Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

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axefighterr
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Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by axefighterr »

Hi there. I am playing 1 on 1 matches from time to time (playing Wesnoth casually for 3-4 years) and having a question: which faction is best for defensive/passive style of play? By defensive I mean: wait till enemy crushes on your mighty wall, gain bunch of level 2 units and then steamroll the opponent. With my experience Knalgans are quite good at it, but others? And it is possible to play defensive as Drakes? What tips can you give to a player like me and so on?

Also: Which mainline maps fits best for this type of play?
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pe_em
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Re: Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by pe_em »

In my honest opinion playing defensively isn't fun, because it usually produces long and boring games.
axefighterr wrote:wait till enemy crushes on your mighty wall
No serious gamer would make a suicide attack. :roll: You need to do something more than only wait. Provoking your enemy to attack is a good idea.
axefighterr wrote:Also: Which mainline maps fits best for this type of play?
Mostly small and tight maps are good to play defensively. (Means that attacking is hard here) Examples: Den of Onis, Hamlets. Usually maps with villages covered by some good terrain make attacking villages really hard.

The opposites are the big maps with uncovered villages, like Fallenstar Lake or Sullas Ruins.
axefighterr wrote:With my experience Knalgans are quite good at it, but others? And it is possible to play defensive as Drakes?
Neutral factions are better at defense, because they don't receive time-of-day bonus (positive as well as negative). Knalga have high terrain defense and resistances. Knocking them out of hills is usually impossible without usage of magical attack. Rebels with slowing and healing shamans and high defense units are also good at defense (I prefer them to Knalgans because they're faster).

The worst defending factions are Drakes and Undead due to negative resistances (Drakes: pierce and cold, Undead: fire and impact). It is just easier to kill more units of these factions and they aren't able to counter enemy's attacks due to negative time-of-day bonuses.
coltemp
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Re: Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by coltemp »

And because of the not so random generator your defense %'s mean little to nothing.
You are almost always gong to be out numbered, usually heavily and unless you happen to have some true choke points forget the defense.
The other big issue with playing defensively is if you have an ally they will almost always play even dumber than the enemy AI. Like regularly putting units in water. Repeatibly attacking one unit with slow attacks instead of hitting 3 or 4 dangerous oponents and slowing all them so when the computer turn rolls around there may be 4 attacks put they will all be at reduced damage and give you a better chance to survive.

Having played Wesnoth off and on over several years it has always seemed to suffer from a not so random random number generator. I suppose if you added up every attack and defense over say 10,000 encounters you probably do get random. But my repeated experience over the years is there are several scenarios in various campaigns where you had better hope the generator is at least being even handed or in your favor or you will be long dead.
For instance I have been playing A song of Fire, Medium difficulty, Scenarios 5 is all but impossible as you need to survive 18 turns against hordes of drakes. The computer gets tons of gold. Your ally has a fair amount and generally uses it well but then makes really dumb attacks leaving some of its better units exposed to easy counter attacks. Having played it 4 times now (never have finished it yet) it appears that you basically really need to have the generator working evenly to have a prayer of completing it. For instance the drakes land int he water, most have 20% defense, you/ally is in castle/mountain square, 60% or 70%. You attack 4 times usually you will get 2 hits out of 3 or 4. The computer usually gets at least 2 hits back out of its 3 or 4. When you defend the computer gets it 2-3 out of 4 hits and you may get 1 or 2 of your 4. Hence you can plan on losing. You have no chance. Of the space of 3 or 4 turns when this continues (As it regularly does!) forget about winning you might as well start over. Shut the game down all the way, maybe reboot the computer, reload and hope the generator resets to give you at least decent odds of the %'s actually meaning anything.

As too your question basically aint going to happen in this game. Forget about getting level 2's unless you attack and get lucky.
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taptap
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Re: Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by taptap »

coltemp wrote:And because of the not so random generator your defense %'s mean little to nothing.
You are almost always gong to be out numbered, usually heavily and unless you happen to have some true choke points forget the defense.
The other big issue with playing defensively is if you have an ally they will almost always play even dumber than the enemy AI. Like regularly putting units in water. Repeatibly attacking one unit with slow attacks instead of hitting 3 or 4 dangerous oponents and slowing all them so when the computer turn rolls around there may be 4 attacks put they will all be at reduced damage and give you a better chance to survive.

Having played Wesnoth off and on over several years it has always seemed to suffer from a not so random random number generator. I suppose if you added up every attack and defense over say 10,000 encounters you probably do get random. But my repeated experience over the years is there are several scenarios in various campaigns where you had better hope the generator is at least being even handed or in your favor or you will be long dead.
For instance I have been playing A song of Fire, Medium difficulty, Scenarios 5 is all but impossible as you need to survive 18 turns against hordes of drakes. The computer gets tons of gold. Your ally has a fair amount and generally uses it well but then makes really dumb attacks leaving some of its better units exposed to easy counter attacks. Having played it 4 times now (never have finished it yet) it appears that you basically really need to have the generator working evenly to have a prayer of completing it. For instance the drakes land int he water, most have 20% defense, you/ally is in castle/mountain square, 60% or 70%. You attack 4 times usually you will get 2 hits out of 3 or 4. The computer usually gets at least 2 hits back out of its 3 or 4. When you defend the computer gets it 2-3 out of 4 hits and you may get 1 or 2 of your 4. Hence you can plan on losing. You have no chance. Of the space of 3 or 4 turns when this continues (As it regularly does!) forget about winning you might as well start over. Shut the game down all the way, maybe reboot the computer, reload and hope the generator resets to give you at least decent odds of the %'s actually meaning anything.

As too your question basically aint going to happen in this game. Forget about getting level 2's unless you attack and get lucky.
You are not even writing about the same thing as the original post (single player vs. multi player) - let alone you use a (possibly not well balanced) single player add-on to lament about the Wesnoth RNG with anecdotal evidence (I always hit less than I feel entitled to).
I am a Saurian Skirmisher: I'm a real pest, especially at night.
coltemp
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Re: Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by coltemp »

taptap wrote: You are not even writing about the same thing as the original post (single player vs. multi player) - let alone you use a (possibly not well balanced) single player add-on to lament about the Wesnoth RNG with anecdotal evidence (I always hit less than I feel entitled to).
Actually I did, He asked about defensive strategy and I answered in general. The other responder did a good job about details.
And you obviously don't know the campaign I referred to as one of the more mature and well balanced. I could have expanded because I have seen the behavior even int he mainline campaigns. Sometimes they are a breeze and seem to have been tweaked to give the novices an easier time. (like when I played it again two weeks ago) and other times they are tough though winnable at the same settings, Like what happened a day or two ago.

There is a reason people like me tend to play for a bit and end up deleting the game, some unpredictability does improve game play but the long stretches of comparative unbalance get frustrating when the gameplay is already on a knifes edge due to the user always being short on cash, lacking units to effectively defend the hordes the computer gets, and trying somehow to use the must keep alive units without getting them killed yet again. It's nice having the loyal units but makes the game play so much more difficult when you have to spend all your time trying to guard them instead of using them.

And being a mathematician I have a pretty good feel for what real statistics should look like. Truly random just doesn't happen quite as much as it should.
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Gyra_Solune
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Re: Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by Gyra_Solune »

Humans are not the best at probability! It is why many people believe there is such a thing as luck, after all. It is noted that when looking at probability, our brains skew things heavily in favor of the more unlikely events and those stick out in our minds because they're not 'supposed' to happen, so we view the unlikely as happening more often than they really are. It's perhaps compounded by the specific probabilities employed in Wesnoth (they're actually a little devious in this way) - the quickest and dodgiest units are getting 70% evasion on their home terrain, and people think 'that guy's never getting hit ever' but it's actually getting barely above a 2/3, so about one in every three attacks will hit it (in a game where most units average about 3 strikes on their main attack). And then the inverse, the most sluggish of units regularly have around a 30% evasion rate on open ground, and people think 'that guy is going to get hit all the time' but that's just barely below a 2/3, so it'll still dodge one of every three attacks. And even in the most dire of circumstances which is, I believe, a Heavy Infantry in shallow water getting solely a 10% evade, it's going to evade one of every ten times, which is significant for a defensive unit that's going to be attacked that many times in most scenarios.

It's actually reasonably likely that attacking someone in 20% terrain that you'll only hit 2 of 3 times - in fact for a unit to hit all three attacks is a 51% chance, so it's almost a coin flip whether or not you'll land all three strikes. And in fact the odds of hitting twice are 64%, so there's a 36% chance they will evade 2 of those three attacks. Half the time you will land two of your attacks - a third of the time you will only land one. In a situation where you're being swarmed, that's absolutely going to happen.

And uh, again that is a user-made campaign. For one the game isn't entirely balanced around campaigns, it's balanced around multiplayer where it obviously is required to be balanced. Rather, campaigns are balanced around the units you get. Some scenarios are specifically designed to be very very hard and in favor of the opponent (one must also keep in mind the AI is not that great, human players can pull of strategies that simply can't be accounted for with our limited AI-coding resources) - some are in fact designed to be unbeatable like the last scenario of Descent into Darkness where no matter what you do, you keep getting less and less and less gold every loop until you really can't buy anything and end up overwhelmed (even if the Ancient Lich is a pretty great unit at holding its own every opponent has some sort of Undead-crusher), when it turns out the hidden actual way to end the campaign was to get a game over. And for two that's a user-made campaign. There are always going to be some bits of wonkiness because they aren't as rigorously played and tested as others. Mainline campaigns have hundreds of people playing them regularly and combing them over for issues because they come with the game, and both the most experienced veterans and brand-new players have input on them. User-made campaigns are much less frequently played because they're pretty much a mod, and most casual players won't even know what their deal is unless they are very much involved in the community. As such, issues like that where you find you cannot beat a scenario are more common - those are played more often by the exceedingly experienced players who can run circles around absolutely anything the AI can throw at them.
kjn
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Re: Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by kjn »

I think a defensive playstyle might be entirely dissimilar to a passive one. Also, Wesnoth isn't really suited to a builder's approach, at least not for most scenarios.

First, the (tactical) attacker will always get to decide when and where to attack, and in which way. That way they can choose the modes of attack that give them the best possible odds, and also reinforce and exploit any successes. The tactical attacker can also move and place support units so they give the best effect.

Instead, I've found myself setting up an active defense. I think of my army in four parts: screening units, main battle line, reserve, and support, and I tend to recruit them in that order (local tactical requirements might force a different order, and the support element often is recruited interspersed). I use mobile screening units to push out as far as possible. Their job is to grab villages, provoke the enemy, and crush enemy scouting units that stray to far forward. Behind them, I form up my main battle line as far forward as I can manage. Once the attacking enemy is approaching I tend to fall back until I have a favourable time of day and the reserve element is ready.

When the enemy forces reach their culminating point (either just before my battle line or actively engaging it, this doesn't really matter, but I prefer just before) I counter-attack. My reserve strikes the enemy lead elements, hopefully eliminating them. The screening units help to mop up survivors. Meanwhile, the battle line moves forward to protect the reserve (which mostly are damaged now) and the screening units. Usually, the new main battle line won't be perfect, but if you've done things right there won't be a concerted enemy response. The support elements (healing and leadership) are placed to help as much as possible.

So to me the combination of horsemen and spearmen (or equivalent) strikes me as very capable, especially as the horsemen can double as both the screening element and the reserve (and then they promote to knights, becoming dedicated and very capable reserve units).

ETA: Add support element, and discussion on such
Last edited by kjn on March 28th, 2016, 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mystery
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Re: Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by Mystery »

pe_em wrote:Neutral factions are better at defense, because they don't receive time-of-day bonus (positive as well as negative). Knalga have high terrain defense and resistances. Knocking them out of hills is usually impossible without usage of magical attack. Rebels with slowing and healing shamans and high defense units are also good at defense (I prefer them to Knalgans because they're faster).

The worst defending factions are Drakes and Undead due to negative resistances (Drakes: pierce and cold, Undead: fire and impact). It is just easier to kill more units of these factions and they aren't able to counter enemy's attacks due to negative time-of-day bonuses.
One might argue both Night factions are the best at defense. Undead and Northerners are the only factions with recruitable Level 0 units by default, which allows them to continue bolstering their numbers as both armies (in 1v1) reach their maximum size as allowed by upkeep. It gives them inevitability over the other four factions because not aggressively pushing in eventually means losing to a critical mass of Bats/Corpses or Goblins, forcing them to eventually accept a subpar frontal assault if the Undead/Northerner player maintains effective defensive positioning.

At any rate, Ghouls are fairly adept at defending, lacking the weaknesses common to other Undead units and poison being very strong in attrition. Pushing through a Skeleton's massive Blade/Pierce resists is painful even at daytime. Drakes... yeah they're pretty bad at defense. Saurians can have punishing offense at night but they're fragile regardless. Gliders are also much more expensive, and less expendable, than Bats at hanging out on the edges of a map and threatening to snipe villages behind an advancing force.
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Oflameo
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Re: Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by Oflameo »

axefighterr wrote:Hi there. I am playing 1 on 1 matches from time to time (playing Wesnoth casually for 3-4 years) and having a question: which faction is best for defensive/passive style of play? By defensive I mean: wait till enemy crushes on your mighty wall, gain bunch of level 2 units and then steamroll the opponent. With my experience Knalgans are quite good at it, but others? And it is possible to play defensive as Drakes? What tips can you give to a player like me and so on?

Also: Which mainline maps fits best for this type of play?

The most effective defensive strategy I found is called [wiki]PWP:_Banking,_"No_tax,_no_fees,_no_interest"[/wiki]. You cover yourself in a veil of confidence. You recruit only enough units to grab the villages. You don't give your opponent free EXP by letting them kill an entire wall of units, instead use evasion in areas that aren't choke points. Then you recruit counter units using the difference in gold and information. It works for every faction .
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Oflameo
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Re: Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by Oflameo »

Mystery wrote:
pe_em wrote:Neutral factions are better at defense, because they don't receive time-of-day bonus (positive as well as negative). Knalga have high terrain defense and resistances. Knocking them out of hills is usually impossible without usage of magical attack. Rebels with slowing and healing shamans and high defense units are also good at defense (I prefer them to Knalgans because they're faster).

The worst defending factions are Drakes and Undead due to negative resistances (Drakes: pierce and cold, Undead: fire and impact). It is just easier to kill more units of these factions and they aren't able to counter enemy's attacks due to negative time-of-day bonuses.
One might argue both Night factions are the best at defense. Undead and Northerners are the only factions with recruitable Level 0 units by default, which allows them to continue bolstering their numbers as both armies (in 1v1) reach their maximum size as allowed by upkeep. It gives them inevitability over the other four factions because not aggressively pushing in eventually means losing to a critical mass of Bats/Corpses or Goblins, forcing them to eventually accept a subpar frontal assault if the Undead/Northerner player maintains effective defensive positioning.

At any rate, Ghouls are fairly adept at defending, lacking the weaknesses common to other Undead units and poison being very strong in attrition. Pushing through a Skeleton's massive Blade/Pierce resists is painful even at daytime. Drakes... yeah they're pretty bad at defense. Saurians can have punishing offense at night but they're fragile regardless. Gliders are also much more expensive, and less expendable, than Bats at hanging out on the edges of a map and threatening to snipe villages behind an advancing force.
I could make the counter argument that the Drakes are much better at defense than the Undead or the Northers. Every Drake Unit can reliably move out of the way of an on coming attack from every unit that can do serious damage except for the Two heavy hitter units that can still get away from the Dark Adepts and Orcish Archers that aren't fast and will likely kill both in two rounds of attacks. Drakes have one of the most balky scouting units. The Drake Glider with 8 mp and 32 HP, and a ranged fire attack. A so called wall of defensive goblins and walking copses could also be a snack of cheap EXP for a Drake at a drive-through on its way to the next village, not that they have to stop because those little guys have no Zone of Control.

If you unit is too far away to hit, your unit's defense is practically infinity. Drakes are particularly good at maxing out their defense by staying too far away to hit, and attack in ways that nullifies retaliation doing their own attack by choosing an attack style that the opposing unit has no response to. Drakes also tend to clear out a group of units in one round of attack so that there is no counter attack possible.
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nuorc
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Re: Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by nuorc »

Oflameo wrote:I could make the counter argument that the Drakes are much better at defense
Yeah, well. If you define fleeing as defense. I for example love to play merkwuerdigliebe, where everything is so tight you can jump from own/allied castles to the enemies'. Every time the game deals me drakes I brace for heavy losses, because they suck really bad at defense (the one without fleeing).
Last edited by nuorc on March 14th, 2016, 11:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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sedmi_patuljak
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Re: Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by sedmi_patuljak »

There are some good ideas about defending/defensive play in this post.

Recently I tend to play sword and shield tactics. After reading some great book of Napeleon tactics I was impresed with defeat in detail concept and tried to implement this tactics in wesnoth. What I done is basically separate the units in two groups. First group that would consist of offensive units that would be my sword and much smaller group that would serve as shild.

The result is good so far. Sword group is always capable destroying much more of enemy force on one flank that my loses are on the other.
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Oflameo
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Re: Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by Oflameo »

nuorc wrote:
Oflameo wrote:I could make the counter argument that the Drakes are much better at defense
Yeah, well. If you define fleeing as defense. I for example love to play merkwuerdigliebe, where everything is so tight you can jump from own/allied castles to the enemies'. Every time the game deals me drakes I brace for heavy losses, because they suck really bad at defense (the one without fleeing).
On merkwuerdigliebe, Spam Saurian Skirmishers and attack a Leader or finish off a unit. Most of you enemies are going to be too distracted to put a proper defense. The rest of them will get so spooked that they throw away their positioning and won't attack you. The edges of the entire map is Lava so a Drake Burner is going to get more chances than usual for a maximum power attack.

Also, I appended a replay of a game I played on the official server today that shows exactly how defensive the Drakes can get. Turn 10 and 22 were my favorite turns.
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nuorc
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Re: Tips and Strategies about playing defensive

Post by nuorc »

Oflameo wrote:On merkwuerdigliebe, Spam Saurian Skirmishers
I might try that. Two reasons why that hasn't been my approach yet:
- I don't feel too lucky with those skirmies;
- the map always starts in the morning (though there's a random box ticked in the default settings).

Also my initial recruits in the N and NE position are usually dictated by trying to put up a trap for my SE enemy neighbor. :)

Edit: And I think positioning is absolutely essential on that map, and withdrawal of certain units is a possibility (especially if I can keep the lines with another faction). And ofc I try to use that lava rim to my advantage.
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