Principles and Doctrines

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Velensk
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Principles and Doctrines

Post by Velensk »

This is a WIP. I wanted to see some feedback before I decided if I'd finish it out. This is kind of a strange guide and I'm not sure it would be useful to most people but I felt like writing it so I might as well post it. I get the impression that the last section would work better as some kind of wiki with links rather than the way I was referencing them together but that would require more set-up. If I ever finish this out or if it ever gets posted I'll remove this top paragraph.

When someone was asking for me for advice I felt compelled to try to explain this however there was quite simply too much to say for in-game chat. The purpose of this writing is to give learning players a better perspective to make the myriad complexities of play easier to come to grips with. Many players give various pieces of advice and this is a way to look at all this advice and sort it. This work will also include a brief overview of many of the general principles and doctrines which govern Wesnoth play. This is not a strategy guide, it is a meta-strategy guide.

To start with I will define what I am talking about when I say doctrines and principles.
-A principle (or rather a true principle) is a fundamental rule that is indisputably true. This would be something on the lines of “A units defense is for units fighting him with a non-magical non-marksman attack to land a hit.” and “Defense is dependent on unit and the terrain they are standing on.”
-A Doctrine is a rule for how you should play that justifies itself with rules and other doctrines but which is not so indisputably true. This would be something like “You should always place your units on the terrain they are best on when it is available.”
-There is a kind of in-between step where you take the principle and you come up with another statement about how things are but which is less undisputedly true. This would be something on the lines of “A unit is less vulnerable when in terrain that gives it good defense than it would be in a terrain which gives it low defense.”

The last one seems like it would always be true till you consider that an elf in a forest surrounded by Liches is still more vulnerable than an elf in deep water where nobody can reach him. However it is generally true and it can be refined into doctrines.

Principles never contradict each other. Doctrines frequently do.

For example:
Principle: Lawful units deal extra damage at day and less damage at Night.
Principle: Individual unit types take extra or less damage from certain damage types depending on how much the base damage is.
Principle: A units defense is for units fighting him with a non-magical non-marksman attack to land a hit
Principle: Defense is dependent on unit and the terrain they are standing on.
Principle: A unit can only retaliate with a weapon of the same range as the attacker.
Principle: The fewer units an enemy has the less resources he has to protect his leader.

Faux Principle: Armies that are lawful are more powerful at day than armies that are chaotic and at night the opposite is true. Neutral armies are stronger than chaotic armies at day and weaker at night with the opposite true for day.
Faux Principle: A unit in terrain that gives it good defense is less vulnerable.
Faux Principle: Killing enemy units makes it easier to win.
Faux Principle: If you attack a melee specialized enemy with a ranged unit or vise versa then take less retaliation than you would have if you had attacked with a unit of the same type.

Doctrine: You should kill enemy units when possible.
Doctrine: If you are lawful you should attack at day and defend at night.
Doctrine: You should attack enemies with damage types they are vulnerable to when they are available or when they would retaliate with a weapon you are resistant to.
Doctrine: You should attack enemy melee units with ranged units and vise versa.
Doctrine: You should keep your units in terrain they defend well and attack enemies that leave themselves exposed.

Now looking at the first two and the last damage type you might assume that it would be a good idea to have your spearman attack a skeleton in the open from the open however Doctrines three and four would protest. On the other hand it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for the skeleton to run up to castle the spearman is standing on to attack him at day either especially if there are a number of other loyalist forces around and few undead.


The current situation is more important to any decision making process than any doctrine or even a large number of doctrines. Doctrines are simply a way of simplifying what is a good thing to do and what is not a good thing to do in a way that can be applied to most situations. This is why the advice commonly given is doctrines. However the sheer number of possible situations are staggering and many of them might make violating common doctrine a good idea or may force you to take risks to avoid even worse situations. Only very rarely is any action inherently better than all the alternatives. This is invoked in choosing to run, attack, which branch to take when you level, choices of what units to buy, which units to feed xp too. All of these are dependent on the situation. The positions and traits of the units on the map, what your enemy is and is doing, the possibilities of your and your enemy being able to do this or that, all the little things factor in. In the end you have to sort through all the contradicting threads and come to one decision. Experience will help you determine which doctrine are best applied to the situation and which risks are worth taking. In a post somebody once mentioned that the way he could identify an expert was that they were the people who knew when to attack at the wrong time of day.

Now this doesn’t mean that doctrine are useless. Following good doctrine will generally help you run into situations that allow for favorable decisions and will speed up the process of decision making. It does help to have a good set of priorities in mind and plans for how to achieve them. Doctrines are also easy to transfer and develop. You can tell a new player that if he’s fighting against drakes that thunderers are a good unit to have around and he will be able to grasp that. He may take it to excess but that will be a lesson too. The guides on playing the game all have doctrines that anybody can read up on and if they haven't already figured them out they can benefit from them. Even without experience, players who have a general idea of what is good in most cases will perform better than people who do not and in time they will learn where and when to flex.

Doctrines build on each other. The ones I mentioned in the example about how they were contradictory were really very simple Doctrines and concepts and you’d be hard pressed to win using just those as the basis of your moves. If you’re doctrine is sufficiently long reaching and complex it is a strategy. It might look something like

--> I am drakes: will use a neutral opening build to grab villages and find out what my enemy is.
--> If he is another drake I will quickly get a few more saurians and try to put pressure on the left village first night. After that shift into some clashers for the coming day. I will then ascertain how he balanced his forces between drakes and saurians and will focus on whichever one he is weaker in and play a heavy push pull game where I will try to gain an advantage over him by blocking his retreat with the gilder hidden in the deep water. In order to keep the glider hidden I will try to kill any flying units he picks up.
-->If is northerners I will go with a fighter heavy build and give land as needed. I will chase him down at day and run at night. Probably include a auger or two to heal and prevent poison damage. I will try to force him out of the water so that I have a safe area to retreat/pressure from.
-->If is rebels will see if he goes for fighters or archers and recruit mainly saurians or drakes accordingly. If game heads for critical mass play I’ll shift my forces across flanks to do a weighted attack on the right.
-->If he is knalgans I will simply try to out-maneuver him or bait him into the open. If game goes for critical mass I will aggress on the left where there is more open space.
--> If he is undead I will go heavy on burners and fighters. I will make extra sure that my units are away from his forces at night. I can probably hide some units in the water so that I don’t have to run as far. I’ll focus on killing adepts because they are the greatest threat to me.
-->If he is loyalist I’ll grab a bunch of saurians try to rush the left village on the first night. I’ll then build a few clashers to defend at day but the main body of my force will be saurians. There is too much good terrain on the right for him to cover completely so I should be able to slip a saurian though the crack and use that to force it open.

If you look through this you will see aspects of many different doctrines in it. The problem with long reaching strategies is that they can not take into account all the strange antics and twists play can take. Your opponent may have a good counter strategy that you should adapt to or might use a style you had not anticipated or the dice might cause play to proceed strangely.

Principles, Faux-Principles, and (simple) Doctrine of Wesnoth of Wesnoth

Each is numbered so that they can be referenced by each other. Readers can feel free to point out ones I missed however considering the sheer number of things that could be included in this I doubt that all of them will get listed.


Principles
1: Lawful units deal extra damage at day and less damage at Night. Chaotic units are the other way around. Neutral units are unaffected.
2: Individual unit types take extra or less damage from certain damage types depending on how much the base damage is.
3: A units defense is for units fighting him with a non-magical non-marksman attack to land a hit
4: Defense is dependent on unit and the terrain they are standing on.
5: A unit can only retaliate with a weapon of the same range as the attacker.
6: The fewer units an enemy has the less resources he has to protect his leader.
7: The rate of income you have affects the rate at which each side reinforce.
8: A non-skirmisher with two units with ZoC on either side of him has movement limited to one hex in any direction
9: A unit can only be attacked if an opponent can reach a hex beside it
10: The number of units that can attack a unit is limited by the number of hexes next to it which can be reached.
11: Some units are more valuable in certain situations than others.
12: Some units are harder to replace or mass than others.
13: Units cost income based on their level
14: Poison deals 8 damage at the start of the turn unless a healer is adjacent. It deals 8 damage regardless of resistances or defense.

Faux-Principles

101: Armies that are lawful are more powerful at day than armies that are chaotic and at night the opposite is true. Neutral armies are stronger than chaotic armies at day and weaker at night with the opposite true for day. (1)
102: High defense is good (3)
103: Killing enemy units will give you an advantage. (6)
104: If you attack a melee specialized enemy with a ranged unit or vise versa then take less retaliation than you would have if you had attacked with a unit of the same type. (5)
105: A player who controls more villages than his opponent will slowly gain an advantage. (7)
106: Basic Infantry types tend to have the best cost-to-toughness ratio.
107: It is frequently not worth killing a unit if you will lose a unit to do it (11,12)
108: If your enemy is not going to attack you then defense is meaningless.


Doctrine

201: You should kill enemy units when possible. (103)
202: If you are lawful you should attack at day and defend at night. If chaotic vise versa. If neutral attack when your enemy is weak and defend when he is strong (101)
203: You should attack enemies with damage types they are vulnerable to when they are available or when they would retaliate with a weapon you are resistant to. To this end you should recruit to exploit weaknesses
204: You should attack enemy melee units with ranged units and vise versa.
205: You should keep your units in terrain they defend well and attack enemies that leave themselves exposed. (102)
206: Your objectives when attacking should be to capture villages and kill enemies. (103,105)
-Killing is better because it removes threats to your units and gives you an advantage quicker
-Capturing villages is better because it is more certain, it both heals/protects your units and it does not blunt your strength as long as you can retreat.
207: In a heavily ToD dependent match feel free to place your warriors in the open during your time of day. In order to exploit this your enemy would have to bring his troops out into the open to fight them and they will be crushed in the counter attack (202,108)
208: Slow units can be a liability in a heavily ToD determined match because the match will require you to run away from your enemy at his ToD and toward him at yours and if your slower unit is to slow to the front his is not useful to you and if he’s to slow away he can be easily defeated. (202)
209: The best defense is to be out of reach of the enemy or to have so limited an exposure the enemy either cannot kill you or would be foolish to risk it. (9,10)
"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."

Yoyobuae
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by Yoyobuae »

Let me try this:
Principle: Losing a village costs you (default settings) 2 gold (or 3 gold if upkeep is high enough) from your income. Gaining a village rewards you with similar amounts.

Faux-principle: Stealing a village can provide a net gain of 4~6 gold per turn over your opponent

Doctrine: Weight the benefits of stealing (and holding) a village VS the costs in lost units when deciding to steal a village or not.

This principle/doctrine plays very well for Northies, a grunt holding a village for 2 full turns pays for itself fully (similarly with bats).

Also, may I suggest a possible title for the wikipage (or whatever): The Art of Wesnoth (you know like "The Art of War" book :D )

Velensk
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by Velensk »

I think you missed the distinguishing point between the faux principles and the principles. I would recite the gold value in the doctrine and remove the faux principle entirely
"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."

Yoyobuae
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by Yoyobuae »

Yeah I guess that would work. I think I tried too hard to fit it in the model. :lol2:

Another one:
Principle: The units that retreat on a turn cannot attack on that same turn

Faux-principle: If the opponent needs to retreat on his next turn then you can attack without fear of counterattacks

Doctrine: You can attack with units that would normally end up too exposed to counter attacks if the enemy is forced to retreat on his turn because of changing time of day. Specifically, you can use ranged vs melee units and viceversa, without fear of a counter attack (101,104,above one)

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Thrawn
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by Thrawn »

Yoyobuae wrote:Yeah I guess that would work. I think I tried too hard to fit it in the model. :lol2:

Another one:
Principle: The units that retreat on a turn cannot attack on that same turn

Faux-principle: If the opponent needs to retreat on his next turn then you can attack without fear of counterattacks

Doctrine: You can attack with units that would normally end up too exposed to counter attacks if the enemy is forced to retreat on his turn because of changing time of day. Specifically, you can use ranged vs melee units and viceversa, without fear of a counter attack (101,104,above one)
Try instead,
Principle: A unit cannot attack, and then move (basic game rule)

Faux Principle: A unit that needs to retreat can't attack you on their turn

Doctrine: Make attacks that expose your units if you can damage the enemy enough, or the time of day is changing in your favor.

@Velensk--this is the difference between the categories, right?
...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

mortalus
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by mortalus »

Principle: The fewer units an enemy has the less resources he has to protect his leader.
This IMO is not a principle.

Resource = Something that one uses to achieve an objective.

The use of terrain, villages and the leader's own abilities are resources as well. Having less units ~may~ mean the enemy has fewer resources to draw upon however having more units does not ~always~ mean you have more resources to utilize.

As far the rest of the post/thread, it is quite useful to analyze the differences between the principles and doctrines of Wesnoth.
~Mortalus
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Velensk
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by Velensk »

@Thrawn that seems a good way to put it

@Mortalus: You're probably correct that it is not a principle but rather a faux principle.
mortalus wrote:As far the rest of the post/thread, it is quite useful to analyze the differences between the principles and doctrines of Wesnoth.
I'm glad you think so. To be honest I'm still not entirely sure what this use is.
"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."

Daedal
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by Daedal »

This is a neat idea, but the distinction between principles, faux principles, and doctrines is a bit fuzzy IMO and I'm guessing this is why there are few responses. Could it be simplified a bit? For example:

A principle is a descriptive statement that is always true.
Example: A unit that gains sufficient experience will level up. In doing so it becomes more powerful, becomes more expensive to maintain, and is restored to full health.

A faux principle is a descriptive statement that is sometimes true.
Example: A higher level unit is better than its lower level counterpart.

A doctrine is a prescriptive statement that is sometimes true.
Example: You should level up a unit is after it reaches a useful place on the map, to save on upkeep, and after it is wounded, to receive a free restore.

Velensk
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by Velensk »

I don't think that is the reason why this thread has not been getting much responce.

I think the reason that this thread has not been getting much responce is because there is not really a lot to say about it. We could add articles forever but that would hardly be rewarding because at the moment it is a pain to try to read through it and adding more would only make it worse. You could say "Yes this was very helpful" or something simular but you would only say that if you find it useful and at the moment I really do not imagine that it is. You could say that you diagree but about the only thing to disagree with are the definitions.

In essence if I really want this to take off I'd have to rewrite it to be easier to read through than just lists of articles refrenced to each other by numbers. I'd probably have to catagorise it so that if you were looking for help on a specific topic (such as specific faction docterines (with subsections for each other faction they might fight), docterines for beginners, general defensive docterines, ect.). Because there are a much more limited number of principles and faux principles it might be worth naming them so that when refrenceing them as supporting a docterine you can use something a bit more memerable than 021. Infact, naming docterines as well may help immensely though that could become a problem considering the vast number of them that could exist.
"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."

Yoyobuae
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by Yoyobuae »

Using the wiki and links might help.

Also more than trying to write a lot of useful principles/doctrines from the start, it would be better to create a basic structure of articles that entices users add to it.

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usr-sbin
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by usr-sbin »

Thanks for the guide Velensk, it has added a new level of thinking (badly worded??) to the game. I'm still a bit confused on the terms but I'm sure it will become clearer *rereads*
Continuing Siege of Soradoc

Killer595
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by Killer595 »

Faux-principle: If it is my time of day, I should be attacking. If it is not my time of day, I should be retreating.
Faux-principle. If it is not my enemy's time of day, he will retreat.
Faux-principle: If I attack hard enough, my enemy will not be able to counterattack.
Faux-principle If my defensive line is strong enough, my enemy will not be able to break it.
Faux-principle: Level 0 units have no upkeep cost so they are the best choice when my upkeep cost is equal to my village count.
Faux-principle: Scouts are not combat units so they should not attack. This especially applies to bats and drake gliders.
Faux-principle: He wouldn't dare make that move, it's stupid.
Faux-principle: If I move to (x,y), he'll move to (x,y) and then I can take (x,y).
Faux-principle: My last round went well, so it's safe to press more.
Faux-principle: This is my village. I need to hold this village. I will hold this village no matter what.
Faux-principle: I should never make scouts on small maps.
Faux-principle: I should always make a lot of scouts on large maps.
Faux-principle: 80% chance to kill is good enough in combat involving ulfsarkers.
Faux-principle: Ghosts have high resistances so they're pretty much invincible vs physical attacks.
Faux-principle: Ghosts heal when they attack melee, so I should always attack melee with them.
Faux-principle: All I have to do is kill that unit, and then I can advance just the way I want.
Faux-principle: My leader should stay in his castle at all times.
Faux-principle: My leader should be out attacking at all times.
Faux-principle: If I concentrate entirely on the left, I will be safe on the right because he will have to counter my attack on the left.
Faux-principle: He's a low-ranked ladder player, so he's not going to be good.

These are all principles I've applied while playing at some time or another, and they're all principles that have failed me.
if a good move is made for bad reasons, is it still a good move?

Greep
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by Greep »

Principle: Slowed units attack at half damage
Faux principle: units which are slowed first make easy targets to gang up on

Principle: magical attacks always have a 70% chance to hit
Faux principle: magical attacks are reliable ways to break an enemy's line
Doctrine: One should save magical attacks for enemies with high defense.

Principle: A unit heals entirely when gaining a level and becomes much more durable and thus holds a line or town easier
Faux principle: advancing experienced level 1 units is very high priority
Doctrine: One should protect units with greater than 50% exp to level

Principle: units can use part of their movement and then move again later
Principle: Leadership grants lesser leveled units 25% attack bonus.
Doctrine: one should move a unit with leadership close to as many level 1/level 0 units as possible and let them attack before finishing their turn.

Principle: "Charge" doubles attack but doubles retaliation damage
Doctrine: one should first weaken a unit and then charge him when a single shot is needed.
Doctrine: Charging units with weak melee attacks is a very good idea.

Principle: a leader can only recruit at a keep
Doctrine: one should keep the leader within one full turn's movement of a keep if there is only one.
Faux Principle: A leader near a keep but not on it both exerts pressure and can recruit.

Doctrine: it is best to poison units not intended to be killed with damage immediately.

Doctrine: One should advance units to good terrain in "enemy territory" if one thinks an enemy atack would be unsuccesful

Principle: An enemy in Zone of control cannot move any further.
Doctrine: One should keep a barrier of zone of control with cheap units to protect the weak ones.

Principle: Units on one side of the battlefield cannot be used all the way on the other.
Faux principle: One can use fast units to steal further back villages to draw away enemies from an area.

Velensk
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by Velensk »

Killer595 wrote:Faux-principle: If it is my time of day, I should be attacking. If it is not my time of day, I should be retreating.
Faux-principle. If it is not my enemy's time of day, he will retreat.
Faux-principle: If I attack hard enough, my enemy will not be able to counterattack.
Faux-principle If my defensive line is strong enough, my enemy will not be able to break it.
Faux-principle: Level 0 units have no upkeep cost so they are the best choice when my upkeep cost is equal to my village count.
Faux-principle: Scouts are not combat units so they should not attack. This especially applies to bats and drake gliders.
Faux-principle: He wouldn't dare make that move, it's stupid.
Faux-principle: If I move to (x,y), he'll move to (x,y) and then I can take (x,y).
Faux-principle: My last round went well, so it's safe to press more.
Faux-principle: This is my village. I need to hold this village. I will hold this village no matter what.
Faux-principle: I should never make scouts on small maps.
Faux-principle: I should always make a lot of scouts on large maps.
Faux-principle: 80% chance to kill is good enough in combat involving ulfsarkers.
Faux-principle: Ghosts have high resistances so they're pretty much invincible vs physical attacks.
Faux-principle: Ghosts heal when they attack melee, so I should always attack melee with them.
Faux-principle: All I have to do is kill that unit, and then I can advance just the way I want.
Faux-principle: My leader should stay in his castle at all times.
Faux-principle: My leader should be out attacking at all times.
Faux-principle: If I concentrate entirely on the left, I will be safe on the right because he will have to counter my attack on the left.
Faux-principle: He's a low-ranked ladder player, so he's not going to be good.

These are all principles I've applied while playing at some time or another, and they're all principles that have failed me.
Now see, this is the kind of thing that I was worried about. First of all, many of these are really docterines as they tell the player how to play. Second of all, I would disagreee with most of these.

Starting at the top:
-Don't count on it. If your enemy has no reason to retreat he won't even if it isn't his time of day.
-Try "If you do enough damage to your enemy his counter attack will be ineffective." Attack depth has nothing to do with it.
-Define "strong enough". In many instances it is impossible to create a defense that cannot be broken even without extream luck.
-No they are not. Using an extensive number of level 0s to keep upkeep down is a risky proposal at best. In some ways gold hordeing is a safer stratagy as it allows you to recruit units needed for a counter attack later.
-If you have a scout you might as well use it for fighting if you can gain some advantage by it. This applies even to gliders and bats who can occasionally fly around enemy lines to finish off a wounded enemy. Some scouts are also quite competent fighters such as footpads, cavalrymen, griffons, horsmen and a couple others. A better way of describing it would be that most scouts are not cost efficent for pure combat.
-This does not help anyone. The purposes of this kind of list would be to organise the metagame so that new (or not so new) players could read it for their beniffit. Be more specific or explain how to use this.
-Ditto
-Try not to tell people to be incautious.
-You should always make the number of scouts you need to efficently grab all your villages. On some large maps you'd be surprised how few that actually is.
-No % chance less than 100% is good enough. Anything else will just have to do. Certain risks just are not worth taking at those odds. It generaly just isn't worth it to risk 20% chance against say a walking corpse which probably can be easilly killed by other units and if you do lose the ulferker than you just lost a 19 gold unit trying to kill an 8 gold unit and gave him a free unit to boot.
-Do not think like this. It will lead you to act incatiously and I assure you ghosts are not invicible to physical attacks.
-It is quite possible that your ghost will take more damage than it gives from this and that it would be better to just conserve hit points and attack at a distance.
-See the notes above about supposed purpose of this excercise.
-Don't limit yourself for no reason. Your leader can be a valueable defense.
-Don't limit yourself for no reason. If you stay away from your castle then you won't be able to reinforce and will invariably be overwhelmed. Also being away from your castle limits your ability to react to attacks in areas where your leader is not.
-If he can capture or steal your villages that relieves him of the obligation to counter attack you with full force.
-This is not directly relevant to play.

Most of these docterines were bad to begin with and it's not surprising that they failed you.
"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."

Caphriel
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Re: Principles and Doctrines

Post by Caphriel »

I think he misunderstood the idea of faux-principles to be "things that seem like principles but are wrong" rather than "things that are not quite true."

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