Infested Caves

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Infested Caves

Postby PeacefulMind » August 8th, 2011, 5:30 am

I have been stuck on IC from the Northern Rebirth campaign for a while, on hard difficulty.

I have tried many different strategies so far. The first time, I tried making lots of footpads and stealing the brown troll keep, and then using all of his easy villages and strong position to batter the last undead leader and racing for the Dwarves. I then had my footpads promptly picked off by first the orange skellies, than the white skellies, then the trolls. By the time I could even hit the troll leader I had four outlaws left and was surrounded by angry trolls.

The second time, I blockaded off my little section of the map, first along the green and blue troll tunnels with rotating groups of about five (later four as I pulled back excess footpads due to some having upgraded to outlaws) pads each and second along the long hex in front of the three eastern villages with good defensive hexes (a tower, two mushroom forests and a cave forest with a road in the middle). It was incredibly successful at levelling my guys, I had plenty of money, and my army was doing fine, but the skeletons easily killed the brown troll around turn 15 and then placed a simply ABSURD amount of skeletons in front of my army. Seriously, I counted about a hundred, and they didn't stop coming no matter how many my rapidly levelling outlaws dropped. It was like they had 10,000 gold each or something. I never saw the Dwarves, so they must have been stalemated. I beat the blue troll and attacked the white skeleton leader with a rush, but despite killing him his fifty or so skellies kept me busy long enough to make victory effectively impossible in the time limit.

The third time, I rushed my footpads to block off the orange and white skeleton entrances as well as the blue and green troll entrances. The attacks by angry skeletons wore down my health, it was a huge pain containing those skeletons who had already been past my little barrier, and the trolls arrived and hit my forces in the back. The skeletons then streamed out, killed the brown troll on the twentieth turn or so, and then easily dispatched the few forces I had left.

After several more games, I noticed a pattern. I would be stuck defending against a horde of Troll whelps on both sides which prevented me from putting real power into my main army, and they replaced at such a rate as to make beating them take too long to be worthwhile. Furthermore, the brown troll would always expand his power enough in the beginning to make any attempt by me to contain the skeletons worthless, and then the skeletons would race out, surround and destroy the troll's horribly outnumbered forces, harass me with some forces to prevent me from expanding, kill the brown troll, and then blot out the sun (or other end of the cave, whatever) with the sheer number of skeletons that never stop coming. That brown troll always seemed to be dead between turns 15 and 25, and within five turns my entrance would be impossible to use for attacking even if I had an army of upkeep-free Paladins because I can only kill one enemy at a time, I can only kill up to five enemies in one wave, and the two skeletons send between three and six skellies EACH every time I clear out a wave.

I then changed tactics. I rushed the blue troll with lots of forces and, through giving him a big gap to funnel his trolls to die in (specifically, I left two footpads and the mage in that little green area up top and gave enough space for two trolls to get in each turn, and left the area by the village enough space to let another two trolls in per turn, letting me kill and level up my forces very rapidly while he could only replace maybe one troll every two or three turns. I had the blue area captured by turn 17, but not the last village (which opens up the door to white, which would result in the secret entrance which I am going to need to exploit being clogged making victory impossible), and I managed to defeat green by turn 21. The brown trolls died on turn 14, and my "front" entrance is covered in skeletons, a handful of whom are second level (but my defense configuration means that they are top priority targets, so even if they get lucky and kill a guy they will either be almost dead or dead by my turn). I have 5 footpads (three of whom are almost outlaws), an outlaw and the mage waiting in the former blue cave, while I have a loyal spearman, five outlaws and two footpads currently occupying the green cave. By turn 23 (now), I basically control both blue and green's caves, but I am unsure if I should build my forces further or just rush, and if whether I should rush them at the same time with forces of equal size or rush one first.

Advice? I think my situation is quite winnable, but I don't want to spend hours trying new tactics, failing horribly, and then going back to repeat it to see if I was unlucky.
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Re: Infested Caves

Postby Maiklas3000 » August 8th, 2011, 7:00 am

Your first strategy was the one that works best in this scenario, i.e., migrate to the east (brown) troll's keep. If the troll and skeleton forces are well balanced (which you can try to arrange), they will be too busy attacking each other in the main chamber to give you much problem after you're in the troll's keep. Did you see the thread Stuck on NR:Infested Caves?
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Re: Infested Caves

Postby PeacefulMind » August 8th, 2011, 8:18 am

Yeah. I try it, but each time the trolls and skeletons decide to try and kill me first.
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Re: Infested Caves

Postby ozean » August 8th, 2011, 11:06 am

What I wrote in the other thread still remains true: I would really urge the developers of Northern Rebirth to slightly reduce / tweak the difficulty of this level, especially now that Footpads have been reduced by 20% in their damage output.

But I guess a correction would make sense even without this nerf, as the one tactic that may work (I still wasn't successful and have stopped playing BfW out of frustration for a while) is very luck dependent, and the outcome is largely out of the hands of the player (i.e. it depends on how the other factions deal with each other).

Thanks!
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Re: Infested Caves

Postby HomerJ » August 8th, 2011, 12:42 pm

Do not forget that NR is listed as a difficult campaign. I see why one would think Infested Caves can be luck dependent, but not at the easiest difficulty. I must say though, that I haven't played it with the nerfed footpad yet, that could make a difference, then again, thugs are your damage dealers and footies just annoyers defenders.

What would you guys suggest to change anyway? A little gold boost for Tallin?

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Re: Infested Caves

Postby ozean » August 8th, 2011, 12:49 pm

HomerJ wrote:What would you guys suggest to change anyway? A little gold boost for Tallin?

I guess that could work, as the times that I have managed to proceed past the main caves massacres, I failed because it took too long to also fight my way down to the dwarves, who had been pushed back pretty far…

(HomerJ, in case you fix something in the scenario: there has also been a small bug regarding the fact that Tallin appears in the info before one has actually met him - maybe that could be rectified at the same time?)

Thanks!
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Re: Infested Caves

Postby HomerJ » August 8th, 2011, 1:59 pm

ozean wrote:I guess that could work, as the times that I have managed to proceed past the main caves massacres, I failed because it took too long to also fight my way down to the dwarves, who had been pushed back pretty far…

(HomerJ, in case you fix something in the scenario: there has also been a small bug regarding the fact that Tallin appears in the info before one has actually met him - maybe that could be rectified at the same time?)



Sorry to disappoint you but I'm not in charge of that campaign (or any campaign). The maintainer mentioned in the wiki is Taurus, although I'm not sure if this is up-to-date.
The problem with the dwarves is mainly an AI problem I guess, sometimes they tend to stalemate on a narrow passage, so no change in gold would do anything down there.


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Re: Infested Caves

Postby Maiklas3000 » August 8th, 2011, 6:21 pm

Initially, consider yourself an ally with the trolls against the skeletons in the main chamber. Bottle the skeletons up. If you do too good a job, it can backfire, and the trolls can dominate and turn on you, but basically the idea is to help the trolls initially, while conspiring to kill the eastern (brown) Troll leader. Stay healthy, and you'll see that the Trolls prefer to bash on skeletons. Note that around your initial keep, it's important slow down the wave of Troll Whelps with a rear guard action, otherwise they may do too good a job against the skeletons.

On the hardest difficulty, this scenario is extremely difficult. Under 1.9.4 (with nerfed Footpads), I rated it a 9.9. If it needs to be changed, then I say reduce the gold of the enemies, not increase the gold of the player. There are already a zillion units on both sides.
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Re: Infested Caves

Postby PeacefulMind » August 8th, 2011, 7:09 pm

Honestly, if the scenario were made easier, I would say that the following would make it more balanced:

(1) The player doesn't need more gold. I generally didn't have trouble getting gold for troops, I just didn't have the ability to replace them in huge battles against absurd numbers of enemies. Instead, the enemies should have less gold and/or less villages. Especially the white skeletons.

(2) The brown trolls should be boosted somewhat. They are too easily swarmed by skeletons, first the white ones, then the orange ones, and then the grey ones. Give them more starting money or let them recruit troll whelps (which are cheaper and lower upkeep, which would prevent the whole problem of being swarmed).

(3) Add a way to open the door between the green/blue trolls and the orange/white skeletons remotely. Say, a switch found somewhere else in the passage. This alone would make the scenario MUCH easier as the enemies would actually occupy each other rather than you having to fight everyone at once, allowing a chance to sneak through before one side dominates the other.

(4) Boost the dwarves. They have never, ever made it to the main hall in my games, even by turn 45.
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Re: Infested Caves

Postby Deukalion » August 8th, 2011, 7:20 pm

The Dwarves could really use a boost, as they are pretty much no help.

I think the scenario could use a little tweaking, but it wouldn't take much to balance the whole thing. I think that whoever is currently in charge of it should just decide whether they want the scenario to be a brawl, or a slip-through-the-cracks kind of mission, and then just tweak accordingly.

I think the scenario's only major problem, besides the weak dwarves, is that it can't decide what kind of mission it really wants to be.
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Re: Infested Caves

Postby PeacefulMind » August 9th, 2011, 7:50 pm

I tried attacking the skeletons by surprise. It actually worked and I had them cleared out of the main cavern by turn 35 and with about 100 gold per turn as well.

Then came something incredibly annoying. The grey skeletons blocked off their cavern with a horde of guys, and it was impossible to advance at any meaningful rate. If I had about fifty turns I might be able to push through, but I only had ten by the time I started. When I checked the replay, it turned out that the dwarves were equally trapped in their position and hadn't moved at all. No matter what I did, the skeletons clogged the entrance and I lost by time limit, despite a huge army and income. Even when I resorted to scumming I wasn't able to beat their cheap tactic.
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Re: Infested Caves

Postby kaminariwan » August 13th, 2011, 1:12 pm

Rushing the brown troll's keep is the only strategy that works for me.

My first (failed) game plan was all-out defence. Letting the opponents wear themselves out against prepared defensive positions was intuitively appealing. However, allowing the skeletons to leisurely bring the majority of the 90+ villages under their control handed them a big advantage. Even after I somehow managed to rout the orange and white mobs, forcing the grey skeletons from their obnoxiously narrow tunnel wasn't possible in the few turns remaining.

I've attached a replay of the second attempt, (version 1.9.4, Difficult). The trolls in this scenario verged on friendly. A horde of whelps peacefully coexisted with the single thug guarding the north tunnel for 25 turns, and the brown trolls initially ignored my units at the expense of the skeletons. Once I assassinated the troll king they got vindictively aggressive, but I can't really blame them. It was an epic battle (183 kills and 47 losses for for my side alone!), but overall a big success.

I liked this scenario. Unusually, gold wasn't an all-important factor, the narrow tunnels and limited hex sides make it easy for the computer opponents to overrecruit. I agree that the dwarves and brown trolls are underpowered though, a few tweaks might improve it.
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Re: Infested Caves

Postby par-salian » August 19th, 2016, 11:25 pm

hi guys,
I've been playing this scenario on hard difficulty and I found this strategy to be pretty useful.
To begin with, I sent a footpad to the north to find camerin ( took me a while to find he was there), and then focus the main army to defeat the blue troll, without spending all the money recruiting. While doing so, I left four or five units to stalemate the green trolls and the orange skeletons. There is no real need to worry about the brown troll because he will just keep all the skeletons busy long enough. When the skeletons are coming to my camp, I move the units who were stalemating the green trolls up north near the blue troll chamber so that the green trolls will fight and weaken the orange skeletons. At that point I had defeated the blue boss and leveled up some units ( thugs are definitely the most useful, since highwaymen kill a lev 1 and 2 skeleton in a single attack), then with the help of the mage I defeated the white death knight, and then, using his castle to recruit some fresh tugs, I attacked the main chamber, where there were just orange and grey skeletons, plus, i sent down to the initial camp the units I moved up earlier, to close trolls and skeletons on two sides and later rejoin with part of the army and killing the green one ( it's the easiest to kill but it takes time due to bottlenecks )
In a few turns then I moved Tallin to the central fortress to recruit lots of fresh troops ( thugs and footpads mostly) to kill the orange skeletons and eventually their boss while the mage and some more experienced units were going to the southern corridor to destroy the grey team.
Actually it took me like 45 out of 50 turns, but with all the villages i farmed more than 800, plus i had something like fifteen bandits and eight highwaymen and some lev 2 and 3 archers for the next scenarios.
Let me know if it is of any help or if you have better strategies
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Re: Infested Caves

Postby batoonike » January 5th, 2017, 7:57 pm

Played it back in the days on the hardest difficulty. The tactic was to rush everything to the east to the big room as soon as possible. Create walls with footpads and try to avoid being surrounded. The only goal is to keep the pathway open enough to move further east each turn. Most of the footpads will die but youll make it to the dwarves and win. I don't remember if killing all leaders worked out or not.

I think this is the hardest scenario I've ever seen though. Probably the balance has changed since then, it was several years ago.
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Re: Infested Caves

Postby salass00 » March 21st, 2017, 7:52 pm

I just restarted the Northern Rebirth campaign on Wesnoth 1.12.6 and beat this scenario on hard difficulty by defeating all of the leaders (one of the troll leaders I think got killed by undeads though because I never saw him and his troops just suddenly stopped coming).

The last time I played Wesnoth was years ago so I didn't remember much about this scenario apart from it having lots of skeletons and being really tough.

My starting gold for the scenario was 678 gp and keeping in mind that my main enemy would be skeletons I recruited only thugs and footpads (because impact damage is really useful against skeletons, unlike the other units' pierce damage which is basically useless).

Because there are quite a few villages on the map I could keep recruiting an army to throw at the enemies without ever going very much into the red with regards to upkeep (in fact I ended the scenario with 1004 gp as starting amount for the next one).

I recruited 89 units in total and lost 63 of them (34 footpads and 55 thugs). In hindsight I should maybe have recruited more footpads because there were so many skeleton bowmen and since the thugs have no ranged attack they were basically free xp for the enemy when I had to leave them exposed.

Another thing I did was not to enter the big central room immediately with my troops but instead leave them in good defence terrain at the opening and let the trolls and undeads fight amongst themselves as long as possible so they would be a bit weaker.

I would post the replay but I don't know where Wesnoth has saved it (I checked for ".wesnoth" directory in my home dir using "ls -a" but it wasn't there).
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