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Subject: A short treatise on attacking (and a bit on defense) rss

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T.W. Man
Netherlands
Amsterdam
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Introduction
A very important decision to make in a single battle is the decision if, when and where to attack, or to keep a more defensive posture.

Mind you, these are not earth shattering insights, but at a guess, many a loss has been due to a poorly conceived decision to attack.

One of the most important things to consider is your own command cards. Do you have enough material to both set up the assault, execute the assault and follow through? Do you have a feasible retreat plan just in case things go pear shaped?

Difference between attack and defense
To execute a succesful assault, it's necessary to obtain a material superiority and capitalize on it. A material superiority is most easily expressed in the number of units (not necessarily the same as the total number of figures), but don't forget to add in the number of orders available!

It's because of these necessary conditions that a succesful assault is hard to execute. Defense is therefore much easier. You generally need only few orders to set up a good defensive position. As opposed to an attacking force which needs to move all its units to properly maintain formation, a defender needs to move just those units which are out of formation. A good defensive formation gives a high Battle-back opportunity. Having fewer orders available still allows a defender a similar amount of battle dice rolled. Having an equal number of orders allows a defender to roll more battle dice than the attacker!

So if an assault is not working well, the defender can execute a counter attack. And a counter attack is relatively easy to execute well: most of the units are already in a good position, so material superiority is almost a certainty!

If defense is so much easier, why isn't defense so much better? The biggest advantage of the attacker is that the attacker has initiative. It is the attacker who decides where en when battle is being waged. The defender can easily roll as many total battle dice as the attacker, but it's the attacker who has the most say in which units are involved in the actual combat. So the attacker has initiative, but that only matters if the attacker exploits the initiative to actually achieve something valuable. Examples are: capturing important ground (e.g. a bridge), removing a threat (beat down a unit so badly, the defender has to pull it out away from combat), and of course simply winning banners.

How to achieve material superiority
So, the attacker is the one who is able to create things. The defender reacts. It is the duty of the attacker to create a situation where the attacker gains material superiority. Several methods are:

Concentrate your forces
Local material superiority in its essence. When assaulting, concentrate your forces on a weak point. This may seem obvious, but can be crucial. Concentrate your battle dice on a single unit and try to eliminate it completely. An alomst depleted unit, even if it can realistically no longer participate in proper combat, can still influence the battle substantially by providing support behind the lines. There's a world of difference between eight figures divided between two or three adjacent units.

Bait
Lure the defender out of its defensive posture by leaving something in an exposed position. If the defender takes the bait and sends out a counter attack, obtain a material superiority on the counter-attacking force.

Diversion
Send out a raiding party on another part of the battle field. At the very least, it forces the defender to keep that threat in mind. The defender might need to shift some forces to a new position. This might create an opportunity to obtain material superiority on the main position.

Manoeuvre
Shift the main body of your forces from one end of the board to a different part. This forces the defender to adjust his troops. If he doesn't have the right orders to adjust, it leaves his formation unsuited to defend from the new attack vector. The attacker can obtain local material superiority.

Skirmishers
If the defender is completely entrenched, use skirmishers to disturb his lines. The best skirmishers are archers. They do little actual damage, but enjoy almost complete safety while plucking away at the defender one at a time. Sooner or later, the defender will have to move his troops to adjust to this threat. This will likely create an opportunity somewhere on the board.

Coup de main
Use some unlikely resource (e.g. command card combination or lore card) to surprise your opponent. For example, a Foot onslaught that moves many troops in a single turn. This is usually a high risk/high pay off method: if a coup de main fails to achieve its goals, whether due to the fickle Lady Luck or because the defender was prepared better than expected, it can leave several units in an exposed position. However, if it works, it can pay off in a big way, possibly even winning the day.

Conclusion
So, next time your facing an opponent in Uchronia, think on this. Do not commit to an attack if you don't have the material (the right units and commands). Attempt to create material superiority where none exists now. Have a contigency plan when the assault falters.

If you can't create an opportunity now, maintain a defensive posture and wait for the right opportunity. The opponent to can make a mistake and overcommit where no material superiority exists. The available orders can change significantly over time.

Caveat: only played two games at the moment of posting this. Only played with Medieval rules, but these general principles should apply to Lore-scenarios as well.

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Jérôme NIVART
France
Reims
Marne
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Good point here.

A very good understanding of the game, especially for only two games played.

The same is applied of course with Lore Card, but with them, there's plenty of ways to break the line, kill some figure before attacking, etc...
There's also plenty of ways to actually break an opponent's attack plan.

It add chaos and a lot of fun to the game.
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Seth Owen
United States
Norwich
Connecticut
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Good general advice for almost any wargame, but also particularly appropriate to all the Command & Colors style games. Because of the cards, the tempting wargame approach of just pushing some guys forward to see what can happen can backfire badly.
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