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In the past, Super Famicom Wars had been passed off as being imbalanced due to lack of 1HKing ability. When I wanted to remark that Advance Wars encourages passive play because of Light Tank self-countering, it occurred to me that Super Famicom Wars has an advantage for simultaneous strike: human players will never do tank mirror matches without blatant advantage because they will lose out.

However, SFW is full of chokepoint maps. The only halfway good one I found is the 4th map of New 2P Mode. At least it seemed that way, as it turns out to have STA. But before I had discovered it to have STA, it was proving to have promise as an okay map, although not the best with too much centralization on the bottom-center island. Still, you have to admit: as tanks simultaneous attack, they will never attack into each other even on Roads. The actual result is that they will simply move onto cover tiles where they can't be hurt as harshly, and simply disregard each other's mobility insofar as their own general safety goes.

Let's bring up a table of results for the 55% mirror match.

Light Tank mirror match results (rounded up by 2%)

ATK\DEF Road Plains Forest City
SFW Road 5-5 5-5 5-6 5-6
SFW Plains 5-5 5-5 5-6 5-6
SFW Forest 6-5 6-5 6-6 6-6
SFW City 6-5 6-5 6-6 6-6
AW1/2/DS Road 8-5 8-5 7-6 7-6
AW1/2/DS Plains 8-5 8-5 7-6 7-6
AW1/2/DS Forest 8-5 8-5 8-6 8-6
AW1/2/DS City 8-5 8-5 8-6 8-6
DoR Road (110 ATK) 8-4 8-5 7-6 8-5
DoR Plains (110 ATK) 8-4 8-5 7-6 8-5
DoR Forest (110 ATK) 9-4 8-5 8-6 8-5
DoR City (110 ATK) 8-4 8-5 8-6 8-5

Particularly noteworthy are the City and Plains stats. In Super Famicom Wars, you never want to do mirror matches unless you can back up your units with reinforcements or you are using a tech tank. A Light Tank can cover hop with Cities and then never get hurt efficiently during the early game. By mid-game, it's reinforced, and let me tell you: Light Tanks taking inefficient damage on Plains is also a boon. And if a Light Tank gets attacked by an Artillery piece before being engaged in direct combat, it still counterattacks any direct fire before kicking off. The damage is pitiful, but better than nothing.

Of course, with tanks being able to control the center faster, Artillery won't get time to pull a broken setup. Early center raid infantry will simply get shot at easily and safely. And there are Medium Tanks that can be used for the attacks from Road tiles. At the end of the day, SFW is fast enough that AA Tanks aren't as necessary, although them 1HKing would have been nice.

However, there are problems STILL abound in the game:

  • If Train Guns are around, expect a stalemate to happen. The Train Guns have too much self-countering damage, deal too much damage to everything else in their massive 2-6 range, and are so strong that the Battleship can't even contest them. I'm serious. Dig up the matchup damage values if you don't believe me.
  • Train Guns effectively work as emplacements as a result. Of course, having them as passive things is good to prevent train battles from ruining a map, but approaching them should be plausible.
  • Also, speaking of the Battleship, navy is another stupid stalemate. Submarines' 4 Movement Power means that Frigates can safely snipe them, and the Frigates just sit back because they just get killed by enemy Battleships otherwise. Ironically, a Battleship ISN'T a nightmare to afford despite its obscene cost, because enough money becomes easy to gather with the amount of safety the game provides.

TLDR versions of how units go in SFW:

  • Light Tanks are low risk/low reward.
  • Approaching indirect setups is still a farce though.
  • Train Guns are effectively emplacements.
  • Navy is a stalemate but Battleship is surprisingly safe despite high cost.

By the way, let's look up results of the mirror match of the Tank Hunter (effectively the Light Tank) in Game Boy Wars 3, assuming City for 30 Cover for the attacker, which is actually surprisingly standard in that game due to the improved mobility standards for non-range land units as a whole:

Attack Order\Defender's Terrain Road Plains City Forest
First Strike 9-6 9-7 9-8 9-8
Simultaneous Strike 8-6 8-7 8-8 8-8
Ambush 8-7 8-8 8-9 8-9

As you can tell, a City Tank Hunter is safe from mirror matching. The only way you won't lose out immediately is if you can get a terrain advantage AND first strike. (The latter is impossible on a vanilla ROM or cart because attacking doesn't provide a Focus bonus.) Even fulfilling both conditions, the City attack isn't worth it because you'd just have only 1 HP worth of advantage. That only happens in the AW games if you attack from disadvantageous terrain to begin with.

HP can, of course, change this, but that's another nice thing about GBW3's mechanics: low HP units are *COMPLETELY USELESS UNTIL REPAIRED*. Terrain Cover drops to negligible levels when HP is low, so GBW3's minimum attack power against 0 Cover units inevitably comes into play. But here's the real issue: the low HP units can't hurt anything on cover thanks to the subtraction defense. This means that suicide units are useless except for sacrificial blockading. Even assuming something like AA Tank VS Grunt, having only 3 HPs is terrible: you deal only 5 HPs of damage to a 0 Cover Grunt, and they're likely on a terrain tile, very likely giving off 30+ Cover, which would reduce that to 3 HPs. That is worthless on a microing attack turn, and that's from a matchup of base 17 HP damage. Much more frequent matchups have the 3 HP unit dealing less than 3 HPs of damage base, which even without Cover getting in the way can't be used for anything useful. So ultimately, troop care is expected.

Of course, it's not like the City Tank Hunter is invincible. 5 Range Artillery and easy deployment Bazookas still deal safe damage that gets through the cover, and a Gunship hit still deals 4 HPs of damage on equal level. Once the Tank Hunter's HP is whittled down, the Humvee doesn't have to fear taking as much damage on ambush and thus can hit the thing with a non-crippled attack. Of course, the Tank Hunter can go on a Forest and hitting it at 6 HPs or above is no longer beneficial for the Humvee without flanking, and 2 Bazookas will not reduce it below 6 HPs.

Naturally, this results in a choice for armor units:

  • Cities can be used against individual units via the regen (effectively +20 Cover per 100 property strength), but a swarm of anti-armor units will punch through.
  • Forests can be used against a group of weak ones by using the Cover to shut out their damage rates, but strong individual units will exploit the lack of regen.

MB Tank is more effective, by the way, if you don't mind paying double what you'd pay for the Tank Hunter.

Let's do two tables for comparison:

Tank Hunter

Attacker \ Defender's terrain City Forest
Humvee (First Strike, Plains) 7-7 7-7
Humvee (Ambush, Plains) 5-9 5-10
IFV (First Strike, Plains) 7-7 7-7
IFV (Ambush, Plains) 6-9 6-9
Bazooka 10-7 10-8
Artillery 10-8 10-8
Gunship 10-6 10-6

MB Tank

Attacker \ Defender's terrain City Forest
Humvee (First Strike, Plains) 6-8 6-8
Humvee (Ambush, Plains) 5-10 5-10
IFV (First Strike, Plains) 6-8 6-8
IFV (Ambush, Plains) 4-10 4-10
Bazooka 10-8 10-9
Artillery 10-9 10-9
Gunship 10-6 10-7

MB Tank is obviously not invincible, and in fact is less efficient so it ends up vulnerable to Humvee and Gunship raid, but it does resist range fire much better, especially since range fire units can't get flanking support.

Well, enough talking about statistics. The point is that when players are expected to know how to handle at least 3 forms of anti-armor, things take a big turn for the better. It doesn't have to be 3 specific forms, just that it's 3 minimum. If armor isn't rendered mindless under that expectation, then that keeps the game stable too. As long as the armor units can actually lead a charge attack without doing anything broken, that should neutralize FTA.

Now excuse me, I found some stuff looking through GBW3.

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