PDA

View Full Version : Strategy games that remind you of Erfworld



Dolash
2009-04-04, 04:32 PM
Though this thread has likely been done before I cannot see it on any of the first few pages, so why not take a crack at it again?

Erfworld is clearly a strategy game modelled over various computer and tabletop games. As time goes on we've learnt more about the rules that underpin the world, meaning we've learnt a lot more about the type of game Erfworld resembles. So my question to you is exaclty what games does Erfworld remind you of?

For me, it's Romance of the Three Kingdoms, especially the latter ones like 9. Officers exist as a special unit class above regular soldiers, and their leadership and force-multipliers are the most important factor in deciding a battle's outcome. Alliances can form, factions can become vassals of others, and officers can have their loyalty eroded so that they switch sides. Relationships between officers can exist that boost their loyalty or alter their effectiveness, and there is room for techniques involving siege weapons, city defence, sabotage, intrigue, and more.

There's an element of the Paradox games as well, in terms of giving major players their own diverse characteristics. They can have their own agendas and influence one another, developing grudges, friendships, and so forth. Basically the human element.

There's obviously also strong influences from games like Heroes of Might and Magic in just the ordinary elements and terminology of the setting - stacks, for example. Being lead by heroes, specialty casters, etc all point to the foundational examples of various turn-based fantasy strategy games.

So what games does Erfworld remind you of, and why? What sort of elements seem familiar, or borrowed from real-life game examples? I think it might be interesting to consider the writer's source material and maybe hear about a few good games in the process.

MadScientistMat
2009-04-05, 03:24 PM
While Erfworld definitely is not Warlords, I can think of quite a few similarities beyond being a turn based strategy game. Some similarities I can think of with the original DOS version (haven't played any others):

1. The most units you can put in a stack is eight.
2. Warlords has heroes, who the player can give goofball names like Manpower the Temporary, that go out searching for artifacts to improve their power.
3. Heroes can ride flying beasts, such as pegasi, gryphons, or dragons.
4. The ominous-sounding Lord Bane starts in an area that looks a lot like the caldera of a giant volcano, which is one of the most defensible positions in the game.
5. Neutral cities are just sitting there waiting to be taken.
6. No mention of civilians, even as population numbers.

Maxymiuk
2009-04-05, 03:46 PM
For me, it's the Age of Wonders series. Let's see:

- You can only have up to 8 units in a single hex
- Heroes who are either neutral (barbarian) or aligned with a side
- Neutral cities can't do much (other than grow slowly in the sequel)
- Any unit can act as an independent entity - you can either lead armies around, or try to solo it with a hero
- Magic on par with what we saw in Erfword - a single spell can decide the outcome of a fight, while outside of combat the aptly named global spells can quite literally change the face of the world.

Xerxos
2009-04-05, 06:34 PM
For me it's Heroes of Might and Magic 3. Turn based, Fantasy, Heroes, Cities, Mines. Comes pretty close.

Gez
2009-04-07, 10:09 AM
Well recent events in the story have reminded me of Dwarf Fortress (http://www.dwarffortresswiki.net/). In that text-mode game (you can find a "semi-graphic" version here (http://mayday.w.staszic.waw.pl/df.php)), you manage a bunch of dwarves and try to create an operational Moria with them. All sorts of hilarious mishaps can happen, especially when you discover too late a flaw in the design of your "flood the world with magma in case of siege" defense system.

SteveMB
2009-04-07, 12:09 PM
While Erfworld definitely is not Warlords, I can think of quite a few similarities beyond being a turn based strategy game. Some similarities I can think of with the original DOS version (haven't played any others):

1. The most units you can put in a stack is eight.

Actually, that's a difference. In Erfworld, you can put more than eight units in a stack, but the stack bonus doesn't get any higher (so it's generally better to split large groups into eight-unit stacks, unless some other factor like a shortage of warlords changes the equation).

MadScientistMat
2009-04-07, 06:07 PM
D'oh, misread the rules. I was just thinking "stacks of eight" and forgotten the limitations were different. As a lot of the Warlords' mechanics were hidden from view (they may have been in the manual, but I never read it), I'm not sure if they had stack bonuses or not.

Dolash
2009-04-08, 08:38 AM
You know, so far as I can tell there are a couple of features that Erfworld has that make it really distinct from bog-standard strategy gameplay - a few things I haven't seen anywhere else.

1) Communication networks. As Parson remarked upon, it is natural to assume everyone has a great set-up like the linked foolamancer, lookamancer, and findamancer had. It's the classic strategy game top-down command system, and with uncroaked warlords who needed direct commands (and a lookamancer to order them) Parson was basically playing a full-on computer strategy game for the caravan battle.

This sort of setup is quite rare in Erfworld, it appears. Most people appear to need scouts, maps, runners, lines of communication and so forth. Warlords don't even have a direct line to their own units (exceptions such as Vinnie and his bats seem to exist) so that a Warlord can send a stack to complete a task, that stack gets destroyed, and the Warlord thinks the stack is still active. This leads into the second thing Erfworld has...

2) Independant initiative. Most every strategy game has the player taking on the role of an omnipotent commander who issues all the orders and can see everything their units see. In Erfworld however, this is not the case. Units have their own initiative and carry out their orders "to the best of their ability", rather than to the letter. This is especially the case with the spread-out communications that exist, as it appears that if a stack is out of communication with a superior and has no standing orders (being told, for example, to conduct a far-ranging patrol and then return) then they will have to come up with their own directions.

There even appears to be a hierarchy amongst warlords. The Ruler is at the top, followed by the Chief Warlord, then the various warlords and casters in order of leadership (perhaps nobles-first in royal-lead sides). So for example, the ruler might order a city conquered, so his chief warlord assembles a regiment and puts several warlords in charge then sends them off to conquer the city. The leader of those warlords concludes the best strategy is to hit them from the walls and the air at the same time, and so orders one subordinate to attack from the air, and another to join him on a wall-attack.

Duty, obedience, and loyalty all work to give a semblance of computer strategy game command, where orders given to units are absolute and direct, but fundamentally the units of Erfworld are independant and only bound by those three rules to follow their leaders.

3) The player as a character. Erfworld is sort of a blend of strategy and roleplaying, in that even the side leader (a Stanley, for example) is not in direct and godlike control of his army. Stanley's setup with the caster link and uncroaked warlords was close, but even that was seen as strange and unusual. Therefore to be a "player" in Erfworld (whether you are a warlord or a Ruler) is to be a character first and foremost and your position in the hierarchy second. Imagine how different a game of Starcraft could be if you could shoot the player instead of his units!

Parsons is our example of this. Between the communications networks that must be maintained, the personal initiative of his subordinates, the leadership hierarchies and chain of commands that defined his task, he was far from playing your usual strategy game. He even had to look after his own equipment and keep himself from getting croaked!

These things do remind me a little of Romance of the Three kingdoms eight and ten, where you played as an individual officer first and a member of your kingdom second. This meant that an individual player could switch sides or even out-and-out abandon their side and become a wanderer. A player in a leadership position could give orders for their subordinates to carry out, but they had no direct control over what their officers did and there was always a possibility that they would disobey or defect. The lines of communication thing wasn't at all implemented, but there was some degree of a hierarchy amongst units.

Anyways, it's all in the name of good storytelling, and the creators do have the advantage of not having to code any of the systems they set up! If someone were to realize the rules of Erfworld into a game, however, it might be quite spectacular.

Kreistor
2009-04-08, 09:25 AM
Actually, that's a difference. In Erfworld, you can put more than eight units in a stack, but the stack bonus doesn't get any higher (so it's generally better to split large groups into eight-unit stacks, unless some other factor like a shortage of warlords changes the equation).

That's not necessarily true. If the only effect is the stack bonus, then limiting a stack to that bonus makes less than obvious sense.

Let's say you and I have 16 units each. You stack yours 8 and 8, getting a +8 bonus to each stack. I put all of mine into a stack of 16, all at a +8 bonus.

Now, on round one we do equal damage. Arbitrarily pick a number. We both do, say, 2 units of damage. I'm down to 14 in a stack with 8, you've got either an 8 and 6, with bonuses of 8 and 6, or two 7's.

I now do more damage than you. I have 14 at +8, and you have less. How big a difference this makes depends on the details of the system: I can't go any further than to say I now have the advantage, and the odds are in my favour.

Ther ehas to be something in the combat details that prevents my scenario. All I'm saying is that the information on why 8=man stacks are common is incomplete.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-04-09, 09:08 AM
IRT Kreistor:

That is actually a very good point.

The only way I can see that we can salvage the "prefer stacks of at most 8 units" policy is for a stack of 16 units to be behaving, damage- and skillwise, exactly as if it were a stack of 8 units. Which falls outside of "just a stack bonus" I think.

It would be a little weird, granted. It would make sense in some limited cases, for example melee units without area of effect weapons (only so many of them can effectively attack the enemy).

In this way, in your example: 16 stack does 1 damage, each of the two opposing stacks does 1 damage. This leaves us with 8 units and 7 units vs. 14 units. Then the 14 unit stack does 1 damage (they still have +8 bonus), while the opponents do 1 and 7/8 damage. It gets iffy after that, but the point is that the two stacks will still deal more damage than the single stack.


For me it's Heroes of Might and Magic 3. Turn based, Fantasy, Heroes, Cities, Mines. Comes pretty close.

I disagree. I will not be reminded of HoMM until I see some Martin Luthers upgraded to Martin Luther Kings.

Kreistor
2009-04-09, 12:01 PM
Oh, there are lots of potential rules that might explain it.

For instance, on attack, if you can only target one stack, if the attacker has fewer stacks, then once the attacker ahas assigned all stacks, the defender can gang his up on the attacker's, getting 3:1's in some places while 1:2's hold the line. On defense, if you have fewer, the attacker can hold on many stacks, and gang up on others.

Or the stack bonus doesn't go away until the issue is entirely decided. Even though the smaller stack is down to 7, the bonus remains +8 until the fight is over or all are dead. In that case, my math doesn't work quite the same way.

But all of these indicate that something is not known. And there are too many possibilities for even me to pick from.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-04-10, 05:10 AM
For instance, on attack, if you can only target one stack, if the attacker has fewer stacks, then once the attacker ahas assigned all stacks, the defender can gang his up on the attacker's, getting 3:1's in some places while 1:2's hold the line. On defense, if you have fewer, the attacker can hold on many stacks, and gang up on others.

This is covered by "behaves as if it were a single stack of 8" above.


Or the stack bonus doesn't go away until the issue is entirely decided. Even though the smaller stack is down to 7, the bonus remains +8 until the fight is over or all are dead. In that case, my math doesn't work quite the same way.

This is new; I hadn't thought about it. Conditioning, you see. Weirdly, while units behave just as well regardless of the remaining hitpoints, in the strategy games I have played stacks tend to lose effectiveness while their members die.

Ellye
2009-04-12, 03:17 PM
It strongly reminds me of Age of Wonders too.