Patso Redneb wrote:
BLANDCorporatio wrote:Suppose also that sending all 24 pikers at once could also clear the Twolls. Then the best bet is to send all pikers at once. We know units retaliate when attacked, so attacking the twolls three times means they get three chances to kill your units. If the Twolls, at the start, are strong enough to kill 10 Pikers, then they'll croak 10 of your 24 pikers if you send them en-masse. Or, they'll croak 8, then more than 2 (there's plenty of Twolls left, you need to attack them 3 times, remember?), then maybe even one more. So you have more casualties.
I'm a newcomer to Erfworld and these forums (hello everybody btw) so I probably don't know many obvious things, but is there any evidence in the story, that attacked stacks retaliate to every attacking stack. I would rather guess that every stack can attack only one other stack at the same time, be it attack, retaliation or whatever. In that case many small stacks would be preferred to one big stack. And there could be additional bonuses for flanking.
That would make a lot more sense, actually. There's nothing that indicates that one stack can retaliate against multiple units.
nothing that indicates that more than 8 units in a stack get to attack at the same time. In Sword and the Stars, you can have fleets that are bigger than the number of units your Command and Control ships can handle. What happens is that the ones that you don't have C&C points for don't show up on the battlefield. If an active unit dies, then another unit from the fleet takes its place, but you never have more ships on the field than you can control. I've always seen stacks like that. Sure, you can have a big stack, but the other guys back there are going to be useless.
To refer to Bland
's Twoll vs Piker example, let's examine two possible scenarios if we assume that only 8 units can attack at a time from any given stack. Either A) the Twolls can retaliate in full to all units it fights, or B) the Twolls can only retaliate to one unit that attacks it. In case A) the best thing to do is to lead a single big stack and just let the reinforcements cycle in until the Twolls are dead. That's better than letting all the Twolls take a shot at every stack as it comes in. Sure, you may lose the same number of men in the meat grinder single-stack approach, but it's unlikely because there will always
be 8 pikers attacking the twolls. Individually, each stack will be weakened by casualties and thus will be less effective overall.
However, in case B) you would be much better off splitting your pikers into three different stacks because only one stack will take damage, but all three will deal
damage. So one stack will be wounded and possibly wiped out, but the rest of the stacks are untouched, making 8 your maximum possible casualties. If you had sent in one big meat-grinder stack like above, you have no idea what your casualties will be. Maybe you'll get them in 8, but probably you won't because you're doing less damage per troop and you're doing it slower.
Now, let's take a hybrid of these ideas. Suppose you can only have 8 troops attacking and you can only retaliate once, but if you are fighting multiple stacks and wipe one out, you can continue to attack another stack. However, you can't engage more than one stack at a time on the defensive. So if you take out one and are still alive, you can turn to the next stack and keep going. Or, let's assume that you can engage multiple stacks simultaneously, but it splits your offense. So if there are 8 twolls being attacked by three stacks of 8 pikers each, then each would have either two or three twolls responding to them.
In either hybrid case, your best bet as the attacker is still to split your troops. You will be doing more damage faster, and you will suffer less casualties. You may lose more than one stack, but you'll have two stacks attacking unopposed for quite a while, or each stack will outnumber the defenders by at least 2:1. Since Erf isn't
a game, speed and event timing does matter. Things aren't summed and tallied at the end of the turn, they happen in real time. So having two stacks unopposed or a 2:1 advantage is a huge thing. Either way, the best play is to have multiple stacks.
All of this is assuming that only 8 units at a time can attack from any given stack, and this is also all dealing with stacks without Leadership. However, based on what we've seen so far, I don't think that's an unreasonable assumption to make. Putting more people in a stack would ensure you get your stack bonus for longer, which might matter in certain cases, but otherwise it's probably best to keep each stack at 8 and have multiple stacks. Which is exactly what we've seen in the comic.