Saturday, December 11, 2010

Game Play: The Opening - Deployment


Now that it's been decided which turn you will take, it is now time to deploy. Much like the opening move in a chess game there should be strategy behind how your deploy your models.

Most games that I see deploy much like the following picture.

Both armies are laterally spread out with the warcaster/warlock centrally positioned. What usually results is a paper rock scissors duel. There will be quite a bit of repositioning as flanks fail or as holes develop. In all it's the standard but, in my opinion, is far from the best method for deployment in many circumstances.

I feel that this sort of central deployment allows a faster army to exploit your flanks. It also forces you to "Have" to change direction to confront said flanking attempts. I often prefer an off center deployment to deny one of the flanks. I'll most typically chose this option if going second.

Another boon of the denied flank tactic is that it forces elements of your opponents army to spend precious turns attempting to reposition. I remember one game where I took the win by simply out playing my opponent positionally. Admittedly I was out matched. My small Mortenebra force comprised of a few jacks, the Deathjack, Nightmare, Malice and Cankerworm. I had a few sirens and a necrotech too.

He brought the eMadrak pain with a full unit of burrowers, fennblades, and Kriel warriors with the UA and a two or three WA's. Had an axer, swamp troll and I believe an Earthborn Dire Troll. Add in a fell caller and I was outnumbered by some 30 models.

He deployed centrally, Madrak in the middle with his troops spread out in a long line of death. The fenns were to my left and the Kriels on the right. With beasts hanging close to Madrak.

I deployed first centrally as well. After seeing the final set up I knew that I couldn't possibly take on that many kriels all in one go because the counter charge would be devastating. In a bold move I AD'd the DJ on my right flank, just in Morty's control range; then on my turn I ran him forward tempting the kriels to take him on.

I then ran the remaining jacks to my right flank and set up a defensive posture near a hill. What this did was two fold. Firstly it moved me out of range of the hated burrowers and effectively took the fennblades out of the game for a few rounds.

Some of the louder trolls on the main forum would consider a complete re posturing due to the burrowers as a "win," however in this case not only did it deny the burrower's pop up turn, it also kep a huge chunk of his army out of the game. This was actually the move which saved me the game as I was then able to break his army down a piece at a time.

Positionally, if I had remained in the center I would have been destroyed. Sure, I would have taken a large amount of kriels with me, but not enough to sway the game into my favor.

In chess there is a defined center and through piece development you make concerted efforts to take and hold the center in order to achieve a better position. Unlike chess, warmachine has a fluid center which can be redefined depending on the type of game played. Caster kill granting the most fluidity.

Keep this in mind as you establish your position and make play for your "tactical center."

***More to come***

Monday, November 15, 2010

Game Play

I've been playing miniature war games for what seems like an eternity.

I've been playing chess for even longer than that.

There is a similarity that is unmistakable. Both games have phases, strategy, tactics and combinations.

Much like Chess the game of Warmachine (this includes Hordes too) is also comprised of phases.

1. The Opening
2. Middle Game
3. End Game

The opening while often glazed over by the majority of players is, in my opinion, one of the single most important phases of the game. I claim that the opening section of the game consists of

a. turn selection
b. deployment
c. first turn.

When I say turn selection I'm simply referring to the opportunity to play as player one or two. About 1/2 the time you don't get to choose, but when the moment presents itself it's incredibly important to know which choice is best.

As a Cryx player I will chose to always go first as a non shooty faction I see no reason to sit back and see what the other player is going to do before I commit. I'd much rather set the pace. With loads of infantry, generous amounts of stealth and units which regenerate I have ample reason to make the first move.

A Cygnar army with excess amounts of sissy might feel better able to dish out the pain by allowing their opponent to move first and force them to move into firing range.

Also, the first player, again in my opinion, will be playing defense for the middle game as they have more than likely reached the objective and struggle to maintain their grip on it. A glass cannon army like legion might not want to take the hit first and opt to alpha strike the position instead.

So basically I've spent several paragraphs attempting to explain the importance of turn choice and really the only definite answer is "it depends." It depends on your army structure, scenario and list build.
It is, however, important to realize that turn selection does play an important role in the game. While many a person can quote "page 5," and say that the choice to go first is always the best choice. I contend that in some situations playing second is beneficial, and vice versa.
Either way you're bound to play first or last, best to be aware of the difference in tempo and plan ahead for it.

More to come.....

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