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Ends on Retreat

Discussion in 'ITS' started by QueensGambit, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. QueensGambit

    QueensGambit Well-Known Member

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    Over in the N4 wishlisting thread, a long discussion erupted over the "ends on retreat" rule in most ITS missions. Some forumites argue it should be eliminate, some argue it should be kept, some argue it should be changed or improved.

    Others have pointed out that the discussion is really in the wrong forum. "Ends on retreat" isn't in the Infinity ruleset, it's in specific ITS missions. So there's no reason to change it in N4, rather if it were to be changed, it could be done in any new ITS season.

    So I'm opening this thread to suggest that the discussion be moved here. I also suggest that the discussion be reset since it's gotten really pointlessly toxic over in the other thread.

    I'll post my own thoughts on the subject, fwiw, below.
     
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  2. Armihaul

    Armihaul Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion, is a needed rule. It could be improved, but its appearance made a change in how the game was played to the better.
     
  3. QueensGambit

    QueensGambit Well-Known Member

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    Ok, here are my thoughts based on what I've read in the other thread.

    First, the players who've been around since before Ends on Retreat (EoR) seem to be pretty unanimous that EoR, or something like it, is necessary. They say that pre-EoR, the most common tactic was just to spend the whole game killing your opponent's guys, and then push a couple of buttons at the end. Which makes the mission kind of pointless. I haven't been playing that long, so I'm going to trust those reports and say that we need some way to ensure that the mission matters and it's not just a killing game.

    Second, I think almost everyone agrees that EoR isn't a fantastic mechanic. It doesn't make any real-world sense unless you come up with a really convoluted narrative explanation to justify it. It also doesn't feel that great to lose because you shot your guns too well. We don't have to agree on whether EoR is terrible, bad, ok, not great, or fine. But I hope we can agree that it could be better.

    Brainstorming here, it seems to me that there are three main mission types: killing, zone control, and button pushing.

    Killing missions obviously don't need EoR, in fact most of them don't have it.

    Zone control missions may not need EoR. Those missions score every round, so you can't ignore the mission for the first two rounds and then score on the third. I'd suggest that CB consider removing EoR from those missions.

    Button pushing missions are the big issue. What I would like to see is mission design where "you can't wait and do the mission at the end" is built into the design, instead of being imposed by EoR. Here are some ideas:

    - A mission where you score for each activated console, instead of a set score for "activate more consoles." So, if I kill everyone and then use my last orders to push two buttons, I only win 2-0. For a major victory, I need to spend a lot of the game pushing buttons.

    - A mission where you score activated consoles every turn. So if I push a button on turn one, I score one point at the end of the turn. If my opponent doesn't flip the console, I score another point for it at the end of turn two. (Like zone control scoring).

    - A mission where different buttons are pushable on different turns. So if I don't push any buttons on turn one, I lose the opportunity to push some of them later.

    - A mission like Tic-Tac-Toe where the pattern of buttons matters. So even if I wait until turn three to push any, I still have to "do the mission" throughout the game by positioning my specialists in the right places to activate the right pattern.

    - A mission like Unmasking where you have to do objectives in a specific order, so you can't leave them all until the end.

    Those are just ideas. My point is to try to come up with missions where the mission design punishes a player who starts by wiping out their opponent, planning to do the objectives afterwards. If that can be achieved, I think it would be preferable to EoR.

    The outlier missions could probably also be made to work without EoR. For example, say in Looting and Sabotaging, the A/C2s gain one structure point at the end of each round. So if you leave the objective to the end, the objective is harder. Rescue is probably already fine - it takes so many orders to grab civilians that you really can't leave it to the end. Etc.

    Just my thoughts. Not particularly timely since it'll be a year before CB designs another ITS season; but there were sparked by the N4 wishlisting thread and I wanted to put them out there.
     
  4. KestrelM1

    KestrelM1 Well-Known Member

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    I feel that anyone supporting "Ends on Retreat" must justify giving the player suffering from Retreat a significant advantage. Because that's effectively what this rule does: it gives a huge advantage to the person on the losing end.

    In a game where you can put an enemy into Retreat in your reactive turn, it's completely out of place. It leads to ridiculous scenarios where one player has more turns than the other, or a player has to consciously avoid killing a valuable enemy model in order to keep playing the game.

    It's a terrible rule and it should be done away with.
     
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  5. Alfy

    Alfy Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if I'd work, but perhaps making scoring pushing buttons earlier worth more points? So if you pressed a button turn 1 it'd be worth 3 points, but only 1 point turn 3, and maybe you don't have time to catch up?

    Note that I actually like having the possibility of winning a button pushing mission by wiping out your enemy, as long as it's a risky option that is difficult enough to pull off for a win. I think it means more variety in how you approach the mission.
     
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  6. Armihaul

    Armihaul Well-Known Member

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    Is a rule that punishes a player for ignoring the mission and focusing on killing. If the one ahead is doing mission and killing, the rule just makes a last (and hard) posibility to win to the one behind, but usually, those cases end with the loosing of the one retreating. Then what is the problem? when someone tryes to wipeout the enemy and do the mission on last turn with no opposition. That "strategy" makes that all mission become the same in the end
     
  7. Anansi

    Anansi Achilles' Thigh Oiler

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    Oh, we're back at this?

     
  8. Diphoration

    Diphoration Well-Known Member

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    I personally think the “End in Retreat” rule is one of the worst rule in the game at the moment.

    If your opponent can completely wipe you off the table on turn 2, they should get their turn 3 to accomplish objectives.

    The only thing this rule achieves is a creates a break in the flow of the game by forcing your opponent to stop shooting you and letting you shoot them as they try to scramble the last objective points.

    The rule also give the losing player the most important thing you can get in some missions: the last turn. There are many times where I’ve purposefully made plays that made me lose pieces, just so I could go in retreat and win the game.

    Though this last issue is also connected to the fact that mission where the whole scoring is determined at the end of the game are absolutely terrible (hello Comms Center).

    If no changes are made to the rule, the minimum points required to make a list should at least be implemented to avoid corner-case cheese or starting turn 1 in retreat.
     
  9. Alfy

    Alfy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, sure. But I still think proper game design is about encouraging players' good behaviour through a creative system, rather than punishing bad behaviour with nonsensical rules.
     
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  10. Brother Smoke

    Brother Smoke Bureau Trimurti Representative

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    It should be kept IMO, it actually adds a bit of depth to the amount of risks you take at a grand strategy level
     
    #10 Brother Smoke, Aug 22, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  11. MikeTheScrivener

    MikeTheScrivener O-12 Peace Kepper

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    Ends on retreat punishes negligent players and rewards smarter, more careful players. It should be kept imo and is one of the reasons I favor this game over so many others – the missions actually force you to do them instead of just tabling your opponent.
     
  12. QueensGambit

    QueensGambit Well-Known Member

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    I had hoped it would take longer for this thread to degenerate back into "EoR is fantastic/no ERO is terrible" :-(

    My point is that we do need a way to force (or at least encourage) players to play the mission on all three turns instead of just shooting everything that moves. Right now, EoR does that. I would like to see EoR either improved, or replaced by something better. Neither "keep EoR" nor "get rid of EoR" is a good option. I was hoping we could brainstorm better options instead of picking sides and yelling at each other.

    Anyway, thank you @Alfy for getting the point.
     
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  13. KestrelM1

    KestrelM1 Well-Known Member

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    It rewards mediocrity and inefficiency.

    Albert and Bethany are playing a game. Albert and Bethany have brought similar lists, and through the course of the game they'll each have 30 orders to spend, taking into account casualties and other factors.

    Albert does not engage effectively or efficiently. He loses to superior AROs, he spends lots of orders either activating ineffective models or recovering from his mistakes. All told it would take him 20 orders to eliminate his opponent's capability to win the mission, leaving him only 10 to actually push buttons and accomplish objectives.

    Bethany plays a smart game. She engages with strong attack pieces at ranges and angles that leave Albert unable to respond effectively. It takes her around 10 orders to effectively cripple Albert's army, and gives her 20 whole orders to activate objectives and score points.

    Which player is "playing the mission" more effectively? Under the current EoR rules, Bethany would be penalized for her offense, potentially losing a turn (or two!) because she was able to efficiently eliminate Albert's models. Albert, on the other hand, is rewarded for his failure with a bonus turn and/or the last chance to accomplish objectives.

    It really seems to me that when people say they want players to "play the mission" what they mean, in practice, is "ignore the opponent." And I think that is a terrible misuse of Infinity's strongest points as a rules system.
     
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  14. MikeTheScrivener

    MikeTheScrivener O-12 Peace Kepper

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    Your story is flawed on a lot of levels – but just a few key ones to point out:
    You're assuming that a turn in retreat is somehow a "bonus" turn and not a a few minutes putzing around with a handful of models that actually can't do anything
    You're assuming for some reason that the player in retreat is somehow benefitting from the game ending early or is the one coming out on top from this encounter.
    You're assuming Bethany plays a "smart" game while purposely ignoring any manner of scoring OBJ points on the table?
    You're once again assuming that losing out on the last turn is somehow always a detriment to Bethany, for some reason.

    You're looking at the system and rule in a very one-dimensional manner. To me it seems like you or someone you know played a game that ended in a tie or even possibly a loss and you feel cheated from the experience.

    But you can't – "Retreat!" is always counted up at the start of the active turn, so even if I ARO your trooper dead leaving you with 60 points remaining I still get an entire turn to do whatever I want with (Probably uncontested as well because you have 60 points left)

    So many of your suggestions are already implemented in the game as elements of singular missions. You can't suggest you want all missions or button pushing mechanics to work the same throughout every mission in the game?
     
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  15. Sabin76

    Sabin76 Well-Known Member

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    It seems to me that most people advocating for that (myself included) would take issue with your equivalence. Just as I'm sure you would take issue with equating "playing your opponent" with "shoot them with every order."

    Taking out key ARO pieces, running up and smashing buttons, then covering the objective with your own AROs is not what I would consider "ignoring your opponent". Just because an action doesn't involve a FtF roll doesn't mean it's non-interactive.

    There are certainly more elegant solutions to be found than the current Ends on Retreat mechanic, and I think that's the purpose of this thread. @QueensGambit's second post has some interesting suggestions that I might want to playtest locally.
     
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  16. A Mão Esquerda

    A Mão Esquerda Deputy Hexahedron Officer

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    It would be good to remember as well that for any idea to gain any traction it needs to accomplish the same thing as the current End on Retreat without increasing complexity. As inelegant at End on Retreat is (and we'll take that as a given), it is simple. In missions where it is included, if you begin your Active Turn in Retreat!, the game ends after your Active Turn. Anything would need to replicate that level of simplicity.
     
  17. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    OK, to give my responses to the EoR issue from the other thread:

    No, they're too busy running from the multiple TAGs that just got deployed on your head via Dropships. Haven't you read Outrage?


    Sure it does. Their Field Controller back in the Tactical Operations Center just called in all hell on you.



    Nope, you just had half a dozen Tiger Soldiers jump on your head, a Hac Tao or two decloak, and two Guijia fastroping out of dropships.
    [​IMG]


    It needs to be more than just another way to kill the opponent, though.

    Turn off the artificial gravity (and everyone in the ring section of the ship gets moved until they hit the wall to the south as the centrifuge stops spinning, applying falling damage for the distance traveled to hit a wall. Hope you weren't in one of those corridors that are 20+" long!)

    Start the main engines and maybe reduce the amount of time you have left to complete the mission, or, if RNG likes you, might give you more time to search for survivors.

    Scram the reactor and force all doors to be opened via a full order instead of a single.

    Engage the blast doors so that you need to use D-charges to move through a door.

    etc.


    It's not zero-sum, 10-0 is a very different victory than 1-0


    I've played missions where both players 'won' before.

    But it means you need separate tactical, strategic, and maybe even political objectives to meet for each side, which takes more work on the scenario designer's side. A lot more work.


    Again, the off-table controller called in the Quick Reaction Force on you?
    [​IMG]
    (wish I could find a bigger picture of that, the 1000px image was on the old forums and is no longer available)

    More important question, that's for sure.




    Yeah, and we weren't even at war.

    USN was straight-up fucking pissed about the Russians letting their crew die instead of yelling 'SUBSUNK' and getting help. I believe the quote from SUBPAC was "fuck the tech, what about your sailors?!?" (We were pretty sure it was a high-test peroxide torpedo going kablooey, and that is exactly why the USN doesn't use HTP.)



    "Can't sir, the enemy Reaction Forces are landing in 30 seconds, we need to leave NOW or we are dead!!!"
     
  18. Hecaton

    Hecaton EI Anger Translator

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    @Section9 The Yu Jing Party Van is a good explanation for why the game only lasts three turns, not so much for why it ends early in Retreat. The Party's gonna start when the Party's gonna start, whether people in the op zone are still shooting each other or not.
     
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  19. Brother Smoke

    Brother Smoke Bureau Trimurti Representative

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    I disagree, the party van is one way things could go

    It could also very well be: Mission failed, detonate the entire freaking battlefield as soon as our boys are out
     
  20. Hecaton

    Hecaton EI Anger Translator

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    Technically in missions that end early in retreat they're frequently blowing up the battlefield while their boys are still there.