Let's Play "Liberty"

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Chief_Chasso
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Re: Let's Play "Liberty"

Post by Chief_Chasso »

Thanks mattsc for your explanation. I guess I should have done my homework. :oops:
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mattsc
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Re: Let's Play "Liberty"

Post by mattsc »

Chief_Chasso wrote:I guess I should have done my homework.
Well, it's not like that changelog entry is particularly explicative, so ... no worries, it's a valid question and you even went into the scenario code to figure out what's going on. :)
Beleth
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Re: Let's Play "Liberty"

Post by Beleth »

Scenario 3: A Strategy of Hope

Having fended off the Queen's emissary, Mr. Fancy Pants, our heroes Baldras and Harper mosey over to Delwyn, a neighboring town, to meet with Relana, the local magistrate there. (Do you think I could have gotten any more commas into an opening sentence?)

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Translation: Relana is so much smarter than we could ever hope to be.

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Wait a minute... If there's anything I've learned from the genre of action-suspense stories it's that whenever you comment on being in a secret meeting place your enemies are going to mysteriously discover you and attack within minutes.

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Gosh darn it! And Relana was supposed to be the wise one, too. So much for that idea.

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Hey all. You know, Fal Khag wasn't a very nice guy, and he was kind of incompetent given that he couldn't defeat a small town militia, so you don't need to avenge his death. Really. Take my word for it.

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Okay, I've convinced one of them that they don't need to care about Fal Khag, but this guy does care about gold. Well, I'll pay you some gold to attack those orcs instead of attacking us. I'm sure we can work something out, yes?

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Drat, we're all out of wolf kibble. I guess we can't make a deal here. To arms!

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Getting my bearings

Let's do first what we always do first: take a look at the map. The map is rather large as you can see from the minimap in the previous screenshots. In a nutshell we have two enemies in opposite corners and both have water, woods, and swamp between us and them. We need to kill them both, but the real question is which to kill first. In general I like to look and see if the map will give me any useful information:
  • Is one enemy closer?
  • Is one enemy in terrain that's easier for me to work with?
  • Is one enemy more likely to threaten an ally that I have to keep alive?
In this scenario the map doesn't really give us much information to help make the decision of which enemy to kill first. Both are about the same distance apart, both are chaotic, both are in roughly the same terrain, etc.

That said, we do have one useful piece of information. While the terrain on either side isn't easier for us to work with, the terrain is significantly easier for one of them to work with. Specifically, Saurians do very well in swamp and water while Orcs do not. This means that the Orcs will be at a disadvantage in this terrain, making them somewhat more vulnerable.


Having looked at the map, let's look at the economic situation:

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The Orcs have significantly more money than the Saurians do, meaning that if we leave the orcs alone they are going to make more trouble for our ally than if we leave the Saurians alone. This combined with the Orcs being more vulnerable in water and swamp means that we should target the Orc leader first, hoping to kill him quickly and then swing back to reinforce our ally and take out the other leader.


While we're doing that we want our ally to focus on slowing down the Saurians. Fortunately, we can do that in this campaign. If we right-click on Relana we have an option for giving her orders.

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Clicking on "Instruct Ally" gives us the option of telling her who to attack, who to protect, etc. We're going to tell her to focus on attacking the Saurian leader to buy us enough time to take out the Orc leader.

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Looks good to me! You'll notice that I did not set an "aggressive" or "defensive" behavior for our ally. I haven't played around with this setting all that much, and in this case I don't think I want our ally to either be all that aggressive or all that defensive, so I'm content to leave it alone.


With respect to the day-night cycle, there's not much to comment on in this scenario. We're chaotic and our enemies are chaotic, so we're roughly going to balance each other out. We can take more risks in the day than during night because we'll be less exposed to damage during the day, but we also won't be able to make as much progress.

Something I would like to point out is that our ally is neutral, not chaotic, because Relana's town has not yet gone rogue. We can't really leverage this meaningfully in this scenario (without doing lots of micromanaging of the AI, which I do not want to do), but it's something to make sure you're aware of.


So here's the game plan: attack the Orc leader as quickly as possible while Relana holds off the Saurians, and then swing back to protect her and take out the other leader. This is actually a pretty straightforward scenario compared to the previous two.



Turn 1

Okay, we have the general strategy, so let's look at what units we want to recall.

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The three ranged units are definitely going to make a comeback in this scenario because two are Level 2 and one is almost Level 2. I'm also going to bring the Bandit back as our only non-Special People melee unit that's Level 2. I'm probably going to bring back Glullyn as well as he's a quick-strong Thug, which is a nice combination of attributes, and he already has two kills. However, I'm probably not going to bring him back in my first wave of recruits. I only have five recruitment spaces and I want to recruit some decoys, so I don't want to do all of my recalls right now.

For the first turn I recruit two decoy Thugs, recall two ranged units, and recall my Bandit. I'm using Thugs as my decoy units again because of their strong melee counterattack.

At the end of Turn 1 my layout looks like this:

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You can see that Harper is moving toward the Orcs to liberate some of the swamp villages.

On to the next turn.



Turn 2

Let's take a closer look at the Orcs, shall we?

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Overall I'm loving their recruits as Thugs can make quick work of Orcish Archers. Overall Thugs are one of the best Level 1 units in the game, in my opinion, being great decoys for enemy melee units and great killers for enemy ranged units.

Right now I'm trying to strategize where I want to engage the enemy. Overall the midpoint between the two of us looks like a rather good engagement location. If I can get into the trees in the middle of the screenshot (right next to the swamp village Harper is near) then the enemy will have to engage me from the swamp, open area, or water. Any of those options are excellent for me. I'm not sure that I can get into those trees before the enemy does, but if not I have a village to fight out of. I can work with both options.

To the south there's a bridge, and I would like to contain that route so that enemy units don't sneak around me. It's a good choke point to control, and it would also provide me with a way to run my units behind the enemy units. Now, something that's hard to tell from the map is that the three water hexes above the bridge are not all the same. Two of them are Deep Water while one of them is Shallow Water. This means that units are not going to be running through that stretch of the river all that much, which is important for tactical considerations.

Let's look at this map again with the enemy's movement shown:

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Based on this it looks like I should be able to beat the Orcs to the middle forest, so I think I'm going to try to do that while also going for the bridge. I'm going to send one melee and one ranged unit in each direction, giving me the following end of turn layout:

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You can see that I've recruited another three decoy Thugs, my third Level 2 ranged unit, and Glullyn (the two-kill Thug). Not much interesting happened, so let's move on to the next turn.



Turn 3

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It looks like the enemy is focusing on the southern route, so it's a good thing that we already have a pair of units heading in that direction.

With respect to the middle forest area I can only really get one Thug there given that I split my troops, and I don't want him to be hit by two units without backup. Because of this, I'm going to place my Thug into the village and hopefully bait out the Wolf Rider. Harper in the meantime will try to slip over to the north, possibly getting to that northern swamp village before the Grunt does.

The rest of my units will move into position, just out of range of the enemy. While it's currently daytime, meaning that the enemy wouldn't do much damage to me, I would still rather get the first hit on the enemy during dusk next turn. My final layout for Turn 3 is this:

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You can see how everyone is out of range of the enemy other than the Thug who is trying to bait the Wolf Rider. Also note how Baldras recruited one new ranged unit before leaving the Keep, allowing me to have two ranged units on each of the forest and bridge fronts. Again, nothing much interesting happened here, so on to the next turn.



Turn 4

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And things just got interesting. Apparently Harper is wearing really attractive cologne because all of the Orcs moved north toward him. This was not an expected outcome, but I'm going to readily welcome it. Two enemy units in the middle of the map are completely exposed and I can secure the bridge before any enemies get across. Excellent.


Easy things first: let's secure the bridge with the Thug and Poacher in the area and also bring down another Thug from the back for possible reinforcement next turn.

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Bridge secured.


Now let's look to the north. If Harper moved into the northern swamp village as previously planned then he will get jumped by a Grunt and a Wolf Rider while also being a far way from the rest of our army. This is not a good plan. Instead, I'm going to have him pull back and attack the Wolf Rider that's in the swamp two spaces to the west of Harper. Harper will be in the forest and any units he continues to attract will be drawn into the swamp.


Now that the Wolf Rider has been weakened, we have a choice to make.

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We can either try to finish off the Wolf Rider or we can have two units attack the Orc Archer, but we can't do both. I can't get more than two units onto the Orc Archer because its southern side is effectively protected by how much the terrain costs to move through. The wolf isn't weak enough that I want to send a melee unit into the water next to it to attack it, meaning the one face of the wolf that's exposed is one of the two faces of the Archer that are exposed.

I'm going to make a play for the Archer, as you can see from the screenshot. The reason for this is that I have a lot of melee units that are good at attacking ranged units but horrible at defending against ranged units. If the Wolf Rider attacks me I'll be able to counterattack strongly.

Baldras and a Thug go after the Archer...

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...almost but not quite killing it. Drat.


The rest of the turn is pretty much back filling our formation as you can see here.

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I'd like to point out something that I did not do well for this scenario. In this turn you can see that I'm effectively blocking myself with the number of units I have. It's good to have fresh units to reinforce, but it's another to block yourself in. Something that I did not do in this scenario was try to send units around further north, and as you'll see later on some enemy units are going to take advantage of this and try to sweep around me. I could have one fewer unit at the bridge to go for the middle, allowing me to have one if not two units in the middle go around further north.



Turn 5

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We have engaged the enemy, and things look great for us. We have an Archer on the bridge ripe for pummeling, we have a Troll in the water, and we have three weakened units we can likely kill this turn.


Often when I'm in a tactical situation like this with lots of targets across a long front it can be hard for me to figure out exactly what to do first. Order matters in Wesnoth and sometimes it can be paralyzing trying to figure out what to do. Something that really helps me out is deciding to start at either the top of the line and work my way down or the bottom of the line and work my way up. In this case there's a lot more going on a the top, so I'm going to start at the top and work my way down.


First, Harper will soften up that Wolf Rider some more. I'm doing this first because this Wolf Rider is literally at the top of my front and I'm using a top-to-bottom tactical approach. Then I'll have the new Poacher step into the water to finish off the Wolf Rider like so:

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In general I do not like fighting from the water, but in this case I'm fine with it. The Wolf Rider is weak enough to almost certainly die, and if I can finish off the other Wolf Rider then my other units' ZOC will protect the Poacher.


Second, let's take out the other Wolf Rider with Baldras.

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Baldras is someone weak, but if we can kill this Wolf Rider and then put a Thug in its place then Baldras will be safe.


Third, let's try to get the Thug with two kills a third kill on that Archer.

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Fourth, let's start working away at the next Archer.

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My Thug next to the Troll is very weak, so I want him to go back to the village to heal up. While I have no problems sacrificing a Thug, I also don't see a good reason to waste a Thug either. This means I have to empty the village, so I'm going to attack the Archer with the Thug from the village, move the wounded Thug back into the village, and then have the Thug next to the village move down to hopefully finish off the Archer. And it almost worked, too, but not quite.


Fifth, let's deal with that Troll in the water.

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The first thing I'm going to do if soften it up with my Trapper. Then, once softened, let's see if my about-to-level-up Poacher can get the kill.

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Hm. The Poacher only have a 41% chance of killing the Troll. This is not what I like to see for a kill shot as I would really hate for that Troll to be around to attack my ranged units on the next turn.

What about if I attacked the Troll with my other Trapper instead?

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81.9%. That's what I like to see. I'm sorry, Mr. Poacher, but we're going to go with the better chance on this one.


And then last but not least, let's take care of the Archer by the bridge and backfill people into formation, leaving us with this:

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Let's look at the final layout to Turn 5 for a minute. We killed five of the six units that were on our front at the start of the turn and the sixth unit is about to die. We are forcing our enemies in the north to fight us from the swamp, and the enemy in the south has to engage us at a choke point on the bridge. Our ranged units and Baldras are largely protected by ZOC. The systematic process of starting at the top of the line and working down was incredibly successful for us.



Turn 6

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The enemy has engaged us again and we are again quite happy. Three enemy units are in the swamp and four enemy units are under half health. This is going to be fun.


In the south we have a wounded Thug, and it would be great if we could get him back to the village to heal up, but we can't. However, what we can do is attack the Archer across the river.

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Again, in general I don't like standing in the water, but if we kill the Archer then we can backfill and keep this Thug protected. Our Thug is almost certain to kill the Archer and cannot be killed by the Archer himself as you can see here:

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Next, remember that Poacher we wanted to get another kill on to get super close to Level 2?

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Looks good to me. :)


While we're working on the southern front, let's move some more units into that area. I want to take the village in the south to possibly bait some of the enemy units out of the woods, and I also want to ZOC block access to the bridge so no one runs past the village and hits my Paocher. The end result looks like so:

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Bridge protected, village secured. Nice.


Let's look at the north again. Let's have Harper tenderize another Wolf Rider for us:

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And by "tenderize" I mean "kill," apparently.


Now there's a wounded Troll in the swamp to take care of. I would really like to move my Thug out of the way and have Baldras attack the wounded Troll. Why, you ask?

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Baldras would level up and heal if he got the kill. Nice. However, the odds don't look so good.

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36% chance of Baldras dying? No thanks.

Instead we'll have to settle for our Trapper coming in.

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Now for that last Troll...

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Unless I want to go into open ground I can only get one attack on the Troll, meaning I can't kill it this turn. I'm okay with that; we got four kills already, so there's no reason to get greedy. I'll use this Thug to soften him up a bit for next turn.


You know what we haven't done all game yet? Checked on Relana. Let's do that.

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Hm. Doesn't look so good for her, does it. Let's pull some of our wounded units back in the hopes of having them sit in villages next turn and being available to help Relana out in the event she needs it.

We'll also shuffle some units around for ZOC and terrain purposes, giving us a final layout like this:

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Turn 7

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Talk about a looooong vertical front, yes? We took some serious damage on our Thugs, which is what they're there for.


Let's start on the southern front again. Our Bandit can take out the wounded Grunt in the woods pretty easily, so we'll have him do that.

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Then we'll have our wounded Thug walk into the village and have our Poacher soften up the Grunt in the south.

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Now, our wounded Thug is still exposed to the Grunt, but the Grunt may die if he attacks the Thug. The Orcish leader could also attack the Thug, and I'd be quite happy for him to come out of hiding like that.


In the north, Harper is looking rather exposed, so let's have him rejoin the main group and weaken a Troll a bit.

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And that Troll is incredibly weak now, so it would be great if we could get our new Poacher a kill off of it. We'll move our Trapper down to attack the Grunt in the swamp, rotating the Thugs in the process, thereby allowing our Poacher to get the Troll kill.

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Now, at this point let's move our wounded Thugs into villages and get a not-so-wounded Thug up toward Relana.

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Note that the two wounded Thugs in the middle didn't attack this turn (the two Thugs between the two Grunts in the south). I didn't want them to die when counterattacked, and I would ideally like to choose who gets the kill XP for those Grunts, so I'd rather them do nothing and continue to be decoys for the units I care about more.



TUrn 8

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Two things to note. First, we lost a couple of Thugs in the south, which I'm perfectly fine with. Second, remember how back on Turn 4 I commented that my neglecting the northern front was going to allow enemies to swarm up around me? Well, it's happened. Fortunately for me we've killed enough of the Orcs that it shouldn't really matter at this point, but it's something that I still could have done better about.


The Orc Leader has exposed himself to us, and while it's tempting to jump on him I would rather first take care of the wounded Grunts in the area to reduce the number of units I have to deal with. The first Grunt takes two Poachers and a Thug to deal with.

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Based on how many units it took to deal with that Grunt I decided to just focus on the other Grunt, leaving the Leader for next turn. The second Grunt took both the Trapper and Bandit to finish off.

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Back in the north, we have a choice to make about Harper.

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Harper is very exposed right now. He only has 29 hit points, which isn't that many even with his high evasion rate. If he says to fight then he may be killed. He also may get a kill, but it's not worth the risk.

Instead, I'll have Harper swing into the village and have the Thug and Trapper in the area go for the Grunt in the Swamp. This will reduce the number of threats to Harper and also ZOC protect him from the east.

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We're going to let Baldras and the other Thug continue to heal, and we're going to have our northwestern Thug continue to move in that direction to reinforce Kelana.

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Overall we should be able to finish up the Orcs rather quickly at this point.



Conclusion

The start of Turn 9 looks like this:

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The northern Thug died and the Orc Leader went back to his base. All of the hard strategy decisions have been made by this point, and while there's some tactical maneuvering at some points you can look through those in the replay.


Let's see how our units are doing:

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Very nice! Lots of Level 2's at the end of the third scenario with a good mix of ranged and melee.


And our stats:

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We're doing a bit better than average on our damage, but not by a huge amount. Overall it seems like good strategy and good tactics are paying off for us.


And on that note...

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Onward!
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Thrawn
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Re: Let's Play "Liberty"

Post by Thrawn »

Excellent job, and a fun read as well!

I'd suggest linking each new episode (of sorts) in the first post to provide an index for people who come by later and don't want to hunt for your posts.
...please remember that "IT'S" ALWAYS MEANS "IT IS" and "ITS" IS WHAT YOU USE TO INDICATE POSSESSION BY "IT".--scott

this goes for they're/their/there as well
Velensk
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Re: Let's Play "Liberty"

Post by Velensk »

I've got to say, I really respect the amount of effort you're putting in to this, very well done.
"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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zookeeper
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Re: Let's Play "Liberty"

Post by zookeeper »

This is great. :o Good job, keep it up.
alluton
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Re: Let's Play "Liberty"

Post by alluton »

Great job. (I have read the first two now.) Good to see someone doing this in Wesnoth.
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moopli
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Re: Let's Play "Liberty"

Post by moopli »

It's been a while since I've read a good AAR. Yours is definitely turning out to be one -- well-written, very insightful. So it strikes me a bit odd that you prefer to skimp on the endings of scenarios. I'd guess so far that's just because there aren't any tactical insights to be gained?
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