LOW - The Human Alliance

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Maiklas3000
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LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by Maiklas3000 » June 30th, 2010, 8:15 am

Situation... I'm playing on hard under 1.8.2 with 472 starting gold. Counting the starting forces, I have available 6 Shydes, 3 Avengers, 3 Enchantresses, 1 Dwarvish Dragonguard, 1 Outrider, 2 ready-to-level Heros, and a selection of level 2 units. My Marshalls are still MIA after the Battle of Ka'lian (when they were abducted to guard the city), though I have my Marshall Anduilas and Marshall Kalenz.

Problem... I have the same problem others do, with the human commander being overwhelmed before I can send him significant help. Any ideas?

My basic strategy has been to hold the two isthmuses with crack units, backed by Shydes, while sending a force to hit the trolls. Dwarf Lord Olurf can hold the easternmost isthmus pretty much singlehandedly, and with the isthmuses blocked, the northern assault soon stagnates, though you can be surprised by wolf flanking maneuvers to the northeast or strong amphibious assaults near the western isthmus. Meanwhile, I hit the trolls, and I've tried both weak and strong assaults: either level 1 elf fighters, archers and shamen supported by a Shyde and Marshall or adding a couple of enchantresses, a second Shyde, and some level 1 dwarves. Once I was able to totally blitz the trolls, by rushing right through their forces and luring their leader out early. Anyway, once the trolls are under control, I start diverting units to the castle. However, I tend to only have about three units there by the time the assault wave hits, and the human commander quickly dies.

I've read that Dwarf Stalwards are a good idea in the castle, but I don't have any, and although I can promote a Dwarf Guardsmen in the battle against the trolls, it won't reach the castle in time.

One thing I tried was sending Dwarf Lord Olurf immediately to the castle instead of to the isthmus. Even before he reaches the castle, I found that this distracts the southwestern forces into going more to the East, rather than their sending a squad of assassins and crossbowmen north. This allows me to defend the southern edge of the forest with not much more than an archer, but I'm not so sure this is a great trade-off. With more orcs going east, the human commander's forces are even more hard pressed, and the elf reinforcements arrive in the forest with fewer foes around to kill.

I tried buying a couple of scouts to snatch up villages, but I was never able to stop the money from going negative after I recalled the level 3 units, so I abandoned that idea.

Should I delay buying the bulk of my force and maybe buy 4 scouts to village snatch, since the initial income is pretty good (+11, growing to +25 or so?)

Should I replay the previous scenario, with the intent of getting more gold?

Should I send a token force to merely detain the trolls while, after a delayed purchase, my main force heads straight for the castle?

Help!

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Maiklas3000
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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by Maiklas3000 » July 1st, 2010, 8:01 pm

Update... I succeeded in beating The Human Alliance on hard. (However, I cheated with one reloaded turn.)

First I replayed the previous scenario with the goal of obtaining more gold and a stalward, and I succeeded, but only 511 gold (compared to 472 before.) It did not seem like a game changer. So, I decided to go back to basics and examine the victory conditions for this scenario... survive... all your leaders and the human leader have to survive 22 turns on hard. The human leader is glued to his keep in his fortress, so I decided I would move to his fortress with all my critical crowned units and some supporting units. Maybe they could hold out. Then who cares what happens on the rest of the map?

After I bought my forces, I reconsidered, feeling that I couldn't hold off a troll assault on the fortress, so I redirected a task force of enchantresses, shydes, and fighter/archer types towards the trolls. Meanwhile, I directed my main force to swing south in line formation and skirmish a bit with the western horde out in the open, which I'm not sure was a good idea. This led to my cheat/reload of one turn, after a loyal Marshall and some other units died.

Once my main force was in the fortress, holding it was pretty easy. I held the fortress plus the adjacent northern village and the two villages to the south. The villages and three healers in the middle kept everybody fairly healthy. The AI piled up units in the west, waiting until until turn 21 to try to send a couple units around the back (east), so my wounded units could rotate to the back if there were no middle spots available. Occasionally an avenger would die, but that's no big deal in this massive scenario. Having offed the trolls, the troll task force came to relieve the fortress forces, which were starting to get thin.

Meanwhile, the elf reinforcements (about 14 units, some level 3) had teleported into the forest in the northwest. I almost didn't care about them, but any unit they killed was a unit that wouldn't come to the fortress. More importantly, there were two loyal units in group: a sharpshooter and a champion. The group had no healer, so I transferred a Shyde over from the troll task force. When the reinforcements' line was about to get overrun, I decided to make them run for the fortress in a line, figuring the loyal units would be safe in the middle of the line. However, the line got attacked from both sides out in the open. The loyal sharpshooter died. None of these units made it to the fortress. On the last turn, to protect the loyal champion, the Shyde gave its life, by taking position at the end of the line, now then down to just 3 units. I should have made the reinforcements hold up in the forest at the board edge.

Bottom line: the orcs never laid a dirty paw on the allied leader.

Now I just need to beat it again without reloading any turns...

One thing I really like about The Battle of Wesnoth is that scenarios that seem impossible become possible with a good strategy.

Thrash
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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by Thrash » July 1st, 2010, 8:09 pm

Maiklas3000 wrote:Update... I succeeded in beating The Human Alliance on hard. (However, I cheated with one reloaded turn.)
If you don't mind, post a replay. I'm curious to see how this played out (and also how much harder 'hard' is from 'medium').

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Maiklas3000
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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by Maiklas3000 » July 1st, 2010, 8:36 pm

Thrash wrote:If you don't mind, post a replay. I'm curious to see how this played out (and also how much harder 'hard' is from 'medium').
Replay attached. This is for 1.8.2. You'll want to click "skip animation", or it will take forever, and then you'll probably want to click for one turn at a time and scroll around to see what's going on. You'll probably get an error message if you try to run the replay a second time (seems to be a problem in general with 1.8.2), but just reload and it will work.

Edit: Here is a screenshot of the fortress area at the end. (Click to enlarge to 1920x1200.)

Image
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Last edited by Maiklas3000 on July 1st, 2010, 9:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Thrash
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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by Thrash » July 1st, 2010, 8:55 pm

Maiklas3000 wrote: Replay attached. This is for 1.8.2. You'll want to click "skip animation", or it will take forever, and then you'll probably want to click for one turn at a time and scroll around to see what's going on. You'll probably get an error message if you try to run the replay a second time (seems to be a problem in general with 1.8.2), but just reload and it will work.
Hmmm, when I try to load this (1.8.2 on a Mac), I get a "The file you have tried to load is corrupt" error. (I have successfully downloaded other replays.)

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TheBladeRoden
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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by TheBladeRoden » July 1st, 2010, 9:00 pm

I should upload my replay when i get home
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Maiklas3000
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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by Maiklas3000 » July 1st, 2010, 9:09 pm

Thrash wrote: Hmmm, when I try to load this (1.8.2 on a Mac), I get a "The file you have tried to load is corrupt" error. (I have successfully downloaded other replays.)
It's a Wesnoth bug with filenames... I think if there is a space in the filename, it won't work. If you rename the file, it will work. Or you can download again from my post above, where I've edited it to use the original filename.

Thrash
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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by Thrash » July 1st, 2010, 10:11 pm

Maiklas3000 wrote:
Thrash wrote: Hmmm, when I try to load this (1.8.2 on a Mac), I get a "The file you have tried to load is corrupt" error. (I have successfully downloaded other replays.)
It's a Wesnoth bug with filenames... I think if there is a space in the filename, it won't work. If you rename the file, it will work. Or you can download again from my post above, where I've edited it to use the original filename.
Yep, that was it. Thanks.

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TheBladeRoden
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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by TheBladeRoden » July 2nd, 2010, 8:54 am

Here's my replay. I can hold my own in the forest area until it comes time to rescue your ally. Then I have to sacrifice all my units to save my loyals and fairies :augh:
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Thrash
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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by Thrash » July 3rd, 2010, 4:39 am

TheBladeRoden wrote:Here's my replay. I can hold my own in the forest area until it comes time to rescue your ally. Then I have to sacrifice all my units to save my loyals and fairies :augh:
Out of curiosity, why did you hold off doing any recalls until 6th turn? Saving gold?

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TheBladeRoden
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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by TheBladeRoden » July 4th, 2010, 1:50 am

Thrash wrote:
TheBladeRoden wrote:Here's my replay. I can hold my own in the forest area until it comes time to rescue your ally. Then I have to sacrifice all my units to save my loyals and fairies :augh:
Out of curiosity, why did you hold off doing any recalls until 6th turn? Saving gold?
yup
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Maiklas3000
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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by Maiklas3000 » July 4th, 2010, 7:47 pm

I did it. After several more failures, I finally beat The Human Alliance on hard with no cheats (i.e., no turn reloads) at any time here or earlier in the campaign, on version 1.8.2.

Again I totally ignored the northern front. Again I sent some units into the middle of the plain to try to draw some of the enemy away from the human leader's suicide wave. Despite being very cautious, I lost a hero there. This time I sent a weaker force against the trolls, and this time I failed to defeat the trolls. However, only one rock lobber made it to the castle, though a troll mob was about to arrive at the end. Loyal Marshall Anduilas was in the troll task force, and it was not his proudest moment. He finally ordered a running retreat, while asking a critically injured hero to slow down and run behind him, to his doom. Meanwhile, the elf reinforcements teleported into the forest on turn 9 and kicked butt, but they always get overwhelmed by the later orc reinforcements. This time I had them run east through the forest, while Marshall Anduilas and his few survivors ran west and they joined up at the end. Loyal coward Anduilas survived, as did the two loyal units and all the level 3 units in the elf reinforcements, I think.

I lost a fast enchantress in the troll task force and an outrider in the castle, plus a lot of level 2 units (many that were leveled during the scenario), but all in all, I was very pleased at the lack of serious casualties. I have a new champion and three new dwarf lords, who could come in handy later.

Here are some strategy tips for anyone wanting to tackle this very difficult scenario...
  • Remember that you just need five specific units to survive.
  • Dwarf lords are great at defending castle corners. You probably don't have dwarf lords except for Olurf. But you've got some steelclads, right? Concentrate on leveling them up in the castle, using other units to wound and then a steelclad supported by a marshall to finish them off. Resilient intelligent steelclads are best.
  • You might want to hog all the castle spots so that the human leader will stop his annoying recruiting. Then, if you ever leave a spot open, presumably because of losses, the human leader will recruit, and you might actually appreciate it then.
  • Around the castle, remember that wounding is mostly for killing and killing is mostly for leveling units. A level 3 unit should forego a kill if it might result in its own death.
  • An exception is the rear of the castle, the east, where you want to quickly kill any units. They will hamper your ability to shuffle units around.
  • Another exception is if you take the two villages to the south of the castle. Then you need to try to kill the units adjacent to the open plain hex in between, so that you don't need to put a unit on that hex that turn.
  • Focus on any level 3 units (e.g., Orcish Warlords.) Slow them. Thunderstick them.
LOW-Human_Alliance_replay.gz
Same filename but different replay file than before, no cheats this time.
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Thrash
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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by Thrash » July 8th, 2010, 8:05 pm

Attached is a replay from an experimental strategy I did - I recalled one garrison full and then blitzed the Trolls, figuring their garrison would make a nice place for a defensive stand. That part worked great, once you clean out the trolls, I think you could hold their fort easily until game end.

But by the time I got reinforcements down to Ally he was overwhelmed. I replayed this several times from turns 8 and 9 and they all end basically the same way with some principle getting killed in the ally fort - the replay really represents the best I did.

So, I need to split some troops off earlier or maybe send dwarves straight there?

There is also the issue of what to do with the elven reinforcements when they show up. I have them huddle and they do distract the orcs some, but seems like one could do better. Perhaps charge at the orcs to distract? Seems like suicide, but perhaps would buy time for the ally? But I hate to lose the loyal elves that show up with them.
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Maiklas3000
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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by Maiklas3000 » July 8th, 2010, 8:48 pm

I don't think it's a workable strategy. You know you have to defend the ally's castle, since the allied leader is stuck there, and if he dies, you lose. Defending the ally's castle will take the majority of your elite forces (at least on hard), plus, as you discovered, your forces have to get there quickly.

You can hit the trolls with a much more modest force and after you defeat them, you can transfer a few reinforcements over to the castle, but the castle has to already be well defended. Also, it's usually a bit dicey to do the transfer, at least on hard. Wolves, you know.

It's amazing how differently the elven reinforcements play out on medium vs. hard. On hard, they are plenty busy from the start and later get overwhelmed. On medium, I think you should spread out a bit with the reinforcements, block the chokepoints, and wait for the heavy northern assault wave, to keep those units from reaching the castle. It's not possible to stop that wave on hard, but I'm guessing you can on medium. On hard, I think the best thing is to have them run east after it's obvious they cannot hold their position.

Edit: You might be able to run some of your fastest reinforcements all the way through the forest to the eastern edge and transfer to the castle from there, especially if you are able to have them run right after they appear.

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Re: LOW - The Human Alliance

Post by kukn » July 9th, 2010, 11:58 am

Hey, and first off - thanks Maiklas for the tips. I lost my allied general the first go, then came here to see if there was any way at all of winning... I had been considering pulling back to the human fort, so I was glad to see that strategy could work. But my second go ended up with me being overwhelmed all over. Third try I achieved what I would call a strong victory (though I did reload twice due to mass bad luck killing some crucial units).

What I did was this (writing from memory, might be some inaccuracies):

Start (TURN 1) - had 464g - sent my generals to capture villages, recruited some low levels (2 archers, a shaman) and recalled a shyde, a marksman, a dwarvish pathfinder and dwarvish scout - troll taskforce.
TURN 2 - recalled the few dwarvish units I had, recruited a load of dwarvish warriors and guardians (I was a bit nervous here, as most the units were level 1, didn't know if they'd survive long enough to level up), a druid, 2 shyde and my 2 sylphs + Olurf + Landar - fort taskforce. Also recruited 2 elvish archers.
TURN 3 - sent Cleodil and Kalenz to join the troll taskforce. Recalled my one avenger and 2 beserkers (should have bought a druid instead, they died fast, though one of them did kill 2 units) - together with the 2 archers previously this was - river taskforce.
TURN 4 - troll taskforce set up at the western bank of the lake south of the troll keep; river taskforce set up on the bank of the river just left of the western land crossing; fort taskforce trudged along in a direct diagonal south east to the human ally.

Some notes:
1) I think this timing was pretty crucial, as the troll taskforce needs as much time as it can get to cut down the troll's numbers before they get attacked by goblin knights from behind. I found that even slow dwarves would reach the fort in plenty of time if they left on TURN 3 or 4 (enemy attacks fort round TURN 8-9).

2) The way you move your forces and what you recruit/recall when has some effect on how the enemy buys and moves its units. That worked out great for me, as the orcs on the plain charged en masse to the east and left my little river force alone.

3) The river taskforce held out valiantly (I sent back one shyde from the trolls as they absolutely need a good healer there), doing some damage and keeping the orcs at bay right until TURN 9, when the reinforcements arrived (just at the nick of time!). With some five level 3 units and five level 1 + the surviving avenger, archer and shyde, I had a pretty kick-ass army at the river bank, which just slaughtered the orange and green orcs attempting to force a crossing.

4) When the black orcs popped in TURN 11, I decided to fall back with my river force (I was lucky that there were no enemy units in the forests east of the river). This was almost a mistake, as the black goblin knights were fast enough to get at least three turns of attacks on my fort at the end. If I had held the river, I might have been able to stop them also. (I messed up the retreat anyhow, as I left two rangers and a hero as a rearguard and got them pointlessly slaughtered). However, the untis from the river greatly helped both at the trolls and at the keep, so I'd keep to that.

5) The troll taskforce did quite well considering the low levels. I kept them at the same spot until some green goblin knights started closing in, when I sent my unpleasantly wounded Cleodil, Kalenz, pathfinder and shyde down south to reinforce the fort. The rest of the troll units backed away further east and prayed for backup from the river... (I had a couple of trolls slip through, but I blocked them for the most part from reaching the keep, which is crucial imho, as the trolls come down from behind the river and into your rear.)

6) The fort was strong. I gave up on the southern villages immediately, just taking the village touching the fort on the north. Later in the game with units from the troll and (about TURN 18-19) the river taskforces, I set up a defensive position on the hill north east of the fort - dwarves have the same defense bonus, so it's possible to hold that quite well at least for a few turns. The extra units help you juggle your wounded etc. to the best fit, while making sure you have some room to actually switch places.

7) Healers are a must. 3 for the keep (4 if hill), 1-2 for trolls, 1-2 for river. Shydes or at least druids (and level them up). I had about that, actually lost a druid at the fort and a shyde at the trolls, but I managed to level a shaman up to a shyde, so scraped through just barely.

8) Dwarves defending fort. Absolutely. Even level 1 warriors/guardians can make it through (thunderers are too weak, scouts are pretty useful though, as they're faster and have a better defence percentage.

That's about it. It was a really tough battle, but the victory was all the more satisfying :)

I'll put the replay up here too, if anyone's interested.
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