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Subject: Lines of communication : a new strategy finally revealed (II) rss

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The Discriminating Cavalryman
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This is the second of a two-part post on lines of communication. Readers are advised to read Part I beforehand.


Part II:


Let us now look at the Allied supply network map.





As with the previous map, the red lines represent the network of supply lines of the Allied army.

The 13 blue and red-rimmed circles are the Allied objective locales.

Each series of like-coloured blue-edged diamonds shows the minimum number of locales being the shortest distance away from the French initial positions that the French player has to occupy to cut ALL Allied lines of communication.

Here again, there is a gradation in the blue tone of the diamonds: the darker the diamonds, the more difficult to occupy the corresponding locales and vice-versa.

The tiny crosshairs indicate which roads are cut by which diamonds, i.e by the occupation of which locales.



The striking contrast between the two maps as far as diamonds are concerned is telling.



The French have to choose between only 3 series of locales to occupy whereas the Allies have a wider range of 5 different series of locales to choose from. First advantage for the French.

Not only that, but the relation between distance from one series of diamonds to the next and distance from any army's initial positions to any one series of diamonds is much in favour of the French.

Indeed, even if the distance between the first series of light-blue diamonds and the purple diamonds is greater than the distance between any two series of diamonds for the Allies, the number of corresponding diamonds to occupy makes it a lighter task for the French, even more so since there's only a difference of 1 between the light-blue and purple series of diamonds.

In other words, the French have no reason to go to the extreme east (no double-entendre in that sentence!...) to cut the Allied lines with 5 locales and/or capture a 3-star locale since they can reasonably manage a minor victory (without reinforcements) by occupying the 6 locales closest to their starting positions.

This could challenge the trending view that the French have to be aggressive from the start to saturate the Allied army with moves to respond to and make them lose time and coherence (I'm one of those players). You could instead play a very cunning game by pretending weakness, engaging in battle in a sloppy fashion, all this to lure the Allies to advance, get 1, even 2 or 3 stars, let them hold those stars, fake a failed recapture, and slowly cut their lines without their knowing it, or cutting them all at once at the very last moment. You could in fact play Napoleon !

Back to the stats: The Allied supply network covers 80% of the 170 locales of the gameboard (1 locale less than the French supply network) but contrary to the Allies, the French need only occupy between 1.18% and 3.5% of all locales to cut these lines.

There is therefore a higher and tighter interval in average in terms of percentage for the French, but the degree of difficulty is on the other side of the spectrum.

In proper English, when cutting all of an army's lines of com, it is way easier for the French to occupy a greater number of locales in average than it is for the Allies to occupy a lesser number of locales in average.

This can be seen in the pattern created by the diamonds: 2-5-6 vs 1-2-4-8-12 for the Allies.



Conclusion:


This discrepancy may be understood as yet another difficulty for the Allies and an aid for the French, since the Allied army is more numerous and the onus of attack is on the Allies.

But what if the French decide to bring their reinforcements into the fray ? Now with these maps, French reinforcements may become even more a liability than an asset for the French when we talk about marginal victory.

This may also change the nature of your strategies, your set-up, of what you imagine your opponent will try to do... hmm... suspicious and apparently useless move here ?... What if your opponent is slowly getting into position to cut all your lines when the right moment comes ? Or simply trying to make you think that he's doing just that ?

Will you purposely leave a gap in your line or abandon your own star-locales and thus open an avenue for the enemy to take them ?

Will you manage to keep in mind throughout a whole game that you need to occupy other locales away from the objective locale that you may be occupying in order to control it ?

Will you not be self-deceived when you realize it's too late or impossible to cut all lines of com and you've made it a baby's job for your opponent to grab and hold a star through the day ?

Will you not just eventually go crazy when trying to track all roads at all times ?

The simple fact that these maps now do exist makes it mandatory to consider at all times that a line-cutting operation might be under way or even ever so slightly envisaged by your opponent at some point.

As always with NT, the mere threat, real or fantasized, of any possible kind of move against you has more psychological impact on your way of dealing with the battle than it has on the actual development of that battle.

I for my part will from now on keep these two maps by my side when I play, but implementing these risky tactics of line-cutting into play is yet another entirely different kind of job.

Well, isn't risk-taking what NT is all about after all …?


Errata:
1) There is a slight mistake in the supply system of the two maps.
In locale 59, the most eastward green star locale, the road on the right coming from locale 36 does not cross the one coming from locale 58. Therefore it is impossible to continue a journey by road from locale 58 through 59 to 36 or vice-versa.

2) On the Allied supply map, the tiny black crosshairs should not be black but purple because they correspond to the 5 purple diamonds.
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David Hansen
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Very interesting. I can't entirely follow the statistical aspect of your posts, but your summary of it seems sound. Have you put these strategies into practice, or is it still just a theory?
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David Low
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Nice work

Just a thought: maybe better/more readable/open to discussion if both parts are posted in the same thread? Part II following straight after Part I (e.g. as a reply - I understand not wanting one mega-post!), for example.
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Alan Richbourg
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I wonder if anyone has ever done maps like these showing the actually most efficient lines of defense (i.e., which set of approaches to defend) for various situations? Would be useful.
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The mere realization of the existence this strategy might screw up the gravity fields in this game. I guess that's a strategy in itself.
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The Discriminating Cavalryman
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DeathMosque wrote:
Very interesting. I can't entirely follow the statistical aspect of your posts, but your summary of it seems sound. Have you put these strategies into practice, or is it still just a theory?


Yes I have tried to put this strategy into practice in a recent game, but unfortunately not all my efforts were aimed at this objective so the result is flawed. Which proves that the strategy works !

You can see the session report here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1746502/three-stars-far-eas...

As far as stats are concerned, the French need only occupy between 2 locales (Allied reinforcement entry locales) or 1.18% of all the board locales and 6 locales (sky blue diamonds) or 3.5% of all 170 board locales if they want to cut the Allied lines from a minimum of distance away from their initial positions.
I hope this makes it clear.

Quote:
Nice work

Just a thought: maybe better/more readable/open to discussion if both parts are posted in the same thread? Part II following straight after Part I (e.g. as a reply - I understand not wanting one mega-post!), for example.


Thanks ! Well it seems the matter got self-settled since everyone is now responding on that IInd part.

Quote:
The mere realization of the existence this strategy might screw up the gravity fields in this game. I guess that's a strategy in itself.


Yes, I do believe this revelation on supply lines and these two maps have changed some aspects of the game forever and I'm curious to know how this will affect people's NT games from now on.

We just can't pretend these maps don't exist. Now we have to play with this new knowledge.


 
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The Discriminating Cavalryman
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chargetheguns wrote:
I wonder if anyone has ever done maps like these showing the actually most efficient lines of defense (i.e., which set of approaches to defend) for various situations? Would be useful.


I kept looking for that very old thread entitlted Lines by Zarion of Arabel.
He produced three maps to explain the elasticity of French and Allied lines in a defensive-minded situation.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/673169/lines

I'm not sure this takes into account other aspects suchs as terrain penalties, length of approaches or various situations, etc... but this could be something to build up on.


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