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Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 19, 2009 @ 12:47pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

The fortified planet prevents the @sstard across the short side of the board from launching 100% at you every time the screen opens.  It is not a cure-all for poor gamesmanship, as anyone determined to be a jerk and ruin the game for everyone will eventually find a way of doing so.  The fortified planet should be implemented along with other changes in the game's design as well.

If your closest opponent grabs a large planet and you have no opportunities, then you are in the position of being immediately overrun.  The FP will give you a little time, during which your opponent will be forced to focus attention on other players who are also increasing production.

Yes, your immediate opponent can keep you pinned down and challenge any attempt you make to gain territory, but you'll still be in the game, and that's the whole point.  In such a scenario, the other two players will be developing faster, and the aggressive player across from you will very shortly be forced to abandon his strategy of keeping you locked in the fort forever.

Assigning defensive factors to all planets would complicate the game's mathematics and I am a little reluctant to support such a concept.
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 20, 2009 @ 1:10pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

My hopes of finding ONE decent multi-player game on the iPhone are rapidly dwindling.  3/4p Galcon is simply unplayable as the vast majority of players merely accumulate planets and then just sit around forever, not knowing what to do and just waiting for someone else to move first.  When there IS movement, weak players are unable to work together to defeat large threats, they act independently and unpredictably, moving at 100% with no other strategy than to simply blitz their opponents and overwhelm them with numbers.  There's nothing very satisfying about the game.  It's short, annoying, clumsy, and I don't play it.

2v2 was my last hope, but the @sshats have been doing their best to ruin this game as well.  It seems my posts have had little influence on gameplay.  While there are a number of intelligent players who play strategically, make proportional advances, and defend good positions, the vast number still prefer stomping around the board with giant fleets, using childish "team-up" smash & grab tactics and repeated blitz attacks.  I can play that way, too. It's not as if these tactics are any big secret.  I can be an @sshat and play short, boring, stupid 2v2 matches.  I should probably be posting advice here on "How To Play Like A Tard."

So, it's just an endless battle between the Tards and the Noobs, with the Tards instantly overpowering the new players every game until the noobs "figure out" how to play like jerks as well.  Then everyone gets bored with the game and leaves.  My guess is that the turnover of Galcon players is rather high.  There's no sense in sticking with a game which never improves or becomes more interesting.  I drop by the App Store regularly to check out the latest multi-player games, but there hasn't been very much lately.  As soon as I do find something, I'm immediately deleting Galcon from my iPhone.
post updated on Jun 20, 2009 @ 1:12pm
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 21, 2009 @ 2:23am

Cabin Boy the_musician

Joined: Apr 2, 2009
Posts: 640
Location: the.musician.is.in (at)g

Content removed by Author.  Re posted here:

http://www.galcon.com/forums/14/15/2869/?cur=20#43346
post updated on Aug 31, 2010 @ 1:40pm
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 21, 2009 @ 11:08am

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

pwn.era wrote:

As for changing others' gameplay, nearly every single person plays to win, or they should. Thus, whatever is the optimal way to win a 2v2 is used.


[Insert rollseyessmiley HERE]

Era, there are GOOD 2v2 players out there.  I mean, really good players.  Last night, I played a run of 30 games with three of them.  THEY play with an "optimal" style.  You and your FFA friends do not.

Here is an example of your "style" of play:



The two of us have secured 5 planets.  Our opponents have rallied their forces for a major assault down your side of the field. Since we hold the superior position, I am planning to HOLD against the assault.  They have made fewer captures than us and probably have an advantage in strength, but our planet field is close together and easy to defend.

It is NOT a complicated position, and when I am teamed with someone who understands the dynamics of the game they will sit there and take the punch--as they're supposed to. 

But, this is what YOU do:



Using your FFA "intuition," you go tearing down the long side of the field to take the weak enemy planets, split our forces, and secure the inferior position: leaving me to struggle against the enemy attack with depleted defenses.  Now, you may race around the far side at 100% and grab the Red and Orange planets and then circle back with your 100% Super Punch to try and bail me out, but chances are you're going to have a tough time of it.  But even if you DO "win," it was hardly an "optimal" strategy.

We partnered together for a few games the other day, and most of the time I hadn't the faintest idea what you were up to.  You were all over the board.  As soon as we grabbed a good position, you charged out of it at 100% to grab two crummy planets across the field, and then race around to recapture some planets you just lost because you left them with no defenders.  It's like you're playing by yourself in some frantic FFA scramble while I have to try and GUESS what you're doing while fighting the enemy at the same time.  Yeah, you won a bunch of games, but they were all sh__ty games as far as I'm concerned.  Even the ones I won with you as a partner. Just a randomized mess with you chasing after the closest target of opportunity at every move.  It's not FFA--it's a team game.  It's more enjoyable to play with a player who understands the common goal the two of you are fighting for and then work together to successfully implement that plan.  

You think playing the game like it was FFA is more "fun?"  That's fine.  Play that way.  Instead of ranking 2v2, they should create a special Space Tard section for the FFAers who like to "do their own thing," making a zillion swipes to move their forces haphazardly around the field.  And then they can create a section for genuine TEAM play for players who are more interested in working together.
post updated on Jun 21, 2009 @ 11:14am
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 21, 2009 @ 11:46am

Cabin Boy the_musician

Joined: Apr 2, 2009
Posts: 640
Location: the.musician.is.in (at)g

Content removed by Author.  Re posted here:

http://www.galcon.com/forums/14/15/2869/?cur=20#43348
post updated on Aug 31, 2010 @ 1:51pm
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 21, 2009 @ 1:00pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

Periwink wrote:

I honestly still don't understand your point of view here.


Then read my posts again and try to understand what I'm saying.  I don't debate issues with people who begin by saying they "don't understand" what we're talking about.

And you were asking yourself why people were always blitzing in 2v2? Because it is ALWAYS the best strategy to do; in every single situation.

No, it is not.
Here is a very simple opening position I posted earlier.
Blue=ipcress
Purple=periwink
Red/Orange=FFA Tards




Play moves LEFT, because THAT'S where the planets are.  That's not "My Strategy," that's the way the game is played.  As my partner, you should be thinking about helping me force Red off his two planets so we can secure that half of the field.  But, do you do this?  No.  Of course not.  Instead of playing for a positional advantage, you charge 100% at Orange, because he's closest and you have a tiny advantage in strength.  In 5 seconds, the two of you wipe-out each other's ships and you're furiously swiping  single ships at the Orange player.  

Meanwhile, Captain Stupid, playing Red, blunders and charges 100% at my planet (Blue.)  Within seconds, WE are both wiped-out, and he's dribbling single ships at me.  Now it's a contest to see who is the best Swiper (wheeee!)  Since you blitzed your opponent a few seconds earlier, you defeat Orange just as Red is finishing me off, and you send a couple of ships North to clinch the game.  You win with your Blitz Strategy.  But it was a sh__ty game.  You like that style of play?  Great.  You should be playing Rock-Paper-Scissors or Candy Land instead of strategy games.  Big Pants People don't waste their time with this sort of nonsense and it's exactly this type of @sshat gameplay which is driving people away from Galcon.

Continually trying to force a battle of attrition is the signature of a noob in any strategy game.  Novice chess players always swap pieces against stronger opponents, thinking they stand a better chance of gaining an advantage if they keep simplifying the position.  They are wrong.  The better player wins anyway.  The noob just forces him to play a sh__ty game, that's all.
post updated on Jun 21, 2009 @ 1:03pm
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 21, 2009 @ 1:32pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

The Musician wrote:

What Era did in this situation makes total sense to me.  Era is looking at a combined super punch, where 2 players each are sending 100% to both of his planets.  The ONLY way to survive that kind of attack is to move.  period.  Era could have waited and absorbed the punch, but only if you were to send 100% of all YOUR forces to him as support.  Which might be what you had planned to do...  but in all of my games played, when the two teams send everything they have into 1 or 2 planets, the one on the attack ends up winning because they have the momentum and get to decide the best targets to try for.


You're wrong.  In Free For All your main objective is to keep moving, dodge attacks, and grab planets as cheaply as possible.  There is no "front" and strategic objectives are difficult to determine with everything swirling around. In this example, I have donated the bulk of my fleet to Purple so he can defend against the Super Punch.  When he takes these ships for an excursion into Never Never Land, he leaves me (with the superior position) at a huge disadvantage. Purple has the longer distance to travel.  By the time he makes it all the way to the far corner of the field, I have been completely wiped-out.  Red now controls FOUR planets and Era has crapolla.  Red/Orange have managed to successfully swap their weak position for the better one at the bottom of the field.  Now Era has to try and fight his way back to where he started from.  It's doubtful that he can make it, but whether he does or not isn't the point.  This is not the "optimal" way of handling the situation.  This is the goofy FFA way of doing things.

There is no advantage to "momentum," only numbers.  Even IF Purple loses a planet to the Super Punch, we are still even in territory and Red/Orange must travel a longer distance to reinforce their captured planet.  My Blue planets are right there with a huge positional advantage.

I played this exact same position this morning with Die Backstabbers Die as my partner.  Our opponents had paused for just a little too long before organizing their attack, so I knew we had enough ships to hold the fort.  But, DBD breaks rank, attacks the crummy position downfield, I get annihilated, and the enemy just sits on their 5-3 planet superiority while DBD launches a pathetic attempt to regain the position he sacrificed a few moments ago.
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 21, 2009 @ 1:39pm

Cabin Boy the_musician

Joined: Apr 2, 2009
Posts: 640
Location: the.musician.is.in (at)g

Content removed by Author.  Re posted here:

http://www.galcon.com/forums/14/15/2869/?cur=20#43350
post updated on Aug 31, 2010 @ 1:58pm
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 21, 2009 @ 2:08pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

The Musician wrote:

Periwink is purple, you are blue.  You and orange are the weakest players on the board.  If you and purple team up against red, that leaves orange able to sweep up the remains and win.


You are wrong.
Red and Purple just captured.  They are down in ships.  For about 5-7 seconds, Blue and Orange have the strongest forces on the field.  Play moves toward the weaker side, which is the LEFT.

Blue CEDES his planet, which is positionally weak.  If Red moves Right (toward the positionally WEAK side of the field) he blunders.  Blue requires support from Purple, but this does NOT mean Purple is to send 50 or 75 ships to help secure the Red planets.  He must send just enough to get the job done.  This means using 25% on the percentameter.

Of course, Orange/Red are trying to do the same thing in the lower part of the field.  Whoever captures with excessive force will be at a disadvantage because they will have to send those same ships back to try and regain the territory they just lost.
post updated on Jun 21, 2009 @ 3:09pm
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 21, 2009 @ 3:02pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!



This is a battle of attrition.  Neither side has a positional advantage, they're just depleting their forces because they haven't any idea what else to do.  



Red/Orange is at a positional disadvantage, they are forced to move.  There is no "Momentum Advantage" to Galcon.  Attacking players do not receive any extra strength just because they are attacking.  As in most other strategy games, attacking players are at a disadvantage, because they have limited options and when there is parity in strength it is always easier to defend than attack because you are closer to your supply lines.  Blue/Purple is not forced to move, so they HOLD and defend.

So what were you doing while your partner dies?  sitting and producing ships....  and NOT attacking the opponents rear.

Precisely.  
Unfortunately, the game is over for my partner, Purple.  The attack happens to come on his side of the field and he gets wiped out.  Same for Red.  All the ships cancel-out, and with my 5-3 superiority in planets, I can now easily force a win against Orange.

BUT, Purple likes Free For All.  He doesn't LIKE the fact that he has to absorb the attack and sacrifice his entire fleet for the position we are holding.  He wants to win, but STILL remain in the game.  So, he makes a BAD move for no other reason than to keep playing.  That's a crappy teammate.  

And you are in no position to "attack the enemy's rear."  You do not have superiority in force, so you cannot attack.  The "enemy's rear" is the weak side of the field.  Even capturing economically, the numbers are so close that you would have to cede territory in the South (strong side of the field) in order to take it.

Scroll up to my 6/11 post, and this position:

When holding an advantage in territory and there is parity in shipcount, you are to DEFEND your position.


Red moves.

Now scroll down to your post, 10 minutes later:

YES!  new players...  pay attention to what ipcress just said...  

"Do not complicate situations with random aggressiveness.  A substantial advantage in territory very rapidly produces an advantage in force.  Wait."

Probably THE most DIFFICULT thing to do when the game is moving fast.  But... learn to do it.  :)


Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 21, 2009 @ 4:32pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

The Musician wrote:

 If orange and red had their % set to 50% or 75%, you both would still be pinned down an unable to move.


I DON'T HAVE TO MOVE!!!

We're producing 8.5 ships per second.
Red/Orange is producing 5.5 ships per second.  They cannot afford to capture any neutral territory.  
You can "pin us down" for as long as you want, but unless you figure out to to take some of our territory, you will very shortly be facing an overwhelming force.
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 21, 2009 @ 5:12pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

[img src='http://gallery.mac.com/andreasmuc/100662/example11245622374367/web.gif?ver=12456223740001'  /]

Welcome to Planet FAIL.

I see no threat from Red/Orange here and so, no reason for Purple to break rank and split forces.

Blue/Purple has 250 ships to defend against the 250 ship fleet from Red/Orange.  In these situations a "Tie" always favors the defender, as the attacker must bring reinforcements from further away.  So, even IF Red managed to grab a planet on the Right (by swerving, or whatever,) chances are very good he will not be able to hold it.

The silliness on the Left doesn't work, either.  You're sending 36 ships down the field's long dimension to attack a planet guarded by 20 ships.  You're 8 seconds away.  8x2 is 16, so my Home planet has 36 ships on it by the time you get there.  Fail.  

Orange blundered by wasting strength capturing a neutral planet when those ships should have been with the main battle fleet in the East. 

Also, these calculations do not include my reserve force of 30 ships which can be used very effectively once the giant fleets cancel each other out.

This illustration was used to point out the foolishness of Purple's effort to grab Red's position in the NE.  It's unnecessary as Blue/Purple already maintains a superior position and there is parity in shipcount.  Purple's move LOSES all their territory in the South, as the Red/Orange fleets, which total 286 ships, will easily overpower Blue's 150-ship defense. All you're doing here is trying to argue the case for Blue/Purple swapping positions with Red/Orange.  Which is ridiculous.  Purple is not "advancing" against Red.  He is retreating to a safer area of the field, abandoning his superior position, and leaving his partner to die. Some teammate. The FFA people do this quite a lot, and against good players, it always loses!
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 29, 2009 @ 4:33pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

I'm back.

Only this time.... no more Mr. Nice Guy.



The other "clan" threads specifically limit comments to members.  As Dominiqueske points out in the No.clan thread: "Only access for no.clan members." No one seems to have a problem respecting that, and I expect the same courtesy here.  As I have stated before, I will respond to criticism provided the comments are made in one of the other IPCRESS threads. Intelligent posts worthy of my attention will receive responses in subsequent posts here.  I am emphasizing this point as I will be naming names when it comes to providing examples of horrible gameplay.  I don't need to wait for the developer to create a ranking system for 2v2--I can create my own.  So, when you see your name appear here as "Tard of The Month," do your whining on some other thread.

First off, I want to amend a previous post of mine where I made a list of recommended improvements for the game.  My current position is that I have no recommended improvements for the game.  Despite a few glitches, Galcon plays pretty well as it is and these small concerns are not important.  The real problem with Galcon is the way it is played by a large number of people here.  Having the developer go to the trouble of implementing various changes is not going to do very much if people continue to play like d!psh!ts.  This could be the most perfect, elegantly designed game on the iPhone, but it's the Galcon gaming community which is going to determine how well it all works.  Most of all, I am hoping that new players realize there are alternatives to the smash-and-grab strategies which have been made popular by the Officer Corp here, and that these alternative strategies will win, even though they require some concentration and are a little more difficult to implement given the game's parameters.

From now on, I will be referring to 2v2 simply as "Galcon." Free For All will be "FFA."  Galcon should have been designed originally as 2v2, with FFA being the minor, unranked "alternative" version.  It's unfortunate that things turned out the other way around, as the ridiculous FFA style of gameplay has polluted 2v2.  Fortunately, that's starting to change.
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 29, 2009 @ 10:48pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

Meet The Tards

Let's look at some of the people who are wrecking this game.
Here is an illustration, 3 seconds after the start:



Each team has safely grabbed a planet at the beginning.
Because the players are coming from FFA, they tend to break the conflict down into two separate 1v1 matches rather than seeing their entire team on the field.

Red immediately launches all-out at the Blue position, despite the fact that Blue captured safely and can easily defend the planet.  Blue holds his position and very quickly all their forces cancel-out.  The Red planet is ultimately streaming single ships at Blue until he is finally overwhelmed.  We've all seen this many times.  The "strategy" here is for Red to wipe-out both his fleet and Blue's, while trying to delay the game until Orange has enough strength to simply overwhelm Purple with numbers. Red is merely playing a delaying game.

This sort of gameplay is for idiots and against better players it loses.

Orange just captured, and so, for a few seconds he is weak.  This makes Purple the "Free" planet.  Since Red is creating a "vacuum" at the bottom of the field, the teammates with ships are going to be drawn down to it.  With a 25% shot, Purple can quickly secure Red's home planet.  He can only send the minimum number of ships, as he must hang on to his position.  Also, he must have enough ships on-hand in the North in case Orange weakens his position by sending ships down to attack the weakened Blue planets.

But, all tactical considerations aside, charging two secure planets at the very beginning of the game--knowing you will lose--is just an asinine maneuver.  There's a lot going on in the game besides the player immediately across from you.  Yes, Team Red needs to work together to push the Blue forces off their two planets; but immediately ramming ALL your ships against a solid position is not the way to do it. 
Who likes playing those games?  Well, people who play FFA.  THAT sort of @sshattery  goes on all the time in the FFA rooms, so it's no big surprise to find the Officers coming to Galcon (2v2) with this bit of nonsense.  

New players coming to this game should avoid these simple-minded "strategies," no matter how successful they may first appear. Players who can successfully work as a team will always have a huge advantage over the FFA players who are only looking straight ahead.
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 30, 2009 @ 12:11pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

Defeating Poor Gameplay



Many Galcon players have no idea what they're doing.  It's true.  No matter what the position, as soon as the screen opens, they execute the same maneuver over and over again.  If you're playing a long run of games with the same people, you will quickly be able to take advantage of these rote moves.

One of the most irritating and juvenile tactics is the mindless Banzai Charge by the player who knows how to do little else:



Speaking personally, I am very familiar with this tactic; and no matter how many times I defeat it, the same players keep using it again and again. Lumping giant forces around the board is no substitute for accurate gameplay and advocates of this strategy should follow these posts and try to understand that this sort of thing gains no advantage.

In the above illustration, play moves to the North.  Red blunders by committing all of his forces against a non-positional planet, essentially moving his fleet away from the action.

While this basic rule does not apply to all situations, it is good enough for beginners to start with:

When fighting in the weak side of the field, you want to preserve shipcount.  Do not let too many ships die defending non-positional territory.  
Conversely, when holding positional planets, you are to defend and absorb the attacker's force.

This is NOT Free For All with players jumping all over the place and attacking every planet that just fired.  In this example, Red is wasting time and ignoring his partner's game.  Blue's response is to reinforce Purple in the North, but he must still keep the Red forces occupied, so he must be careful in deploying his fleets.



Basically, Blue is trying to 1) evacuate the planet, 2) capture the defenseless Red planet 3) assist his partner in taking the valuable section of the field. The exact order of the moves can be changed around, but it is important not to waste too much time taking the Red planet.  I like to make the first shot toward the other home planet: either 25% or 50%.  Since time is critical, we'll leave the percentameter at 50 through the whole exchange.

After firing 50 ships at Red, Blue sends 25 ships North (50% of his remaining fleet.)  He can then make a couple of 50% swipes to get the remaining ships off his home planet and toward the battlezone.

The position should resolve to this:


Advantage: Blue

Team Red is now in a very bad position.  With the Blue forces solidifying things in the North, Red blunders (again) by trying to recapture his home planet which Blue has just taken.  This is precisely what Blue wants, as he is keeping the Red fleet tied-up defending the poor section of the field. If Red charges North, Blue sends half his fleet (25) to capture the SE planet while sending the rest of his ships to the battlezone. He can also ignore the capture, sending most of his forces North.  Blue is not concerned about defending the SW planet as no one will threaten it.

The Red force may contest a planet or two, but he has wasted too much time.  Transit time to Blue's home planet is about 4/5 seconds and the trip up North is usually a bit longer; so we are looking at about 10 seconds lost.  Team Blue is fighting for a planet field with a production factor of 7.  Add to this the Blue reinforcements and it's easy to see that Red will be fighting a losing battle when his forces eventually arrive.
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jun 30, 2009 @ 5:10pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

<h2>You will learn by the numbers!</h2>



Do NOT use 75/100% "all the time."  You WILL Lose!

New players think that 100% is "more better" because they're sending a greater number of ships--but Galcon punishes players who use their forces inefficiently, and using 50 ships to take a planet held by 10 ships is inefficient.  Now, those 40 surplus ships must be redeployed--requiring another move.  

Players coming from FFA are unfamiliar with the precise tactical play which occurs here.  I made it up to 2-stripe and can say this is true.  Most FFA battles are fought with large swarms of ships lumping around the field and victories are usually achieved by simply overwhelming your opponent with numbers. Those tactics LOSE in 2v2, which is why the majority of experienced FFA players (the Officers) do not play 2v2 regularly.  New players tend to emulate the high-ranking players, not understanding that those ranks represent achievements made in Free for All.  The TRUTH is that the majority of Officers are mediocre or poor 2v2 players.  They can't bluff and trick their way to victory here.  Either you work with the numbers or you lose.  It's as simple as that.  They don't want to learn the right way of playing this game, so they try to impose their FFA style onto 2v2.  This has been the dominant method of playing, but things have been changing.

So, if you are just starting out, save the 75/100% shots for when you really need them.  There ARE moments during the game when this is necessary.  But, DO NOT try and defend a group of 4 planets by mashing your fleets around at 100%.  You'll just embarrass yourself.  Time is critical in this game. In the previous example, Purple should have consolidated the planet field long before the big Red fleet arrives.  The planet field is producing 7 ships a second, so if you take 10 seconds to lump around and secure it, you have lost an enormous number of ships.

Forget about "winning" and "losing" and just try to develop your accuracy. You will lose a lot at first.  Proportional play is not very forgiving.  You cannot just turn it to 25% and "Spray 'n' Pray."  That loses big time.  If you are playing with someone more experienced, try and see what they are going for.  Avoid wild moves at 100% and do not put your faith in large fleets.
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jul 4, 2009 @ 1:23pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

The Unfortunate Influence of FFA

To quote Quickrime's previous post:

bluff, feint, provoke, and otherwise fool your way to victory.

There isn't a lot of bluffing and fooling in this game.  It's a straight-up strategy game between two teams and the best team usually wins.  Bluffing is a key feature of FFA, however.  During the early part of the game, it is very common for people to smash through four big planets just as the screen opens and then hope no one challenges them.  Very often, they don't.  This player quickly accumulates an enormous fleet and gains a big advantage.  The same players bring this strategy with them to this game, and against inexperienced players, it often works.

The screen opens and these players immediately grab ALL the big planets closest to them, regardless of cost.  Severely depleted in shipcount, the two players "swarm" into the center of the field, where they try to gang-up against one player and mix it up in an uncontrolled melee:



This is a very simple "feint."  Team Red cannot overpower Team Blue in ships, as they have spent too much on planets.  However, in ten seconds, their planet field will produce close to 100 ships, so they only need to keep Team Blue distracted for about that long.  The games tend to be very short, for unless the opposing team responds immediately and accurately, they will quickly be overwhelmed.

This is the Smash & Grab style of play favored by many in the Officer Corps.  Against new players, it works quite well, which is why they like it.  Against other officers, the game is just a random mess: giant globs of ships stomping all over the field with not much strategic direction.  

Players new to this game should be confident in knowing that this is a losing strategy.  The Planet Pigs make three huge mistakes:
1) They spend too much on too many planets. 
2) They abandon their position.
3) They disproportionately deploy too many ships into the center of the field.

The opposing team--which has preserved their 200+ ships--needs only to head straight for the enemy planet field with everything they have in order to force a swap of positions.  With the enemy planet field secured, they are to hold their position until they have generated enough ships for a counterattack.  

Despite the obvious failings of this strategy, the Officers continue to use it over and over again.  Fortunately, many new players are picking up on its weaknesses and are using appropriate measures to counter it.

In this particular variation of the Diamond starting position, you can more clearly see the deficiencies of teaming up in too aggressive a manner:



Because these players are obsessed with using 100% "all the time," they team up against one of their opponents (who are both separated along the field's long dimension) thinking they can then "smash their way back" to victory. Of course, this never works, and the strategy always fails.  The other opposing player only needs to split his forces (50% first shot, then 100% to fire the rest) to capture (and then hold) the central planets.  With all their ships piled onto one planet at the far end of the field, Team Blue can easily shuttle reinforcements between the central planets to maintain his position and an easy victory. 

The common FFA "bluff" of capturing too many planets doesn't work here.  It's no longer a bluff when you keep using the same tactic ALL the time.  Eventually, people figure it out.  Yeah, you can keep playing the noobs with this childish trick, but you will never develop into a player much better than them.  There are no tricks or "secret strategies" of winning.  All you're doing is forcing people to play a crappy game of Galcon. And, played this way, the game is short and irritating.  Please save this nonsense for the FFA rooms where randomness and poor gameplay are frequently rewarded.

Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jul 5, 2009 @ 12:33am

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

This table shows the exchange results between forces of equal size (cross-posted from another thread.) New players should become familiar with these numbers.


             25       50       75       100

25        50       25       0          25


50        25       0        25         50


75         0       25       50         75


100       25       50       75        100
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jul 5, 2009 @ 1:58pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

The Players Speak



This post consists of several quotes taken from the "Strategy" section on 2v2 play.  My comments follow.
------------------------

One strategy that i find works pretty well is after the first few seconds of expanding both of the players on the team launch about 50% of their ship at one oppenent. If you can kill of one person right away then the game is won already.

No.  The game is not "won" already.  Your 100 ships killed your opponent's 100 ships.  It's a swap, not a victory. What did this tactic net you?  One planet?  Two planets?  What was his teammate doing while you're piling onto this guy?

ALWAYS come help your teammate if he is in danger of dying.

Wrong.  The teammate on the WEAK side of the field moves his forces to help his partner secure the STRONG side of the field. As a general rule, it is risky to send ships AWAY from the main battle to help your partner who is fighting over two planets.

Another strategy that i have seen is either you or your ally try to expand as quickly as possible, while the other ally sits there and acts like a body guard... The other players are normally too scared to come and contest the planets.

I'm not scared.  If your partner grabs 4 planets, I'm launching every last ship at him.  Chances are I'll win.

When your teammate has a better starting position then you, you can throw all your guys at one of the opponents that does not have an overwhelmingly superior force than you. Even if they end up killing you, your goal is to give your teammate enough time to kill the other player and then kill the one that you kept from expanding.  

Retard!  Your teammate is fighting for the better half of the field.  As he does so, his forces are rapidly thinning-out while YOUR forces are becoming proportionately stronger.  YOU are sitting on 100+ ships, but instead of helping to secure the better position, you decide to throw away these forces in a suicidal attack against the weaker position.  

I feed ships to my partner as they attack

Generally, this is pretty foolish when things are moving fast... especially if you're not expecting it AND your teammate is a 100percentard.  You turn around and there's a planet of yours which suddenly has 100 ships on it.  Meanwhile, your partner's position is rapidly falling apart and you've got to waste time redeploying those ships back to the planets they came from.  Send ships to your partner's planets to help defend the superior position.  Do not simply donate forces when you don't know what to do with them.  Learn to work with your partner.
 
What I like best about 2v2 is the speed.  It NEVER stands still no matter what.  A fast pace requires a person to know how and where to attack, and that is what distinguishes good players from great players

If you have secured the better position, you stand still and defend it.  People who play at 75/100% "all the time" HAVE to move fast because they're constantly losing planets and have to keep going back to retake them.  If you advance with reserves, the captured planets take care of themselves.  This allows you to concentrate on forming your attack.

As for strategy, I'm liking the two 1v1 matchups still as the best approach

Ugh.  It's a T-E-A-M game.  If your partner is fighting for the better half of the field, forget trying to beat the guy across from you in 1v1.  It's a waste of force.

One thing I've tried that seems to have an ~50% success rate is to launch 75% of your ships immediately at game start, then resign, giving your planet to your teammate.

If it has only a 50% chance of success, then it's NOT a winning strategy.  So, don't use it.  Fortunately, this sort of thing hasn't caught on.  Ridiculous.

Right off the start give your teammate 20-25 ships

Huh?  And is HE giving YOU 25 ships at the same time?  Jesus...

[Name withheld] and I had a very effective time with just launching all ships at the start.

Moron.  You're ruining the game.  Why doesn't EVERYONE launch "all their ships" at the start?  Hmmm?

the super rush is highly effective. 2 massive fleets flying at your enemies and constantly switching targets and directions can shake all but the absolute best players.


And when you finally DO run into one of the best players, you will constantly LOSE with this tactic.  So, you need to pull this sort of @sshattery in order to defeat new players?  Is THAT how BAD you are at tactical play?  Yeah, new players expect to lose, but they like to play an interesting game where they might learn something.  Who wants to stick with a game where the only thing that happens is that 2 players pigpile on one other player and everything's flying around in one big random mess?  And it lasts 10 seconds?  That's not much of a "game."

taking to the air right before you're wiped out is much more effective in 2v2

I've seen some people try to do this, and it always fails.  When a partner of mine is pulling this nonsense it just p!sses me off.

Defending with ships from two people is harder than attacking with two. Attacking with two sets of ships makes you twice as effective since you can easily and independently change directions. Defending with two sets make you half as effective IMO since you're trying to juggle giving your ally ships if he needs them but not too many that if the attackers switch directions you can't defend yourself without him sending some back.

Probably the dumbest "tip" yet.
So, instead of you and your partner defending 4 planets (because it's "hard") you take off to attack 3 planets, because that's "easy."  Why don't you and your partner just learn to be better players?  The better player is not going to follow you to attack the poor position, but will stick with defending the 4 planets.  Of course, NOW you've screwed everything up by splitting your forces.

I even played a game today where I sent all my guys at a player who had a big 9 planet next to him and managed to win that battle and go on to finish off the other opponent.

You got lucky.  Now you'll just keep repeating that tactic over and over again.  Tard.


post updated on Jul 5, 2009 @ 1:59pm
Re: Planet IPCRESS :: Jul 7, 2009 @ 1:39pm

Admiral ipcress

Joined: Feb 7, 2009
Posts: 1882
Location: Get off my lawn!

Trying to Beat the Numbers



Grabbing lots of planets at the start, attacking at full-force, and moving ships around at 75/100% "all the time" are failed strategies.  They reveal a deep misunderstanding of how the mathematics of Galcon works. In previous posts we looked at the relationship between Production and Shipspeed.  Now we will examine Production as a function of Shipcount. 
Here is a simple 5-planet game:



Team Blue has picked up a safe planet at the start.  This gives them a 50% increase in production, from 4 to 6.  However, a 3 to 2 advantage at this early point in the game does not instantly give that team a winning advantage. While a 50% increase in production appears enormous, that number can be a bit misleading.  The Giant planets produce 2 ships per second and each team starts with 200 ships.  So, after 10 seconds, this planet will produce 20 ships, or 10% of the total starting shipcount.  After 30 seconds, it will produce 30% of the starting total, and so on.  If there is no combat, after 10 seconds Team Blue will have a total of 260 ships, compared to Red's total of 240 (not counting the initial cost of the captured planet.) That is a minimal advantage in strength because there are 500 ships on the field.  As attrition takes place, and total shipcount starts to fall, things quickly change:

The power of planet production is proportionate to the total number of ships on the field.

This is because production rates are constant and shipcount is variable.  If each side gets whittled down to 30 ships apiece, that extra planet would produce double Team Blue's shipcount after only 15 seconds.  One feature of Galcon is that ships kill each other faster than they reproduce, so the proportionate power of the exra planet begins to rise very quickly.  For this reason, when there is parity in shipcount the team with more planets benefits from an increase in attrition.  As the ships kill themselves off, that single planet quickly becomes a decisive advantage.  Grabbing a lot of planets in the beginning will bring about an even greater advantage in a shorter period of time, but the matter of overspending on Neutral forces-and the sudden drop in shipcount-now becomes problematic. 

Team Red grabs 4 planets at the start, increasing their production rate from 4 to 11. They spend 50 ships for the planets, bringing their shipcount down to 150. They need only 5 seconds to regain their strength, but in most starting positions there is at least one opposing planet within that range.  If the rate of attrition is too soon and too extensive, Team Red will be in a catastrophic situation.  If two 100-ship fleets quickly cancel themselves out within the first few seconds, the difference in shipcount shifts from 200-150 to 100-50, or, from 4-3 to 2-1.  Of course, there is the 4-planet advantage which needs to be factored in, but with concentrated attacks, planets popping on and off, and problems shuttling defensive forces around, this advantage will be compromised.  If Team Blue is close by, they stand a good chance of winning if they launch immediately and force a very rapid depletion of strength.  Red is hoping for a depletion of strength as well, but it must not be faster than their 7 ship/sec advantage. The old strategy has been to launch all of the fleet into the center of the field and engage in a controlled destruction of force.  This type of combat takes the form of jumping around from planet to planet at 100% all the time.  The players target planets which have just fired, moving all their forces from adjacent planets.  The planets they left are in turn captured by the opposing players. They keep chasing each other's tails, like the Whack-a-Mole game at carnivals.  Because they are occupying depleted planets and avoiding too much crashing into each other, depletion occurs at a steady--but not enormous--rate.  Very soon, the extra planets produce an advantage in shipcount for Red, and Blue is losing.  After this point, further attrition hinders Blue. 

Players up against excessive planet grabbing should respond immediately and in full force.  They should directly target the enemy's major planet group and avoid fighting over minor planets in the center.  Once they have made contact, they must force the most rapid exchange of ships possible, which means fighting at 25/50%!! Look at the chart at the top of this page.  Shuttling around the contested planet field at 100% allows the enemy to momentarily light-up planets, slowly picking up reinforcements.  These tiny forces can easily tip the battle as the attacker's advantage in shipcount has already been weakened by the transit time and the numbers are getting very close.  The attacking force must make every attempt to swap ships.  The must not "jump away" from large clumps of enemy ships.  They must exploit their advantage in force and trade ships immediately.

This entire process--the "game"--takes about 10 seconds, after which, the "winner" very quickly emerges.  Of course, it's difficult to do these calculations within this very narrow timeframe.  Complicating matters is the fact that at 100%, players can smash through neutral planets so quickly that the opposing team has only a vague idea of how many ships they have remaining.  All you can do is launch everything you have at them and then hope for the best.

Gamma is whining that I am not posting any "alternative" strategies at this point.  Obviously, he doesn't get it.  There ARE NO "alternative strategies" in games such as this.  YOU people are insisting on playing like retards, so it's going to be a retarded game. When one team grabs too many planets, they force an all-out assault by the other side.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  If one of the attacking players hesitates for a couple of seconds or stops to grab a planet before launching, they will lose.  The screen opens and they grab 5 planets.  I have to launch everything I have.  My partner hesitates and we lose.  The screen opens again and they grab 5 planets.  My partner and I launch everything we have and barely win.  My screen opens a second late: we lose. In a lot of starting positions it is mathematically impossible to reach them in time, and we lose.  The games are essentially over in 10 seconds. I just go through the motions and hope some intelligent, imaginative players enter the room.  I can't even get into games like that, they're so boring.
  
Over the last day or so, I played some of the absolute worst of the Officer Corp.  The games last 10 seconds.  I can't care less who "wins" as the games ALL suck.  Even the games I win I don't consider "victories" as it's just a roll of the dice most of the time.

What these people do not understand, and what this post is trying to demonstrate, is that a simple 3-2 advantage in planets is a winning advantage once the forces weaken.  You don't need to grab a lot of planets in the beginning in order to end up with a strong advantage at the end.  BUT, because these players are so weak at tactical play, because they do not understand the math, and because they are obsessed with securing an IMMEDIATE and overwhelming advantage in planets, they choose to gamble everything on a wild planet-grab at the beginning.  If they lose, there's another game in 10 seconds.
post updated on Jul 7, 2009 @ 4:58pm

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