Stealing boars shouldn't be banned- A response

Give it a watch. He’ll headline.

Now, point by point, I’ll be defending the arguments he’s given that are valid, and I’ll be dismantling the parts that are strawmen. From the top:

“It’s part of the game” as an argument:

Yes, it is. We agree on the fact it exists. I agree with you. However, this is not an argument made by those who are favorable to laming. It’s a fact. You’re arguing to remove it, not to question if it’s “part of the game” and that’s different. We aren’t arguing for two even positions. We’re arguing from the observable fact that something does exist, and you believe it shouldn’t.

It makes absolutely no sense to call “it’s part of the game” an argument. It’s illogical. That’s like saying “Food is part of dinner” an argument. It’s not. Not a great start. Next.

“Makes Dark age more exciting” as an argument:

For a spectator, absolutely true. For a player, absolutely true. A player down a boar has to adapt, think on their feet, and a player with a boar up has an edge, they’ve got a rush, the dynamic shifts. That doesn’t even count the serious possibility of the lame being contested by the enemy scout, or the end result of having an extra boar but being unable to take a scout fight in Dark age. On several maps it was determined by the best of the best that laming wasn’t the right play even if available since scout HP can be so important.

The player who hasn’t lamed their opponent does have a distinct, functional advantage of scout HP (irrelevant of the likely proper map scouting edge) and being able to apply that is partially dependent on map and partially dependent on strategy. I’m not going to call it parity, but this is exciting. This is how the game gets interesting, a series of decisions leading to different, interchanged strengths in a position where two players are going for different things. The Laming player will usually have the advantage but even that advantage comes at a cost.

“It’s fair, both players can do it” as an argument:

No, no they cannot. That’s true of every strategy because maps are randomly generated. The random nature of the game forces adaptation. That’s why for a long time, players would sometimes go Spanish on Arabia and play for the Restart if they got an open map. They are playing into the strength of Conqs and hoping that the layout of their map facilitates such a plan. Sometimes it doesn’t work out.

This is true of any strategy. Plenty of players over the span of the game’s existence has died to a very badly placed gold that they couldn’t easily secure, and while that sucks, map generation randomness is a feature of the game, not a problem with it. Boar being forward or back, sheep being far or close on the corners, and resources being generally in positions that aren’t favorable is part and parcel of AOE2.

Without those, there isn’t such a variant of tactics based off what the map gives you. Those tactics based off the little details that make people appreciate (or fear) a well-placed hill is AOE 2. That random factor is what made the game what it is today. Is Boar randomness being part of that too much? I don’t believe so. There’s about a thousand things that can be wrong with a base (a resource on the exact edge of the map, forward resources on hills, deer behind woodlines) and if you’ve got one problem, chances are your opponent has something you can capitalize on as well.

“It’s not luck, it’s skill” as an argument:

It is skill. It is 100% the skill to be in that position to have the chance to lame an opponent. The game is heavily randomized and you survive partially off preparation and partially off tactical brilliance and adaptation. The preparation and the adaptability are the two ways you survive, and those are features of skill. I can play against Viper or Hera and be in the position to steal a boar but Viper or Hera will absolutely still beat me. He’s better than I am. He’s been in that situation more than I have. He knows how to play around that so I don’t get the chance, and further, he knows what to do should I succeed.

The players who earn the high ranking and make the way to the top don’t get there via gifted map scripts and preset enemies. They get through the matches in spite of luck as a factor. The Variance of any given map, any given game, is a crucial part of separating the best from the good. Those who reach the top consistently have found a way to make the most out of whatever they were dealt, be it good or bad, and I have yet to see a set where Luck was entirely why someone was victorious.

The good fortune of players at the top or the bad fortune of players who haven’t made it there is a failed mindset. It’s allowing yourself to blame an aspect of the game rather than blaming yourself for not doing more to compensate for such aspects. Certainly there will be games where a lame will make a huge difference. There will also be games where it will be unable to provide victory. There will also be plenty of games where golds forward make a big deal. There will also be players who win in spite of it. That’s the beauty of AOE 2.

“Can compensate for tough matchups/maps” as an argument

It can, can’t it? Yes, it can also make a bad matchup worse. So can having forward resources, or a bad hill. Having it as an option to take an advantage in a bad matchup seems like a net good, even in the case where it doesn’t work out. I don’t really see the argument here, sorry. So Britons can make the Turk’s life worse by stealing a boar? Depends on the map. Maybe the Turks have back boars and such an opportunity isn’t presented to the Britons but it is presented to the Turks? The game is complicated, and to dissolve it back to “but their opponent can do it too” seems contradictory if anything.

“Can force a restart” as an argument

More to your counterpoints:

  • restarts are made to reduce variance

I don’t necessarily agree. Map scripts were worse back in the day, and you’d find games where on Arabia, one player would have ~1500 total wood on their main woodline because of ponds. Or they’d have a bugged resource, or a really poor start, or yes, a Lame before 4mins. The restarts primarily existed to prevent players from having a “map loss” and it does that role properly. That being said, there’s been a plethora of times where someone didn’t like the map, called a RE, and saved their opponent from an equally bad, if not worse, map because maps be like that sometimes.

  • Laming is increasing variance

So here the disagreement becomes obvious. Laming is not increasing the variance. It’s taking full advantage of the variance that already existed within the map script. There is no increase of variance besides the player picking which direction to scout and being fortunate enough to find the opponent quickly enough.

“It’s an investment” as an argument:

It’s factually true. Now, is the investment too low? That’s a question of player preference, execution, map script, civ matchup, and 1,000 other things. Most of the time, it’s worth it, I think we’ll agree on that. That being said, it is an investment to not scout your own base as early, to not push in early deer, to give up the advantage in the dark age (and usually feudal age) scout war.

To extend even an inch into the hypothetical, how do you envision not being able to lame with a scout? Are you forbidding the map designers from making a map where there are neutral boar that are too far to be lured with a villager but luring them with a scout is a potential option for more resources in exchange for some micro and some scout HP? Two of the easiest ways you could make it so that scouts couldn’t lame (either can’t attack boars or boars can’t be led by scouts too far) would make this potential for a map nonexistent because it’s a mechanic you don’t like. For myself, that is a step too far to take.

If this is just “a rule” that you’d like to have imposed in tournaments (someone in the thread pointed this out as an option) then I’m actually probably more firmly against it. I don’t think having tournaments play with special rules is a good idea for any game. That’s just a personal opinion for sure, but it’s a strong one.

“Creates Unique Scenarios” as an argument:

Read above. I think I’ve covered that.


All in all. I understand what Nili is getting at. But most of his arguments fail to provide to me why this is different than complaining about Variance as a whole. Variance, as most of you would be able to discern from my argumentation, is fundamental to AOE 2. I think there’s a wealth of games that do maps without variance that do absolutely fine, but they aren’t AOE 2. AOE 2’s random map games have been a staple of the genre for decades, and any argumentation against variance or reducing variance as a whole is going to register a hard decline for me.

There’s a wealth of things we can do to make laming less prevalent in the meta without abolishing it entirely or fixing map locations. But I am entirely unconvinced that we need any changes. Most players agree that you can address laming the boar with simply pushing more deer early and have a less efficient eco but a more effective scout. When walls are closing and units are out, the value of such an advantage is hard to quantify and varies wildly, but it’s not irrelevant to say the least.

I guess I’ll summarize the real arguments against the removal of Lames for those of us with less time to read:

Reasons why Stealing Boars Shouldn’t be Banned:

  • It makes Dark age more complicated, and often, more exciting
  • It’s yet another aspect of the Variance that permeates AOE 2 and makes it unique
  • It can affect a change in strategy or direction of the game
  • It can be used as an underdog mechanic in desperation
  • The value of a full HP scout is still unestimatable, thus the meta is not fully developed.
  • The potential of unique maps will be trimmed.
  • It is, based off the assertions of the best players in the game, not always the proper play.

This is something viewers and low levels players can’t understand, laming is only fun for viewers and for the player laming, for a tournament it represents a huge loss based on nothing else but luck, there is no risk for fast players with low latency game, even the IA knows how to effectively steals a boar, so the argument that it requires skills has no room for decent players.

Anyway this complain goes for tournaments not for the average players so this forums aren’t the place to even discuss that or have you ever seen a tournament being hosted and announced here?

Tournaments should always aim for fairness to the competitors, any expert and top player knows the game is uphill if you lose a boar vs the same skilled player, simple as that.


No, I explained why this is false. If you lame every single game for the rest of your career it’s not going to improve your rating an appreciable amount because you have a rating attributed to you that shows your total skill to play and adapt to your situation. A more skilled player will win anyway, The skill to make the most of both laming and being lamed is the skill, not the execution of said lame. I will not make 300 extra free food stretch as far as the best players in the world, and I will not make 300 less food look as impressive.

There’s a multitude of games to prove that lames are not the end-all of dark ages, and there are maps that players simply won’t lame on. I think knowing when, and when not, to lame, is also a skill in and of itself, and calling it pure luck is simply shortselling a player in that position. This doesn’t belong to just rated games. The best players in the world are the best players in the world as a result of all this, not just your average ELO climber.

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To get an approximation what impact laming has in the game compared to civ bonusses I just edited a booming approximation I made for a different thread in here, so we see how the booming times change with laming:

The orange is with a set strategy (fc into 4 tc booming), the blue is what could possibly achieved via a build adjustment, approximated.

For me it looks like some civ bonusses are much bigger than the difference between laming atm. So IF we discuss about laming and its impact in winrates, we actually also shood think about the current balance of eco advantages.


Can you explain the dataset to me, like I’m five? I honestly don’t understand the data being represented. Is orange the set number before the lame and then afterwords is their boom after they’ve suffered one?

Honestly, I think the impact happens earlier when the farms get queued rather than later on “when a boom finishes” but I agree that some eco bonuses are ludicrous and Laming is a pretty average eco bonus all things considered outside of extreme circumstances.

I made the data for comparing the cuman boom to other booms. It represents a time wherer you can “stop” booming.
I know it’s not perfect, it’s just the best I had to hand.
The whole bulk is if I just make a set build fc into 4 tc boom, the orange part is representing a difference what I think could be achieved via “adjusting” that build to the advantages of that civ.

The last two bulks represent a “no eco civ” like byzantines being lamed. I could also add somethin like “Chinese being lamed 1 boar” or something to see what is happening there, but you could also just approximately add the difference between “being lamed a boar” and “byzantines” to the chinese bulk to see what impact this would have to the chinese eco. Still would be much better than the lamer.

Isn’t the point of laming so you can be more aggressive though? You avoid needing farms/enemy needs more meaning you can send out more archers or scouts or something. Seems like it’s not able to be properly measured on via booming times because the maps where heavy booming is feasible tend to be different to the maps where laming is feasible/impactful.

IDK seems like you’d want to focus on a time period more in the 12-17m timeframe.

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Practically nailed it.

with that in mind I’m in favor of laming existing as an option. It’s not like the aggression comes at no cost, even if you have an eagle scout that can garrison. Nothing is free.

while I don’t think it should be removed/changed/banned (although it is annoying), this argument is genuinely ridiculous. There is a very high difference between “a more skilled player will tend to get a higher rating” and what you are saying here, which is effectively that because you cannot beat the best players in the world by stealing their boars, there is no actual benefit to laming, which if true would in fact be a favor for removing it anyway (because why keep a mechanic that annoys people but doesn’t affect the game in any meaningful way?). Stealing a boar will obviously not close the gap between two players of very different skill levels, but that’s meaningless. I’m fairly sure pros could delete their starting vills and still beat many low rank players.
Having 680 more food in the earlygame will absolutely shift, often dramatically so, a game that would otherwise be a perfectly even matchup between two equally skilled players. Will that shift end the game on the spot? Hopefully not (and if it consistently did, then it really should be banned). But your argument is effectively claiming it generates no meaningful advantage here and that’s genuinely absurd.


Saying that none of the arguments are arguments doesn’t mean they aren’t arguments


I need to go ahead and clear this really quick: Stealing a boar is a significant eco advantage but it is not 680 food. Ignoring the rotting bit, just because you’re down a boar doesn’t somehow mean you’ll never get food. In reality, the actual value of the stolen boar is 120~200 wood (also factoring in the wood you don’t chop so as to supplement your food eco) because you will need to drop farms earlier, plus a small amount of food that was gained in a chunk prior to those extra farms being gathered which will only ever shrink.

Further, having the boar for yourself is not a 340 food advantage. For one, the villagers can only gather as much food as their work rate allows, and having more food simply means you’ll have a longer period of time before you have to start paying for farms to keep up said food production. In reality, the boost of extra food you’ve earned from stealing the boar, right then, is .08 food per villager on the boar, per second, until the lamed boar runs out. Because that’s the difference between you moving onto sheep when the boar runs out instead of having a boar to work with that entire time.

The advantage you claim only presents itself after the player missing a boar runs out of those fast food sources a few minutes later, and by that time the value of such an advantage will have shrunk. That is plenty of time for a player to decide that they’re at a disadvantage and to decide how to best approach it to maximize their chances.

Couldn’t agree more with these two bits, taken out of context.

while I agree for fairness, the small amount of boar spawn variance is within game’s feature and quite frankly microsoft don’t give a damn as long as there are viewers, which more exciting for viewers and more viewers is better for them.

no. boar laming should be part of the game. and it shouldnt even be called boar laming, should be called strategic stealing lmao.

Ignoring the point of IF laming should be banned, here is how i think it could be done:

i hope the initila scout (all units that have auto scout enabled) can be changed by the devs to not be ablte to attack boars.

Alternatively and better make it so that all scouts (and eagles) cant attack boars in dark age only.

Scouts can not attack dears at all i think. Just adding boars here too would compeltely remove boar laming. I think it would be better to enable it, just not in dark age. there could be some unlikely, unqiue scenarios/map/setting were a fast feudal into lame could be a valid strategy.

I do not like the idea at all of aritificially imposing a tournament rule of no banning. Tournament games have to represent actual game play. If laming in regular ladder, skirmish, rm, is ok, so it should be in tournaments.

I think Nili is arguing for more future tournaments banning laming rather than it by devs somehow being phased out as a mechanic.

Having that said, I wouldn’t mind if scouts were given the same behaviour towards boar as they have towards deer as several people have suggested.

I also wouldn’t mind if it’s left as is. I do love games where the one who got lamed makes a comeback and wins in the end. We saw it repeatedly in HC4 and it’s sometimes also seen in the ladder. Those are games indeed I think where it is enjoyable for both the players getting lamed as well as for the viewers.

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what is more interesting is that you’re being blinded by your ignorance. like I said, try again, and try harder this time.

overly frustrating game mechanics are not good in game design. I once designed a board game for me and my friends similiar to the civilisation comquter game.

WHile it was super fun at first and keeps fun for the winning players, for the onces loosing it feels terrible. There is almost no chance of comeback, it feels like the game is over and a torturing waste of time with an forseable loss.

BEing in such a sitatuion is UNFUN for the loser.

Boar Laming puts players in such a sitatuion at game minute 3…

In the context of things I think AoE2 is a game with remarkably high luck/randomness factor as opposed to a game like SC2. What I’m referring there to particularly is with map generation and civilisation matchups.

The laming is indeed a good portion of luck (boosted in the luck factor by the map and resource generation).

And like Nili underlined, the question isn’t whether it’s part of the game but rather whether it should be part of the game. I like the luck/randomness we have in the situation of the civilisations and random map generations witn all the upsides and downsides alike they come with. I wouldn’t want it to be changed dramatically so that everything is always perfectly even and symmetrical like in SC2.

Removing laming would be turning that luck factor down a notch perhaps but laming could also be an equaliser in a position where you’re out of luck to begin with. Some civilisation matchups are straight up difficult and laming could turn your odds from 30-70 to 50-50 (like Nili pointed out with Turks v Britons) and of course, the opponent could do the same and turn it from 70-30 to 90-10.

And then there’s also the random map generation. I have seen in ranked games players be given an Arabia variation with literally no back wood, all resources forward while the opponent in the same game is given 4 back woodlines and all their secondary gold back. In those situations one could indeed argue that laming would be justified for the player with the worst map ever. And of course, at the same time we have to acknowledge that the other player can do the same and turn the desparate situation for the player out of luck to a hopelessly impossible one. (Sidenote, that (amazing!) game was Zuppi vs Barles and Barles had that map. Barles killed 3 vils from Zuppi in Dark Age but Zuppi still won the game because Barles had no back wood.)

Toxic lamer, I hope you will lose 200 ELOs, after laming will be removed.

It is a feature of the game, and there are limits imposed already that show what the devs consider to be a fair layout for a random map. You can’t spawn right next to your opponent. You can’t spawn surrounded by gold and no wood. You can’t spawn with resources right next to your TC. What they’ve left are the aspects of randomness that they’ve deemed (and I agree with) to be fair.

As for “curbed for ladder” I respectfully disagree. A bad map will not happen often enough to end a player’s whole career. Generally, not always, complaints about maps tend to be the result of players perceiving the cup being half-empty rather than it actually being imbalanced. In reality, situations where map wins occur are extremely rare, and the potential for one to encounter a “bad map” teaches players how to adapt to a position and make it livable, and that is a necessary skill in AOE 2. If you are better at making good of a bad situation you’ll be more likely to win these games and climb the rankings.

There will always be a bad map. Making the scripts even more loaded towards avoiding such maps diminish the importance of learning to adapt to a position and make it work, which will simply lead to more distaste over bad maps when they do occur.

The video Nili made was about banning the use of boar laming in competitive play, not actually changing the mechanics, so it doesn’t apply here, I was the one who stretched it into general play. Since I started with expanding it, I’ll certainly quibble with you on this.

For the overall scope of the power of laming across brackets, I honestly believe it scales pretty linearly. A higher level player will take more advantage of it than a lower level player, but a higher level player will adapt to the lame better than a lower level player. Whether or not there’s a serious effect on the player at a lower level, that’s simply a matter of differing skillsets in brackets. Not everyone is going to be as good as you or I at early aggression, or turtling until a powerspike, or capitalizing on a momentary advantage.

What I can say is if players are losing games against relatively even players whilst being lamed, they’ll probably get better at adapting to, or preventing lame attempts, find that hole in their skillset, and improve. This is how players get better, by being exposed to the situation, learning how to deal with it, and learning how to counter it. Just wiping it off the game will remove aspects in which a player can be skilled simply to avoid a mechanic you don’t like. Like it or not, it gives players something to be concerned about in the first 4 minutes of the game even when they aren’t playing against Lithuanians. When you’ve nailed your start, there’s few other things to use to spice the pre-militia gametime.

Can we keep the name-calling to a minimum? Like, Monty python insults only. Not only to you, people in general (they know who they are).


Agree. I don’t even know why we call this specific play “laming”. Because the play does nothing else than taking a ressource which spawns close to the enemy. It’s one of the best and beloved strategies of the game. If you play tower rush or archers, you try to hit the exposed ressources of your opponent and pus him away from them. If you are succesfull with that, it’s practically a free victory. Nobody calls this play laming, besides it is technically the same strat: Taking away the starting ressources of the enemy.
This kind of play is just a part of the game. You need to fight about the ressources. Sometimes map generation is bad, sometimes it’s good. HAving forward boar is one thing, but having forward stone + gold is often even worse. And nobody calls it lame if the other player takes advantage of it.

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