Freeciv Longturn Web - The gossip section

Planning and discussing Freeciv Longturn gaming
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AndreasR
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Re: Freeciv Longturn Web - The gossip section

Postby AndreasR » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:07 am

This thread is just Corbeau, spreading his negative comments.

Freeciv-web <- can be played here in your browser! :lol:

all pr is good pr

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Re: Freeciv Longturn Web - The gossip section

Postby Corbeau » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:12 pm

BREAKING NEWS! Lexxie ended the Web Game 19 at a moment when she had the best score in order to prevent the second best player, Sodapop, to jump to the first place!

Sodapop complained about it on Discord.

No, there were no pre-agreed conditions for ending the game.

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Re: Freeciv Longturn Web - The gossip section

Postby Corbeau » Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:26 pm

We at the Freeciv Gossip Magazine are enthralled to report another massive cockup in the Freeciv Web subcommunity! According to our various sources, it started with an in-game invasion, continued with a new feature aimed at curbing the playstyle unfavoured by the admins, implemented mid-game and misfiring by publicly revealing sensitive data of a number of other players.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It started maybe two weeks ago, give or take a few, during the very early stages of Game 23, when the server main admin and a few of its allies were overrun in-game by an early and well planned horse invasion. It seems that a shitload of very experienced veteran players left their cities completely open while going for the Golden Path of rapture growth, basically The strategy that leads to victory in Multiplayer ruleset games. Unless an early fast-attack early invasion happens. Which it did.

Claims of cheating ensued, although to this day no specifics of "cheating" have been revealed. Also, concerns were vocalised about Freeciv Web admin(s) using their privileged position to snoop enemy units and use privileged data for in-game purposes. Logs and screenshots have been submitted that reveal an admin-observer conducting in-game diplomatic negotiations with the invading player, trying to dissuade them from continuing the invasion.

The preliminary result was that the invader was banned and, after the early-game military defeat and loss of a few cities, the admin declared that it is abandoning the game "for the purposes of finding the cheaters and preventing them from continuing their dirty deeds". Although, again, it seems that the map exploit had been fixed long before the invasion and the admin simply used this excuse to exit the game gracefully, after being defeated and humiliated on the battlefield.

Again, not even the basic info about the nature of "cheating" has been revealed.

And this could have been the end of it. But it wasn't!

Determined to fix the "issue", strengthen their favourite strategy they mastered and prevent any threats to it, it seems the admin team of Freeciv Web decided to prune tactics diverging from the game path they decided Freeciv Web should go down by installing a new feature: now "traveller tales" are used to report any nation that discovers Horse Riding and reveal the coordinates of its capital. So, horsemen beware, the whole world will now know of your evil intentions and the wrath of magnificent alliances will go down on your heads and descend on your lands, thanks to the nosy travelers who can't seem to keep their mouths shut!

And this should have been the end of it. But it wasn't!

After the Admin Defeat Affair, the admin team announced they are restarting the server "for some much anticipated upgrades, anti-hacker/anti-cheater upgrades and tools for Gamemasters to much more easily do gamemaster things". However, in spite of being warnd again and again that changing game features mid-game is a Bad Habit, the Travelers Badmouthing Horsemen feature suddenly got unwillingly installed which resulted with several nations' capitals locations being publicly reported simply because they discovered Horse Riding a few turns after the server restart. The admin team claims it was an error and that the feature wasn't planned until the next game, but who knows. After so many mid-game feature installations maybe they simply forgot - if they ever knew - how to do a server restart without installing the new stuff. It turns out the feature was supposed to report only on the early horsemen, but with the restart, the server started the counter from that moment and thought that Turn 30+ was actually Turn Zero and reported everything in sight. We leave to our massive readership to decide on a conclusion if they really are that incompetent for not thoroughly testing the features they accidentally release into the wild.

So, the current outcome is:
- there is a soft ban on early horse invasions, players need to "learn how to do granary first and make settlers like good citizens"
- the Golden Path is leaning toward the attitude that "it's unfair if a player next to you is an idler and it's also unfair if a player next to you is not an idler after T5 and decides to something other than farming"
- several players in Game 23 have had their locations revealed because they discovered Horseback Riding a few turns after the new feature has been installed, making the remainder of the game pretty much unfair for them
- some more players have been banned from Freeciv Web for actually playing better and militarily defeating the admins, continuing the trend from a few previous games, the moral of the story being: don't threaten the admin(s) or you'll be accused of cheating and banned

We will keep watching as the situation develops and report anything of interest to our very lovely audience!

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Re: Freeciv Longturn Web - The gossip section

Postby Lexxie » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:10 am

It seems whenever someone is caught cheating, there is Corbeau defending the cheaters and attacking the people who take action against them. How could that be? Well, let's look at a few things he forgot to tell you.

1. Corbeau was not in the game.
2. Very few people Corbeau knows are in the game. No one he knows is located anywhere close enough to the cheater incident. He has absolutely no intel about anything related to it.
3. Corbeau was banned from FCW for cheating and malignant destructive political factionalism (mostly for the former, but the latter didn't help.)

Corbeau reached a new low point here. Absolutely no information at all, no source of information, and fabricating stories over things he knows nothing about. It almost seems his real goal is to start some war no one cares about. Maybe as revenge for getting banned for cheating.

:arrow: Fact check:
What really happened. An expert hacker-cheater who has cheated many times before, and banned for it, came on again under an alt/multi account using what later proved to be an IP/proxy hiding scheme. Freeciv-web gamemasters have total power to observe everything and DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE GAME. Their goal: to make FCW games above slander and toughest on cheating of any other server (i.e., why Corbeau was banned for it.) Remarkable behaviour was looked at more closely, greater investigation expanded on the target. A full audit came. Absolutely conclusive DIGITAL EVIDENCE was found for really bad cheating.

Steps taken:
1. The player was banned.
2. The hack was closed off.
3. The game proceeds now in complete health.
4. It's starting to look like it will be one of the most fun and epic games in freeciv history!

I can't even respond to any of this other stuff, it is so far out of the solar system of truth. If you are on this planet the sun looks like a tiny dot. If I found a half-truth I could correct it to a truth. But there isn't even a half-truth there.

To sanitize people's minds from propaganda slander: Horsemen has nothing to do with any of this. FCW is dedicated to very well-balanced games, especially in the context of providing the most massive multi-player experience in all of Freeciv. Part of that entails very careful balancing of early start context, in a game where the goal is all the players who join in the first 10 turns will be roughly equitable.

Quite the opposite of what he claims, Freeciv-web has done amazing steps to enhance the dynamical character of mounted units! The tactics, strategies, features, abilities, special tactics... a whole new level of depth, realism, and fun! More than ever before, tactics in-game begin to resemble ancient battles. Mounted units are greatly enriched in our developmental ruleset. They remain completely standard in our "purist" ruleset.

Freeciv-Web is proud to announce excellent progress in our goal to become the only server free from such hate politics and now with strongest anti-cheat controls of any server, and highest standards of integrity. Such as: we are the only server with non-participant gamemasters who have the full ability to inspect and catch these people who cheat.

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Re: Freeciv Longturn Web - The gossip section

Postby Corbeau » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:51 am

So none of that happened, it was just a dream...

Only, was it Corbeau dreaming being a caterpillar or a carterpillar dreaming it was Corbeau?

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Re: Freeciv Longturn Web - The gossip section

Postby wieder » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:27 am

Ok I need to make few comments.

1) Corbeau didn't give sources
2) Lexxie game no proof of the cheats and didn't tell what actually happened
3) in longturn.net games the admins are not observing everything since we consider this invasion of privacy
4) edit: longturn.net has virtually no cheating incidents. This is opposed to what Lexxie was implying. Freeciv is a very robust game (native client + server) but certain extensions may not be that. Longturn.net is not using those extensions.
5) Freeciv-Web has this problem because of multiple reasons and one of top reasons is the open participation after the start. The game was not designed for that
6) longturn.net also has game admins who do not play
7) people are free to tell us what we do wrong and we will not ban people for doing that
8) we have been using automated tools for making sure the game is fair
9) for most part our players understand how normal game mechanics allow features that may appear to magic or unrealistic for someone. In most cases people dimply forgot how many moves certain units have, how units can be transported or how you can hurry stuff. No magic.
10) we don't accuse the players for cheating if they find an undocumented feature like unit fortifying on a ship. Some less documented features are part of the game and not part of some secret playbook telling the admins what is allowed and what is not.

For the final comment, unlike Freeciv Web the longturn.net admins do not turn off or hide the server logs when someone is accused of cheating. The players can actually see who is playing, when and for how long. Our system is very transparent.

Our goal is simple: we want to play nice Freeciv as longturn games with other people.
Last edited by wieder on Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Wahazar
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Re: Freeciv Longturn Web - The gossip section

Postby Wahazar » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:14 am

About cheating, we have words against words here.

But this horsemen feature introduced recently is an absolute bizarre thing and contradiction to grandiloquent mp2 style declaration:
Don't favor or disfavor different styles of play

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Re: Freeciv Longturn Web - The gossip section

Postby Corbeau » Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:25 pm

wieder wrote:4) longturn.net has no problem with cheating opposed to what Lexxie was implying

This reads like "LT.net is fine with cheating", but I think Wieder meant that there are no such cheating problems on LT.net :)

Anyway, I didn't accuse anyone of cheating. I simply listed events that undoubtedly happened:
1. A player tore apart the admin and its allies by a quick and early horse attack
2. The admin-observer discussed in-game diplomacy while being an admin-observer demanding that the player stops his war
3. The player was then banned
4. Immediately after that a new feature penalizing early discovery of Horse Riding was introduced

I'll let everybody make their own conclusions.

I'll just state some more facts: Zoltan and Wieder are considered the best players in LT. They are both banned. Zoltan because he did stuff he really shouldn't have, Wieedr because... he annoyed the FCW admin by giving suggestions how to ma games better. I am maybe not in the top 3, but I guess I'm among the top 10% and I was banned during an interesting in-game situation, neighbouring the admin, under a formal reason of distributing the illegally obtained map that half the players already had.

Again, I'll let everybody make their own conclusions.

As for cheating accusations, if the reason was that someone was playing more nations, I am inclined to doubting it. Using VPNs or stuff like that is as far from being a "proof" as possible and I'm pretty sure FrecivWeb is not tracking other people's computers in a way that couldn't be intercepted by simply using private/incognito window or stuff like that.

And actually the only mistake I'm making right now is prolonging this discussion and diverging attention from really constructive efforts of creating and playing new games. LT48 is starting in a day or three, several players said they love the new ruleset so I invite everybody to drop by and have a look. So I'll stop with this now. I rest my case because I have no further info to share and I'm done repeating.

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Re: Freeciv Longturn Web - The gossip section

Postby Lexxie » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:43 pm

Because of FCW's greater popularity and more advanced features, we get premeditated political attacks from a group of 3-4 banned players who feel threatened by FCW's growing success. Corbeau is one of this group. I meet new people who are mistrusting. Later I find out it's because of his misinformation campaign. Falsehood is doing community damage to greater freeciv community.

I apologize that Corbeau and his 2-3 other banned players allied together for misinformation campaigns. I am sorry they try to drag the rest of the community into a divisive spirit. It breaks open source solidarity and collaboration. Others tell me always: they want to see factional politics STOP. They want us to not even respond to it. I apologize to them that FCW feels forced here to stop misinformation from breeding itself.

I ask us to get together to find a way to end this nonsense. I ask everyone to pressure these people to stop.

~*~

FCW likes to grow a large friendly community. We are succeeding. We are currently the largest Freeciv community! We have made progress at making a more pleasant community. Curing the toxicity caused by 2-3 players is succeeding, after they were banned. Many of our players now personally laugh and joke with each other whether they are in-game enemies our allies. It's a relaxed fun environment. We feel greater security and protection from trolls and cheaters. More can be done and we'll aim to keep improving.

To get banned takes a significant effort: repeatedly obstructing and damaging our server and its goals. Our goals are simple: grow a community of people who enjoy playing freeciv in fair games in a pleasant environment, free from the small minority of 2-3 trolls who try to dominant all airtime with noise, false gossip, and false negativity. If you are banned, you were defiant of many friendly reminders about our published rules. These are reasonable rules: "be polite, don't cheat, no multi-account, no hacking, no abuse/spam/harrassment", etc.

OK time for next :arrow: FACT CHECK to the latest round of falsehoods. First, do these claims come from a very reliable unbiased source? Maybe not: the source is a player banned for cheating who is visibly and irrationally hostile in every media channel he speaks.
1. "A player tore apart the admin and its allies by a quick and early horse attack."
:arrow: FALSE.
a. Actions which can't legally occur are not considered to actually take place in the game.
b. The actions which did not legally take place were rather basic, not "tore apart".
c. The actions did not take place on "the admin and its allies." They happened on 3 players. None of these players were allies. They were isolated victims of cheating. NOTE:Admin powers belong fully to a Gamemaster. Players in games don't have admin powers. Any admin actions or investigations not done by the Gamemaster are under full submission to his authority and requests to do so, or not do so.
d. The three players illegally damaged by the cheats had no allies involved in any of the incidents.
e. The illegal actions were not a "quick early horse attack." The cheating violations which resulted in ban were completely different in nature. As for any later invalid actions which cannot legally take place after a cheat, they were not "quick early". They occurred in the early-mid game (early Monarchy) stage. Once again, these were not valid actions which took place because the player was already conclusively known to be cheating prior to it. Actions against a cheater are not usually executed immediately after a player is caught cheating (read more about this below.)
f. Some of the "invalid actions" did involve 2 horsemen. These took place at a time where the cheater nation was already forfeit and the incident had already escalated to more people in freeciv admin/management. Prior to any events Corbeau speaks of, the whole situation is already in Zero-Dark-30 -- anti-cheating commandos are focusing in to neutralise and obliterate the incident, to preserve maximum game integrity. Banning a cheater immediately would have resulted in the actions in question never taking place. However, this is not how dark ops work. It's similar to catching a drug dealer on the street and watching him longer to study the techniques, catch the others, and find the boss.
g. All this is completely unrelated to experimental patches being tested (not in this game). Those patches are related to balance mechanisms for the ultra-early first turns of the game and are completely irrelevant and unrelated to cheating enforcement. They may attempt to balance the ultra-early phase of the game. If those patches were in this game -- they weren't -- they would be completely irrelevant to this incident AND HAVE NO INFLUENCE ON IT.

2. "The admin-observer discussed in-game diplomacy while being an admin-observer demanding that the player stops his war"
:arrow: HALF-TRUE. The true part here is not told. The cheating player had already been under observation for many turns of cheating at this point, and caught in massive hacking cheats of the worst kind. VERY IMPORTANT POINT: once a player has cheated, he is RETROACTIVELY FORFEITED from the game. No actions he took after the cheat are valid. No holdings are valid. No units are valid. No status is valid. No discussions or diplomacy are valid. Nothing is validly a real game event or component at this point. Everything about the cheater and his nation is in a judicial state of indeterminate non-existence. Zero-dark-30 ops for maximum surveillance of evidence, studying techniques to close the cheats, find complicit conspirators, etc., all that is in the process while the cheater believes he is actually playing the game. It's waiting for the Gamemaster to collect information and decisions for how to preserve maximum game integrity.

Very important: After cheating is proved, everything goes "Zero-Dark-Thirty". Every action is only about concluding information collection and taking actions for game integrity. At some point later in this Zerk-Dark-30 phase, the cheater will be contacted. This typically goes one of two ways:

a. COMPLETELY CONFESSIONAL and comes forward with everything in an apologetic cooperative way; including giving full information on which hacks used and which damages were done. Cheater may get lighter sentence and be allowed in future games.
b. DECEITFUL DENIAL. Often the cheater will also try to defend his reputation by trying to distract away from himself into a political attack on the server, gamemaster, or its admins. It's the kind of thing you'd expect from dishonest cheater personalities, acting like the spoiled child who blames others for his wrong actions. In this case, the cheater is deemed a deceitful and hostile uncooperative entity. He loses all rights to know what we know about him. In real-life, the bank-robbers ask "but how did you know it was us, how did you catch us?" Well, they have to prove it in court and show evidence. Then they go to prison and discuss the evidence which showed them how they were caught. They invent new ways for "they won't catch us next time." Sorry but it's not like this in FCW. If you're caught with conclusive proof, we aren't teaching you how to refine your technique next time. Very opposite: we're guessing your next try and setting a trap to catch it. All FCW admins, gamemasters, and others who review the evidence are under strict confidence, knowing that the war against cheating is dark ops warfare.

3. The player was then banned
:arrow: TRUE. FCW bans players for cheating. Many of these same players are on other servers and not banned. At FCW we will do our best to keep you safe from these players. So far, we always catch them. And our tools for doing it are continually getting more sophisticated. We can now get proof that make the decisions come a lot quicker with less delay over uncertainty. Remember, we knew this guy was cheating well before the ban.

4. Immediately after that a new feature penalizing early discovery of Horse Riding was introduced
:arrow: Irrelevant but HALF-TRUE. An experimental patch for our experimental dev ruleset was released for consideration and testing. It is not part of any of our ongoing games. It has no in-game mechanical effect on anything or any penalties in-game. Also, it is completely unrelated to anything in the game where the cheater was caught and banned. Since this is unrelated I will put some info on it in a different post.

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Re: Freeciv Longturn Web - The gossip section

Postby Lexxie » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:22 pm

As I said above, our experimental patch is completely unrelated to all that nonsense. Some may be interested still in the patch, so I'll just give some plain facts about it.

FCW is constantly releasing on almost daily basis, new improvements to all aspects of the platform. It's not related to anything else except improving the system.

BACKGROUND:
For a few months, a project is underway to try to solve a sub-optimal situation. As a web game getting web traffic, 95% of potential new players arrive at a time when one of our ongoing games is not in Turns 1-3, and they want to play. The greater Freeciv community loses a huge number of new people this way. They arrive at a time when there is no fair start. What to do about it? We want to balance the first 10-12 turns to be equitable start for all. Also we want to grow community size and diversity of game types to such levels, that there will one day always be a new game to join whose turn # is less than 12...

This project will not apply to Team games and games with fixed number of starting players. These types of games will start happening as we hit some critical mass population. I believe we may have our first game of this type very soon! (Fixed number of players players on T1, no late-join gold or other types of T10 equality patches needed or in effect.) Yay!

Back to the other games. Others in freeciv administration committee, and other players not in committee, have been discussing to stop losing the majority of potential new players because of this issue, for quite a long time.

Let's talk about it. This requires several factors to be balanced. Lua scripting will allow us to differentiate these very soft minor patches for early equal start, to not be a factor in the team games. The motive is to tune a fair and equal start for all.

Ideally, if it were magically possible, the players in the first 10-12 turns of joining get some kind of compensation bonuses roughly equal to the turns lost, with no other side effects. Everyone would be perfectly equal and happy. This is currently set to 10 gold per missed turn. This is another area of the project that is being discussed for later optimisation.

The major issue though, is stupidly simple. Even a complete noob can combine late-join gold or other things such as scientists, ability to change settler production to horsemen, etc., and other factors I don't care to say, to make an undesirable scenario:

There is a problem that can be exploited with Stone Age horsemen raids, if one sacrifices different mechanics to the max. One can do a suicidal strategy that will never result in victory in a game of 50+ players, to strike against late-joiners around T5+ who have no way to handle it. It works in reverse too, regarding a late-joiner coming at T5, getting the tech in 4-8 turns, and exploiting that extra gold against someone who joined at T1. The wealth inequality isn't used as intended to catch up in time, but is rapidly exploited against a player who has not yet had the time to gain from his head-start of 5 turns.

In any case, it's a dual suicide-homicide strategy that takes both players out of the game. No reasonably good player would do it, unless PERHAPS the case of a good player who is malicious to use multi-account cheating to target some other nations. The timeline for executing it and getting the result is so rapid, it puts Gamemasters and cheat investigations under a lot of pressure to act fast for keeping game integrity.

Let's also anticipate the future a little. As FCW population grows and new players are now always finding a game to join, what do you think starts to happen? Well, time for a few prophecies! A greater majority of noobs and population at large will have a non-serious attitude when playing a game for the first time. "F- it, longturn is slow. Let's see if I can attack and kill!!" Bored experimental aggression to get some violent action right away! A greater number of games will be full of these bored aggressive noobs. I'll let you imagine games with up to 25% of the players being this way.

What to do? So far the solution has these goals:

GOALS:
1. Do not alter any in-game mechanics, values, costs, statistics. Don't mess up lots of other mechanics to patch a rare problem.
2. Leave ALL legit strategies in place. Don't create weird new strategies or exploits as a result of the solution.
3. Be soft and subtle in reducing/eliminating this problem while keeping all valid play intact.
4. Softly guide these games toward a balanced healthy games: all players making it past the first few turns before chaos happens.
6. A better overall quality game.

In this case, the super-fast rush of horses on a neighbor nation who may get enemy horses invading his nation a turn or two after he just joined the game around T5-T12, ... this is NOT an element we feel makes for better games, or will be greatly missed if very slightly discouraged. Note no actual rules have changed so everything is as possible as before. Mostly, we want to only discourage but NOT prevent, a psycho suicide-homicide strategy that takes two nations out of the game. The lua script is a very gentle way to fix this WITHOUT changing tech costs, unit combat stats, making any other heavy-handed changes with side effects much stronger than the minor and relatively rare problem that should be fixed

PROPOSED SOLUTION:
* note this is experimental/alpha/test case developmental thing
- If a player gets horseback riding on T14 or sooner, Stone Age humans are wildly big-eyed and impressed. OMG! Those tribesmen are riding WILD BEASTS! News spreads fast and locational information about the country who discovered it is published in-game. In short, the first nation(s) to get Horseback Riding have made something like a Great Wonder, with same effect. Travellers talk and gossip about it. It's amazing.

ADVANTAGES of proposed solution:
1. No game mechanics, costs, values, statistics, or anything else are altered.
2. No other legit strategies are altered. T14 is specially tuned to avoid second tech discovery being announced in 90% of cases, while still catching the 90% of cases like someone joining at T5 and getting it in 8 turns.
3. The solution is "soft and gentle" -- it still allows all game play to be possible, just softly discourages this one exploit.
4. The problem situation should be greatly reduced but not eliminated. It might fall short a little bit here, but it can also be interesting to have advance warning of it and attempt to adapt. You are still at a disadvantage with Warriors vs. Horsemen, after all.
5. Let's face it. Stone Age horsemen raids à la Huns, Turkic tribes, Mongols, did not happen until much past the Stone Age. In most game strategies using horsemen, they are not meant to come this soon in a suicidal strategy, but slightly later at more historically real time period.
6. Gamemaster has advance information to look for multis quicker and prevent game damaging occurences.
7. Overall result: a very narrow case of super-early horse rush is not banned or restricted, just discouraged. All other game mechanics are left in place. A bit of excitement and drama enters the game to still allow the exploit and allow yourself to try to defend from it (albeit at a disadvantage.)

DISADVANTAGES
1. Non-suicide horsemen-first strategies are somewhat discouraged/nerfed (but still possible).
Though these are rare, it deserves hypothetic thinking of these cases.

This proposed change has elicited some initial lack of consensus. We'll see if it passes approval after more debate, elucidation, education, possible modifications/improvements. Currently, most controversy is coming from people who don't play at FCW and are not part of any collaboration team. However, there are some in favour of it who still feel uneasy about it, and think of it more like a "lesser evil" and would prefer to find a "pure good" solution. Once again, this would not affect fixed-start games which we will be featuring.

As a reminder, this is all only in experimental test status. It takes time to think about and feel some inputs from others. A challenge is currently in place for a solution which better meets Goals 1-4. Those goals may change as greater insight on other factors collaboratively collects itself.

One last thing: Expert early horsemen strategies are completely unaffected by this. Noobs who aren't good at early horsemen strategies might actually adapt toward more expert early horse strategies. The net result may therefore be, a greater prevalence of early horsemen raiding. Please don't believe non-expert players who say this is a conspiracy to favour or force people into a 'farmer style' of play. ;)