How to avoid stalemates?

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Yogibear
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How to avoid stalemates?

Post by Yogibear »

Quite a while ago i had a game with plk2 and after a minimum of fighting we agreed on a draw, since neither of us could find a promising way to attack. This was the first time this had happened to me, so i didn't pay much attention to it.

More recently it happened again two times: Against plk2 and c4rlOs8. Interestingly enough it was always mirror matches, with different factions (Northerners, Loys, Elves), two of them on Freelands, the other on Hamlets. Now plk2 and i are rather cautious players, so that might have added to it (can't tell about c4rlOs8, that was the only game we played so far).

I attach the replays so you can analyze by yourself.

Let me explain shortly, why i didn't attack:
1.
As the attacker i will have to deal with worse terrain. Which is ok, if i attack at my opponents wrong time of day, but not in a mirror.
2.
I am far away from healing (unless i conquer a village), the defender is not.
3.
Enemy forces are always backed up by their leader, mine are (normally) not, as i would have to spend 5+ turns outside the keep.
4.
Linebreakers (mages for example) can get down two or three enemies and i might be able to occupy a village after that and shield them. But: Linebreakers are on the other side as well, they have a good chance to kill the shield and attack my precious guys. Especially horsemen or woses are a big threat.
So i can strike hard at my first attack, but the counter attack will be devastating and there are always enough units left to do that.

All that taken together makes it a game of chance rather than a well thought strategy to make a successful attack. I tried to win by numbers, advancing with many units in the middle that could switch to either side, leaving my opponent in doubt where to expect the attack. But the defender always seems to be able to regroup fast enough.

What i would like to know:
Looking at the replays, do you see some good chances for attacks that i missed? Or do i attack the wrong points? Any strategy, that is more promising? Maybe as player 2 attack at dusk, so the counter attack is not so strong with lawful factions?
Attachments
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Ladder_yogi_(Elves)_vs_plk2_(Elves).gz
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Ladder_plk2(Northerners)_vs_yogi_(Northerners).gz
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csarmi
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by csarmi »

First replay:

I think you might attack on turn 8, he doesn't have enough forces coming to that front because of his bad troop placement (you know that). The units at (28,5), (24,7) and (18,9) are all incorrectly placed - they are too for from the western front and for no good reason. That also means that your spearmen on turn 7 were not threatening enough. The res/int one on the mountain can't reach the village. Both should be closer - but swapped at least.

Of course the attack is risky, but your mages have a lot of hitpoints so the situation is not hopeless for you, even if you fail to take the village.

edit: no you can't... tried it, the attack worked and the advantage I got from it wasn't enough - to avoid losses after the counter-recruit and attack you have to retreat asap and even if it works, its hard to do

roadkill
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by roadkill »

In a stalemate have you tried attacking, seeing if you get lucky, and then pressing the attack if you did get lucky, or working back to a stalemate if you didn't gain an advantage.

You may feel that this is risky, but assume he gets average luck on the counter attack (if he get good, well whatever, if he gets bad woot!). Can you take the counter?

In a stalemate situation don't you have to test your luck?

I'm not as experienced as you, just a suggestion.

Yogibear
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by Yogibear »

roadkill wrote:Can you take the counter?

In a stalemate situation don't you have to test your luck?
That is exactly the problem, i have the feeling that the counter will be too strong, even with normal luck. And i really don't like to have to rely on luck that much.
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svek
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by svek »

I won't comment (or even watch...) the northerner mirror - I find that matchup horribly boring...
In the rebel game I'm not sure exactly what I'd done differently.

But if this is what you're trying to do as loyalist...
Yogi Bear wrote: I tried to win by numbers, advancing with many units in the middle that could switch to either side, leaving my opponent in doubt where to expect the attack. But the defender always seems to be able to regroup fast enough.
...you're not playing the same game I watched. To me it looks like you're putting your units in the middle where they're 2-3 turns away from any attack. It would be pretty obvious where that attack would come after you start moving. And it would be against a position defenders can reinforce before you even get there...

Yogi Bear wrote: What i would like to know:
Looking at the replays, do you see some good chances for attacks that i missed? Or do i attack the wrong points? Any strategy, that is more promising? Maybe as player 2 attack at dusk, so the counter attack is not so strong with lawful factions?
As p2 I'd try to attack at afternoon (when lawful) to maximize my damage while keeping the counterdamage falling every turn.
IMHO you're too defensive, or at least too slow (or careful) while building up an attack. I can't remember any situation in either the loyalist or rebel games where you're one turn away from a useful attack if the opponent doesn't respond.

(unrelated: In your initial recruit as loyalists on freelands I'd switch the position of the cavalry and the second spear in the east, if you're lucky this gets you another village)

Not sure if any of this is useful, but...

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Faello
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by Faello »

I watched the first replay and I think that agreeing on tie wasn't a bad option for you.

Why ?

Early, if you're buying units, you need to make use of them - pick some point of attack and try to force enemy out of it - you built up your army but you didn't really threat him enough anywhere & without creating a power stack at some point there could be no possibility to break enemy line - good example is turn 12 - 3 units on the left are useless, you could use them in the center but your mages are too far - army is "directed" to the right mountain pass, but tight passage there + water makes any manouver to the right impossible there thus you didn't create any danger at all - you could make agressive 180 degree turn and go left ( which is natural choice of attack for the southern player -but instead you just went back to your castle, giving initiative to the numerically weaker opponent :wink:

I think you failed at scouting too, sometimes getting some spear hits is better than not knowing what is your enemy doing.

c4rlOs8 was more defensive than you, but in the longterm perspective, he was going for a victory - he gained a financial advantage.

He effectively didn't spend a lot of money to the 7 turn (around 90gp in his pocket) maxing his financial advantage effect to the turn 11 ( 108gp & 10 units against your 26gp and 14 units) later trying to get as much gold as possible too , leading to the 22 to 20 numerical advantage for him with almost the same "0" in your pocket in turn 21. So he had 2 units more he could use efficiently against you.

His army value at this point reached 378 gold pieces: (8xspear;2xhorseman;3xarcher;1xcav;3xHI;3xmage;1xpikeman-leader;1xfencer)
Your army value is lower, 338 gold pieces:
(9xspear;1xhorseman;2xarcher;2xcav;5xmage;1xswordsman-leader)

Swordsman is worth 25, so it's pikeman, so you earned 313 gold pieces when he earned 353 - 40 more than you, using the same amount of villages.

His financial advantage and army type puts him on the attacker position now - your heavy-mage army is a counter-type army on this large, good for fast units, map.

At the beginning, some fencer on your left side + early bought mage could make things easier for you, but still he didn't really try to do anything offensively effective against you (that shock trooper trying to attack your spearman on the village is hard to be called an attack) not to mention that since the same beginning he has played to counter your recruit. I think that it's good for you that game ended around turn 20, because in 10-15 more turns, you'd be in serious troubles with him getting numerical superiority via using his stashed money.

I think that to prevent it, you could:
EARLY:
- buy a fencer&mage, move to the left side quickly, keep 2 units on the right to take vills
MIDDLE to LATE GAME (if EARLY game variant wasn't used)
- you had one major advantage when you had finished this game - line of sight - if you see such a defensive style of play, only way for you to break it at the point of the late game, is to keep enemy as near his base as you can & start collecting the money too - don't buy anything, just keep getting more gp's - defensive player will try to get some edge via buying units soon, but if he's still interested in easy victoy (via countering your attack) and you're manouvering well, he won't get a chance to use them too soon and he won't see your castle also (so no knowledge about recruitment at your side to the some point at least).

Still playing such game may be considered tiresome, because if you want to get a victory, you need to collect enough gp's to get enough "bunker busters" to get the edge in the attack, and that isn't easy when your income is halved by units already placed on the battlefield and your opponent could use this tactic since the beginning because you allowed him to do it.

That game reminds me some ladder game played by Becephalus I saw couple months ago - the one after losing because of RNG mostly, Cackfiend left. But before that, Becephalus created very strong defensive lines - Cackfiend reaction was just keeping gold in his pocket and eventually buying enough units that gave him considerable chance to defeat Becephalus - unfortunately RNG screwed him hard and he lost via leader-kill, but still his idea was good and Becephalus was very angry when he spot what Cackfiend was doing all the time. He said that he's putting the game to the totally different level.

And, in my opinion, this "different level" is the level where wesnoth starts to be - finally - not just a game, but something close to the sport, similar to chess gents, where players agree to split the 1 vic point on 1/2 to 1/2 after several to dozen hours of the game, trying to avoid dangerous exchange leading to the unknown outcome.

gp-stashing isn't still that popular (it's used only by very good players that know how to handle opponent which has more units than they do), but with increasing amount of skilled players on the server, putting their vast armies on the high-def position, ability to collect more gold pieces from the same amount of villages your opponent has & not recruiting a new units when you don't need them is another variable that players will try to, eventually, master. Basically, this replay may be used as a guide how to do it.
roadkill wrote:In a stalemate situation don't you have to test your luck?

I'm not as experienced as you, just a suggestion.
I think that experienced player may value 1/2 to 1/2 ending more than unsure 1-0 that may easily turn to 0-1.
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svek
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by svek »

Faello wrote: [some pretty good stuff]
Still, I disagree with the idea to counter goldstashing with goldstashing. At best that's settling for a draw. IMHO the best way is to force the opponents hand by attacking. But this might be because I don't think this is true:
Faello wrote: I think that experienced player may value 1/2 to 1/2 ending more than unsure 1-0 that may easily turn to 0-1.
(It's not for me, at least)

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TL
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by TL »

If you suspect your opponent is hoarding money in a mirror match (particularly a pure lawful/pure chaotic mirror), try to throw everything possible at one side of the map. Time isn't working against your attacks as much as usual, so you can afford to take some risks that would be very dangerous otherwise. If they're playing defensive during good time of day you can afford to leave one side seriously undefended, since they can't get an attack off before bad time of day and won't be able to mount a credible assault then unless they have MASSIVE numbers (which they definitely don't, if they're hoarding). And then, having committed to your big assault on the other side, you don't have to worry nearly as much about pulling back in time: once your good time of day ends, your units actually get safer (although they're probably beaten up a bit by this point, so you'll probably want to play it safe anyhow).

Since the opponent is recruiting lightly you can generally afford to get a bit more assertive with your forward elements; keeping a light screen in front makes it more difficult for the enemy to do advance scouting, allowing you to keep your main attack force hidden for longer. If you can maintain an element of surprise you can start hitting the enemy long before he has a chance to bring any new recruits to bear. And should they try bluffing by playing forward themselves, you should have an easy time trapping and punishing with your superior numbers.

palloco
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by palloco »

TL wrote:If you suspect your opponent is hoarding money in a mirror match (particularly a pure lawful/pure chaotic mirror), try to throw everything possible at one side of the map. Time isn't working against your attacks as much as usual, so you can afford to take some risks that would be very dangerous otherwise. If they're playing defensive during good time of day you can afford to leave one side seriously undefended, since they can't get an attack off before bad time of day and won't be able to mount a credible assault then unless they have MASSIVE numbers (which they definitely don't, if they're hoarding). And then, having committed to your big assault on the other side, you don't have to worry nearly as much about pulling back in time: once your good time of day ends, your units actually get safer (although they're probably beaten up a bit by this point, so you'll probably want to play it safe anyhow).
You are forgetting that the defender will shift his forces wherever they are required to defend.
When you are saving gold the maximum ratio that you allow is troops number is 1:1.5, so the enemy never has a chance to form a solid attack. And usually you have fast units to survey the enemy and support wider range defence.
TL wrote:Since the opponent is recruiting lightly you can generally afford to get a bit more assertive with your forward elements; keeping a light screen in front makes it more difficult for the enemy to do advance scouting, allowing you to keep your main attack force hidden for longer. If you can maintain an element of surprise you can start hitting the enemy long before he has a chance to bring any new recruits to bear.
If you keep a light screen the enemy will recruit and start attacking it
TL wrote:And should they try bluffing by playing forward themselves, you should have an easy time trapping and punishing with your superior numbers.
Why would anyone bluff in this way?

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TL
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by TL »

palloco wrote:You are forgetting that the defender will shift his forces wherever they are required to defend. When you are saving gold the maximum ratio that you allow is troops number is 1:1.5, so the enemy never has a chance to form a solid attack. And usually you have fast units to survey the enemy and support wider range defence.
If you keep the defender from knowing which way you're going to attack until a couple turns before you're hitting their villages, it will be too late for them to pull in all of their outlying defenders. If they keep their defenders huddled in the middle, they'll have a very hard time holding on to outlying villages. They can compensate by using faster units--but fast units often translate into even weaker defense (in terms of mirrors, footpads are just about the only scout that makes for cost-effective defense against its own faction, but they still seriously lack for counterattack power).
palloco wrote:If you keep a light screen the enemy will recruit and start attacking it
You're not "keeping" a light screen. You're forming a light screen briefly for a turn or two in advance of hitting the enemy with everything you've got forming up behind that screen. A money-conserving defense won't have enough units to do much to the screening units--and if they try, you've got the entire rest of your army in place and able to get into the fight a hell of a lot faster than any fresh enemy recruits can. Generally, about the worst the enemy can do in the short term is blow his wad to regain the numerical advantage, in which case you can simply rein in your offense: by the time his recruits get anywhere, it'll be poor time of day and no attacks will accomplish much. Now he's most likely got just as many or more units than you, so the shoe's on the other foot and you can try out-hoarding him... although you're probably well on the road to stalemating at this point.
palloco wrote:Why would anyone bluff in this way?
I don't know, maybe because it's sometimes more useful than sitting there and waving a giant neon sign saying "HEY GUYS I'MA JUST SIT HERE IN MY VILLAGES BECAUSE I BARELY HAVE ENOUGH UNITS TO HOLD THEM"?

Of course you have to be careful doing it (duh, since my last post mentioned punishing the very same tactic) and it's a bit of a gamble, but by positioning your units further forward you both extend your own scouting range and restrict the enemy's scouting range (indirectly, since they can't peek as far forward without engaging you).



I suppose I may be biased by my proclivity towards picking loyalists (and the RNG's proclivity for sticking me in loyalist mirrors), since loyalist scouts have relatively mediocre mobility and are comparatively fragile against typical loyalist forces. My tactics might very well be less useful in other mirrors, where scouts can safely peek further into the enemy's backfield without committing effective suicide

palloco
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by palloco »

TL wrote: You're not "keeping" a light screen. You're forming a light screen briefly for a turn or two in advance of hitting the enemy with everything you've got forming up behind that screen. A money-conserving defense won't have enough units to do much to the screening units--and if they try, you've got the entire rest of your army in place and able to get into the fight a hell of a lot faster than any fresh enemy recruits can. Generally, about the worst the enemy can do in the short term is blow his wad to regain the numerical advantage, in which case you can simply rein in your offense: by the time his recruits get anywhere, it'll be poor time of day and no attacks will accomplish much. Now he's most likely got just as many or more units than you, so the shoe's on the other foot and you can try out-hoarding him... although you're probably well on the road to stalemating at this point.
Yes, that could work

TL wrote:
palloco wrote:Why would anyone bluff in this way?
I don't know, maybe because it's sometimes more useful than sitting there and waving a giant neon sign saying "HEY GUYS I'MA JUST SIT HERE IN MY VILLAGES BECAUSE I BARELY HAVE ENOUGH UNITS TO HOLD THEM"?
Well... that's exactly the point: you want the enemy to attack you, that's why you dont show enough units.
You talked about screening your units before the attack. That is exactly the gold's saver strategy, you are not showing your units until you attack plus you are receiving more income.

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TL
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by TL »

palloco wrote:Well... that's exactly the point: you want the enemy to attack you, that's why you dont show enough units.
You talked about screening your units before the attack. That is exactly the gold's saver strategy, you are not showing your units until you attack plus you are receiving more income.
No, really you want the enemy to think about attacking you but hesitate. Saving gold means your advantage grows turn by turn, so the longer you go without a serious enemy attack the better off you'll be. Keeping a smaller army on the field entails a risk that a sudden strong enemy attack might force losses on you before you can bring your superior gold reserves into play--if you want enough of an advantage to offset this risk, you need to make sure you have plenty of time to save up.

If you just play it safe and huddle in your villages, there's nothing to stop the enemy from strolling right into your territory and knowing for sure that he outnumbers you--or, worst case scenario, that he used to outnumber you but you just now recruited a buttload of new units (that are still generally a turn or two away from contributing anything defensively, let alone mounting an attack of their own). If you keep your units in forward defensive positions (making sure they stay relatively safe, of course; I'm not suggesting you have them stand their ground in the face of any real attack) the enemy has no way of knowing for sure that the handful of units he sees are all the forces you have.

palloco
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by palloco »

Usually when these situations happen, both players have big armies, thus making several units temporarily useless. If the enemy does not attack you, it probably means he is also saving money. If you attack thinking that money will win you the battle you may be making a huge mistake, because in the attack, the defender has the terrain advantage, and that is a huge advantage.
That's is why IMO the best way to win is to lure the enemy to attack you just after you started recruiting, so you have both economic and terrain advantages.

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TL
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by TL »

Taking the advantage of terrain means you have to cede the advantage of hitting first, which can be huge--you can kill or cripple several enemy units before they have a chance to do anything. Most of the better players I've played against tend to prefer giving up that terrain advantage in part by falling back (abandoning villages if necessary) in order to counterattack full force.

Admittedly, here my arguments are probably colored again by my experience as a mostly drakes-and-loyalist player. In a match like knalgan or northerner mirror terrain is huge, so you might be correct for those cases. But in drake/loyalist/rebels mirrors it takes quite a bit of luck to actually withstand an attack since you have hard-hitting magic attackers and no good tanks (plus drake or loyalist means skirmishers are in play, so even if 2 mages/augurs fail to score a kill you can still slip in and finish off a defender regardless of ZOC). Undead is kind of in-between, since ghouls can tank very effectively in this mirror but are so crappy offensively you can't afford to recruit very many.

Bjourne
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Re: How to avoid stalemates?

Post by Bjourne »

In the first game, the loyalist mirror, blue has a definite advantage at turn 20. By attacking at both the western and eastern front, it will be very hard for red to defend himself. Red wont be able to defend both fronts. Red can easily beat back blue in the east, but he has to commit so many troops that he can't defend the western side. Remember that red can't tell how big blues attacks are so he is likely to move troops the wrong way. Blue can then quite easily fortify himself in the northwestern villages and win the game.

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