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Subject: is it easier for defender to win? rss

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mark monk
United Kingdom
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Had my first game yesterday and really enjoyed it. I was the defender and seemed to do pretty well. However, at about turn 6 the invader broke the wall but I still won. Is there much chance of the invader winning after turn 6-7 if the defender has been adequate up unitl then.

It seems that if the invader has a poor start then its difficult to win with them. After turn 6, the defender will have 6 glory points for the turns, 1 if they leave units in honor guard and 4 if the don't use the steadfast glory points, giving them 11 points. The invader will have 4 glory points (as they would have given 6 to the defender for the 6 turns), plus 1-4 depending on if they recieved the bonus points during the game. It just seems the invader would have to make sure they perform a synchronised attack at multiple walls with a big advantage left over to gain any more glory points.

Is it harder for invader to win or do I need to play a few more times to reassure myself?

Cheers.
 
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brian
United States
Cedar Lake
Indiana
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Until you become more familiar with the game, the Defender has an easier time. For one, the Defender has all options open to him and so can react with his full arsenal at whatever is thrown his way. The Invader has to craft a plan based on what phase cards he draws and has the challenge of being proactive.

Time is also an issue because taking the full 10 turns will rarely win the Invader the game so if they haven't breached by around Turn 6 or so, it is most likely over.

So inexperience favors the Defender which means when teaching this to new people, you should always play the Invader to help even out the odds a bit.
 
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Team Ski
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Dover
Delaware
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Good, I don't feel bad anymore being body slammed on the first game last night.

-Ski
 
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Ay Steve
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I agree with the general consensus that, for beginners, playing and winning as the invader is more challenging. The invader needs to have a good idea of the timing required for a sucessful attack - not leaving it too late, but also not going in too soon and getting slaughtered. Without having played before it is very difficult to get a feel for when that time is. As a beginning player on the defending side, there is not such an emphasis on timing, meaning you can play suboptimally and often not be badly punished by an opponent of equal skill.

Don't forget that the invader also gets a minimum of 3 points when they do eventually breach the walls. Im sure you probably realised this but you didnt mention it in your post. In the example you gave (after turn 6, so assuming a breach is sucessful in turn 7) the invader would get an extra 3 points in addition to the 4 they already have, so they only want 5 more to win. If you have several of the bonus points this is still feasible, especially if you broke some gate sections with the battering ram. With all 4 bonus glory its possible to win even without the ram on a single wall segment if you break through strongly.

Turn 7 is usually the last turn that it is realistically possible for the invader to win, the challenge is to plan your assault to hit on or before this deadline. Don't go into the game as the invader expecting to have 10 turns available or you will lose.
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Flawed Hero
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Rochester
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So far I've played 4 games of this or so. I'd consider myself very familiar and comfortable with the rules at this point, however we're still awaiting an invader victory. I'm afraid that repeated plays might reveal a scripted game. I understand that the semi-random draw of phase cards changes this, but still underneath that, has anyone noticed yet that in order for the invader to win, something of a scripted game play is necessary? I hope the answer is no, but realizing that the invader has to break through by the 6-7 turn kind of has me worried that there may only be a couple ways to accomplish this. For instance, it's already been said that the battering ram should be avoidable since it's not a viable strategy. I don't want that; I want to be able to have multiple paths to victory here that I don't have to abandon just because they won't win the game for me in time. I could be off base here, but it's starting to seem like there may be only a few things I can do in time to get through a wall, and that they require ignoring other parts of the game.
 
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Doug Herring
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Pflugerville
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So far, of the games I have played the Defenders only lost one time. I would chalk that up to learning the game and some rookie mistakes. The invaders definately have to play a pretty darn tight game if they expect to pull off a victory. If you go in to early you will lose and not have enough reinforcements to keep hammering at the walls the next turn. If you go to late and fail to breach you are likely to lose as well. It looks like the window of opportunity for an invader victory is in turns 5-7.
I don't know about the game becoming scripted to win but you can't make any major mistakes as the invaders. That is for sure.
 
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Charles Simon
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Ashley
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I don't think that it is scripted at all from my experience. I may have different strategies based on my random Invader set-up, but they are by no means scripted and they really can't be: the random Invader unit draw kind of eliminates that. I cannot rely on being able to have enough Goblins to cast my Rituals, I may really want to attack with Trolls, but if I don't draw them, there isn't much I can do about it.

As far as being scripted as to where to attack: that isn't the case either because it is all about how the Defender plays. When my wife is the Defender, I have to worry about her Trap placement--she loves them. However, my other most common opponent never places traps, so I never have to worry about them with him.

Another thing to note is that many of the complaints about the Battering Ram being a bad strategy have been addressed by the Valley Games edition. In the original release, the Gates had a Strength of 8. In the VG edition, they have a Strength of 6. This actually makes them a more viable target. It's still anywhere from a guarantee, but it is something that can be a viable strategy.

For the Invader, there is a huge learning curve and a lot of it comes from playing a lot. When I first started playing heavily, I wrote some Invader strategy opinions on BGG here. At the time, I think I heavily favored Catapults with Bloodstones as the best choice to take. While still strong, I actually prefer the Ballista now, but it took a while for me to really get the best application of it.

I love this game and I like trying to respond to stuff here because I think it is such a great game and I don't want people to give up on it in frustration, because the game is quite simply great (in my opinion) and is that much better once the learning curve is met.

I've had Invader victories with breaches on every Turn from Turn 4 (my earliest) to Turn 8 (my latest, and one of my 2 victories on Turn 8 was a tie-break, then other was a clear victory by 1 point). So I don't think that it is too scripted since my results have varied so much. However, I do have preferences on certain Invader card choices because I am either more effective at them or they better fit my playstyle. For example, even with the VG Battering Ram fix, I still avoid it in most games because I think it is less exciting play than attacking the walls.

Good luck and hopefully you are at least finding the learning process fun!
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Flawed Hero
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Rochester
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Charles, thanks for the thoughtful reply. I do appreciate all your strategy posts here on Stronghold. I love the game and the marriage of theme and mechanics is excellent. I'm looking forward to more plays for sure, it's just that my recent string of invader losses has me worried that the game is a little too touchy/sensitive. I don't want to feel like I MUST accomplish this or that by exactly this point in the game in order to win.
 
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Paul Suggitt
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Kitchener
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The games we've played have been so easy for the defender as to blunt the game's appeal. We are wondering if we have missed some key rules. But we can't find it.
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