Friday, September 24, 2010

Which side do you play for...

or rather,

Which side of the map do you play on?

I played a sanctioned tournament game last week on the new WoS Bridge map, and when my opponent won the honor of going first he decided to HIDE instead of moving across the map to FIGHT. Right from the start he marched his troops up to the top of the middle of the bridge towers sending me a message...

Come and Get it!

There's nothing quite as frustrating as facing an opponent who immediately backs into a corner. In the past I've actually gotten into debates with players who try this sort of stalling. Turn one - they do nothing, waiting for me to move. Turn two - I mirror their move, telling them I can wait just as long as they can. Usually calling people out on a stalling (or turtling) strategy forces them into action.

This ain't the Girl Scouts son - NO CAMPING!

Unfortunately verbally disagreeing makes you look like an ass because you're openly dismissing their tactics. In my case last week, I understood his strategy, so while I may have viewed his positioning as unsporting I said nothing. His rooftop jamboree might not have been so odd if he had snipers, or really anyone with respectable range, but Daken and Symbiote were just sitting there sharpening their claws, waiting for Nightcrawler to deliver them a meal. In essence, wasting actions.

We didn't need a whole map to play our game.
We didn't even need half a map.

The majority of the battle took place on the first 8 squares of his side, which got me thinking about all the other games I've played where I've backed people into a corner.

In chess, when you can force an opponent to move, you force them to react to your battle plan, putting them on the defense, keeping them moving according to how you want them to move. Starting the game by backing into a corner is effectively reacting to a move the player hasn't made yet, putting power in their hands freely. Reaction strategy in my opinion is a poor one, because it leaves you no room for maneuverability.

I've played a lot of HeroClix matches, enough to know that there's a few unspoken rules regarding map positioning. Often:

  • When the battle takes place on the opponent's side, the advantage is yours.
  • When the battle unfolds in the middle of the map it's usually an even fight.
  • When an opponent's army is on your doorstep is one you may have trouble.

Now lots of other factors go into determining wins and losses, but in my experience you can generally tell who's going to win by where the figures are on the map.

In the game mentioned above Nightcrawler zipped around the map punching my troops, while I kept them far enough away from being kidnapped and delivered to his wrecking crew. He was forced to reposition, while I forced myself to push turn after turn to catch up to and attack the fuzzy blue elf.

I had to sacrifice two figures before he made a mistake, teleporting my Solo next to his Daken. Daken attacked with his Murosama blade, but rolled a 2 on damage, a mere paper cut after Toughness reduced the damage. The next turn Solo pushed to shoot the X-Man in the face. Game over.

Actions are the gasoline that fuels attacks. Attacks deliver damage that KO figures. HeroClix games are won by knocking people out and earning Victory Points. No one earns Victory Points by hiding in a corner and conserving actions.

Finally, I encourage the use of the term "Girl Scout" describing a figure or team that CAMPS on their side of the map waiting for you to come and buy cookies.


Mark W said...

I think if you're doing a scenario, setting yourself up like that is a fine idea.

However, the games you play in tourneys and such, this tactic is classic "turtling" and is annoying as hell. You're going to fight, get out there and fight.

Sure, you'll want to position your sniper, but most people will taxi them to where they need them where they have a good view of the action. Sitting and waiting for your opponent basically says you're unsure of yourself and aren't positive how to use your characters.

I've just gotten into the hobby recently and have found you learn more by charging in and figuring out strategies that way. Especially against experienced opponents, because at least then you learn.

I did a three way match against two experienced opponents and really picked up a lot. I was kind of in the middle, so it wasn't long before I was wiped out, but I quickly picked up on some things I should do.

People who sit back at the edges and wait are just lame. They are afraid of losing really. Those poor souls don't get the spirit of the game.

Anonym0use said...

I can understand the strategy in hiding to a degree. There is some tactical advantage to sniping from the WoS Bridge map towers. In this case the guy topped out at 4 range, and only used the roof to hide, not snipe.

I honestly think if he'd have been patient (or lucky with Daken's B/C/F roll) he'd have beaten me. With low mobility on my team I'd never have caught up with Nightcrawler had he just continued to hit and run.