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Hepitude

Softening the Rules

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Okay, I am going to wade back in after all. I have more to say about this situation. Josh made a good point about the "what got you here" of this situation, but I think it's interesting even without that.

I find this interesting because it does depend on what else is going on elsewhere on the board, even if it's not nearby enough to affect this particular conflict. How much does each player want engagement to happen here? If the Latari player is hoping to stall that Spearmen unit, they could dial a 1-march and +1 defense. This will make losses much lower so they can hope to counter-attack at full strength next turn. Or maybe keep stalling by dialing the defense again, just bogging that spearmen unit down while they do something more important elsewhere that the Spearmen could disrupt.

Maybe it's the Daqan player who wants to stall, at which point they might not dial a charge at all; they could dial a rally 3 and +1 defense. If the Latari player dials the charge (thinking the Daqan player is attempting a late charge to avoid the swing) this will negate that. The Daqan could even dial a late attack with a hit modifier. It all depends on which player wants this combat to happen faster so the survivor can go influence the rest of the battle. If the Daqan player wants to draw things out and doesn't dial a charge at all, and the Latari player doesn't realize this and dials an attack, the Daqan player has successfully stalled that Latari unit for a turn. That's strategy, that's reading your opponent, and that's interesting.

Back to the Latari, maybe they want to get this over with as quickly as possible, one way or the other, so they dial the charge. They would rather armor up or take a swing, but they can't take the risk that the Daqan player doesn't charge at all, so they decide to guarantee engagement. If they guess right, and the Daqan player didn't move, or even better dialed a late charge, they get what they want.

Both players in this simple situation have a lot of options. I don't look at it as a guessing game, but as a bluffing game. It's not rock-paper-scissors, it's poker. (Granted, rock-paper-scissors has more going on than people give it credit for, but it's still way more guessy than this.) Poker isn't really about who has the better hand (the Daqan player, here). It's about what's at stake. It's about who has more chips (or who has killed more elsewhere, and/or is in a better position to score more objective tokens). It's about how brave or reckless you think your opponent is, or whether they prefer safe moves. It's about looking at their expression when they set their dial; do they look worried and nervous? Do they look cheeky and puckish? However they look, do you think they're faking it, or is it genuine? You can go "all in" as the Latari player and dial a charge, even though it's a bad move on paper, because you can afford the losses if the Daqan player makes the obvious move, and you think there's a chance they're making a not-obvious move that you can counter.

Take the bluffing out, make all the moves safer, and I am no longer interested in this game. The bluffing is the most interesting part of it by far.

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This was a great  thread, many good ideas and points. I've messed around with the game myself a few times and it didn't feel right. It changes the game in a way I didn't like. Runewars is a unique game that demands brutal and stressful decision-making. To take this away or change it makes this a different game. Many thanks for the discussion.

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