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Subject: Poll #6: Yet another set of questions on what to do.. rss

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dave
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Once again I was faced with some difficult choices in the heat of battle; and once again, from the comfort of my easy chair I was wondering if what I chose was the best option. So on my 9th turn on the Slopes of Mount Austen with the score tied at 4 (5 Medals wins it), here's the board:

There's been extensive fighting on my Japanese right and center flanks. The Marines have just Attacked my Left and have taken the hill by finishing off the middle infantry and wounding another infantry. I'm holding: Attack/Assault/Assault Left, Close Assault, and Medics and Mechanics. So first Question: Which card should I play? And note, Imperial Japanese Army rules are in effect (4-figure infantry get +1 on close assaults and infantry can move 2 and close assault). (And, as someone always thinks this is determinant, Ambush has not been played.)

Poll
Which card would you play in the above scenario?
Attack Left
Close Assault
Medics and Mechanics
      30 answers
Poll created by dave65tdh



Now going through the different options:

Medics is the most defensive option as there's no way to win this turn, but you can deny your opponent and easy kill by moving him back away from the engineer so you're looking at finishing it the following turn.
Question 2: If you play Medics, what are your chances of fully healing the 2-figure infantry?
Question 3: What are you chances of not getting any healing and thus no order?

Poll
1. On a 5-dice Medics roll, what are the chances to fully heal a 2-figure infantry?
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
2. On a 5-dice Medics roll, what are the chances of getting no healing on an infantry, and thus no order?
less than 1%
3%
8%
13%
      25 answers
Poll created by dave65tdh





Poll
Now if you just wanted to go for a kill this turn, which would be better card, the Close Assault or the Attack Left?
Close Assault
Attack Left
      32 answers
Poll created by dave65tdh


Close Assault is attractive because you potentially roll 9 dice, but a retreat in the first roll prevents a second attack.
Question 5: If you play Close Assault, what is the best firing order?
Question 6: And what is the likelihood of killing the Marine on the hill?

Poll
1. If playing Close Assault, what is the optimal firing order to kill the Marine on the hill?
The 4-figure infantry fires first (5 dice), then the 2-figure infantry.
The 2-figure infantry fires first (4 dice), then the 4-figure infantry.
2. And then what is the likelihood of gaining a medal?
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
      27 answers
Poll created by dave65tdh


Finally, the Attack Left is attractive as you can mitigate the fatal flag problem in the first roll, but then you roll less dice.
Question 7: What's the best way to position your guys from these 4 options to get a medal.
Question 8: And what is the likelihood of killing the Marine on the hill?



Poll
1. If playing Attack Left, what is the optimal position for your infantry to kill the Marine on the hill?
Neither infantry comes forward and the 4-infantry shoots first.
The 2-infantry comes forward and the 4-infantry shoots first.
The 4-infantry comes forward and the 2-infantry shoots first.
Both infantries come forward and it doesn't matter which shoots first.
2. And then what is the likelihood of gaining a medal?
25%
35%
45%
55%
65%
75%
85%
      24 answers
Poll created by dave65tdh



Thanks for taking the poll and answers tomorrow!






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dave
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Reserved for answer.

First, thanks to everyone who took the poll. I figure out the numbers for my own enjoyment, but it's nice that some other people enjoy this stuff too.


Ok, so before we get into the nitty-gritty of the poll analysis, I just want to take a moment to get into the background a bit more. Initially I’ve found that you need to be hyper-aggressive as the Japanese in order to maximize their special abilities and have any hope of success (think the entire Guadalcanal campaign). It was always Banzai!, Banzai!, Banzai! Then I came across a few scenarios where it’s actually probably a better strategy to hold back and play defensively (think Meat Grinder and some of the other Campaign Book 2 scenarios) so the pendulum came back a bit. Then once again I’ve struggled against devastating Marine artillery where you just can’t win against a patient US player if you play defensively (think Sugar Loaf and here in Slopes of Mt Austen) so I’m back towards Banzai! whenever I can, or maybe it’s Banzai!?!.

Thus in this game my Japanese came charging out on their right, driving the Marines out of the jungle on turn 2. He Attacks back, but fails to kill my infantry which leaves his lead Tank vulnerable without a retreat (and without follow-up cards!) so it’s looking ripe for a slaughter. However, the dice fail me as I go 0/4, 0/6, 1/9, 1/13, 2/15, and finally 3/17 with all shots against a tank without a retreat! Good grief. 5 shots kills it 50% of the time; 10 shots, 94.5%; and 15 shots, 99.63%! So instead of likely putting the game away in turn 3, it turns into this tortured nightmare as he eventually kills my guys mainly fighting from the Center! And then, which might actually be the worst thing, he didn’t even get the ‘Iron Tank’ badge, which I don’t understand as I don’t think it’s a requirement that the unit survives the battle, only that the tank resists 10 dice without suffering loss (and he doesn’t yet have the badge). Ah those guys deserve it in my book.

Anyways, the point is that I was having one of those WTF-did-I-do-to-piss-off-the-dice-gods kind of games, so I was understandably just a little gun-shy—very surprised and happy to still be in the game mind you, but gun-shy nonetheless. I was thinking that if I Attacked on that last turn, the dice would fail me and then he would easily kill my wounded guy for the win. Thus I choose Medics in hopes to fully heal my guy, get him away from those evil engineers and arty to easily survive whatever he might throw at me, and do some so damage to his lead infantry which I could then kill the next turn. It Seemed like the perfect plan to steal a win, except, except… well, let’s get into the poll answers.

Question 1: So there’s no real right answer here but I’m glad at least 1/3 of you agreed with my choice as the 18 votes were surprisingly equally distributed.



Questions 2 and 3: With 5 dice, you get 2 heals 81.3% of the time and it completely flops 3.13%. Voters underestimated the healing chance (41% guess 50%) so maybe that’s why only 1/3 voted for this option.

A 5-dice complete whiff really was completely off my radar, which is a little surprising since I am very weary of Their Finest Hour, but I guess I haven’t had Medics flop so spectacularly against me before like I’ve had TFH flop. Well, as you might have guessed, that’s what happened (dice roll shown above--oh here's all the freaking tank killing dice!). I still think Medics was solid, but I usually subscribe to the if-you-have-a-chance-to-win-you-should-take-it strategy which I unfortunately abandoned here. Once we get through the numbers, I wonder if anyone would change their mind.

Question 4: So voters were split evenly here, but as we shall see, Attack Left is the (slightly) better choice.

I am very leery of double Close Assaults as it seems like almost inevitably the first shot retreats the guy away, but it’s tough passing up a 5-dice roll.

Questions 5 and 6: So here we have competing interests—more dice equals more chance of outright success (4 of 5 hits), but also more chance of a retreat as well (60%). Conversely less dice means less chance of a nasty Retreat (52%), but also less chance for a 1-roll kill. And voters were suckered in by the big 5-dice roll but shooting 4 dice then 5 dice gets 4 hits 39.87% of the time; whereas 5 dice then 4 dice is ever so slightly less at 39.13%. Guesses on percentages were pretty much all over the place, but 40% is the correct answer.

I’m glad that this turned out so even as I’m pretty sure I would not have passed up the chance to roll 5 dice!

Questions 7 and 8: Once again there are competing interests at work here—if you stay on the hill for more attack dice, then retreats are problematic; if try to mitigate the retreat problem by sending one guy down the hill, then no retreats are problematic; and if you send both guys down the hill, you block retreats but roll only 5 dice. Crunching the numbers we see:
A) Neither infantry advances gets a kill 40.51% of the time;
B) Moving the 2-infantry up, 42.71%;
C) Moving the 4-infantry up, 41.15%; and
D) Moving both up, 46.1%.

Thus it’s actually slightly better to sacrifice dice to convert flags into hits, and this choice was just the slightly favored choice. And once again guesstimates on the likelihood of success were all over the place with more than half the voters choosing 55% or more.

At the time I was thinking (B), but that just left my 2-infantry almost guaranteed to die next turn so I just couldn’t pull the trigger and Banzai! And unfortunately for me, Medics flopped big time and then, as predicted, a Probe had his engineer easily killed the 2-infantry. Que sera sera.




And oh yeah, originally I had just done some empirical rolls to see which one was better but they were all pretty clustered together--and all within 6% of the actual values so 20 rolls is a pretty good indicator.

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Joe Browes
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As ever, I look forward to finding out how wrong I am!
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Kevin Riddle

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interesting questions, I just always want to quote Han Solo
"Never tell me the odds"
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Lewis Karl
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scout13 wrote:
interesting questions, I just always want to quote Han Solo
"Never tell me the odds"


Jimminy Xmas, who cares? I mean, who plays a memoir game like this and has fun? I can see it now. Armies of statisticians in analysis paralysis in the trenches losing the war to men of action.
 
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dave
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Just tripping the thread as I've posted the answer.





Considered writing more (but pointless), but a quote from Bugs Bunny comes to mind: 'What a moroon!'
whistle
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Kevin Riddle

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I'm just saying, sometimes you have to push the odds to win big
a war of attrition may be a losing battle

risk a lot, save a lot
(or lose a lot)
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Rick Rodrick
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Thanks for this analysis and insight. It is a fun expercise. I'll take the quizzes any time.
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dave
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scout13 wrote:
I'm just saying, sometimes you have to push the odds to win big
a war of attrition may be a losing battle

risk a lot, save a lot
(or lose a lot)
I agree with this: the further you get behind and the more desperate you get, the more you have to take bigger and bigger risks to get back in the game. The converse is also true: if you're ahead, you generally should minimize risk taking and just keep pressing your advantage and make the other guy gamble.

But you really can't make any intelligent decisions unless you have a basic understanding of the underlying odds--even if that understanding is at a gut level. Just randomly playing cards and moving troops without any thought sounds like a torturous exercise in wasting time to me, and I doubt very much 'men of action' could do much more than bitch about how M'44 is all luck rather than to listen to the wise old rabbit.
 
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Janko Kene
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As for me, in such cases (tied endgame situations), I always try to block the opponent's retreat. It will give me extra odds (Flags become Hits), especially with Japanese Imperial Army rules. Maneouver aggressively and attack!! It is still a gamble, but it worked more times than failed.


Nice try to analyze the choices. I just hope the guy across the table was patient enough...
 
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