Sunday, April 10, 2011

Game Theory; Water

When I play I adhere closely to the water theory. It's a holistic system incorporating both army construction, table strategy, and a state of mind. It's a concept I've stolen somewhere (I do believe it was from Irondog Studios) ages ago, and expanded on since then, so I can't take full credit.

Water theory takes it's name from the phenomenon we know as a Tsunami. This unstoppable wave of destruction, has several abilities that can be used on the table. I'll walk you through the most important of them, and do my best to answer any questions.
  • Remove a portion of water, and the remaining liquid will even out
    It means, that if you specialize your units to much, you'll end up without an answer to a looming threat. If you choose models/units that can cover several aspects of the game, your army will be likely to remain functional, when faced with heavy losses.
  • A Tsunami carries deadly debris
    It means bringing units that grow stronger when your enemy grows weaker. This actually increases your own strength, while diminishing your opponents, and such models/units can turn a game around.
  • A Tsunami flows around objects it cannot crush
    It means bringing models/units that ignore parts of the table, or even your opponents models. Incorporeal units are the undisputed kings of flow, but many other abilities come close. These units can avoid the unbreakable barriers, and hit your opponents weak points instead.
The best example of how this works, is to look at Bane Knights. They can cover multiple purposes, since they can slaughter both heavy warjacks and infantry. They can swell their numbers when Bane Lord Tartarus swings his mighty Axe, and they've got the second best flow ability in the game (Ghostly).

The thing to remember here is, that several of these abilities can be granted by other models in the game. Bane Thralls can bring along Saxon Orrik to fix their flow issues, and several casters can either boost a model/unit, grant flow, or swell the number of models in a unit.
  • A Tsunami will collapse a wall at it's weakest point
    There's no point in throwing your might against the strongest point, unless you're absolutely certain it will break. If you can apply pressure to a weaker spot, it will crumble and allow your forces to roam freely.
  • A Tsunami kills by retreating, and returning with greater force
    If running away is beneficial to you, then retreat, and return with your full force instead. You could also use bait, and sacrifice a model/unit without value, in order to lure your opponent on to the "beach".
If you have superior flow, this is an excellent way to play. Retreat where your enemy is strong, and then hit him with twice his numbers where he's weak. There are so many ways of achieving this, that listing them would be futile, but keep it in mind when looking over your lists, and you'll notice.
  • A Tsunami doesn't care if the first ten billion gallons did nothing
    I've seen many games lost, because players gave up, and I've won quite a few before, where spectators had left because the game was over. Your opponents will activate in the wrong sequence, they will be violated by dice, or they will simply forget vital information.
  • A Tsunami does not care about failure
    I've seen people lose games to anger and frustration, when they could have won with a clear mind. This is a hard thing to do, when playing games that are influenced by dice, but it's a vital thing to control. I was once told, that I was violated by my dice, and that's why I lost my game. This simply wasn't true, because while I was indeed manhandled statistically, I lost because I made some questionable choices. I told my opponent that, and her facial expression was worth the loss.
  • A Tsunami is a destructive wave of water
    I'll sound the hippie alert, but when I see games played in tournaments, I see coffee, cola, energy drinks, snacks and a truckload of things that make your body go "flrghblargh". Your body needs something like three liters of water per day, and nothing but clean water counts. A large tournament can easily go for eight to ten hours a day, and most miniature wargamers are sweating and gasping for air near the end. Get outside for a quick breather, snack on something that won't sour up your body, drink your three liters, and you've just bought yourself an advantage.
That's the basics of Water Theory. It's not something I apply to every move I make, but it does govern the way I play miniature wargames. Try it on for size, and I guarantee you'll see a vast improvement over time.

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