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A_S
2009-02-08, 03:02 AM
OMG, magical archon DDR display teaches infantry to dance!

Okay, discuss.

MorhgorRB
2009-02-08, 03:03 AM
OMG, magical archon DDR display teaches infantry to dance!

Okay, discuss.

Ohmigawd, hax.

Now that that's out of the way...

What happens if Ansom misses a step? :smallamused:

Whispri
2009-02-08, 03:07 AM
*Sigh*

You know with Charlie committed I honestly dared to hope we'd seen the last of the Archons floating down to pull stunts like this. And things had been getting so dramatic too.

dr pepper
2009-02-08, 03:12 AM
Hah-- on the first page for once!

Medieve
2009-02-08, 03:12 AM
Hmm, but its still a master class croakamancer + hamster's leadership bonus versus unlead stacks. The prince just negated the dance fighting bonus. Any leaders will get destroyed by Sizemore and Maggie still hasn't shown her stuff.

ReccaSquirrel
2009-02-08, 03:12 AM
Not my favorite erfworld strip. Seemed lacking something but I can't put my finger on what.

However, that said the perfect counter:
Foolamancy! Add in half-steps, jumps, and a faster tempo. :)

And, unrelated, I wonder if spells that invoke rage are done so with the casting chant of "Spoiler" and sound effect of "Soylent Green is People", "Rosebud was his sled", "XXXXX kills XXXXXXX".

Ragamuffin
2009-02-08, 03:12 AM
UHN-TISS
UHN-TISS
UHN-TISS
UHN-TISS

Best. Onomatopoeia. Ever.

ishnar
2009-02-08, 03:13 AM
googling uhn tiss added to the entertainment tremendously. It's like having a soundtrack for the comic ;)

Bust a Groove :P

InfernalistGame
2009-02-08, 03:13 AM
Someone kill that prancing SOB already and give sweet Wanda the 'Pliers. Maggie, ace him.

(woot, 1st page)

Doc Roc
2009-02-08, 03:14 AM
I don't think I have been more upset by a erfworld strip than I am by this one. I feel like they've sacrificed a lot of credibility and dramatic tension for the sake of a cheap DDR joke. Never mind that yet again, we have the invisible hat being used to produce rabbits.

Let me clarify a little here.
I don't think I'm being unreasonable when I say that this is ridiculous. I don't necessarily mean ridiculously bad, or in fact anything other than ridiculous. Most of Erfworld has been fairly clever satire mixed with characters who are interesting if not lovable.
This just broke my suspension of disbelief. For a lot of reasons, such as it throws out most of what we know about how zones affect line of sight\line of effect as well as tossing one more clever plan out the window. Now, fine, plans fail. Plans meet the enemy.
But. Apparently this is a ability that's not unknown, and not new. Maybe this precise incarnation of it is bizarre or unheard of, but generally the ability to exploit a mechanic so badly that you can effectively just ignore it is.......remarked upon in a game, even if this is a game from the inside.


I just can't swallow it. I don't like saying that, but I really mean it. I can't buy in like I want to, and it's very frustrating.

dr pepper
2009-02-08, 03:15 AM
All surviving archers need to hit that carpet now. And whatever Maggie has ready to throw had better be able to break Ansom's concentration.

But it may be necessary for Parson to take a leap of faith onto the carpet and engage Ansom directly.

Kronski
2009-02-08, 03:15 AM
Oh, dear.

This is a great story, it really is, but it is would be nice if the authors tried to work within the framework they have created. All this introducing new rules/spells stuff is annoying.

I'm not saying that this is a bad twist, I'm saying that the same effect (win for Ansom) could have been achieved less clumsily.

Highwarlord
2009-02-08, 03:16 AM
Parson's infantry still have the croakamancer bonus, while Ansoms still lack a leadership bonus. It makes the fight closer, but Parson should still be meat-grinding them.

Edit: I've been hyperninjaed!

Altima
2009-02-08, 03:16 AM
And the invincible Ansom strikes again.

This will make his inevitable downfall all the sweeter.

Turn in next week for The Adventures in Erfworld!

Jack R. Terrier
2009-02-08, 03:21 AM
I've loved Erfworld since the beginning, and I'll certainly keep on reading it, but I have to ask:

What the boop kind of boop-pull (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Asspull) was that?!

dr pepper
2009-02-08, 03:24 AM
BTW, for once i agree that this is something of a deus ex machina, since there was no forshadowing, no hints, and no suggestion that anything in this category was possible. One could, however, stretch a point and note that communications and entertainment have merged a lot recently. There are cable companies that offer interactive services including video games, albeit i've never heard of DDR as part of it.

That being said, it is a logical counter, magical guidance making up for lack of skill. If Parson can now fight thanks to his sword, that would be pretty much the same kind of help.

Fuzzy_Juan
2009-02-08, 03:29 AM
Wow..simply...wow...

there must be something that they can do...and it will have to be to take down Ansom decisively...no other way around it i don't think. If he doesn't remove him as a factor, then it is game over.

Doc Roc
2009-02-08, 03:33 AM
@dr_pepper: Perhaps mechanically speaking, yes. Except that swords we know and we trust. This is after all still part of the fantasy milieu, where Swords Teach You To Use Them. And magical buffs I understand and accept.

But here, I have to go with my gut as a game designer, a writer, and an avid reader. Sure, I'm not qualified, I don't have a long CV as a critic. But I'm not trying to critique the work objectively. You're free to call me a troll, but my personal opinion is that this was pulled out of nowhere, poorly, and very abruptly. We had no foreshadowing, no lead-up, in fact we didn't even know that Ansom could dance-fight. After all, he was terribly confused by the dance-fighting regalia of Jillian and Vinny.

The other big issue for me is that I no longer feel like Ansom is in any danger. He's clearly got plot armor, and maybe I'll be surprised, shocked, thrown for a curve, but my guess is that at this point he will never suffer a serious defeat until he is killed terribly.

dr pepper
2009-02-08, 03:37 AM
Perhaps mechanically speaking, yes. Except that swords we know and we trust. This is after all still part of the fantasy milieu, where Swords Teach You To Use Them. And magical buffs I understand and accept.

But here, I have to go with my gut as a game designer, a writer, and an avid reader. Sure, I'm not qualified, I don't have a long CV as a critic. But I'm not trying to critique the work objectively. You're free to call me a troll, but my personal opinion is that this was pulled out of nowhere, poorly, and very abruptly. We had no foreshadowing, no lead-up, in fact we didn't even know that Ansom could dance-fight. After all, he was terribly confused by the dance-fighting regalia of Jillian and Vinny.

That's the point. He can't dance fight, but he can follow instructions.

Hey, at least his Evil Knevil costume didn't turn into something from Saturday Night Fever.

DragoonKain
2009-02-08, 03:37 AM
Eh. There was a lot of buildup, then it just dropped. I think that unless this gets out of the way quickly, this severely lowers my chances of ever purchasing the book. =/

Doc Roc
2009-02-08, 03:40 AM
@dr_pepper: DDR is extremely skill-intensive, and at the higher levels requires memorization, rhythm, a keen awareness of your own body, and complex foot work. In short, you need to know how to dance. Maybe not "proper" dancing, but then again.... It's certainly closer to classical dancing than some forms of modern ballet.

To be fair, I'm not here to argue. My opinion may mellow as time passes, I may find that my feelings reverse, but right now I'm in a state of irrational response. I apologize, but the fact stands that this time around it just didn't sell me, and it so happens that this was a really crucial moment.

Kyouhen
2009-02-08, 03:41 AM
For those complaining about how this shouldn't be possible, it makes sense that it works. Wanda can control all the uncroaked and make them do what she wants. Ansom's just got some Archons watching his moves and projecting them where the entire army can see. It doesn't mean they're actually going to be any good at dance fighting, just means they have a bit of a better chance. :smalltongue:

SinsI
2009-02-08, 03:42 AM
I've loved Erfworld since the beginning, and I'll certainly keep on reading it, but I have to ask:

What the boop kind of boop-pull (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Asspull) was that?!

You're just underestimating the coalition - they are the inhabitants of that world and thus know all those things Parson has yet to discover.
It's just that there's a bit of inconsistency with some of their earlier ****-ups, but they are actually justified - they did have ten times the necessary army and thus were a little careless.

Eraniverse
2009-02-08, 03:55 AM
Awesome strip. For whatever reason the image of the giant arrows scrolling down over a battlefield is just epic. Plus Ansom's expressions throughout are just priceless. His downfall is going to be immensely satisfying.

Doc Roc
2009-02-08, 03:59 AM
I don't think he meant in-universe. He meant in the sense of the narrative. With a smidge of set-up, I could very easily have been sold on this reversal. The mechanics and mechanisms behind it make enough sense, though not as much as I would like.

It's just that there's a difference between Chekhov's Gun (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ptitlexn9xzsjd5fif?from=Main.ChekhovsGun) and having Chekov's Shield Modulation.

Trazoi
2009-02-08, 04:09 AM
I have to admit that the whole sequence of the battle within the castle has been stretching my sense of belief in the fantasy world. My understanding is that Erfworld is governed by turn-based strategy game rules first and foremost (with the exception of Parson, who is beyond the rules). Weird stuff like having an ally unit (Charlie's archons) sending in-flight dance fighting support for a leader unit over a range of stacks for an alliance army - all organised on the fly in the middle of a turn - starts making me doubt whether there's any rhyme or reason to the rules of Erfworld.

I think I'm with Tideslinger on this - it seems the universe rules are being made up to service plot twists rather than build the plot upon the rules. That's not necessarily a bad way to write the story, but it does make me think a bit less of the setting.

Of course it all might be explained (perhaps via Parson) sometime in the next couple of dozen pages. But for now I'm feeling whatever meta-players are playing this strategy game of Erfworld lost the ruleset and are kinda winging it right now.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-02-08, 04:11 AM
I'm going to weigh in on the "good page" side.

Reasons:
(1) Pretty much every Warlord we've seen so far has had the ability to Dance Fight. Stanley, Vinnie, Jillian, Caeser, all the Transylvito Warlords (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0119.html)... it's not that surprising to find out Ansom can Dance Fight too.

(2) The Archons are adept at Thinkamancy and appear to have some amount of Foolamancy too (the various hand-projections (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0133.html), for example). If Wanda can command her Uncroaked to Dance-Fight with her Necro-puppetry (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0073.html), then a Thinkamancer should be able to do the same with living subjects. The Foolamancer projections are probably just for Rule of Cool, but it may also have to do with extending their control over an entire zone.

(3) Ansom is very good at what he does. He may not be as sneaky as Parson, but he lives and breathes Erfworld logic, which makes them roughly equal, tactically speaking. This maneuver was not expected by any of his lesser Warlords, nor by anyone else. Heck, we can see him discussing things with the Archons in Panel 6 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0141.html); this is probably the first time they've even tried such a thing.

(4) The Archons are not breaking any rules. They have not left their zone, and we know that units can move about (and even take actions) in-zone even when it is not their turn.

Really, this sort of outcome looks much like Death Note to me. Light was always pulling stuff out of "thin air" (http://www.schlockmercenary.com/d/20071109.html) which, in retrospect, seemed to have some basis in the "physics" of the Death Note.

Could we have seen this coming? Maybe. Ansom's Evel Kineval suit has (to me, at least) always been vaguely reminiscent of John Travolta's from Saturday Night Fever (http://www.collider.com/uploads/imageGallery/Saturday_Night_Fever_DVD/saturday_night_fever_30th_anniversary_collector_s_ edition_dvd__large_.jpg) and, if he was going to do any dancing, Disco was going to be it. I think we all knew that Ansom was going to do some dancing before this battle was over, anyhow.

Now, is Ansom's DDR ploy a game-ender? Unlikely; he is merely reducing (or eliminating) Wanda's Dance Fight multiplier. I would bet opals to orleys that DDR is less effective than legitimate Dance Fighting, and that Parson will note this in the next page. Plus, Parson has some Chekov's Guns left to fire - Maggie's Thinkamancy, Bogroll's Charge, Stanley's Return and his own Artifacts.

Besides, how else did you think Ansom was going to counter Dance-Fighting? As Parson noted, sending unled troops against Dance Fighters is suicide - we all knew that beforehand. And who would have liked to have the merciless slaughter of Ansom's forces be the end of the chapter?

d3115
2009-02-08, 04:14 AM
Oh christ a TVtropes link I'll be up all night.

Clamps
2009-02-08, 04:15 AM
It works, in it's own way.

I'm just glad Ansom managed to pull off just one clever trick that wasn't helped along by luck.

FoE
2009-02-08, 04:24 AM
This turn-based strategy game confuses me! There are no cards or life points! How are we supposed to play it?

AlisdairM
2009-02-08, 04:30 AM
What a bunch of party-poopers! This was one of my favourite pages for some time, and in no way hurts my suspension of disbelief.

Last time we pulled a rabbit out the hat with Wanda dance-fighting. Wanda is a fan favourite though, so that is made of win...

This page we find out Ansom also has a dance fighting bonus, and he calls on Charlie for support to communicate that bonus to all stacked units in the courtyard. As he knows he wants his bonus to be the one that counts, he orders in waves of unlead troops.

In a PC strategy game, this would all be some abstract mechanic handled by merely moving some units on the board. In Erfworld we get some awesome visuals added by Jamie, with some pop culture references for good measure, which is totally in keeping with the style of the story. And suddenly everyone is complaining?

I don't think we have too many more twists to come - my metagamer looks at the page count and wonders how many pages we are willing to pay for binding into a printed book ;¬)

BTW, anyone remember the old Michael Jacksoon Moonwalker arcade unit? (NOT the home console versions of the game!) Now THAT was dance fighting :)

Oracle_Hunter
2009-02-08, 04:30 AM
This turn-based strategy game confuses me! There are no cards or life points! How are we supposed to play it?

I don't see what the problem is. It's just the same, but with miniatures (http://revver.com/video/385026/crpsule-monsters-1/). :smalltongue:

Jural
2009-02-08, 04:38 AM
I don't know why people say it wasn't foreshadowed or a "boop pull." Personally, I imagined Ansom had some counter to Dance Fighting when such a big deal was made out of his side having it a strip ago. Ansom is typically very resourceful, and has been all Erfworld long.

The exact maneuver was a surprise, but not the fact that this isn't over yet!

By the way, I expect Parson's side to have one more trick up their sleeve as well... this isn't over yet.

I'm loving this whole seige, two heavyweights going toe to toe, Parson with the superior mind and defensive set-up, Ansom with the superior grasp of the rules and numbers.

Doc Roc
2009-02-08, 04:45 AM
Well, the bit with Wanda dance-fighting has been foreshadowed quite a bit actually. For example, the part where she's playing with her new toys and making them dance Thriller? It's been speculated ever since that thread that she'd get jiggy with the bonuses.

This, whether you like it or not, is a boop-pull from my perspective.

Your mileage may vary.I do think, though, that I've said enough. I didn't mean to be this vehement or argumentative.



Aside: In most Real-Time Strats I've played and enjoyed, very little was abstracted away or hidden by the game system. This is less true of some of the TBS games I've played, to be fair, but most of the time everything is laid as bare as possible and the rules are very very consistent. It drives me up the wall when things come out of the side-hatch in scripted missions, for example.

Trazoi
2009-02-08, 04:50 AM
What a bunch of party-poopers! This was one of my favourite pages for some time, and in no way hurts my suspension of disbelief.

Last time we pulled a rabbit out the hat with Wanda dance-fighting. Wanda is a fan favourite though, so that is made of win...

This page we find out Ansom also has a dance fighting bonus, and he calls on Charlie for support to communicate that bonus to all stacked units in the courtyard. As he knows he wants his bonus to be the one that counts, he orders in waves of unlead troops.

In a PC strategy game, this would all be some abstract mechanic handled by merely moving some units on the board. In Erfworld we get some awesome visuals added by Jamie, with some pop culture references for good measure, which is totally in keeping with the style of the story. And suddenly everyone is complaining?
I can only speak for myself, but it's been more of a gradual feeling that's been building as new spells and rules have been introduced over the last dozen or so pages in rapid succession. This time the feeling is exacerbated by combining a new twist on a rule with yet another use of Ansom's supply of get-out-of-stupidity-free cards.

On the more general issue of a PC strategy game, the bit I'm not getting (and haven't been getting for the whole comic) is how units seem to be moving and performing actions out of their turn. My understanding is that this is Ansom's turn right now, so Charlie's and Parson's units should be relatively passive. But they seem to be able to take their own initative somehow.

Doc Roc
2009-02-08, 04:53 AM
I generally look at Erfworld the same way I would look at Rome:Total War.
Turn-based strategy with hexes, real-time clashes between armies. Almost impossible to do on a board game, but I really enjoyed it much more than Civilization (N). I know, sacrilege, but hey.

Trazoi
2009-02-08, 04:56 AM
I generally look at Erfworld the same way I would look at Rome:Total War.
Turn-based strategy with hexes, real-time clashes between armies.
That would make sense. Although it does mean that once a battle starts, the rest of the world is effectively in limbo until it's over. Stanley won't be able to get back to Gobwin Knob mid-battle! :smalleek:

Vreejack
2009-02-08, 04:56 AM
Normally this sort of thing would not be possible. Normally the Archons would be able to fight and help kick Parson's butt. If Parson had a large aerial force of his own then the archons would not be able to stand there and guide the dance-fighting as they would be too busy fighting, and thus would be distracted from setting up the steps. If Ansom had waited a turn he could have used the archons to attack normally and they would have destroyed Parson's forces---normally, but this turn they are wasted, and yet immune to attack. Ansom has simply found a way to use them that would not otherwise have made sense in a typical situation.

So how does Parson respond? He needs to disrupt the dancing somehow. Or maybe he can read their steps and counter them. Maybe Maggie can help.

Bawon von Howse
2009-02-08, 05:05 AM
well...the only battle where we've actually seen dance fighting previously was the ambush at the choke point....here, transylvito pulled some west side story manouevres only to get out danced by the knights rocking it!

...so, here, we've seen both party's dance, however we haven't seen that there was a winner...Ansom may counter with his 'DDR' moves...however, as we have no real idea how the mechanics of dance fighting work, we have no idea how this will affect anything.

Parson seems to think that this is going to be bad, but as we dont' really know what happens in a dance-off then who know's what's going to happen!

to me, it seems like it's another Ansom counter to a brilliant Parson plan (as we know this happens all too often)...whenever Parson does something out of the bag, the following strip has Ansom just blow it out of the water!

ishnar
2009-02-08, 05:09 AM
I think Ansom has a thinkamancy headache incoming. Either a headache or make him see arrows that aren't there. Something distracting anyway.

Wyvv
2009-02-08, 05:10 AM
Yeah, I gotta say, this seems like it came way, way outa left field. Even worse is Parson admitting this could be gameover for him. It just seems. Up until this point, every page had me completely immersed. This one took that away. If their isn't another turn around or two pretty quickly, and the rest is just a wrap up, I'm not sure if I'll buy the book when it eventually comes out.

*sigh* I think I'm beginning to understand how some of the other users feel about Charlie. If this had just been some special ability of Ansom's carpet, maybe with him calling it a mat when asking the archons to get it for him(or someother small reference), I probably would've had a much better reaction. Everyone didn't think Charlie was able to do anything from the airspace though, and it just leads me to wonder why he can do this but not influene Parson's troops in anyway.

datalaughing
2009-02-08, 05:15 AM
Stanley won't be able to get back to Gobwin Knob mid-battle! :smalleek:

Stanley can't move until GK's turn, and Ansom is free to keep attacking as long as he wants until he wins or decides that there's an advantage to stopping and waiting for next turn. That makes sense even at the board game level. It's like Risk. You can attack the neighboring country until you run out of guys or decide to stop.

One would guess that if things start going badly for Ansom, despite this new twist, he'll stop and end his turn so he can start fresh with the Archons next turn. After all, it would be much harder for Parson's troops to take the offensive than to defend. And even if Parson wasted the coalition's ground troops somehow on this turn or on GK's turn, he has nothing that can hit Charlie's archons, except for a few archers and maybe casters from the tower (tower boarders airspace and gives a bonus to casters).

Since nobody knows Stanley is on his way back things must not be looking too good for the folks in GK, which explains Ansom's overconfidence. He's already lost most of his troops. Even if all of his allies lose their ground troops, he's still got the archons who can pick off GK's ground troops from the air when they can move out of their zone.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-02-08, 05:19 AM
*sigh* I think I'm beginning to understand how some of the other users feel about Charlie. If this had just been some special ability of Ansom's carpet, maybe with him calling it a mat when asking the archons to get it for him(or someother small reference), I probably would've had a much better reaction. Everyone didn't think Charlie was able to do anything from the airspace though, and it just leads me to wonder why he can do this but not influene Parson's troops in anyway.

This isn't Charlie, it's his Archons. And they're not the only people who can act across zones - Maggie was all set to smash Ansom in the Courtyard even while she's in the Dungeon.

It's the unexpected which has proved decisive in the story thus far. Jilian finding the Wounded Dwagons. Parson using hit-and-run on the Siege. That's why Parson has reacted so negatively here - DDR was unexpected, but he knows that his Dance Fight strategy has been harmed to some extent. If his Dance Fight bonus is utterly neutralized (worse case scenario) then he knows Ansom can steamroll him; if I were Parson, I'd be Gloom & Doom too!

Fortunately, I'm willing to bet that Wanda's Inherent Ability is able to overpower Ansom's improv trick - which Parson will no doubt note in the next page - and that the only result of this maneuver and counter is to turn the Courtyard into a meatgrinder for both sides. That helps set up an epic confrontation between the Generals, and possibly Bogroll's Sacrifice.

Unless, of course, Parson surrenders instead of fighting. There is so much left to be decided!

Knight13
2009-02-08, 05:23 AM
*sigh* And yet another of Parson's brilliant plans is ruined by the unstoppable intervention of Charlie and his Archons.

MythicFox
2009-02-08, 05:28 AM
Sorry, I'm just not seeing how this should be able to work from what we know of this universe's mechanics so far. I understand that Parson's not going to know every little thing about this universe and how it works and keeping us in the dark helps surprises happen. But I think we're drifting into the territory of the Yu-Gi-Oh cartoon when cards could get away with having super secret abilities (often arbitrarily tied to something in the artwork) because we can't see the text on them anyways.

Ansom knowing a thing or two about dance fighting? Okay, I can buy that. But as far as everyone else -- on both sides -- knows, the Archons shouldn't be able to get involved until next turn. And I just can't believe that it's a matter of "everyone else assuming that assistance means combat." It breaks my suspension of disbelief that Ansom can pull off a move like this that nobody else could have possibly seen coming. It feels like a DM rewriting a monster's stats in the middle of the combat and hoping the players don't notice and call him on it. It's like there's no point in rooting for Parson at this stage, because either he's going to lose due to factors he can't even begin to pretend to control, or because the only way he's going to top this is with an equally-cheap deus ex machina that will undermine all of his planning and tactical ability.

Parson doesn't feel like a warlord, or a general, or a player any more as of this strip. He's beginning to look like a ping pong ball bounced between two paddles named "Charlie" and "Ansom."

keybounce
2009-02-08, 05:34 AM
This page we find out Ansom also has a dance fighting bonus, and he calls on Charlie for support to communicate that bonus to all stacked units in the courtyard. As he knows he wants his bonus to be the one that counts, he orders in waves of unlead troops.

BTW, anyone remember the old Michael Jacksoon Moonwalker arcade unit? (NOT the home console versions of the game!) Now THAT was dance fighting :)
Gaah, did you have to remind me of it? Sadly, I do remember that video game. I just lost.

What we see in this page is just like what we've seen so far: Parson has fewer troops with a much higher bonus, Ansom has tons and tons of troops with a lower bonus. He's come up with a nice way to provide that dance-fight bonus to a very large number of infantry. Like he said, "Fill the courtyard".

"Almost no one in Ansom's coalition can dance-fight. Uncroaked infantry, led by a master-class croakmaster, can". Well, now we find that ordinary infantry, led by masters of visual guidance, can also.

kukn
2009-02-08, 05:43 AM
The way I see it, Ansom is making use of the archons' (passive support (Thinkamancy)) abilities to merely range project the dance bonus, which otherwise has a zero (in-stack) range.* Which is a perfectly logical and reasonable game mechanic. The reason it seems so out-of-the-rules are the special effects and the fluidness of a real-time story set into turn-based game concept.

Having said that, I personally found this page weaker than the last dozen and somewhat detracting from the tension. That is partly because I didn't at first understand what was going on at all...

And it did kind of grate, it does seem like we're dropping out of the (absolutely awesome) ruleset of the game.

*edit: It is also plausible that they can make it possible to confer the dance bonus even to units that cannot normally dance. That is again a reasonable strategy game option.

SteveD
2009-02-08, 05:48 AM
Disappointing strip. All that buildup for nothing.

Erfworld is getting frustrating again.

Murderous Hobo
2009-02-08, 05:52 AM
If you don't get what happened, the Archons cast:

Dance Dance Revolution.
+5 To dance Fighting.

So now Ansoms infantry can dance.

Doomduckie
2009-02-08, 05:56 AM
Disappointing strip. I was hoping that the defense of the gate would finally signal the end to

10
Page N: Ansom: "HAHAHA I HAVE TRUMPED YOU WITH AN UNEXPECTED PLOT TWIST, PARSON IS DOOMED"
Page N+1: Parson: "HO HO HO MY CLEVER PLAN IS PUT INTO PLAY YOU ARE DOOMED ANSOM"
Page N+2: Ansom: "HAHAHA I HAVE TRUMPED YOU WITH AN UNEXPECTED PLOT TWIST, PARSON IS DOOMED"
Page N+3: Parson: "HO HO HO MY CLEVER PLAN IS PUT INTO PLAY YOU ARE DOOMED ANSOM"
Go To 10

I mean, maybe it'll get better from the current Death Note scheme collision (http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/1457/deathnoteinanutshell077mo0.jpg) that I'm feeling tangled in right now.

I'm probably misinterpreting that this comic is a continuation of the things we've seen for the entire siege. But it's still disheartening, because it seemed to have let up for just a little- before this we got 1 or 2 pages without a 'sudden plot twist in the siege signaling the apparant downfall of one side'.

AlisdairM
2009-02-08, 06:32 AM
Even worse is Parson admitting this could be gameover for him.

Actually, Parson just says 'game over'. We don't know for which side yet...

Samargh
2009-02-08, 06:38 AM
There is a counter...

almost all of the air defences...

????

Subtext
2009-02-08, 06:46 AM
Ugh...the strip was kinda funny, but...somewhat lame too. As already said, these sudden twists get a wee bit repetitive :-/

Anyway, Thriller with Uncroaked should get a huge awesome-bonus over Uhn-Tiss...

Lichtouch
2009-02-08, 06:47 AM
Hm... Slowly but surely, this comic appears to be all about which faction can pop out the most ridiculous thing.

Bats become insanely powerful around leadership?
Foolamancers can alter reality itself.

Wanda can bring back thousands of undead troops, even if they're rubbish?
Ansom suddenly gets the help of Charlie.

Parson organizes a Battle-of-the-Hot-Gates style bottle-neck and uses dance-fighting to his benefit because Ansom lacks dance-fighting?
Turns out all of Ansom's troops can dance-fight after all.

This is simply getting sillier and sillier in my opinion. But, I will continue to observe.

Wyvv
2009-02-08, 07:04 AM
This isn't Charlie, it's his Archons. And they're not the only people who can act across zones - Maggie was all set to smash Ansom in the Courtyard even while she's in the Dungeon.
Yes, but we weren't being told for several pages in a row that Maggie wasn't going to be able to do anything. It's not that they can do things out of zone, so much as we were told over and over again that they wouldn't be in the fight until the Coalition's next turn.

It's the unexpected which has proved decisive in the story thus far. Jilian finding the Wounded Dwagons. Parson using hit-and-run on the Siege. That's why Parson has reacted so negatively here - DDR was unexpected, but he knows that his Dance Fight strategy has been harmed to some extent. If his Dance Fight bonus is utterly neutralized (worse case scenario) then he knows Ansom can steamroll him; if I were Parson, I'd be Gloom & Doom too!
We weren't told over and over again by both sides that it wasn't going to happen though. On top of that, but they didn't just suddenly happen. That's another way I think this twist could've worked better. If it had taken more pages. This seems pulled out of thin air though.


Fortunately, I'm willing to bet that Wanda's Inherent Ability is able to overpower Ansom's improv trick - which Parson will no doubt note in the next page - and that the only result of this maneuver and counter is to turn the Courtyard into a meatgrinder for both sides. That helps set up an epic confrontation between the Generals, and possibly Bogroll's Sacrifice.

Unless, of course, Parson surrenders instead of fighting. There is so much left to be decided!
I think it'll be worse if he surrenders. Out of all the sudden turn arounds, this one has the least(I'm tempted to say none, but I know that's not quite the case) build up, and if it's the last one, it just kind of ends things on a dull note. If you're right about how it's not as big as Parson's statemeant makes it appear, to me anyway, I think things could end on a better note. Still, for something to pull me away like this really shocks me. Even SO3's plot twist didn't manage that.

ShiningTed
2009-02-08, 07:07 AM
I'm surprised to see all the negative reaction to this. I thought this bit of pop-culture was exactly what we should expect from Erfworld, and a brilliant twist.

I am just amazed at the fact I didn't see it coming - and I watched some bizarro short movie on DDR earlier today, and it still blind-sided me. While I agree the pacing of the comic can be insanely frustrating, this effort yet again confirms Rob's genius as a writer (imho).

datalaughing
2009-02-08, 07:08 AM
But as far as everyone else -- on both sides -- knows, the Archons shouldn't be able to get involved until next turn.

Not even a little bit true. For one thing the Archons have already been involved this turn. They wasted Wanda's airforce. So saying "everyone knows they can't get involved" is a logical fallacy. They can't attack directly if the target isn't in their zone, but there was nothing anywhere that said that they couldn't get involved in some other way. Parson surely didn't discount that possibility. He doesn't scream, "WHAT!? They can't get involved until next turn!" He looks up and basically goes, "Oh." He wasn't expecting it, but he's not treating it like it's impossible.

Sebastian
2009-02-08, 07:39 AM
A littl too Deus-ex-machina-y for my tastes, of couyrse we have still to see how it develops, if it fail spectacularly it could still be fun.



Last time we pulled a rabbit out the hat with Wanda dance-fighting. Wanda is a fan favourite though, so that is made of win...


Yes, but Wanda dance fighting was fun, (plus, there was cleavage, that never hurts.)

Requiem_Jeer
2009-02-08, 07:49 AM
Lets see...

Parson's side has:

Wanda's huge uncroaked bonus (applied to weak uncroaked, probably puts each uncroaked at a strength slightly higher then the basic infantry they're facing)

Parson's Leadership bonus (he's in the combat, so he probably grants a larger portion of his bonus, and his bonus is probably higher after he got that sword)

Dance-fight bonus (probably significant).

Now, Ansoms side has:

-a dance-fight bonus, probably small

-Ansoms leadership bonus (implied to be big)

-and strength in numbers.


That small dance fight bonus probably doesn't do much, but Ansom's full leadership bonus is now applied, which is a huge leap in effectiveness. Maggie can probably sap this bonus though.


But allow me to present a hypothesis on how dance-fighting works-

I've noticed that equipment seems to be a significant factor in effectiveness. Jillian and her armor, Wanda and her wardrobe, and others. Every time people dance-fight, they seem to have on appropriate clothes (well the leaders anyway). I would theorize that the ability to dance-fight is granted by either the unit itself (as might be the case for the transylvitans) or by the clothes they wear (Ansom seems to have a pretty all-purpose suit, not to mention Wanda's rather garish outfit).

I propose that the mere act of dance-fighting vastly improves the effectiveness of the units, but a much smaller bonus against other dance-fighters, with the bonus being weighted against the better dancer. I think that Ansom's move, although the fact of his leadership bonus is now applied is probably more important, was simply to eliminate the dancefighter vs. non-dancefighter bonus, as the dance-fight bonus that the Coalition has with that stunt is likely minimal.

Even if this is not the case, the greater amount of numbers the coalition has will make any bonus granted more effective.

HandofShadows
2009-02-08, 07:59 AM
Well Ansom had a good inventive idea. He will be able to contol the troops in the courtyard, though I don't think it will be nearly the same as Wanda's level of contol. But it will be enough to cut into her dance fighting bonus a fair amount and allow Ansom to use this greater number of troops to swamp GK. Interestingly this show the difference in the styles of Ansom and Pason. Parson tneds to give operational orders (you go do this job) but leaves the details to the person doing it (relies heavily on personal initiative of the person being given the orders). This is how many modern armies operate. Ansom is still doing it the old way where one commander tries to give large groups of troops orders and there is little in the way of personal initiative.
In this instence there is the possibility that it can back and bite him in the tailbone. The trick he is pulling is highly dependant on him and his ability to "communicate" with the troops. Take Ansom out and it falls apart. If Jack shows up he could easily screw things up by making the arrows point the wrong way. Not that I think he will show up though. But there is a very simple way to screw with Ansom's plan. All that needs to be done is to make a cloud of smoke that can obscure the dance steps. :smallbiggrin:

BTW has anyone noticed that Ansom does NOT have the Archenpliers with him?

MattR
2009-02-08, 08:06 AM
We dont know how effective this quick fix by ansom actually is. Maybe we should withhold judgement for now because we dont know if it's gamebreaking? :)

It was forshadowed a little bit because we know that plenty of warlords can dance fight and parson said 'Almost no-one in Ansom's coalition could dance fight.' Scale shouldnt make something Deus-ex Machina, jsut becuase theres a display for his men to follwo doesnt mean theyll be any good at it :)

Parson saying its 'game' doesnt take into account Stanley returning. If / when stanley gets back im sure 4 archon won't prove too much fo a problem.

T-O-E
2009-02-08, 08:17 AM
Oh come on! That's cheating.

docstrange
2009-02-08, 08:20 AM
Ok, so Ansom has a solo dance fight move... and he's coming down on Hamster's position! So, will it be the sword, or the return of Stanley, or will Ansom just miss a step when Jillian appears?

Or will Sizemore just set off another "4chan" when Ansom finally dances his way into the courtyard...

brob
2009-02-08, 08:24 AM
Well, you know, I love Erfworld. And I hate hate all this back-seat driving narrating. And I really hate all this hemi-literate TV Tropes nonsense.

So it grieves me to say, I'm feeling the complaints about this strip a bit. It's not that I dislike Ansom foiling P. Parson Gotti, Jr.'s plans, it's how quickly and automatically he does. Not enough time to revel in the machinations of the two sides if they are foiled and reset so quickly and predictably.

My suspended disbelief is also in danger of hitting a flock of Geese. I'm not sure if Parson is saying he thinks his side is done. This seems weird, since he seemed to think he had a fighting chance when neither side had dance fighting. But I'm not as worried about this. Rob & Jamie keep coming up with great surprises and twists (personally, I'm gunning for Maggie KOing Ansom).

Moghanna
2009-02-08, 08:33 AM
I always find it somewhat amusing that people get up in arms over Ansom doing these kinds of things. He is supposed to be one of the best warlords Erworld can muster. Is he couldnlt figure out a way to get around a lack of dance fighters, I'd be crying foul.

Now before everyone starts howling about Deus-ex-mechana (which is a bloody overused expression anyways >_<) think about it. Ansom can't dance fight. That's obvious as he had to get the archons to make a DDR screen for him to follow. But because he is simply "going through the motions" as it were this allows him to proxxy-fight against Wanda and the Thriller lineup.

However, this is extremely bad for Ansom. I can see multiple ways for this to blow up in his face and for Parson to do some massive damage.

1) Maggie was all set to do something drastic to Ansom. She can still do it. We have no idea how powerful Maggie is or what our favorite Margaret Thatcher caster can pull off. She maybe able to mess with Ansom's head something fierce.

2) Sizemore is lurking about. So what happens if he pops up sets off another crap golem next to Ansom? Or if he has another Shockomacy scroll? Or a heavy metal golem beans Ansom across the chops?

3) Bogroll could simply walk down (seeing Ansom seems to be getting really close to the front lines) and start attacking him. Hard to DDR if a twoll is trying to gut you.

4) Parson's himself could do something. Hell for all we know Parson's a kick butt DDR player. He could be, yes he's fat and all that but I know plenty of fat guys who play DDR, some of them quite good at it. Hell if Parson is adequet at it, he maybe able to neutrlize Ansom

5) Jack and Stanley are wild card. What happens is they show up and start wasting the archons? I'm pretty sure Stanley would be able to take on quite a few archons especially with dwagon support and goodness knows what Jack can do. And Stanley already hates Charlie so I reckon he's eagerly start killing archons, as they seem to be Charlie's source of power. Kill of some of his archons and Charlie may very well retreat.

6) Multiple of 1-5, so Ansoms dancing... then Sizemore craps him, Maggie brain boops him and both parson and Bogroll go after him. If that hapened, dead Ansom, no deus-ex-machina, no charlie, he's dead Jim he's dead. And with Ansoms death I imaghine the coalition dies too.

So no, this is hardly a dues-ex-machina that people seem to be winging about. It's Ansom showing why and how he's the leader of this damn coalition. Is is annoying? Well yeah cause the whole comic we've been used to Ansom being a snobbish moron. Now he's showing why he's the warlord. Remember Ansom was used to fighting Stanley. Stanley IS a moron. Parson is most definatly not.

brob
2009-02-08, 08:35 AM
Ok. Let me put it another way. One of the things I love about this strip is that it's a brilliant alloy of random-popreferenceomancy and storytellingmancy that is so much shinier and tastier than either on its own. But leaning on the former omancy for expediencyomancy wades into the waters of sucksomancy.

I'm done. :)

Brob O'Mancy

Rollory
2009-02-08, 08:42 AM
This is getting stupider with every strip.

A story about a gamer stuck in a strategy game brought to life, that's interesting. There's not much of that story left here. Now it's just gimmicky pop-culture all over the place and to no real point.

Geno9999
2009-02-08, 08:42 AM
DDR... Why on earth are we not see it coming before it comes? On a side note, it seems that Ansom is distracting all the units that know how to dance and is going for the leader, aka at Parson:smalleek: can he dance?

Graymayre
2009-02-08, 08:43 AM
5) Jack and Stanley are wild card. What happens is they show up and start wasting the archons? I'm pretty sure Stanley would be able to take on quite a few archons especially with dwagon support and goodness knows what Jack can do. And Stanley already hates Charlie so I reckon he's eagerly start killing archons, as they seem to be Charlie's source of power. Kill of some of his archons and Charlie may very well retreat.
.

Epileptic Trees moment: What if there was some switcharoo, and now the archons are stanley and some dragons disguised by jack. :smallbiggrin:

On several different other notes. Some have said complained that there was no information that ansom (or the archons?) were capable of DDR. But if the writers gave a hint, wouldn't there have been a good chance that Parson could prepare for it? Thus negating the dramatic (relatively) unveiling?

Also, why is Parson in the courtyard? Doesn't he give the same bonus regardless of where he stands?

Fjolnir
2009-02-08, 08:46 AM
my guess is the rest of the air defences will be fired at ansom in a focused attack (if they can all conviniently miss someone and their mount, you can blast them all at a singular target) after which if ansom is still alive, he gets Maggie'd in the brain. the current maneuver is essentially the thinkamancy equivalent of what wanda is doing



and no matter what Jack And Stanley will NOT be returning this turn unless they already have and are hidden someplace (which would be a rage inspiring move to me honestly) though given the amount of swingyness, I wouldn't put it past a group of archons going shwoof and becoming stanley, the KISS, and a partial flight of dwagons

oh and to above poster you can't stick pointy bits of metal in units in the courtyard from the dungeon:smallbiggrin:

MattR
2009-02-08, 08:48 AM
I'd save complaints about the pacing of the story and how things seem to spring up changing the sway of the battle. Stuff like that can happen in battles anyhow, but beyond that its already been confirmed that the battle scenes etc are going to be padded out by more strips, so it shouldnt feel like things are beeing interrupted quite as often.

daggaz
2009-02-08, 08:54 AM
So what, they are going to have to fight a dancefight battle while looking up the whole time trying to copy moves in the sky? Yeaaah... right.

Lance
2009-02-08, 09:04 AM
I don't agree with some of the more negative comments that have been posted so far. Sure, I too was caught off guard by this quick reversal, and it would have been nice if the Archons had displayed some cross-zone communication in a previous strip. That having been said, I'm not sure predictability was the point here.

My guess, is that the authors wanted to put us in the shoes of Parson for a second. At the end of the last strip, I, like Parson, was confident that his forces had the upper hand. Opposing leadership whittled down, an upper-hand in dance fighting; his plan was being executed without a hitch. Then, all of a sudden Ansom pulls out a move that, not only was unexpected, but is something we didn't even know was possible. I'm guessing that Parson's now feeling like it seems a lot of us are. Shocked, disappointed, and more than a little upset at this 'game-world' and the ridiculous game mechanics that go with it. I can truly empathize with his frustration of being an outsider in this strange world, having to live by and be subject to its strange, unpredictable and, at times incomprehensible, rules.

Yet Parson, like ourselves, doesn't quite know what effect this new dancing will have on the battle, and like us, he will be forced to wait until the next strip to find out.

MattR
2009-02-08, 09:12 AM
Thatd make it less effective then regular dance fighting since its not been practiced? :)

I think if this method of dance fightign turned out to give a superior bonus it woudl be annoying to say the least.

Im waiting for a panel with some of the coalition scratching heads and wondering what they need to do.

drachefly
2009-02-08, 09:17 AM
I am very curious what Parson means by 'Game'. Next strip ought to reveal this. If he's at a loss, that's bad. If he sees this as an opportunity, that's great.


I suspect that dance-fighting is risky -- you have the opportunity to fail, and get a penalty instead of a bonus. Why else would dance-fighters ever NOT dance-fight?

BarGamer
2009-02-08, 09:27 AM
Ok, why did RC troops need to die to set this up? Was it really necessary for there to be lots of troops to be in the courtyard zone to do this? Ansom relying again on numerical advantage? Could we get a number cruncher in here, please?

marquiz
2009-02-08, 09:29 AM
Why should this be out of context with any strategy games? Take Magic, the gathering for example.

Most critters there cannot attack the turn they come into your control. But they are still able to use their other special abilities. Here they seem to be simply unable to move out of zone, as otherwise, I think an almost unlimited move exploit can be made. The archon's coming under control of strawberry general's forces happens this turn, but they havent regained their 'moves'back yer... Thus Ansom, moves to the air zone to get a 'dance ability buff', then return to the fight. This, while sounds cheesy, is the sort of thing necessary to counter Parson's usually unorthodox fighting stye. (as compared to erfworld style fighting)

And we have to see Parson in combat, which requires his forces to be held on balance, for him to come out and do the queen's gambit (as per chess)

Belphegor
2009-02-08, 09:36 AM
I hate to say this but somehow whenever Parsons makes a decent plan somehow Archons or Charlie interfere foiling it terribly.
* Who helped destroyed the dragons
* Who help Jillian broke Wanda's spell
* Who almost killed Wanda in the courtyard

I admit Charlie backing down on one occasion but he got six free Mathamancy sessions.

My bet is Maggie will try something and get mind-booped by Charlie himself.

Just fits with pattern. Parson tries something Charlie and his Archons interfere.
Best thing Parson could do is to lay his sword and just give up returning to his own world. I would give authors mad creds for having balls to pull something like that and sleep soundly knowing Parson's boop ain't going to be booped by Charlie's throbbing Archons.

EvilDMMk3
2009-02-08, 09:44 AM
Head + desk.

Again?

Estelindis
2009-02-08, 09:48 AM
I always find it somewhat amusing that people get up in arms over Ansom doing these kinds of things. He is supposed to be one of the best warlords Erworld can muster. Is he couldnlt figure out a way to get around a lack of dance fighters, I'd be crying foul.

Now before everyone starts howling about Deus-ex-mechana (which is a bloody overused expression anyways >_<) think about it. Ansom can't dance fight. That's obvious as he had to get the archons to make a DDR screen for him to follow. But because he is simply "going through the motions" as it were this allows him to proxxy-fight against Wanda and the Thriller lineup.

However, this is extremely bad for Ansom. I can see multiple ways for this to blow up in his face and for Parson to do some massive damage.
Excellent post, Moghanna. I didn't want to quote the whole thing, but I feel that all your points are very well thought out.

Personally, I've been rooting for Ansom from the start (I often like the characters that one is not "supposed" to like), so I love this strip. (I mean, come on: Dance Dance Revolution! Like so many other aspects of Ansom, it's so wonderfully cheesy!) However, I also thoroughly enjoy the strips where Ansom gets burned. Ditto for any other character. As long as the back-and-forth happens in an interesting and funny way, I really don't see what the problem is. We wouldn't want the drama to be over in a heart-beat. It would ruin the suspense. And, as Moghanna has pointed out, Ansom is still quite vulnerable in a number of ways. He just gets to do a bunch of cool things before Parson et al eventually (I imagine) decide to focus their efforts on taking him down (since, in spite of everything, he's such a huge asset to the coalition).

brob
2009-02-08, 10:01 AM
My guess, is that the authors wanted to put us in the shoes of Parson for a second. At the end of the last strip, I, like Parson, was confident that his forces had the upper hand.

I completely agree. And as many have said many times, all this grousing about the narrative is grousing about a story we fundamentally won't understand until the book is over. So I take your points very well.

Aaaand... I really like Erf, and don't want to discourage the authors from writing a Book 2, and 3, and motion picture, and children's pop-up book adaptation. But of course, I can't help putting in my occasional nickel.

Eugenitor
2009-02-08, 10:21 AM
Hit him NOW, Maggie, NOW NOW NOW!

Either that or Parson lops off his own head, reappears back on Earth, and swears off strategy games forever. Because that's what reading this is making me want to do. This battle is becoming the Song that Never Ends, only sung increasingly off-key.

Zeku
2009-02-08, 10:23 AM
It's a good page. The battle continues... I admit that there's not a lot of reasons to like Ansom, or prefer his side of the battle, especially given that GK has a 'real' human commander. But, this is supposed to be a battle, not a "Parson ascends to Godhood after a few clever choices against dummies."

I'm still waiting for my boys to show up and spread the Greater Good.
http://guides.gamepressure.com/warhammer40kdawnofwarsoulstorm/gfx/word/-1536702953.jpg

IronBear
2009-02-08, 10:23 AM
Wow. I haven’t been as disappointed or annoyed at an Erfworld update since its very early days of the strip…back when the strips were there just to tell a bad joke. I was one of the few people in my circle who stuck Erfworld out hoping it would improve and it did. And now that I have almost coaxed my friends into trying Erf again….they go and pull something like this.

Nitan
2009-02-08, 10:35 AM
I was hoping Ansom would win but I'm not sure anymore. He was far less reckless with his troops than Parson was but now he's just throwing them away as part of his "plans".

teratorn
2009-02-08, 10:45 AM
I knew all the whining would start again. But at least people should try to make it consistent. If the archons can project a contract to Ansom they can project a few arrows. They are not attacking GK.

The next wave of RCC's troops will have dance fight bonus, but come on, disco should add a penalty, not a bonus.

Rollory
2009-02-08, 10:45 AM
The bottom line here is the authors keep introducing new rules and mechanics that there is no reason to expect just to be able to one-up themselves and get out of corners they've written themselves into. The audience can't understand or predict anything about the universe being presented because there is no predictability aside from the fact that the authors are guaranteed to make all the characters jerk around like puppets on strings whenever they feel like it.

It's completely trashing the appeal of the "living a strategy game" premise, because there is no possible strategy that the audience can recognize, there's just a neverending series of ever more arcane rules and combinations that keep trumping whatever the audience thought was going on. This is no way to treat an audience, technically it's terrible writing and pacing, and - I know this is thin ice, but it needs saying - given the talk of how each strip takes so long to make because the authors are spending so much time on each one making sure it's perfect, to then have the result be so contrived and silly - that's just terrible, it's evidence the time is being wasted. They're trying TOO hard. They're putting so much effort into making it wacky and popcultural they're making it suck, when a bit of straightforward workmanlike sticking to the basics would've made a story just about anyone in the audience would've been fine with.

There's also the issue that at this point they're building up expectations for the ending that they just cannot possibly make good on. If it was a story about gaming a rules system, plus some fun strategy game gameplay, that wouldn't NEED these back-and-forth incessant revelations of "oh you thought things were bad before, well NOW THEY'RE WORSE! :popcult:"

Biting off more than you can chew: what most people's mommies taught us not to do.

teratorn
2009-02-08, 10:49 AM
The bottom line here is the authors keep introducing new rules and mechanics
There's nothing in this strip that hasn't been shown before. Dancing gives bonus and Archons can display stuff in the sky


Biting off more than you can chew: what most people's mommies tell us not to do.

Mommies should also tell people not to be condescending.

headhoncho
2009-02-08, 10:51 AM
I actually liked the DDR reference and the way that isolated mechanic is playing out. BUT... and this is a big but... this strip reinforces the same points that have been made and growing in number over time, and accordingly is still very frustrating.

1) The constant one-upsmanship has gotten beyond old and is now well into the venerable category.

2) This makes it difficult to foster a sense of credible pacing, and that's even taking into account the fact that we're viewing this episodically.

3) The end result is that to me, this has been feeling like a good movie that has gone on WAY, WAY, WAY too long, with the twists and turns resulting in eye-rolling rather than excitement and suspense.

It's getting to the point where I'd like to see this chapter just end already. Or at LEAST this turn. Believe it or not, I think it would actually be OK if Ansom stopped trying to beat things through with brute force -- and winning constantly despite it all -- and maybe started trying to adjust and deviate from his plans instead. You know, like taking a moment to retreat, or admitting that maybe Parson actually might have him this round and he should recalculate for a second. Maybe if he showed a little flexibility like Parson has, it would make him seem more sympathetic, more competent, and less like Mr. Booppull.

It's also getting to the point where I'm starting to ask myself whether I'd prefer a Bobby Ewing in the shower retcon, and I find the fact that I'm even starting to ask myself that question to be really unfortunate, given how much I've loved this strip.

I'm sure Maggie will pull a Thinkamancy trick or Parson will activate the Foolamancy capsule or whatever to one-up Ansom now, but the bottom line is that I'm just so tired of the one-upping to begin with, so that even when Parson wins a round, the story loses, IMO.

Hatu
2009-02-08, 10:52 AM
I was hoping Ansom would win but I'm not sure anymore. He was far less reckless with his troops than Parson was but now he's just throwing them away as part of his "plans".

Yeah, I'm not quite sure why Ansom has suddenly stopped caring about protecting his troops; it sure seems like he could have booted up DDR before sending them into battle.

I have mixed feelings about this strip. On the one hand, it's a lot of fun and I love the DDR joke. It feels very apt to Erfworld. But on the other hand, this is right back to all my problems with Erfworld game mechanics. So the Archons can now allow troops outside of their zone to dance fight? What a handy ability to suddenly have. And while we're at it, why exactly does playing DDR protect Ansom from whatever Maggie was going to do to him?

Of course Parson is in full bi-polar mode again, too: the instant his plan encounters the unexpected, he's afraid everything is lost. This is getting tiresome. No doubt he'll be back to predicting a complete, double envelopment victory when he adopts his next plan. I think of these plot twists would be easier to swallow if Parsons would just adopt a more realistic view of the situation for us.

-H

SteveMB
2009-02-08, 10:56 AM
This, whether you like it or not, is a boop-pull from my perspective.

I'm just not seeing it. We knew that at least some of the Archons have dance-fighting ability (that's why the ones on Jillian's expeditionary force changed to the schoolgirl outfits) and that they can project images (the contract). Given that, it's simply a matter of putting the two abilities together in a clever way.


Of course Parson is in full bi-polar mode again, too: the instant his plan encounters the unexpected, he's afraid everything is lost. This is getting tiresome. No doubt he'll be back to predicting a complete, double envelopment victory when he adopts his next plan. I think of these plot twists would be easier to swallow if Parsons would just adopt a more realistic view of the situation for us.

Parson's "realistic view of the situation" is precisely the problem. He's worried that losing means he might "die here for reals", which is something he's not accustomed to facing. That would make anybody react more negatively when something goes wrong.

teratorn
2009-02-08, 11:07 AM
3) The end result is that to me, this has been feeling like a good movie that has gone on WAY, WAY, WAY too long, with the twists and turns resulting in eye-rolling rather than excitement and suspense.
That's a problem with webcomics with weekly updates. These were just two pages the problem is that we tend to regard them as episodes. It's no coincidence that there's a full world of complaints whenever there's a battle sequence. I'd rather wait until the sequence is finished.



It's also getting to the point where I'm starting to ask myself whether I'd prefer a Bobby Ewing in the shower retcon, and I find the fact that I'm even starting to ask myself that question to be really unfortunate, given how much I've loved this strip.

Bobby Ewing? Wow, you're old.

obazavil
2009-02-08, 11:10 AM
*yawn*

and... once again, ultra-powerful-charly, and ultra-lucky-ansom saves the day...

man, parson can't win even one big battle...

let's see what happens, i didn't like this one at all.

Logos7
2009-02-08, 11:10 AM
More Head+Desk Here,

I dont honestly get it, Sure the Giant DDR is kewl, its visually interesting, but goddamn it , it feels forced, and yet again its ansom who can make no mistakes.

It would have been really awesome to see him , A> Make a Mistake and then B> Blunder his way out of it. If Parson was Decimating his troops so badly, why not pull back so the archons can help, you know like all the other warlords want to do, and that Parson is afraid of.

Instead its almost like Ansom knows that the archon bonus is going to be in dispute next turn (That whole, We shall not give the hampster time to plan bit, seems a bit weak sauce after the hamster just ****ed you up hardcore)

So Yeah, Im waiting for Dramatic Reverse, THE THINKAMANCY, Followed by Charlie Saving Ansom, and then THE CRAPOMONACY followd by Charlie Saving Ansom, followed by Ansom Fights Parson and Bogroll, followed by Charlie Saving Ansom.

See my 'Plaint?

Just for all you defenders, I keep reading Erf becuase the art is still A-1, and presuming I dont read more than one strip every couple days, I can read them without giving myself a concusssion from the Head+Desk

Logos

PePe QuiCoSE
2009-02-08, 11:13 AM
It looks that any time that Ansom pulls something a lot of people take it negatively. Remember that the donut of doom kept being tossed around each couple of threads.

Anyway, i think this is only the set-up for what Parson has to do: he can't rely on his bonus and army so he will have to take a risk in a all-or-nothing gamble (probably including him in the front). As his initial plan, taking out leadership is a must (Ansom), and there's still the pliers around.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-02-08, 11:18 AM
Without having gone through pages of comments, I must say that this comic was... not among my favorites.

I love this comic, but I just... I can't see this. Two reasons:

1) Ansom violated the rules when he flew up to the Archons. They're in Airspace, not in Courtyard, that is moving to a different area of GK. If it was that easy, the Archons would be wiping out Uncraoked by the scores.

2) Not only did Ansom go back down to the courtyard (final panel, he's almost level with his troops, probably just high enough to avoid being Dirtmore'd), but now the Archons are affecting the units in the Courtyard, which is another violation of the rules since they are not Garrison. Otherwise, why not simply rain death and destruction down on them, like they did the Dragons?

Basically, they violated their own rules for this comic strip.

Besides, if I was Parson, I wouldn't have said 'hold on', I'd have said "Oh BOOP, GET HIM DISABLED ASAP!!!!"

teratorn
2009-02-08, 11:22 AM
1) Ansom violated the rules when he flew up to the Archons. They're in Airspace, not in Courtyard, that is moving to a different area of GK. If it was that easy, the Archons would be wiping out Uncraoked by the scores.

No he didn't, it's Ansom's turn he can fly there.


2) Not only did Ansom go back down to the courtyard (final panel, he's almost level with his troops, probably just high enough to avoid being Dirtmore'd), but now the Archons are affecting the units in the Courtyard, which is another violation of the rules since they are not Garrison.

No they aren't, they're just dispalying stuff in the sky. They've done that previously in this same turn. They aren't attacking GK.

Doopliss
2009-02-08, 11:24 AM
I honestly didn't mind this strip so much, but maybe that's just because I'm too angry at OotS to be angry at Erfworld. We already know the Archons are hardcore spellcasters and spellcasters are generally hardcore anyways, and AoE dancefigting doesn't seem particularly improbable to me. The back-and-forth is getting a bit repetitive, but I definitely wouldn't call it an asspull, and I suppose this kind of thing gets on your nerves less when you're not as invested in the comic. It will definitely be frustrating if this is game over, but in the meantime Gobwin Knob is sitting on a big stash of scrolls with Maggie in position to launch an attack of some kind. I think people are taking this twist to be more than it is.

Fez
2009-02-08, 11:31 AM
Before getting to the content of today's strip, I wanted to share an observation about fan reactions.

In general when Parson, or someone on his side, pulls a cool win, because the fans are invested in the story and the underdog, people love those strips. There are certain characters in the opposition who also get a positive bump when they pull of a nice move, but generally when the Coalition does something big, people are unhappy. When its the hero/underdog's side, its 'go Parson', when its Ansom's side its 'that seems improbable' or 'I'm left unsatisfied.'

I noticed this when Jillian and the Archons somehow at the end of their move 'just happened' to run across the stack of injured dwagons. Similarly, people expressed consternation when Caesar and his bats defeated Stanley's army of dwagons. The power level (and flexibility) of the archons, seems to cause ambivalence.

So it is amusing just as a study of the fan base to see how people react depending on which side gets the upper hand in any particular strip.

Now to my own views. In general, I do find Parson's big wins have seemed like good tactics. He uses his information advantage and applies existing understood powers more effectively. The whole strategy of using the dwagons to hit and disengage, then setting a pincer trap for Ansom. No whacky powers there, just smart application of forces. Similarly, having Sizemore trap and bomb out the tunnels, then Wanda raising the troops. Just good tactics. Various people predicted Parson's tactics from having played tactical games in the past.

The wins for the Coalition have seemed a bit more arbitrary (and perhaps that's needed to give them a chance despite the greater numbers). The two that stand out was Parson putting the dwagon stack in a direct line between Jillian and Ansom. He had the map and linked casters, that just seems like too obvious a blunder, and too improbable. The second example is this page.

I love the use of DDR imagery and hey 'Go Bloodhound Gang' :). But, if the Archons could give dance fighting to all the allied troops even across 'zones'/hexes, and this was known then the Coalition should have planned to use it from the start. It would cut down on losses and the Archons were already contracted for, so not using that to gain an advantage would be horribly negligent. Other people would have known it was a power. Parson's glasses would have told him it was a power. His advisors would have told him it was a power. Instead, a power none of the other faction leaders knew about, which Parson's glasses didn't tell him about, which Ansom apparently knew about but hadn't planned to use, and which seemingly violates the zone rules described affects the battle.

That said, you want the battle to be suspenseful, it just feels too arbitrary (and again seems to make Archons rather powerful with their assorted powers where dwagons just fight and not much better than an archon. Though I can justify that by having levels of experience/attunement with an artifact and Charlie might just have higher level Archons than Stanley has dwagons). I also am unsure why Parson doesn't still just have Maggie hit Ansom with a mental blast. Its not a direct fight, and he's all alone. Interrupt him and its back to status quo.

Anyway, I'm sure the writers have their reasons. As Rob has said, the system has been in place from the start. So what we're seeing now is how zones differ from hexes (or perhaps they don't, maybe you can do magical effects across a hex too, certainly you can with thinkamancy and findamancy).

Jack R. Terrier
2009-02-08, 11:43 AM
Ok. Let me put it another way. One of the things I love about this strip is that it's a brilliant alloy of random-popreferenceomancy and storytellingmancy that is so much shinier and tastier than either on its own. But leaning on the former omancy for expediencyomancy wades into the waters of sucksomancy.

I'm done. :)

Brob O'Mancy

Nice rantomancy.

SteveMB
2009-02-08, 11:50 AM
I love the use of DDR imagery and hey 'Go Bloodhound Gang' :). But, if the Archons could give dance fighting to all the allied troops even across 'zones'/hexes, and this was known then the Coalition should have planned to use it from the start. It would cut down on losses and the Archons were already contracted for, so not using that to gain an advantage would be horribly negligent.

Until now, Ansom wasn't expecting the Archons to be available (or needed) for the assault on GK -- he sent them off to chase Stanley (necessary; he needed a big enough flying force to defeat a warlord with a couple dozen dwagons and an artifact), and then they were out of the Coalition until earlier this turn. He's winging it at this point, coming up with a way for the Archons to be useful even while stuck in airspace.

Hatu
2009-02-08, 11:53 AM
Parson's "realistic view of the situation" is precisely the problem. He's worried that losing means he might "die here for reals", which is something he's not accustomed to facing. That would make anybody react more negatively when something goes wrong.

That's not what I'm talking about.

Parson presents every plan with overmuch attention to its upside: how completely it will crush the enemy, how Ansom has already failed to exploit it's One Key Flaw, or even just how it and it alone can save the day. Similarly, whenever Ansom counters one of his plans, Parson starts talking about how the setback may just make Ansom unbeatable. He does this even though the setback was never mentioned as a way his original plan could be foiled, and even though he manages to come up with a new plan to counter the setback anyway. It's pretty obvious at this point that Parson overreacts (both positively and negatively) to everything. I think that makes this strip feel even more like a series of booppulls than necessary.



No they aren't, they're just dispalying stuff in the sky. They've done that previously in this same turn. They aren't attacking GK.

Why should seeing a series of arrows be sufficient to enable troops that cannot dance fight to dance fight? There has been no indication that that was even remotely possible beforehand. We've previously seen that units capable of dance fighting wanted to be in costume to do it, so if anything we were led to believe that dance fighting was difficult to do effectively.

-H

stsasser
2009-02-08, 12:00 PM
Charles.com's ArkenDish is a satellite dish and people are complaining about a lack of boundaries? In this instance, not referencing Saturday Night Fever and DDR would be a gross violation of the story.

Anything available on 600 channels, from Sham Wow to local zoning board meetings, is fair.

SteveMB
2009-02-08, 12:03 PM
Parson presents every plan with overmuch attention to its upside: how completely it will crush the enemy, how Ansom has already failed to exploit it's One Key Flaw, or even just how it and it alone can save the day. Similarly, whenever Ansom counters one of his plans, Parson starts talking about how the setback may just make Ansom unbeatable. He does this even though the setback was never mentioned as a way his original plan could be foiled, and even though he manages to come up with a new plan to counter the setback anyway. It's pretty obvious at this point that Parson overreacts (both positively and negatively) to everything. I think that makes this strip feel even more like a series of booppulls than necessary.

Actually, that fits my read on it pretty well -- when one of Parson's plans comes together and he thinks he's salvaged the situation, his worries recede and he thinks like a gamer who's on a winning streak. When things don't go so well, the screams of "OMBG I could die here" start up again in the back of his mind.


We've previously seen that units capable of dance fighting wanted to be in costume to do it, so if anything we were led to believe that dance fighting was difficult to do effectively.

We don't know how "effective" this is going to be. It could be that the difference between good dance-fighting (Wanda and the uncroaked) and no dance-fighting ability at all is much greater than the difference between good dance-fighting and bare-minimum dance-fighting from following a DDR display (some gaming systems have a hefty penalty for having no skill at all in a given area, creating a big gap between "none" and "minimal" ability).

Scylfing
2009-02-08, 12:06 PM
The joke fell flat to me, sorry. Maybe if Paron's line at the end had been something to point out how obviously absurd the DDR projection screen is, it might've worked, but with his doom and gloom prediction it leads the reader to treat it seriously/dramatically--which I mean c'mon, it's a giant DDR projection cascading down a battlefield! How is that not silly?

And yeah, as has been said/as I've said before, the pacing's too rapid between scene changes of Parson's maneuver and Ansom's counter. Hope this is one of those places where in the book the authors will include extended scenes, because Wanda and the uncroacked dance-fighting to Thriller is too funny to gloss over past the intro.

teratorn
2009-02-08, 12:07 PM
But, if the Archons could give dance fighting to all the allied troops even across 'zones'/hexes, and this was known then the Coalition should have planned to use it from the start.
That's a good argument but we should not forget that the archons were not part of the coalition. And Ansom just needs this bonus now because of the blunder in the tunnels. In the anticipated battle RCC would have won the war as soon as it broke through the walls.



So what we're seeing now is how zones differ from hexes (or perhaps they don't, maybe you can do magical effects across a hex too, certainly you can with thinkamancy and findamancy).

We know they can project images outside of their hex during their turn (Jillian's message to Ansom) although it's probably only directed to one person at a time.

Lance
2009-02-08, 12:37 PM
In general when Parson, or someone on his side, pulls a cool win, because the fans are invested in the story and the underdog, people love those strips. There are certain characters in the opposition who also get a positive bump when they pull of a nice move, but generally when the Coalition does something big, people are unhappy. When its the hero/underdog's side, its 'go Parson', when its Ansom's side its 'that seems improbable' or 'I'm left unsatisfied.'

Amen! I think a lot of people are emotionally invested in a Parson win, so there's lots of arguing when Ansom makes a good move.

To add to that, I think people's expectations of Parson's chances have been inflated out of proportion. After the dwagons left, GK never really stood a chance. The tiny force inside the city never really had a chance to defeat the huge coalition of forces advancing on it. Parson has had some brilliant plans that have slowed down the forces *a lot*, but arguments that Ansom's continued advances are out of luck, contrived, or deus-ex machina, are just not looking realistically at the huge advantage Ansom's had from the start.

Yes, Parson has been confident about his plans, to the point where he's talked about having the Arkenpliers in hand by the end of the turn. But I think that's been more talk than anything else. Talk to get Charlie to back down. Talk to keep the morale of his troops up. He knows, and we know, that there's a 41.1% chance of Ansom taking the city *this turn*. And, that figure was based on the premise that Charlie wouldn't interfere. With Charlie's intervention, I'm sure that number's gone above 50%.

So, GK has less that a 50% chance of holding off the attackers this round. Even if they did hold off the attackers, the chance of Ansom taking the city in two turns I'm sure is even higher. Given these statistics, it's completely unrealistic to think that Parson would actually be able to win the battle this turn, or really at all for that matter. The best he can hope for is to, as he put it, make them unwilling or unable to advance further.

I have a feeling Rob and Jamie have something bigger planned that none of us are expecting.

Vreejack
2009-02-08, 12:41 PM
Yeah, I'm not quite sure why Ansom has suddenly stopped caring about protecting his troops; it sure seems like he could have booted up DDR before sending them into battle.

He might have if he had thought of it, but the circumstances of this battle are likely not like anything he has ever encountered before. Normally the archons would be too busy fighting and kicking butt to be able to spare some time giving dancing instructions. That being said, it's still a bit of deus ex if Ansom can win that easily. Either Parson is exaggerating about the extent of his despair or Ansom really is executing an unexpected suicide attack.

MattR
2009-02-08, 12:47 PM
Theyre not Ansom's troops, his troops are dead.
Remember, he didnt hesitate to send those in, even when the guy he put in charge had reservations.

teratorn
2009-02-08, 12:51 PM
That being said, it's still a bit of deus ex if Ansom can win that easily. Either Parson is exaggerating about the extent of his despair or Ansom really is executing an unexpected suicide attack.

We don't know about the stats. Undead are weak, and the dance bonus was the thing putting them above RCC unled units. To even things out Ansom would need to send warlords directly into the attacking stacks, and Parson expected he could snatch them from below the ground. Even a weak bonus from this fake-dance could put these units above GK's uncroaked CR, so that Ansom doesn't need to put warlords in the stacks.

To put GK's units above the enemy Parson and Wanda may be forced to join directly the fighting stack.

PhantomFox
2009-02-08, 12:52 PM
I think the intent here was to give Maggie a problem to solve. We had Sizemore do his thing to take care of a small problem. Now to up the ante, we have a bigger problem that requires a bigger solution. This may have come out of nowhere, but I'm willing to bet that it's just a big set-up to show off how good Maggie is. Keep in mind, once this problem is solved, things will be back to the status quo: in Parson's favor. Perhaps even MORE in his favor.

As far as solving the problem goes, Maggie is able to use spells at her own discretion. So a simple confusion spell would cause miss-miss-miss-miss-FAILURE! and perhaps the infantry will get a bonus.

Plot Mongering 101 dictates that the conclusion will be a nailbiter. Perhaps Parson can force Ansom into declaring an honor 1v1 duel?

Eugenitor
2009-02-08, 01:29 PM
The audience can't understand or predict anything about the universe being presented because there is no predictability aside from the fact that the authors are guaranteed to make all the characters jerk around like puppets on strings whenever they feel like it.

This.

The Internet is home to a whole lot of really bad fiction. Some of it is pure Mary Sue character-can-do-anything power fantasy. Some of it is torture-the-character-for-fun garbage usually involving some fetish or other.

Never before have I seen a story include roughly equal amounts of both.

You know what? Screw it. This isn't old or venerable. It's downright geriatric, complete with both legs amputated from diabetic gangrene and a full bedpan.

I'm never going to know what happens, because I'm exercising reader's privilege and ending this at strip 128 for me. See you never!

*clicks submit and then X in rapid succession*

JazzManJim
2009-02-08, 01:34 PM
The audience can't understand or predict anything about the universe being presented because there is no predictability aside from the fact that the authors are guaranteed to make all the characters jerk around like puppets on strings whenever they feel like it.


That's not entirely true.

The one thing I've been able to predict since the Dragon Wheel is that any time Parson comes up with a new trick (that requires either an investment of time and thought or a sudden burst of inspiration taking at least two strips to explain and deploy) to give his side any advantage, Anson will have an immediate counter that will completely nullify any advantage Parson had gained.

Doc Roc
2009-02-08, 01:38 PM
Why should this be out of context with any strategy games? Take Magic, the gathering for example.

Most critters there cannot attack the turn they come into your control. But they are still able to use their other special abilities. Here they seem to be simply unable to move out of zone, as otherwise, I think an almost unlimited move exploit can be made. [...]

I am prepared to accept the gist of your point to an extent but I think your example of magic is extremely poor in the modern setting, largely because one of the big complaints leveled at the current standard-format's meta-game is that it is almost entirely predictable in many respects. Further, in Magic, you are always allowed to reach out, grab a card in play (politely) and read it... excluding morph. So Magic is a game of sudden reversals from generally understood sources. Perhaps not expected, but at its heart the rules of Magic, even the comprehensive rules, even Phasing, are very simple and very deterministic.

In other words, a very poor example here. Here the rules seem to flux and bend. We have no grounding, no information regarding the capabilities of Archons which seem.........expansive at the least, and certainly no experience with the degree of rapidity that Ansom engineered what appears to be a completely new tactic. Sure, stroke of genius, moment of inspiration, years of experience, except that there's never been a hint of this before.

Even Option Three (the hunt) was just a permutation of a normal battlefield tactic, common to war-games. This is what is tantamount to an exploit, or a egregious combo at best. In a game, terrifying combos can be fun, and are often well-known parts of the meta-game. In a story, without lots of background, terrifying combos tend to sap the morale of your readers.


TL:DR Summary: Ansom is apparently a brand of sonic screwdriver.

Jeivar
2009-02-08, 01:43 PM
This.

The Internet is home to a whole lot of really bad fiction. Some of it is pure Mary Sue character-can-do-anything power fantasy. Some of it is torture-the-character-for-fun garbage usually involving some fetish or other.

Never before have I seen a story include roughly equal amounts of both.

You know what? Screw it. This isn't old or venerable. It's downright geriatric, complete with both legs amputated from diabetic gangrene and a full bedpan.

I'm never going to know what happens, because I'm exercising reader's privilege and ending this at strip 128 for me. See you never!

*clicks submit and then X in rapid succession*

Well, someone's dramatic.

Suicide Junkie
2009-02-08, 02:06 PM
Ansom seems to be doing more real-time planning as the campaign wears on. But at the same time, his turnarounds are getting weaker.
Additionally, Parson is learning, and his hits are getting stronger.

Dwagon doughnut:
- Lots of time to plan.
- Crushing victory with luck and minimal losses.

Walls:
- Some time to plan, but implementation was rushed.
- Narrow victory, at a significant (and outrageous) cost.

Courtyard:
- Seat of the pants idea, very rushed.
? Narrow loss?

Dungeon:
? Desperate move
? Epic fail

PhantomFox
2009-02-08, 02:18 PM
Yeah, I expect Ansom to fall flat on his face the next strip or two. Then this boop-pull will have him FALL on it.

Bilbo27
2009-02-08, 02:21 PM
I thought I had this all worked out, but now I am thrown for a loop again.

TCM
2009-02-08, 02:23 PM
I actually registered to participate in the epic hilarity of this discussion.

Long story short, people are taking this entirely too seriously. Why should something as ridiculous as Archon-Projected-DDR-Dance-Fight-Bonus suddenly mean the end of the world, when you've taken everything so far at face value?

TBH, I think that the people who are whining that Parson and Ansom keep playing a game of one-up are the same people who would whine if Parson steamrolled everything with perfect strategy. Guys: Battles work with one-up tactics. Your opponent sends a force at you, you counter it (ideally as quickly and effeciently as possible), they try some gambit, you best them, and this continues indefinitely until somebody makes a mistake. The comic is more interesting for all the one-upmanship, and glances at abilities we've never known existed, the game would get old if it just stuck to what we (and Parson) knew of the rules initially.

This is a webcomic. It is allowed to make cheesy pop culture references. It is allowed to break suspension of disbelief (I still find it hard to believe that people had a suspension of disbelief to begin with, especially on this site. One of the webcomics here breaks the fourth wall in multiple ways on a regular basis, the other is about a strategy gamer who gets sucked into the cutesiest strategy game ever that happens to have the same design as a campaign he planned. Seriously? Suspension of disbelief?). And it is allowed to pull things you've never heard of out of nowhere to keep things tense and interesting (well, as long as they're explained afterwords, at least.)


Man, I got the laugh of my week, though. Not from the page, but from its discussion.

Chaotic Descent
2009-02-08, 02:28 PM
I hate to say this but somehow whenever Parsons makes a decent plan somehow Archons or Charlie interfere foiling it terribly.
* Who helped destroyed the dragons
* Who help Jillian broke Wanda's spell
* Who almost killed Wanda in the courtyard

I admit Charlie backing down on one occasion but he got six free Mathamancy sessions.

My bet is Maggie will try something and get mind-booped by Charlie himself.

Just fits with pattern. Parson tries something Charlie and his Archons interfere.
Best thing Parson could do is to lay his sword and just give up returning to his own world. I would give authors mad creds for having balls to pull something like that and sleep soundly knowing Parson's boop ain't going to be booped by Charlie's throbbing Archons.
Yeah, it sure seems that way.
I'm not really sure I want Parson to win though. The story just doesn't fit that style. With multiple chapters, perhaps he'll do the thing where the casters turn to barbarians, and start with a new strategy.
On the other hand, I'm not sure Ansom winning should happen either. Perhaps both sides will off each other and Charlie will swoop in to gain control of GK, and then Ansom and Parson will join forces to fight Charlie or something. or maybe just Parson as Ansom will be dead, and the roles will be reversed except Charlie will be in a better position than the GK forces were when Parson appeared. (having suffered so many losses)

Chaotic Descent
2009-02-08, 02:29 PM
This isn't Charlie, it's his Archons. And they're not the only people who can act across zones - Maggie was all set to smash Ansom in the Courtyard even while she's in the Dungeon.

GK forces can move across the GK zones at just about any point (That is something that makes sense to us.), and Maggie has some pretty powerful thinkamancy powers or something. It's not surprising to expect her to try and psych out Ansom.

Ansom and Charlie's archons do NOT have that power. We did see Charlie's archons working cross-zone, but I now remember that one of the archons was beside Ansom to channel the attack, so it's not as if they attacked from a separate zone. They've only shown cross-zone/hex powers as channels. This isn't the same thing. This power of theirs to work across a zone without anyone in the other zone to channel the receiving effect is unprecedented. I don't know that it shouldn't be, but it sure seems fanciful. I'm also surprised that they can do such a thing if it's not their turn. The two things combined just make it hard to swallow.
Some people are arguing that the archon's ability is not one limited to combat turns. It's disgustingly powerful though. That they can send a unit's bonus into another zone. It just seems like it should be something limited to a combat turn. Ah well.

teratorn
2009-02-08, 02:36 PM
That they can send a unit's bonus into another zone. It just seems like it should be something limited to a combat turn. Ah well.

No they can't. They are just showing pretty pictures. They are not attacking nor giving direct bonus to anyone.

ericgrau
2009-02-08, 02:40 PM
Okay now I'm just getting tired of the wild swings back and forth. It might be more impressive if we, the audience, knew the rules of how the Erfworld game works, but as it is any random thing can happen to make the battles flip to one side or another and even if it's not all made up it may as well be.

But that's just today. Who knows where the strip will go from here.

BarGamer
2009-02-08, 02:41 PM
I think the intent here was to give Maggie a problem to solve. We had Sizemore do his thing to take care of a small problem. Now to up the ante, we have a bigger problem that requires a bigger solution. This may have come out of nowhere, but I'm willing to bet that it's just a big set-up to show off how good Maggie is. Keep in mind, once this problem is solved, things will be back to the status quo: in Parson's favor. Perhaps even MORE in his favor.

As far as solving the problem goes, Maggie is able to use spells at her own discretion. So a simple confusion spell would cause miss-miss-miss-miss-FAILURE! and perhaps the infantry will get a bonus.

This has my vote. Would be just horrendously stupid for Parson to be enslaved to Charlie because of DDR. Unless he does a Hamsterdance?

Even better, Maggie shows us her moves. XD John Travolta-ish Goldfinger dance, plz?

Lamech
2009-02-08, 03:09 PM
It will be really funny if Jack and Stanley are back with a viel...
CRACK-THOOM: -1 to Ansoms

Anyway, it looks to me like Ansom has landed or is at least close to the ground, and is in fact leading all those troops. That would make sense, and give the coalition a chance; the coalition would have dance, leadership, and artifact buffs. I thought Ansom was going to disco, and lead the troops, (or attempt to hit Wanda/Parson and die horribly) and I see no problem with making a DDR joke in the process.

More importantly this is an action scene and while it is set to a battle, this really is a fight between casters and warlords the troops are background. Like any fight scene it can change very quickly and belivably. And do we even know the winner? Parson says its game, but we don't know the winner, it may be a caster stomps Ansom.

Architect
2009-02-08, 03:10 PM
Parson still has the payoff(?) from his Foolamancer long-shot: The Tool is on his way back. He should arrive in one turn. Artifact bonus + Foolamancer = p0wnage. That doesn't seem like a particularly convincing win to me. It would be more convincing to onlookers (particularly to Charlie) if the "Perfect Warlord" actually wins the battle without Stanley. Parson will go from "want to have" to "must have" in Charlie's eyes. That can be a good or bad thing.

The coalition is already seriously cracked. They've gone from "overwhelming victory" to "close fight" If this turn ends with huge losses for them, they'll probably pull out, even though they might still have a decent chance of taking GK by continuing to press on. Stanley's forces are decimated. His uncroaked will have lifespans measured in turns. Losing even more forces might seriously destabilize their kingdoms, spoils or no spoils. (I wonder if Ansom has considered that?) The ironic thing is that there's no real treasury left. If they knew that, they probably would have bugged out already.

Parson and his artifact/magic item are the only really valuable things to take in this fight. Of course, Charlie has probably included them in his new contract terms with Jetson. Considering his incredible fees, Charlie is going to be the only side to come out ahead, no matter who wins.

jindra34
2009-02-08, 03:10 PM
At this point I have two questions:
1. What is the disadvantage of Dance-Fighting?
and
2. Does Parson have a way of exploiting that disadvantage?

My reasoning goes like this, Dance-Fighting provides a bonus. As bonuses are good there must be some reason why not every warlord knows it or uses it in every battle. Thus it becomes a matter of whether or not this was in Parson's battle possibilites plan.

VeisuItaTyhjyys
2009-02-08, 04:07 PM
Ansom doesn't have a chance! Old fashioned choreography should make for better dance fighting than silly DDR dancing any day.

MadMaw
2009-02-08, 04:21 PM
Don't know if anyone else noticed, but the Superfluous Elves (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0022.html) have been called into action. Might be an indication that the RCC is running out of troops, not to mention the Superflues Elf commander doesn't look too happy about the situation.

We've seen the Archons dace-fight before, in Vinnie's vision (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0111.html) of their destruction of Stanley's flight to FAQ. The ability for troops to follow other units moves ... I don't think we haven't seen that. I guess you could argue that, although the mechanism differs, Wanda's croakamancy link is making the zombies follow her moves in the same way the giant DDR board makes the Jetstone troops and Ansom (who doesn't appear to be a dancer) follow the archons.


The Foolamancy scroll (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0137.html) seems like the obvious counter to this gambit by Ansom. But maybe a dance-fight can't be interrupted or interfered with once initiated (would kind of make sense as the obvious counter to a dance fight would be to rush in and slaughter them or blast them with arrows/magic before they can finish it ... but then again, the DDR arrows technically aren't part of the dance fight, just a light-show by the archons ... hmmm).

fendrin
2009-02-08, 04:22 PM
What a load of bunk.

Not the page, after my initial fan-boi disappointment that Parson wasn't metaphorically bashing Ansom's head in with a hamster hat, I started to appreciate it. More on that later.

No, I mean the whining about this page. I will grant that the pacing might be a little too quick (a page or even just a couple of panels more to show the force of Parson's plan would have been nice), but nothing in this page is out-of-whack with what we have seen in the comic.

1. Ansom has dance-fight skills: he's the booping chief warlord of a major side. Ansom not having at least a basic proficiency in dance-fighting would be like a modern soldier not having at least a basic proficiency with every weapon or technology that they are likely to be called on to use.

2. Ansom flies up to the archons and back. It's his turn, he obviously hasn't used much move, so where's the problem?

3. The archons can communicate across zone/hex boundaries. Thinkamancy would be nigh useless for communication if it were restricted to the caster's hex, don't you think?

4. A warlord with some sort of mental link-up to their units can confer their dance-fight skills to those units. One word: Thriller.

5. Thinkamancers can establish a link between minds. Well, yeah. The trimancer link, or less intense, the direct mental communication between Parson and Charlie.

So what's the big deal? It adds up, dunnit?

Why do I like this page? Simple.
Ansom is finally showing that he has a head on his shoulders, and doesn't just take plays out of a playbook like a cut-rate quarterback. He has a problem: Parson is neutralizing his leadership. Without the leadership bonus his troops don't stand a chance. So what does he do? First he keeps Parson busy by utilizing his primary asset: numbers (any officer worth their weight knows they may have to order troops to their death in order to win a war... it sucks, but that's war). Then he comes up with an innovative way to confer a bonus to his troops without exposing his leadership corps to Sizemore's strike force. He flies up to the Archons and explains his innovative idea to them, then flies down to lead his troops in battle.

On an unrelated note: We see troops of the 3 main human sides: Yellow for Jetstone, blue for SofaKing, and red for... whatever side the crapped-on red warlord lady. Seeing those colored shirts... think we're in for another StarTrek reference (we've had what, 2 so far? The teleporter (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0013.html) and Ensign Toast (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0027.html)).

Horatio@Bridge
2009-02-08, 04:25 PM
I have to agree that this comic is somewhat wanting compared to the last one. I like the comic, and I've defended Ansom in the past, but I have to be honest and say that this particular comic just struck me as off. If I had to say, I think it's the commentary from Parson. The reversal is great, the joke is hilarious, but the "game over" comment...just makes things feel too much like a rollercoaster. Technically speaking, so did Parson's gloating in earlier strips. We're relying on Parson to be levelheaded and give us a fairly reliable reading of the situation (Stanley's been the one to freak out in the past, while Parson has always been steady). Having him go all "Win! Suck... Win!" on us all of the sudden is detracting from the story. I wouldn't say necessarily get rid of the reaction altogether, but rather to moderate it. A simple "Oh, boop" would have sufficed, I think.

Still, I'm enjoying the story, and that's a fairly minor complaint. Keep up the good work! b^.^b

Gez
2009-02-08, 04:41 PM
I love how people are disappointed whenever Team Ansom scores a point.

The Minx
2009-02-08, 04:42 PM
I have to admit that the whole sequence of the battle within the castle has been stretching my sense of belief in the fantasy world. My understanding is that Erfworld is governed by turn-based strategy game rules first and foremost (with the exception of Parson, who is beyond the rules). Weird stuff like having an ally unit (Charlie's archons) sending in-flight dance fighting support for a leader unit over a range of stacks for an alliance army - all organised on the fly in the middle of a turn - starts making me doubt whether there's any rhyme or reason to the rules of Erfworld.

I think I'm with Tideslinger on this - it seems the universe rules are being made up to service plot twists rather than build the plot upon the rules. That's not necessarily a bad way to write the story, but it does make me think a bit less of the setting.

Of course it all might be explained (perhaps via Parson) sometime in the next couple of dozen pages. But for now I'm feeling whatever meta-players are playing this strategy game of Erfworld lost the ruleset and are kinda winging it right now.

Why do people keep saying this? There is no justification for making such a claim. Rob and Jamie state that they have written the rules of Erfworld in advance, and posts such as these are essentially accusing them of being liars. It is not appropriate unless you have some way of backing it up.

The only thing that the turn based system prohibits is movement between hexes and sectors when it is not your turn. That is all! There is nothing that has shown us, nor is there anything that has been claimed which would require that people cannot cast spells off turn. Moreover, we know that information can be relayed across zones off-turn. In this case, the Archons are using Foolamancy spells to relay information and instructions from Ansom to the ground troops.

Granted that this page is not as cool as the previous two, but that's not important, it is a small part of a larger ensemble which will be obvious in good time.

Centurin
2009-02-08, 04:47 PM
So....

Just as things start to get interesting again, Ansom pulls out another Dues ex machina. Can't say I didn't expect it. *sigh*

You know, at this point the authors should be making a joke of it. They should have Parson screaming, "Another Dues Ex!", and punch a hole in a nearby wall. Now THAT would be funny.

SteveD
2009-02-08, 05:05 PM
You know, at this point the authors should be making a joke of it. They should have Parson screaming, "Another Dues Ex!", and punch a hole in a nearby wall. Now THAT would be funny.

Please don't encourage them. :smallwink:

Don't want to join in the haters vs the fanbios argument, nor risk sounding like an arrogant so-and-so by putting myself above it all...but after re-reading the strip I still can't shake off my initial feeling of disappointment.

I think I can feel what Rob and Jamie are going for...the tension of a close-fought fight, the cut and thrust of two commanders making move and counter move. It just doesn't seem to be working like that.

Its Parson's comment in that last panel that does it, I think. "That might be game." So...what happened to all that 'We'll fight them on the beaches' stuff we had just a few strips ago? Is it really game-over? Obviously not.

Trazoi
2009-02-08, 05:26 PM
Why do people keep saying this? There is no justification for making such a claim. Rob and Jamie state that they have written the rules of Erfworld in advance, and posts such as these are essentially accusing them of being liars. It is not appropriate unless you have some way of backing it up.
The only justification is that's the impression I'm getting from the latest batch of comics. I'm not calling Rob and Jamie liars about not having planned this in advance (I haven't actually read them write this, but I had assumed there was some planning given Parson's Klogs). All I'm saying is that this to-and-fro action where fortunes are reversed every second comic just feels to me like rules are being twisted to serve the drama rollercoaster. I'm not ruling out there isn't hard game logic behind all the decisions, it's just that I, personally, am having trouble imagining this at the meta-level as some kind of computer strategy game. Hence that's why I'm posting my opinion here as a reader.

I suspect my discomfort is mostly triggered by the balance of the battle shifting so quickly between Ansom and Parson. I don't mind Ansom or Parson pulling out a clever move, but when each one comes so quickly and seems to drastically shift the course of the battle it's starting to feel a bit too chaotic and unpredictable for strategy. I agree that Parson's ending line made this new twist seem far more powerful than it would have been with him saying something like "Oh boop. That was unexpected." And I also think that if Parson starts to plan a counter next comic it won't seem so bad. But at the moment, all these new rules shifting the battle are starting to be more fatiguing than dramatic.

Oslecamo
2009-02-08, 05:27 PM
Ansom is finally showing that he has a head on his shoulders, and doesn't just take plays out of a playbook like a cut-rate quarterback.

In Ansom's defense, he already had shown to be able to improvise in dire situations:

1-Surrounded by dwagons? Cirurgical strike with his strongest units to wipe out the wounded dwagons, even when Vinnie sugested to either pull back or turle in.

2-Walls covered by uncroacked infantry? Quick charge with super anti uncroacked weapon, then call in Charlie reinforcments when the enemy reveals their last flying units.

Were they questionable strategies? Yes, but they did work. Ansom has shown time and time again he has the guts to make hard decisions in hard cirscumstances, and come victorious on top of that.

Anyway, does anybody gets the feel this is looking more and more like some large scale 3.X D&D where you can get all kind of cheesy broken combinations if you optimize enough? So far we had:

-The super observation table of Stanley the tool.
-Perfect warlord summoning.
-Charlie's archons who seem to be able to do ANYTHING.
-Mancers keep showing to have more and more tricks up their sleeves.
-All those crazy bonuses combinations and stacking.
-The traps in the tunnels.
-Making nondance trained infantry dance.

Seems really a lot more complex than most table wargames I've seen.

Architect
2009-02-08, 05:27 PM
Parson is making do with what he knows. He's not familiar with the ruleset, yet. Till then, he's bound to underestimate/overestimate forces. Nevertheless, he's doing very well, considering. This is supposed to be a hard scenario, so while I think Parson does have to beat him convincingly and should do so without the Tool, it's okay if it comes down to the wire. Ansom is a royal boop, not an idiot.

Personally, I'm hoping for a Parson vs. Ansom showdown. Ansom's a higher level warlord, but I'm going to guess that he's too reliant on the Arkenpliers... and there's no guarantee that they'll work on Parson.

shadowdemon_lord
2009-02-08, 05:30 PM
That...wasn't a deus ex, in fact the counter is already in the works, has been foreshadowed, and will be delivered next strip. Actually, I think Ansom has been played again, although Parson for once is underestimating the power of his own plans. Ansom has just put himself front and center. This not only maximizes his offensive power (he can go to town on the uncroaked when he gets his pliers back (which he will)), but also makes him a big neon target with flashing lights and a siren. Normally not a problem, however he has opened himself up to attack by both Maggie and Sizemore. I think he has little doubt he could escape Sizemores clutches (he could just go up), but he isn't considering the offensive implications of Maggie, and he doesn't know that she now has some (no doubt highly attack oriented) thinkamancy scrolls to throw around. I could see a one, two punch taking him out (Maggie, followed by Sizemore, Parson, Bog Roll and maybe the Kiss knights on Spidews). He might be the most powerful unit on the field, but throw enough stuns and damage at him and he'll go down just like the rest.

Trazoi
2009-02-08, 05:42 PM
That...wasn't a deus ex, in fact the counter is already in the works, has been foreshadowed, and will be delivered next strip. Actually, I think Ansom has been played again, although Parson for once is underestimating the power of his own plans.
If Parson's last staement "that could very well be game" was a statement of triumph than despair, then it'll help soothe some of the complaints in this thread. :smallbiggrin:

eilandesq
2009-02-08, 05:48 PM
I can see this backfiring on Ansom:

If Maggie fries his brains in a way that utterly screws up his dance steps, bonuses could quickly become penalties (not to mention that dancing badly might make it harder to fight in general), leading to Ansom's infantry being obliterated in short order.

kunou126
2009-02-08, 05:59 PM
I'm not suprised that another lame pop culture reference is used to turn the tide of the battle yet again. It's really getting obnoxious.

In fact, the only thing that can make up for this strip is if DDR fails factor in a bonus or count as dance-fighting, as DDR should fail to count as dancing.

I have to admit, Charlie's troops have too much affect on the outcome of this story, to the point that it is beyond old.

I'm tired of seing the same one trick pony side show. Ring the gong... lets see the next act.

Kender Wizard
2009-02-08, 06:08 PM
I have heard it written(:smallbiggrin:) several times in this thread so far that this is a violation of the rules as they have been presented to us. Instead, I would say that some assumptions we held about this universe were invalid. Let me illustrate:

Prior assumptions - casting - Abilities that confer direct effects on their recipients require both caster and target to be in the same hex. This is backed up somewhat by the explanation of foolamancy veiling, with the quotes of 'needing a foolamancer in the stack you want to veil' and 'can't cast on the enemys turn' (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0070.html). Some specific communication-only effects are exceptions, like the thinkagrams.

Current assumptions - casting - For game purposes, each caster has a set series of spells or abilities that he might use, such as standard wizards spells for dnd. And, like in dnd, each spell has its own range, duration, aoe, and so on. This would mean that the limitations referenced above for foolamancy veiling would refer to only that - a foolamancers veil ability or spell. In support of this, note that thinkagrams, another thinkamancy special, appear to have unlimited range and don't require line of sight.

As for the statement that the archons would be just putting up some music and floating arrows but not directly affecting the troops or Ansom... Prolly incorrect. Given Parsons statement that almost nobody in the coalition can dance-fight, it looks like the archons are using thinkamancy to allow Ansoms' commander dancefighting ability (yeah, I bought into that) to be used by all of his troops. Force-multipliers, as Parson pointed out. All of which means that the archons are giving units an ability they don't normally possess using magic, on units outside of an area the archons cannot leave, when it is not the archons turn. So yeah, that seems like a cheapshot.

So, yeah, this is a huge shock with major implications, but would not have violated any previously well established rules. The irritation is that this was in no way clear from the beginning, and when presented this way, comes across as a rules violation even when it isn't. Also, it is a real letdown to be presented with another ride on the victory/disaster seesaw when what I really wanted was round 2 of Ansom rushing in like he always does and getting blindsided. This move was far more unorthodox than I expected from him, I admit. That seesaw is starting to give me friction blisters.

kreszantas
2009-02-08, 06:10 PM
Things that make you go huh?... that should be the title, there was a mild foreshadow that the carpet was vital in 2 places, 1)http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0079.html where it is rolled out, but who knew what function other than a bed or to be able to be rode either way. 2) Ansom's instance on the Archons getting the carpet. Once he was removed he became a ground unit.

DDR (is/was/or still is) being a fad just like a lot of the references used, often comes and goes very quickly. The only part I do not like about it is that it directs factions not under his banner as well all the colors being able to step.

I knew there was something up with the uniforms color scheme but could not place it, now I know. Those of us who dont like this strip may be ones that do not really like DDR. This is well within Archons abilities, come on portable PDA's with touch screens... so they should be able to project this (with the right number involved)

This is cycle 3 now things will come full circle back to Parson by the "rule of three" law if they are going to throw that in the hat as well, maybe we will find out what the 'special' is after all. Parson seem to be appalled at Ansom and he also put too many eggs in one basket with 'No one on Ansom's side can dance fight' statement. So that had to be balanced back out.

Kholdstare
2009-02-08, 06:19 PM
I don't see how everyone keeps viewing Ansom's new move as a deus ex counter. Parson knows that DDR is a game that if you take the wrong steps can give you "Game Over" so penalties come into affect. Ansom obviously has some skill with it but his improvised counter obviously has turned into hurting himself.

Fill the courtyard with enough troops and with the DDR bonus high enough to even out effectiveness of each force, Ansom has the advantage of numbers, while Parson has nothing that major. Maggie will obviously just hit him with a good thinkamancer scroll,penalties galore, and that could very well be game since such a slaughter during a garrison is most likely inescapable.

I'm thinking that since perfecting a DDR scenario has a huge bonus,it definitely has to have penalties, so this was a once assured victory gamble turned into a hapless slaughter.

Trazoi
2009-02-08, 06:32 PM
This is well within Archons abilities, come on portable PDA's with touch screens... so they should be able to project this (with the right number involved)
The problem is not the Archon's projection abilities. It's that in this case it's having an in-game effect. There's a difference between projecting props in order to look cool and using projection to give bonuses to troops.

So far my understanding of dance fighting was that it was a bonus the leader gave to a stack of troops under their control in their zone (or hex or whatever is used; I'm a bit unsure about the zones in Erfworld). Here the Archons appear to be giving a dance fight bonus to an ally (i.e. not their own faction) in a different zone (they're in Airspace, Ansom and his troops are in the Courtyard). That appears to be a rule we haven't seen before (correct me if I'm wrong :smallsmile:). It's not something that runs completely counter to how leadership bonuses could work; I could see bonuses having an effect in different zones. But currently it's looking like a special bonus property that Charlie's Archons have, and they already seem to be overpowered as far as units go.

That's why I'm starting to have trouble wrapping my head around Erfworld. I'm getting the impression that if there was a computer turn based strategy game based on Erfworld, it would need a manual a thousand pages thick.

Doomduckie
2009-02-08, 06:35 PM
The posters in this thread are rather right: After my initial irritation, the Archon DDR strategy does make sense- however, it should be nowhere near as good as a perfectly choreographed Thriller performance by Wanda. And I'm hoping that Maggie zaps him and makes him fail the song.

Also, the song that Ansom is doing isn't particularly difficult depending upon the speed of the arrows, if he were using stepmania spread style. Silly Ansom :smallwink:

That said, I wish we could get just a page or two without a reversal. I liked how we suddenly took a break from reversals when Parson and Wanda and Bogroll were talking. If we could see a page or two of battle where someone sticks to a plan it would make the next great idea a commander has a lot less irritating.

teratorn
2009-02-08, 06:54 PM
That said, I wish we could get just a page or two without a reversal. I liked how we suddenly took a break from reversals when Parson and Wanda and Bogroll were talking.

We still don't know if this is really a reversal. Depends on Maggie.

When I saw this it was the sheer absurdity of the thing which hit me. If Parson suspected he was in a coma this does it. It's one of the most ridiculous things we have found thus far in Erfworld. It's like if there were a singing bonus and the archons started printing karaoke in the sky. I like it.

Horatio@Bridge
2009-02-08, 07:07 PM
If Parson's last staement "that could very well be game" was a statement of triumph than despair, then it'll help soothe some of the complaints in this thread. :smallbiggrin:

Yeah, that would change the tenor of the strip, and make it much more awesome. Now I'm looking forward to next strip again...

Varthonai
2009-02-08, 07:07 PM
For everyone wondering about how so much stuff can happen on the fly in the middle of a turn:

I don't think Erfworld turns really work like turns in a TBS game, because Erfworld isn't a game. The characters have minds of their own (so much so that Duty has to be introduced to regulate them) rather than being soulless programs under the command of a Royal or Overlord; hexes have area and volume, rather than being two-dimensional images with a list of units stacked onto them; non-combat discussions can be held in an infinite variety of ways, rather than a single prewritten cutscene.

And to that effect, I think that Erfworld's "turns" really don't effect anything except Move. If it's not your turn, you can't move to another hex or another Zone, but you can do ANYTHING ELSE that you want to. You can move anywhere within your hex, you can attack anything within your hex, you can build stuff inside your hex, etc.; the turns are in real-time, it's just that if it isn't your turn you're fenced into your hex by an invisible barrier. That's why Webinar was able to keep moving up through the Tunnels searching for Sizemore, even though it wasn't Jetstone's turn; it's why Parson was able to send Wanda and the fliers to attack Ansom even though it wasn't GK's turn; and I think it's why Ansom was able to conjure up the DDR screen.

See, I don't think the DDR screen was a specific spell, I think it was just Ansom being creative. He needed a way to give commands to his troops from a distance, and so he improvised one; he asked the Archons to send down colored lights in the shape of arrows. They could just as well have been fireworks, or semaphore, but he worked with the resources at hand.

Because it's turn-based life, rather than a turn-based game, Erfworld's rules aren't so simple that something like this is out of the question. All's fair in war, and this isn't even a particularly egregious breach of warfare conventions; it's not like DDR is against the Geneva convention or anything. Or whatever the Erf equivalent of a Geneva convention is, anyway...

If they DO have an equivalent of the Geneva convention, I'm sure most of the tricks Parson has pulled are on it! Croakamancy and Shockmancy would probably have been the first things to get banned.

Cracklord
2009-02-08, 07:09 PM
I'm not convinced that it's the Archon's supplying the actual skill. Ansom is probably quite capable of dance figting, but regular infantry cannot. Basicly, only certain stacks seem to be able to, Stanley's knights for instance. Without Wanda I'm fairly sure uncroaked cannot, or they would have when Ansom attacked last time. I figure it's just the Archons using natural thinkamancy to allow the regular units to follow his lead.
Oh and all you people hoping for a one on one fight between Ansom and Parson, it would most likely be fairly short.
As to Parson's new plan, it probably consists of using maggie to disrupt the spell, preventing the rest of the troops from following their leader's awesome moves, and then sicing Sizemore on him. And then Ansom will remove Sizemore. And then...
Seriously, I liked the comic, but a bit more time between one-upping, please.

Cracklord
2009-02-08, 07:10 PM
I wonder how good a bonus dance fighting gives. Most stratagies seem to revolve around it to a certain extent, and it seems to have a serious influence. Let's not forget that the titans themselves look like Elvis impersonator's.

Doc Roc
2009-02-08, 07:19 PM
I had sort of promised myself I wouldn't really post again on this thread, but here goes.
slight rant
I don't think I'm being a rabble-rouser or a malcontent by voicing the fact that this particular page left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I love erfworld, and have followed it since a few pages after it first went online. I'm not going to be melodramatic and stop reading. I'm not angry, I'm not whining. I'm just talking honestly about something that struck a chord with me. Negatively, maybe, but a chord nonetheless. I generally really enjoy lurking these forums, and I don't like seeing it polarized enough that people with reasoned opinions on both sides are just being dismissed.
/slight rant

That said, I'm going to take some of my own medicine and say that it does make sense that the archons might be able to do this, and I could certainly see Ansom being a dance fighter. I just always saw him as a little stolid, a little conventional. A Leader Of Men. In my head, I thought he'd probably either dance to You Ain't Nothin' But A Hound Dog or maybe he'd conduct marches to Sousa. I think that's a large part of the cognitive dissonance for me, some of which has been building up over time. It should feel like character development, but it just feels ragged, like a stop motion picture. I could do with more focus on Ansom and Parson interacting. I know the battles are important, but they're so compressed that I'd almost prefer to just see them as backdrop instead of only catching the highlight moments...... which of course are going to be sudden reversals and cunning plots. Some of these, of course, are going to come out of left field. This one just seemed to more than the others. In retrospect, yes, it seems obvious to a degree, but given even a thorough reading of the preceding 127 pages, I don't think it could have been guess. I almost would like to see Ansom get some Klog pages. It'd make him a lot more human for me, in some ways.

Finwe
2009-02-08, 07:19 PM
I am hoping that, after the first book, the mechanics of erfworld will be more or less fleshed out, and these sorts of "oh hey, look, this before unmentioned ability turns the tide of battle completely" moments will be much less frequent.

Daedalus73
2009-02-08, 07:23 PM
Wow, you mean Parson came up with a really amazing plan, but then Ansom got Charlie to step in & change everything w/ a last-second off-the-cuff deus ex machina never-before-seen-rule-twister to prevent him from gaining an advantage?

/yawn. Been there, done that. Again & again & again. Is that really the only way this story can be told?

bluewind95
2009-02-08, 07:33 PM
I have to side with those who were disappointed here. When there really is 0% chance Parson's side will win... where's the tension? The previous strips had upped the tension. They gave Parson SOME chance at winning. Not all that much, but there was some tension. Now it's back to the status quo of "Oh, another insane trick. Parson is back to 0% chances." :smallsigh:

Yeah, the DDR reference was awesome.... but the awesome kind of left a bad aftertaste because of what it did to the story. I wish that such an awesome reference would have been left for a less... anti-climatic moment. It would have been a crowning moment for the story rather than feeling so much like a deus ex machina, which, in my opinion, ruined the reference.

If we already know exactly how this battle is going to end and there's absolutely no glimmer of hope whatsoever for any other outcome... then what is the use of creating tension? Let Parson be stupid. Don't bother developing him. Don't even show him all that much. Everything he does is of no consequence.

Or so it feels at this point. Of course, it's still early to tell what the overall book is going to be like, but just at this point, I feel like I've been kind of cheated by the story. Like... all the journey has been for nothing. I hope it will change.

This is, of course, just my opinion.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-02-08, 07:35 PM
I'm actually curious about this one:

People who don't like "one-upsmanship;" how would you have depicted the battle? Or any battle in Erfworld?

It seems to me that, without different people getting an upper hand, every battle would either be an absolute meatgrinder (no winner, only losers) or a pwnfest. Is that really what y'all want to see? :smallconfused:

Or is it the time element? Would it have made sense for Ansom to say "OMG, retreat!" here, considering his concerns (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0138.html) about giving Parson more time to think? Heck, does he seem like the kind of guy who would ever retreat, once he started the attack? If Ansom wasn't good at this kind of fighting, then we'd just be treated to one long pwnfest while Parson runs circles around the butthead.

Plot issues aside (imagine how long this would take if both sides withdrew every time something went wrong!), can you blame anyone, in comic or out of comic, for upping the pacing at this stage? If so, why?

Other Points

(1) Why the suicide squads?
Ansom understands that Dance Fighting is a Force Multiplier; to get the most advantage out of this, you need to have it apply to the largest number of troops at once. Since troops outside of the Courtyard can't fight, this means filling the Courtyard as quickly as possible.

Why did he do this before starting up DDR? Because he's worried about Parson being able to counter him! He knows that this tactic, as unorthodox as it is, probably has flaws in it he doesn't know about (known unknowns) and figures (correctly) that Parson is very good at identifying these things. So Ansom wants to maximize the effect of his DDR, which means triggering it at the last possible minute.

(2) Thinkamancy doesn't happen on other people's turns
If it didn't, then the Link Up would have been useless. Parson continued to give orders (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0072.html), via Thinkamancy, while Jillian was preparing to attack his Wounded Dwagons, after all.

(3) The page still doesn't make sense!
I haven't seen a good reason why yet. It is clearly something nobody had tried before - likely because the situation is unique - but, like Parson's Siege Raid, it builds off of previously known rules.
- Archons have both Thinkamancy (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0074.html) and some Foolamancy (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0133.html).
- Thinkamancy can operate across zones and even when it is not your turn (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0072.html).
- Croakamancers have total control (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0073.html) over their Uncroaked
- Thinkamancy can dominate minds (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0093.html), even producing total control
- Warlords or some other leader is required to "lead" a Dance Fight. The individual Troops do not Dance Fight on their own. (Probable Rule)
- Master Croakamancers (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0140.html) can make their Uncroaked Dance Fight.
- Charlie's Archons have access to the Arkendish, which grants powerful control over Thinkamancy (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0098.html).

From this, we can posit that IF
- Warlords are needed to produce Dance Fighting infantry
- Powerful mind control (like Thinkamancy) can transform non-dancing infantry into Dance Infantry
- Archons have access to powerful Thinkamancy, which can operate when it is not their turn and across zones

THEN the Archons can interpret a Warlord's "lead" in dance fighting into Thinkamancy commands to influence a number of live infantry.

Really, think back to previous tricks - they were obvious in retrospect, but who foresaw every twist before it happened?

bluewind95
2009-02-08, 07:43 PM
Yeah, I definitely agree that different people need to get the upper hand every so often. That is exactly the problem. Ansom has always had the upper hand. Anything awesome that Parson has done has only given him a fighting chance, and he never has had the upper hand in the entire story. That is why completely negating anything Parson does feels so anti-climatic. GK had 0% chances before Parson. Parson comes, ups it to more than that, but still losing chances, and tension is created. It makes one feel "Hey, maybe he CAN win this. Maybe I really don't know who is going to win!". And then something huge that feels completely like.... deus ex machina comes and whacks the chances back to 0%. And then one feels "Oh. Ansom is going to win. There's simply no other outcome." and all the tension is gone.

Fine enough to change the ownership of the "upper hand", but.... that hasn't happened in this story. A 100% winning chance is gifted to Ansom, despite Parson actually earning a bit of a chance. It's just snatched out of him by some sort of divine intervention and it makes it hard to keep up the suspension of disbelief.

chaoschristian
2009-02-08, 07:50 PM
First: I love the look on Bogroll's face in panel 5.

Second: Classic Ansom. It's the 'STFU and listen to what I tell you to do' routine once again. But now he has his leaders actively and confrontationally distrusting him! What's Ansom's record on these deals? He's gotten lucky, and he's got numbers, but I think he's at a net loss when it comes to forcing his way, regardless of how clever or brave it may seem at the moment.

Third (goes with Second): Classic Ansom Again! He's putting himself at a huge risk, and with that risk to himself he is risking the entire assault this turn. He's out in front, low and center. The perfect target. Not only that, he's concentrating on dance fighting now and probably won't have full situational awareness. Time to zap him via Maggie or pelt him with rocks. And what are the implications if Ansom missteps during his dance routine? How many more Coalition units are going to die because of this whimsy of bravado?

This installment offered much that was unexpected, but nothing that wasn't foreseeable or at least beyond the realm of possibilities considering what we've witnessed thus far. It was a twist and apparently in the favour of everyone's favourite person to hate - Ansom.

Apparently.

Looks can be deceiving.

Anias
2009-02-08, 07:54 PM
...

It's completely trashing the appeal of the "living a strategy game" premise, because there is no possible strategy that the audience can recognize, there's just a neverending series of ever more arcane rules and combinations that keep trumping whatever the audience thought was going on. This is no way to treat an audience
...

The whole POINT of this is that it's more than just a strategy game; it a whole WORLD. There may be characteristics of a strategy game, but it's much more than that: the characters are real; they feel pain, they have personalities and ideas and thoughts all of their own. The world, while having characteristics of a strategy game, can be manipulated beyond expectations just as our own world can be. War in our world used to be nice, pretty, and turn-based, by choice...no fighting at night, strict rules of conduct, etc. What happened? People broke the rules, found ways to bend and manipulate those that they couldn't outright break. Ansom is doing the same, just as Parson has been doing this whole time. It's not Deus ex Machina, and it's not some set-in-stone, rule-based strategy, it's LIFE, in which anyone can make any choice that seems logical...whether or not others even think it's possible.

Lombard
2009-02-08, 07:55 PM
Haha, I'm all lolzy at how people keep falling for the 'this time the Parson plan will work' trap. Have you all not been reading this comic? It never works, it always turns out for the worse, and again I ask you just why anyone thinks Parson is a better warlord than Ansom. Because Parson has confidence in his own abilities? So do many incompetent people. How many times can you claim luck or hax on Ansom (or anyone for that matter) before admitting that it's really not luck? That maybe that person is simply better? Stop assuming that the ownage will get reversed at some point. Ever consider that maybe it's just a strip about how someone who thought they were 'all that' instead gets owned?

Gamebird
2009-02-08, 08:00 PM
Here's hoping that someone kills that turd next round. Or at least that the scrolls serve to neutralize his dance-fight ability. I too dislike the build up followed by dashed hopes, time after time, for 141 strips. I'd prefer a win for once that was an actual win, not just yet another fake win that turns out to be a loss.

Trazoi
2009-02-08, 08:02 PM
I'm actually curious about this one:

People who don't like "one-upsmanship;" how would you have depicted the battle? Or any battle in Erfworld?

It seems to me that, without different people getting an upper hand, every battle would either be an absolute meatgrinder (no winner, only losers) or a pwnfest. Is that really what y'all want to see? :smallconfused:
I'm not totally certain, myself. I think part of my issue is that it feels like there's a game of strategic ping-pong going on, except both players are allowed to play wildcards. and the reason for playing cards in table tennis doesn't make much sense to anyone watching the game, as the rules are hidden and complex. :smallbiggrin:

I think it would be better if there was more "downtime" from the battle. My favourite pages are the ones where Parson is having discussions with the other leaders away from the fighting (especially the ones with Bogroll). When the comic gets to the fighting, it does feel a bit like they're playing a game of televised Yu-Gi-Oh: Ansom and Parson playing tactical cards with strange rules that we, the reader, don't fully understand.

I might be less confused if there was more "thinking aloud" by the leaders, telegraphing what tactical moves they're about to deploy. It would also have the effect of slowing down the rate of surprises; you'd get a comic of "Ansom has an idea" followed by a comic of "Ansom deploys idea". Of course, slowing down the comic might annoy people as well, so it's hard to say which is better.

Anteros
2009-02-08, 08:09 PM
I find it hilarious that every time I have pointed out a deus ex machina, the people on here have crucified me. Then, when one of them goes against Parson the board erupts.

I hate to say it, but unveiling new rules has been taking the place of actual plot for a while now in this comic.

TCM
2009-02-08, 08:10 PM
I had a huge response that got eaten by what I assume to be some kind of server crash.

Suffice to say, "We don't know Parson's lost anymore than he does, he's overreacting out of fear and the sudden realization of the fact that he hasn't grasped all the rules yet. Also, Parson's goal has never been to win, it's been to make GK too costly to be worth taking. Also, the coalition leaders may end up leaving Ansom high and dry, due to lack of trust in his plans and abilities."

You should also recall that having a suspension of disbelief in the first place is ridiculous, this is a world created by giant Elvis-people, that operates entirely on TBS mechanics.

EDIT: Also, even if Parson loses...So what? He can live on, work for someone else for a while (likely Charlie, given what we've seen. He'd be the type to snatch Parson right out from beneath Ansom), and perhaps wind up somehow rebelling and winning.

Anias
2009-02-08, 08:22 PM
...

I have to admit, Charlie's troops have too much affect on the outcome of this story, to the point that it is beyond old.

...

I may be doing this too much, and I suppose others have already made their points clear...but, seriously: What do you expect, for Charlie to have a huge effect at the beginning, stand to gain a lot, and then just LEAVE??? Come on, be realistic. That would be akin to Ansom getting to GK, then saying..."You know what? Let's just leave Stanley his capitol, his treasury, his artifact, his powerful army, his casters, etc, and head on home." I mean, really...if you were in Charlie's place, would YOU give up such an incredible opportunity/advantage?

The Minx
2009-02-08, 08:22 PM
Yeah, I definitely agree that different people need to get the upper hand every so often. That is exactly the problem. Ansom has always had the upper hand. Anything awesome that Parson has done has only given him a fighting chance, and he never has had the upper hand in the entire story. That is why completely negating anything Parson does feels so anti-climatic. GK had 0% chances before Parson. Parson comes, ups it to more than that, but still losing chances, and tension is created. It makes one feel "Hey, maybe he CAN win this. Maybe I really don't know who is going to win!". And then something huge that feels completely like.... deus ex machina comes and whacks the chances back to 0%. And then one feels "Oh. Ansom is going to win. There's simply no other outcome." and all the tension is gone.

Fine enough to change the ownership of the "upper hand", but.... that hasn't happened in this story. A 100% winning chance is gifted to Ansom, despite Parson actually earning a bit of a chance. It's just snatched out of him by some sort of divine intervention and it makes it hard to keep up the suspension of disbelief.

OK, that's just not true. :smallsmile:

Ansom started out with ten to one odds in his favor. This was BEFORE Stanley foolishly went off with all the Dwagons. Since then, Parson has been consistently whittling down Ansom's superiority in numbers, and on a number of occasions almost managed to steal a straight win. Each time, Ansom has managed to batter his way out of an out-and-out loss due to personal power and sheer weight of numbers, but looking at the long term trend, his losses are mounting continually.

I honestly don't see the fact that Ansom manages to batter his way out of the straight-out-loss traps set by Parson as a "deus ex machina". People, you need to be conscious of what that term actually means: it refers to a "save" where none should be possible, but as we know, Ansom has massively superior forces at his disposal and is supposedly one of the most powerful characters on the face of Erf. For Parson to have trapped him so often, not being familiar with the rules, is what is remarkable. And even though he manages to get through Parson's traps, Ansom's strength is reduced every step along the way. The question remains whether or not it will be enough in the end.


PS: Stanley has yet to return with the remaining Dwagons, and Ansom is strutting in the open on his flying carpet above the garrison. Hmmm...

Varthonai
2009-02-08, 08:27 PM
I really think that people are, again, just upset that the underdogs are losing. I know a guy who hated Cool Runnings for just that reason.

Personally I think this will still be a brilliant story no matter what happens. If Parson holds out until Ansom ends turn, when is when Stanley should be returning with the cavalry to save the day... I will feel warm and fuzzy inside. If Parson loses and is captured, and the next chapters of Erfworld follow his work for Charlie... I'll be disappointed at the turn of events, but not in the comic itself. Sometimes defeat really is inevitable, but it's cool to watch the little man screw over his persecutor as much as possible beforehand. That's why stories like the 300 Spartans and the Siege of the Alamo are legendary.

I think Parson will pull this off, though. My theories:

a) If the DDR screen is Thinkamancy-based, Maggie will be able to short it out. (I think there will be a nasty side effect that makes Parson question his ethical procedure again, though--maybe the strain of Thinkamancy dueling will leave Maggie croaked or incapacitated.) This will probably not happen on the next page but I think it is likely to happen soon after that.

b) We don't know a lot about the DDR screen yet; will croaking or incapacitating Ansom be enough to stop the effects of the screen for the entire unled infantry group, or will the screen keep on playing for them? I don't think Ansom is likely to be croaked by a Thinkamancy attack but he might be rendered useless for the duration of the turn, or until he's healed by a Lofty/Altruist Elf.

c) Parson's "special" class (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0084.html). I think we will begin to see the extent of Parson's "special"-ness before this battle ends. Sub-theories include:

1. Will Parson's lack of unit stats (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0044.html) affect the way he participates in combat? Since he has no hit points, is he impossible to croak? (I hope this is not the case because that would be pretty lame and boring, but still...) Also, since he has no Move points, can he travel to the ends of the Erf and back in one turn, or travel when it's not his turn at all? Since he has no Combat points, does that mean it's impossible for him to deal damage--or will it come back around, and make every blow he deals a croaking strike that does unlimited damage? (I'm thinking about the manifold dramatic implications of Parson dueling Ansom, only to be shocked when he inflicts a mortal wound on his first try. Besides being an ironic death for Ansom, how would this make Parson re-evaluate himself? How would it make him look in the eyes of his underlings? Also possibly foreshadowed in the Hamstard strip on this Klog entry. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0129.html) No intention to kill, but lethal nonetheless, just like the water on the Wicked Witch.)

2. Parson has retained all of his gaming skills from Earth. Have his other skills come intact too? Is Parson any good at DDR himself, and if so, would this count as a Dance Fighting bonus of his own on top of Wanda's? Magic doesn't appear to be a renewable resource in Erfworld, which is why Parson's ability to do some things without magic (i.e. his calculator-watch "Mathamancy") is so valuable and unheard-of; Parson may have a very wide arsenal of powers at his disposal that are just too obvious for him to think of because he's from Earth, and takes those kinds of things for granted.

Trazoi
2009-02-08, 08:35 PM
You should also recall that having a suspension of disbelief in the first place is ridiculous, this is a world created by giant Elvis-people, that operates entirely on TBS mechanics.
I've never got this argument. In every work of fiction there needs to be a level of belief in the mechanics of the environment presented. It doesn't matter how fantastic or crazy it is. Wonderland (from Alice in Wonderland) was as mad as a hatter but following patterns as to what kind of nonsense was permitted. Every single fictional universe has a ruleset of what is allowed, even if there is just the single rule of "anything goes" (which as a rule IMO tends to lead to boring stories, but I digress). It doesn't matter that Erfworld a cartoon world based on a strategy game and full of Elvises and ORLY owls. It's still got a universe that it needs to be true to. For the most part, I think it is.

That's why I don't get arguments like "it's just a webcomic" or "it's a crazy world, so crazy stuff should be expected". If a webcomic goes too far down that road, you end up with a premise that I can only think of as "LMAO RANDOM!!!", which strangely enough never actually is "LMAO" or even chuckle-worthy. Really good nonsense humour, strangely enough, also has subconscious rules and is surprsingly hard to pull off.

(Note that this post really isn't an argument against Erfworld, but more of an argument against an argument and has seeminly gone off track itself. What the hey, sometimes I ilke to ramble. :smallbiggrin:)

Lamech
2009-02-08, 08:35 PM
Parson next move is either
a)croak Ansom, or perhaps watch Ansom croak (like by Stanley): He's gotten lucky enough times already. One of these times he will fall flat on his face. I hope it is just him getting splatted. Even if the archons can counter attacks Parson might sacrifice Maggie.
b) Wander off to the dungueon: Good luck flying around with out fear of the casters; no DDRing archons either. It would let Ansom correct his mistake... but I don't think he will.

I suppose this might not actually be enough for Ansom to win and he screwed up his odds calculations. In which case Parson's next move is to laugh, and laugh and, laugh. Then negoitate surrender terms with the shaddy and woodsy elves. Then laugh some more.

TCM
2009-02-08, 08:37 PM
Hm.

I guess what I mean isn't "You shouldn't have suspension of disbelief" but "The SoD states I've seen here are very fragile."

Trazoi
2009-02-08, 08:41 PM
Hm.

I guess what I mean isn't "You shouldn't have suspension of disbelief" but "The SoD states I've seen here are very fragile."
It took me a few read throughs to get that SoD didn't meant "Start of Darkness" :smallbiggrin:

It does seem a bit weird that readers can take things like Stanley dressing up in KISS makeup while wielding a giant magic rubber mallet in our stride, but then blow up in flames on story or tactical elements. But that's just the nature of fiction, I guess.

teratorn
2009-02-08, 08:45 PM
I hate to say it,

No you don't... :smallamused:

fendrin
2009-02-08, 08:48 PM
In Ansom's defense, he already had shown to be able to improvise in dire situations:
Improvise? No, I don't think so. At his best he has shown patience, at his worst he has acted out of wounded pride and guilt.


1-Surrounded by dwagons? Cirurgical strike with his strongest units to wipe out the wounded dwagons, even when Vinnie sugested to either pull back or turle in.
All Ansom did here was be patient and send Jillian to complete the task he himself had failed to do. If Jillian finds the dwagons he can go make sure they get croaked. If she fails to find them, he can still retreat to the column. All he did was to take advantage of the fact that although he was surrounded, he could wait for any or every other unit in his army to act before choosing how to react to the dwagon-ring. Vinny laid down the options on how to react to the trap, all Ansom did was to make another attempt at saving the siege from a repeat dwagon strike. He kept the big picture in mind, but was hardly improvising.


2-Walls covered by uncroacked infantry? Quick charge with super anti uncroacked weapon, then call in Charlie reinforcments when the enemy reveals their last flying units.
Or act rashly out of guilt over sending his units to be slaughtered, and call for help when he realizes that he bit off more than he can chew. Seriously, why a quick charge? It was his turn and he was out of their hex. He had no reason not to let the warlords fully prepare before charging, further he could have unfurled his carpet and brought some additional troops with him, so that maybe he would have someone to watch his back.
Improvisation? Not in the slightest.


Were they questionable strategies? Yes, but they did work. Ansom has shown time and time again he has the guts to make hard decisions in hard cirscumstances, and come victorious on top of that.That's a very generous spin on things. I think most readers would agree that he has several times taken faceplants into a pile of boop and come out smelling like roses.


...it's not like DDR is against the Geneva convention or anything......but it should be. :smalltongue:


Other Points

(1) Why the suicide squads?
Ansom understands that Dance Fighting is a Force Multiplier; to get the most advantage out of this, you need to have it apply to the largest number of troops at once. Since troops outside of the Courtyard can't fight, this means filling the Courtyard as quickly as possible.

Why did he do this before starting up DDR? Because he's worried about Parson being able to counter him! He knows that this tactic, as unorthodox as it is, probably has flaws in it he doesn't know about (known unknowns) and figures (correctly) that Parson is very good at identifying these things. So Ansom wants to maximize the effect of his DDR, which means triggering it at the last possible minute.

(2) Thinkamancy doesn't happen on other people's turns
If it didn't, then the Link Up would have been useless. Parson continued to give orders (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0072.html), via Thinkamancy, while Jillian was preparing to attack his Wounded Dwagons, after all.

(3) The page still doesn't make sense!
I haven't seen a good reason why yet. It is clearly something nobody had tried before - likely because the situation is unique - but, like Parson's Siege Raid, it builds off of previously known rules.
- Archons have both Thinkamancy (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0074.html) and some Foolamancy (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0133.html).
- Thinkamancy can operate across zones and even when it is not your turn (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0072.html).
- Croakamancers have total control (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0073.html) over their Uncroaked
- Thinkamancy can dominate minds (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0093.html), even producing total control
- Warlords or some other leader is required to "lead" a Dance Fight. The individual Troops do not Dance Fight on their own. (Probable Rule)
- Master Croakamancers (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0140.html) can make their Uncroaked Dance Fight.
- Charlie's Archons have access to the Arkendish, which grants powerful control over Thinkamancy (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0098.html).

From this, we can posit that IF
- Warlords are needed to produce Dance Fighting infantry
- Powerful mind control (like Thinkamancy) can transform non-dancing infantry into Dance Infantry
- Archons have access to powerful Thinkamancy, which can operate when it is not their turn and across zones

THEN the Archons can interpret a Warlord's "lead" in dance fighting into Thinkamancy commands to influence a number of live infantry.

Really, think back to previous tricks - they were obvious in retrospect, but who foresaw every twist before it happened?
Wow, that sounds really familiar (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5747679&postcount=131). :smallwink:

bluewind95
2009-02-08, 08:55 PM
OK, that's just not true. :smallsmile:

Ansom started out with ten to one odds in his favor. This was BEFORE Stanley foolishly went off with all the Dwagons. Since then, Parson has been consistently whittling down Ansom's superiority in numbers, and on a number of occasions almost managed to steal a straight win. Each time, Ansom has managed to batter his way out of an out-and-out loss due to personal power and sheer weight of numbers, but looking at the long term trend, his losses are mounting continually.

I honestly don't see the fact that Ansom manages to batter his way out of the straight-out-loss traps set by Parson as a "deus ex machina". People, you need to be conscious of what that term actually means: it refers to a "save" where none should be possible, but as we know, Ansom has massively superior forces at his disposal and is supposedly one of the most powerful characters on the face of Erf. For Parson to have trapped him so often, not being familiar with the rules, is what is remarkable. And even though he manages to get through Parson's traps, Ansom's strength is reduced every step along the way. The question remains whether or not it will be enough in the end.


PS: Stanley has yet to return with the remaining Dwagons, and Ansom is strutting in the open on his flying carpet above the garrison. Hmmm...

It still feels like that to me, though. :smalltongue: Yeah, it is indeed remarkable that Parson has trapped Ansom so often, but... it still feels like all that Parson could have accomplished is... well... insignificant.

Feels like those old platformers... the Mario games, where you could get a starman thingy that made you unbeatable. It kind of feels like Ansom has this little button that gives him a starman. Like the starman, it lasts only a little while before he's vulnerable again and Parson traps him once more, but the fact that Ansom can just push that little starman button again if he gets into enough trouble really kills the tension here. I really wish the authors would actually give a victory or two to Parson, just to make it seem like he does have a chance instead of completely negating any "victory" Parson has obtained.

Again, that's just my opinion. :smalltongue:

Oracle_Hunter
2009-02-08, 08:57 PM
Wow, that sounds really familiar (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5747679&postcount=131). :smallwink:

True, but I found all the links! :smallbiggrin:

fendrin
2009-02-08, 09:01 PM
True, but I found all the links! :smallbiggrin:

Much appreciated. I am too busy doing homework.

So busy I couldn't find the time to write this post.[/sarcasm] :smallredface:

Anteros
2009-02-08, 09:28 PM
No you don't... :smallamused:

Actually I do. I'd much rather the strip actually got good again, and stopped with the Deus ex etc. crap on both sides.

Eldritch_Ent
2009-02-08, 09:31 PM
I, for one, liked this strip. And I think the people whining about it are just taking it all too seriously... I mean, Dance fighting and such has been repeatedly mentioned so far, and Charles clearly keeps a large number of casters on hand for things like this. I don't see how it's such a stretch for him to have some sort of Dance-a-mancer or something able to do something like this on retainer. (I mean, he even has Lord Hamster on his Rolodex, as it were.)

TheAmishPirate
2009-02-08, 09:42 PM
I did not think that this was another "Ansom pulls tricky business and wins despite stupidity".

1) He had a plan with rushing into the courtyard. This was not rage-rushing as usual.

2) He's the stinking leader of the coalition, a royal, and all that. Is it not outside the realm of possibility that he just has very large sleeves to have stuff up? We know he has that whole "Must. Plan. EVERYTHING." complex, so isn't it conceivable that this was just plan #52342?

3) How is projecting images that have no direct effect on the battle breaking/bending the rules? It would be similar to projecting a giant sign that says "Parson, you smell" or something. He is using the images they project (which he can see from his position), to assist in a Dance-Fight. Was it breaking the rules when Stanely used his Arkenhammer as a guitar? No, and neither is this.

4) Parson is easily reacting out of surprise. He thought Ansom (off of what he's seen) was just going to try the conventional "Send in the hordes" approach, hence his preparation to croak the leadership. Ansom has acted smartly, and this is a bit of a surprise. He doesn't know how this will affect the battle, only that it will make his last stand harder. Sort of like how Ansom's reaction to the donut o' doom was based off of how he thought Stanley was incapable of such a decision, except this time on not quite as grand a scale. Admittedly, if he had just said something like, "Well, didn't see that coming" or something like that, I think it would have made it seem less game-breaking.

5) Parson can still do stuff to him. He's got his bonus, the sword bonus, Wanda's Uncroaked bonus, the Dance-Fight Bonus, and whatever Sizemore and Maggie can cook up. This is far from over.

6) Ansom's got a royal boop-load of troops. This was an uphill battle from the beginning. We're at the last stand people, this is going to be tough. I know Parson is the best of the best, but he's in awful positioning. His optimism and plans make it look like he may have it in the bag, but really, I would expect him lose more than he wins. Also, Ansom will be bringing out every last trick and bonus he has up those big 'ol sleeves of his I mentioned earlier. Get used to him bringing more of his guns to bear. They aren't deus ex machinas, they're him using what he may have been saving for the last battle.

*Deep breath* Whoo. Apologies for the enormous wall of text.

CaptC
2009-02-08, 09:44 PM
I don't DDR. You need feet to play that game. So when the arrows started falling, I had no idea what I was looking at.

When I finally got it, I started laughing semi-hysterically. Notice the looks on the faces of those alliance saps trying to dance-fight in the middle of a battle. That's just what my face would look like, trying to improvise a DDR routine while wearing armor, carrying a sword, and oh, yes: knowing my life literally depends upon 'no false steps'.

I'm enjoying the imagery and the joke. This is all just part of the sideshow, the real ending has already been set up.


- There's a dungeon.
- Sizemore is going to RULE in the dungeon.

The rest of the strip until we get to Sizemore in the dungeon is just Parson whittling down the odds. So enjoy the jokes on the way there, and prepare for more reversals.


My advice to you all: Lighten up. There really isn't a world of cutesy-poo characters at risk here. If you like drama, head over to OotS. Some really cute elf kids are going to be eaten by an angry dragon. Now THAT's serious! :smallbiggrin:

ReccaSquirrel
2009-02-08, 10:04 PM
Actually, upon further contemplation, not only is their an easy counter to this, but this is a very, very bad move on Ansom's part.


Parson sends in uncroaked dance fighters on Ansom's turn.
Ansom sends in mass units without leaders.
Parson begins slaughtering waves of units while. . .
Ansom has Charlie Comm expend Thinkamancy energy to DDR to the group.

Now, if the Thinkamancy is tied to Ansom and Parson counters with Foolamancy, it causes Ansom to mess up. Dance Fighting is lost causing units fighting to be lost. But worse yet is that on Parson's turn, they get air units (Stanley) that can go after Charlie's units while they are almost out of magic.

Decius
2009-02-08, 10:09 PM
All of which means that the archons are giving units an ability they don't normally possess using magic, on units outside of an area the archons cannot leave, when it is not the archons turn.
Well and good. Except that it's Ansom and the Archons dance-fighting; Ansom is in the same hex as both the Archons and the army; Ansom is in the same ZONE as the Archons; It is the Coalition's turn. Since the Archons are part of the coalition now, it is also their turn, they just have no move left.

What has happened is that when Parson said "[some] of the Coalition can dance-fight", you thought he said "[none] of the Coalition can dance-fight". Yes, "Almost none" means "Some", not "none".

So the Archons, who have already been shown as dance-fight capable, on their own turn, are helping other units to dance-fight. They are doing so by means of a magic system that has been thoroughly introduced, but not completely explained. That same magic system has also been foreshadowed to be the "magic bullet" that will be the difference between victory and defeat.

What I am anticipating is a master-class thinkamancer gets a line to the Archons sending the arrows, and tells them to up the difficulty to the max. Or gets into Ansom's head and makes him dance right off of his carpet. Or some foolamancy interferes with the arrows themselves. Or the rest of the air defenses hit Ansom, the Archons, or the arrows.

Or, instead of negating the response to the dance, Parson plays a different gambit and hopes that Ansom has no response to that one. Presumably he doesn't have another shockamancy scroll, but Sizemore and golems can still pull off another 4-chan. Sizemore might not make it out from that one, so it would cost too much to try, or he would have already. Maggie could use think/foolamancy to make some Coalition archers think that Ansom is Stanley or a dragon, or to otherwise disrupt coalition forces.

Parson still has a lot of gambits at his disposal. His comment "That could very well be game" means that he does not have a gambit left that he thinks there is not a counter to. Being a wargamer, he will still want to play it out until there is no doubt, and possibly even to the bitter end. Even were Parson to say "That's it, game over", he still might be pleasantly surprised when Stanley and his dragons return.

The dramatic tension comes from me, the reader, not knowing which one of many possible options Parson/the protagonists will use to turn the tables, nor which one Ansom/the antagonists will use to turn them right back. It would be boring if the plot was "Stanley buys 'perfect warlord', who abuses one exploit in the rules to completely turn the attacking army." I prefer "Wanda partially convinces Stanley to buy 'Perfect Warlord', who turns out to be anything but perfect. Can he overcome his ignorance about basic rules in time to keep from being killed by the attacking army?"

Leewei
2009-02-08, 10:31 PM
I'm thinking the alliance leadership is at the limit right now. Sizemore or Maggie may save the day by messing their lives up and causing the alliance to dissolve despite Ansom's tactics.

fendrin
2009-02-08, 10:49 PM
...Ansom is in the same ZONE as the Archons... Close.

In panel 1 we see him in the midst of his troops, presumably in the outer walls zone (you can see the remnants of the gateway between the courtyard and outer walls, so we are viewing from the courtyard into the outer walls zone).

In panel 2 we see Ansom flying up to the archons, clearly moving to the airspace zone, visually confirmed in panel 6.

In panel 7 he is descending, and in panel 10 he is clearly back in the courtyard zone, at the head of his troops.

Not that this contradicts your points, but y'know, for the sake of accuracy.

brob
2009-02-08, 11:00 PM
You know, the excessive grousing and counter-grousing are a bit of a drag. (I'm bummed out by this: I feel like my previous mini-grouse doesn't read right in the context of all the other grousing. So just in case R+J are reading this: I thought the art was great and the strip was funny.)

Varthonai
2009-02-08, 11:10 PM
New idea, guys. Did some extensive research for this one.

We've noticed that for some reason there appear to be no Uncroaked Marbits, with the possible exception of that weird little flat-skulled Uncroaked unit on Wanda's left in the last panel of 140. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0140.html) It's definitely not human. It could conceivably be a Gobwin but I think Gobwins are a teensy bit taller so I'm going with Marbit.

Now, if this is the case, why have we only seen one lone Uncroaked Marbit? Since I don't think we've seen any living Marbits lately, I'm pretty sure that the RCC committed ALL of their Marbits to the tunnel fight (makes sense, because of the Marbit tunnel-fighting bonus) with, by Ansom's count (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0135.html), 2870 Jetstone support fighters. Given what we know about RCC makeup (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0096.html) (i.e. 1875 Marbits) that's going to be a lot more Marbits per Jetstone than we've been seeing so far. If Marbits are Uncroak-able then Parson should've ordered Wanda to do all of them, right? I mean, if he saw value in just the one, why not the others?

Then it hit me. I know we've already discussed that Parson recognizes the value of intimidation, and realizes that Jetstone Uncroaked are probably a little more unsettling to the humans in the RCC than Marbit Uncroaked. But I think it's more than that because we haven't seen Marbits in any of the recent combat either (except, again, for just the one, to reassure us that Marbits HAVE, in fact, been Uncroaked.) Where are the rest of the cutesy-boop zombies?

Parson's holding them as a reserve force. For Dungeon fighting.

He realizes that he may not be able to win the fight in the Courtyard so he's assembled the Marbits in the Dungeon, where they will retain their natural tunnel-fighting bonus. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0096.html) Also, where Sizemore and the Gobwin fighters get an additional bonus. And where those pesky Archons can't flash their DDR screen.

But Wanda and the Uncroaked Marbits can still dance-fight.

Tunnel Fighting Bonus + Leadership + Croakamancer Bonus + Dance-Fight Bonus + Dirtamancer Bonus + any buffs Maggie might possibly come up with; these are applied to all of the Golems, Gobwins, remaining Jetstone Uncroaked... and 1875 godbooped axe-murdering midgets in a dark, confined space.

Holy boop.

Suddenly the fight in the Courtyard doesn't seem like such a big deal, huh?


EDIT: Rereading the Uncroaked Marbit thread, I see DevilDan had an idea sort of like this. So, kudos to you, Sir, for thinking of it first.

DOUBLE EDIT: Rereading THIS thread, I see that CaptC came up with a part of this idea too but I missed it because it was in a Spoiler tag. So on second thought that's probably a good idea and thus I shall now do the same.

jere7my
2009-02-08, 11:16 PM
I think some folks are looking at this story the wrong way, which leads them to see this strip as a violation of the storytelling rules. They see Erfworld as a board game simulation, which suggests codified rules, limited lists of spells and spell-like abilities, etc. When something happens that doesn't correspond to a preestablished numbered codicil in the rulebook we've been getting glimpses of, they find it unsatisfying.

But Erfworld is really a lens on pop culture. Anything that exists in pop culture is fair game. If there's dance-fighting going on, a menu of dance-related pop-cultural references should pop into our heads, and give us some idea of what's coming. "Thriller? Check. DDR? Check. Travolta in Pulp Fiction? Check." The strip still obeys the gun-on-the-mantel rule, but the mantel isn't inside the story; it's in the real world, or a certain geek-reference subset of the real world. The possibilities of the magic system are still limited (which I agree is essential for satisfying fiction), but they're limited to pop culture references that make geek-sense, not in-comic rules that the audience has foreknowledge of.

That's why the one post in this thread that made me sit up and take notice mentioned the Hamster Dance, because it would be perfect. By the traditional rules of narrative, Parson being able to perform some sort of überpowerful Hamster Dance would indeed be a deux ex machina. By the rules of pop culture reference, though, it's almost too good to pass up, and thus it's fair game for Erfworld. (Ditto Numa Numa. Don't you think Parson bears a certain resemblance to Gary Brolsma?)

mistformsquirrl
2009-02-08, 11:29 PM
Am I the only one who things Ansom has just royally booped up? <'x'>;;

I mean yeah, great, you may have just added a dance-fight bonus to your entire army; sounds swell. ... But it relies on them being able to follow the moves; how hard can it possibly be to shut off even a portion of the visuals to the rest of Ansom's army?

Without that visual, or if they just miss a few steps here and there, the mass of un-led stacks might get trashed.

In other words, this is a big risk on Ansom's part - if for any reason things don't follow his plan exactly, he might have just booped a huge portion of his army.

... Course if it works, Parson might be booped instead; but *shrug* >.> its all in the way the dice roll.

*edit*

Parson + Numa Numa or Hamster Dance?

<. .> Epic. Win.

Decius
2009-02-08, 11:31 PM
Close.

In panel 1 we see him in the midst of his troops, presumably in the outer walls zone (you can see the remnants of the gateway between the courtyard and outer walls, so we are viewing from the courtyard into the outer walls zone).

In panel 2 we see Ansom flying up to the archons, clearly moving to the airspace zone, visually confirmed in panel 6.

In panel 7 he is descending, and in panel 10 he is clearly back in the courtyard zone, at the head of his troops.

Not that this contradicts your points, but y'know, for the sake of accuracy.

You're right- except that he can't fly from airspace to courtyard without going through tower, so he has to fly to the outer wall zone. That means that on panel 10, he's still in outer walls, and sizemore has yet to "Hit the leadership as soon as they come in"

Also, after looking at the arrows more closely, the difficulty is already at the max. I see a "Down+left,down, left+right, up+down, left+right" set coming up, all in half-beat increments.(panel 8) This isn't DDR so much as riverdance. Or is that panel suffering from a perspective issue? In panel 10, I see a moderately difficult sequence with only one hit per half-beat.

Hacking the difficulty is still a valid strategy, since lowering it should reduce the bonus granted, while making Ansom fail should eliminate it.

Also, when (or even before) Ansom moves his pad in to the courtyard, Sizemore can undermine it. I want to see Ansom try to keep on dancing when a heavy metal golem hits him.

ReccaSquirrel
2009-02-08, 11:43 PM
I think people are mis-interpreting what Parson's saying.

He sees Ansom go talk to the Archons. He ponders what it is. He seems him start to come back down and he tells Maggie to hold off on something. When Parson sees that DDR is breaking out, he starts to swear and stops. The key thing is he stopped mid-sentence. He thought it was really bad and stopped. We see that in the next Panel that Ansom is leading the dance. Then, Parson says, "Oh that... ...that could very well be game."

Everyone is ASSUMING that this is a bad thing. But think about it from this perspective. Ansom is the key to the dance fighting. Parson held off on attacking Ansom with something Maggie had planned. Ansom is the leader in the square with all of those units. If the key of the dance fighting is removed from the picture and the area is filled with leaderless units, that would be game. . . for Ansom.

Aquillion
2009-02-09, 12:08 AM
Maybe, his weight aside, Parson is a master at DDR, and he meant it could be game for Ansom to challenge him to a DDR dance-off. :smalltongue:

ShinyBrowncoat
2009-02-09, 12:25 AM
Why should seeing a series of arrows be sufficient to enable troops that cannot dance fight to dance fight? There has been no indication that that was even remotely possible beforehand. We've previously seen that units capable of dance fighting wanted to be in costume to do it, so if anything we were led to believe that dance fighting was difficult to do effectively.


Yeah, if they can do that, why not project a high-speed matrix-like learning video into the sky so all the coalition units immediately learn new combat skills ("whoa. we know kung-fu") or all become warlords? Remotely communicating information (reports, contracts) is one thing, but conferring combat bonuses across zones is totally different.

The big problem here is that so many of Ansom's recent counter-moves have been based on "surprise" abilities or mechanics that do not feel consistent with the rules that had been established up to that time. They aren't explicit contradictions of a stated rule (since very few rules have been explicitly stated), but they do feel like they are being made up as we go along, to service the plot, as opposed to being natural, intuitive, internally consistent rules of a strategy wargame.

Can you imagine trying to explain the rules of this game to someone, even a frequent wargamer? "...oh, but even though you can't cross intra-city zones off-turn, you *can* pass items in between them with no movement cost...", "...dance fighting can confer big bonuses, so avoid getting into a situation where only your enemy can dance-fight...unless you have archons in a nearby zone to cast a DDR light-show that confers dance fighting abilities to all allied units in adjacent zones...", "hey! where are you going?"

To enjoy this strip, I feel like you have to let go of the premise that it has workable rules for a TBS, and just go along for the ride. And that kind of sucks because one of the things that I thought would be really cool and unique about Erfworld was that victory and defeat would be based on strategy, not a (from the reader's perspective) constantly evolving rules set or hidden exploits. While the former actively engages the reader in speculation and second-guessing as a back-seat general, the latter might as well be set in a road-runner cartoon.

BarGamer
2009-02-09, 12:31 AM
That's why the one post in this thread that made me sit up and take notice mentioned the Hamster Dance, because it would be perfect. By the traditional rules of narrative, Parson being able to perform some sort of überpowerful Hamster Dance would indeed be a deux ex machina. By the rules of pop culture reference, though, it's almost too good to pass up, and thus it's fair game for Erfworld. (Ditto Numa Numa. Don't you think Parson bears a certain resemblance to Gary Brolsma?)

That would be me. Hi! *Waves.* XD

But to run with your post, Star Wars Kid, Caramel Dansen, Hamtaro and Friends, the Fanta Girls, Josie and the Pussycats, Three Stooges, Charlie Chaplin, and others could also put in an appearance. Oh, and Anonymous, the Matrix, Equilibrium, Hackers, Transformers, Dragonball Z, Jay and Silent Bob...

Varthonai
2009-02-09, 12:50 AM
Caramel Dansen

Even after weeks and weeks of running it through my head I still cannot get out the image of Parson and Wanda doing CaramellDansen side by side, with Wanda in the robe + cape outfit from GK's last turn, her hair and cape swishing from side to side just like the skirts of the girls in the CaramellDansen anim. They'd both have that ^^ and XD anime expression on their faces and Wanda would be waving her skull-topped staff and instead of bright white stars Parson's side of the screen would be covered in bright white Hamstards and Wanda's side would be covered in bright white skulls. And it would all be over that cute pink background.

Ooh ooh ooh-ah-ooh-ah...

I desperately need for someone to make an animation of that before I go insane. If I haven't already.

Ultimatum479
2009-02-09, 12:50 AM
While I'll certainly agree that this page does appear to bend what I've perceived to be the rules up until now, am I the only person who feels that this particular incident had been planned out since the very first mention of dance-fighting? I'm not particularly upset about the possible rules issues in the face of the sheer awesomeness of the page.

Aquillion
2009-02-09, 12:52 AM
...also, assuming it's Thinkamancy (which most of the services Charlie provides seem to be), Maggie can presumably do this, too. Maybe turn it into a vs match.

Moghanna
2009-02-09, 12:59 AM
This.

The Internet is home to a whole lot of really bad fiction. Some of it is pure Mary Sue character-can-do-anything power fantasy. Some of it is torture-the-character-for-fun garbage usually involving some fetish or other.

Never before have I seen a story include roughly equal amounts of both.

You know what? Screw it. This isn't old or venerable. It's downright geriatric, complete with both legs amputated from diabetic gangrene and a full bedpan.

I'm never going to know what happens, because I'm exercising reader's privilege and ending this at strip 128 for me. See you never!

*clicks submit and then X in rapid succession*

You know, I rarely post, but this idiot definably annoyed me enough to post. This kind of condescending claptrap has no reason. I'm sorry Eugenitor that you aren't the one writing the story. If you were I'm sure it would be up to your standards.

I absolutely despise people this this. Basically if he doesn't get his way, he gets sooky and storms off in a huff. I mean seriously, do you have to post in the forums as a final shot to say how much you think the comic sucks?

Well Eugenitor, I think I can safely speak for the majority of the people who read this comic both pro and con to the way the strip is going, good riddance.

Ptorquemada
2009-02-09, 01:00 AM
I hated this on first reading, but the smell has faded considerably by now.

The biggest apparent boop-pull in this is Ansom's sudden attack of the clevers, which initially struck me as not entirely consistent with what we've seen from him so far, but there are two possibilities:

One, Charlie may have come up with it; for all we know there was an offscreen conversation starting with Ansom saying "Okay, I signed your booping contract, so you're obligated to assist me; tell me how to get some kind of dance-fighting bonus for my troops."

Two, it's possible that Ansom actually is fairly clever but is of the entirely sensible opinion that orthodox strategy is orthodox for a reason (namely, that it works) and that the time to be clever is when you're going to lose otherwise. After all, his turn-shifting stratagem was clever, and on the whole it was a win for the RCC (if an expensive one) in that it denied Stanley his immediate goal. He may not be in the same league as Charlie and Parson, but I can believe he's a good solid triple-A player; better than Stanley, certainly.

I used to want Parson to win, outright, and Ansom to lose (preferably including being croaked). But I'm starting to take a longer view on that, and from the standpoint of "so what happens in the sequel" there are probably better set-ups than "Parson wins, the end." Parson and Ansom on the same side, with considerable attendant friction, seems ripe with storytelling potential.

Jural
2009-02-09, 01:08 AM
I am really surprised by all the negative reaction on these forums to both the OOTs and Erfworld. I'm not one to say "If you don't like it, take your ball and go home" (i.e. don't read); I honestly think it's OK for fans to dislike parts of their author's works... Otherwise I'd be a hypocrite, because almost all of my favorite sci-fi/ Fantasy works have parts I don't like, including the Lord of the Rings, the Wheel of Time, Ender's Game, X-Men, Spiderman, Dune, every book by Phillip K. **** and Douglas Adams...

But what surprises me is how everything is judged so immediately, with opinions of the entire work rising and falling with every update! I have loved Erfworld since Parson became acclimated to the world, and have been drawn in by the depth of the story and the incredible discord between a cute world with game mechanics and a vicious war with real consequences. I love the pop culture references.

How is it possible to judge the entire work on this one comic? How can you love 10 strips in a row and just have this ruin it? I'm not saying it's wrong (stupid, illogical, petty) I'm saying I literally don't understand it.

What if the next scene shows that Parson was prepared for this? What if it turns out Ansom is a horrible dancer and just hoses this up for his side? What if Wanda foils this manuever, and in doing so reveals an important part of her character? Or what if, for that matter, Ansom saves the day and wipes out Gobwin Knob in one panel?

Wouldn't the next strip color your interpretation of this one? Don't you need to see the work as a whole before you can judge? Like I said- I'm not attacking anyone, this is real confusion. Is the reading of a webcomic that much different an experience from a series of books, or comic books?

Jural
2009-02-09, 01:09 AM
Ha ha ha ha ha! I guess one of my favorite authors should be renamed Phillip K. Boop!!!!

ishnar
2009-02-09, 01:14 AM
I think the problem here is suspension of disbelief.

Ansom represents "The Horde" and Parson represents "The Elite": Many cheap units vs fewer more expensive units. Now everyone knows that "The Horde" is not necessarily dumb, but in general, "The Horde" prefers unceasing waves of attacks compared to "The Elite's" pinpoint strikes and guerella warfare.

The main point being that "The Horde" does not NEED or rely on frequent strategic or tactical upsets. That is the primary tool of "The Elite." Thus, the problem is Ansom doing more reversals than is fitting for "The Horde" so more and more readers are losing the ability to believe Parson has any chance at all.

Unless the war is satirical in nature, the "Stupid Horde" (posleens anyone?), then even "The Horde" will have good generals, but they still don't rely on nimble tactics, they just make sure the hammer hits the right nail.

Varthonai
2009-02-09, 01:24 AM
I think the problem here is suspension of disbelief.

Ansom represents "The Horde" and Parson represents "The Elite": Many cheap units vs fewer more expensive units.

Wait, what?! Parson's using rotted half-booped pseudo-Uncroaked that were mass-animated with low-quality widespread Croakamancy. This is expensive units vs. cheap units in approximately equal numbers.

Well, until Ansom can squeeze more RCC troops into the Courtyard, anyway.


Now everyone knows that "The Horde" is not necessarily dumb, but in general, "The Horde" prefers unceasing waves of attacks compared to "The Elite's" pinpoint strikes and guerella warfare.

The main point being that "The Horde" does not NEED or rely on frequent strategic or tactical upsets. That is the primary tool of "The Elite." Thus, the problem is Ansom doing more reversals than is fitting for "The Horde" so more and more readers are losing the ability to believe Parson has any chance at all.
{Scrubbed}

Trazoi
2009-02-09, 01:50 AM
Is the reading of a webcomic that much different an experience from a series of books, or comic books?
Yes. The whole time delay issue between updating pages makes it very different. In a comic book you can get away with having several pages where little happens in order to set something up, as it only takes the reader a minute or two to read them before getting to the meat of the story. But if you do an update a week, then that's a month or two where your readers are twiddling their thumbs.

Or for another example: try rereading the archive of a webcomic you follow day to day. It feels like a very different experience not having the daily/weekly delay between each strip/page.

My opinions when posted in these numbered page threads are always what I am currently feeling at the moment the comic is posted, and can't be taken as my opinion of the comic as a whole. There's a good chance I'll have a different opinion of this comic in a months time once its place is put into the story. Especially since after re-reading the current page I'm getting a different vibe from Parson's last line - I think he's got an effective counter.

BTW, I've had the Philip K. Boop problem myself here. :smallbiggrin:

quindraco
2009-02-09, 02:43 AM
While I appreciate learning about Erfworld at the same pace as Parson - well, ok, we learn a bit faster, because the camera spends time looking at stuff he can't see - and I did find the DDR reference hysterical, I do have to say I find it rather tiresome that Ansom is essentially pulling a deus ex machina.

Nothing we've seen to date could plausibly have been theorised to mean that the Archons could do what they did - the only abilities we've seen demonstrated have been attacking, thinkagrams, and detecting enchantments. Thinkamancy has also not been demonstrated to do anything like this DDR thing.

While there *is* precedent for units ignoring the various rules they need to ignore to make this strip work, such as turn order, it really feels like I now have to incorporate deus ex machina reasoning into my analysis of the strip at every turn.

So what happens next page? Maybe Maggie deus exes the arrows away using a spell we didn't know she had. Then the archons will cast another spell we didn't know they had, giving Ansom some new ungodly power. Who knows?

To my mind, that demotes this strip to the same class as Naruto, or Bleach - I can and will enjoy it from strip to strip, for humor or awesome action or what have you, but I'm going to have to give the story a miss.

Lemarc
2009-02-09, 03:11 AM
From a story-telling perspective, people's complaints about unexpected revelations may be justified. But imagine we were being told this story from the Coalition viewpoint. Gobwin Knob is pulling just as many tricks from their hat. It's not exclusive to the Coalition.

Trazoi
2009-02-09, 03:26 AM
From a story-telling perspective, people's complaints about unexpected revelations may be justified. But imagine we were being told this story from the Coalition viewpoint. Gobwin Knob is pulling just as many tricks from their hat. It's not exclusive to the Coalition.
But Gobwin Knob has Parson, who has a justifiable reason story-wise to be beyond the rules.

lovelyluthien
2009-02-09, 03:27 AM
Oh dear, I just hope we won't see Parson dance-fighting...

multilis
2009-02-09, 03:36 AM
Ansom likely planned or knew of option to dance fight through Charlie long in advance (likely part of Charlie's sales pitch for the huge $$$ initial proposal that Ansom only later "accepted").

He didn't inform the other commanders in advance because he likely does not completely trust them thanks to Parson. He may have planned to trump Parson with dance fighting, not realising at first Parson's side could also.

The move requires at least 4 expensive units (archons) and a sacrifice... no commanders in area. It is common in games for 'good' units like archons to have buffs for allies.

Parson did not know because his friends who tell him what is possible *don't* know everything. Much of what happens in Erfworld is because of research, eg they discovered spell to summon Parson. (Other side likely did not know what Sizemore could do, eg poop bombs)

Saracenus
2009-02-09, 04:15 AM
Ok, a couple of things to consider:

1) Ansom may be adjusting to the crap golem hit squads when he didn't send in his surviving/functional leader units. They prolly can't dance anyway so they were not going to provide much extra to the fight and worse were easy targets for Sizemore.

2) The Archons at the tower, projecting the dance steps, where there already when Charlie's forces showed up earlier. So they didn't have to move into the space to do the job.

3) Ansomes tactical position is weak. DDR is pretty ridged in its allowable dance steps. The troops will get the bonus for dancing but they aren't going to be very flexible while they are concentrating on the arrows. Ansom is on the ground in front of the troops. Perfect strike position for Sizemore. Maggie could make it much worse for his Royal Goodness. No Ansom or reduced effectiveness Ansom is very bad for the RC troops, what other bonuses will they have?

4) Ansom has to win this round:

a) His coalition is unraveling. His subordinates are directly questioning his commands.

b) With all the fresh bodies he just fed Wanda, I don't think even adding the Archons next round will be all that effective.

c) Stanley arrives next round. That will prolly negate the Archons even further.

Predictions:

Parson throws the kitchen sink at Ansom to disrupt his leadership and at the very least monkey wrench the improvised DDR counter.

There will be a setback and Parson will have to sacrifice Bagroll to hold off Ansom or win. Remember, Parson doesn't have to defeat Ansom, he also "wins" by a draw. He has more paths to a win than Ansom does.

My two coppers...

Saracenus

TamLin
2009-02-09, 04:46 AM
Oh lighten up people, that was hilarious. Seriously, Erf hasn't been that funny in months. We are allowed to have humor in this comic still, right? It's not ALL grim war stories and tactical nit-picking? That was even funnier than the Thriller thing. Btw, I believe Ansom's "Saturday Night Fever" pose completes our compendium of 70s pop culture references?

Really, you'll be happier if you just stop clicking every new comic link whilst salivating over Ansom's potential demise. It's very unlikely he's going to eat it before Stanley gets back (for that matter, it's not even a given that he's going to die at all. Try to prepare for that possibitlity, even if you don't like it). Pardon me for being critical, but the fan wishlist of Parson simply bulldozing everything this would make for a rather wasteful and anticlimactic (not to mention lazy) finale to such a long story.

And can we PLEASE stop with the rules analysis? Even if the rules aren't completley consistent, it's not that important. A writer shouldn't be asked to straightjacket himself with complex, binding commandments. The rules supplement the story, they don't dominate it. They may be altered, bent, or suspended if the occasion so calls for it. This is not unique to Erfworld: writers in every medium frequently tweak or disregard "the rules" (like physics, time, or common sense) for dramatic effect.

grumbleboom
2009-02-09, 05:24 AM
Heh, DDR. My one thought is that the DDR bonus should only apply to Ansom's stack unless everyone in his army has practiced DDR dance fighting. Because otherwise the rank and file shouldn't be able to keep up with those steps. IMO anyways.

Still love this comic.

Gez
2009-02-09, 06:00 AM
Whenever I see "DDR" I think "Deutsches Demokratische Republik", not "Dance Dance Revolution".

Anyway, Klog 13 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0129.html) foreshadowed that the courtyard would fall after the outer walls did. The real last fight is either going to be in the dungeons, with uncroaked Marbits as a backup; or in the tower, with Stanley's Dwagon reinforcements against the Archons.

MattR
2009-02-09, 06:02 AM
Reading back through the thread I'm fairly stunned by the amount of venom in some of the posts, it's as if they've somehow personally been insulted or let down.

Deus ex machina is by definition a surprising/unexpected event which brings about a resolution or conclusion to the narrative, resolving flaws or tying up loose ends. The battle isn't won and the story isn't over so this is clearly just another plot twist.

Like someone else mentioned we didn't know Sizemore could make his crap golems explode in a big kaboom! and no one was calling deus ex on that, so then it must be that people have a problem with the scale of the event.

Wanda being able to create such a huge number of uncroaked was guessed at and could have been game breaking but when it actually happened we learned that there's a downside to uncroaking such large numbers i.e. that the result is weaker and lasts for a shorter pe'riod of time. Once dance fighting was introduced i know ive been guessing at which different types of dance might make an appearance in the future and DDR is just another kind of dancing. Maybe people should have a bit more patience, give them a chance to show what the drawbacks or limitations to DDR are before condemning things, an explanation could easily be forthcoming in the next strip with Parson questioning maggie or the limitations might reveal themselves through the action.

MoredanKantose
2009-02-09, 06:26 AM
I don't think I have been more upset by a erfworld strip than I am by this one.

I agree with Tidesinger, that was a Deus Ex Machina.

* If it was WITHIN the system from the beginning, why Parson did not see it coming?
* If it was not... Deus Ex Machina.

And not the first one. This "last battle" is being quite frustrating. Ansom being able to read a full contract when he should be fighting desperately for his life being another example.

And the Deus Ex Machina accumulate on the Coalitions side, which makes them even more frustrating, for me.

Other examples:

* Wanda not telling about the spells until last round. That was stupid. She risked her life for the whole war, so "it has no point - we will loose anyway" is a very, very bad excuse.
* Wandas Spell against the Barbarian failing after she told it would not... and NOBODY warned Parson BEFORE, about the possibility that it could.

For me, the comic is getting increasingly frustrating and boring... I would like it to finish. End the argumental arch. Start something different.

- Parson being captured by Charlescomm and starting to work for him?
- Wanda overtaking Gobwin Knob?

Something like that.

MattR
2009-02-09, 06:34 AM
If it was WITHIN the system from the beginning, why Parson did not see it coming?

Because he doesnt know all the rules, he only knows what people tell him, you cant expect him to plan for things he might not have even learned yet! {scrubbed}
---

We dont know what Wanda's stake in all this is yet, maybe gobwin knob losing isnt the end for her, the indication by Parson that casters can be sent to the magic kingdom seems to mean she could escape and she was comatose during some of the earlier maneuvering so unable to communicate what she had.

---

That was her personal belief it couldnt fail, sizemore couldnt say if the statemetn was true or not and the one person who might have been able to warn them all (maggie) was tied up in the linkup.

Muzzafar
2009-02-09, 06:39 AM
My first reaction when I read the strip was that I felt cheated.
Instead of Parson coming up with "god mode" solutions (as declared (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0041.html) exactly 100 pages ago) it seems that Ansom is cheating.
The reference to DDR looked plain stupid to me.
But then I waited for a couple of days, cooling down and reading what others had to say. And I thought that I got upset because of all the buildup and (perhaps, overly high) expectations about what should be coming in the strip.
I suppose it is frustrating for us to see Ansom thwarting one good plan of Parson's after another (I cannot begin to imagine how frustrated Parson should be). But so much greater will be the satisfaction when Parson finally brings Ansom down.
So I tell myself to be patient and wait.

Bilgore
2009-02-09, 06:43 AM
Plot Mongering 101 dictates that the conclusion will be a nailbiter. Perhaps Parson can force Ansom into declaring an honor 1v1 duel?

"Dueling banjos", Rock Band style?

Gez
2009-02-09, 06:55 AM
Instead of Parson coming up with "god mode" solutions (as declared (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0041.html) exactly 100 pages ago) it seems that Ansom is cheating.

Parson doesn't want god mode. Typically, that would make him invulnerable, so he'd be the one who would have to personally fight and croak every attacking unit. Since, physically, he's a fat lazy bastard, the prospect would be enough to get him to surrender. :smalltongue:

keeganknorr
2009-02-09, 07:21 AM
I think if Wanda can give undead who can't dance dance fighting, then ansom is just giving his stack a dance fight bonus. The archons are casting some sort of spell over the rest of the troops(superstack?) for there allies. Spells go through zones, no issue.

Another thing is that to everyone complaining about the rules, you don't know the rules or the exceptions to the rules, so when you complain about the rules you are just showing the type of gamer you are.

Also, this is the end of the story. So its changing the balence an appropriete amount. Consider any fight at the end of any movie. Its trading blows and expected moves and situations and advantages occur. Why is this any different?

Tarvok
2009-02-09, 07:26 AM
I think some folks are looking at this story the wrong way, which leads them to see this strip as a violation of the storytelling rules. They see Erfworld as a board game simulation, which suggests codified rules, limited lists of spells and spell-like abilities, etc. When something happens that doesn't correspond to a preestablished numbered codicil in the rulebook we've been getting glimpses of, they find it unsatisfying.

But Erfworld is really a lens on pop culture. Anything that exists in pop culture is fair game. If there's dance-fighting going on, a menu of dance-related pop-cultural references should pop into our heads, and give us some idea of what's coming. "Thriller? Check. DDR? Check. Travolta in Pulp Fiction? Check." The strip still obeys the gun-on-the-mantel rule, but the mantel isn't inside the story; it's in the real world, or a certain geek-reference subset of the real world. The possibilities of the magic system are still limited (which I agree is essential for satisfying fiction), but they're limited to pop culture references that make geek-sense, not in-comic rules that the audience has foreknowledge of.

That's why the one post in this thread that made me sit up and take notice mentioned the Hamster Dance, because it would be perfect. By the traditional rules of narrative, Parson being able to perform some sort of überpowerful Hamster Dance would indeed be a deux ex machina. By the rules of pop culture reference, though, it's almost too good to pass up, and thus it's fair game for Erfworld. (Ditto Numa Numa. Don't you think Parson bears a certain resemblance to Gary Brolsma?)

QFT... as well as the fact that people jumping in at this point of the thread probably haven't read this yet. Personally, I'm hoping for Parson to turn out to be a fair hand at DDR himself, to have Maggy make him a setup similar to the one the archons have given Ansom, and watch as he racks up an even higher score than Ansom's, making Ansom's effort not merely ineffective, but negative!

Seriously, I think I see about as much fandumb in this thread as in any other I've ever read. It startles me that anyone here seriously thought that nothing could be done between turns. They can do ANYTHING at ANY time... except move between zones they do not control, or hexes. Complaints about Parson going up and down? It's his TURN... and that carpet has a boopload of move! Personally, I think the DDR display is a dramatization of what is really a dancefighting buff conferred by the Archons while Ansom was in their zone, as well as a thinkamancy link between himself and his troops, also provided by the Archons.

As to complaints about "yet another lame pop culture reference"... are we even reading the same comic? Are we part of even remotely related fandoms? This comic is ALL ABOUT pop and geek culture references. Their magic system itself, on down to the awesome powers of the Creators themselves, seems to be powered by such references.

Personally, I'm looking forward to Parson's next counter. One poster said it feels too much like a roller coaster. I happen to *like* roller coasters, and as you appear as the ten-year-old boy who is afraid of them... I must make fun of you. :p

Of course, reading this thread was like watching a football game with die-hard fans, when I am not, myself, a die-hard fan of one team over another. So far as I can tell, the refs are calling the game fairly. That doesn't stop my fellow viewers from questioning their integrity and crying out for their blood.

SnowballMan
2009-02-09, 07:29 AM
What I don't understand is the notion that none of this was foreshadowed. The last panel of this page (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0111.html) indicates that the Archons know how to dance fight. And it is established that Charlescomm has superior communication abilities.

So why consider it such a stretch to accept that they are communicating to Ansom how to dance fight?

Notes
2009-02-09, 08:11 AM
Some thoughts on how Ansom's DDR ploy might play out...

Wanda demonstrated that a dance-trained warlord (is there any other kind?) could make her troops dance using her mental link to them.

Ansom is presumably dance-trained, and is probably making his troops dance through a thinkamancy link to them set up by the archons - the DDR images are there for the joke and because they look cool.

Wanda demonstrated that having a thinkamancy link broken on you can have very bad consequences.

So - there are up to three parties to the link: Ansom, the troops, and the archons. If the archons are competent, per Maggie's explanation on page 84, they will have set it up so that the backlash does not hit them - this seems likely. As pleasingly symmetrical as it would be for Ansom to have a stroke matching Wanda's, he is the archons' employer at the moment; they likely would have set the link up to shield him as well. So, if the link is broken, the backlash should fall on the troops - troops who will lose their dance bonus, have strokes, and then croak.

From a metagaming perspective, we've been waiting for Maggie's moment in the sun, and she is a thinkamancer after all. Going up against Charlie in thinkamancy, even indirectly, isn't easy - but then, she doesn't have to do much more than jostle Ansom's elbow enough to snap the link.

Looking a little further ahead, this would likely shred the RCC. That leaves the archons, possibly with just Ansom and a few die-hards along, versus the garrison plus Stanley's stack on the next RCC turn. A retreat to the dungeon has been predicted by many, and does seem likely. Additionally, if Charlie's forces are still too strong to defeat, removing his employer might be sufficient to deter him - he may only fight when hired, or take great pains to preserve a reputation that he only does so. As a highly speculative possibility, Parson might hear Stanley (or Jack's) story of their fight, and point Charlie at Transylvito's weakened capital.

WarriorTribble
2009-02-09, 08:58 AM
I know in later versions of DDR they started introducing shapes that were with the arrows, but should not be touched since they'd hurt your score. I think they're called mines. They could be a decent counter to the DDR strategy, though it'll be too esoteric imo (and yes I know nothing is too esoteric for Erfworld).

SteveMB
2009-02-09, 09:22 AM
Two, it's possible that Ansom actually is fairly clever but is of the entirely sensible opinion that orthodox strategy is orthodox for a reason (namely, that it works) and that the time to be clever is when you're going to lose otherwise.

""It's a nitwit idea. Nitwit ideas are for emergencies. The rest of the time you go by the Book, which is mostly a collection of nitwit ideas that worked."
--Niven & Pournelle, The Mote In God's Eye


Ansom likely planned or knew of option to dance fight through Charlie long in advance (likely part of Charlie's sales pitch for the huge $$$ initial proposal that Ansom only later "accepted").

He didn't inform the other commanders in advance because he likely does not completely trust them thanks to Parson. He may have planned to trump Parson with dance fighting, not realising at first Parson's side could also.

I think it's more likely that he only just now came up with the DDR counter-tactic -- originally, he didn't expect the Archons to be part of the assault on GK, and he's only just signed them up after letting the alliance lapse as a result of his turn-shift exploit.

Hatu
2009-02-09, 09:29 AM
What I don't understand is the notion that none of this was foreshadowed. The last panel of this page (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0111.html) indicates that the Archons know how to dance fight. And it is established that Charlescomm has superior communication abilities.

So why consider it such a stretch to accept that they are communicating to Ansom how to dance fight?

Probably because in the preceding page, Parson said that "almost no-one in Ansom's coalition can dance-fight." Now, exactly one page later, we find that nearly everyone in the coalition can dance fight, under the very circumstances they happen to find themselves in.

It's an extremely abrupt reversal. On top of that, we had not previously seen troops gain an ability in the middle of combat, so the transition feels les than graceful in my view.

-H

HandofShadows
2009-02-09, 09:33 AM
As some oother people have stated this battle is FAR from over. We should, we NEED to see how everything plays out beofre we start saying it's good or bad. Have a little faith in the people that are bringing this webcomic to you.

BTW the reason we know that the battle is not over is because Stanley and Jillian are not preasant. Both are main characters. So I think Ansom will win the courtyard, but is going to be bled white doing it. The next stage of the battle will have everyone in place for the big showdown.

El_Chupachichis
2009-02-09, 10:11 AM
* If it was WITHIN the system from the beginning, why Parson did not see it coming?


He saw something coming, just not sure what.




* Wanda not telling about the spells until last round. That was stupid. She risked her life for the whole war, so "it has no point - we will loose anyway" is a very, very bad excuse.


Half agreed. Bad idea on her part, for failing to recognize Parson's capabilities, but there are almost certainly politics involved. Just one possibility: if you're convinced your side will lose, you might hoard items that will allow you to save your own skin, rather than waste them preserving forces that are doomed anyway.

And, of course, there's always the possibility that they were to be saved for a future uprising against her own boss at a more opportune time, but current events changed all that planning.



* Wandas Spell against the Barbarian failing after she told it would not... and NOBODY warned Parson BEFORE, about the possibility that it could.


That was arrogance on Wanda's part, nothing more.



For me, the comic is getting increasingly frustrating and boring... I would like it to finish. End the argumental arch. Start something different.

- Parson being captured by Charlescomm and starting to work for him?
- Wanda overtaking Gobwin Knob?

Something like that.

Again, half agreed. Not frustrated or bored by any means, but I'm definitely inclined to think that we're currently in endgame mode for this battle. I'm just curious to find out which way this will go:

1. Ansom Victory, and Parson learns some humility before returning to Earth.
2. Parson Victory, by the narrowest of margins, some key characters die.
3. Ansom eliminated as a major character -- either through croaking or dissolution of his coalition -- and Parson captured by Charlescomm when sufficiently weakened.
4. Stanley returns, creating a Yin-Yang balance between opposing forces, forcing a Mexican Standoff scenario. Coalition forced to retreat to more defensible lines, Ansom chastened by his experience but holding the coalition together by a thread, just enough to hold Stanley back.

Lamech
2009-02-09, 10:25 AM
It's an extremely abrupt reversal. On top of that, we had not previously seen troops gain an ability in the middle of combat, so the transition feels les than graceful in my view.
Wait, wait, wait... I think we saw the same thing the page before.

Lets look at the page 127: We learn that a powerful caster can make the units she control be able to dance fight. In this page: We learn that a team of powerful magical units and a powerful warlord can make their army be able to dance fight.

So how is this most recent one more deus ex machina like than the first? And please no using speculation, that isn't confirmed. (Like Parson losing.)

El_Chupachichis
2009-02-09, 10:29 AM
I think the problems here are twofold:

One, everyone expects some Grand Victory by one side or another without resorting to rapid changes in tactical doctrine. This is an asymmetrical battlefield, with one side having superior numbers and (probably) tactical force multipliers, and the other side having superior capabilities when it comes to Insurgency tactics, logistics, and planning.

It's almost inevitable in this type of war that "one-upmanship" occurs. Parson is effectively engaging in hit and run methods to compensate for the fact that he knows that Ansom *will* utilize his heavies to attack and negate any local advantages that Parson temporarily has. In fact, the greatest success Parson had was in an area that naturally negated Ansom's advantage in the air.

Two, previous foreshadowing suggests that Parson will lose at least one of his high-value units -- I'd include Bogroll as High-Value inasmuch as he is a Bodyguard. If this were a lopsided victory, losing one of those units would probably seem even more like a boop-pull than what is ensuing now.

When considering those, the story flow makes more sense. You're simply not going to have Parson defeat the coalition without at least a few more surprises by Ansom. Plot Armor or no, the nature of this battle, combined with the personalities of the characters and the general plot overall, almost dictates that this will be a close-run thing.

Slayn82
2009-02-09, 10:33 AM
I think Ansom has a thinkamancy headache incoming. Either a headache or make him see arrows that aren't there. Something distracting anyway.

I dont want to see Parson dancefighting, so i think Maggie could change the game and pull a tetris in Parson x Ansom, maybe?

Emmerson Grant
2009-02-09, 10:44 AM
There hasn't been a single plan of Parson's that hasn't been negated within the turn or by the next turn.

Fifth time in a row, I'm tired of it.

Hatu
2009-02-09, 10:48 AM
Wait, wait, wait... I think we saw the same thing the page before.

Lets look at the page 127: We learn that a powerful caster can make the units she control be able to dance fight. In this page: We learn that a team of powerful magical units and a powerful warlord can make their army be able to dance fight.


On page 127, Parson specifically says that uncroaked infantry CAN dance-fight; it's an ability they posses and can use under the right circumstances. He does not say that a Master class Croakmancer can cause non-dance-fighting units to dance-fight.

If what you are suggesting were true, then Parson's statement was completely meaningless and he simply looks like a fool. If Ansom's units are just as dance-fight capable as Parson's are, how is that an "important" fact?

There's also the problem that the Archons are not in the same zone as the units they are allowing to dance-fight, whereas Wanda had not not only be in the same zone but also lead them in order to allow dance-fighting. The Archons aren't even in an adjacent zone, based on the way the Klogs explained the Garrison layout. But given how fast and loose Erfworld plays with zone boundries, this is a compartively minor point.

-H

multilis
2009-02-09, 10:49 AM
I agree with Tidesinger, that was a Deux Ex Machina.

* If it was WITHIN the system from the beginning, why Parson did not see it coming?
* If it was not... Deux Ex Machina.

And not the first one. This "last battle" is being quite frustrating. Ansom being able to read a full contract when he should be fighting desperately for his life being another example.

And the Deux Ex Machina accumulate on the Coalitions side, which makes them even more frustrating, for me.

Other examples:

* Wanda not telling about the spells until last round. That was stupid. She risked her life for the whole war, so "it has no point - we will loose anyway" is a very, very bad excuse.
* Wandas Spell against the Barbarian failing after she told it would not... and NOBODY warned Parson BEFORE, about the possibility that it could...
Parson didn't know about forest hexes, dance fighting, etc till last minute. He only knows things because those around them tell him. And they *don't* know everything, has been explained in blog before.

Other side *also* likely doesn't know everything in advance, eg tricks Sizemore can pull.

In beginning of comic, Wanda discovered magic kingdom spell that could summon Parson. Deus Ex?

teratorn
2009-02-09, 11:02 AM
I agree with Tidesinger, that was a Deux Ex Machina.

:smalleek: Is that some French plot device? Two in the machine?

pendell
2009-02-09, 11:17 AM
Ironically, I was a hater of this strip before reading the posts here.

It isn't a cheat; Ansom is known for attempting to plan everything; it's reasonable that he should anticipate dance-fighting and prepare a counter for it.

Nonetheless, he has made a few mistakes:

A) He's once again making himself the center of everything. Like advancing a queen in chess -- a queen does terrible things to pawns, but it's very expensive to lose.

B) He's sent away his best allies; Vinnie and Jillian. His only ally left who is his peer is Charlie -- who cannot enter the dungeon.

Next turn, he can. But by that time it will all be over. Ansom has decided to seize Gobwin Knob this turn (and that was a mistake). That's why Stanley, Fool, Jillian, and Vinnie are non-factors. By the time they have move, Ansom will either be victorious or dead.

Ansom is taking a lot more on himself than is, perhaps, a good idea.

I assume that we will attempt to take down Ansom. Maggie will fire, it will bounce off Ansom's plot armor (+5) , forcing a retreat to the dungeon, where Charlie's troops cannot assist. Ansom and his army will follow

... and there it will all be decided.

I appreciate that it *is* suspenseful. Parson's victory -- or defeat -- is not a foregone conclusion. It could go either way.

Nonetheless, I do agree with the haters in this: Ansom's plot armor is just a little too obvious. While both Parson and Ansom have plot armor (does anyone truly expect Parson to get shot down by a random arrow in the courtyard?), it's a little too obvious in Amson's case. He not only is invincible, he *acts* like it, deliberately risking himself and having it pay off again and again. It's a little bit like watching a guy in a casino roll ten consecutive 7s in craps. Either he's the luckiest guy ever born, or he's cheating. Either way, no one wants to play with him.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

MattR
2009-02-09, 11:32 AM
There hasn't been a single plan of Parson's that hasn't been negated within the turn or by the next turn.

Fifth time in a row, I'm tired of it.

With respect, youre talking out of your boophole.

Just two points out of many:

Parson croaked some siege meaning that the assault was delayed, more siege didnt materialise to replace it.

Parson et al croaked a significant number of troops in the tunnels, lowering the number of troops theyd be facing overall and boosting his own sides numbers. More troops never arrived to replace the ones Ansom lost.

Both instances the plan admittadly didnt follow through exactly but theres no denying each bought Parson more time and weakened the coalition, the effects certainly werent negated.

MattR
2009-02-09, 11:44 AM
Nonetheless, I do agree with the haters in this: Ansom's plot armor is just a little too obvious. While both Parson and Ansom have plot armor (does anyone truly expect Parson to get shot down by a random arrow in the courtyard?), it's a little too obvious in Amson's case. He not only is invincible, he *acts* like it, deliberately risking himself and having it pay off again and again. It's a little bit like watching a guy in a casino roll ten consecutive 7s in craps. Either he's the luckiest guy ever born, or he's cheating. Either way, no one wants to play with him.

Maybe theres plot armour to the degree people think, maybe not (i dont think so). What people seem to be missing is that although Ansom hasn't lost anything in a personal physical sense we've watched him lose something even more significant, weve witnessed the slow destruction of his beliefs and principles. Over time he's losing the respect of the other leaders in the coalition, he's lost the majority of his own sides troops, he's been outsmarted on several occasions by another 'commoner' (Parson) who openly mocked him to his face. When thsi battle is over, however the dice lands... Ansom probably wont be the same person anymore.

koima
2009-02-09, 11:46 AM
It finally occurred to my why dance-fighting gives such a big boost, it's because the Titans are Elvi! What better way to curry their favor?

Gez
2009-02-09, 11:52 AM
:smalleek: Is that some French plot device? Two in the machine?

Would be two out of the machine. :smalltongue:

PhantomFox
2009-02-09, 11:59 AM
Personally I think Ansom's going to fall flat on his face in the next strip, or perhaps the one after that. This will not be as much of a counter, as an attempted counter that explodes and fractures the coalition even further.

pendell
2009-02-09, 12:20 PM
Wanted to point out two more facts:

1) If you think of 'winning' as 'personal survival', Parson has already 'won'. Either he wins the battle, or he loses the battle, is captured, and starts a new career as a warlord for Charlescomm. As long as he can avoid being killed in the battle itself, he's going to come out of this all right.

In fact, it might be better for him personally to lose. I'll wager Charlie is a better employer than Stanley. But of course Parson doesn't think that way.

2) So far, Ansom has had his bacon pulled out of the fire by his allies four times -- allies who are either not present or will be gone soon.

1) The Jillian-baited trap set by Wanda. Vinnie saved Ansom with good counsel.

Vinnie is not here.

2) The dragon platter. Ansom was saved by Vinnie and Jillian. Okay, he saved Jillian also, but Jillian located the dragons, broke Wanda's spell, and made it possible for Ansom + Jillian to save the day.

Jillian is not here.

3) Twice in the last few strips Charlie has saved Ansom.

Charlie cannot follow Ansom underground this turn.

4) Webinar and Dora are dead.

5) Sofa-King and the other warlord were just killed.

Ansom is increasingly isolated from powerful friends and from wise counsel. He's rapidly reaching the point where, as Jillian said, 'he needs saving some times' -- but there is no one around to save him.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Anias
2009-02-09, 12:49 PM
There hasn't been a single plan of Parson's that hasn't been negated within the turn or by the next turn.

Fifth time in a row, I'm tired of it.

Seriously??? How many turns has this whole comic covered? 5? Certainly no more than 10 or so, no matter how you count it (I haven't been one of the people counting). And you're surprised that there are moves and counter-moves every turn? If there weren't, this battle would have been over before Stanley even got a chance to leave!

-------

And, I just have to say this to all you who are up in arms about Ansom's "Plot Armor:" He's one of the most powerful, skilled, and intelligent warlords IN THE WORLD. You're surprised that this high-level warlord, who is, no doubt, one of the most physically powerful units in the area, can slaughter a bunch of low level units? You're shocked that a Chief Warlord of such power and prominence has INTELLIGENCE? He CAN improvise, CAN learn from his mistakes - he wouldn't have reached the position and level he currently possesses if he couldn't. For that matter, if he WASN'T all these things, he would probably have been dead a long time ago, before Stanley even became an issue.

Gez
2009-02-09, 01:04 PM
1) If you think of 'winning' as 'personal survival', Parson has already 'won'. Either he wins the battle, or he loses the battle, is captured, and starts a new career as a warlord for Charlescomm. As long as he can avoid being killed in the battle itself, he's going to come out of this all right.
Does he know that? Last time he heard from Charlie on this topic, he was told the mercenary leader wouldn't mind too much taking his artifact from his cold, dead wrist. He knows Charlie would prefer him alive, but that'd be just a bonus.

Also, the penalty for killing Parson is forfeiting your spoils. While it's a strong incentive for most warlords, it might not be enough for some. Would you think Jillian would hesitate before killing Stanley even if she had to forfeit spoils if she did so? After the crap Parson literally made the coalition take, some commanders out there might be more vengeance-driven than profit-driven at this point. (Of course, Ansom ordered unled troops only in the courtyard, but since it's all about force multipliers, sooner or later he'll need to get commander bonus back on the stacks anyway.)

El_Chupachichis
2009-02-09, 01:13 PM
8 Pages of gripe and counter-gripe, and NO comments on "Sham-On!" ??


LOL

drachefly
2009-02-09, 01:21 PM
Both instances the plan admittadly didnt follow through exactly but theres no denying each bought Parson more time and weakened the coalition, the effects certainly werent negated.

I'd go further. In what way did the tunnel ploy not work as desired? It seemed like it worked perfectly. No hitches at all.

The following events (Ansom getting through the walls) were a separate issue and do not diminish it.


and again seems to make Archons rather powerful with their assorted powers where dwagons just fight and not much better than an archon.
But currently it's looking like a special bonus property that Charlie's Archons have, and they already seem to be overpowered as far as units go.

Based on what? The one time we've actually seen archons vs. dwagons, the full-health archons one-shotted... three severely wounded dwagons, possibly the most severely wounded dwagons in the hex.

The original battle plan for the choke point (the one involving archons) was of a force that was about half archons, half something else, and each half would have had numerical superiority to the entire dwagon force.

So, no, archons vs. dwagons does not seem desperately out of balance, even assuming their costs are the same. All we've seen indicates that archons are at least, as a rough estimate, one third as powerful as dwagons in a straight-up fight.

DigoDragon
2009-02-09, 01:21 PM
I wonder how good the Coalitions' Foot-Eye coordination is? If it's anything like mine at DDR then this is going to backfire spectacularly... which then asks the question if it's possible to give yourself a Negative dance bonus. :smalltongue:

Strega
2009-02-09, 02:08 PM
And yet again, as usual, ad nauseum, Ansom rabbit-hats a new rule on Parson and/or gets ridiculously lucky.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-02-09, 02:10 PM
Well, after pondering over a bit, I must admit that Ansom may well have booped up here.

Y'see... I used to play DDR quite a bit in my younger days. If you don't nail the notes right, you get boo'ed at and loose a lot of points quickly. If Maggie messes with his ability to perform up to the Archon's standards (and I was seeing some pretty difficult steps in there. Not quite 'skittles on a dance board', but in panel 8, those were some pretty closely-packed arrows, depending on tempo. Shouldn't be too much to distract him and cause him to miss a few beats...

And I wonder if you end up giving your side penalties when you boop-up dancefighting? It could very well be game... for Ansom.

SteveMB
2009-02-09, 02:40 PM
I'd go further. In what way did the tunnel ploy not work as desired? It seemed like it worked perfectly. No hitches at all.

Also, his plan to get Jack to talk Stanley into returning has worked, and he doesn't even know it yet.