Why is "no killstack" bad?

Contribute, display and discuss rulesets and modpacks for use in Freeciv here.
morphles
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:50 pm

Re: Why is "no killstack" bad?

Postby morphles » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:55 pm

No kill stack is seriously annoying. Also Civ 3 had it and AFAIK opinoin on that is not that great:
http://www.reddit.com/r/civ/comments/1z ... e_civ_iii/

In short this allows for some braindead play. Pull all your crap in one stack, and then go takign cities one by one. No flanking or maneuvering of any kind need. Also Civ 3 was my first civ game, well that I tried to play at least, and when I tried freeciv I though wth is this crap, all my units dying. But after some time I began to see the merits of it. And now I can not see why one would want to play with no killstack. What are it's positive contributions to the game? Since I do not really see any, it is just dumbing down of the game IMO.

Jacew
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:45 am

Re: Why is "no killstack" bad?

Postby Jacew » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:33 pm

I am against killstacks because they aren't realistic.
Its not like an entire army will just lay down and die when one of their defensive units dies.
And its also unrealistic to suggest that "if they can beat this, they can beat the others just as easily" because More Dakka really does work in real life.

(a mass of armies in one place are in essence one giant army)

There are X tons of dudes there and they're all going to fight. And more units means more people that your army has to kill, which means more chances for their (much larger force) has to inflict harm on them.

It IS strategic to put a bunch of armies in one place.
In fact spreading your armies out is a bad idea because it makes them weaker.
The only strength to having them spread out is for patrolling and border control.

If you want to make sure that an area is protected, that is what you do.

If you want that gold-bearing mountain with a mine on it to remain under your control, that's where you put 5 defensive units at, and you build a fortress around them too.

And it should take that much firepower to take them out too.
Being in a city or outside of one doesnt change that.

I agree. This sums all my thoughts about realism of killstack.

Point that many here seem to be missing is the scope of the game. In Civ games(I, II and Freeciv at least), each tile represents about 20-70 square kilometres or so, so stacking lots of units on a same tile IS realistic strategy and "no killstack" rule is exactly how that kind of situation should be handled. Attacking flanks etc... happens "off-screen" when you move division of your army unit represents against another. We have veteran levels and randomized results to count for those tactics. Players are rulers of their nations, not battlefield generals.

morphles wrote:And now I can not see why one would want to play with no killstack. What are it's positive contributions to the game? Since I do not really see any, it is just dumbing down of the game IMO.


Actually I find that killstack rule dumbs down the game. It's ridiculously expensive (read: stupid) to fight a war if you spread your troops, since you're going to suffer big losses and usually end up falling far behind your foes in economy and technology. Only reasonable tactic is to pile all your troops behind ONE good defender and stay on as defendable position as possible. Then (without bombardment) you lose them all for enemys cannon...

I find combination of Bombarder units (catapult + all artillery) and no killstack much more interesting, as it allows much wider range of strategies in the scale of whole game.

Lachu
Elite
Posts: 370
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 2:19 pm

Re: Why is "no killstack" bad?

Postby Lachu » Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:20 am

Killstack is realistic. Imagine drops build a camp and what? Only some units will stay alert in this camp. Other units are rest, etc.

I introduce patch, which allow some units to escape instead of being killed in killstack, but I don't know about state of this patch.

Lachu
Elite
Posts: 370
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 2:19 pm

Re: Why is "no killstack" bad?

Postby Lachu » Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:27 am

Maybe introduce new unit action called protect. Killstack is not active when there's protector on tile. Protectors units will be selected to fight/battle. What is cost of action? Full move points, so protector units cannot move in next turn.

Lachu
Elite
Posts: 370
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 2:19 pm

Re: Why is "no killstack" bad?

Postby Lachu » Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:28 am

Ahhh. And hp of protector unit isn't increased.

Jacew
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:45 am

Re: Why is "no killstack" bad?

Postby Jacew » Sun Oct 04, 2015 6:23 pm

Killstack is realistic. Imagine drops build a camp and what? Only some units will stay alert in this camp. Other units are rest,

The units on alert would raise an alarm and all troops would go to fight I think?

Anyway, reasoning that is a bit redundant. Since Civs "unit" consist probably about 1000-4000 troops, they would surely be in different camps (Even if not physically much apart). They could be scattered around the area tile represents (especially in Modern Age). Best defenders would be stationed to take the first contact. If they fall, battle continues next turn. Defender makes counter-attack or waits in defense if attacker continues. Resting penalty does exist in the game, as it takes one turn for troops to fortify.

Maybe introduce new unit action called protect. Killstack is not active when there's protector on tile. Protectors units will be selected to fight/battle. What is cost of action? Full move points, so protector units cannot move in next turn.


For artillery units, killstack does make sense if they're only units left when defender is destroyed. Some units (Cavalry) should probably flee in same situation, if they have movement left and aren't in a city or fortess. If I understood the idea above, this would be a bit similar, but much more logical way to enhance "protector units" aspect of the game. Adding separate "Protect" action would be rather pointless micromanagement.

Lachu
Elite
Posts: 370
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 2:19 pm

Re: Why is "no killstack" bad?

Postby Lachu » Sun Oct 18, 2015 8:23 am

Another way to solve killstack problems is creating battle groups and source tile. Source tile is changes, when unit attack or moved. When moved source tile is set to previous unit tile. When attack and unit didn't move, then source tile is set to destination tile.

Killstack could works then only killing units with the same source tile.

Another idea is creating battle groups. Battle groups working in this way:
1) When attacking, each unit attack in some order, but each got some defense based on number of units in group
2) When defender loss, only units from this battle group would been killed.

IllvilJa
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:10 pm

Re: Why is "no killstack" bad?

Postby IllvilJa » Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:02 pm

Some games try to address the same problem as killstack does by implementing the concept of "secondary damage", "splash damage" or "spillover damage": when an attack is done vs a specific target unit in a stack, that target is attacked at full strenght but all other units in the same stack might be affected as well, either by being subject to the same attack at reduced strength, by being potentially disrupted or by getting a bit of damage.

Also, in some cases, it depends on the attacking unit if splash damage is present (e.g artillery barrage affects the entire target hex, even if only one specific enemy unit is bombarded while infantry assault attacks only affect the target unit), in other cases/games it depends on the type of defending unit (like armored units are unaffected by "splash damage" from enemy attacks while softer unit like infantry and commandposts are not).

The nice thing with this is that it can be tuned in quite a few ways:

Instead of "killstack", we have the parameter "damagestack". Setting it to zero is equivalent to "no killstack", setting it to 100% is equivalent to "killstack". If it is set to 25%, it means for every defender killed, remaining stack loses 25% hp which means killing 4 defenders kills the entire stack (and killing 2 defenders hurt it really, really badly). One can have absolute values as well, like the entire stack losing 5hp for every killed defender.

This can be tweaked further: the damagestack value can differ depending on per-unit factors, so a fortified unit might have a low damagestack value like 25% while other units have 50% meaning killing two defenders kills off ALL non-fortified units, then two more units need to be killed to wipe out the remaining stack. Units that are tired can have even higher damagestack value etc etc. One can even make different types of unit have different damagestack values as well! Armor can have low damagestack value, even when tired, while howitzer have a quite high damagestack value.

A nice thing with this approach is that it can make sense to have SOME troop concentration if there is some other advantage with the stacking, like getting all units into an easily defended position (mountain or hills) or by getting a bunch of units onto that single tile beach-head when attacking from sea. Still, absurdly large stacks would still be discouraged.

Sure, it could complicate the game a bit (and Freeciv is actually already a bit complicated) but I think it would be worth considering.

Drachefly
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 12:25 pm

Re: Why is "no killstack" bad?

Postby Drachefly » Mon May 30, 2016 12:58 pm

Here are some possibilities:

1) Once a unit in a tile has been destroyed on the defense, other units in that tile do not get terrain defense bonus until their next turn

So, once you've cracked the egg, the other units aren't destroyed - or even damaged - for free, but they are quite vulnerable.

2) Whenever a unit is destroyed, the attacker gets a free attack on the next defender. The attacker is protected from the next N damage due to having caused confusion. Their special attack stops when they have run out of this protection. Or, their free attack lasts for N combat rounds.

3) Like above, but it triggers more often but does less when it does. So getting a defender down out of the green range lets you slip in, say, one free attack on the next defender, and you get another when they go into the red, and another when finishing the unit off.

2 and 3 discourage stacks of 2, but don't really do that much to gigantic stacks. Hmm. Kind of the reverse of what we're aiming for.

4) Attackers get a lack-of-defender-mobility bonus as the number of units in the defending space goes up, of, say, 25% per other unit past some threshold.
A basically reasonable limit seems like 2, +1 with fortress, +1 for each 3 city population. That lets you do a little bit of combined arms action without penalty.

So, if there are 5 units on one space defending in the field, the attacker gets +25% * (5 - 2) = +75% attack. If there are only 3, it's just +25%.

OR, we can work on specific counters. Bombardment seems like a good way to punish overstacking.

5) artillery/bomber attack hits also hit N% of the other units in the tile (and get a nerf in compensation).

6) artillery/bomber attack hits are directed at a random unit in the tile, including 2 dummy 'blank terrain' units. They will break off combat after hitting one time for each of their initial HP. In return for these nerfs, they get a large general power boost, including increased firepower and attack power.

7) Like 6, but target a random remaining hitpoint instead of unit, so you wear down units without finishing them off more; the blank terrain has 20 non-destroyable hitpoints in it.