What went wrong?

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Aelaris
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What went wrong?

Post by Aelaris » November 20th, 2010, 12:36 am

Hi everyone!

I was playing against one of my friends on Weldyn Channel, and I won. Easily.

By the end of the game, I had lost 4 units, and she had lost 14.

She asked me for advice of what went wrong, and... well, I'm not sure. On my end of things, it just felt like she was attacking me with too few forces all of the time. There's a good deal of tactical errors on her part, including getting ambushed by a tree, but... it just doesn't add up. On one side of the map, I put for units there near the start, then never sent more - they dominated and fought downwards all the way and eventually killed the leader.

On the other side... well, there I had my leader support and later re-enforced stuff there. But still - I should have lost more than a fighter and three Merfolk (Can we say Mermen if the units in question are male?).

I dunno. It's weird, and the errors I can see don't seem to add up.
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"Let's all agree that Konrad simply represents 'Konrad and his female ninja bodyguards'." - Gambit, explaining how a character could also be a battalion.

Velensk
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Re: What went wrong?

Post by Velensk » November 20th, 2010, 4:34 pm

Watching this replay, this is what I got.

Turn 1: Neither of your recruits seemed well optimized to get villages Each player could get at least one more village on the next turn simply by rearranging the formation they recruited in.
Red:
Blue: I’d suggest avoiding heavy infantry in the initial recruit unless you know that you’re going to be dealing with a grunt rush.

Turn 2: Neither of you now grabbed villages as efficiently as you could have.
Red: I don’t know why you moved your leader ahead like that. It’s not like it would be a good idea to attack with it alone and instead you could have secured more income with him (and been closer to your reinforcements if you did want to press with him)
Blue: If you’d sent the horseman the other way you could have grabbed another village. I am not sure what priorities went into your decisions to send which troops which way but I’m fairly sure you could have chosen someone else to secure the right side.

Turn 3: No Comment
Red:
Blue:

Turn 4:
Red:
Blue: Loyalist p2 advancing on rebels at dusk is generally not a good idea. Assuming you saw the wose move into the forest you were effectively just asking to have the horseman pinned and marked for death. As noted after that point betting on a plan with a 16% chance of success that would still result in an unfavorable trade is not advisable. the advance on the left might not be such a bad idea in this particular case but it still gives him the opportunity to counter attack while it’s night

Turn 5:
Red: I’m not sure that leaving that village open where the fencer could just walk in would be a good idea (two fighters and two shamans cannot reliably force it off without exposing themselves to counter attack from the spearman and heavy infantry.
Blue: You could have captured his village with the fencer to force him to go on offense or lose out. It would have been a little risky to do so (especially if it turned out he’d recruited an archer). You call as to how you play it but I will note that if you just stay put it becomes easy for him to shift his position to one where the merman cannot help and reinforcements can arrive

Turn 6:
Red: If you were going to counter attack on the left then you probably shouldn’t have waited a turn. The wait would move the ToD closer to day and give reinforcements a chance to catch up (in this case only the merman but there could have been more, you don’t have a scout to warn you).
Blue: It wasn’t as bad as it looked, he actually got fairly lucky killing the fencer in one go, you probably would have had the opportunity to retreat it for healing and bash a fighter with the heavy infantry however like I mentioned some time earlier, standing where you can be attacked by a more chaotic faction at night is generally a bad idea. In any case, your counter attack did manage to kill a target however it may have been better to move in such a way that the fighter could not steal your village and slash your bowman. Of course, moving in such a way would deny you the opportunity to kill entirely so maybe not.

Turn 7:
Red: On the left, the second shaman may have been put to better use standing in the open and slowing down one of blue’s heavy melee units. If you did that your leader would still be safe but this way there would be less total damage coming your way (either way he has a good chance to kill on the shaman but this way they don’t have good odds against anything else (like that fighter with the exp
Blue: It’s still not a good idea to advance on the right, you do not have the right tools to kill the wose and at day it will be quite a threat.

Turn 8:
Red: There’s really no reason to not push forward on the right, he does not have any tools that can effectively kill woses still and the wose will regenerate what scratches the bowman will inflict in retaliation.
Blue: Things may have been going poorly but it still may not have been a good time to retreat (and if you were going to retreat you should have done something with the bowman). The heavy infantry being incapable of retreating (they can just run him down and get him with ranged attacks) should probably have just tried to do as much damage as possible before running. I’m going to presume you forgot about the wose. If so, once you discovered it you should not have committed more units to the fray that’ll just lose you them all instead of one. As a side note, your forgot to recruit.

Turn 9:
Red: You gave the red bowman a chance to run away to one of your villages (not that it matters at this point), your leader is in fact pretty safe however you’d still have an overall better chance of winning if you get him back to your castle to spend the gold he’s accumulated.
Blue:

Turn 10: No comment
Red:
Blue:

Turn 11:
Red:
Blue: Probably better to use the arrows on something that won’t regenerate all the damage you do.

Turn 12: Game is pretty much over.
Red:
Blue:

Overall: The big thing here is to keep practicing. Many of the mistakes I saw looked like lapses in concentration (forgetting units, not remembering to recruit, forgetting woses), others were matters of tactical priorities, others seemed like the inability to let go of lost causes. Tons and tons of little mistakes like this can kill you even if you are an expert tactician. These things are of the sort that you just have to condition your mind for. There were however a few things that I did notice that I can address generally (rather than nitpicking individual mistakes):

Lack of scouts: Neither of you kept a couple units around simply to grab villages a touch more efficiently and provide information on your enemy. This makes it harder to judge when an attack is a good idea or not and you will frequently find that the simple mobility makes them a useful threat.

Initial recruit: Plan your initial recruit ahead of time. It looked to me like you just choose the units you wanted and recruited them into random locations. You can get both a positional and a slight economical advantage through planning more carefully.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

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Aelaris
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Re: What went wrong?

Post by Aelaris » November 21st, 2010, 8:26 am

Thank you, Velensk.

I can only speak for Red, but a few responses and questions.

I'm not altogether comfortable with the Elvish Scout. He seems to me to cost an awful lot for a unit with 4-3 / 6-2 attacks and a whole lot of move. Things have... gone badly for me in using them before. However, the closest thing the Rebels have to a scout after that seems to be the archer, but that's not really scout material at all. Any tips on scouting/village-grabbing with the Rebels? Or on good usage of the Elvish Scout?

I dislike Weldyn Channel because it has me fighting on two very separated fronts. When I was recruiting, I was trying to form two self-sufficient teams. I was rather annoyed at my inability to get to villages on the second turn - it was unusually bad for me. When recruiting, do you recommend basing recruit choices off of distance, or simply planning which units you are going to buy, and then arranging them in a more efficient manner?

On my lack of advance with the guys on the right, I sort of assumed that the rest of her force had to be... somewhere. I assumed they were building up on the right, but that turned out not to be the case. Lack of scouts is lame. Also I felt I couldn't reinforce on the right side, due to my leader being busy, and I couldn't retreat there because the Wose is slow. (I was highly amused by the archer and spear-man attacking the Wose, though.)

The Horse thing at the start is an easily exploitable error for Blue. She is very willing to attack when she has a chance to kill, and doesn't have much of a plan for saving the unit later. I left the mage open for this very reason, and she took the bait yet again.

I also feel weird playing a neutral faction. Before we went random, M.E. played pure Rebels, all the time. I picked any other race. I don't think she's ever really adjusted to not being mainly neutral, and I don't think I understand the advantages of neutral races. Better defense during non-optimal fighting times, I suppose.
"Let's all agree that Konrad simply represents 'Konrad and his female ninja bodyguards'." - Gambit, explaining how a character could also be a battalion.

Just_end_turn
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Re: What went wrong?

Post by Just_end_turn » November 21st, 2010, 10:01 am

Just about the elvish scout.

Elvish scouts are really important in big maps, and even in smaller for ones to scout vs high mp races (Like drakes.). They are also very good to trap ennemy units, because they have 9/10 mov and ennemy won't see them before taking a vill, and then you can block and bring something to kill that unit. Also they need little xp to evolve, which makes them good finishers (Combined with the fact that they can reach hexes that other elves can't because of their extra mp.)

Velensk
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Re: What went wrong?

Post by Velensk » November 21st, 2010, 12:56 pm

Aelaris wrote:I dislike Weldyn Channel because it has me fighting on two very separated fronts. When I was recruiting, I was trying to form two self-sufficient teams. I was rather annoyed at my inability to get to villages on the second turn - it was unusually bad for me. When recruiting, do you recommend basing recruit choices off of distance, or simply planning which units you are going to buy, and then arranging them in a more efficient manner?
You have to compromise between the two ideas. On Weldyn Channel I don't usually think it's a good idea to have many scouts and thus even if it would be more efficient to go with them I generally don't get more than one. Depending what faction I'm playing I might know that I want certain units and I can try to work them into my recruit (though if I do you should doubtless arrange them efficently). The better answers however are the ones that satisfy both points; If I'm knalgans I might go two griffons (and outlaws for a first night rush) because this is a plan that could plausibly win me the game quickly if my opponent isn't prepared for it and won't cost me much anything if I'm forced to abort it (controlling the water with griffons is a useful thing regardless of match-up and outlaws are decent against most factions). In general on maps with such two distinct fronts I find it best to leave the leader at the keep except for emergency defense to allow for quicker reaction.
I'm not altogether comfortable with the Elvish Scout. He seems to me to cost an awful lot for a unit with 4-3 / 6-2 attacks and a whole lot of move. Things have... gone badly for me in using them before. However, the closest thing the Rebels have to a scout after that seems to be the archer, but that's not really scout material at all. Any tips on scouting/village-grabbing with the Rebels? Or on good usage of the Elvish Scout?
Something worthy of note here. Scouts are effectively cheaper on the first turn on the condition that they can get to a village that other units would not be able to. Getting a village a turn earlier is about 3 extra gold total but you could consider it 3 gold off the unit that allowed you to get it. Scouts generally aren't worth their cost in pure combat power (elvish scouts especially but for most scouts, even at the reduced price) however they make up for it in other ways. Knowing what your enemy is doing is important the fact that it comes on a unit who is decent at both ranged and melee and can flank or hold a distant forest in a pinch for what is effectively 15 gold is worth the price IMO. It can be the difference between making a game winning/saving decision and not.
Aelaris wrote:I also feel weird playing a neutral faction. Before we went random, M.E. played pure Rebels, all the time. I picked any other race. I don't think she's ever really adjusted to not being mainly neutral, and I don't think I understand the advantages of neutral races. Better defense during non-optimal fighting times, I suppose.
The advantages of being neutral (or at least, one of the neutral mainline factions) is that you can put more buck in terrain and less in ToD and find that it's occasionally worthwhile to hold ground when other factions would have to run away allowing you to be closer to your enemy when it becomes your turn to attack. Your enemies may have times when they do more damage than you but your counter attack is never impotent whereas if you can catch your enemy at the wrong time (assuming non-neutral and non-drake) their counter attack will be. The downside (that there is never a ToD where you do crushing linebreaking damage) is somewhat lessened by your ability to recruit mages/woses.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

monochromatic
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Re: What went wrong?

Post by monochromatic » November 21st, 2010, 5:25 pm

Elvish Scouts: I've lived, grown, and died with them. :P

How I really learned to use them: when I (attempted) to make a run through HttT on Hard with Elvish Scouts only.
Elvish Scouts, as you've figured out, are not hard-hitters, like woses and even EF's to some extent. They're more like light infantry, made to skirmish around the battle and attack only the things it should attack, and run from dangers when possible. They're nice when you use them and swarm enemies, and are badass under leadership. You don't use them to hold ground and fight, but to scout around, steal villages, and pair two together to wreck havoc.

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Aelaris
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Re: What went wrong?

Post by Aelaris » November 21st, 2010, 8:47 pm

Velensk wrote:You have to compromise between the two ideas. On Weldyn Channel I don't usually think it's a good idea to have many scouts and thus even if it would be more efficient to go with them I generally don't get more than one. Depending what faction I'm playing I might know that I want certain units and I can try to work them into my recruit (though if I do you should doubtless arrange them efficently). The better answers however are the ones that satisfy both points; If I'm knalgans I might go two griffons (and outlaws for a first night rush) because this is a plan that could plausibly win me the game quickly if my opponent isn't prepared for it and won't cost me much anything if I'm forced to abort it (controlling the water with griffons is a useful thing regardless of match-up and outlaws are decent against most factions). In general on maps with such two distinct fronts I find it best to leave the leader at the keep except for emergency defense to allow for quicker reaction.
Normally with Weldyn Channel I try to force a main front, and then just use enough forces on the other side to keep things under control. I'd pick one side, and commit most of my forces there, and force my opponent to spend the time moving units across the map just to keep up. However, I didn't feel comfortable doing this with what strikes me as a relatively weak Elvish offense, moreso when I found that Blue was Lawful.
Velensk wrote:Something worthy of note here. Scouts are effectively cheaper on the first turn on the condition that they can get to a village that other units would not be able to. Getting a village a turn earlier is about 3 extra gold total but you could consider it 3 gold off the unit that allowed you to get it. Scouts generally aren't worth their cost in pure combat power (elvish scouts especially but for most scouts, even at the reduced price) however they make up for it in other ways. Knowing what your enemy is doing is important the fact that it comes on a unit who is decent at both ranged and melee and can flank or hold a distant forest in a pinch for what is effectively 15 gold is worth the price IMO. It can be the difference between making a game winning/saving decision and not.
That's interesting - I never considered factoring the speed of the initial village grab into the cost of my units. I'll have to keep this all in mind in the future: Buying a unit that costs me one of the initial villages is 3 gold more expensive. I suppose this is why you said no initial HI for Blue.

I really, really like scouts for knowledge, particularly since pre-random I played mostly Undead and Drakes, both of whom really like to know who they will be jumping come nightfall, and who might jump them. However, I do want the scout to be able to contribute to the battle as well.

Between my lack of a scout in the game, and missing the first-turn villages, I thought I would send out my leader to do a bit of spying while I waited for sufficient money to buy a unit. Not the best of all ideas, as I realized half-way in, though...
Just_end_turn wrote:Elvish scouts are really important in big maps, and even in smaller for ones to scout vs high mp races (Like drakes.). They are also very good to trap ennemy units, because they have 9/10 mov and ennemy won't see them before taking a vill, and then you can block and bring something to kill that unit. Also they need little xp to evolve, which makes them good finishers (Combined with the fact that they can reach hexes that other elves can't because of their extra mp.)
I actually tend to keep XP away from Elvish Scouts - they turn into Elvish Riders, who are... rather lousy as level 2s go, IMO. If they had more offense, rather than getting even more stupidly fast, I would go for them, but... they don't. I understand that an Intelligent Elvish Scout takes two kills and two fight to go up, but a normal one takes two kills and 6 fights to level up, which is not terribly different than three kills. Also related is that using them to cut off enemy retreats tends to both leave them vulnerable and make them the target of enemy attacks. I'll try the LOS (Line of sight? More like Distance of Sight.) tricks next time I play Rebels.
elvish_sovereign wrote:How I really learned to use them: when I (attempted) to make a run through HttT on Hard with Elvish Scouts only. Elvish Scouts, as you've figured out, are not hard-hitters, like woses and even EF's to some extent. They're more like light infantry, made to skirmish around the battle and attack only the things it should attack, and run from dangers when possible. They're nice when you use them and swarm enemies, and are badass under leadership. You don't use them to hold ground and fight, but to scout around, steal villages, and pair two together to wreck havoc.
So they are more like Saurian Skirmisher or Fencers, but exchanging the Skirmish (which really does make you faster, whenever there are mean people around) for more actual speed. Stealing villages was an old past-time for me, I ought to get back on that. Any village where I can't be surrounded, hm?
Aelaris wrote:The advantages of being neutral (or at least, one of the neutral mainline factions) is that you can put more buck in terrain and less in ToD and find that it's occasionally worthwhile to hold ground when other factions would have to run away allowing you to be closer to your enemy when it becomes your turn to attack. Your enemies may have times when they do more damage than you but your counter attack is never impotent whereas if you can catch your enemy at the wrong time (assuming non-neutral and non-drake) their counter attack will be. The downside (that there is never a ToD where you do crushing linebreaking damage) is somewhat lessened by your ability to recruit mages/woses.
I'm starting to think that it's not so much me having problems with neutral, but rather me having problems from starting out playing only Drakes and Undead, and then branching out to play Loyalists. I really do expect that if someone sticks around during my time of day that I'm going to crush them dead. I guess I put a lot of buck in ToD (and damage types/resistances), and not a huge amount in defensive terrain. Dunno. It's weird. I'll try to take advantage of a decent counter-attack in the future, I guess.


Another question: How do I win at sea battles? I don't know how to give myself an advantage - most of the terrain is the same defense, units all have good move over any water type, and I can't seem to gleam any advantage outside of simply having more units. I generally focus on the land war and try to make sea units a waste of money, but that's a strategy for dealing with sea units, not for actually fighting a sea battle.
"Let's all agree that Konrad simply represents 'Konrad and his female ninja bodyguards'." - Gambit, explaining how a character could also be a battalion.

Velensk
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Re: What went wrong?

Post by Velensk » November 21st, 2010, 11:55 pm

Do not be dismayed by the first paragraph of my responce I will get around to answering your question eventually. I would just like to first establish what my belief on water units in default wesnoth.

Taken by itself the sea battles are wesnoth at it's most basic and incredibly boring. There is terrain advantage (generally reef>shallow>deep) and there is some ToD variance, one faction has a ranged varient giving first strike some importance, there's a vauge mobility difference for northerners but that is about it. There tend not to be many water villages on most maps and for a good reason (they are havoc to balance) and as a result investing heavilly into sea power tends not to be a good idea. However, controling the water influences the land battle and on most maps the point of sea units is to add some spice to land engagements rather than to add another front (there are a few exceptions). On these exceptions it is still generally not a good idea to invest heavilly (for the reason mentioned earlier) and this tends to lead to rather defensive engagements (do to the simple ability of a single unit to make itself relatively invulnerable to attack from a single or even two enemies by simply camping on a village. However there is still some point as if you can achieve naval superiority you can take advantage of it to scout, harass (ussually in the form of forcing them to keep a unit on that swamp village even if they are advancing), or to support your land engagements (assumeing you can keep them close to the coast).

To actually answer your question: (as you have already noted) The best way to attempt to achieve naval supriority is simply to invest more into it. Alternatively you can invest just enough to prevent your opponent from achieving it. There are a few ways you can gain an advantage in an equal engagement but sea battles with no land involvment tend to be very defense based. The terrain difference is relatively slight most of the time (though a unit in deep water will likely lose to one in reef) and unless strongly outnumbered water units on swamp/water villages are pretty safe from other water units. Some notes about the strategic differences of the water units.

Mermen fighters: The strongest but least versitile of the water units.
Naga fighter: Combatwise it is probably weaker than any other water unit, on the other hand it is faster and gets better movement/defense on land which can make it better support for land forces on some maps. The fact that it's netural and faster than mermen in theory would mean that it could use it's mobility to run at day and ambush at night but I find that even at night a strait up fight against a merman fighter is risky.
Merman Hunter: It's ranged attack gives some insentive to get the first strike (both for the merman and its foe).

If this looks basic its because it is. Water battles are very basic right now. It is possible that default could be rebalanced so that water battles are more interesting but I'm not seeing it happen anytime in the near future.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

monochromatic
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Re: What went wrong?

Post by monochromatic » November 22nd, 2010, 4:16 am

Aelaris wrote:
elvish_sovereign wrote:How I really learned to use them: when I (attempted) to make a run through HttT on Hard with Elvish Scouts only. Elvish Scouts, as you've figured out, are not hard-hitters, like woses and even EF's to some extent. They're more like light infantry, made to skirmish around the battle and attack only the things it should attack, and run from dangers when possible. They're nice when you use them and swarm enemies, and are badass under leadership. You don't use them to hold ground and fight, but to scout around, steal villages, and pair two together to wreck havoc.
So they are more like Saurian Skirmisher or Fencers, but exchanging the Skirmish (which really does make you faster, whenever there are mean people around) for more actual speed. Stealing villages was an old past-time for me, I ought to get back on that. Any village where I can't be surrounded, hm?
No, rather the fact that you can pressure your opponent to defend several fronts with the mobility of the scout. Say for example a footpad would be able to steal a village on the next turn. What would you do if you had a unit in range of the village? Obviously you would occupy it so your opponent cannot steal it. but if he had an Elvish Scout there, with its high movement power it may be able to potentially threaten 2-3 villages at once. Thus you would be sending units after that damned scout constantly before you could trap it and kill it while all this time that lone scout was simply gaining income for his team. Now what if he had another scout on the other side...

You get the idea. If on a multi-fronted map (like Freelands) you send two scouts on one side and one more on the other and the rest of your troops defending the center, depending on how you affect your opponent with your movements and of course how stupid he is, he might abandon all his troops to attack your scouts. In that case you would win. Of course this is an ideal situation and it won't be the same in each match nor will it be that easy. But theoretically it works.

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