies presence made the other players so passive that pink was able to seize the initiative.

In North America green was heavily present, but first lost Alaska to the zombies. Another player lost Alberta, but by this time green had reinforced Northwest Territory and wiped out the zombies before they could attack.

In both areas the players were respectful of the zombies and took care to ensure they didn't gain a stronghold. If they had been ignored - as in the hypothetical example above - it can be seen that they may multiply into a game threatening plague rapidly.

One game does not make for real play testing, but some interesting results I think.

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Postby vrex on Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:59 pm

Personally, a little flair to games is always appreciated. every time someone creates a concept which increases the fun/strategy factor it makes me happy im a part of conquerclub 8).
Perhaps the only places NZ's would not liked in would be those forced neutral maps known as feudal war and the might/magic...except for the crazy people willing to see exactly what would happen. Created maps with NZ's in mind would of course be fine as the map through the forge will be balanced.
BUT due to the fact that NZ's are an OPTION and not a requirement if they were hypothetically implemented we would most likely never see a game with feudal war, NZ on... in the meantime they would add a fun new flair to several maps and spawn several ideas for new ones.
Of course...we still need one person to comment on this... :roll:
In closing i agree wholeheartedly that this should be implemented...but *coughlackcough* needs to state his views as he is 'headmaster'
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Postby Stoney229 on Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:41 am

I really like the idea, and do not think it really needs much more work... but would a player in a zombies-enabled game have to eliminate all zombies in addition to all human players in order to win? b/c I'm afraid that the zombies would just be too difficult to defeat in a 2-player or deadbeat game.

Also, I definitely think that zombie wins should result in no points loss, otherwise people will be less likely to play with zombies (esp if they have a lot of points and prefer to play with other players that have similar points so as not to lose too many points to a lucky low-ranked player), because they are less likely to gain points and more likely to lose points than a non-zombies game.

one last problem I can think of... it would definitely catch new players off guard, b/c I think they don't always realize there are different game types to pay attention to before joining a game. However, this problem already exists especially with assassin games, so .... (I just thought I mention it 8-[ )

other than that i think it's great, and hope to see it sometime soon.

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Postby Coleman on Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:06 pm

I'd write this, not for free, but I could write it. It wouldn't be very hard.

The logic...

Code: Select all
If (zombie != 0) {  //does not equal 0 is what us paranoid folk do for true
{
  Territory x = 0; //need this later
  Territory y = 0; //ditto
  Neutral Grow All Owned Territories By 1; //autodeploy 1, if I understood that right
  Cycle through owned territories; //some sort of loop
  {
    while (armies > 3);
    {
      Check borders; //another loop
      {
          Territory x = current iteration;
          if (Territory y < Territory x)
            Territory y = Territory x; //ignoring alphabetical preference atm
      }
      Auto-Attack Territory Y;
      if (Win)
        Fort All;
    }
  }
}
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Postby DiM on Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:24 pm

Coleman wrote:I'd write this, not for free, but I could write it. It wouldn't be very hard.

The logic...

Code: Select all
If (zombie != 0) {  //does not equal 0 is what us paranoid folk do for true



i was sure 0=false and 1=true :roll:
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Postby Coleman on Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:25 pm

DiM wrote:
Coleman wrote:I'd write this, not for free, but I could write it. It wouldn't be very hard.

The logic...

Code: Select all
If (zombie != 0) {  //does not equal 0 is what us paranoid folk do for true



i was sure 0=false and 1=true :roll:


Close, 0 is false, everything else is true. -33 is true, 42 is true, .02347 is true.

So anything that is not zero is true.

I guess someone could come up with a programming language where that isn't the case, but everything currently written beyond 1 & 0 only (boolean logic) behaves where 0 is the only false value.
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Postby DiM on Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:36 pm

Coleman wrote:
DiM wrote:
Coleman wrote:I'd write this, not for free, but I could write it. It wouldn't be very hard.

The logic...

Code: Select all
If (zombie != 0) {  //does not equal 0 is what us paranoid folk do for true



i was sure 0=false and 1=true :roll:


Close, 0 is false, everything else is true. -33 is true, 42 is true, .02347 is true.

So anything that is not zero is true.

I guess someone could come up with a programming language where that isn't the case, but everything currently written beyond 1 & 0 only (boolean logic) behaves where 0 is the only false value.


i thought it's about binary code. there 0=false and 1=true.
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Postby Rogue42 on Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:31 pm

There was an old boardgame that used this idea. It was a game with Hero's and magic. But the zombies were Orc's. They added a new dimension to the game. The orcs could be ignored but if they got over a certain number they would frenzy and attack any territ touching them. Each turn all orcs would get one per territ as reinforcements.

It added a great element to game play. All players had to work together to keep them in check while still trying to take over the rest of the players. We had a few that ended up with orcs taking over but not very many.

I would love to see it added as an option.
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Postby yeti_c on Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:32 pm

TBH - I'd be more worried about the extra brace on the first line.

C.

PS - In Java you can have a tristate boolean... called a Boolean.

It can be true false or null.
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Postby yeti_c on Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:33 pm

Rogue42 wrote:There was an old boardgame that used this idea. It was a game with Hero's and magic. But the zombies were Orc's. They added a new dimension to the game. The orcs could be ignored but if they got over a certain number they would frenzy and attack any territ touching them. Each turn all orcs would get one per territ as reinforcements.

It added a great element to game play. All players had to work together to keep them in check while still trying to take over the rest of the players. We had a few that ended up with orcs taking over but not very many.

I would love to see it added as an option.


Heroquest?

If so - actually 1 person played as the dungeon master... whilst (upto) 4 people battled against them... THe Dungeon Master could also win the game.

C.
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Postby Coleman on Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:50 pm

yeti_c wrote:TBH - I'd be more worried about the extra brace on the first line.

C.

PS - In Java you can have a tristate boolean... called a Boolean.

It can be true false or null.
It isn't real code. :roll: It's the rough logic.
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Postby cicero on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:13 am

DiM wrote:AoR magic with zombie mode on would be a battle for survival. killing others won't matter surviving the longest will be the idea.

which come to think of it would be something really really nice.
I missed the significance of this when I first read it.

DiM points out that on maps where (whether as designed by the mapmakers or as the result of deadbeating) there are overwhelming numbers of zombies the gameplay will change. Rather than one player dominating the map by conquering the other players and any zombies until the player wins, it will be a matter of the zombies dominating the map - taking out the players one by one until there is only one player left ... at which point that one player will win! By default. Beautiful.

And hence there will never be a question of the zombies winning any games or any points.

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Postby cicero on Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:55 am

A couple of quotes from earlier responses in the thread. [Slightly edited for brevity and underlined for emphasis.]
Twill wrote:... there are other systems this could be based on other than territory names or randomly. For example, it could be based on who holds the most territories, who has killed the most natives (revenge is sweet), path of least resistance, path of most resistance, closest target (map makers would have to take this into account in their designs) ...

I think alphabetical territories is a mistake because in some maps (because this feature hasn't been designed for) the computer would always go one way. Always. For example, in midkemia, Qwan starts with 6 neutrals, it would always attack earennial, which would suck to start there, kind of like alcatraz in LA. - it's just too simple of a system and will get boring after a while, there needs to be uniqueness if not randomness. if you have a classic map, and neutrals end up in kamchatka, they will always attack Alaska, Alberta, Northwest Territories, Greenland, Iceland, Great Britain, n. Europe, s. Europe, Egypt, Congo etc etc etc. no matter what the opposition looks like - it's like a one player suiciding in a 3 person stand off - someone always gains and someone always loses, and nobody likes being on the losing side and nobody can control it ...
Lone.prophet wrote:if it is alphabetical than it has do do with the luck where you start

maybe make it attack the weakest/strongest territory it can first than if they are the same alphabetical maybe
You're right.
Despite me subsequently arguing otherwise in the thread ;).
I'm now convinced that pure alphabetical selection changes neutral territories from minor random advantage (as they are in their current benign state) to more significant random disadvantage (as neutral zombies) - dictated by your initial relative position . See my next post for a revised version of the suggestion taking your thoughts into account.

mitchmitch11 wrote:ok, I like the idea but I say we keep to risk and not bring in aliens or zombies or fictional caracters. Why dont we just call them rebels or outlaws or something like that. I would prefer that a lot more than zombies or aliens. But that is just me.
mitchmitch summarises the point made by several others. We all have a preference for just what to call this gameplay effect. Personally I still believe zombies are where it's at [see George Romero's zombie films, Simon Pegg's "Shaun of the Dead" and Max Brooks' "World War Z"], but ultimately it's a subjective thing. I suggest that for the immediate future we discuss the gameplay mechanics and if, "praise the lord/lack", the idea is marked to be implemented we can then debate the naming.

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Postby cicero on Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:07 am

REVISED Suggestion Idea:
Additional game type option:
Neutral Zombies : Yes | No

Specifics:
With Neutral Zombies set to No game play is as now.
With Neutral Zombies set to Yes game play is as follows:

- Any neutral armies on the map are zombies.
- The zombies automatically take their turn last in the game round.
- At the start of the zombies' turn one army is added to every territory held.
- Zombies do not earn any bonuses.
- All zombie territories with 4 or more armies auto-attack a non-zombie neighbour* until they win the battle or have 3 or less armies. If they win the battle they advance all possible armies. If they have no non-zombie neighbours then they cannot attack (just as for normal players).
- The zombies continue their turn until they cannot attack further as defined by these rules.

* Zombies are dim, predictable and unappeasably hungry. An attacking zombie army will always attack the neighbour containing most armies (food). If more than one neighbour contains the same, highest number of armies the target is decided by which comes first alphabetically by territory name. (Similarly if more than one zombie territory is capable of making an attack then the order is decided alphabetically.)

The player who wins gains no points for beating the zombies any more than they do now for eliminating neutral players.

It will be seen that zombies cannot win any games and so the question of points lost does not arise **. This firmly positions the zombies as a gameplay feature and not an AI player.

Why it is needed:
It would introduce interesting new ways of playing and tactics ...
  • Neutral territories are no longer handy defences, but are actively dangerous!
  • A deadbeating player actually dies and his armies come back as zombies! Perhaps you won't ignore the player who looks like he might deadbeat after all.
  • Even if there are no zombies in the game to start with (because of the map/player numbers combination) some may be introduced by a deadbeat or, in maps including the option, by a successful bombardment or a "killer" territory (no maps yet exist with killer territories) ...
  • When considering an attack on another player the fact there are "zombies behind him" needs to be taken into account ...
  • You may actually decide to deploy/fortify your armies away from zombies since this will make the hungry zombies turn elsewhere ...
  • Several players have asked for AI over time and, rightly, this has been rejected since this is a player/community based site. However the zombies would introduce some positive elements of AI players (though 'intelligence' is stretching it a bit).
  • Imagine a 1v1 (where 1/3 of territories are automatically neutral) ...
  • Imagine a growing zombie horde (it cannot auto attack since it is surrounded on all sides by other zombies) ... which you deliberately release knowing, because of their predictable behaviour, that the zombies will attack your opponents ...
  • Map designers could take into account zombie behaviour when designing maps ...
  • In heavily infested situations human players will have to cooperate to eliminate the zombies first ...
  • In extremely heavily infested situations human players may not, even with co-operation, be able to eliminate the zombies ... in which case the player able to survive longest will win.
  • Assassin games ... "someone shoot those zombies before they give the game to .. oh shit - too late!!"

** Zombies can't win or gain points ..
It is important to note that existing rules do not consider neutral armies as a player and hence the neutral armies cannot win. Under existing rules:

standard game
If at any time there is only one player left that player wins.
(whether the player holds 99% of the territories or 1)

assassin game
If at any time one player is eliminated (by whoever) the player whose target that was wins.

terminator game
If at any time a player is eliminated by the zombies then the points are awarded to the player who last took a territory from the eliminated player (as per the rules to cover deadbeats). If no player had previously taken a territory from the eliminated player the points are awarded to the last surviving player at the end of the game (again as per the rules to cover deadbeats).

Any other scenarios which need to be covered in this section let me know (by PM preferably) and I'll update.

Cicero
Last edited by cicero on Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:34 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby jennifermarie on Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:24 am

cicero wrote:
Any neutral armies on the map are zombies.
The zombies automatically take their turn last in the game round.
At the start of the zombies' turn one army is added to every territory held. Zombies do not earn any bonuses.
All zombie territories with 4 or more armies auto-attack their non-zombie neighbour* until they win the battle or have 3 or less armies. If they win the battle they advance all possible armies. If they have no non-zombie neighbours then they cannot attack (just as for normal players). The zombies continue their turn until they cannot attack further as defined by these rules.



Cicero


(shortened and bolded for emphasis) How would the bolded part work during a freestyle game if people are delaying their turns and run out the 24 hour clock? or would the zombie start playing during the last 2 minutes of a round guaranteed? (unless able to play earlier due to people not waiting until the last second?)
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Postby yeti_c on Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:31 am

jennifermarie wrote:
cicero wrote:
Any neutral armies on the map are zombies.
The zombies automatically take their turn last in the game round.
At the start of the zombies' turn one army is added to every territory held. Zombies do not earn any bonuses.
All zombie territories with 4 or more armies auto-attack their non-zombie neighbour* until they win the battle or have 3 or less armies. If they win the battle they advance all possible armies. If they have no non-zombie neighbours then they cannot attack (just as for normal players). The zombies continue their turn until they cannot attack further as defined by these rules.



Cicero


(shortened and bolded for emphasis) How would the bolded part work during a freestyle game if people are delaying their turns and run out the 24 hour clock? or would the zombie start playing during the last 2 minutes of a round guaranteed? (unless able to play earlier due to people not waiting until the last second?)


I think a better wording would be...

Zombies take their turn in between rounds...

I.e. after everyone has played - before anyone else can play...

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Postby cicero on Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:38 am

jennifermarie wrote:
cicero wrote:
Any neutral armies on the map are zombies.
The zombies automatically take their turn last in the game round.
At the start of the zombies' turn one army is added to every territory held. Zombies do not earn any bonuses.
All zombie territories with 4 or more armies auto-attack their non-zombie neighbour* until they win the battle or have 3 or less armies. If they win the battle they advance all possible armies. If they have no non-zombie neighbours then they cannot attack (just as for normal players). The zombies continue their turn until they cannot attack further as defined by these rules.
Cicero


(shortened and bolded for emphasis) How would the bolded part work during a freestyle game if people are delaying their turns and run out the 24 hour clock? or would the zombie start playing during the last 2 minutes of a round guaranteed? (unless able to play earlier due to people not waiting until the last second?)

My first thought is:

Let's consider speed, freestyle games since these are the most intense version of freestyle with players taking their turns effectively at the same time.

I think that introducing the zombies to this real time arena would be unpredictable and potentially unfair since zombies would (unless deliberately hampered) be quick to play and so being close to them would be a negative.

At present, as the game round nears its end, more and more players complete their turn until there is only one player completing his/her turn.
As that final player completes their turn the next round is started allowing everyone (except that final player) to start their next turn.

I would propose that the zombies take their turn after the final player and before the next round starts.

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