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    Default Defending the city - spoiler

    So now that Ep. 21 is up ...

    ... knowing what we, the audience, know about the opposition's plan, how do you go about thwarting it?

    My thoughts:

    1) Split the alliance. It's an unwieldy, large group of disparate interests. A couple Charm Persons, a couple dopplegangers, a couple of manufactured atrocities ... maybe we can get a few of the factions to turn on each other and save us the trouble of killing them. If not, maybe we can at least get a couple of them to leave the field.

    2) Stop the initial assault. This is going to be tricky. I'm thinking evacuate the tunnels and flood them with water. That stops the subterranean attack. But not all of them .. try to keep a few secret for phase 3.

    Hopefully at this point we have the good guys split, divided among themselves, and frustrated because they can't break into the city. Their plan is to hit a weak point -- if we can stop the initial attack, they have to settle in for a siege. Hopefully, we've got lots of food and stuff to keep us for awhile -- and croaked troops don't eat.

    That brings up point 2A) -- try to uncroak as many of their killed troops as possible, reinforcing us with their own soldiers.

    3) Remember that the only approach is up a winding, difficult road?

    Well, the opposition may have brought an army up that hill, but if they want a protracted siege they're going to need food for those soldiers every single day. And all that food has to come up that road. Also, reinforcements for soldiers inevitably killed in the siege. We don't need them, because croakomancy will mean their casualties become our reinforcements.

    So we use the tunnels we didn't block up for secret forays out. We attack the weakly defended supply caravans, causing the army to starve. We also carry off as much booty as we can, not only food and equipment to supply the city but also enemy soldiers for, um, 'reinforcements'.

    Of course, the enemy will then start guarding those caravans more effectively. All to the good. The more troops they have on caravan duty, the fewer they have in the siege proper.

    4) Homeland raids.

    Assuming we have some sort of teleport or summoning technology, try to cause as much trouble as we can in the opposition's home country. Presumably, if all their armies are HERE, there isn't anyone to protect the people they left back at home.

    So we use what's left of our cash to encourage other warlords and bandits to pillage those defenseless home countries while the armies are away. If we have teleport magic, we can teleport small bands of gobwins etc. into those countries to carry fire, pillage, and sword to the defenseless settlements. If we have summon whatever, we could bring a plague of greater demons or elementals or similar horror on those home countries. This may serve to knock a few of the opposition factions out of the war entirely, either because the mere threat sends them home or because they can't remain here while their families and children are dying. If nothing else, it will force the army to detach reinforcements to go back home to solve the problem -- which means that many fewer troops to guard the caravans, and that many fewer troops actually on the front lines.

    Leading to

    5) Abandoning the siege.
    Tired, exhausted, hungry, torn by dissension and warring factions, and with their homes and families on fire, the army at last gives up the siege and retires home until the next fighting season. This gives our croaked troops, which aren't dependent on things like food or weather, the chance to go on the offensive ...

    Thoughts?

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Oh yes, forgot one other thing ...

    diplomacy. Open up a diplomatic offensive saying that we've changed our minds and want peace. Hopefully , we can get some of the hippie-mancer types to fall for it and go home waving little pieces of paper proclaiming "peace in our time". Of course, the chief strategist won't go for it ... but if we're sufficiently clever and make appropriate use of propaganda what he wants may not matter much, especially if the people behind him are peace and love types who seriously believe that everyone's a man of good will, and if we only sit down and talk about our problems we can work everything out.

    It won't send the army home. Because we are, of course, evil , and will break those pieces of paper as soon as we can get away with it, and not everyone's going to be stupid enough to fall for it. But the power of good people to willfully deceive themselves as to the nature of evil is pretty impressive. Hopefully, we can again send some more people home, and perhaps get a few more restrictions on the enemy commander's freedom of action, as he is forced to adhere to treaties and political limitations his masters impose.

    This is, of course, occurring simultaneously with our doppleganger-charm person-fabricated atrocity offensive. Done wrong, and the whole thing blows up in our face, uniting every one against us. Done right, and half the army goes home and the other half is perpetually divided, as different factions strike different kinds of deals, and even those who don't aren't entirely sure of what they're doing.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    I think we can rule diplomacy out. Stanley must have really pissed people off if such a diverse coalition could be assembled against him.
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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    In most TBS games, the economy is brutal for huge armies. If there's any way to get to the Cute and Plush Homeland, sacking a few minor cities might cause several units to disband for insufficient support at the end of the turn.

    And of course, the whole turn-based system will cause the siege to be a bit strange. No need to worry about besiegers rushing the sally port while raids are being conducted, no incoming fire during Stanley's turn to attack, etc....

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    I'm wondering what role air units will play in the seige...
    If a man is in a forest and speaks, and no women are around to hear him.... is he still an idiot?

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    I would add 1.5:

    Create a false weak point. Lure the the massed enemy to a false weak point, and hit them with everything you've got until they realize that they're not making any progress and are forced to regroup.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Unfortunately, we don't know much about the odds for various units and whether they can be used in non-standard roles.

    Dwagons, for instance, appear to be powerful air-to-air combatants and may be effective ground combatants, as well. We don't know, however, if they can be pressed into service as bombarders; dropping rocks on the allied army as it approaches. Knowing more about the Rules of Erfworld would certainly help us plan a defense.

    The most obvious tactic I see is to find some way to stop the allied army at a choke point along that long, winding, difficult road. A small force could delay them a long time if they could entrench themselves somewhere that the allies can't bring their numbers to bear. Put artillery behind the blockade and deploy dwagons for air cover, and the allies could spend a lot of their resources just getting up the road. I just wish we knew what sort of kill ratio such a blocking force would need to seriously deplete Ansom's forces.
    "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!" -- Conan, on what is best in life

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Assuming the city boasts adequate anti-air capability, in the form of siege weapons, archers, or magic, not much.

    And presumably it does. Otherwise, the plan would be an air assault in the heart of the city while the main army is hitting the gate, yes?

    So the Opposition's use of the air would be to:

    1) Deny aerial capability to the defenders.
    Prevent the other side from flying out and wreaking havoc in the way I plan to use the underground tunnels. It also prevents aerial reconaissance.

    2) Aerial reconaissance/harassment.

    Gives knowledge on the city defenses and allows light attacks.

    Defensive use of air will be:

    1) Counter enemy air.
    2) night-time forays/messengers.

    Am I missing anything?

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Quote Originally Posted by spite48 View Post
    I would add 1.5:

    Create a false weak point. Lure the the massed enemy to a false weak point, and hit them with everything you've got until they realize that they're not making any progress and are forced to regroup.
    I *LIKE* this idea. I like it a *LOT*. Were I in charge, I would definitely adopt it.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Quote Originally Posted by spite48 View Post
    I would add 1.5:

    Create a false weak point. Lure the the massed enemy to a false weak point, and hit them with everything you've got until they realize that they're not making any progress and are forced to regroup.
    I'd disagree here. Right now the greatest asset of the defenders is the integrity of the city walls. Your strategy would put this at risk for very little gain. The enemy will assault the walls themselves, they don't need enticements, and horrendous losses can be taken for granted.
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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Quote Originally Posted by Runolfr View Post
    I just wish we knew what sort of kill ratio such a blocking force would need to seriously deplete Ansom's forces.
    Since the odds are 25:1, It therefore follows that if the blocking force does not inflict a casualty ratio higher than 25:1, the blocking force's action is a net loss.


    Hmm ... ooh! ooh! Can we mine the road? Get a really big chunk of their army together with a small sacrificial contingent of our troops on the equivalent of a really, really high bridge, then drop the bridge and everyone on it to their deaths?


    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Now that I think of it, in both Civ and Empire, no matter how big your attacking army was, each unit had to attack in turn, and was automatically matched against the best defender until that unit fell. Imagine how long Ansome's turns must be, unless he's got those units on "go to" orders, which would be a weakness Parson could exploit.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    I wonder if we can pry any useful information out of Jillian...
    "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!" -- Conan, on what is best in life

    "A good plan, executed violently now, is better than a perfect plan next week." -- George S. Patton, Jr.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Yeah, where's that dwagon with the prisoner? I see Jillian and Wanda having a little heart-to-heart. If all else fails, Wanda's probably got a "Speak with Croaked" spell that'd get some answers....

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocheforte View Post
    Now that I think of it, in both Civ and Empire, no matter how big your attacking army was, each unit had to attack in turn, and was automatically matched against the best defender until that unit fell. Imagine how long Ansome's turns must be, unless he's got those units on "go to" orders, which would be a weakness Parson could exploit.
    And using Civ terms, a dug-in unit on favorable terrain, especially with a fortification, can be quite difficult to dislodge. I used to use that tactic in CivII and CivIII to reduce cities: put few strong defensive units on a mountain in enemy territory, send workers to build a fort on that square, put a howitzer their, too, if available. Hammer the units that the enemy sends to try to drive you out.
    "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!" -- Conan, on what is best in life

    "A good plan, executed violently now, is better than a perfect plan next week." -- George S. Patton, Jr.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Hmm ... ooh! ooh! Can we mine the road? Get a really big chunk of their army together with a small sacrificial contingent of our troops on the equivalent of a really, really high bridge, then drop the bridge and everyone on it to their deaths?
    Remember that it will take five turns for the siege equipment to arrive. That should be more than enough time for Ansom's forces to clear the road without any problems. They're in no real hurry to rush into any traps.
    The Omnians were a God-fearing people. They had a great deal to fear.
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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    IIRC, occupying a mountain triples your defense, having a fortification there doubles it, and using the "Fortify" command doubles it again. Even a 1/1 Warrior from Turn 1 has an effective defense of 12 in such a situation. If those numbers are similar to the mechanics of this world, 25:1 is actually pretty reasonable odds.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Quote Originally Posted by Om View Post
    Remember that it will take five turns for the siege equipment to arrive. That should be more than enough time for Ansom's forces to clear the road without any problems. They're in no real hurry to rush into any traps.
    Right ... so we dig those secret tunnels, let the main army pass unmolested, then ambush the siege equipment when IT is traveling on that road. With their siege equipment destroyed, they're basically reduced to standing around outside looking rather foolish and .. what? Marching around in circles and blowing trumpets, hoping that the walls will fall down on their own?

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Quote Originally Posted by Runolfr View Post
    Unfortunately, we don't know much about the odds for various units and whether they can be used in non-standard roles.

    Dwagons, for instance, appear to be powerful air-to-air combatants and may be effective ground combatants, as well. We don't know, however, if they can be pressed into service as bombarders; dropping rocks on the allied army as it approaches.
    Not rocks, Runolfr, not rocks.
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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    The weakness of Ansom's plan are
    1) the road- Blow it up (ideally with the vanguard up the hill and the main body mostly on it) and the seige is over.
    2) Resource base of alliance. Flights of Dwagons were made for this work.
    3) Siege engines- Burn them up as it approaches the base of the cliff, and it is over.

    The better plan would be to put siege workers into building anti Dwagon ballistas and cutting off the road, making resources runs and escape runs riskier then they are worth.
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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Quote Originally Posted by Wallyz View Post
    Not rocks, Runolfr, not rocks.
    Yeah, I later remembered what they drop myself.
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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Quote Originally Posted by Wallyz View Post
    The weakness of Ansom's plan are
    1) the road- Blow it up (ideally with the vanguard up the hill and the main body mostly on it) and the seige is over.
    2) Resource base of alliance. Flights of Dwagons were made for this work.
    3) Siege engines- Burn them up as it approaches the base of the cliff, and it is over.
    1) Unless there's a bridge to destroy along the way, "blowing up" the road is probably not feasible with the resources available to Tool Stanley.

    2) Not knowing the Move of Dwagons, it's impossible to say how many turns it would take to get a significant force of Dwagons into enemy territory, nor do we know how well they can operate there unsupported. Ansom's army will be at Gobwin Knob in five turns -- a counter attack against alliance home cities would probably not arrive in time to be effective.

    3) Ansom's siege engines are undoubtedly going to be targets; I can only guess he has prepared defenses of some sort. We know it's possible for a gwiffon-riding barbarian to whack a dwagon, so they're not indestructible.
    "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!" -- Conan, on what is best in life

    "A good plan, executed violently now, is better than a perfect plan next week." -- George S. Patton, Jr.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    I think dwagons have move > 25, as Jillian was told that a dwagon could catch her on her 25-move gwiffon.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Quote Originally Posted by Runolfr View Post
    1) Unless there's a bridge to destroy along the way, "blowing up" the road is probably not feasible with the resources available to Tool Stanley.

    2) Not knowing the Move of Dwagons, it's impossible to say how many turns it would take to get a significant force of Dwagons into enemy territory, nor do we know how well they can operate there unsupported. Ansom's army will be at Gobwin Knob in five turns -- a counter attack against alliance home cities would probably not arrive in time to be effective.

    3) Ansom's siege engines are undoubtedly going to be targets; I can only guess he has prepared defenses of some sort. We know it's possible for a gwiffon-riding barbarian to whack a dwagon, so they're not indestructible.
    Perhaps I misstated myself with the road.

    Using a dirtomancer to "Slough" the road off the side of the mountain is more along the line with what I had in mind, although there are chemical and or magical ways to get a "Blowing up" effect.
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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Quote Originally Posted by Om View Post
    I'd disagree here. Right now the greatest asset of the defenders is the integrity of the city walls. Your strategy would put this at risk for very little gain. The enemy will assault the walls themselves, they don't need enticements, and horrendous losses can be taken for granted.
    My strategy is to create a "false" weak point.

    example:

    lower one outer wall to the point that it could be scaled with ladders, but have an 80' deep trench filled with spikes behind the wall.

    Another thought: Is there a large boulder that could be rolled down the mountain path?

    I do like the idea of creating a barrier of rubble placed there by dirtomancers. IF the attacking army can be counterattacked from behind when 95% of their forces are over the barrier, that would be neat-o-rific.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    And I agree with Spite.

    The problem is, we can't stop Handsome's army from surrounding the city and battering at different locations for a weak point. So rather than wait for them to find a hole in the walls on their own, why not present them with a "weak" point? That way, rather than breaking into the city we-don't-know-where, we can ensure they break into nothing but a carefully prepared kill-zone.

    Thoughts:

    1) How about a massive ILLUSION of a city wall crumbling? When they charge, they find a still intact stone wall. Not to mention lots and lots of pits, dragonfire, boiling oil, and anything else we can throw.


    'nother thought entirely:

    Is there anything in the city that absolutely, positively, needs to be protected?

    After all, there's only 200 living humans in the entire army ... maybe the better solution is to secretly evacuate all but a token defense force and the fantasy equivalent of a 25-megaton nuclear bomb. Let the bad guys break into the city, wait until they've brought all their troops into the captured city, then press the button.

    Watch the city and the Handsome army vanish in a single flash brighter than the sun.

    Then use croakamancers to revive corpses and begin a campaign of conquest on the now-defenseless Plushlands...

    Respectfully

    Brian P.

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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Well, until we know more specifics about unit strengths & weaknesses, we have to fall back on the standards

    1> Reduce the number of enemies working against us. As others have mentioned, Hansom's coalition potentially works against him.

    2> Increase the number of our forces. We don't know the specifics of how croakamancy works, so I'll have to leave it at the generality of "we have to kill the enemy in such a way that they're available to become uncroaked, whenever feasible"

    3> Air superiority. The implication we've gotten so far in the strip is that Stanley's forces have the advantage here. Establishing and using -- to the point of abuse & beyond -- this advantage will be an obvious key. If this implication is wrong, correcting this imbalance will be key.

    4> Minimize forays outside the defenses. *Some* offensive forays are necessary, even vital. But they need to resist the urge to risk too much here -- 25 to 1 odds are unrealistic headcounts outside of tightly controlled and highly opportune moments. For example...

    5> That narrow, winding road absolutely BEGS to be used.

    6> Magic? This is one of those areas where we just don't have enough info to work with, on either side. It's a waste of time to talk about using specific magic spells without knowing whether or not those exist. Also, a great deal of this type of discussion tends to forget that armies in a fantasy world are going to be aware of this possibility and have countermeasures (reference http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0166.html). If you've played a psion with Negate in a high-transparency D&D campaign, you know what I mean.

    7> Supplies. This is an issue we again don't know enouugh of how it works in the game to know how to exploit it yet. But as anyone that's ever built an army in Warcraft to assault the enemy's... peons as they gather gold, you know what I mean. "The army advances on its stomach" is true in any genre.
    Last edited by TheEmerged; 2007-01-31 at 10:29 PM. Reason: Editted to clarify point #6 and add point #7
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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Do the classic seige tactic: Simply outlast them. Air units seem to be almost purely recon, and once the casualties start mounting up, Stanley's enemies will settle into the standard seige mode of sitting around waiting for supplies to get depleted. And with an army that big, supplies will get depleted pretty soon.

    However, if he wants to he could start building inner walls, so when his opponents breach the outer walls they have to deal with another wall. Still, the best method is to simply react to your opponent's moves. The defenders of a seige should almost always be passive until the enemy gets so frustrated that they do something stupid. For example, during Alexander's famed seige of Tyre the Persian/Greek defenders waited for one of his Companions to do something stupid, the slaughtered his force. It is unfortunate that Alexander was Alexander, or else this might be a better example. There are some better examples, but I'm probably losing my audience, if I ever had one.
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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    Divide and conquer...

    If properly informed, Parson could have his forces direct their attacks on Ansom's army preferentially to sow dissension. For instance, he might have the dwagons pound the Woodsy elves with flaming-oil pots, while leaving the Shady elves untouched. The Woodsy elves might start wondering why they're getting creamed while the Shady elves are unhurt... do the Shady elves have some kind of agreement with Stanley?

    Such tactics could break up Ansom's coalition.
    Last edited by Runolfr; 2007-02-05 at 04:49 PM.
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    Default Re: Defending the city - spoiler

    A couple of tactics in search of a strategy:

    Since the plan involves a coordinated attack, harassment air raids to throw off the timing, as well as taking out Vinnie's doombats to deny any aerial reconnaisance, and you've got an enemy who's trying to execute simultaneous attacks at different times.

    Or, once the tunnel feint is halted, immediately uncroak and send the tunnelers out as a sortie, perhaps flanking the advancing army and forcing the vanguard to turn and protect its rear, at which point, as others have mentioned, some well-timed dirtomancy could separate and expose the leading force of the alliance army. An all-out assault on this force, while risky, could demoralize and dismember the alliance.

    U

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