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Thread: [Official] Gameplay Survey

  1. #21
    webba84's Avatar Artifex
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q1: Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?
    Less frequently now than before and usually only as a result of being careless or making an error in a crucial battle. I dont particularly like how in RTW in general, and especially in a lot of the harder mods, this sort of setback can happen very easily at the start of the game but the loss of armies after a certain point becomes meaningless due to your economy having reached critical mass.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?
    An artificial revolt I would find about as annoying as you can possibly get, especially in this type of game. It basically penalizes the player for playing well which is counter intuitive to begin with and it removes player agency by rendering them powerless to prevent or mitigate it. If my faction is to suffer setbacks I want it to be a result of my mistakes/carelessness or through the skill and power of my opponents. Not because the regions controlled counter ticked over to 21.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?
    I generally enjoy slow forward progress, not necessarily territorial expansion, but also appreciate that a campaign without setbacks or challenges is quite boring. When you are pushed to the brink and emerge victorious is when it is the most fun. I do, as mentioned above, dislike how in RTW games it seems like you only ever get pushed to the brink near the start of a campaign. I would prefer it if the danger and setbacks were slightly fewer in the first 20 odd turns but persisted over the entire campaign. I realize this is very hard to balance in RTW.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?
    I got stomped by Harad the first time I played the New Shadow IIRC, Also made some poor choices when starting a Stainless Steel late Byzantium campaign, again all the peril was in the first few turns. I cant recall any other times my mistakes caused me to actually fail the campaign, although I did once lose a game of XGM because a faction on the other side of the map actually achieved their victory conditions, which is the only time I have ever seen the ai manage that. I think if you set up the victory conditions carefully (so they are not all mutually exclusive) it could be a good element in the late game, though you would want to inform the players well. Does RTW have a system which lets you know if an AI is about to win, or does it just happen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?
    Absolutely acceptable, and one of the best ways to get a variety of different difficulties in a campaign without having to use the RTW balance destroying difficulty settings. And since the campaign is not multiplayer in any way there is no reason to balance each faction to exactly the same degree of power. Though I do prefer factions that have lots of buildings and units to keep busy with I dont mind if said buildings and units are underpowered.

    I dont mind ai factions being given bonuses to make up for being ai factions as long as it remains plausible during the campain. If Minas Tirith is being assaulted by a full stack of Dunlender Pikemen every turn it quickly becomes both boring and immersion breaking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?
    I think without a real chance of failure there is very little point to even playing. Victory is only sweet when it is not assured.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?
    It depends very much on the mod and will change over the course of the game depending on how the ai goes and if a hostile ai faction manages to op itself. Assuming a faction that starts with 3-4 territories only (about the smallest Ive seen) by the time I have doubled that to 6-8 I am feeling pretty safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?
    Occasionally, but I much prefer it when I dont have to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?
    Its a lot harder to find the motivation to keep playing after that point, for sure, and usually only some self assigned goal will keep me going (like recapturing the entirety of the roman empire). Its not just the critical mass though, when you have a lot of cities, armies and agents going around your large empire and you are fighting 3-4 mostly inconsequential battles a turn the rate at which the game progresses slows to a pace I find painful to try and push through. I like the things I do to be significant, and the consequences speedily manifest.

    Hope that helps!

  2. #22
    Civis
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Here are some questions aimed to help us understand how players play and like their campaigns and what expectations they have of them. Feel free to add anything you consider relevant to the topic, it will help us design an interesting and challenging campaign for DoM. The questions pertain to vanilla RTW, released FATW modules and any other TW mod you have played.
    I think I added some stuff long long ago, like back in 2010. Now it's sadly been more than a year since I last played RTW in any form.
    And any TW game at all, never really liked any of the new ones.....






    Q1: Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?
    Not at such no, I'm a very methodical player and tend to play to economical game, making me have problems early on but then outgrowing my opponents by stronger economy and higher tier units. It's a hard struggle in the early portions of the game and then fun in the mid-part when you can finally go on the offensive.
    And then shortly after that it gets boring because the enemy can no longer resist you.
    The only "setback" is when another faction finally works their way up to you, since the AI in this game is all about total war. Meaning it's you against everyone else. As soon as an AI-faction that isn't hardcoded to be in alliance with you gains a border with you, he will concentrate totally on you and create a ceasefire with everyone else (and those factions will respect that if they also share a border with me).
    One such example is Ithilien.
    Haradrim works their way up from the south and starts fighting with Adunabar. But if you, as RK, take adunabar, then the feud between Adunabar and Haradrim will immediately stop and they'll suddenly be best friends in their attempts at wiping you out.
    But that is so predictable that you have to plan for it, so it isn't a "setback" as such.

    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?
    I hate artificially created things like that, that I have no control over. I would consider that a cheap trick employed to mask a flawed AI that can't otherwise compete.
    See tv-tropes "the AI is a cheating bastard" page.
    A weak faction leader negatively affecting other characters would be fair though, since that is a mechanism that I can see and control (usually by having said weak leader have an accident).

    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?
    I enjoy hardships as long as they aren't artificially created to compensate for a weakness in making the AI competitive. I enjoy picking a weaker faction and fighting against the odds, where the AIs bonuses lies in him simply having more and larger cities, better units etc, rather than artifical difficulty created by giving it "invisible" bonuses that for example will make a considerably weaker unit win over my much more powerful unit in a straight fight.
    Some setbacks, such as suddenly facing a new enemy, is enjoyable.


    ---


    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?
    Yes. Usually because of bad luck, bad moves, failure to realize the opponents plan etc. Usually when I start a new faction and am not sure what the enemy will do. Their behaviour is greatly influenced by what faction you are playing, since they will always concentrate on you.
    If you play RK, then Dunland will come swarming in from the mountain pass in the north and go all out for you. But if you play as Rohan, then they'll never go south of the mountains, instead always going east to attack you.
    All AI factions have the player as the main target and other AI factions will only be fought against if they don't share a border with the player.
    With TNS, all factions are winnable, at least on normal difficulty.
    And I severly hate playing at harder difficulty, where the AI just blatantly cheats. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing your MaA get slaughtered by a unit of adunabar swordsmen in a one on one fight on a wall.


    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?
    Most definetly acceptable that some factions are weaker than others. Playing them gives more of a challenge, especially since it mean you can get a hard game without giving the AI unfair bonuses. And in the same manner, I find AI-specific bonuses to be distasteful and a sign that the AI is severly lacking in the I-part.
    I very much prefer if the AI instead gets starting bonuses, like more cash, more population, more advanced cities etc.
    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?
    If there isn't a risk, then there isn't any fun. If I always want to win then I might as well just change the text files and give me unbeatable units. The fun lies in fighting the odds. If I want an easy fight, I will pick an easy faction.

    ---

    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?
    Depends on what faction I'm playing. Sometimes I don't need to control any more cities than what I start with in order to reach that point, as long as I can develop those cities while the AI isn't developing his. I particularly hated this in RTW: Vanilla, where the AI would recruit low tier militia units and send them at you in large enemies, while I struggled to defend my cities and build them up. Then once I got some higher tier units and attacked the AI, his cities are at the same level as when they started. The AI had spent all his money on recruiting units and those units had sucked up all his population which decreased his tax base and trade incomes, making him even poorer, and with a decreasing population due to recruitment his population growth became lower and it goes into a vicious circle and the AI factions (especially the ones starting with a border to you) will have an economy that is weaker than what he started with, despite not losing any cities.
    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?
    I tend to tinker with the text files so as to suit me, one good example I have found is to turn off spies, diplomats and assassins. The AI can't use them properly anyways and it stops him from spending money on them. Another thing, which works due to the problem stated in Q7, is to actually increase the recruitment time for low-tier units.
    That means the AI can't recruit crap units as quick, giving his population a chance to grow and have more cash over to build up his cities with, which actually makes him more of a challenge.
    But yes, I tend to follow some rules, such as not to exploit the AIs stupidity in battles too much, especially in sieges (I once earlier asked for all cities to have perfectly square walls, with a tower in each corner (meaning the entire wall setup is a square, with 4 long straight walls and 90 degree angles in the 4 corners, just because anything harder than that and the AI becomes confused).

    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?
    I have never, in any TW game, actually won a campaign. I reach the point where I can just outproduce my opponent, send an army and use auto-resolve, build another and send it, and another.
    And somewhere there, when there is no longer any resistance, there is no longer any fun.
    My greatest gripe about RTW, in all the forms that I have played it, is that it's hard (and enjoyable) early on, and then it just becomes too easy because the AI doesn't keep up in the technology race. He just goes in for low-tier units and hopes that sending hordes of crap at me will help him win, when it should be clear to him after the first couple of failed tries that that tactic isn't going to work.

    Ironically,that means that the best campaigns are usually those where I'm separated from my foremost enemy by another faction that fights solely against me and ignores the other faction which can build up in peace and then eat his way through an undefended back when he is strong enough to take me on, which have been hampered in my build-up by being constantly under attack from an opponent that hasn't evolved his tech or economy but spent all his resources on a futile offensive against me.


  3. #23

    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Hi, thank you for this great mod! Hope this helps:

    Q1:
    Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?

    I usually lose if I try to take on too many enemies at once. What will happen is my armies will be busy fighting one faction while another faction sieges and takes my cities.

    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?

    I would not find an artificial revolt fun at all. It would break my immersion and generally I dislike mechanics that punish the player for doing well. Having a weak faction leader negatively affect other characters would be great. I have always wished that the strength of my faction leader would affect my faction more.

    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?

    I definitely like suffering setbacks as challenge is what makes the game fun.

    ---

    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?

    I usually lose campaigns when I make mistakes during the first 10-20 turns. For instance, losing my first few battles or losing too many generals.

    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?

    I wouldn't personally play a faction with little chances of victory but I am ok with them existing.
    As for AI bonuses I find financial bonuses to be fairly inoffensive. What I don't like are immersion breaking bonuses like the AI being able to magically pull troops out of nowhere.

    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?

    A campaign wouldn't be fun if there wasn't a chance of defeat.

    ---

    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?

    For me 'critical mass' is simply a full stack of mid-to-high tier troops, as once I have that I can usually overcome most opponents.

    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?

    I try to avoid game-breaking tactics such as AI exploits, but otherwise I use whatever tools the game gives me to win.

    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?

    I usually quit as soon as I reach critical mass as the challenge is then gone.

  4. #24
    Agrippa19's Avatar Tiro
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Mods: played RS2, VI2, NI TW, ARISTEA, RTR, Extended Cultures, ROP, LOTR's (all m/m) huge unit size

    Q1. In RS2 though mainly only setbacks as Rome were the scripted revolts. Any blitz campaign would end up with you losing so may troops and holding so many undeveloped cities that I would instantly all these cities again with little troops to defend the save counter attack. Which has caused many setback, but good ones. The kind that make you play more tactically and realistically.

    As Ptolemys though only setback would have been mid game that even though I had a decent empire the Romans had a huge one and seemed to be uncontrollably send legions against me. It seemed to be a force that could only be dealt with by expanding west and destroying Rome completely whereas i wanted an eastern empire so this was kind of annoying. Ended in a huge stalemate as I was just about holding them off and could never get a ceasefire.

    In VI2 as the Men of leinster I had just about secured half of ireland but an incredibly small army and undefended settlements left me vulnerable to the ui neill and a sea invasion by marauding vikings.

    Q2 I think big loyalty and adminstraion penalties to all characters a good solution to an uninspiring/ lazy/ gulttonous/ mad leader.

    Q3 Prefer making slow progress, but big setbacks CAN be fun, as well as incredibly frustrating. Just got to find a balance. As long as there is a reward for time taken to build cities I enjoy surprise invasions or losing settlements because the player used blitzkrieg tactics.

    Q4 As the men of leinster, and surprisingly Wessex also. Men of leinster because the player simply just has to slog out the first 15 turns and taunt the vikings to attack up the hill killing 2 or 3 stacks before you can eventually take the first city without resistance. Completely overpowered militarily otherwise.

    Q5 Yes, I like the inequality between factions and some tending to die off first. Giving the AI some extra troops but poor troops with high morale to stiffen resistance but armout and weapon bonuses are annoying. A little extra money is good but not a sigificantly high amount. say maybe 20-30% extra is more than enough.

    Q6 Yes but not if it means factions become more ruthless towards the player specifically for no good reason

    Q7 Twice the strength of the next strongest faction who is in turn two or three times stronger than the next.

    Q8. Yes all the time. Turtle then big conquest with troops prepared for invasions. Or else counter attack invasions. All armies must have a general to move. All settlements outside original 'homeland' must be held for around a generation (15 years/ 30 turns) before becoming recruitment centres. Play faction as close to the FL's traits as possible. eg. kind lower taxes and only occupying settlements/ cruel high taxes & extermunation and so on.

    Q9 I try to but once a faction seems to reach the highest level in any mod the job just always seem to be done? I can never enjoy a factions elite units and kingdom as I seem to know that just about any conquest I decide to go on will be achieved. Every faction at this point seems to only be surviving at my will and is truly incapable of fighting back. This is the point where it stops getting enjoyable

  5. #25

    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Does answering these questions matter even though it has been a long time since they were posed?

  6. #26

    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey


    Q1:
    Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?

    I've lost a city early as Beornings, mostly because I didn't realize how urgently I need to raise an army.

    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?

    I'd only be okay with an artificial revolt if I had already expanded broadly, to be honest. Such a thing would make sense for an Empire that has annexed many other territories - such as the Beornings anexing much of Dale. Mostly though I'd like shifts in the balance of power and large factions focusing on me to be reasons for setbacks.

    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?

    I think I'd enjoy more later in the game, it gets to feel kind of easy past some point.

    ---

    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?

    I haven't, I may have if I stuck with my first games of having no idea what I was doing as the Beornings. More successful games ended in crashes.

    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?

    I like the idea of some factions being harder, but ideally I think every faction should have its positive traits - things they excel at possibly above others. I like the idea of a weak faction having the potential to blossom into a major power - with much effort and perhaps more risk of uprisings.

    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?

    I prefer a chance of defeat, the late game becomes stale without it.

    ---

    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?

    Not sure, the longer games were as Dwarves, and their armies are...different.

    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?

    No.

    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?

    Usually a little longer after it is hit.
    Last edited by Galgus; April 02, 2015 at 02:44 AM.

  7. #27
    Tiro
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Q1: Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?

    Other than Rhovanion in the earlier betas I generally do not suffer any huge setback. Minor setbacks usually occur when an enemy army unexpectedly attacks me, usually breaking some alliance with me.

    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?

    Artificial revolt - cheap trick. Weak faction leader affecting everyone else - I do not think it would be fair. I would assume that various faction members who are often apart for years at a time would be less affected by someone, unless they actually lived with them. The Emperor Tiberius was not the most inspirational leader but Druses and Germanicus backed him up anyway when the Rhine legions wanted to revolt after the death of Augustus.

    Reasons for Campaign setbacks: Mistakes on my part is a good one. Events beyond my control are very frustrating.

    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?

    In general, I prefer to make some slow forward progress. Setbacks are fun if I have a chance to recover, especially if I do not screw up.
    ---

    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?

    I have lost a campaign when I first got RTW since I did not know what I was doing. I was well on the way to losing with Rhovanion in earlier Beta tests because I was too weak, had weak units, and not enough money or population, but the issues appear to be fixed now.

    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?

    I am ok with smaller factions and larger factions at start. It would be better if all factions have a shot at victory. I would prefer that the AI not receive significant financial or military balances at start, other than to cover for some ai idiocy. A small financial boost would be appropriate and the military boost I believe should be units that they can currently recruit rather than units they cannot yet recruit.

    As far as minor factions - If I am playing once I would like the option to "convert" to a major faction - where extra units/city improvements could be "unlocked" once I get to a certain level. For example, in the 4th century BC in the western Mediterranean Carthage, Syracuse, Etruria, and Tarantum were the big players. Rome, Massalia, and others were small, minor powers. I find it fascinating to start as a one territory wonder, like Rome was, and start to grow from there. Rome, in this case, would be fascinating because I would probably be doing much of my initial fighting with mercenaries and town watch, and work up to ever better units, like Triarii and post Marian units. My complaint with RTW vanilla is that minor powers, like Thrace, have a lousy temple selection (in my opinion) and they do not have a lot of standout military units. Rome as a 1 territory wonder would be fascinating because the temples are more useful and eventually you can have Urban Cohorts and Pretorian Cavalry. Rhovanion is not quite as interesting because, while the at start situation is a challenge, surrounded by many stronger powers, their unit roster always consists of mostly rubbish units and their are limited building options. Rhovanion would be more interesting to me if, after fully developing their standard buildings and/ or occupying some specific number of territories I would unlock some "tier 2 major faction" buildings which would allow me an extra selection of higher tiers military units (probably a mix of some Rohan and Rhun top tier units to match the mixed heritage) and some extra building boosting public order, population, and income.

    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?

    Chance of real defeat - unfortunately for my nerves - yes. I prefer to have a chance of victory. Setbacks are ok as long as whether I win or not is out of my control.
    ---

    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?

    Depends on the game. In general - If my cash is positive every turn and I have a full army of my preferred units in each province or two along the border (depending on province size) with a couple of spare armies in reserve then the game becomes a lot easier. The "machine" is set up and it is only a matter of time before the end. Even my latest Rhovanion game has sort of gotten to this point, although having to stop and recover a cash reserve will take time while being pummeled by large armies of Rhun is tedious.

    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?

    In Vanilla and some of my mods - Sometimes - I will wait for an enemy to attack rather than jumping on other factions immediately. Since the AI always attacks the player anyway I know I will be at war eventually. I change my mind if the idiots leave a settlement without a garrison within reach of an army of mine AND they are not allies, or the non allied faction is getting too big/close to victory.

    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?

    Critical mass - most of the time I end up stopping because I know I will win AND the faction was irritating in some form (color combination, unit selection, whatever). When I like the units, the color, the building selection, and the base culture I tend to play until the world is mine. In the New Shadow I kept on rolling on as the RK until Rhun's last settlement was conquered. They horded but I won anyway. I was disappointed because I had 3 rings of full armies around their last settlement ready to contain the enemy horde and I was looking forward to seeing if my plan would work.
    Rhovanion does not interest me as much - culture is ok, but orange is not my favorite color, building selection is not as good, and most of their units are rubbish. Scipii in vanilla RTW, greeks in Vanilla, Germans in Vanilla, Eastern Roman Empire in BI, Franks in BI I played to victory but not to world conquest because, while the factions were fine and if the color combination offended me (Greek Cities) or the building selection was not as good (barbarian factions) I stopped because there were some mods I wanted to implement to cover deficiencies in the faction rather than continue working around them.

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