Book 2 – Page 23

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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby gazes_also » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:32 pm

Idle speculations that I haven't seen yet: Vanna spent two turns juice on the (*ptui*) Kingworld spell. All signs point to it being a tri-mancer link, even though we have not seen the third caster. "Two turns" makes me think Dittomancer. All I have to say on the matter is that it had best be a tri-mancer link. If Charlie can end another sides turn simply by hiring a Turnamancer from the MK, then my opinion of this web comic will be very low. There should be more cost than that, as well. I just hope that when the details are revealed, and they must be for reader satisfaction, that they make some sort of sense. Not like the last time we were promised that all would be made clear and what we got was the craptastic "Charlie didn't offer this strategy, but Ansom knew to ask."


Hate to rehash this, but the signs point to no such thing. Vanna said "Charlie released me" if she had been in the intimate coils of a tri-caster link she would have said "'Charlie released US" - we've seen casters in a TCL have problems unravelling whose mind is whose afterwards. We know a thinkamancer can enhance another caster's ability, Charlie as the attuned thinkamancer has almost infinite power do so (if he chose to use it) and therefore could link with Vanna and boost her abilities immeasurably. The juice she consumed would be in containing the power channeled through her. All of these all plausible within the established paradigm QED.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:55 pm

QED what? That we can expect Charlie to easily end another side's turn simply by hiring a Turnamancer?

That would be lame, as was Oberon's point, so I think that QED goes to him.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby name lips » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:39 pm

Oberon wrote:
build6 wrote:there was that bit about how Stanley was mystified why Parson didn't do something AND didn't automatically disband, right?
Yes, but Parson was not deliberately disobeying Stanley, as Stanley had thought. Parson just didn't understand at the time that he had to make his rounds to grant the benefit of having a Warlord manage the city. Because it made no sense to him that walking into an empty bank would cause it to produce more schmuckers. He disobeyed in ignorance, in the literal sense of not knowing that he was disobeying, rather than willful disobedience which would have disbanded another Warlord. This was why Stanley was amazed that he didn't disband.

I get the feeling Erfworlders don't understand certain kinds of "ignorance." Warlords pop with knowledge of rules and combat and everything a Warlord is used for. They don't need to be taught.

As they level up, they gain more understanding of tactics and strategies. Or they gain a higher Leadership score. Or they both mean the same thing. It's a little unclear.

But not knowing how to follow a direct order? You should do it automatically, because you have been ordered to. This "I didn't know" stuff is a "real world" excuse. Erfworlders don't understand it. You're not even supposed to have to speak Language to obey orders (like the Dwagons). When ordered, you obey. If the person ordering you understands the order, you do it as they wish it to be done, as best as you are able. That's just the way it works.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby Fug » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:02 pm

Having thought about the turn ending spell a bit I find it fits in ok with erfworld dynamics. We know that hippiemancers can cause units to "flake" and apparently not act on their turns. What we have here is just a massive flaking with respect to part of a turn. We know Janice was interested in getting parson to lead and I would speculate that she could have been involved in tagging up with the turnamancer and some other unit to make gk flake part of its turn en mass. Set with some limitations (long casting time necessitating the long parley) and some danger and I think its fine.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby Cruiser1 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:15 pm

I've seen various posts about the spell that ended GK's turn being overpowered, however I think the spell is balanced for the following reason: It doesn't end a side's turn, but rather just "does the time warp" ahead an hour or so. Only if a side was near the end of their allotted turn time (when their turn automatically ends) can the "time warp" spell actually end their turn.

This implies a turn mechanic that hasn't been explicitly mentioned before, but one I believe is in place. Sides don't move at night, meaning everybody moves within the 12 hours of daylight. For example, if there are 3 sides in a battlespace, then each side gets at least 4 hours to move. After 4 hours, if they haven't manually ended their turn, then their turn automatically ends. Automatic turn ending after a set period prevents the abuse of an overlord who knows he's about to get croaked next turn from just never ending his turn and keeping Erfworld in frozen limbo.

GK had already spent a very long amount of time in their turn. They marched a huge column up to the Expository Bridge, had a long parley, attacked and converted Ossomer, advanced to Spacerock, and had another long parley. Stanley assumed they still had another hour left to take the capitol. Once GK got close enough to the end of their allotted turn time, only then did the "time warp" became enough to actually end their turn. (As opposed to say, Stanley realizing he only has 20 minutes left, and so frantically orders Wanda to attack now or pull back to Ansom's column.)

The "time warp" spell is balanced because it requires a huge amount of juice (Arkentool + caster link) to advance the turn clock even an hour (normal Turnamancers can only advance the clock 10 minutes or so if they spend all their juice). Experienced sides know to finish their turns within 3 hours or so in case an enemy has a Turnamancer, but Stanley isn't known for his smarts, and Parson is still learning. Note for additional balance I believe a side can only be "time warped" once per turn. "Doing the time warp" is only effective on the rare circumstance when a side is unaware of the tactic, has wasted enough time to be close to the end of their turn already, and the enemy has a sufficiently powerful Turnamancer linkup to advance the clock enough minutes to end turn or at least make them rushed.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:44 pm

Cruiser1 wrote:I've seen various posts about the spell that ended GK's turn being overpowered, however I think the spell is balanced for the following reason: {snip}


And I've seen many posts claiming that it is balanced and advancing speculative costs.

To me, that looks like everyone is actually agreeing that there is a problem with this spell; it HAS to have some counterbalancing costs, or else Charlie, with huge Schumckloads and an Arkentool at its disposal, could just do the Time-Warp all the time. It's not like Turnamancer Vanna is unique.

So yeah, some costs are likely to be explained some time soon.

Some people however, like say me, smell the scent of authorial fiat on that one and would have much preferred those costs to be upfront, and the spell casting be given a proper build-to in story terms. Which is one reason why I'll try hard and pretend that the Time-warp never happened and Stanley slipped on the banana he was eating, accidentally landing face-first on the End Turn button(/crazy).
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby Ehbobo » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:11 pm

Cruiser1 wrote:I've seen various posts about the spell that ended GK's turn being overpowered, however I think the spell is balanced for the following reason: It doesn't end a side's turn, but rather just "does the time warp" ahead an hour or so. Only if a side was near the end of their allotted turn time (when their turn automatically ends) can the "time warp" spell actually end their turn.

This implies a turn mechanic that hasn't been explicitly mentioned before, but one I believe is in place. Sides don't move at night, meaning everybody moves within the 12 hours of daylight. For example, if there are 3 sides in a battlespace, then each side gets at least 4 hours to move. After 4 hours, if they haven't manually ended their turn, then their turn automatically ends. Automatic turn ending after a set period prevents the abuse of an overlord who knows he's about to get croaked next turn from just never ending his turn and keeping Erfworld in frozen limbo.


Very nice, but you're forgetting that time is relative. There are no "12 hours of daylight". There is no time limit, because no matter how long a side takes for their turn it will seem like minutes to anybody in a different hex.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby gazes_also » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:26 pm

name lips wrote:
Oberon wrote:
build6 wrote:there was that bit about how Stanley was mystified why Parson didn't do something AND didn't automatically disband, right?
Yes, but Parson was not deliberately disobeying Stanley, as Stanley had thought. Parson just didn't understand at the time that he had to make his rounds to grant the benefit of having a Warlord manage the city. Because it made no sense to him that walking into an empty bank would cause it to produce more schmuckers. He disobeyed in ignorance, in the literal sense of not knowing that he was disobeying, rather than willful disobedience which would have disbanded another Warlord. This was why Stanley was amazed that he didn't disband.

I get the feeling Erfworlders don't understand certain kinds of "ignorance." Warlords pop with knowledge of rules and combat and everything a Warlord is used for. They don't need to be taught.

As they level up, they gain more understanding of tactics and strategies. Or they gain a higher Leadership score. Or they both mean the same thing. It's a little unclear.

But not knowing how to follow a direct order? You should do it automatically, because you have been ordered to. This "I didn't know" stuff is a "real world" excuse. Erfworlders don't understand it. You're not even supposed to have to speak Language to obey orders (like the Dwagons). When ordered, you obey. If the person ordering you understands the order, you do it as they wish it to be done, as best as you are able. That's just the way it works.


I think Stanley sees Parson as a kind of idiot savant, able to perform astonishing feats in one area, but completely hopeless at everything else. He does amazing things in desperate, last ditch situations, but you wouldn't trust him with a pointy stick the rest of the time.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby ftl » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:50 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:And I've seen many posts claiming that it is balanced and advancing speculative costs.


It can be balanced, yes.

To me, that looks like everyone is actually agreeing that there is a problem with this spell; it HAS to have some counterbalancing costs, or else Charlie, with huge Schumckloads and an Arkentool at its disposal, could just do the Time-Warp all the time. It's not like Turnamancer Vanna is unique.


Disagree. "There are probably costs" isn't the same thing as "there's a problem," not even close. One is speculation about the rest of the world that we haven't seen yet. (There's certainly plenty of that on the forums all the time.) The other is a criticism of the writing/comic. Very different.

Now, perhaps there would be a problem IF it turned out that anyone could hire turnamancers and do this at will all the time. But we haven't seen any indication that that's actually true - and in fact we have some indication that it's not, since the combination hasn't been brought up before and everyone seems surprised about it.

So yeah, some costs are likely to be explained some time soon.


Probably. Rob tends to explain things that get bandied about here, at least sometimes.


Some people however, like say me, smell the scent of authorial fiat on that one and would have much preferred those costs to be upfront, and the spell casting be given a proper build-to in story terms. Which is one reason why I'll try hard and pretend that the Time-warp never happened and Stanley slipped on the banana he was eating, accidentally landing face-first on the End Turn button(/crazy).


Eh, I see it the other way. I don't expect to find out everything about the story-world - only the stuff that's actually relevant to the plot. I'm quite happy assuming that there's more game mechanics going on behind the scenes that we don't know about and never will, and am perfectly fine "filling in the blanks" in a way that makes sense. I don't particularly mind that I'll never know the whole rulebook, especially since Erfworlders don't seem to know it themselves.

ALL that we actually know about the spell is
1) It used both Charlie and Vanna.
2) It used "nearly two turns worth of juice."
3) It ended GK's turn prematurely.

There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to have a spell with those three qualities be fair and balanced, many of which have been mentioned in this thread. There's also plenty of ways to make a spell with those properties pointlessly brokenly game-breaking, which have also been mentioned here.

You seem to assume the worst, whereas some people, like say me, prefer filling in the blanks in a way that makes sense given the world we've seen over the course of the comic rather than in a way that doesn't. :)
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby Konaa » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:31 pm

Menas wrote:
build6 wrote:About what? All Stanley said was that Parson did 'pretty good' under the circumstances, and that he (Stanley) shouldn't have left because things would have turned out BETTER if he had stuck around. In other words, not only did Parson get lucky, he got REALLY lucky since Stanley wasn't around to help him (from Stanley's point of view).

I think the only reason he was being nice to Parson in that update is because he was about to tell him that Ansom was going to be leading the troops in battle as the new Chief Warlord, and he was trying to soften him up before delivering the news that he was going to be demoted.


Since when has Stanley cared about what his underlings think of his orders?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby splintermute » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:23 pm

Oberon wrote:The comic has not been consistent on the matter of titles. For example, several GK characters have referred to Wanda as "my lady", which is a term used by nobility. But GK is not a Royal side, and Wanda has never been described as coming from a Royal side. Describing her people as a "tribe" would tend to indicate that they were not royals. So why a person in a non-royal side would refer to another non-royal unit as "my lady", a term indicating nobility, is rather baffling.


I think the author described the old cast page as non-canon. Also, tribe doesn't mean non-royal - Ansom is described as belonging to the "Jetstone tribe."

It's possible (probable) that Wanda was a native Faqian (or maybe Faq was populated by the Croatan tribe, and Jillian didn't acknowledge a tribal affiliation on the cast page because she was a barbarian at the time), in which case she did come from a royal side. We know that you can have noble warlords, and that sometimes when you try to pop a warlord you get a caster - maybe sometimes trying to pop a noble warlord results in a "noble" caster (or, hmmm, perhaps a "master class" caster...).
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby OneHugeTuck » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:37 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
To me, that looks like everyone is actually agreeing that there is a problem with this spell; it HAS to have some counterbalancing costs, or else Charlie, with huge Schumckloads and an Arkentool at its disposal, could just do the Time-Warp all the time. It's not like Turnamancer Vanna is unique.



Except for the people who don't think there's any problem with the spell.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby name lips » Fri Mar 12, 2010 2:11 am

Trimancer links are broken. All of them have been so far.

As far as I can tell, they're the most broken thing on Erf. But for some reason, the Erfworlders themselves have no inherent knowledge of what can be accomplished with them.

This is unusual. Very unusual. Most units are popped with all the knowledge they need to perform their duties. But every time a Trimancer link is used, everybody falls over themselves in surprise wondering what the boop just booping happened.

You'd think that with 1) the knowledge that trimancer links are possible; and 2) thousands of turns to experiment, that their capabilities would be common knowledge by now. You'd think that with a little bit of creativity and patience, all the possible combinations would have been tried, the results recorded, and trimancers with all their broken-ness accepted as a regular part of warfare.

But for some reason... no. Why not? Are Erfworlders really that bad at thinking outside the box?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby djones520 » Fri Mar 12, 2010 2:20 am

BLANDCorporatio wrote:QED what? That we can expect Charlie to easily end another side's turn simply by hiring a Turnamancer?

That would be lame, as was Oberon's point, so I think that QED goes to him.


And being able to use the Arken-Pliers to raise an entire army with NO upkeep and is completely and utterly loyal to the weilder isn't lame/broken? Wanda raised the largest army in Erfworld with no effort at all as far as we can tell. If anything it used just as much juice as raising regular uncroaked.

It's an Arkentool. It is supposed to be able to do extremely powerful things for it's attuned weilder. If you want to complain about balance, if anything I'd say it doesn't come close to balancing what Wanda can do with her tool.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby JustDoug » Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:51 am

name lips wrote:You'd think that with 1) the knowledge that trimancer links are possible; and 2) thousands of turns to experiment, that their capabilities would be common knowledge by now. You'd think that with a little bit of creativity and patience, all the possible combinations would have been tried, the results recorded, and trimancers with all their broken-ness accepted as a regular part of warfare.

But for some reason... no. Why not? Are Erfworlders really that bad at thinking outside the box?


The problems are that Erf doesn't seem to have anything resembling a philosophy of scientific method and... Well, the two tri-mancer linkups that have been seen so far resulted in the death of one, madness in the other non-thinkamancer, with the participants in the other link being saved from a similar gruesome fate only through the efforts of a team of talented thinkamancers when the links were broken.

Experimenting with that sort of thing is rather like a chemist testing to see if he's been successful in manufacturing nitroglycerine by hitting the newest batch with a hammer. It's nice if you can afford it, but you'd tend to go through a lot of chemists that way. I doubt very much that many Kingdoms would be willing to risk their very limited supply of casters that way. I also doubt that they'd have an easy time hiring casters from the Magic Kingdom for such a use.

There's also that the trimancer links seemed to be very task-oriented, being directed solely at some specific result and not so good with having their job description changed on the fly. They're handed a job to do somewhat within the involved caster's purview, with the link giving them the necessary insight (and possibly juice) to solve the "problem at hand," not to go looking for problems to solve.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby ftl » Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:31 am

Actually, I CAN believe that erfworlders haven't experimented with this.

Remember, Erfworlders are popped with all the knowledge they need. You said so yourself.

So that means, the concept of ACQUIRING knowledge about the world has got to be completely alien to them. Sure, warlords can scout for enemy units, but that's not the sort of knowledge we mean - we mean fundamental knowledge about the mechanics of the world and the capabilities of units. Erfworlders just never encounter that sort of challenge, usually. And sides don't last long enough to be able to experiment on this themselves - remember, sides only get a few casters, they can't risk them experimenting! And of course, sides would never actually pass such knowledge between each other, or at least not often and not in detail.

Add to that that trimancer links are risky. Madness, death of the casters, all inherent risks. So if Erfworlders are popped knowing "trimancer links are very dangerous but can be very powerful," that's all they'll know about them until they have a reason to try one (a glut of casters and/or a hopeless position.)

Erfworlders play by the rules. They're not popped to look for loopholes in their own world.

That's part of what makes Parson special. He really is the only one looking at this as if it's a game, with exploitable mechanics to use. Maybe Charlie's picked that up from him, but that's it.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:29 am

OneHugeTuck wrote:{IRT Time warp is seen as problematic to everyone}
Except for the people who don't think there's any problem with the spell.


Duh. But I'd expect those people to be rather rare, or to have switched off their thinking caps. Sorry, but true. This thing is huge, as it can alter one of the holy mechanics of Erfworld (turns). To be incurious about how it works/how it is possible to cast is to wilfully suspend questioning.

ftl wrote:Disagree. "There are probably costs" isn't the same thing as "there's a problem," not even close. One is speculation about the rest of the world that we haven't seen yet. (There's certainly plenty of that on the forums all the time.) The other is a criticism of the writing/comic. Very different.


Huh? I totally mean that as a criticism of the comic.This is one part of the world that we had better see first before it hit us over the head like that.

ftl wrote:Eh, I see it the other way. I don't expect to find out everything about the story-world - only the stuff that's actually relevant to the plot. I'm quite happy assuming that there's more game mechanics going on behind the scenes that we don't know about and never will, and am perfectly fine "filling in the blanks" in a way that makes sense. I don't particularly mind that I'll never know the whole rulebook, especially since Erfworlders don't seem to know it themselves.


See my point about this weird incuriosity. I mean come on, that was one of the most plot relevant things to happen lately. It was important, AND it messed up one of the established rules of Erfworld (or one that we thought established).

As an author, you of course can subvert the rules of the universe you've created. But it should be done sparingly and with good preparation beforehand. This came, if not out of nowhere, then at least unprepared. For one important thing, we now need to know the answer of why Charlie isn't casting this all the time and ruling Erfworld.

Which is a question even you and OneHugeTuck probably want answered, your claims to incuriosity notwithstanding.

ftl wrote:You seem to assume the worst, whereas some people, like say me, prefer filling in the blanks in a way that makes sense given the world we've seen over the course of the comic rather than in a way that doesn't. :)


I do "assume the worst" as you say, because using a new unknown and powerful thing to solve a plot problem is the method of the lazy writer, which I would rather not be reminded of in a comic I enjoy.

djones520 wrote:
BLANDCorporatio wrote:QED what? That we can expect Charlie to easily end another side's turn simply by hiring a Turnamancer?

That would be lame, as was Oberon's point, so I think that QED goes to him.


And being able to use the Arken-Pliers to raise an entire army with NO upkeep and is completely and utterly loyal to the weilder isn't lame/broken? Wanda raised the largest army in Erfworld with no effort at all as far as we can tell. If anything it used just as much juice as raising regular uncroaked.

It's an Arkentool. It is supposed to be able to do extremely powerful things for it's attuned weilder. If you want to complain about balance, if anything I'd say it doesn't come close to balancing what Wanda can do with her tool.


Hello and welcome to these boards.

It is probably necessary that I explain what my gripe is: I don't give a frozen fig if the game is balanced or not. What I do care about is the story.

Wanda was well-foreshadowed to be attuned to the Pliers, and she (or at least, GK) earned them after a series of interesting events, involving characters that are sympathetic to us being placed in risky situations. That we also got to watch.

TimeWarp is workable as a story too, but right now it does not feel like something "earned", but more like something tossed in because Spacerock had no other chance. There was no risk involved to the users, there was no decision nor sacrifice for them to make. Somebody said that Jillian placed Wanda and Jack at risk; I doubt it, as the same person said Jillian has control of the situation. And apparently since Jillian will leave Wanda alone, she's safe. Ta-daa.

Also, it is not the ending of the story yet, so it seems poorly timed. Then, it raises a bona-fide plot-hole possibility: if this thing were easy to cast, why isn't Charlie ruling Erfworld or something? Why didn't Charlie step in for Unaroyal (surely there are other Turnamancers than Vanna, and the Magic Kingdom portal works both ways, and Charlie's reputation among casters is a good one) and thus earning himself a good reputation with the new RCC?

Since we expect there to be no plot holes, it follows that this thing needs some explaining as to why it can't be abused, but then that now requires some clunky hand-waving after the fact.

Finally, instead of finding a solution that works within the (thought) established world rules, and thus allowing us to see how clever these characters are and appreciate that brilliance, it comes in and bludgeons a solution with magic. Anybody can write magic.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby valce » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 am

I agree with Bland -- even if Vanna is an exceptionally good turnamancer, she can't be the *only* exceptionally good turnamancer (or we would've heard about her being the best of the best).

Still, I would imagine that there is another cost associated with the turn-ending spell -- perhaps a large quantity of smuckers? Enough that only in very few situations could a side expect to profit from such a spell. Though if this spell is castable, I don't see why any doomed side wouldn't try to have it cast (even hiring a last-minute caster or two from the MK), if only just to delay their demise and mess with their attackers' profit lines.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby robak » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:48 am

It really doesn't bring that much of a benefit. Remember, the enemy has to be already inside your own hex before you can cast it. In most cases that means it's too late for much else to do. Unless of course you happened to station the bulk of your army and reinforcements outside which Jetstone did.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 23

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:59 am

robak wrote:It really doesn't bring that much of a benefit. Remember, the enemy has to be already inside your own hex before you can cast it. In most cases that means it's too late for much else to do. Unless of course you happened to station the bulk of your army and reinforcements outside which Jetstone did.


OR, maybe you have allies that are unfortunately too far to help you. But, deny the enemy a turn and your friends might just reach for a timely rescue. Certainly was possible for Unaroyal.
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