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Starting Attributes and Action Points Analysis

The purpose of this analysis is not to start an argument about starting attributes. Its purpose is to provide some numbers on the effects of some starting attribute choices so a player can make an informed choice. Secondarily, it shows some of the interrelationships among attributes.

There are two sets of comparisons based on the extreme ends of the attributes (attributes of 1 and 10). Each is a comparison of two starting characters with 11 attribute points, combined, in agility (AG) and intelligence (INT). The other 9 attribute points are assumed to be assigned identically by the characters to physical and accuracy. The general conclusion is that extreme attribute choices for agility and intelligence do not give an advantage over more moderate choices. I'll leave it to each player to decide what they will do with this information.

The assignment of a character's 20 attribute points to the 4 attributes (Physical, Agility, Accuracy and Intelligence) is, mostly, a matter of the player's style, i.e., what type of character you want to play, how you approach the game, etc. There are almost as many opinions on this as there are possible starting attribute combinations. Until you have played the game, it may be difficult to determine your own style. The game's default is 5 for each attribute, a balanced character. For the first-time player, you may want to play this character a brief time to get a feel for the game (in Story Mode), then restart the game with different starting attributes based on your personal preferences if you desire different attributes. (I restarted 3 times before I found attributes that I played to the end of the story. And, my next game, I started with different attributes. This is a strength of the game: there is no best set of attributes.)

Analysis assumptions:

  1. All characters have identical physical and accuracy attributes. This is a pure analysis of AG and INT.
  2. All characters receive +1 action point (AP) for having a light load (less than 50% of capacity equipped). This is almost always true at the beginning of the game.
  3. All characters expend all of their action points every combat turn.
  4. Effects of morale are assumed to be zero AP to simplify the analysis. The effect of morale on this analysis is small as it will apply to only a small fraction of combat turns.
  5. Starting Battle Experience (BE) is assumed to be zero. This is rarely true, but it does not affect the analysis.
  6. The analysis of weapon experience assumes that rifles are being used with aimed shots.
  7. A story mode game could take anywhere from 5000 to 7000 combat turns until the final events, depending on how often you fight, how fast you make money, and the size of your crew.

Analysis 1: Low AG and high INT characters

Character 1:

AG 1, INT 10
starting AP: 7 AP (+1 for light load) 8 AP total
11.44 Battle Experience (BE) per turn, initially.

Character 2:

AG 4, INT 7
starting AP: 11 AP (+1 for light load) 12 AP total
12 Battle Experience (BE) per turn, initially.

Character 2 starts with an advantage of 4 AP per turn.

Character 2 starts with a 0.56 per turn BE advantage.

Total number of combat turns needed for additional action points
Character 1 Character 2
+1 AP 140 34
+2 AP 513 280
+3 AP 1135 737
+4 AP 1847 1377
+5 AP 2686 2177
+6 AP 3633 3119
+7 AP 4672 4185
+8 AP 5791 5364
+9 AP 6980 6644

After +6 AP:

  • Character 1 has a 2 BE per turn advantage (20.02 vs. 18).
  • Character 2 has an advantage of 4 AP per turn (18 AP vs. 14 AP).
  • Character 2 has 57.03 more BE (57666 - 57608.97) after 3633 combat turns.

After 3662 total combat turns, both characters will have the same amount of BE.

After 3662 total combat turns, it would take Character 1 an additional 86,210 BE to gain 4 more AP, which is 148% more BE than has already been acquired.

After +9 AP:

  • Character 1 has a 3.31 BE per turn advantage (24.31 vs. 21).
  • Character 2 has an advantage of 4 AP per turn (21 AP vs. 17 AP).
  • Character 1 has 6957.62 more BE (129,616.62 - 122,659) after 6980 combat turns.

Conclusions:

  1. Increasing INT at the expense of AG does not improve a character's AP for high INT characters.
  2. It is uncertain if the higher INT character has an advantage in weapon experience. The higher INT character will receive 43% more experience per shot, but the higher AG character will reach the point of being able to take a second shot in combat sooner than the higher INT character which could give more total weapon experience.
  3. The higher INT character will have an advantage in intelligence based skills, like Doctor and Veterinary.

Analysis 2: High AG and low INT characters

Character 3:

AG 10, INT 1
starting AP: 20 AP (+1 for light load) 21 AP total
3.003 Battle Experience (BE) per turn, initially.

Character 4:

AG 8, INT 3
starting AP: 17 AP (+1 for light load) 18 AP total
7.722 Battle Experience (BE) per turn, initially.

Character 3 starts with an advantage of 3 AP per turn.

Character 4 starts with a 4.719 per turn BE advantage.

Total number of combat turns needed for additional action points
Character 3 Character 4
+1 AP 134 52
+2 AP 1151 445
+3 AP 3097 1191
+4 AP 5894 2256
+5 AP 9474 3613
+6 AP 13778 5234
+7 AP 18751 7099
+8 AP 9188
+9 AP 11483
  • after 1191 total turns Character 4 is 2 AP slower than Character 3 (21 vs. 23 AP).
  • after 5234 total turns Character 4 equals Character 3 at 24 AP per turn.
  • after 5894 total turns Character 4 is 1 AP slower than Character 3 (24 vs. 25 AP).
  • after 7099 total turns Character 4 equals Character 3 at 25 AP per turn.
  • after 9188 total turns Character 4 exceeds Character 3 by 1 AP per turn (26 vs. 25 AP).

Conclusions:

  1. Increasing INT at the expense of AG improves a character's AP for low INT characters, although this advantage will only appear at the end of the story.
  2. The higher INT character has an advantage in weapon experience. Both characters start with the ability to take multiple shots in a combat turn. The higher INT character will receive 3 times the experience per shot. The higher AG character will reach the point of being able to take a third shot in combat sooner than the higher INT character.
  3. The higher INT character will have an advantage in intelligence based skills, like Doctor and Veterinary.

Battle Experience needed for additional Action Points

This information will be helpful to those who want to check the calculations.

The amount of BE needed for additional AP is different for odd and even AG characters, due to the fact that formula for AP rounds to the nearest whole number:

(BE needed for odd AG) +1 AP = 1600 BE, 2 = 6400, 3 = 14,400, 4 = 25,600, 5 = 40,000, 6 = 57,600, 7 = 78,400, 8 = 102,400, 9 = 129,600

(BE needed for even AG) +1 AP = 400 BE, 2 = 3600, 3 = 10,000, 4 = 19,600, 5 = 32,400, 6 = 48,400, 7 = 67,600, 8 = 90,000, 9 = 115,600

Addendum:

Although it is beyond the scope of this analysis, here is the side-by-side comparison of Characters 2 and 4:

Character 2:

AG 4, INT 7
starting AP: 11 AP (+1 for light load) 12 AP total
12 Battle Experience (BE) per turn, initially.

Character 4:

AG 8, INT 3
starting AP: 17 AP (+1 for light load) 18 AP total
7.722 Battle Experience (BE) per turn, initially.

Character 4 starts with an advantage of 6 AP per turn.

Character 2 starts with a 4.278 per turn BE advantage.

Total number of combat turns needed for additional action points
Character 2 Character 4
+1 AP 34 52
+2 AP 280 445
+3 AP 737 1191
+4 AP 1377 2256
+5 AP 2177 3613
+6 AP 3119 5234
+7 AP 4185 7099
+8 AP 5364 9188
+9 AP 6644 11483
  • after 6644 total turns Character 2 is 3 AP slower than Character 4 (21 vs. 24 AP).

Conclusions:

  1. The higher AG character maintains a higher AP during the period under analysis.
  2. The higher INT character has an advantage in weapon experience. The higher INT character will receive 2.3 times the experience per shot. The higher AG character starts with the ability to take multiple shots in a combat turn. The higher AG character will not reach the point of being able to take a third shot in combat before the higher INT character can take a second shot.
  3. The higher INT character will have an advantage in intelligence based skills, like Doctor and Veterinary.
  4. Neither character has a clear advantage. The "better" character is a stylistic choice.

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