Is Erfworld winnable?

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Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby Omnicrat » Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:50 am

I was having this argument with a friend recently (now) and she thinks that, within the confines of the rules, it is. I, personally, feel it is quite obviously not, but can't remember any specific examples. As a note, by winnable I mean the achieving of a One World Side without the use of arkentools or exploits. The Shell of Haffaton is viewed as "not good enough" by this person, nor is the existence of diminishing returns. In fact, the severity of diminishing returns is exactly what started this argument. I think it is brutally punishing, she does not.

After a quick google search, I found that there wasn't a single place on the internet where this question was asked, and was flabbergasted. So, I put it here: Is Erfworld winnable?
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby Shai_hulud » Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:59 am

Define exploits.
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby No one in particular » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:08 am

I would say it depends on how much time one would want to devote to actually pursuing the goal, and how strict the definitions for "WIN" are.

I mean, I can think of a way that could work, without 'Tools and in spite of diminishing returns.

Step 1: Make allies
Step 2: Conquer cities
Step 3: Spin off new sides to avoid diminishing returns
Step 4: Conquer more cities
Step 5: Repeat until all cities in Erfworld belong to you, your allies, or your splinters
Step 6: Have allies / splinters turn their cities back over to you.

Step 6 is where things get tricky. Friends may have decided they liked having a side of their own. We don't know what it takes for the crown to be passed (do you have to be in the same hex? the same room?). Etc.

Additionally, there's the issue of how long does one need to maintain control over everything? Does this hypothetical Winner need to maintain all these cities for 5 Turns? Or will Erfworld go *DING!* and roll credits the moment the last city is claimed? Heck, does it have to be one side? Maybe having an Alliance that controls every city would be good enough for Winning.

Personally, I'm still partial to Erfworld actually being like Civ or something, where the win conditions are about building up your society and not ruining/controlling everyone else. Parson + Ace = Scientific Win!
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby Omnicrat » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:17 am

Shai_hulud wrote:Define exploits.


Stuff like Charlie covering the cost of his vast and powerful empire by having other sides pay his upkeep. Things that were clearly not intended by the Titan's when they made the rules.

No one in particular wrote:I would say it depends on how much time one would want to devote to actually pursuing the goal, and how strict the definitions for "WIN" are.

I mean, I can think of a way that could work, without 'Tools and in spite of diminishing returns.

Step 1: Make allies
Step 2: Conquer cities
Step 3: Spin off new sides to avoid diminishing returns
Step 4: Conquer more cities
Step 5: Repeat until all cities in Erfworld belong to you, your allies, or your splinters
Step 6: Have allies / splinters turn their cities back over to you.

Step 6 is where things get tricky. Friends may have decided they liked having a side of their own. We don't know what it takes for the crown to be passed (do you have to be in the same hex? the same room?). Etc.

Additionally, there's the issue of how long does one need to maintain control over everything? Does this hypothetical Winner need to maintain all these cities for 5 Turns? Or will Erfworld go *DING!* and roll credits the moment the last city is claimed? Heck, does it have to be one side? Maybe having an Alliance that controls every city would be good enough for Winning.

Personally, I'm still partial to Erfworld actually being like Civ or something, where the win conditions are about building up your society and not ruining/controlling everyone else. Parson + Ace = Scientific Win!


I'm not certain of her specific parameters, but it has to be something where one side gets all the cities. And I doubt that alliance trick would work. Its similar to an infinite caster trick one could do (assuming pop rate is relative to casters had) except where you want the final step to be "my ally gives my half of the casters back" it is instead "my ally breaks alliance and crushes me with their caster might." If you try to claim your allies as your own, and push the issue, they will balk at best, break alliance at worst. And the odds of none of those sides having ambitions of their own and siding up with the coalition to take down your super-alliance before then to ensure they get to keep on keeping on is low.
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby No one in particular » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:55 pm

Omnicrat wrote:I'm not certain of her specific parameters, but it has to be something where one side gets all the cities. And I doubt that alliance trick would work. Its similar to an infinite caster trick one could do (assuming pop rate is relative to casters had) except where you want the final step to be "my ally gives my half of the casters back" it is instead "my ally breaks alliance and crushes me with their caster might." If you try to claim your allies as your own, and push the issue, they will balk at best, break alliance at worst. And the odds of none of those sides having ambitions of their own and siding up with the coalition to take down your super-alliance before then to ensure they get to keep on keeping on is low.

*shrugs* You said you wanted A way to win, not a SURE way to win. The rules and WIN conditions of Erfworld, from what we've gleaned and what we're guessing, don't seem like they're set up to be easy.

Here's the thing, though, about my plan there (for all of it being simplistic & relying on the incredibly unlikely idea of "Sure, you can have my kingdom!"); it is within the rules of Erfworld.

There are no 'Tools involved. There are no rule exploits. It's just playing the game.
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby ftl » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:44 pm

It seems like it's possible. The main ingredient you need is some way to make units that don't take upkeep. Pliers are one way, but aside from that, Golems are another. Start with a regular side with a Dollamancer, Dirtamancer, and a Turnamancer. Dollamancer and Dirtamancer to spend their days manufacturing golems of various sorts. Turnamancer to turn casters from defeated sides. Then you have time on your side - the longer your side lasts, the more golems you'll have. Then just... slowly expand. Avoid getting coalitions formed against you, play nice with everyone, try to only gobble up sides when they're falling apart anyway so you don't get a bad reputation. Make sure not to overextend yourself - only take cities when you have far more golems than you need to defend them. Slow but steady wins the race.
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby jeffseadot » Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:31 am

If we define "winning" as "all cities in Erfworld are controlled by one side and/or its allies," and diminishing returns is an issue, then the trick would be to have as few cities as possible. A campaign based around razing cities would be the way to go, although there's no telling just how many cities there actually are. And that wouldn't even be foolproof, since royal barbarians (like Jillian) could exist and restart their sides (we'd also have to decide where this kind of thing stands in our definition of "win").
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby Xarx » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:59 am

Has it ever been established that golems have zero upkeep? That seems like it would be kind of game-breaking. If so, why wouldn't dollamancers and dirtamancers spend every spare bit of juice making golems every turn?
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby drachefly » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:21 am

As far as I could tell, that's what Jetstone and GK actually did.

Also, there may be materials requirements. That could be the bottleneck rather than juice.
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby Citric Thoughts » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:01 am

There is a potential process whereby you could manage to take over Erfworld, similar to what has already been described.

1: Build a large and successful side.

2: Create an unbreakable magical contract with an underling, then spin them off into a new side that is absolutely loyal to you, also requiring that all their successors sign the same contract.

3: Repeat, combining the might of your armies into a coalition. With everyone bound by unbreakable magical contracts, there isn't much concern about betrayal.

4: Conquer Erf.

5: Everyone reunites with the original faction.


The main issue here is that if the original faction dies for any reason, it's over. Also the contracts may not be as unbreakable as we think, and the rules may dictate that this is somehow unviable.
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby jbevermore » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:59 pm

in Civ (which I have a bad habit of comparing this game to) once a nation reaches a certain size they're almost untouchable due to the resources they can draw on.

Erfworld seems to be that almost in reverse, large sides get large armies but become financially unmanageable. Maybe it's a size cost where over a certain number of cities they don't generate schmuckers but rather cost them?
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby Shai_hulud » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:48 pm

I like the OP asks if the game is winnable without "exploits" being used, but then says the definition of "exploit" is anything that would allow you to win. Catch 22?
So... can a game be won while also not being won?
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby ftl » Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:03 pm

Omnicrat wrote:
Shai_hulud wrote:Define exploits.


Stuff like Charlie covering the cost of his vast and powerful empire by having other sides pay his upkeep. Things that were clearly not intended by the Titan's when they made the rules.


Just a comment - we have no idea what was or wasn't intended by the Titans.

Think back to Parson's game with his gaming group. He INTENDED for them to find some way to break his game and win despite all odds. Just because something is hidden and hard to find doesn't make it unintentional!

Which brings us back to the fact that we have absolutely no idea of what the Titans MEANT erfworld to be like. We only know what it actually *is* like - and we can see that it has rules with lots of loopholes and exploits.
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby ftl » Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:16 pm

drachefly wrote:As far as I could tell, that's what Jetstone and GK actually did.

Also, there may be materials requirements. That could be the bottleneck rather than juice.


I've been thinking about that, and wondering - if Golems really are an option for this, why isn't there already a golem-based side taking everything over?

One possible answer is that this strategy requires playing for the long game rather than the short game. You have to make yourself temporarily vulnerable for quite some time before you become a powerhouse. And even afterwards, you have to have pretty extreme patience.

Jetstone and Gobwin Knob both sent their golems out to battle as soon as they could. This makes sense - there are lots of short-term objectives, so why not use golems for them? But this makes it so that they never built up that huge critical mass of zero-upkeep golems. (If that is how the rules work after all.) But to build up lots of golems to defend your cities with zero upkeep, you really have to build them up for a long time without deterioration. A war will deplete golems faster than your casters can make them.

So you have to play really, really safely early on - make sure you don't use golems for anything to build up their numbers. That's hard - sides fight for survival, after all, and it's hard for a ruler to justify not using powerful troops when they're needed.

And even afterwards, you have to play safely - use your huge golem numbers as a *deterrent*, because if you actually start having perpetual wars, even if you win them with your golem army, you'll lose golems faster than you can replenish them. So this requires being a pacifist side with a huge army. You have to watch your friends in neighboring sides die, knowing that you have the army to save them, but that you're unwilling to use. Not easy!

And fundamentally, I think it requires *wanting* to take over the world and structuring your strategy accordingly. Looking back at the comic, most rulers don't seem to want world domination! Olive did, Wanda does, but other than that, do we really see characters plotting to take over the world? I say not really. Sides want to survive, and being big and powerful helps with that, and sometimes they have particular enemies who they want to crush. But we don't see Jetstone or Transylvito plotting a long-term strategy for how to take over each other. So that could be another reason why nobody's taken over the world yet - because it's so rare for sides to actually devote their strategy specifically to a long-term take-over-the-world plan, and because the long-term strategy for world domination does not flow naturally from the short-term strategy of survival and small conquests.
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby drachefly » Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:31 pm

Well, you'd still be able to help your allies with those units you're compelled to produce that do have upkeep. If you use upkeep-free golems purely for defense, that leaves you plenty of other units to go on the offense with.
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby Lilwik » Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:55 pm

ftl wrote:I've been thinking about that, and wondering - if Golems really are an option for this, why isn't there already a golem-based side taking everything over?
I strongly suspect that golems aren't nearly as overpowered as decrypted even if the golems have zero upkeep. Naturally golems have costs to making them both in raw materials and juice, so a side can only build up its army of golems slowly, but it could be worse than that. Perhaps golems don't get repaired for free at the start of their turn like living units, and instead require some other unit to make the repairs. They might at least require shmuckers to be spent when they get start-of-turn repairs. That way golems would be free as long as they aren't used, but as soon as golems see combat they become expensive enough as to not be overpowered.
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby ftl » Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:10 pm

Hmm, that seems possible. That would be a pretty significant weakness, and also would be something that hasn't come up in the comic yet because we've only seen golems in 'capital' fights where there really isn't any time to heal the wounded. I like it.
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby Lamech » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:51 pm

Erfworld is designed to be unwinnable if you play the way you are "supposed to". By that I mean, you have a capital side, maybe with some supporting natural allies. You fight with things you pop from those cities and the casters support them. Maybe you spin off sides, similar to how T.V. did with Jillian and FAQ, no super layers of thinkamancy.

That is a losing option. One side will get too big, too quick and be taken down by all the little guys. As big as Haffaton was, they didn't even encompass the whole world involved in this war. And they didn't play by the rules. They got as large as they did by a swarm of super-casters, plus what I suspect was heavy use of flower-power powered farms.

But what if you don't play by the "rules"? Well for starters forget city shmuckers. Cities don't make you cash. You hunt or farm, or mine if mines replenish. Cities pop units when you need more menz and food when you don't. You want to make as many enchanted items as possible. No upkeep, but they power you up. If you can reduce the upkeep cost of a unit, you do it. Count Twopotato's idea to make the Gumps produce radishes? That's a damn good idea. Basically you want a set up where you make all your income (not just shmuckers those are only one resource) from hexes. Dragon taming+harvesting, gardens like Olives (but with more food and less poison) and the like.

The problem is that this requires a fundamentally different mindset than what Erfworlders seem to have. It requires thinking of a thousand turns as not all that long in the scheme of things. It requires thinking of major projects on an Earthworld time scale. It requires that one sees training for 700 turns as the equivalent of a two year degree, not a major accomplishment. Retirement happens after a 40 year commitment. Ruling the world is gonna take just as long.
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby Balerion » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:21 am

small thought on the golem side victory question: how many did charlie have again, in addition to his archons :)?

I mainly bring it up because he meets pretty much all the conditions mentioned for this to be able to work
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Re: Is Erfworld winnable?

Postby ftl » Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:10 am

http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/ ... mission_46

700 golems.

It's possible. We know charlie is building up schmuckers as well, but we still don't know why or what he intends to do with them (if anything). It's possible he's saving up for a massive capital strike on everyone, or something.

[edit]Oh, that update also gives a little reason to believe that Golems have zero upkeep - simply because it isn't mentioned when talking about the upkeep of the archons. If they had upkeep, it seems like it would have been mentioned when the update says

What did Charlie want? Money. More money, more reach, more security, more information. Archons were expensive units, costing a minimum of two hundred Shmuckers per turn for the weakest. The strongest were closer to five hundred. Everything Charlie did seemed to be in support of growing a larger and larger fleet of Archons. Not one of them could remember him stating any kind of ideology or purpose beyond that. (Charlie's Rule #15: Some things are more important than money. COROLLARY: Most things are not more important than money.)

since charlie had more golems than archons.
[/edit]
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