Book 2 – Page 39

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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby leshabirukov » Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:07 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:How about
Foolamancer-Thinkamancer-Weirdomancer for David Lynch. Nobody understood exactly what the spell did, but that won't stop them arguing.

My argument: it casts Diane and Camilla to the Erfworld.
zilfallon wrote:
... it cost ALOT for Charlie to get Kingworld done. He had to ally with Jillian, he had to hire a Turnamancer (it's obvious there's not alot of them floating around without a ruler in the Magic Kingdom, or there'd be a whole lot more sides using them), he had to transport said Turnamancer all the way to where she was to be deployed while staying linked. And we have it from the Archon's point of view that while he was linked, there was a complete blackout.

The story we're reading is taking in a small part of Erfworld. It is called "Great Western Conflict", so at best, the terrain we know is 1/4 of erfworld.
You are saying that there were NO Turnamancer in the whole booping Erfworld before Wanda liberated one? Seems unlikely to me...

imho. Being exceptionally combat casters, not many of them live long enough to acheive master-class.
CorrTerek wrote:Also, is it possible that trimancer links have more than one use? Like, could a Croaka/Dirta/Thinkamancer linkup be used to "uncroak" other types of ground?

They can create death metal golems.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby Chit Rule Railroad » Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:05 pm

effataigus wrote:3. Charlie is a game balance mechanic/difficulty slider with the objective of making Parson tell a good story.
....
If Charlie is another player is it possible that he is either entering cheat codes or scaling down the difficulty of the game as he goes on? This might account for how he seems to be getting powers as he needs them.


"Do you believe that my being strong enough or fast enough has anything to do with my stats in this place? Do you think that's air you're breathing now?...There is no 'Dish."
(I guess that would be explanation #3, Charlie as sparring mentor.)

Explanation #5: The Arkentools have plans for Parson. Charlie is being manipulated by his Arkendish, as are the other holders (attuned or not) by their tools. The Arkentools might be testing Parson and/or manipulating him into developing in a certain way.

Explanation #6: As #5, but it's not the Arkentools. Many casters, including Jack, are conspiring and feeding information and an occasional scroll (Perfect Warlord, Kingworld - so powerful that it required a link-up to cast even though it was prefabbed) to various parties. Jack sussed out Parson's plan from Wanda's side of the conversation because he's been exposed to the idea before, and he contacted Charlie. Jack also hacked Parson's eyebook.

I would like a variation of #6 a lot more than #5, because we can look back at the dialog of various casters and find foreshadowing, intended or not, while the Arkentools have not been interesting characters.

Edit... Maggie may be a better conspirator candidate than Jack. She is known to be sneaky in general and specifically with regards to arranging Parson to be Chief Warlord. She could have hacked the eyebooks and patched Charlie in on this last thinkagram.

Edit... A more limited theory: Charlie really can do the eavesdropping on his own, but Kingworld was the Magic Kingdom's attempt to assassinate Wanda (via Charlie).
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby spriteless » Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:47 pm

Chit Rule Railroad wrote:Explanation #6: As #5, but it's not the Arkentools. Many casters, including Jack, are conspiring and feeding information and an occasional scroll (Perfect Warlord, Kingworld - so powerful that it required a link-up to cast even though it was prefabbed) to various parties. Jack sussed out Parson's plan from Wanda's side of the conversation because he's been exposed to the idea before, and he contacted Charlie. Jack also hacked Parson's eyebook.

Edit... Maggie may be a better conspirator candidate than Jack. She is known to be sneaky in general and specifically with regards to arranging Parson to be Chief Warlord. She could have hacked the eyebooks and patched Charlie in on this last thinkagram.

Edit... A more limited theory: Charlie really can do the eavesdropping on his own, but Kingworld was the Magic Kingdom's attempt to assassinate Wanda (via Charlie).

OK, these, and that last edit in particular, that is the kind of meaty speculation I love. Thank you so much. That puts things together. This is why I love forums.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby Chit Rule Railroad » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:47 pm

Another thought on Maggie: If she believes Wanda is a threat to Stanley (she might have learned some scary things when linked with her), and if she believes Parson's attitude would be "Sure she's scary, but you don't throw people away" (which it tends to be), and especially if she believes that Parson's judgment is clouded by affection (which some on the forum are suspecting), Duty might allow/compel her to get Wanda croaked.

I wonder what kind of trouble Maggie would have gotten into as a Faq unit. I don't think she would approve of either Banhammer or Jillian's decision-making.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby DevilDan » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:02 pm

Chit Rule Railroad wrote:I wonder what kind of trouble Maggie would have gotten into as a Faq unit. I don't think she would approve of either Banhammer or Jillian's decision-making.

The ostrich plan worked well enough until Wanda betrayed Faq. And Jill was surely not disobeying orders. Faq needed money and Banhammer surely knew he couldn't keep too tight a leash on Jill.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby CorrTerek » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:31 pm

Oberon wrote:And when your best attempt at encryption is foiled by a veiled Archon floating nearby, then what?


I was thinking about that too. Ftl made a good point, but there are other considerations too. So.

First off, the wiki has quite a bit to say about veils. None of it is Word of God, but it's pretty well-based on what we've seen in the comic, so that's what I'm going on unless it's proven otherwise. Based on that evidence it's doubtful that an Archon would be able to maintain a veil and still be close enough to read what's on the eyebook. There would be too many warlords in the area, and likely too many people period, that could blow the veil. If Jack or the decrypted Archons are nearby, they could very well see through the veil.

Even ignoring that, there are still some precautions that can be taken. First, if the eyebook's owner isn't in a battle hex, they could set up camp, go into their tent, post guards in front of the door, and then begin communications. Any Archon trying to get at that eyebook would have to go through either the tent or the two guards, and an Archon who can maintain a veil and avoid suspicion under those conditions should be out assassinating side leaders, not spying on one side's lowly warlords.

Secondly, every unit in the hex (or at least, say, 10% of the forces that can see through veils) should be keeping an eye open for veils. If you're not using Thinkamancy, it can be assumed you don't want Charlie to know what you're doing. That would include making sure none of his pretty glowy ladies are nearby. Haggar was able to spot the Archons pretty quickly once they started looking for veiled units, and they weren't even expecting Archons.

However, even if none of the above would actually work for whatever reason, there's still a way to avoid this problem -- a decoder ring. The big problems with encrypted eyebooks is that you can still see what's written on them, right? So let's make a modification to the original plan: each eyebook no longer simply displays what's being sent on it. Instead, it displays what's being written on it in code, the same code that it's encrypting the message with. Linked to each eyebook is a decoder ring (or glasses/monacle/goggles, whatever) that allows the wearer (and only the wearer) to read the encrypted message.

For added fun, you could set it so that the "original" eyebook (which would presumably be kept in the capitol of the side) has "admin" powers over the others that include desyncing an eyebook/decoder you suspected had been captured.

Could this actually be done in Erf? I dunno. But it's fun to speculate.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby CelebrenIthil » Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:43 am

leshabirukov wrote:[
CorrTerek wrote:Also, is it possible that trimancer links have more than one use? Like, could a Croaka/Dirta/Thinkamancer linkup be used to "uncroak" other types of ground?

They can create death metal golems.


Brilliant! :mrgreen:

I don't know for sure about how the Archon's veiling works but unless I am mistaken, as far as we've seen, veiling always "disguised" the units (more or less cleverly/subtlely depending on the caster's ability), it doesn't make them go totally invisible. More like "hiding in plain sight". (it was rather flashing that made people go invisible)
Thus having ninja-Archons up close and personal to enemy leaders so they can read over their shoulders...? Seems unlikely to work.
First because even with invisibility the Archon is bodily present and can easily be bumped into or blocked by physical obstacles, and secondly because they'd be far-pressed to put on a veil that'd fool everyone up so close. I mean, a cloud when you're up in the sky is innocuous enough, but what do you disguise at when you are hovering at the shoulder of some dude in a tower or whatnot?

And yeah, seems Erf units do get Spot Checks. :)
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby ftl » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:07 am

I think I'll repeat my point; if there's an archon in the hex watching over your shoulder as you read your eyebook, encryption is completely not the issue. Then the archon can hear the order as you pass it on to the warlords, or as you discuss it with them before or after, or she can just sneak up from behind and croak you after you're done listening.

Encryption solves a particular problem - the problem of Charlie listening in to thinkagrams. It does not solve the issue of other forms of spying, nor does it attempt to; I think discussing other methods of spying are a bit of a red herring here.

(You may be making the point that it doesn't matter what you do because Charlie's always going to pull something out of his behind. That might be true, given how the story's gone so far.)
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby doran » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:33 am

ftl wrote:(You may be making the point that it doesn't matter what you do because Charlie's always going to pull something out of his behind. That might be true, given how the story's gone so far.)


I don't think thats true, Charlie's just playing the role of the shadowy mysterious mastermind. I think its highly unlikey that by the end of the comic, Rob is going to turn round and say Charlie was basically a walking omnipotent plot device - capable of doing anything on the whim. Its just again a narrative thread that takes a longer time to play out.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby Intruder » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:23 pm

Yeah, to be honest, I don't really think Charlie is as untouchable as many people make him out to be. So far he's been on top of things, played a low stakes game and has avoided a one side vs. one side confrontation. I don't even think archons are as powerful as people make them out to be. In TBFGK, Charlie was essentially in the business of providing the right bonuses at the right time via a force built entirely of high level archons with multiple specials. But he was only able to tip the battle because the RCC already had a whole mess of pikers and marbits to buff up in the first place. And given their wide array of specials, I would suspect that in terms of pure upkeep costs that Archons are probably less cost effective as pure brawlers than other units of a similar cost. That's not to say they're defenseless of course-- clearly they are not-- But I would suspect that once you have an archon/warlord force large enough to provide all applicable bonuses you'd probably then better off adding a dwagon or maybe even an archon's upkeep worth of gumps to a stack rather than adding an archon who'll just bring a trick you already have. Charlie's genius so far has been staying out of battles that directly threaten him while letting other sides provide the one dimensional ground pounders while he supplies the highly flexible flying casting wonder girls that can scout even better than they fight.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby ftl » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:13 pm

Intruder wrote:Yeah, to be honest, I don't really think Charlie is as untouchable as many people make him out to be. So far he's been on top of things, played a low stakes game


If this is his low stakes game, how much more is there to escalate to a high-stakes game? He's already pulled some new tricks that nobody's seen before - remote linkup for KW, and now possibly spying on thinkagrams. The fact that he's revealing all these now - to me, that says that the stakes are higher than we can see at the moment. There's got to be some reason why Charlie is being this aggressive here. If this is a low-stakes game for Charlie, then how much more is there to add for a "high-stakes"???
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby Sieggy » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:03 pm

Charlie hasn't revealed anything - Rob has. And the reason Charlie has to shut down GK is to shut down Parson, who now knows more about him, his methods, and his capabilities than anyone else on Erf. Parson is the single largest security breach Charlie's ever had, and he wants, NEEDS it plugged. NOW. Everything else is secondary to that goal.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby Oberon » Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:43 pm

Hiai wrote:Because [Charlie] was unable to [use Kingworld previously]. Charlie has no turnamancers. He hired one, later on, AFTER Wanda came into the 'pliers and went on a rampage and killed Vanna's ruler, thus making her available for hire, then had to get her transported via Jillian to the spot she needed to be, all in secret while maintaining a link. Not exactly a spell one can pull out of one's ass, no?
No. Please do not try to link Bea sending her Turnamancer into the MK before suiciding with Charlie being able to hire a Turnamancer. We have it straight from the decrypted Archons that Charlie is known to be a good employer within the MK, and often hires Turnamancers from the MK. So there is zero linkage other than the conservation of characters between Vanna and Charlie having a Thinkamancer on hire. Giving it some thought, as we should, Charlie should have a standing practice of parking a Thinkamancer with any significant force of his Archons. With "significant" being defined as any amount higher than that number he is willing to lose. After all, if he flubs a situation read and ends up on the losing side, far better to have spend some schmuckers on a Turnamancer's fee than to lose 80+ Archons. No?

So there isn't a lot of sense being made here. If we consider that Charlie is a smart guy, and also consider the capabilities that Kingworld provides to him in addition to all of his other well established powers, and then do a tiny bit of logical thinking, this becomes quite clear. Kingworld would and should be Charlie's "out" for any situation involving a decent amount of Archons that went sour on him. And he been shown to be easily smart enough to plan ahead for just such contingencies. I mean, seriously. Your turn is over. One of the other Sides locally is about to wipe out your hovering Archons by uncroaking a volcano. So you END THEIR TURN, and shut down that TPK you were about to suffer. Yeah, it cost you something, the exact amount which we do not know, for the Turnamancer. But compare: You are prepared to spend the shmuckers for a Turnamancer to turn a "one each turn" into a 3 per two turns. In other words, a 50% production increase. If it is cost effective to pay for a 50% production increase, then it is very worthwhile to pay for a survival guarantee for any significant amount of Archons.

The question we need to ask ourselves is, why didn't Charlie cover himself like this? He is either a smart guy who is able to challenge Parson on the mental field of battle, or he isn't. And if he isn't, if he overlooks his demonstrated powers when it becomes inconvenient for the plot, then that trope has a few choice terms associated with it: WallBanger, IdiotBall, PlotInducedStupidity, IdiotPlot.
Hiai wrote:Despite what you and Bland and a few others have been saying, it cost ALOT for Charlie to get Kingworld done. He had to ally with Jillian, he had to hire a Turnamancer (it's obvious there's not alot of them floating around without a ruler in the Magic Kingdom, or there'd be a whole lot more sides using them), he had to transport said Turnamancer all the way to where she was to be deployed while staying linked. And we have it from the Archon's point of view that while he was linked, there was a complete blackout.
Let's take these one at a time:
He had to ally with Jillian.
You are seriously suggesting that allying with the Queen of a Side is a COST? Bwahahahaha! This is exactly what Charlie wanted and needed. It gave him access to the RCC where he lacked it before. Putting up with a chaotic partner was cheap compared to the advantage it gave him. Please note that Tramminis has been arguing with his King that Charlie is the one who saved them from certain doom! The exact sort of opening Charlie needed. The "cost"? Trivial in comparison, at twice the price.
He had to hire a Turnamancer
Something he is reported to do frequently. If I buy dinner out frequently, which costs money, does this make yet another dinner out an extraordinary cost that I am hesitant to accept? Your position simply does not make any sense.
(it's obvious there's not alot of them floating around without a ruler in the Magic Kingdom, or there'd be a whole lot more sides using them)
Obvious, eh? You are forgetting that "[Charlie] would frequently (my italics) hire casters from the Magic Kingdom for specific work. He had an excellent reputation as an employer there." There is further discussion of the Archon production advantages of hiring a Turnamancer. No mention of a shortage of a Turnamancer any time Charlie might want one. You are speculating, and you have zip to base your speculation on.
[...] while he was linked, there was a complete blackout [of his otherwise outrageously powerful instant communications ability with every single member of his Archon fleet.]
Again, trivial. Trivial compared to what he gained. He lost some small amount of opportunity to instantly communicate with his Archons. Which merely places him in the same position as every other Side on Erf. I suppose you could call the very temporary (one turn, or less) suspension of a HUGE advantage to be a "cost", but I do not.

Ansan Gotti wrote:Since we seem to be rehashing old ground, here is an old exchange between us that I believe illustrates the issue very clearly. The below is from the Book 2, Page 4 (yes, THAT long ago) Reactions thread.
Jesus H Christ on a crutch! Did you really re-open a ~6 month old discussion just to troll me? Old troll is still a troll.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby Ansan Gotti » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:08 am

Oberon wrote:Jesus H Christ on a crutch! Did you really re-open a ~6 month old discussion just to troll me? Old troll is still a troll.


It wasn't a troll then, and it's not a troll now, although the fact that you appear to believe honest debate is trolling is rather telling, IMO.

You're talking about essentially the exact same issue as we were before. The points are still relevant and I thought posting the old exchange would, frankly, save us some time.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

Oberon wrote:Your turn is over. One of the other Sides locally is about to wipe out your hovering Archons by uncroaking a volcano. So you END THEIR TURN, and shut down that TPK you were about to suffer.

Except that wouldn't work. It wasn't GK's turn when Parson TPK'd; it was RCC's, and Charlie was up next.
KW *might* allow them to leave the hex once the volcano starts uncroaking, but seeing as how RCC had move still, and they were entirely wiped out, it's a good bet that the volcano acts faster than you could get a KW off, let alone retreat in time.
KW is significantly powerful, but once it's used once or twice, opponents know to target to croak the turnamancer (rather than trying to capture) before they can get the spell off, and it's already been established that you can only cast spells out-of-turn under special circumstances, like when the enemy is in the same hex as the caster.
That definitely strikes me as a spell you save until it makes a decisive difference, so that your opponent can't factor it into their strategy.
Once it has been used, great pains can be taken to ensure that it's less effective or ineffective in the future (for example, keeping all of your forces in the same hex and only moving as much as the slowest unit).
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby Chit Rule Railroad » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:23 am

Oberon wrote:Charlie should have a standing practice of parking a Thinkamancer with any significant force of his Archons. With "significant" being defined as any amount higher than that number he is willing to lose. After all, if he flubs a situation read and ends up on the losing side, far better to have spend some schmuckers on a Turnamancer's fee than to lose 80+ Archons.


The fatal flaw in your argument is that a typical caster hired from the Magic Kingdom would probably not be willing to go out into the field, especially a caster like a Turnamancer who would be useful in the capital of any side. Vanna had a personal connection with the situation that made her an exception. Also, she's probably grown to like and trust Jillian :twisted:
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby splintermute » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:10 am

Chit Rule Railroad wrote:
Oberon wrote:Charlie should have a standing practice of parking a Thinkamancer with any significant force of his Archons. With "significant" being defined as any amount higher than that number he is willing to lose. After all, if he flubs a situation read and ends up on the losing side, far better to have spend some schmuckers on a Turnamancer's fee than to lose 80+ Archons.


The fatal flaw in your argument is that a typical caster hired from the Magic Kingdom would probably not be willing to go out into the field, especially a caster like a Turnamancer who would be useful in the capital of any side. Vanna had a personal connection with the situation that made her an exception. Also, she's probably grown to like and trust Jillian :twisted:

Also, casters don't like linking - that warrants some hazard pay, or may be a dealbreaker (unless your dying queen ordered you, with her last breath, to do whatever it takes to destroy GK). Yes, bimancers are less risky than trimancers (assuming KW was bimancy), but there's still some risk. Maggie and Sizemore only link because they've discovered they have a particular affinity, and they only discovered that affinity after Parson forced them into a trimancer link. If bimancers were completely risk free, you'd think Maggie and the other GK casters would have done some "experimenting" before (cue '70s porn music).

And you're suggesting that KW is a spur of the moment spell that Charlie can cast as soon as his plans turn south. That overlooks the fact that Charlie needs to be linked up for the entire turn preceding the spell, and that he won't have the situational awareness necessary to know exactly when to trigger KW - he seemed to be aware of things in Vanna's immediate vicinity (perhaps through the whole "group mind" thing), but had to wait for Jillian's order to actually cast the spell. Of course, he could just assign a particularly trusted archon the task of telling the turnamancer to cast.

The simple solution to all of Oberon's objections (whining?) is that he never cast KW before because he didn't know he could. It's like asking why we went through all of tBfGK in book 1 when Parson could have just evacuated the city (after being promoted from garrison), lured the entire RCC into the city, and remotely detonated the volcano and ordered the trimancer into the MK via eyebook.

Perhaps that was the first offensive use of a trimancer on Erf, which prompted Charlie's development of KW. Yes, it's been implied that there have been previous links (dish blackouts) but we don't know what he was doing in them. Perhaps he offers remote links as a particularly expensive service, maybe to sides with dirtamancers who want to super-fortify their cities, or dollamancers who want to make super-powerful accessories. This is the first chance he's had to use KW since he discovered it.

Why didn't he use it at Unaroyal? He couldn't get any units in place. Any Charlescomm units in the hex would have been considered enemies and shot down on site. He couldn't negotiate with Queen Bea because she wasn't taking his calls.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:57 pm

splintermute wrote:Why didn't he use it at Unaroyal? He couldn't get any units in place. Any Charlescomm units in the hex would have been considered enemies and shot down on site. He couldn't negotiate with Queen Bea because she wasn't taking his calls.


Chit Rule Railroad, since I'm pissed off at splintermute, could you tell them that I said that since Charlie had good connections in the Magic Kingdom, he/she/it/they could have used a caster there as an envoy? :P
The whole point of this is lost if you keep it a secret.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby DevilDan » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:26 pm

Wait, did Gk use mostly air units against Unaroyal? If GK used ground forces, Kingworld becomes rather pointless against an overwhelming infantry force (particularly one that includes a unit capable of decrypting troop).
Last edited by DevilDan on Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 39

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:31 pm

Please, please let's not get that ball rolling again. I'll just say that against any foe, the ability to negate a turn is priceless; for example, it allows you one more turn to produce defenses/bring reinforcements/cast offensive spells at their location etc.

After all, maybe this infantry column just entered the hex with the intent to kill the side *wham* turn's over, now the defenders can bombard them with RFED scrolls at their leisure. It's not uncommon for an attacking player to have various advantages, like picking targets, opportunities to cast buffs/debuffs etc. So even an infantry column could be stopped in its tracks.

EDIT, final: and that's all I'll say about that. In short, if you think there's a situation where denying a turn is useless, use your imagination more. How useful, whether or not cost-warranted, that's something else. But even that's a lean for yes, useful and cost-worthy.
Last edited by BLANDCorporatio on Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The whole point of this is lost if you keep it a secret.
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