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Attacktix Strategy Guide: The Evolution of Bait – Ordering Attacks November 10, 2006

Posted by webofwebhead in Attacktix, CMG, Game Theory, Star Wars, Transformers.
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One of the most important in-game strategies for Attacktix is a concept I call Ordering Attacks.  This theory has evolved from my HeroClix theory on Bait, which I’ll recap in a moment.

Today I’m going to try and define the concept of Ordering Attacks and give you some of the fundamentals of using it during the game.  Chances are, some of you are doing this already, but might not have an overriding philosophy guiding those choices.

First the history lesson.  About three years ago I wrote one of my first strategy articles on the topic of bait, specifically for HeroClix.  Following are the key points that we will expand on today to encompass Ordering Attacks…

So, what is bait in a ‘Clix game anyway?”

“Simply put, using bait means you’re attempting to steer your opponent towards attacking a fig of your choice, instead of a fig of his choice, and in the process moving him into position for a counter-attack by you.”

“In the games I’ve played, bait has tended to fall into one of two categories, the soft bait and the hard bait.”

“Soft bait is the more commonly used tactic. It involves advancing a small member of your force, and placing them in a position that will draw out your opponents forces. The piece is left in such a position that the points to be gained by your opponent are too easy to resist…The soft bait must be expendable, because in the end you’ll most likely lose them if your opponent takes the bait and goes for them.”

“Hard baiting involves throwing your big gun out in the middle of the field, and holding out hope that they can take whatever your opponent dishes out, allowing the rest of your team to move into position for the counter strike. Hard baiting is not for the faint of heart, as there is considerable risk involved. Most opponents will almost always go for the hard bait, because the victory points involved are usually well worth the risk.”

Bait becomes Ordering Attacks

Let’s go back to the basic definition of Bait: Guiding your opponent towards attacking a figure of your choice, instead of a fig of his choice, and in the process moving him into position for a counterattack.

Now, this general idea works well in most miniatures/action figure games that involve positioning and range.  This concept even works in general for Attacktix, but there are three key differences in Attacktix.  1) Most shooters have basically unlimited range within the context of the standard playing field and 2) There is no way to pre-judge the range of figure movement, nor exactly how close a melee figure needs to be to make an accurate attack.  3) And most importantly…figures powers activate when defeated, increasing the importance of the order of their defeat.

Thus, Ordering Attacks is born.

Ordering Attacks Defined

Ordering Attacks is the strategy of attacking figures in an order that minimizes the effectiveness of their Special Powers, while positioning and advancing your squad in such as way as to present targets to your opponent in an order that will maximize the effectiveness of your Special Powers.

This happens naturally during the course of many games.  Let’s take a simple example…if you have a figure with Rally…do you want your opponent to attack him first?  Of course not…you don’t want your Rally figure defeated until another figure has been defeated first, allowing you to use your Rally power if it comes up.  Recruit on the other hand is effective at any time in the game as long as the target figure is present in the back-ups.

As we can see here…there are powers that lend themselves to different periods of the game.  The new power Last Stand is one of the clearest example…it works only if the figure is your last figure left in play.  As such…ideally you will not be leading the charge with that figure, but rather will try to lead with other figures in the event that things go badly…you may still have a fighting chance.

Theory: Every Team can be “Solved”

In theory…every team can be solved in regards to ordering attacks.  This is to say, let’s assume that during the course of a game we expect each power to activate…there is an order to those powers that would yield the greatest result.  Not only that, but if you can “solve” your opponent’s team, you can attempt to attack them in such a way as to give them the least powerful result of their powers.  Let’s take a look at some examples…

My Autobot team uses the Landmine/Mini-Con combo.  (Landmine has Shootback – Mini-Con x 3)  I also use Rodimus to recruit another Mini-Con from the back-ups, and finally the Super Optimus Prime vehicle mode to bring the Prime robot into play.  The positive solve, my order, is to advance Landmine, Rodimus and Prime vehicle, leaving the Mini-Cons back.  If I threaten with Rodimus and Prime (using them as bait if you will), if they are defeated, I can empty my back-ups with any luck.  If Landmine is lost, the Mini-Con barrage has a chance to go of.  The negative solution…the path my opponent should try and take, would probably be to leave the Prime vehicle alone as long as possible, ideally leaving it for last.  Taking out Landmine early, before the Mini-Cons advance at all, would  be a good bet.  Rodimus remains a target of opportunity, if he falls after Landmine, the Mini-Con recruit does nothing special.  The Mini-Cons have the Attackback – Autobot power, but at low frequency, and hence play a lesser roll in solving the team.

Another example would be the standard 2 x Ki-Adi-Mundi (Gold), 6 x Jedi Knight type teams.  This team has a standard and simple positive solution, advance in two arrow formations with the two KAM’s at the points.  (KAM in this case is the “bait”)  Losing a KAM and gaining his power can lead to an explosive turn.  The negative solution is simple as well but tricky to execute, in theory you want to attack the Knights first, their power is of a lower ratio and lesser in degree than KAM’s (1 Attackback to KAM’s 3), but they are also harder to target if the opponent is using solid formations.

As pointed out above, ratios do come into play when it comes to solving a team.  A 10 point trooper style fig will usually have a low 4/26 ratio.  A Transform vehicle like Prime’s will be drastically higher, 22/26…a ratio you can almost count on coming up.  While this can make solving even more complicated, it must not be ignored.

Summing Up…

As I said earlier…it is likely that you are already doing something like this in your games…but you may or may not be doing it on purpose, or with any forthought.  I would encourage you, if you are interested in elevating the level of your play, to consider each team that you build, ask yourself: what is the best positive solution for your team?  When you sit down across from an opponent…try to decide, what is the best negative solution for their team?  Many games can swing on the single instance of a powerful special power “going off”,  if you can play the game in such a way as to maximize the chances of working for you, and against your opponent, you will find more games going your way. – B

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