The details of this suggestion are now finalised as far as regular forum discussion is concerned. Please do not post further suggestions for change.
I have drawn this post to the attention of the site owners/moderators [specifically Lack & Twill].
I would prefer that we, as community members, await their 'official' feedback/criticism before making any significant edits to this proposal.
Having said that if those of you who fully understand the suggestion aims find errors/omissions/ambiguities in this post then please do post accordingly. Please quote concisely from the proposal to make the thread easy to follow.
The neutrals have been infected by an unknown virus. This affects their behaviour making them irrationally, unreasonably aggressive, but predictably so. They attack any un-infected armies without thought for their own safety and with no real goal in mind. Whether they still have a mind is open to debate.
They always attack the largest uninfected armies on their borders and continue the battle until they destroy their enemies or sustain such casualties that they cannot continue. There is no antidote.
Additional game type option:
Infected Neutrals : Yes | No
With Infected Neutrals set to No game play is as now.
With Infected Neutrals set to Yes game play is as follows:
- Any neutral armies on the map when the game is initialised are infected and are active.
- Any neutral armies introduced to the game by deadbeats or bombardments are infected and incubate for one full game round before becoming active.
- Active neutrals always attack if capable. Incubating neutrals do not attack.
- With colour codes added active neutrals are identified by a preceding 'a' and incubating neutrals are identified by a preceding 'i'. These replace the usual 'n'.
- The infected neutral turn occurs immediately after the end of each game round before the start of the next game round.
- Game Log reports of infected neutral activity are affected by Fog of War in the same way as reports of player activity.
- The infected neutral turn progresses according to the pseudo code below.
- Killer Neutrals shall remain the same, and WILL NOT be infected.
- This will NOT be playable by New Recruits
- In the case of 2 players being attacked by Infected Territories, the territory that comes FIRST in the alphabet will be attacked first. For example. Angola will be attacked before Mongolia.
- Code: Select all
// DEPLOY phase
// add one army to each ACTIVE infected neutral territory
For Each active infected neutral territory
add one army to territory
write to game log : "infected neutrals get 1 army added to <territory name>"
// Infected neutrals do not receive ANY other bonuses of any kind, positive or negative.
- Code: Select all
// ATTACK phase
// All ACTIVE infected neutral territories with 4 or more armies and with non-neutral neighbours are capable of making an attack
// NB bombardment attacks are not allowed
- Code: Select all
FutureOffset = current system time // timestamp offset to be used to allow players to watch infected neutral turns in real time
NumAttTerr = number of territories capable of making an attack // calculate how many territories can attack
While NumAttTerr > 0 and FutureOffset < turn end time // as long as there's a territory that can attack, and not out of time, ATTACK !!
// the following two lines must be INSIDE the While loop since the territories capable of attacking may have changed since the last iteration
arrange the qualifying territories in an array AttTerrs() // indexed 0, 1, 2 etc
sort the AttTerrs() array by "number of armies on territory (high to low)" then (where this is indecisive) by "(number of armies on territory -3) MOD number of AttTerrs with same number of armies (low to high)" // the reason for the "-3" here is purely for consistency with the "AttackForce" used below
AttTerrInd = 0 // set the attacking territory index to zero; to point to the first attacking territory
// select TARGET player territory(s)
// This logic addresses both a single target territory and multiple target territories
// The attacking territory will attack the bordering territory(s) which contain the most armies
// [Remember that bombardment attacks are not allowed]
arrange the qualifying territory(s) in an array Targets() // indexed 0, 1, 2 etc.
sort the Targets() array by "alphabetical order (a to z)"
NumTargs = the number of territories in the array Targets()
AttackForce = initial number of attacking neutral armies - 3
TargCount = 1 // set the target count to one; to indicate the first of the NumTargs targets
While TargCount<=NumTargs // attack each of the targets in turn
TargInd = (AttackForce + TargCount - 1) MOD NumTargs // set the target territory index; to point to the TargCount target
attack Targets(TargInd) // attack the target territory
Until the attacking territory has <= (3 + (NumTargs-TargCount)*INT(AttackForce/NumTargs)) armies or the battle is won
If the battle is won Then
If TargCount = NumTargs Then // ie neutrals are attacking the last target territory
advance (all remaining - 1) armies
advance (all remaining - (3 + (NumTargs-TargCount)*INT(AttackForce/NumTargs))) armies
write to game log using FutureOffset as timestamp : "infected neutral player attacked <territory name> from <territory name> and conquered it from <player name>"
FutureOffset = FutureOffset + 5 seconds // to allow players to watch the turn in real time
TargCount = TargCount + 1
NumAttTerr = number of territories capable of making an attack // recalculate
If FutureOffset >= turn end time
write to game log using FutureOffset as timestamp : "infected neutral player ran out of time"
// END phase
// Consider all INCUBATING neutrals
For Each incubating neutral territory
If incubating neutral territory was infected in the preceding game round Then
write to game log : "infected neutral territory <territory name> incubating"
incubating neutral territory becomes active neutral territory
write to game log : "incubating neutral territory <territory name> now active"
// Note that regardless of game settings infected neutrals make NO fortifications.
// Note that regardless of game settings infected neutrals receive NO cards.
The player who wins gains no points for beating the infected neutrals any more than they do now for winning a game containing neutral players or eliminating neutral players.
It will be seen that infected neutrals cannot win any games and so the question of points lost does not arise*. This firmly positions the infected neutrals as a gameplay feature and not an AI player.
This suggestion relies on the predictability of the Infected Neutrals for it's effectiveness. Players will need to understand this predictability to incorporate the Infected Neutral behaviour into their strategy. Whilst the pseudo code above does describe the behaviour accurately it does not present it as simply as will be necessary for the community as a whole.
The "Instructions > Game Options" tab to be updated to include the following just after the Fog of War section:
Infected neutrals play their turn immediately after the end of each game round before the start of the next game round in both sequential and freestyle games.
Any neutral armies on the map when the game is initialised are infected and are active. Any neutral armies introduced to the game by deadbeats, bombardments or killer territories are infected and incubate for one full game round before becoming active. Active neutral territories are capable of attack if they have 4 or more armies and at at least one non-neutral neighbour. Incubating neutrals do not attack. [With colour codes added active neutrals are identified by a preceding 'a' and incubating neutrals are identified by a preceding 'i'.]
At the start of their turn infected neutrals receive one additional army on every territory held. They receive no other bonuses, positive or negative, of any kind. Infected neutrals will always attack from each of their capable territories in turn attacking from the territory with the largest number of armies first. Such a territory will attack its largest neighbour(s) and continue until battle is won or the attacking territory has less than 4 armies remaining. Infected neutrals end their turn when there are no neutral territories capable of attack or they run out of time. Regardless of game settings infected neutrals do not make fortifications and do not receive a card.
Ordinary neutrals do not have a turn, receive no armies at any time and are entirely passive. [With colour codes added ordinary neutrals are identified by a preceding 'n'.]
Further, to avoid overwhelming the "Game Options" tab page, a more detailed post describing Infected Neutral behaviour to be posted in "General Discussion > Q&A" when Infected Neutrals are implemented. This post will then form the basis of a thread for any clarifying questions about how the Infected Neutral option works.
cicero, in Q&A on Infected Neutral implementation date, wrote:Infected Neutrals
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 does not benignly lapse, but the neutral armies produced by a deadbeat (in non terminator games) become infected and attack! Perhaps you won't ignore the player who looks like he might deadbeat after all.
- Even if there are no infected neutrals 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 "infected neutrals behind him" needs to be taken into account ...
- You may actually decide to deploy/fortify your armies away from infected neutrals since this may make them attack 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 infected neutrals 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 infected horde (which cannot auto attack since it is surrounded on all sides by other infected neutrals) ... that you deliberately release knowing, because of their predictable behaviour, that the infected neutrals will attack your opponents ...
- Map designers could take into account infected neutral behaviour when designing maps ...
- In heavily infested situations human players will have to cooperate to eliminate infected neutrals first ...
- In extremely heavily infested situations human players may not, even with co-operation, be able to eliminate the neutrals ... in which case the player able to survive longest will win.
- Assassin games ... "someone kill the infected neutrals before they give the game to .. oh shit - too late!!"
* Infected neutrals 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. Hence from existing rules:
If at any time there is only one player left that player wins.
(whether the player holds 99% of the territories or a single territory)
If at any time one player is eliminated (by whoever) the player whose target that was wins.
If at any time a player is eliminated by the infected neutrals then the points are awarded to the last surviving player at the end of the game (as per the rules to cover deadbeats).
1 References to 'alphabetical order' mean ASCII order (and refer to the names of the territories). Hence numbers come before letters etc.
Implementation of this would possibly be more straightforward and processing/server efficient as 'XML order'. To facilitate XML=alphabetical order it would be necessary to revise XML for all maps to ensure the [borders] sections presented the borders in strict ASCII order.