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Stratego» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Highest number wins. Not complicated, but not easy. rss

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Starkiller
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Wasilla
Alaska
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I know this is an old game, but it is truly great with tremendous depth. This strategy post deals with the overall strategy, not individual tips.
Also, note that I am using the old American numbering system (the best piece is the 1, etc.) and the full-size game, 40 pieces to a side. The new 30 piece to a side sets simply do not have enough room for bomb sneakiness, in my opinion.
The key to understanding Stratego is simple:

Stratego is a pure skill game, no luck involved. (Like chess, for example. No die rolls to determine winner.)
While it is an ‘incomplete information’ game, the higher ranks always capture the lower ranks. Some people, at first glance, think there is a great deal of luck because the bombs are hidden. Proper scouting, however, removes the chance of a bomb eliminating one of your best pieces, allowing the high ranks control of the board.

This means the winning strategy of the game is very simple: Have the highest rank piece on the board.

That’s really all there is to this game. With the highest ranking piece, use it to eliminate all moving pieces, and scout for the flag with other pieces. If you can keep your opponent from scouting for your flag at the same time, you will win.
So, not complicated. The enormous depth to the game comes from all the different ways to achieve this. I'm not going to get into the various ways in this post, I'm consintrating on understanding the importance of the high number.
The easiest example for this is the 4. If a player outnumbers an opponent in 4s, for any reason, they are well on the way to winning the game. Most beginners get caught by not worrying about their 4s, considering them disposable, and using a 4 toward the beginning of the game. When it is captured, a beginner thinks, "oh well, I’ve got 2 more, and still have my 1,2, and 3s." Their sophisticated opponent, meanwhile, prepares to ‘trade down’. He does this by suicide-ing his 1 against the opponents’ 1, his 2 against the 2, both 3s against the other 3s, and finally two of his 4s against the beginners remaining 4s. This leaves the sophisticated opponent with the highest piece on the board, an excellent advantage.

Think about it scenario;
It’s close to the end of the game. Red has his 2, a 5, and various lower pieces. Blue’s highest piece is a 6. At this moment, which is the most powerful piece on the board? >-----> The 2 and the 5 are EQUAL!!! Both can capture any piece that moves! It doesn’t matter that the 2 was more powerful at the beginning of the game.

Second scenario with almost the same setup;
It’s close to the end of the game. Red has his 1, a 5, and various lower pieces. Blue’s highest piece is a 6, and he still has his Spy. At this moment, which is the most powerful piece on the board? >----> The 5!!! The 5 has no fear of any piece that moves. The 1 can still be captured by the spy, so it is less powerful.

Think about it.....
And play this truly excellent, deep game.
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J.C. Tsistinas
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Marcellus
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Make Your Own Dice Tower Review: 1. Spill all of the pieces onto a table. 2. Rearrange the pieces, ignoring most of the setup instructions. 3. Say you don't like the game because it makes you think too much.
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While there is no luck, it's NOT a pure strategy game. In fact, I'd argue the game involves more tactics than strategy. You can have a grandiose plan for how you'd like to attack the other side of the battlefield, but with each revealed piece, you're forced to adjust the plan.
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Starkiller
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Humm. I actually agree with you. Maybe I used the wrong word....Stratego is a game of pure skill? No luck involved. That's what I was trying to say. I'll edit the post.
Thank you.
 
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