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Subject: Chad vs. AI, take two. This time with more diagrams! rss

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Chad Ellis
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Game 2

As with the previous game, I’m using a grid notation system in which H5 is Hill 218, H4 is the Blue base, H6 is the Green base and the I column is to my (Blue’s) right. I’m taking Blue and the slight disadvantage of going first. This time I took screen shots after each of the computer's turns, so hopefully this game will be easier to follow along, even without a copy of the game at hand.

Opening Hand: 3x Infantry, Paratroopers, Tank. Mulligan 2x Infantry.

This is an easy choice, as I can ship two Infantry and still have one left for my turn-one play.

Turn one: Draw Infantry, play Infantry H4

Computer: Artillery H6 (destroying H4), Special Forces G5


This particular Special Forces play is very aggressive. Aggression can often be a good thing, but I’m not a huge fan of it here. I’m much more likely to do this when my opponent has some threats and I want to force him to spend a play killing one of my units, or when I have another threat of my own and I’m trying to push my opponent off the table. Here it’s just too likely to be met with Heavy Weapons to H4 and Infantry to G4, an extremely efficient kill that completely blunts his initiative.

Naturally I don’t actually have those two cards. blush Hopefully I'll draw one!



Turn two: Draw Paratroopers and Artillery, frown at lack of Heavy Weapons, Artillery to H4 and Air Strike, destroying both his guys.

It stinks that I can’t use Heavy Weapons, but hey. I could have destroyed his Special Forces with my Tank, but as I said last game I like to use up an Air Strike early if my hand is at all awkward so I get more choices.

Computer: Infantry H6, Air Strike H4.



As in the previous game, we’re sort of in a reversed position as though I were playing second in a new game. I don’t want to let him use his unit in play to start an attack, so I have basically three options: destroy it with an Air Strike, play Heavy Weapons into my own base, or do what the computer did earlier – playing Infantry H4 and Special Forces to G5 so he has to kill it rather than seizing the initiative.

Turn three: Draw Special Forces, Heavy Weapons, play Infantry H4, Air Strike H6

Playing Heavy Weapons to H4 is really unappealing. I don’t have any left, it’s early enough that he’ll probably just kill it (leaving the same threats for me to deal with) and if he has Special Forces and Tank he can put me under a LOT of pressure. If I had a second Special Forces in hand I might sacrifice one so that when he kills it (say, with Infantry G6 and Heavy Weapons F6) I can attack up the other flank with Special Forces I5 and Tank I6, but without it I’m not gaining much. I guess I just have to give up my second Air Strike.

Computer: Heavy Weapons H6 and G6



This is a bit surprising and suggests that the computer has an awkward hand. My guess is that he’s got at least two Tanks, which means he can rebuff any attack I make, but I’m not really unhappy about that.

Turn four: Draw Infantry, Special Forces, play Special Forces I5, Tank I6 (destroying H6)

This is the sort of play I love to make. I’m neutralizing the defensive value of the Heavy Weapons at G6 (by attacking on the other flank) and I’m putting two must-kill units in play. He pretty much has to have a Tank to have a satisfactory response, and even if he has two (as I’m guessing) I’ll be set up for a nice attack on the following turn anyway. Note that he needs to lead with a Tank, which means that his base no longer has Heavy Weapons, making the G-flank much easier to attack.

Computer: Tank H6 (destroying I6), Air Strike I5

Cool, now the computer is out of Air Strikes and I can attack on the other flank, killing his Heavy Weapons now that he doesn’t have a Heavy Weapons in his base.



Turn five: Draw Heavy Weapons, Infantry, play Special Forces G5 and Heavy Weapons F5, destroying G6

Computer: Artillery H7 (destroying G5), Paratroopers I6




Turn six: Draw Artillery, Heavy Weapons, play Paratroopers to I5 and J6, destroying I6.

This is an interesting situation. The AI has sensibly avoided my Heavy Weapons this turn and is now threatening to attack on my right flank. I could respond with Artillery to I4 to take out his Paratroopers and then Infantry to G4, leaving me with attacking possibilities on both flanks. The problem is that this is a bit passive and would allow him to take the initiative with Special Forces I5 and Heavy Weapons to J5. Instead I decided on a play that puts him on more serious pressure on both flanks and leaves him with no reasonable counter-attacking options, albeit at the cost of leaving my units more exposed.

This is one of the central trade-offs of Hill 218 – unit safety vs. initiative. In most cases, the initiative is more important. In this case it's the difference between me having a strong one or possibly the computer regaining the initiative - I'm happy to sacrifice both of my Paratroopers to prevent that!

Computer: Tank I6 and Paratroopers J7, destroying I5 and J6



At first glance this might not look so good for me, outnumbered 4-2 on the board, but it’s my turn and two of his units (the Artillery and Paratroopers) aren’t doing much on defense. I can continue to take the initiative with the same classic attack if I draw Special Forces and if I don’t I can still put pressure on him in a number of ways.

Turn seven: Draw Special Forces (yay!), Tank, play Special Forces I5 and Heavy Weapons J5, destroying I6.

Computer: Infantry G7, Tank I6, destroying I5.



There wasn’t a safe place for his infantry but I would almost certainly have put it on J6 instead of out of play on G7. This way even two Infantry continues my attack at full speed, whereas with a unit on J6 I would have to use an Artillery to achieve the same attacking position.

Turn eight: Draw Infantry and Heavy Weapons, play Infantry to I4 and I5, destroying I6.

I considered playing an Artillery first, taking out his base as well, but the modest extra pressure didn’t really seem worth it. This way I hold on to my premium units while creating threats that are very difficult to answer.

Computer: Infantry I6, Heavy Weapons J6, destroying I5



The fat lady is definitely warming up now. I have the initiative and still have four premium units left to just one for the computer.

Turn nine: Draw Tank, Artillery, play Infantry I5 (destroying I6) and Heavy Weapons to K5 (destroying J6)

Computer: Infantry I7, Artillery I8 (destroying I6)



Another “safe” play that does nothing to blunt my attack, but with Heavy Weapons on both flanks it’s hard to recommend much. I have plenty of firepower and positional advantage to go for the kill now. (A more aggressive placement of his units would slow me down by a turn or maybe two, but not affect the outcome.)

Turn ten: Draw Heavy Weapons, Paratroopers, play Artillery I5 (destroying I7) and Tank I6 (destroying H6).

With no Air Strikes, Tanks or Artillery left, it’s impossible for the computer to destroy I5 or any of its supply line or to destroy I6 without leaving it empty. That means that unless I’m missing something there is no possible way for the computer to defend its base this turn.

Computer: Infantry to H6 and I7, destroying I6.



Naturally I go for style points, occupying the base with Artillery. ninja

Turn eleven: Tank I6 (destroying H6), Artillery H6 (destroying I8 and winning)



Playing Hill 218 is very fast (one of the reasons I fell in love with it and felt I had to publish it) but annotating these games isn't! I'm still going to do a full 5-game match, but unless my obsessive side takes over it will probably be a few days at least before game 3.

Please let me know if any of these plays aren't clear or if anyone has any questions about how I'm approaching the game. Any bets on whether I can complete a 5-0 sweep?

edit for bolding of turns





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Yoki Erdtman
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Cool session report Chad. You might want to put more emphasis on the "Turn" headings by bolding them. I found that I lost track a couple of times.

Lovely game by the way, thanks for publishing it and supporting the Java version.
 
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Chad Ellis
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Yokiboy wrote:
Cool session report Chad. You might want to put more emphasis on the "Turn" headings by bolding them. I found that I lost track a couple of times.


How's that?

Quote:
Lovely game by the way, thanks for publishing it and supporting the Java version.


Thanks. This was an odd one for me as a publisher, since it's a type of game that's very hard to make money on. I basically did it out of love. Thankfully it seems that a decent number of people share my opinion on the game, and Andrew's generosity in creating a computer version has really helped show people how cool it is! I may make money on it yet! ninja
 
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Yoki Erdtman
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
How's that?


Lots better in my opinion.

I can't wait to receive my deck of Hill 218, it's being delivered in person by my father in-law this summer.
 
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