Poll man Rivian back with more polls. The topic I’m asking about today is regarding canto (which is more specifically called canto+ these days from skill systems), which is an interesting feature that made mounted units incredibly dominant in a few games its been in, but its quite a fun mechanic.
My question is, do you think canto+ should be implemented, and if so, how would you do it?
The only things I can think of are forced dismount indoors (very original I know) or just giving them really bad stats.
I’m almost always going to be a proponent for Canto+, even though it can easily make mounted units too powerful if not accommodated by the design.
That’s because Canto+ adds an extra layer of engagement when deciding movement and actions; it allows new hit and run or hit and hide tactics, it makes you consider terrain costs more closely, and it makes you reconsider the order in which you make attacks on the player phase. Ultimately, any mechanic or system that encourages you to make more meaningful and informed decisions is good for a strategy or tactics game imo.
Canto+ on every unit is definitely way too broken; standard Canto+ on all promoted cavalry is also busted. But still, I feel like there’s something interesting one could try? For instance, I’ve never seen anyone try and implement Berwick Saga Canto as a substitute for Canto+ in FE.
How Canto+ works in that game is that one can only use leftover movement after attacking if they took no damage during combat. This means that, if you oneshot, dodge, take 0 damage from a hit, or finish off an enemy, you will get to use your leftover movement. But, if you take any damage whatsoever from the enemy’s counter, you don’t get to use Canto. This removes one of the more busted aspects of Canto, which is a cavalier chipping an enemy and allowing another unit to attack from the same adjacent space right after it: a hit and run of sorts, making for easier gang-ups. Now, if you want to go for the hit and run and play, the hit must be against an already injured enemy, so no more charging and hiding out of range of infantry.
I personally prefer the idea of giving Great Knights or great knight equivalents canto+ instead while all other mounts get regular canto, because that feels like a way to give them something over other mounts whenthey generally always have less move.
Canto+ is really fun, but it is also really broken. It’s one of the main reasons mounted units are the meta of the Jugdral and tellius duologies, and it makes it far too easy to kill someone and get away with it. I’d go for “Yes canto, no canto+”.
I’ll be honest, I was fully expecting most people to prefer to not have canto+ altogether (though I think it might be due to my ambiguous use of the word canto, which I meant to be the definition that is now known commonly as canto+).
Berwick’s canto is very interesting, that does make it more fair since it makes for a poorer opening attack.
Despite playing TRS I don’t really remember how canto was done differently, was it due to the fact that canto is gained over time instead of immediately? That does sound like another viable option.
The perfect question to give an answer to as in my current project i have it so all mounts have canto+ but have the same move as foot units and atleast in my own opinion it has worked very nicely in the grand scheme of class balance, of course it is simply one way to go about it.
edit: should also point out foot units in said scenario have 6 > 7 > 8 move in respective tiers
I think the problem with Canto+ is that it reduces the amount of meaningful decisions a player has to make. You no longer have to commit a unit to a space to make an attack, one of the most important decisions the player has to make each turn. When you no longer have to make this commitment, there’s a lot less reason to use defensive units over offensive ones, for instance. No longer having to weigh the choice between using a unit’s turn to rescue a vulnerable ally versus using their action to do something else is another example. Canto+ just makes a unit a lot more self-sufficient, and in a rock-paper-scissors game that mechanically emphasizes the power of friendship, too much self-sufficiency undercuts the game’s other mechanics.
That said, I’m not going to completely write off Canto+ altogether. Even overpowered abilities can be a useful tool when designing a game if used properly. You can tie it to an item like the Fetters of Dromi, which can add a meaningful choice by forcing the player to choose who to give it to (as long as there’s good reason to not just slap it on your most powerful unit). If you include a summoning mechanic like Echoes’ Invoke spells, then things like baiting the enemy and leaving squishy units in the open are already less of an issue, which makes Canto+ another tool you can use to differentiate classes without upsetting game balance. And, of course, sometimes it’s just fun to be able to play with overpowered tools from time to time.
personally i dont like giving super canto to all classes, but giving it to a hit and run bow knight seems perfectly fine. i also like giving it to a couple units as personal skills. super canto on enemies is just awful design tho, especially if the enemies have actual stats. thank god that iirc skillsys doesnt have enemy canto ai
It’s busted sure, but there are ways to make unmounted units have an utility over unmounted units, in fact a bunch of games have that differentiation (FE5, FE10 when not talking about wyverns, TRS and Berwick…), where mounted units are either less powerful combat wise than a mount, or they are good in outdoor maps and hampered by indoor maps. Two of the most broken paladins in Fire Emblem don’t even have canto+, while a surreal bunch of FE10 units have stupidly low stats that don’t even get benefitted by canto (whatever happened to Astrid?!).
Anyway, as long as everybody is viable to some extent and the games isn’t purposefully screwing mounts/non mounts, you are fine by me.