Middle Earth: Battle For Arda - Official Thread

  • Admin

    @mattbarnes Generally, it is helpful to have some completed save games and that was @alkexr initial goal was to play a bunch himself. So attaching or linking to them here would be good.

  • Moderators

    @alkexr Hello,

    Great map sir! Myself (Dany) and Epinikion have had 6 games so far and we find that the balanced is achievable, we prefer dice so far too make every dice count, for example Air units can be vulnerable too multiple arches, and straff are never really safe. Different strategies for the map from both sides, and it allows a lot of give and take possibilities, that both sides can adapt. Epinikion and I have played a lot of games over the years, mostly vs each other and at a high level, and since this map we don't want to go back too another map. So far the good side is easier too play, but evil sure has a lot of possibilities. I don't think the map needs much change, i hope players can adjust to difficulty level by adding a bid. So far we have not reached a decision on if a bid is necessary. Thanks for your work. Best dice map!

    • I fear that special attacks in LL make the game too predictable

  • Admin

    @Dany @epinikion One thing that could be helpful for assisting new players on the map is creating a small strategy guide as part of the notes or here on the forum.

  • @mattbarnes Thanks for the savegames! They show some interesting strategies that I haven't so far seen played out. From a quick glance it seems that the first game was decided by Isengard stretching their forces too thin and a well-planned Last March of the Ents. The second one was over when Good missed a canopener and the forces of Gondor were more or less annihilated at Pelennor Fields.

    I also had a look at your choices of units. A wide variety of units were employed, with powerful units (like eagles and dragons) not being ignored but also not spammed. Some units, however (notably the cavalry of Rohan and one-hit air units) weren't appreciated by the two of you, and this could indicate a power-level problem if more save-games showed the same pattern. (And this is one of the reasons why save-games are so useful for balancing. @Dany @epinikion I'd most certainly welcome 6 save-games from players who have that much experience with the map!)

    What I still haven't seen yet is a Harad naval invasion that could be called succesful (although the mental image of oliphaunts crossing the river on rafts made my day). The "Saruman goes north" is another strategy that looks difficult to impossible to pull off, as reinforced by these games.

  • You’re welcome. I’m not sure how much you can read into our strategies because we were playing our first game on this map (albeit we had played previous versions) and making up the strategy on the hoof, making errors along the way.

    I think you’ve just about got the price right on dragons and eagles. It’s handy for Angmar to get an extra dragon but soon needs to prioritise bodies. The High Elves definitely want to spam Eagles and do start to try to do so but the cost slows them down. If the fight had remained in the balance a little longer then I think we’d have seen progressively more eagles around. Is there a possible mechanism to make each new eagle cost 1 more than the last?

    As you saw, my opponent did try an Oliphant landing and to be fair was mostly thwarted by dice else it might have been a good diversion.

    Saruman does seem to be quite forced to capture and hold Tharbad in this map version and the previous one. It’s not a problem but does seem quite critical and therefore a limitation on strategic freedom.

    As you say, we made little use of one hit flyers. They are handy for picking off lone spearmen, say, but there are so many anti-air units around that it makes the opportunities relatively rare.

    I agree that it was difficult to make significant use of Rohan Riders, although sometimes they were handy. I don’t think the points balance is wrong, it’s just hard to mimic the books given it isn’t that realistic that a nation surrounded by woods and mountains could be quite so cavalry focussed. It would be interesting though to see what 1 extra movement point might do, and/or adding Blitz ability.

    The siege mechanics were interesting. The one query I had was whether flanking should prioritise artillery targets, else any army with a few archers can keep its siege engines pretty safe. At a critical mass, the artillery becomes a juggernaut as it can knock down wall after wall in a succession of towns without loss.

  • Moderators

    minor bug: Just noticed that for Oliphaunts form when they've taken 2 hits, that form has a listed TUV of 0, which throws off the tuv calculations done by the battle calc (which really matters because the ai depends on them for its strategy). I don't know what others units' forms when taken a hit also have the default 0 tuv, thus throwing off estimations; as I was merely watching somebody else's game, and it's not so easy to check. I checked a few other units that happened to be wounded, and there weren't bugs on those, but I couldn't do a complete check.

  • Admin

    @zlefin Glancing at the XML, the reason is that oliphaunt_hit2 aren't purchasable and don't have the tuv unit option defined so it defaults to them being worth 0.

  • hello all.

    I say: if eagles are not reduced to 4 movement evil is without a chance at this map. just a balance-issue. Dany agrees. besides that its not really understandable why eagles are so much better in air battles than nazguls (as the higher cost unit).

    best, epi

  • Admin

  • @zlefin Having the oliphaunt_hit2 unit is a purely cosmetic decision, and it should be removed from the game as soon as there is another way to display multiple hits taken by a unit. There is another unit, the dragon_hit2, which had to be removed because of some bug when transforming an air unit mid-battle (it couldn't move that turn in NCM or something, I don't remember).

    @epinikion @Dany I'm not currently in map-making mode, but those 6 savegames would be greatly helpful when I get back to polishing this map. From my experience I'm fairly certain that as it stands, Evil has a clear advantage. Prove me wrong with those games already, please! 😁

    And, eh, @redrum, the game xml is generated by a script from the TAGX.xml outside the map folder. I'll need to re-do the whole xml and get rid of that script now that 🙏 we have variables 🙏. Hacking the xml is not a very clean solution, but feel free to do anything that requires immediate action until I "return".

  • @alkexr
    hi, i don`t have all files and probably some of them are not the files from the finish of the game. I add for you, what i found. They are live played in a relatively high speed so probably you ll find mistakes. That doesnt change our conclusion. Problem of evil is that angmar falls and then north is free to pressure moria and saruman, while rhun and mordor and harad usually go strong but not fast enough. high elves go for eagles and later in the game there will be a circle of 5 terrs radius in all direction around the eagle stack as a deadzone for evil. thats too much.

    dany bfa 7.tsvg dany bfa_6.tsvg dany bfa_5.tsvg dany bfa_4tsvg.tsvg dany bfa_3tsvg.tsvg

  • Is there a newer thread on this map, and is it still actively maintained?

    I had a lot of fun playing this map vs AI. From my limited experience it is pretty balanced, maybe slightly favoring Good.

    Gondor is really strong, and can hold off Mordor+Halad for an impossibly long time. In fact Gondor never really falls, the north trio is where Good tends to lose when they do.

    The High Elf, Orc, Lorien area balance is very good. Nothing to comment there.
    Rohan Saruman is connected to that and balance is good as well, although odd from lore perspective that it's Sauraman defending against Rohan all game rather than the opposite. From game balance point of view this works well though, as Evil is on a timer to win somewhere else before Suaraman falls.

    Angmar can make good trades with dragons, though those don't end up in Angmar proper until at least Turn 2 - turn 1 is just very good trades vs dwarves. This makes it so Angmar can sort of hold it's own against the dwarves for 2 turns despite not really having any recruitment nearby. On the other hand even with recruitment, Angmar proper falls immediately. I don't see, having played both sides, how Angmar can any of this territory past even Turn 1. The flood of units from Arnor and Free Peoples means Angmar never really has a fighting chance besides finding favorable suicide strikes to hit at isolated units. Angmar can hold for a very long time behind walls but is it is always the first to fall on the evil side, and the collapse in territory is always within Turn 2.

    Unit balance is odd, as many units are clearly useless -

    • Goblin archers are totally useless, at 1/2 compared with 2/3 for goblin spearmen, they are useless even with the range support. Unless the enemy has huge stacks of eagles, it's not useful at all. Compared with the incredible value of archers on the Good side, not sure why this archer is so bad.
    • The suicide fireball unit that Saruman has seems very high priced for something that dies.

    Some units are very good

    • The free people Pony riders is way too good for a 4 cost unit. Either make it cost 5, or make it a 1/1. Just the 4 move 1HP unit is worth 4, even if it has minimal combat value. While the regular hobbits aren't bad, they are completely overtaken by the choice of pony riders.
    • All multi-hit air units are very good. Eagles are the biggest problem since they along with dragons are the best value, and High Elves actually have the income to buy them. Angmar can buy zero or 1 thorough the entire game due to losing all it's territory so fast, and that it doesn't even start with enough income to buy a single one (turn 2 will have the money, due to taking territory on turn 1, but even then fodder units might be a better choice). Had it been Mordor that can recruit dragons, it would absolutely be a balance problem. Nazgul are actually not great value, and they die easily to the huge number of Good archers, so they are not a problem. So just eagles, they need a cost increase.

    Anyway, good work, and looking forward to an update!
    (the AI will always kill it's Dragons or oliphaunt even when there's plenty of fodder remaining, since at the 3rd hitpoint, it values it at zero. this needs to be fixed).

  • Moderators Admin

    @redrum said in Middle Earth: Battle For Arda - Official Thread:

    @zlefin @alkexr Here is a PR to add the tuv for it: https://github.com/triplea-maps/battle_for_arda/pull/3

    I still dislike this option being part of the unit attachments. I think it should belong to production rules.

    Also, in this case, you don't actually need this option, as there is no original value to override, in the first place.

    @alkexr You can fix this issue by regular means, adding this production rule:

        <productionRule name="buy_oliphaunt_hit2">
          <cost resource="PUs" quantity="36" />
          <result resourceOrUnit="oliphaunt_hit2" quantity="1" />

    This will value the "buy_oliphaunt_hit2" unit, no matter if no players have actually the option to purchase such unit.

    Anyways, if you prefer doing it as @redrum suggests, I believe it's a couple months he is waiting for you to accept that pull request.

    @redrum What do you think of the two alternative solutions? Wouldn't be better going my way for this fix, and, for the program, maybe also forbid assigning a "tuv" option to units lacking a production rule, to avoid the redundancy of having two ways of obtaining the same thing? I'm actually more bothered by the redundancy itself, than everything else: either the "tuv" option should not be accepted if lacking a production rule for the unit or the production rule should not be accepted if assigned to no players (but this second solution would likely bug a lot of existent games).

  • Admin

    @Cernel No, one of the reasons "tuv" option was added was to override the purchase value as well in case you want to value a unit for the AI and TUV calculations differently from its purchase cost. Creating unused purchase rules and not assigning them I think is messier than just allowing "tuv" to be directly set for the unit.

  • I haven't been a part of this map and it is deep in the development. I have played the older lotr map on triple a with a friend for a few years. As well as a lot of A&A and other mods.
    I feel the new map is too busy with too many abilities. I understand the joy of creation, but each change has a high chance of limiting legitimate options while introducing trap options.
    I like the overall idea and the passion, maybe the abilities will grow on me. As of yet I find them really off-putting.

  • First off. Beautiful map, cool mechanics, please keep up the good work.
    About the balance. Good will win 10/10 times in this map, given equal skill level on both sides.
    Good start with more TUV, PU and Production. Good also is in a much stronger position to begin with. Angmar is alone vs 5 other teams, that is like a chess game where white side has 5 moves for every move on the black side.
    Rohan is not under any pressure from Saruman in the start of the game, their units are much stronger, and they start with more. In 2 turns Freefolk can attack Saruman in the rear.
    Lorien will not fall if they play full defense.
    Gondor is much stronger than Mordor, and can stand alone vs Mordor and Harad indefinitely
    Rhun cannot take any of the 4 cities unless they are allowed to, and even if they are it will take longer to take just Gror than it will take Angmar, Saruman and Dol’guldur to lose.
    Unit balance
    Rangers… omg the rangers, they are 2UP to cheap, at least. They are completely broken.
    The 10/12 charge from eoling riders is very high for only 8 points, looks to be at least 4points to high (should be (6/12 at maximum)
    Uruk Warriors for some reason have only 4/3/3 they should be at least 5/4/3 for the price.
    But single unit balance is not the most important. Why are Gondor and Rohan not under any pressure? They don’t even really need help to defeat Saruman, Mordor and Harad. Why are Dol’Guldur a separate faction? They will lose so fast if faced with both Northmen and Wood Elven at the same time. Main problem is that the Evil side has less rounds then the good side. In a tactical game that is a major advantage. There is literally nothing Angmar can do, in the 5vs1 situation they are in.
    Anyway. Here is a save game. It is a 5 player, game 3 good vs 2 evil.

  • @Cortrillion I love this map too and haven’t played it enough to validate your 10/10 for good claim, but I suspect it’s not as compelling as that. How about I challenge you to a game by email and I’ll try to see if I can succeed as Evil?

  • Oh sorry @mattbarnes, didn't see your reply.

    No I'm being overly hyperbolic, I think good has a stronger position because of a numerical advantage mainly. Evil won the game i just posted as a matter of fact. They had some major luck (6/6 hits vs rivendell walls) and gondor mad a bad judgment call and lost 200TUV.

    Im in a game right now, but maybe after that one is done.



  • Moderators Admin

    @Cortrillion said in Middle Earth: Battle For Arda - Official Thread:

    About the balance. Good will win 10/10 times in this map, given equal skill level on both sides.

    Well, if two very good players play a map with low luck (just guessing), you just need that map to be a little unbalanced to eventually get to a virtual 100% win for one side. So, this statement greatly depends on dice settings and what level is the "equal skill level" of the players.

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