H4: Principles of initiative explained

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Rainalkar
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H4: Principles of initiative explained

Postby Rainalkar » Apr 26 2007, 13:00

Not a long time ago I posted twice asking for answers to some issues I encountered in H4. Most of those issues are now resolved (you helped me, or I figuered them out myself), but one bothered me so much that I tested it thouroughly myself (since no valid answer was given). This issue is the units' order of play in combat - more particularly, their order of play when they are of same speed.
While testing I admit that I was a bit surprised how complicated this actualy is (to me at least). I think I now understand how this works in H4 - however I am not really sure will I be able to express myself in an efficient way so that you can easily understand me but I will do my best. I will set out the entire principles of play order, with all factors affecting it, eventhough Gus Smetstad already wrote some of the rules, which Vlaad quoted in my Morale/Luck post.

Every round is composed of two phases: normal and wait phase. More so, we can divide every phase into three sections: good morale section, neutral morale section and bad morale section.

The general order of play is such:

For Normal phase:
Creatures/heroes which got good morale, in decreasing order of speed.
Creatures/heroes which got normal morale, in decreasing order of speed.
Creatures which got bad morale, in decreasing order of speed.

For wait phase:
Creatures/heroes which got bad morale and waited, in increasing order of speed.
Creatures/heroes which got normal morale and waited, in increasing order of speed.
Creatures/heroes which got good morale and waited, in increasing order of speed.

So far I think this is easily understood. Problem arises when there are 2 or more creatures with the same speed in any section of any round. In that case, three general factors are considered: attacker formation, defender formation, and slot positions of units of same speed.

Important: all that is written below is applied to Normal phase. In Wait phase, things are simply reversed.

If you look at the advanture screen, you will see that your army is composed of two rows of slots where your units are displayed: the upper row has 4 slots, and the lower has 3. Your army can execute three different formations: tight, loose and square. However, the order of play is dependent on the formation. Now, presume the following slot numbers:

For tight/loose formation the postions of units are
1 2 4 6
3 5 7

For square formation the positions of units are
1 3 5 7
2 4 6

How does this affect your order of play? For purpose of simplicity I will assume that morale never arises. Imagine the following example: you army is composed of 7 stacks of angels, and you are fighting 7 stacks of pikemen (or any other unit of lower speed).
In the case if you are the attacker, your angels (which are all of same speed) will execute their turn based on the slot they are placed into, and the formation of your army, starting from number 1 to number 7. They will all get their turn before the pikemen simply because they are all faster. The interesting point here is that the order of play is changed by formation you have selected.
In the case if you are the defender, however, your angels will still all play before the pikemen, however they will not play from 1 to 7, but the opposite, from 7 to 1! So we can make a general rule here:
If two or more units are of the same speed and in the same army, the unit with the lower number gets to play first if the army is the attacker; vice versa, the unit with the higher number gets to play first if the army is the defender.

There are exceptions to this, but they will be considered below.

Consider another example, or Gedankenexperiment : imagine the same army of 7 angels, but this time you are fighting an army which is also composed of 7 angels. In this case, at the beginning, you have two units (angels) of the same speed in the same importance slot (1 for the attacker, 7 for the defender). This situation is resolved by the following rule:
In the beginning of the round, if there are 2 or more units in attacker's or both armies with the same speed, the attacker with the lowest number will always get to play first.

So, this will be true even if the attacker has only one stack of angels in any other position but 1. He is the attacker, and he will always play first.

In general for the case with 7 vs. 7 angels, the unit order will be as such (A-attacker, D-defender):
1A 7D 2A 6D 3A 5D 4A 4D 5A 3D 6A 2D 7A 1D
So, the units alternate until the round is over.

Another example: imagine that the attacker has angels in slot 7, pikemen in 6, and the defender has only pikemen in 1. First, the angels, being the fastest unit get to play first. However, if we follow the rule above, the attacking pikemen should get to play before the defending pikemen (because 6A comes sooner than 1D) - but you guessed, this is not so. There is another rule here:
If 2 or more units are of the same speed, and they are NOT the highest speed to play in the round, the first unit to play will be the attacker if the defending unit has acted just before, or defender if the attacking unit has acted just before.

So, in this case, the attacking unit has acted just before, and this rule outmatches the slot position of attacking pikemen. Therefore, the unit order is 1. angels, 2. defending pikemen, 3. attacking pikemen.

Another example (only two more ): imagine that the attacker has angels in slot 1, pikemen in slots 6 and 7; defender has pikemen in slots 6 and 7. Angels get to play first, that is clear. According to rules above, defending pikemen in slot 7 play next. But, what now? Who plays next, 6D, or 6A? It should be 6D if we follow the order of play (slotwise) when we had 7 vs. 7 angels case, but this is not so.
In the case of 3 or more units with the same speed in opposing armies, after it is resloved which of them plays first, the order of play simply alternates. If it was the attacker to play first, it is followed by defender, than attacker, defender etc. until all units of the same speed have acted. And vice versa if it was the defender that played first.

And now the last a bit more realistic example, but it is still made up for testing purposes, you can try to figure out the order of play by yourselves by applying the rules above.

Attacker's army is in square formation and is composed of, by slots:
1. Hero (speed 9) with GM Tactics (+5), 2. Crossbowmen (2+5), 3. Angels (10+5), 4. Monks (5+5), 5. Pikemen (4+5), 6. Hero (9), 7. Hero (10)
Defender's army is in loose formation and is composed of:
1. Hero (7), 2. Angels (10+3), 3. Phoenixes (12+3), 4. Crusaders (7+3), 5. Crossbowmen (2+3), 6. Hero (9) with Exp Tactics (+3), 7. Pikemen (4+3)

The order of play is:











A3 Angels (15) - because the round beginns and the attacker is always in advantage
D3 Phoenixes (15)
D2 Angels (13)
A4 Monks (10) - because the defender acted before, and because their slot is stronger than of the A7 Hero.
D4 Crusaders (10) - because of the alternating rule
A7 Hero (10)
D6 Hero (9) - because the attacker acted before
A1 Hero (9) - because A1 is better than A5
A5 Pikemen (9) - because A5 is better than A6
A6 Hero (9)
D7 Pikemen (7) - because the attacker acted before and because D7 > D1
A2 Crossbowmen (7) - alternating rule
D1 Hero (7)
D5 Crossbowmen (5)

Well, I hope that at least expert H4 players will enjoy reading this. I think it is of uttermost importance for top play - me and my friends are already playing some very serious games (I wouldn't say that we can compare to the best, but we are improving) and already two games have been decided by order of play tactics.

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Postby Akul » Apr 27 2007, 6:13

8| WOW!!

Čestitam prijatelku na ovom istraživanju :)
(I congratulate you my friend on this exploration!)
I am back and ready to... ready to... post things.

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Postby BoardGuest808888 » Apr 27 2007, 7:03

That what make the game much more interesting, isn't ?

B-)

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Postby Rainalkar » Apr 27 2007, 15:51

Hvala, prijatelju, na pohvali!
All the tests mentioned are real and I did them, however the conclusion are (still) a theory based on my logic. So, I think I'll make a few more test when I catch some time (I still have to check some peculiarities that may appear between the rounds.

Yes, it does make it more interesting doesn't it? More strategic at least.

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Postby Robenhagen » Apr 27 2007, 16:17

Wow that is some serious work you've put in there :tsup: ... and the results are very interesting indeed.
I hope you'll post some follow-ups as you're research deepens.
I was lookin’ back to see if you were lookin’ back at me to see me lookin’ back at you.

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Postby Paladin » May 2 2007, 8:15

Very interesting - I was always puzzled by the order of action. Thank you so much for putting time and effort into this, so that this mystery is finally solved! :hail:

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Re: H4: Principles of initiative explained

Postby Siegfried » May 2 2007, 12:29

Rainalkar wrote:For tight/loose formation the postions of units are
1 2 4 6
3 5 7

For square formation the positions of units are
1 3 5 7
2 4 6

You're sure about that? As far as i know the formation is:
1 3 5 7
2 4 6
for loose and tight formation, and
1 3 5
2 4 6
7
for square formation. All examples for attacker. For defender it's mirrored. For tight and loose the odd numbers are front, and the even numbers are rear. The square formation i'm not really sure, could be
1 2 3
4 5 6
7
as well. The other two i'm sure.

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Re: H4: Principles of initiative explained

Postby Rainalkar » May 3 2007, 12:51

Siegfried wrote:
Rainalkar wrote:For tight/loose formation the postions of units are
1 2 4 6
3 5 7

For square formation the positions of units are
1 3 5 7
2 4 6

You're sure about that? As far as i know the formation is:
1 3 5 7
2 4 6
for loose and tight formation, and
1 3 5
2 4 6
7
for square formation.


This would actualy mean that it is the same and that it does not depend on the formation: considering the slots' appearance on the adventure map ofcourse. However, your theory does not comply with my tests. I could and will make some more testing by the end of the week anyway.

All examples for attacker. For defender it's mirrored. For tight and loose the odd numbers are front, and the even numbers are rear. The square formation i'm not really sure, could be
1 2 3
4 5 6
7
as well. The other two i'm sure.


I dont understand what you mean. What you wrote here for square isn't the same that you wrote above.

Oh, and thanks for the thanking guys :)

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Siegfried
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Postby Siegfried » May 3 2007, 13:51

I'm not talking about initiative, but about formation.

You wrote, loose and tight formation is:
1 2 4 6
3 5 7

And i wrote that loose and tight formation is:
1 3 5 7
2 4 6

As you can easily see by comparing these two, they are different.

Next, square formation. You wrote this is:
1 3 5 7
2 4 6

I wrote that it is either:
1 3 5
2 4 6
7
or:
1 2 3
4 5 6
7

Not sure about which of it actually is. But one of these two. It may well be that with initiative you're right, but with the formation you're wrong.

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Postby Rainalkar » May 3 2007, 14:45

Ah, now I understand. I refered to slot numbers ONLY for the purpose of initiative, NOT of deployment of units in combat.
As for deployment, for loose and tight the upper row is always the front row, and the lower row is always the back row in combat.
For square, the upper row SAVE the far right slot is front row (so, second slot from the left is the most forward placed unit), lower row is the second row (so, second slot from the left is the protected unit sorrounded by all others), and the far right upper row slot is the far back unit in deployment.

I guess it is a misunderstaning (I did write that my english isn't perfect ;)). I don't think that I wrote that the numbers correnspond to units' deployment positions - I chose them initiativewise, and that's the purpose of the entire post. Everyone can easily figure out how do units deploy based on where you place them.

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Postby Siegfried » May 4 2007, 11:12

Ah, o.k., understood.

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Re: H4: Principles of initiative explained

Postby Maciek » Oct 14 2015, 15:12

I have one thing to add. I've noticed that a hero with extremely high Initiative (1000+; can happen with scripts) and neutral morale may act before a hero (or creatures) with high morale but ordinary Initiative.

In my experiments, a hero with 1007 Initiative and no morale bonus acted before 'moraling' heroes with 6 Initiative, but after 'moraling' heroes with 8 Initiative. So, good morale seems to act like a temporary +1000 to Initiative (plus the well known 25% attack bonus).


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