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Unofficial Fantasy General FAQ

Our troops enter the mystic cave and find... a FAQ



Unofficial Fantasy General FAQ v2
Last Updated: Feb, '98

Preface

Preface: This is the second public draft of a FG FAQ. There are likely many errors still. I'd appreciate constructive input, particularly if I've made an error, or in the spots that I mention are still unfinished. I'm hoping this will evolve somewhat from input from the friends of the FGC. Some parts of this, particularly battle trees, are from other people's input.

JULY 9th 1999: Nevr mind the updates, the FGC is archived. Still, this FAQ should provide you with good info. Seb.

Introduction

I haven't played it, what's it like? Is it any good?

It's great. The best place for general info if you don't own the game is the SSI-Online web site.

What is discussed by this FAQ? What is excluded?

In general, I'm trying to explore and clarify the game mechanics. This is NOT intended as a substitute for the manual, but rather as a supplement to it, and as errata for errors in it. There is a short section on strategy, but it's pretty basic, as I feel the best way to learn stuff like that is to play. There are a few tricks in there, though...

Where did the information from this FAQ come from? Is it accurate?

The information in this FAQ was figured out by observing the game. I haven't hacked the code, I don't have info from the publisher. It may be wrong, particularly as this is currently a kind of beta test FAQ. Comments, suggestions, corrections, and, yes, questions are welcomed. See information at the end of the FAQ.

Game Mechanics

Tactical information (on the battlefield)

Campaign management (outside of battlefields)

Errata to Rulebook

The rulebook is actually quite good, but it is occasionally inaccurate:

Skirmishers/ Light Cavalry in defense: (pg. 55, 56)

They take 1/2 damage to attacking units _as fast as_ or slower. If there's a morale penalty, it's very small. Much less than the morale loss they'd get if they actually took the damage, for example. Also, a clarification: apparently the probability of damage is halved, not the final damage. (This changes the probability distribution considerably; a 15 life unit will sometimes do 8 or 9 points, for example, though the mean can't go above about 6)

Spotting- 'The Spotting Trick' (see pg. 53/54)

If a unit moves into an enemy ZOC but not into an enemy unit, you get a free spot. You lose your ability to abort move but see enemy units within your unit's spotting range.

This has several implications:

You can never be ambushed if you move one hex at a time, cancel move, and then re-move to the next forward hex.

You can always find fleeing units(usually sky hunters for me) by trying a direction and, if you don't move next to the fleeing unit, aborting and trying another direction.

Is this Cheating?

It is my opinion that any game option other than reloading the game is part of the game, so is not cheating, although I'll admit this is getting iffy.

David [DWP] also thinks it's somewhat iffy, but thinks it is closer to cheating than not.

Make up your own mind. You might want to agree on this prior to PBEM games.

Retreating Pg.48

The manual claims retreating is based on "...current life and any losses..." yet I have seen a 15 life unit retreat. Something else is going on.

Unit pictures

Unit pictures examples are, well, way wrong.

Archers' defensive fire (pg. 46, 48, 56)

Archers don't get defensive fire against enemy missile attacks on units adjacent to the archer. This is not clear in the manual, IMHO.

Appendix 1 errors:

Valira has 17 armor, not 170.
Krindel's spell should be P, not PM.
Malkin's spell says VOD. (It's really Whirlwind -[PK])

Problems with the game:

Does the A. I. cheat?

(By cheat I mean does it do things with units a human cannot)

Yes. The AI will cast a spell(e.g. death wounds) early in the turn, I saw this in an all deaths unit(due to death wounds spell). I repeated to verify the unit always did only deaths. AFTER the unit which had had death wounds cast on it had moved and attacked the Conjurer moved. This is impossible for a player to do.

The Balanced Army check

Allegedly to force the players to have a balanced army, the A. I. goes nuts if you 'over-specialize' your army and research. I've seen 7 4-shield max grade units pop from a town when I had an unbalanced army on hard. I hate this. I don't know what the designers were thinking. If you want to force this, write scenarios needing varied unit types.

There is no good rationale why the Shadowlord should get cosmic recruits if you have a specialized army. This really pissed me off the first(well, as yet, only) time I played on hard. Do useless research and have a few token varied units if you want a specialized army, I guess.

Tactical Hints (basic)

Ideal matchups for attacking

Generally,

skirmish vs. melee
missile vs. skirmish
melee vs. missile

maximizes advantages. Also, Cavalry vs. Skirmishers(the unit type, not L.C.) is optimum. Most of the time you won't actually do this though. Like attacking like is usually the _worst_ matchup(!), although frequently necessary.

When casualties are acceptable

the less xp a unit has, the less it loses when it suffers a death. I'm less concerned about inexperienced units' casualties for this reason. Recruit to full strength ASAP, however, else you get effectively diminished xp for the rest of the combat...

Raise dead units make deaths close to irrelevant, however.

When should I cast force march?

Force March is a spell castable by Heavy Infantry. The simplest way to use it is to cast it before you move, which gives you two extra movement points. You may cast it before or after your normal move.

Sometimes it's best to cast it before you move, for example:

You start on a road, and want to move through two more roads, across two clear hexes, and through two more road hexes. The cost is: 2/3 * 2 + 3 * (1)(road to clear, clear to clear, clear to road all cost 1) + 2/3 =5

You can move there for five movement points, but if you split the move in half (one 3 move and one 2 move) you won't make it, as you won't keep the fraction of a movement point between the two moves.

More often, however, taking two separate moves is to your advantage. You can cross rivers in a single turn, or move through two squares of mountains.

Toying with the enemy: maximize your xp

Especially early, don't be in too much of a hurry to finish off your opponent. You can get lots more xp if you let units retreat and rest. (this can get very boring, however.)

What should I research?

Everything. Otherwise the computer will screw you over for having an unbalanced army. (grrrrrr.)

Of course, first get the stuff you use upgraded, but don't let your useless research lag too far behind.

The spotting trick

See errata. Questionably fair.

Which character is best?

All IMHO:

Early in the campaign: Marcas, Calis, Krell, Mordra
Late in the campaign: Krell, Marcas, Calis, Mordra

Krell is great late in the campaign because of Phoenix Hawks. Beginners should have an easier time with Marcas and Krell. Experienced players will have fun with the other characters. All of the above is arguable.

What Now?

Who wrote this, anyway? Who helped?

Tim Firman - Primary author
This article is Copyright © 1996 by Tim Firman. All rights reserved.

[SD] Sebastien Dupre
[DP] David Pollock
[KMW] Kum Ming Woo
[GD] Gary Durfee
[ML] Mike Lay
[PK] Pekka Karjalainen


Copyright © 1996 Tim Firman.
All Rights Reserved.