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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:51 pm 
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You know, this story has gone so apeshit over the last 20-30 comics that I'm not sure I even care what happens anymore. The cast keeps growing and none of them are getting any play time, the plot meanders about with no direction, nothing that happened before gets developed, only new things are ever introduced.

I think Erfworld has gone stale. It has none of the love or charm it did when I was reading book one or even two. If there's something bigger going on, I can't see it, even the overarching plot seems to be completely stalled. Really, I think the story would've ended by now if there weren't so many people willing to pay a monthly fee to keep it alive. Because it's being kept alive in this manner it will instead go on forever, never really advancing.

I've never really understood why there were so frequent or long hiatus' for Erfworld. I think it might be because Rob probably understands that things are exactly as I described. He wrote a good story, it could've ended with book 1, but since it didn't, and grew into the successful property it is, he's really locked into continuing, possibly forever, just because it's earning him good money that he is dependent on.

I just hope the plot gains some coherence before I give up on it entirely. There's been some great bits, and I've been a fan for a while, but I feel like I'm watching a bunch of cliches fighting over who has the most style while absolutely everything plot related is driven exclusively by an invisible character known only as "fate".

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     Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:09 am 
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    Hi, but all you are saying here is that it is not your kind of story. Which is fine everyone has different tastes. But Rob and the artists have put great effort into the story. It is full of deep characters, consistent rules, mystery, and subtle references, and a plot that is unpredictable yet has enough fore shadowing at the same time. All of this is hard to do. Just stuff like the references could be time consuming, never mind ensuring rules stay consistent, and all plot points properly connect.

    I do believe that erfworlds greatest flaw is that book 1 is drastically different in style from the later 2. Many people who like the more direct and action driven story line of book 1, won't necessarily like the more character focused book 2 and 3. Meanwhile many people might like book 2 and 3, who will never get into it as they get turned off of book 1. I think this hurts erfworlds growth.

    I myself have liked book 3 the most. I think it is the best piece of literature, I have ever read. And it is the first time I have ever read a comic where I just didn't see the art as a visual story, but actual art. There is so much depth in everything.

    The core of the story isn't going to be about Parson doing tactical genius moves. Though that is what it seems like at the stories start. It is just a part of it. The story is about breaking erfworld by understanding its metaphysical, and characters learning to think independantly. And all of this about fate, carynmancy, dolls, thinkspace and towers are clues to how erfworld works. These are all mysterious that will lead to the methods of bringing change to erfworld. Like it or not, that is just what the story is. And it is all very well thought out, and well put together. But I can see why it isn't everyone's story.

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     Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:46 am 
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    While I don't feel as strongly about it, I think this is valid criticism. It shouldn't be so quickly dismissed.

    A story can be both character driven and well organized, and right now Erfworld does have some organization and pacing problems. The cast has grown so large that characters are explored a bit briefly and shallowly.

    The focus tends to jump from one brief exploration of a character to the next and I'm not sure I'm seeing those jumps form a satisfying pattern. I think the plot is moving forward adequately, but I can see how having the perspective spread among so many characters breaks the sense of momentum, coherence, and immersion.

    It's definitely not so bad as to bet worth dropping Tool status, but I do hope Rob has had some time to clear his head and decide on which story he most wants to tell. Maybe there's too many characters fighting for attention, or maybe it's a stalling tactic because he hasn't found the right place to focus?

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     Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:45 am 
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    gchristopher wrote:
    The focus tends to jump from one brief exploration of a character to the next and I'm not sure I'm seeing those jumps form a satisfying pattern. I think the plot is moving forward adequately, but I can see how having the perspective spread among so many characters breaks the sense of momentum, coherence, and immersion.

    Have you tried re-reading the current book recently? Say, from about the time Parson was captured? I did when updates started back up, and a whole bunch of details I hadn't noticed while reading individual updates suddenly all seemed to fit together.

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     Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:11 pm 
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    I think Book 1 is the tightest from a narrative perspective. Clear direction, clean narrative and a lot more showing and not telling.

    Book 2 the bloat starts to settle in and while the narrative structure is really just a reversal of the first book the mixed focus on characters driving the plot I think is why it didn't hit the high notes of the first book.

    Book 3/4 I thought was going to be a contender for the best book but the plot has started to absorb more of the bloat of the second at the moment and really seems to just be drifting into narrative no mans land.

    Book 0 I think is by far the worse book but then that potentially isn't a fair critique considering it isn't finished, is such a dramatically different style of story telling than the comics and also focuses largely on the worse character in the story.

    I am hoping Book 3/4 gets back on track I think when we get the official pages to demonstrate the break between Book 3 and 4 which confirms what the author has already announced. I'll go back and just read Book 3 and treat this Thinkamancer mind-meld cwap as Book 4's big opening mess but Book 3 without it seems fairly tightly written with a coherent narrative, good action and not as much bloat as book 2 but I'll wait for the official decision on when Book 3 actually ended to compare it to Book 1 for which one is my favourite.

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     Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:30 pm 
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    I've always felt that Wanda was the main character, so I've never really felt like the story has come to a narrative conclusion and then overrun it. As long as all the characters are clearly relevant to Wanda's story, I don't mind having a lot of them. Admittedly, I don't mind even (apparently) total digressions like the backer stories, those were great.

    There are a couple of different ways Wanda's story could end, and while I have my preferences, that's all they are. Wanda could totally end up going down as the big bad or as the sacrifice necessary for peace on Erf or whatever.

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     Post Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:05 pm 
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    Chiu ChunLing wrote:
    Wanda could totally end up going down as the big bad or as the sacrifice necessary for peace on Erf or whatever.
    Riding off into the sunset on sawhorse-back with Jillian?

    As to the point on the monetary aspect: creating a successful IP that gains enough fans willing to pay for more is the goal, man. Like, from day 1. Continuing forever is the dream. Rob didn't finish book 1, clap his hands together, say "Job well done! Now back to my day job," then suddenly realize people were paying him and he could capitalize on that with more stories.
    And why wouldn't we want more, forever? I do.

    Certainly there's nothing wrong with critiquing the pacing or coherence, don't want to get into that side of things (mostly because I feel both ways myself). The alternative to supporting per-update is simply to buy the books as they are completed. You can even read them first, for free, to see if you'd like to support the full purchase. If the real-world pace of releases is frustrating, stopping that method of reading is certainly the answer.

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     Post Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:26 pm 
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    I don't really like the shift of focus to Wanda being the main character. I started reading Erfworld because it was a comic about Parson Gotti. We hardly get to see Parson anymore.

    I think the Original Poster is right on the money. The doom was sealed when text updates were introduced. Text updates always trailed off into randomness. At first they at least focused on Parson, but then got more and more distant and obscure, describing feelings and emotions of secondary and tertiary characters, or characters that we aren't at all invested in.

    Like, there was an update that was written from Joe Spade's perspective. Other than it's a meme mix of David Spade and Joe Dirt, I have no interest in caring about who Joe Spade is or who unemployed free casters are. The only one I remotely care about is Janis, by extension of her connection to Sizemore. Literally the only dirtamancer I care about is Sizemore Rockwell. I want to see him become either more assertive, or completely broken by war. I want to see him stand up to Stanley, since they are of the same tribe (Plaid tribe, I believe).

    I want to follow Prince Ansom's story. Will he die? Will he turn back to living? What's going on with him and Jillian? I care about Jack Snipe and Maggie. Most of all I care about Parson's strategy gambits.

    As of now, Erfworld is full of hacks, that are being done by everyone everywhere, that Parson doesn't even matter anymore. In Book 1 it was satisfying to watch Parson be leagues ahead of every Erfworld tactician, just owning the noobs, Lord Hamster style. In book 2 and onward, everyone suddenly is a genius.

    We got Parson, Charlie, Roger, Isaac, Wanda, Jillian, Jojo, Marie, Janis, Caesar - all spinning their independent webs. While it's cool to watch at first sight, we're losing track of the protagonist's journey and development.

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     Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:20 am 
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    KonradKnox wrote:
    I don't really like the shift of focus to Wanda being the main character. I started reading Erfworld because it was a comic about Parson Gotti. We hardly get to see Parson anymore.

    I think the Original Poster is right on the money. The doom was sealed when text updates were introduced. Text updates always trailed off into randomness. At first they at least focused on Parson, but then got more and more distant and obscure, describing feelings and emotions of secondary and tertiary characters, or characters that we aren't at all invested in.

    Like, there was an update that was written from Joe Spade's perspective. Other than it's a meme mix of David Spade and Joe Dirt, I have no interest in caring about who Joe Spade is or who unemployed free casters are. The only one I remotely care about is Janis, by extension of her connection to Sizemore. Literally the only dirtamancer I care about is Sizemore Rockwell. I want to see him become either more assertive, or completely broken by war. I want to see him stand up to Stanley, since they are of the same tribe (Plaid tribe, I believe).

    I want to follow Prince Ansom's story. Will he die? Will he turn back to living? What's going on with him and Jillian? I care about Jack Snipe and Maggie. Most of all I care about Parson's strategy gambits.

    As of now, Erfworld is full of hacks, that are being done by everyone everywhere, that Parson doesn't even matter anymore. In Book 1 it was satisfying to watch Parson be leagues ahead of every Erfworld tactician, just owning the noobs, Lord Hamster style. In book 2 and onward, everyone suddenly is a genius.

    We got Parson, Charlie, Roger, Isaac, Wanda, Jillian, Jojo, Marie, Janis, Caesar - all spinning their independent webs. While it's cool to watch at first sight, we're losing track of the protagonist's journey and development.


    In Book 1, we didn't know about world. We knew about world as much as Parson knew, which was little and just enough to win a battle. Or just enough to win a fight by the edge of his teeth, or lose it close enough to survive another turn. Parson had to learn (or cram) just enough details on the fly to survive the battle and we, the readers, have been using Parson as our own POV character. In fact, the only reason we consider Stanley a somewhat good guy is because Parson was our original POV character. We knew only his thoughts and feelings, we understood his references, Charley was some distant mysterious character we knew nothing about, Pliers were some mysterious artefact we had no idea how it works and what to hell are scrolls? Or dance fighting? Or how trilinks work?

    But, and it is a big but, the real life is not one battle. It is not one victory, no matter how awesome. It is not one project, you have finished and was excellent at and can now sit on laurels for the rest of your life.

    Book 2 was still somewhat about Parson, only, this time, it was not about the discovery of new guy in the workplace having to learn on the fly to finish the important company project. It was about returning to that same guy not being new; he had learned enough about his job for it to become routine and boring. No big projects, no chance to shine, just dross and boredom of regular job, tiny things that need to be fixed, routine jobs, daily slog of waking every day and going to your 9 to 5 job. No challenge, no satisfaction. That's where the Book 2 starts: challenge is about to make a comeback!

    At the same time, it gets increasingly clear in Book 2 that the world is bigger than our POV character Parson knows or cares about. Should he care? Well, should you? Do you care about the politics of Netherlands or Hungary or Burkina Faso and elections they just had if you do not live there? And then, one day, you decide to visit one of those places and it turns out the party that won three years ago introduced new tax for tourists a year and a half ago and you were not informed. If you are in large corporation, do you care about what happens in some far away part of it? Do you know every person in it everywhere? Do you really care when an earthquake hits some part of the globe somewhere? Not much, unless someone you know is there. Monkeysphere or Dunbar's number hits again.

    Parson is at that place. The world is larger than he knows, he had his large victory, but then it turned out that the world is larger than that and that his victory is not as important in the bigger picture. It was important to actors that had to live (or croak) through it, but the world doesn't care much. And most people in the world do not care much, because they have their stories to tell, their own lives to live through. They are main characters in their own plays, with their own perspectives and thoughts.

    In Book 3 (and 4) we see what happens when you do not have enough informations about the world around you and have many actions by many people, each with their own dreams, desires and wishes, cause just as many if not more reactions. We see the struggle, we see the strife, we see the pain and anguish. And we learn more about the world.

    In conclusion, I like the way the books are going. It's the way any good book series goes: start with a self contained adventure, then make a setting which could house a thousand and one story just like that first adventure. The protagonists and antagonists change, but the adventure continues. If you want a self contained epic adventure, make up your own. Try to write one, and you'll see that it is at the same time harder and easier than it looks. The Erfworld setting can handle it now, because, through lot of love and effort, it grew large enough! And it is harder, because you have to think about characters and plot and, at the same time, it is easier because a lot of effort of someone else went into building the setting itself.

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     Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:43 am 
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    KonradKnox wrote:
    As of now, Erfworld is full of hacks, that are being done by everyone everywhere, that Parson doesn't even matter anymore.

    I think the story's actually leading in the opposite direction - that Parson is going to matter because of who he, personally, is - not because he can come up with some sort of super-hack to blow everyone out of the water.

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     Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:01 am 
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    In that sense, the end of Book 1 is a dramatic turning point in that it represents Parson's rejection of winning at all costs and rejecting the imposed 'morality' of Erfworld. He accepts Caesar's request to tone it down later not because 'boop' is intrinsically better than other words but because Caesar tells him that the other words hurt (hehehe).

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     Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:07 am 
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    Caprice wrote:
    KonradKnox wrote:
    As of now, Erfworld is full of hacks, that are being done by everyone everywhere, that Parson doesn't even matter anymore.

    I think the story's actually leading in the opposite direction - that Parson is going to matter because of who he, personally, is - not because he can come up with some sort of super-hack to blow everyone out of the water.


    Erfworld was always full of hacks. There were rules preventing them from being used. One of the enforcers of those rules was Big Think. Now that Thinkamancers are gone... Rules go out of the window. And when there is no rules, there is no game. There is a fight for survival, kill or be killed, every trick and hack is on the table.

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     Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:15 am 
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    youngstormlord wrote:
    Caprice wrote:
    KonradKnox wrote:
    As of now, Erfworld is full of hacks, that are being done by everyone everywhere, that Parson doesn't even matter anymore.

    I think the story's actually leading in the opposite direction - that Parson is going to matter because of who he, personally, is - not because he can come up with some sort of super-hack to blow everyone out of the water.


    Erfworld was always full of hacks. There were rules preventing them from being used. One of the enforcers of those rules was Big Think. Now that Thinkamancers are gone... Rules go out of the window. And when there is no rules, there is no game. There is a fight for survival, kill or be killed, every trick and hack is on the table.

    The Great Minds were one of the biggest hack users. They may have stopped many other MK residents (and other Thinkamancers) from engaging in hacks, but they still did it through major hacking themselves. They basically admitted as much when it came to MK treaties.

    Parson just figured out some new hacks that Erfworlders wouldn't (at least not many), having an outside perspective on things. Not a lot of Erfworlders experiment, even the ones in a good position to do so.

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     Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:20 am 
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    Caprice wrote:
    KonradKnox wrote:
    As of now, Erfworld is full of hacks, that are being done by everyone everywhere, that Parson doesn't even matter anymore.

    I think the story's actually leading in the opposite direction - that Parson is going to matter because of who he, personally, is - not because he can come up with some sort of super-hack to blow everyone out of the water.


    Part of the story is just about Parson's influence. Look at Charlie's new tower. It was created as a result of Issac trying to copy something from one of Parson's books. And look at the changes in wanda's thinking, and other characters around him. His lateral thinking is spreading.

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     Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:48 am 
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    Sir Dr D wrote:
    Caprice wrote:
    KonradKnox wrote:
    As of now, Erfworld is full of hacks, that are being done by everyone everywhere, that Parson doesn't even matter anymore.

    I think the story's actually leading in the opposite direction - that Parson is going to matter because of who he, personally, is - not because he can come up with some sort of super-hack to blow everyone out of the water.


    Part of the story is just about Parson's influence. Look at Charlie's new tower. It was created as a result of Issac trying to copy something from one of Parson's books. And look at the changes in wanda's thinking, and other characters around him. His lateral thinking is spreading.

    Gruh! Plagerising other people's designs is not an example of lateral thinking! That barely even involves thinking, let alone anything of the lateral variety.

    As for Wanda's example of "lateral thinking" that you're probably going for, most prison wardens aren't generally stupid enough to go and give their prisoners pointy objects, all willy nilly.

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     Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:09 pm 
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    A quote from the latest update, well indicative of the current state of the narrative.

    Yeah, I get it that now we're getting the bird's eye view on everything that happens in the world, but no, it doesn't make a good story to try to cover everything. It's too much. There's a reason I don't watch news 24/7 and take in more and more new information. I want to see the story as it was, within its frame, develop. The narrow frame grows wider and wider.

    What ever happened to the order of turns? Stuff that's being described now goes free of turns.
    Looks like inside magic kingdom, there is no turn based action, everything is happening in real time. Which really kinda kills the original point of this story. It doesn't feel like a strategy game anymore. The entire point was a world with rules like a strategy game. Now it's like, 50 shades of magic.

    When was the last time we actually seen a proper hex fight, stacked up units, actual turn based combat? It's been all telepathy games, mind-adventures, people jumping through portals, caster links with obscure-to-no purpose, out of turn spellcaster wars, and Wanda can't even figure out how to thinkagram Parson to include him on anything.

    Is there even a point in having turns, if all spellcasters are aware of real time combat, since they live in the MK?

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     Post Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:04 am 
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    KonradKnox wrote:
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    A quote from the latest update, well indicative of the current state of the narrative.

    Yeah, I get it that now we're getting the bird's eye view on everything that happens in the world, but no, it doesn't make a good story to try to cover everything. It's too much. There's a reason I don't watch news 24/7 and take in more and more new information. I want to see the story as it was, within its frame, develop. The narrow frame grows wider and wider.

    What ever happened to the order of turns? Stuff that's being described now goes free of turns.
    Looks like inside magic kingdom, there is no turn based action, everything is happening in real time. Which really kinda kills the original point of this story. It doesn't feel like a strategy game anymore. The entire point was a world with rules like a strategy game. Now it's like, 50 shades of magic.

    When was the last time we actually seen a proper hex fight, stacked up units, actual turn based combat? It's been all telepathy games, mind-adventures, people jumping through portals, caster links with obscure-to-no purpose, out of turn spellcaster wars, and Wanda can't even figure out how to thinkagram Parson to include him on anything.

    Is there even a point in having turns, if all spellcasters are aware of real time combat, since they live in the MK?


    There always was real time combat while still inside the same turn. The big game changer? Guns. They are the great equaliser here. Heavy gets killed by a predictamancer in one shot. Warlord gets killed by a predictamancer in one shot. A whole stack of infantry in ratatatatatum shot. And they are just one hack.

    That's why Great Minds were there, to prevent such hacks. That was one of their purposes. They did it to keep their own power, to keep the unstable equilibrium existing a bit more, but that was one of their purposes. When the rules break down, it all breaks down. And it was Predicted! Parson will break the world itself and it is happening now.

    And guns are just one of the hacks and tricks. Imagine Florists, with their chemical warfare. Whoever made RPG's, one of which took down Charlescomm from level 5 city to level 4. Tanks, airplanes, blimps etc are next. And possibly magical equivalents of nuclear bomb.

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     Post Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:39 am 
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    youngstormlord wrote:
    There always was real time combat while still inside the same turn.

    Right, but it's fair to note that most of the recent battles we've seen (including essentially nonmagical fights like Jillian vs Stanley) have been single-turn engagements, where the realtime component is effectively all there is. At most, "turn-based strategy" only comes into play with regard to the on-turn/off-turn/night distinction, and the timing of casters' juice refills. We're not seeing situations like in Book 1 where there's a besieging army N turns away and the defenders have N-1 turns to prepare defenses, engage the incoming column in the field, recall nearby units, and so on.
    Personally I'm not a big strategy gamer so I don't mind the shift away from this kind of action, but I can see how people who enjoyed that aspect are disappointed lately.

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     Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:20 am 
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    Caprice wrote:
    youngstormlord wrote:
    There always was real time combat while still inside the same turn.

    Right, but it's fair to note that most of the recent battles we've seen (including essentially nonmagical fights like Jillian vs Stanley) have been single-turn engagements, where the realtime component is effectively all there is. At most, "turn-based strategy" only comes into play with regard to the on-turn/off-turn/night distinction, and the timing of casters' juice refills. We're not seeing situations like in Book 1 where there's a besieging army N turns away and the defenders have N-1 turns to prepare defenses, engage the incoming column in the field, recall nearby units, and so on.
    Personally I'm not a big strategy gamer so I don't mind the shift away from this kind of action, but I can see how people who enjoyed that aspect are disappointed lately.


    That's the point of gun hack (or any other hack, like turnamancy): overwhelming advantage. There is no "next turn" strategy if there is no next turn for the opposing force. It's like in Civ 4 game: 10 medieval galleys vs 1 modern battleship. Battleship wins and it is not even a contest; there is no next turn for medieval galleys (to maneuver or fight) because they are slower, weaker, with much less firepower. Battle is over in one turn.

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    Last edited by youngstormlord on Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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