On small maps, it is literally impossible to lose with barbarians

Bug #667286 reported by SirVer on 2010-10-27
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Chuck Wilder

Bug Description

I know, I know, the title is strongly worded. I also know that the idea behind the barbarians is that the soldiers should be weak but cheap. I am also aware that barbarians get more difficult as the game progresses and I dare say that they are the weakest tribe when the game goes very long (but I have not checked this).

But still, in early game, they are unbeatable if played correctly: The following strategy can not lose on small maps against empire or atlanteans; on bigger maps, this strategy will fail you as the enemy has too many trained soldiers when you meet him.

- establish a stable wood infrastructure, you'll need a lot of blackwood later on
- build a hunter /gamekeeper for some meat
- build one tavern, later add another
- build a smelting works and a metal workshop.
- set your axe target quantity to 100. Produce axes like a madman.
- build one coal mine, one iron mine. Never enhance them, instead build other mines at other places as soon as they go empty.
- build scouts on your border so that you are not surprised by the enemy, but expand actively to find your enemy. As soon as you see him approaching build very many military buildings (e.g. 2 castles, 6 barriers). Your axes will turn into soldiers as the military buildings request soldiers.
- overrun your enemy with a massive amount of very weak soldiers.

for extra power:
- add a brewery, bakery, one or two farms and a battle arena.

Example: attached is a replay (revision 5603) of me playing against Kristin (Empire). I screwed up majorly with wood production, even so the rest of the strategy works out. Even though Kristin didn't play bad at all and even had some trained soldiers available, she has absolutely no chance against the massive onslaught of my soldiers (I could attack with 35 soldiers at one point, still having 18 soldiers and 7 axes in my warehouse).

I am completely convinced that barbarian soldiers are too cheap (iron + coal + trunk = axe, compared to e.g. empire 2x coal 1x iron 2x trunk and many, many more buildings needed; atlanteans are comparable to empire - maybe even a bit more expensive) or too strong. I want to keep the spirit of many, cheap soldiers, but I suggest making the barbarian soldier a bit more expensive.

Suggestion 1) add beer to the needed wares for a soldier.
This makes the initial investment much higher: one would need a farm, a brewery and a well. And as the farm takes a while to be build and to start producing, this would slow the initial production of barbarian soldiers in the early game down by a bit while not making them terribly more expensive in the mid to late game.

Suggestion 2) make the axe more expensive
I am against this as the axe is needed for the lumberjacks as well

Suggestion 3) make the soldier depend on a axe that can only be produced in an axefactory
This would slow the production of soldiers down till the metalworkshop is enhanced once. I do not think that this is sufficient as this can be done very quickly as soon as build material supply is ensured.

I am open for other suggestions, but i like 1) best. Note that I am just for a little tweak so that the situation becomes manageable for other tribes - I am perfectly fine that barbarians are stronger than the other tribes in the early game, there should just be a chance for the other tribes.

Related branches

Nasenbaer (nasenbaer) wrote :

I am against massive changes - and 1 and 2 are massive if you sum it up.

Suggestion 3 sounds like a good way - especially as this means, that we introduce a new kind of axe. Barbarians currently start up with a whole bunch of axes - mostely for lumberjacks, but they can be used to create soldiers as well.

So my suggestion:
Use "hatchet" as new base for barbarian soldiers, produced in enhanced metalworkshop buildings. This will 1) force the player to enhance the metalworkshop 2) smaller the maximum number "possibly created" soldiers.

SirVer (sirver) wrote :

Okay, I just evaluated what 3) would amount to:

1) a new ware (called recruits_axe or something along the line. I am unhappy with hatchet as all other weapons are axes, so I'd like an axe here at well)
2) as the axefactory does not have trunks as input wares, this axe would therefore cost 1 coal + 1 iron. This makes a barbarian soldier more expensive: 2x coal + iron instead of coal + iron + trunk. It is still less expensive than the empire soldier (by 2 trunks).
3) the axefactory and the metal workshop would no longer produce lumberjack's axes (they do not produce other tools either)
4) and it means that barbarians need one more building (the enhancing of the metal workshop) to produce soldiers.

I think this impacts early game strongly enough without affecting mid and lategame very strongly. The barbarians still have the cheapest soldiers, but their cost reflect more their true value (which I estimate at ~75% of an empire soldier). I will go ahead and implement this change now, then I will do another test game with Kristin.

SirVer (sirver) wrote :

In revision 5609 I did the following:

- Added a new tool called felling_axe (I talked with _ad over the name (he is a native speaker) and we think it is the best name choice).
- lumberjack costs now 1 felling_axe
- Soldiers still cost 1 axe
- metalworkshop no longer produces axes, but felling_axes. Axefactory & Warmill continue to produce axes.
- This also removes the not very logical case that metal workshops needed trunk + iron = axe while axefactory and warmill needed coal + iron = axe. Now it is felling_axe = iron + trunk while axe = coal + iron.

Chuck, I assigned you this as we need a new graphic for either the axe or the new felling_axe in the medium to long run.

I will testplay this change with Kristin soon.

Changed in widelands:
assignee: nobody → Chuck Wilder (chuckw20)
SirVer (sirver) wrote :

I just realized that introducing a new ware broke all save games. Suggestions on how to handle this?

wl-zocker (wl-zocker) wrote :

I take the freedom to set this to fix released. This was done some years ago and now new comments have appeared.

Changed in widelands:
status: Opinion → Fix Released
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