Just as catching a Crimson Commander causes some number of each mouse to retreat, failing to catch a Caravan Guard places you at risk of mouse reinforcements arriving. Whether and how many mouse reinforcements arrive depends on factors most of which we currently understand poorly at best. Using sb+ as bait reduces the likelihood of encountering a Caravan Guard, although it does not eliminate it completely. Catch rates for Caravan Guards are not good, as no trap types are rated very effective or even effective against Caravan Guards (sob!) The following trap types are less effective, which means that they function at less than 100% of the power shown in the trap effectiveness meter. While we do not yet know whether the types farther down the list are even less less effective than the types above them, we do know that they are, at most, equally less effective (sorry, could not resist), as the order in which trap types are listed in the detail display on the adversaries page is significant.
The greater the number of friends hunting in the Fiery Warpath with you (not friends online, but friends hunting in the Fiery Warpath, as indicated in the HUD), the lesser the chance of reinforcements arriving, although there is always a chance that reinforcements will get through even with 450 to 500 friends.
- Once a mouse has been defeated no reinforcements arrive for that mouse.
- In the vast majority of reported cases one of each mouse is added back in.
- When more than one of each mouse has been added back in, the same number of each mouse is added back in.
- The largest reported number of each mouse added in was six.
- The smallest reported number of each mouse added in was zero. Yup, you read that right, zero! Georgene Ang failed to catch a Caravan Guard, got the "Failing to catch a Caravan Guard mouse allowed reinforcements to arrive," checked her mouse count, only to find that no mice had been added to her wave! How could she be sure? It was the first mouse in wave three.
- You can, in fact, end up with more mice in the wave than the starting number of mice. How do we know? Heidi Lynn McKnight encountered almost exactly the same situation, only to have one extra of each mouse added. The only difference was that she was in wave one, so ended up with 36 of each mouse.
Many hypothesized patterns have been suggested, some of which have proven problematic. Here are a few of the more popular hypotheses:
- Missing a Caravan Guard early in a wave adds more mice than missing one later in the wave. Problem: many examples that suggest otherwise. Until we have a minimally biased data set, this hypothesis will have to wait.
- The number of mice added back in depends on where you are in a streak. Problem: so many examples of only one mouse added in despite being in a streak that this rule would have to have as many exceptions as French verbs. This hypothesis is very likely wrong.
- Only mice that have retreated can be added back into the wave. Heidi's data shoots this hypothesis down, as no mice had yet retreated from her wave.
Is there a pattern to how many mice are added to the wave? About the only thing that seems to have gathered any substantial evidence is that most of the time, one of each undefeated mouse is added. Other than that, the more we know, the less we know. Caravan Guards, the mysterious mice of the Fiery Warpath!
Caravan Guards, like Crimson Commanders, retreat when you have defeated 90% of the mice in the wave. Thus in wave one, the Support mice retreat when there are 10 or fewer mice left, in wave two, when there are 18 or fewer mice left, and in wave three when there are 26 or fewer mice left.