Ambush? I think I don't get it.

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kurt751
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Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by kurt751 »

What is the right way to use units who have one of the "Ambush" abilities (forest, village, darkness, whatever)?

AFAIK an ambush is the fact to hide somewhere, and when the unsuspecting enemy gets near, jump out and attack him by surprise.
In BfW apparently "Ambush" means a unit is sitting somewhere, until an enemy slams into it and proceeds to beat the living daylight out of it... :shock:
I've lost a couple Elvish Rangers that way.

I would had expected the ambushing unit would at least get initiative (first hit) on the enemy, and the choice of weapon (melee or missile). Without that, what is this ability good for?
I guess I missed some important part of how to use that type of units. Could somebody please clue me to the way it is supposed to work?
Andrettin
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by Andrettin »

kurt751 wrote:What is the right way to use units who have one of the "Ambush" abilities (forest, village, darkness, whatever)?

AFAIK an ambush is the fact to hide somewhere, and when the unsuspecting enemy gets near, jump out and attack him by surprise.
In BfW apparently "Ambush" means a unit is sitting somewhere, until an enemy slams into it and proceeds to beat the living daylight out of it... :shock:
I've lost a couple Elvish Rangers that way.

I would had expected the ambushing unit would at least get initiative (first hit) on the enemy, and the choice of weapon (melee or missile). Without that, what is this ability good for?
I guess I missed some important part of how to use that type of units. Could somebody please clue me to the way it is supposed to work?
"Ambush" makes your unit invisible while in forests, until it attacks or an enemy gets adjacent to it.
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Dixie
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by Dixie »

Also, a unit that is ambushed (stumbles upon an invisible unit) is surprised and looses all its remaining movement points for the turn. It's pretty amazing ZOC, can help slow enemy progression in key areas.
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max_torch
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by max_torch »

An ambush is to suddenly attack an enemy at a place where they were vulnerable and didn't expect it.

In the game an enemy could start going off into a forest and not suspect there are enemies and EVEN IF HE DOESN'T bump into the invisible unit, it still feels like an "ambush" when those invisible units just come out and suddenly slaughter and get first hits on an enemy that was not well arranged and on bad terrain.

Ambush has a lot of uses in campaigns. In "An Orcish Incursion" you can assassinate so many enemy leaders using the rangers.
kurt751
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by kurt751 »

Andrettin wrote:"Ambush" makes your unit invisible while in forests, until it attacks or an enemy gets adjacent to it.
Indeed, "invisibility in forests" (or darkness) is very useful for flanking maneuvers ("invisibility in villages" much less, given villages are usually further apart than the unit can walk in one turn, and the amount of villages limits the amount of hidden units you can deploy), but my point was more about the "Ambush" part. If they had called it "Stealth", it would had been fine.
kurt751
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by kurt751 »

Dixie wrote:Also, a unit that is ambushed (stumbles upon an invisible unit) is surprised and looses all its remaining movement points for the turn.
Sure it stops, since it starts disassembling your "ambushing" unit... :roll:

It might slow down the enemy, but the fun costs you a leveled unit more often than not. Besides, I can place a non-ambushing unit at the same place, most of the time I will get the same blocking effect (except in the rare cases where the attacker is skirmishing, and a juicier victim is just behind my blocking unit).

Once again, where are the tactical advantages of being the ambusher?
kurt751
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by kurt751 »

max_torch wrote:feels like an "ambush" when those invisible units just come out and suddenly slaughter and get first hits on an enemy
True, but the ambushing units don't get first hits!
They just stay there and defend if attacked, like any normal unit would do.
That's the part I don't understand.
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by Caladbolg »

kurt751 wrote:I would had expected the ambushing unit would at least get initiative (first hit) on the enemy, and the choice of weapon (melee or missile). Without that, what is this ability good for?
I guess I missed some important part of how to use that type of units. Could somebody please clue me to the way it is supposed to work?
You seem to be looking at the ability only in terms of its usefulness in 1v1 battle. Consider the bigger picture. The enemy can't see your units. That means that even if the forest is full of ambushing units, your enemy will see only an empty forest and will probably try to use the territory to his advantage (e.g. sending scouting units to grab villages or going through the forest to attack you from the side). When your units suddenly ambush them, the plan is ruined- if he used scouts, you can easily kill them; if he wanted to send reinforcements through the forest, you can delay them.

As you say, even a unit without ambush can stop the enemies' movement, but keep in mind that the enemy would see your unit and just skirt around it. A visible unit also allows the enemy to plan ahead- if you see a unit, you see their hp, their movement range and so on. And as you know, information is the key to victory when it comes to strategy games. An invisible unit messes with that and the enemy often gets in trouble due to it.

Use ambush to go around the enemy lines to assassinate important enemy units or to attack the enemy from behind. They're also very useful for keeping the enemy from going around your army (to escape or to attack) or for performing hit-and-run tactics by attacking a (relatively) isolated enemy unit and retreating into the forest when needed.

You mentioned that the enemy kills your ambushing units when he finds them. I can't say I've encountered the same issue. Units with ambushing abilities usually have great defense on the terrains where their ambush works (Rangers in forests or Fugitives in villages are notoriously difficult to dislodge from their positions). A ranger on a patch of forest has 70% defense, a fair amount of hp and good melee and ranged. If attacked, he should be able to survive attacks from some 4-5 units and deal some nice retaliation in return.

All in all, ambush is a really useful ability even though the name might not be the most intuitive. Having a firststrike as well would make the ability overpowered.
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Eagle_11
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by Eagle_11 »

kurt751 wrote:
max_torch wrote:feels like an "ambush" when those invisible units just come out and suddenly slaughter and get first hits on an enemy
True, but the ambushing units don't get first hits!
They just stay there and defend if attacked, like any normal unit would do.
That's the part I don't understand.
Simple.
The unit has tried to ambush,
and failed at it getting discovered instead. So the advantage in the confusion goes to discovering side in that case.
wesnoth, being based heavily upon chance doesnt give certainty to either side during such actions, despite what you have described being logical and existing as rule in most other such tbs games' settings.
kurt751
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by kurt751 »

Caladbolg wrote:Consider the bigger picture. The enemy can't see your units. That means that even if the forest is full of ambushing units, your enemy will see only an empty forest and will probably try to use the territory to his advantage (e.g. sending scouting units to grab villages or going through the forest to attack you from the side).
That's very theoretic... :?
Given the only units having this ability are the high-level elven archers, they tend to be rare. I don't think I ever got to have more than 5-6 of them at the same time, and usually they were tied up in combat where they were, an thus unavailable for ambushing on the other side of the map.

Caladbolg wrote:keep in mind that the enemy would see your unit and just skirt around it.
Yes, but at great movement cost, if you place your blocking unit right. :mrgreen:
And anyway, blocking is just a stopgap; The ultimate goal is to eliminate (or at least long-term incapacitate) enemy units.

Caladbolg wrote:A visible unit also allows the enemy to plan ahead- if you see a unit, you see their hp, their movement range and so on. And as you know, information is the key to victory when it comes to strategy games. An invisible unit messes with that and the enemy often gets in trouble due to it.
Agree, to all of that.
They make great scouts. But, as I replied to Andrettin further up, that ability should had been called "Stealth", not "Ambush".

Caladbolg wrote:You mentioned that the enemy kills your ambushing units when he finds them. I can't say I've encountered the same issue. Units with ambushing abilities usually have great defense on the terrains where their ambush works (Rangers in forests or Fugitives in villages are notoriously difficult to dislodge from their positions).
Strange. My experience is quite different. Usual case I'm encountering very often right now (playtesting): Human plays elves, AI is orcs. A couple Rangers of mine are hidden in the forest, in an attempt to slow down the oncoming orcs, leaving me some more time to organize defense.
At some time one Orc Grunt moves and slams into my Ranger. Immediately, since the Ranger is now visible, a second Orc Grunt arrives, and with his colleague they cut my Ranger to strips... Of course the Ranger survives sometimes, and if he's not blocked, he can retreat, but he's definitely neutralized for the duration: He'll need to find a village and stay there for several turns. As for the "ambushed" orcs, they have light, at worst medium damage, usually so little the AI doesn't even consider letting them rest.
Result of the "ambush": I made 2 enemy units lose a couple hexes of movement, and lost (the use of) one unit of mine.

Caladbolg wrote:Having a firststrike as well would make the ability overpowered.
Not that much IMHO. Those units don't come cheap: You'll have to level up your little weakish archers to get them.
And even if you strike first, the enemy gets to retaliate, so it's not like you got a free hit or something. They have no chance to kill in one attack, so the enemy will retaliate (Except of course if the enemy doesn't have a missile weapon, but most units have).
kurt751
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by kurt751 »

Eagle_11 wrote:Simple.
The unit has tried to ambush,
and failed at it getting discovered instead. So the advantage in the confusion goes to discovering side in that case.
All right, I understand that. But shouldn't they, once in a moon, also succeed in ambushing?...
I mean, a 99.9% failure ratio is pretty weak. If I were their general in real life I would commit seppuku... :mrgreen:
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by Tad_Carlucci »

So I'm wandering along (playtesting, too) and WHAM I run into an ambush. My heart stops for a moment, then I remember, the ambushing unit really doesn't do anything. It just stops my unit's movement, then holds it with ZOC. No actual ambush/attack. Just stopped waiting for the ambushing unit to get its normal turn. I agree, that's more stealth. "An Elvish Ranger jumps out and says, 'Boo!' Your Orcish Assassin spends the rest of its turn rolling on the floor, laughing."

To my mind, ambush to really mean ambush-attack. The Elvish Ranger should get the initiative for an immediate attack using its preferred weapon: bow/ranged. The defending unit should get a counter-attack, perhaps at an additional disadvantage due to surprise (half damage? 90% defense for the Ranger rather than the normal 70? something like that).

I'm tired of my heart stopping due to a meaningless ambush. I want to cry out in surprise (or anger) as I watch my unit's HP drop and my plans for it switch to finding the nearest healer in the hopes of salvaging the attack.

As it is now, it's more like the Ranger stops the Assassin and asks if it would like an attack. The Assassin, seeing it has no chance of killing the Ranger, politely declines, knowing the Ranger will need a bit of luck to outright kill the Assassin, so it's likely to be able to limp away next turn.
I forked real life and now I'm getting merge conflicts.
kurt751
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by kurt751 »

Tad_Carlucci wrote:"An Elvish Ranger jumps out and says, 'Boo!' Your Orcish Assassin spends the rest of its turn rolling on the floor, laughing."
Indeed, that's how it works. Except the assassin will carve the profile of the last 25 presidents into my Ranger before the Ranger gets a chance to start calling his momma. :(

Tad_Carlucci wrote:To my mind, ambush to really mean ambush-attack. The Elvish Ranger should get the initiative for an immediate attack using its preferred weapon: bow/ranged.
That's what I though too.

Tad_Carlucci wrote:The Assassin, seeing it has no chance of killing the Ranger, politely declines.
You have polite assassins... I give my attackers an aggression of 0.8 and a caution of 0.3, so I'm sure they won't bother discussing the weather when they meet an enemy - but without having them go berserk either. It takes a really heavy unit to make the attacker think twice and tip-toe away.
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by Tad_Carlucci »

Well, I'm smarter than the AI (OK, debatable, but I'd like to think so).

I see my Assassin gets one attack and one counter, and won't kill the Ranger; but to that the Ranger gets one counter and one attack and probably will kill my Assassin. However, if I say, "On the LEFT cheek, please" after politely declining his offer to kill my Assassin, the Ranger gets one attack and has to take one counter. The choice is, then: attack and probably die, or take it like a man and we both limp away.

Nah. I want that Ranger to hit first and take names from the survivors.
I forked real life and now I'm getting merge conflicts.
kurt751
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Re: Ambush? I think I don't get it.

Post by kurt751 »

Tad_Carlucci wrote:Well, I'm smarter than the AI (OK, debatable, but I'd like to think so).
Smarter, but less configurable... :P

Nah, it's actually the problem I tried to explain in some other thread, the difference between a human player and an AI trying to bother the human player. For the player, unless the scenario gives you unlimited supplies, each unit is precious, and the time you took to get it to a given place has value too. So you don't want to see it disabled or killed, for you will lose your investment. On the other hand, the AI has one single simple task: Throw as many spanners in your operation as possible. That includes poisoning your unit for the sole benefit of forcing it to momentarily retreat to a village. The AI doesn't try to win, it only tries to prevent you from winning, which is much easier.
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