Book 2 – Text Updates 054

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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby effataigus » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:52 am

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Fishy wrote:Plug that into your profit/loss/expected value calculation, and you get a divide-by-zero error. The value of 'the king survives the upcoming engagement' is infinite. If Cubbins' actions increased the odds of that happening from 98% to 99%, then the expected value he's added to the Jetstone Cause is 1% of infinity, which is infinity. From an optimizer's perspective, Cubbins is justified if the cost of his action- his life and everything he might hope to accomplish in it- is less than the expected value, which is zero from his perspective, and infinite from Jetstone's.

Min-max 4 life, yo.


Aaaarghhhh. Whatever the take everyone has on whether Cubbins did the tactical right thing, I cannot resist pointing out that the above is wrong.

IF we assign infinity to the value of the King's survival, then 98% odds of survival and 99% odds of survival both bring infinite expected value. So does 1% chance of survival, for that matter. So expected value is not enough.


Hrmf...

First off... abstract all you like and this is (I agree) a silly argument, but if the question is how much better is 99% of infinity than 98% of infinity, then you would want the difference between the two. This would simplify to infinity*(0.99-0.98). This is infinitely better! Though I have to admit that I don't know my properties of infinity all that well... it might be that no two infinities are the same, in which case you couldn't simplify using the distributive identity. Either way, if the kings survival is the only outcome that is important to you, then you would want to do whatever you could to make sure the king survives.

Secondly... the least defensible portion of Fishy's argument IMO was the unquoted portion:
Fishy wrote:Coming at it from the other angle, remember the stakes. The king has no heir, and he's about to go into direct combat. If the king croaks in that engagement, the side ends.

That means Cubbins dies. The Prince dies. Cubbins' best friend Ace dies. The archers in the tower die. People Cubbins have never met die. People in cities Cubbins has never seen die. Everything that Jetstone was, and is, and could have been dies.


We don't know that JS has no heir (Ossomer may or may not be heir again) AND the kings death only causes the death of all field units. All units still in the city hex become neutral... it is arguable that this is tantamount to death... but that would be a difficult argument to make with Wanda out of the hex.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:16 am

drachefly wrote:Yeah, it's a really bad idea to begin working with infinite utilities.


Concisely put.

effataigus wrote:First off... abstract all you like and this is (I agree) a silly argument, but if the question is how much better is 99% of infinity than 98% of infinity, then you would want the difference between the two. This would simplify to infinity*(0.99-0.98). This is infinitely better! Though I have to admit that I don't know my properties of infinity all that well... it might be that no two infinities are the same, in which case you couldn't simplify using the distributive identity.


Infinity has a very weird way of messing up arithmetic, yes. In this case, it's (more or less) arithmetic we're dealing with, so imagine this scenario. Someone approaches you and offers you two bets. Being a firm believer in expected value maximization as a criterion for rationality, well anyway, let's say you are for the sake of this experiment, you boldly declare that all you need is the expected value to make up your mind on which bet to take, not the odds of winning and payoffs.

Oh-k, the bet offerer says, both bets have an infinite expected value for you. Just by that criterion you cannot tell, and were not told, that one of them has 1% chance of winning, whereas the other is 99.9999%.


effataigus wrote:Either way, if the kings survival is the only outcome that is important to you, then you would want to do whatever you could to make sure the king survives.


Indeed, the person in the scenario above is being foolish when not being interested in the odds. So you'd want to minimize the risk of the King dying in the battle. How much are you willing to pay to minimize that risk? If sacrificing all units apart from the King would guarantee the King's survival, would you pay that price?

Possibly. Maybe the outcome of the battle is a lonely desert with only the King left standing, and able to quickly rebuild.

Possibly not. Maybe there's another danger just over the hill yonder, that can make short work of the lonely King, and guaranteeing survival in this battle is merely delaying the inevitable.

So maybe a better way to think about the problem Cubbins and others are facing is not just to save the King, but to save the "power" of Jetstone. No King, power is 0. Some collection of surviving units (which necessarily includes the King), power above 0. Save more units, that power increases, but each new unit saved brings a lower proportion of the power after battle. So depending on how risk adverse you make yourself, and how profit seeking, there will be a point of balance between saving units and risking the King.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby oslecamo2_temp » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:08 am

BLANDCorporatio wrote:So maybe a better way to think about the problem Cubbins and others are facing is not just to save the King, but to save the "power" of Jetstone. No King, power is 0. Some collection of surviving units (which necessarily includes the King), power above 0. Save more units, that power increases, but each new unit saved brings a lower proportion of the power after battle. So depending on how risk adverse you make yourself, and how profit seeking, there will be a point of balance between saving units and risking the King.


Except in this case, losing the king is an auto-lose. Some risks are simply too big to take.

Look at Stanley. He loves battle. He loves taming dwagons.He's pretty good at both tasks, and his arkenhammer provides a sick bonus to units around him. But he still has to sit at his heavily fortified capital and only gets out under heavy archon/dwagon escort because he's the lifeline of his side. Just because in one of the hundreds out of hexes out there, there may be some enemy laying in ambush. A pretty low possibility of ambush, but still bigger than zero.

On the other hand throwing the king into battle is a risk, but it's only done when you're out of other options. Stanley had better chances against Jillian and Transylvito bats than wait for the RC steamroller to reach him. Slatley has better chances charging against the archons in an air battle than staying on a crumbling tower or trying to exit trough ground and be crushed by siege. You risk the king because there's no more safe places to hide him, but you can still choose to put him in the least risky place.

Now losing Cubbins isn't an auto-game over. The RC has 3 other mancers, it will be one less heavy upkeep to pay(Jetstone is bankrupt as it is), and the archons need to go down at all costs, which means shooting every last tower spell while they can.

Hard times demand hard measures. Jetstone isn't fighting for profit anymore. They're fighting for survival. No cost is too big to enanche the king's chances of victory.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:33 am

oslecamo2_temp wrote:Except in this case, losing the king is an auto-lose. Some risks are simply too big to take.


Sometimes I feel like a bad record, because I'm dragged back to square 0 all the time.

In fairness, I think we're not too far apart, we just insist on different things. Look at this:

oslecamo2_temp wrote:Look at Stanley. {snip} But he still has to sit at his heavily fortified capital and only gets out under heavy archon/dwagon escort because he's the lifeline of his side. Just because in one of the hundreds out of hexes out there, there may be some enemy laying in ambush. A pretty low possibility of ambush, but still bigger than zero.


And nonetheless, Stanley does Dwagon harvest missions. Yes, there are Archons scouting ahead. But that's still risking Stanley, maybe the Archons could have missed something. There's a non-zero chance that a Dwagon harvest run would be fatal to Stanley. Nonetheless, GK finds the tactic beneficial.

oslecamo2_temp wrote:Now losing Cubbins isn't an auto-game over. The RC has 3 other mancers, it will be one less heavy upkeep to pay(Jetstone is bankrupt as it is), and the archons need to go down at all costs, which means shooting every last tower spell while they can.


Funnily enough, I agree with the above. What I disagree with->

oslecamo2_temp wrote:Hard times demand hard measures. Jetstone isn't fighting for profit anymore. They're fighting for survival. No cost is too big to enanche the king's chances of victory.


or the last part, anyway. Again, I ask. If the King could ensure his survival in this battle, but at the cost of sacrificing ALL other Jetstone units anywhere, should he take that choice?

And I stress that "Yes" is a possible answer. So is "No". It really depends on what is likely to happen after the battle. And the point I'm making is "King lost, Jetstone loses" is NOT sufficient grounds for "all sacrifices must be made to ensure the King's survival".
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby Balerion » Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:23 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:or the last part, anyway. Again, I ask. If the King could ensure his survival in this battle, but at the cost of sacrificing ALL other Jetstone units anywhere, should he take that choice?

And I stress that "Yes" is a possible answer. So is "No". It really depends on what is likely to happen after the battle. And the point I'm making is "King lost, Jetstone loses" is NOT sufficient grounds for "all sacrifices must be made to ensure the King's survival".


Would it be fair to reduce your stance to maximizing jetstone's odds of survival over the medium term, as opposed to the short term? That if the odds of the kingdom existing go down 20% in 10 turns from an action (losing the caster) for a 1% higher survival this turn, clearly a stupid move? That seems to be the angle you were pushing, just trying to get it in the cost/benefit terms that others have been using.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:35 pm

Balerion wrote:Would it be fair to reduce your stance to maximizing jetstone's odds of survival over the medium term, as opposed to the short term? That if the odds of the kingdom existing go down 20% in 10 turns from an action (losing the caster) for a 1% higher survival this turn, clearly a stupid move? That seems to be the angle you were pushing, just trying to get it in the cost/benefit terms that others have been using.


Pretty much.

One other way to describe this is, imagine some RTS campaign where a mission says "keep this guy alive for 30min". Now, on the 29:59 mark, your base may be in ruins, there's enemy d00ds everywhere, and that guy you were supposed to save is your last unit, currently getting trashed by hostiles. But the last second elapses and you win! You're taken to the debriefing screen, scores are calculated based on your performance, and the next mission will start with preset units anyway. It really doesn't matter that you ended the previous one within an inch of losing.

Erfworld doesn't seem to work like that and a better analogy is some kind of multigeneration history sim a-la Medieval Total War. You will want to keep your king alive, especially if you don't have heirs, but that alone doesn't mean you'll throw the lives of your best generals away. You might do so, but it would be after a tactical deliberation that weighed in what would happen next.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby oslecamo2_temp » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:02 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
oslecamo2_temp wrote:Look at Stanley. {snip} But he still has to sit at his heavily fortified capital and only gets out under heavy archon/dwagon escort because he's the lifeline of his side. Just because in one of the hundreds out of hexes out there, there may be some enemy laying in ambush. A pretty low possibility of ambush, but still bigger than zero.


And nonetheless, Stanley does Dwagon harvest missions. Yes, there are Archons scouting ahead. But that's still risking Stanley, maybe the Archons could have missed something. There's a non-zero chance that a Dwagon harvest run would be fatal to Stanley. Nonetheless, GK finds the tactic beneficial.

Because the chance of Stanley being ambushed is 0%. Hamster himself calculated it with his hax bracer. The archons can pierce any magic illusions, making them 100% reliable scouts

Doubly because since the archons were deployed on the frontlines, Stanley needs to sit on the capital again.

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
oslecamo2_temp wrote:Hard times demand hard measures. Jetstone isn't fighting for profit anymore. They're fighting for survival. No cost is too big to enanche the king's chances of victory.


or the last part, anyway. Again, I ask. If the King could ensure his survival in this battle, but at the cost of sacrificing ALL other Jetstone units anywhere, should he take that choice?

And I stress that "Yes" is a possible answer. So is "No". It really depends on what is likely to happen after the battle. And the point I'm making is "King lost, Jetstone loses" is NOT sufficient grounds for "all sacrifices must be made to ensure the King's survival".


Yes it is.

What you seem to be confusing is wasteful sacrifice and tactical sacrifice.

Telling Cubbins to throw itself into the enemies spears would probably be idiotic. Cubbins sacrificing himself to launch a series of nukes to wear down the archons is a hard but powerful move that'll make winning the air battle much easier.

Sacrifices must be made, but at least let them be efficient ones.

BLANDCorporatio wrote:One other way to describe this is, imagine some RTS campaign where a mission says "keep this guy alive for 30min". Now, on the 29:59 mark, your base may be in ruins, there's enemy d00ds everywhere, and that guy you were supposed to save is your last unit, currently getting trashed by hostiles. But the last second elapses and you win! You're taken to the debriefing screen, scores are calculated based on your performance, and the next mission will start with preset units anyway. It really doesn't matter that you ended the previous one within an inch of losing.

Erfworld doesn't seem to work like that and a better analogy is some kind of multigeneration history sim a-la Medieval Total War. You will want to keep your king alive, especially if you don't have heirs, but that alone doesn't mean you'll throw the lives of your best generals away. You might do so, but it would be after a tactical deliberation that weighed in what would happen next.


Funny that you mention about throwing general lifes away.

How many sons/chief warlords has Stanley thrown to their deaths so far? More than twenty. Most of them when he wasn't even desesperate. Wouldn't his odds right now be much better if he had 10 experienced sons to act as his advisors and commanders?

This is a wargame. Units die easy. If you have a squishy unit on which your whole side depends upon, then you protect them at all costs, point. There's no save-load for Jetstone if the king falls.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:30 pm

oslecamo2_temp wrote:Because the chance of Stanley being ambushed is 0%. Hamster himself calculated it with his hax bracer. The archons can pierce any magic illusions, making them 100% reliable scouts


Citation please.

oslecamo2_temp wrote:What you seem to be confusing is wasteful sacrifice and tactical sacrifice.


No, what you seem to misunderstand is that the value of no unit, including the King, is high enough to be the sole justifier of another unit's sacrifice. You say so yourself: foolish sacrifice is foolish. You sacrifice units if the gain outweighs the cost. That said, and you didn't answer this, supposing the King could be 100% safe in the following battle IF and ONLY IF all other Jetstone units forfeit their lives, should he sacrifice them?

oslecamo2_temp wrote:How many sons/chief warlords has Stanley thrown to their deaths so far? More than twenty. Most of them when he wasn't even desesperate. Wouldn't his odds right now be much better if he had 10 experienced sons to act as his advisors and commanders?


Bad tactics in the past is not excuse for sloppy thinking in the present, even though it is an indicator that sloppy thinking will continue.

oslecamo2_temp wrote:This is a wargame. Units die easy.


And level hard, precisely because of that.

So I ask, and please answer.

Supposing the King could ensure his survival at the cost of all the other Jetstone units' lives, should he make that sacrifice?
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby oslecamo2_temp » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:44 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
oslecamo2_temp wrote:Because the chance of Stanley being ambushed is 0%. Hamster himself calculated it with his hax bracer. The archons can pierce any magic illusions, making them 100% reliable scouts


Citation please.


Sure!

Stanley looked at him. Gears were turning. "Yeah, but I can only look for them in a couple dozen hexes. And somebody could still ambush me out there. It's not like we have a Lookamancer any more." This was the first time Parson heard him acknowledge Misty's death. "No, it's still too risky."

Parson grinned slyly. "So we don't send you. We send Archons. Every turn, we send out all the Archons and scout all the hexes you can get to and return. Or maybe just the ones they can get to and return. Safer that way."

Stanley said nothing. He was thinking about it. Parson pressed his case. "See what I mean? They locate the dwagons for you. Scouts go first, so there's no chance of ambush. Not even a veiled one, 'cause they're Archons. And it would be good for security to have the area around the capital well scouted anyway."


Hamster doesn't gamble his ruler's life. 8-)

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
oslecamo2_temp wrote:How many sons/chief warlords has Stanley thrown to their deaths so far? More than twenty. Most of them when he wasn't even desesperate. Wouldn't his odds right now be much better if he had 10 experienced sons to act as his advisors and commanders?


Bad tactics in the past is not excuse for sloppy thinking in the present, even though it is an indicator that sloppy thinking will continue.

Who says it was bad tactics? Even Supreme Warlord Hamster can't stop some (or most in a good day) of his forces from dying.

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
oslecamo2_temp wrote:This is a wargame. Units die easy.


And level hard, precisely because of that.

So I ask, and please answer.

Supposing the King could ensure his survival at the cost of all the other Jetstone units' lives, should he make that sacrifice?


Heh, now that's kinda of a trap question, because I can't see any maneuver where sacrificing all of Jetstone's units could give a 100% survival rate. But ok, if it was possible, then no, it wouldn't be worth it because he would croak to some random beast on the next turn. But that would also be a no-win scenario, because the king would be dead anyway if faced with such overwhelming odds.

GK on the other had sacrificed most of their units, and they're doing pretty fine last time I checked. ;)
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:54 pm

oslecamo2_temp wrote:Heh, now that's kinda of a trap question, because I can't see any maneuver where sacrificing all of Jetstone's units could give a 100% survival rate. But ok, if it was possible, then no, it wouldn't be worth it because he would croak to some random beast on the next turn.


Precisely.

And yes, it was an extreme question which does NOT describe what Slately's facing now. All I'm trying to say is that "the King is to live at all costs" doesn't quite mean "at all costs", because the King's life alone doesn't justify all costs. As they said about Pyrrhic victories, "another victory like this and we are lost".

oslecamo2_temp wrote:GK on the other had sacrificed most of their units, and they're doing pretty fine last time I checked. ;)


World domination Wanda? Now come on, you and what ar-

Oh.

Oh.

:P

But yeah, that was one situation where (almost) complete sacrifice paid off. The destruction was so complete that it allowed GK to rebuild unchallenged for several turns.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby oslecamo2_temp » Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:03 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
oslecamo2_temp wrote:Heh, now that's kinda of a trap question, because I can't see any maneuver where sacrificing all of Jetstone's units could give a 100% survival rate. But ok, if it was possible, then no, it wouldn't be worth it because he would croak to some random beast on the next turn.


Precisely.

And yes, it was an extreme question which does NOT describe what Slately's facing now. All I'm trying to say is that "the King is to live at all costs" doesn't quite mean "at all costs", because the King's life alone doesn't justify all costs. As they said about Pyrrhic victories, "another victory like this and we are lost".

And again, that's a sure sign you're in a lose-lose scenario, where you're going down no matter what you do. Thus an invalid question, because all answers will be wrong.


BLANDCorporatio wrote:But yeah, that was one situation where (almost) complete sacrifice paid off. The destruction was so complete that it allowed GK to rebuild unchallenged for several turns.


But they didn't know it beforehand. Hamster didn't know how destructive the volcano would be, Wanda didn't know what the pliers would do. And yet they both bet everything they had on winning that fight. And it worked.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:15 pm

oslecamo2_temp wrote:And again, that's a sure sign you're in a lose-lose scenario, where you're going down no matter what you do. Thus an invalid question, because all answers will be wrong.


Nope. If there's a fair chance of the King and several of his High Level units getting away, for example, that may be a better bet than a sure survival for the King at the cost of those high-level units (and any others besides). If the King takes the gamble and dies, well he would've died to a random beast anyway if alone. If the King takes the gamble and lives, Jetstone still has some credible power.*


oslecamo2_temp wrote:But they didn't know it beforehand. Hamster didn't know how destructive the volcano would be, Wanda didn't know what the pliers would do. And yet they both bet everything they had on winning that fight. And it worked.


Pliers were not in Parson's calc (hence the :P smiley), but the volcano was. Besides, the choice Parson faced was subtly different than my question. Parson's choice was, "uncroak the volcano and step through the portal, or die". My thought experiment choice is "your Majesty will surely live through this battle, all we request is the lives of all your units", said Mephisto stroking a hellish goatee.

EDIT:

* and seriously, is Slately in a lose-lose situation now? If Mephisto offered that choice to Slately in this situation, would he take it? (Why not?)

My thought experiment doesn't need a situation more extreme than Slately's. He's facing a risk. Even with Ossomer, and with Cubbins doing whatever, there's still some non-zero chance for him to be croaked by an archon. So Mephisto could pop up and give that bargain I described. My guess is, the King wouldn't take it, and not just because of attachments to his sons, but because it's a bad bargain. And in preferring to tolerate non-zero risk, the King is not acting like a (short-term) risk minimizer, but rationally.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby effataigus » Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:29 pm

effataigus wrote:We don't know that JS has no heir (Ossomer may or may not be heir again).


Hmm, while I still maintain that we don't know for certain, I just recalled something that suggests (to me at least) that he is no longer heir...

The decrypted hobgobwins no longer counted as natural allies for the purposes of popping more. This doesn't mean anything for certain, but it does imply that decryption indeed changes more than just the unit's regalia, loyalties, and turn... severs some link between the remade unit and the "popped again" unit.

Re: Bland Re: Me... I see where you're coming from now... the original poster seems to make your version's argument using my version's algebra. Anyhoo, I think we know the point he's making!
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby drachefly » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:01 pm

I agree with Bland 100%. I happen to think that Cubbins' sacrifice is reasonable, especially without him knowing that Ossomer has turned. An enemy Ossomer shifts the bottleneck probability to the present, making short-term sacrifices more necessary. With an ally Ossomer, the bottleneck probability is quite likely the future, making his sacrifice less necessary, but still possibly sensible.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby oslecamo2_temp » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:19 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
oslecamo2_temp wrote:And again, that's a sure sign you're in a lose-lose scenario, where you're going down no matter what you do. Thus an invalid question, because all answers will be wrong.


Nope. If there's a fair chance of the King and several of his High Level units getting away, for example, that may be a better bet than a sure survival for the King at the cost of those high-level units (and any others besides). If the King takes the gamble and dies, well he would've died to a random beast anyway if alone. If the King takes the gamble and lives, Jetstone still has some credible power.*

Still invalid. The situation you describe is impossible in Erfworld. Units don't have a "sacrifice" button that gives the king an invulnerable shield+Wind Walk. The king can at best throw his troops at the enemy, and they may survive or not, but if he doesn't throw them at the enemy and stands himself in the frontline, well, things will get pretty ugly.

BLANDCorporatio wrote:Pliers were not in Parson's calc but the volcano was. Besides, the choice Parson faced was subtly different than my question. Parson's choice was, "uncroak the volcano and step through the portal, or die".

Nope, the volcano's result was a desesperate gamble

Otherwise Hamster would've simply evacuated the city of his own troops before blowing it up!Why sacrifice so many troops when he could've just let the enemy enter, nuke the city and call it a day?

BLANDCorporatio wrote: My thought experiment choice is "your Majesty will surely live through this battle, all we request is the lives of all your units", said Mephisto stroking a hellish goatee.

EDIT:

* and seriously, is Slately in a lose-lose situation now? If Mephisto offered that choice to Slately in this situation, would he take it? (Why not?)

My thought experiment doesn't need a situation more extreme than Slately's. He's facing a risk. Even with Ossomer, and with Cubbins doing whatever, there's still some non-zero chance for him to be croaked by an archon. So Mephisto could pop up and give that bargain I described. My guess is, the King wouldn't take it, and not just because of attachments to his sons, but because it's a bad bargain. And in preferring to tolerate non-zero risk, the King is not acting like a (short-term) risk minimizer, but rationally.

With all due respect, screw your imaginary bargain and the devil he rided on. This is an Erfworld discussion. I don't care about your faustian pacts with arbitary rules just to try to desesperately pass your argument as valid, because there's no such thing in Erfworld.

I may as well counter-act by pointing out the imaginary upgrade that lonely kings get +1000000 to all stats and can act infinite times per turn. Now sacrificing all your troops is the best deal!
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby Housellama » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:47 pm

oslecamo2_temp wrote:This is an Erfworld discussion. I don't care about your faustian pacts with arbitary rules just to try to desesperately pass your argument as valid, because there's no such thing in Erfworld.


Missing the point, party of 1...

The discussion is about whether victory at any cost is actually a good policy. That's not limited to Erfworld. BLAND's thought experiment is valid because it's the principle that is involved. Yes, all of us know that there IS no sacrifice button, that Ol' Scratch isn't going to show up and offer Slately The Way Out. We all know that the rules of Erfworld aren't like that. Even HE knows that But he's making a point. A valid point, as far as I'm concerned. That sometimes there is TOO much sacrifice.

You can choose reject the premise, but that doesn't mean his point isn't valid.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby Balerion » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:16 pm

Since I think both sides are agreed on the cost/benefit framework,

The goal here is to maximize the expected value of Jetstone as a side into the foreseeable future (with some nudges on that depending on how risk averse you are). Protecting the king is certainly important to accomplish that , no one is arguing, since that value drops to 0 if he dies (right now).

The problem is one of diminishing returns on trying to protect the king this turn. Obviously, any protection we can give that leads to no sacrifices we want to grab up. But getting an additional 1% chance of protection for the king gets more and more costly as time goes on; you have to pull units from other engagements, leave casters in the tower to fire the defenses, etc etc. At some point, the cost is high enough, even this turn, that the expected value actually decreases if you try to protect the king anymore due to those diminishing returns. That is the level of sacrifice you want to use IF YOU ONLY LOOK AT THIS TURN.

But those units you sacrificed could have helped next turn too. Its not like the enemy is just going to stop trying to kill your king. So now when computing the expected value of Jetstone two turns into the future, its actually lower than if you had sacrificed less on this turn, and accepted more risk of the king dying on this turn. Then look three turns ahead. Now four. Your ability to predict the future is less, admittedly, but you can make guesses on how losing those units makes your situation worse. That is the point Bland has been trying to make; the risk to the king never goes away, and minimizing it this turn will make it greater next turn, as you lose resources. There is a balance point, where it is stupid to make more sacrifices this turn. Where that point is is HEAVILY situation dependent, and heavily dependent on your risk seeking/averse behavior. But there are situations where the smart move is to accept risk, and the dumb one is trying to minimize it.

I can't help but think that losing a caster will put stately in a lot more long term risk; those guys are basically all walking game breakers ;P. But maybe its worth it. Without being able to calculate actual odds, who knows.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:03 am

Aaaah, it's good to see others post what I'm thinking, but with greater eloquence than I can manage.

Balerion wrote:the risk to the king never goes away, and minimizing it this turn will make it greater next turn, as you lose resources. There is a balance point, where it is stupid to make more sacrifices this turn. Where that point is is HEAVILY situation dependent, and heavily dependent on your risk seeking/averse behavior. But there are situations where the smart move is to accept risk, and the dumb one is trying to minimize it.


Very situation dependent indeed, and needing more data than we have. I can't presume to KNOW for sure how good a choice Cubbins' was, my GUT says it wasn't the best. But my gut's got no brain, what does it know.

So ok, since restating what my point was would now be thrice-superfluous, as it was neatly summarized by at least three posters very recently, let's switch to something else. Any resemblance to the Cubbins situation is coincidental and beside the point, which is - does Duty mean that a unit is compelled to make the BEST decision?

Let's assume so, for the sake of thought experiments. My guess is then, that should Parson ever lose the Bracer, it wouldn't be much of a loss, since he's surrounded by perfect optimizers. But that might make a Perfect Warlord redundant, if units automatically know best.

There is a problem with the above setup. What does "BEST" mean? Some agents tend to avoid risk, some agents tend to seek profit, both may be reasonable but will behave differently. Would each unit have its own inner balance between these contradictory minmax tendencies, or are they the same for all units of the side and dictated by- the Overlord's? The Chief Warlord's?

Stepping out of that bizzaro thought-experiment world, my guess is that units are NOT compelled by Duty to make the BEST decision for their side, but rather, the best decision that they are aware of. This allows for smart units, as well as stupid lugs, but disallows a unit knowingly acting against the side's interests.

Even that I'm not completely happy with, case in point, Don vs. Caesar. Don is more risk seeking than Caesar, for one, so CWL and Overlord don't have to agree on where the minmax balance were to lie.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby sleepymancer » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:13 am

BLANDCorporatio wrote:What does "BEST" mean?


lol. I spend my working life arguing that question. (A lovely anecdote from a friend of mine regarding a conversation she had with an eminent professor in our field when she was just a few weeks into her PhD: Her: 'so, how do you identify the "best text" to use as the basis for an edition?' Him (obviously bewildered by the question), 'Well, its the best one, isn't it'. I wish I was joking...)

BLANDCorporatio wrote:my guess is that units are NOT compelled by Duty to make the BEST decision for their side, but rather, the best decision that they are aware of. This allows for smart units, as well as stupid lugs, but disallows a unit knowingly acting against the side's interests.


Definitions of best included, I second this point entirely.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby oslecamo2_temp » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:17 am

Housellama wrote:
oslecamo2_temp wrote:This is an Erfworld discussion. I don't care about your faustian pacts with arbitary rules just to try to desesperately pass your argument as valid, because there's no such thing in Erfworld.


Missing the point, party of 1...

Just pointing out diversionary tactics where Bland tries to hide behind.

Housellama wrote:The discussion is about whether victory at any cost is actually a good policy. That's not limited to Erfworld. BLAND's thought experiment is valid because it's the principle that is involved. Yes, all of us know that there IS no sacrifice button, that Ol' Scratch isn't going to show up and offer Slately The Way Out. We all know that the rules of Erfworld aren't like that. Even HE knows that But he's making a point. A valid point, as far as I'm concerned. That sometimes there is TOO much sacrifice.

You can choose reject the premise, but that doesn't mean his point isn't valid.


His point is only valid in some very narrow circumstances wich he made up on the spot and have almost nothing to do with the comic, I'll give you that. You guys want a prize for showing that you can prove anything if you get to make up the scenario conditions, or can we go back to discussing Text Update 054 instead of Bland's imaginary world? :roll:

Balerion wrote:But those units you sacrificed could have helped next turn too. Its not like the enemy is just going to stop trying to kill your king. So now when computing the expected value of Jetstone two turns into the future, its actually lower than if you had sacrificed less on this turn, and accepted more risk of the king dying on this turn. Then look three turns ahead. Now four. Your ability to predict the future is less, admittedly, but you can make guesses on how losing those units makes your situation worse. That is the point Bland has been trying to make; the risk to the king never goes away, and minimizing it this turn will make it greater next turn, as you lose resources. There is a balance point, where it is stupid to make more sacrifices this turn. Where that point is is HEAVILY situation dependent, and heavily dependent on your risk seeking/averse behavior. But there are situations where the smart move is to accept risk, and the dumb one is trying to minimize it.

I can't help but think that losing a caster will put stately in a lot more long term risk; those guys are basically all walking game breakers ;P. But maybe its worth it. Without being able to calculate actual odds, who knows.


Ok, now get out of Bland's imaginary world and go read the comic.

You see that side called Gobwin Knob?

The one where Hamster, chief warlord of Gobwin Knob didn't even blink when they lost half their airforce, and actualy wanted to press the attack?
The one where Stanley sacrificed a lookmancer to get a foolmancer to cover his retreat?
The one where Hamster throws everything he has at the RC meatgrinder whitout hesitation and then blows up their only city?
The one where Hamster then orders his troops to start butchering each other to perform an air assault, including risking two more mancers, when they could've tried diplomacy?

Well, that side, Gobwin Knob in case you forgot the name, the one who's being making sacrifices like crazy at every oportunity, it's the most sucessful one so far.

Enemies can't get you in future turns if they've been killed by your sacrificed units.
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