Elves Besieged (hard/challenging): the Full-Map Strategy

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oaq
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Elves Besieged (hard/challenging): the Full-Map Strategy

Post by oaq » July 25th, 2013, 8:23 pm

Several strategies have been suggested over the years on this site for The Heir to the Throne's opening scenario, The Elves Besieged.

[*]http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1965
[*]http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6088
[*]http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=30705
[*]http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=32127
[*]http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=2881
[*]http://wiki.wesnoth.org/HeirToTheThrone

I have tried most of them. Some work better than others in my experience, but the best strategy I have discovered and refined has never been discussed on this site as far as I know.

I call it the Full-Map Strategy.

(Spoiler alert: the narrative that follows reveals details of The Elves Besieged you might prefer to discover on your own, partially illuminates a secret of the campaign's second scenario, and discusses the campaign's third through sixth scenarios in a general way.)
Spoiler:
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Crow_T
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Re: Elves Besieged (hard/challenging): the Full-Map Strateg

Post by Crow_T » July 25th, 2013, 10:54 pm

Wow great write up and replay, I look forward to more- Big D got lucky vs the troll at the end there!

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Re: Elves Besieged (hard/challenging): the Full-Map Strateg

Post by Anonymissimus » July 26th, 2013, 12:06 am

I never aimed for gold there; still managed to get the loyal knight: http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php ... 36#p444936

mattsc recently told me about an interesting behavior of the wesnoth standard ai; during its move-to-targets phase it moves into the direction of enemy leaders in particular, not just into the direction of enemies. This is hardly noticable normally. It could be used to lure most of the orcs towards the allied leader with Konrad, while the player's other units can assassinate the orc leader without the need to fight through (kill) the orcish army. I have yet to check it out.
projects (BfW 1.12):
A Simple Campaign: campaign draft for wml startersPlan Your Advancements: mp mod
The Earth's Gut: sp campaignSettlers of Wesnoth: mp scenarioWesnoth Lua Pack: lua tags and utils
updated to 1.8 and handed over: A Gryphon's Tale: sp campaign

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Captain_Wrathbow
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Re: Elves Besieged (hard/challenging): the Full-Map Strateg

Post by Captain_Wrathbow » July 26th, 2013, 2:16 am

Wow! Very impressive and thorough job you've done there. My first thought is that perhaps you've got a bit too much time on your hands, ( :P ) but I certainly appreciate the work you've obviously put into this. I didn't know that anyone took Wesnoth this seriously, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone dissect a single scenario that in-depth before.

Thumbs up! :D

P.S. If you have done (or intend to do) similar strategy-essays on other scenarios, I would be fascinated to read more!

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Elfarion
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Re: Elves Besieged (hard/challenging): the Full-Map Strateg

Post by Elfarion » July 26th, 2013, 9:42 am

I watched the replay. Two enchantresses on the first scenario is quite impressive. Just as your detailed explanations are. I will try this strategy one day, since I started to play HttT on hard and I'm stuck at Elensefar.
"Each of mankind's steps towards tomorrow is a breaking of today's laws."
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oaq
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Re: Elves Besieged (hard/challenging): the Full-Map Strateg

Post by oaq » July 26th, 2013, 1:24 pm

If you have done (or intend to do) similar strategy-essays on other scenarios, I would be fascinated to read more!
Thank you. I have written about The Elves Besieged because I had something to write I thought you might find interesting. Regrettably, I may not have much that is interesting to add about the several scenarios the follow The Elves Besieged, except maybe The Siege of Elensefar, about which I did write a little in 2011: http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php ... 85#p509585
I watched the replay. Two enchantresses on the first scenario is quite impressive.
Big D got lucky vs the troll at the end there!
You are both right! The two enchantresses in the replay are no typical result, but the result of one recent attempt. Zero enchantresses and, indeed, zero units promoted are rather more likely than two. One unit promoted, maybe a marksman, is also more likely than two.
Spoiler:
Though as you have seen, the Full-Map Strategy can and often does achieve respectable XP, still, it is more a gold-maximizer than an XP-maximizer, the replay notwithstanding.

As a second sample, for those whom it interests, attached is another, only marginally successful replay of the Full-Map Strategy, a replay in which no unit levels.
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Elfarion
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Re: Elves Besieged (hard/challenging): the Full-Map Strateg

Post by Elfarion » July 30th, 2013, 8:27 pm

I tried your Full-Map-Strategy with a - for me- satisfying result. From the two archers and two shamans one of each was intelligent, so I decided to level them. It did not work completely, but the archer was 1 point from levelling up and Konrad was at the signpost on turn 10. With only one Level-2-Unit in Blackwater Port, I was forced to play aggressively and somewhat suicidal, but I killed the enemy leader on turn 6 or 7. Now I'm in BoP with two loyal Knights, a Marksman, an Enchantress and a Red Mage on my recall list. Awesome!
"Each of mankind's steps towards tomorrow is a breaking of today's laws."
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taptap
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Re: Elves Besieged (hard/challenging): the Full-Map Strateg

Post by taptap » August 2nd, 2013, 5:09 pm

So basically you play a permadeath campaign, but restart when your first two recruits don't get the traits you need? :whistle:

And the poor elves, they are willing to sacrifice themselves for you, who isn't even the right heir, but you steal all their villages not even giving them a chance to succeed. (I love how in AtS in Tirigaz there is a dialogue "you are supposed to protect these villages not to steal them".)

The knight in Blackwater Port is a nice bonus, but why do you feel he is necessary? (Disclaimer: I never got it. Never missed it.)
I am a Saurian Skirmisher: I'm a real pest, especially at night.

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Elfarion
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Re: Elves Besieged (hard/challenging): the Full-Map Strateg

Post by Elfarion » August 21st, 2013, 4:28 pm

@taptap:
Regarding roleplay it's not exactly a nice thing to do. Regarding only strategy it works well. Apart from that the Elves have still enough gold to keep all their leaders alive an shield Konrad from the Orcs.
The additional Knight is not crucial for beating the campaign, agreed. But yet it's kinda cool to have a loyal Level 2 unit by the end of the second scenario and the prospect of levelling Haldiel in the next. Additionally I found it very satisfying to beat a scenario with such a tight turn limit on time.
"Each of mankind's steps towards tomorrow is a breaking of today's laws."
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oaq
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Blackwater's bonus and the permadeath discipline

Post by oaq » August 28th, 2013, 6:06 pm

At hard/challenging difficulty, the Heir to the Throne campaign is not easy to complete, especially if one refrains from reloading between scenarios, especially if one restarts the campaign (not just the scenario) after each lost scenario. Taptap calls such discipline permadeath, which seems as good a name as any.

I should like someday to complete Heir to the Throne at hard/challenging difficulty under permadeath discipline. I have yet to do so. One suspects that others have done it, though I have never read of the feat in these forums.

Since I have yet to surmount the permadeath challenge and wish to do do, I prefer to take risks early in the campaign rather than late, and to resign and restart rather than to play out a marginal campaign. To me at least, permadeath is hard enough without the stipulation of additional terms.

This is why I restart immediately when my initial units in the first scenario have poor traits. The permadeath challenge wants every advantage it can glean, whereas an immediate campaign restart costs the player less than thirty seconds. In light of the goal, it seems a prudent trade.

This is also why I play for the bonus at Blackwater Port.

(Incidentally, I believe that the permadeath discipline makes one a better player generally, not only because permadeath is hard, but also because it varies one's recall list during later scenarios. That is, for example, should you happen to have two elvish sorceresses available when you reach Elensefar, and if you replay Elensefar repeatedly with the same two elvish sorceresses, then what you will learn is not so much how to beat Elensefar as how to beat Elensefar with two elvish sorceresses! Under permadeath discipline by contrast, the next time you play Elensefar, you cannot but play it with a slightly different mix of units. I believe that one develops sounder strategy that way.)

oaq
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Re: Elves Besieged (hard/challenging): Full-Map Strategy

Post by oaq » August 12th, 2014, 11:59 am

A year after my initial post above, I am finding even better success with a moderated version of the full-map strategy. In the moderated version of the strategy, Konrad recruits only one scout rather than two. This one scout runs southeast. No scout runs directly southwest, but the southeastern scout, after sweeping the southeast, still likely has time at the end to capture one or two southwestern villages nevertheless.

The one scout is to be quick, for Konrad will need a quick scout on his recall list during later scenarios.

Konrad's six turn-1 recruits:
  • one scout (as just discussed);
  • two shamans;
  • two archers;
  • one fighter.
The original full-map strategy deprecated fighters because the scenario's terrain favors shamans and archers. The moderated strategy still deprecates fighters; but, being moderate, recruits one fighter nevertheless, just to have a fighter available, since tactical circumstances can arise in which a fighter is useful.

The moderated strategy brings at least two disadvantages:
  1. Because it emphasizes combined-arms tactics (specifically, in this case, tactics that keep a variety of different kinds of units available in close reserve to exploit such local opportunities as might arise), the moderated strategy cannot spread the elves' line as broadly as the original strategy did. This means that, when a level-2 orc, wounded with 1 HP remaining, unexpectedly appears on the flank, none of Konrad's elves may stand near enough to take advantage. Combined-arms tactics are most effective on the attack or counterattack, but they do come at a price.
  2. Obviously, inasmuch as the moderated strategy forgoes the second scout, it earns less gold toward Blackwater Port.
These disadvantages are slight. Advantages would seem to outweigh them. Regarding gold, the moderated strategy earns much gold, only not quite as much as the original earned. Given improved tactics at Blackwater Port (http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?t=40733), the gold the moderated strategy earns suffices.

The chief advantage of the moderated strategy is that it is simply more flexible. Five elves in the north can sometimes achieve what four elves cannot. Also, given Blackwater's somewhat reduced demand for gold (as referenced in the last paragraph), the option of extending the scenario through turn 10 to earn extra XP grows more attractive, depending on how many HP Delfador and Konrad's elves have at the end of Konrad's turn 9.

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