Best strategy in Wesnoth: A good defense?

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bert1
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Post by bert1 »

Rhuvaen wrote:One of the reasons IMO why there aren't more threads about MP gameplay and style is that it always boils down to a fight who holds the ultimate truth on it. And one of the reasons it does that is because the original poster makes a perfectly valid statement about HIS experience on MP play and then goes on to combine it with a request on rebalancing or change of gameplay. This is just bound to make the MP devs target their statements as truths or falsehoods and assess them on grounds of overall credibility because they see it as their duty to defend the status-quo (for a very good reason).
This sounds like it could well be true.

It might be a good idea for Sombra, myself and anyone else who wants to to have a go at coming up with some maps that encourage shorter, more dynamic games. Not easy, though, especially with quality of the default maps to live up to.

That way everyone's taste can be catered for without the need for any major game changes.

(Also I tend to agree that Sombra's fog suggestion, while a great idea, may well not have the effect he hoped for, but who knows. I guess it would need to be tested to know for sure.)
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Sombra
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Post by Sombra »

Rhuaven good point. Perhaps my suggestion wont change the one flaw I see in Wesnoth but I simply hope that some of the able coders thinks thats an idea worth trying at least.

Why do people play with FOW at all if the added layer of insecurity is not important anyway?

Regarding more action. No, I want simply more strategic options. I play usally only strategy games : Wesnoth, Strategic commmand 1+2 , Civ3, GalCIv 1+2, Alpha Centauri etc... Usally I use the same name there for multiplayer..

The main difference in all this games is that you have to actively look for information regarding the enemies troop buildup to not be caught with surprise or plan attacks and try to confuse your enemey with false attacks etc. I simply miss these elements in Wesnoth.

This does not say that Wesnoth is not well balanced etc. Its only that I want more strategi c options. More options would it make harder to just sit back and let the attacker take most risks. But thats my personal impression.

As Bert said shorter maps as ISar dont have these problems. Bigger maps with 2 vs 2 usally not so much neither.


I really like Wesnoth as my online time on the servers usally shows. I only want suggest ideads which IMO would improve Wesnoth.


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irrevenant
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Post by irrevenant »

When the AI is improved, hopefully it can be used to test some of these alleged balance issues so that it doesn't all boil down to personal anecdotes...

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Re: Best strategy in Wesnoth: A good defense?

Post by Noy »

krotop wrote:
Sombra wrote:Again I would like to see a fog of war where you limit the seen area with you zone of control.
If that's a petition, I'd like to sign it up :)
I found the possibility to hide troops more interesting and guessing what the other has - and where - a fun part of Strategy.

For the defense strategy question, I'll add my 2 cents myself by saying it's not a better but an easier way to play in my humble opinion. When I play against a good player and try to be a challenge to him, I play defensively because I just have to read his plan which already so hard that I don't spare more energy in thinking "what he thinks that I think" to feint and make a good attack. If I play offensive, it's rather suicide because my strategy is quite easy to read even if my tactics are more or less ok. Most of the time, I begin to lose by the moment I adopt the second attitude.

Still in my opinion, but a winning agressive player has more merit than a defensive one, because he's the one that choses the crucial moves of the game, control it, and takes the risk to have an unlucky turn with catastrophic consequences right after.
After a day of posts this is the one that I think holds the most merit. I really see players of this type as "one trick ponys" as they are called. Initially they might seem "superior," but a balanced playing style, and a bit of intellectual energy and one can win against them. Actually this is somewhat similar to how Cackfiend played. Notice Cackfiend played an unusually strong offensive style with drakes, massing a major attack going all out into an opponent's base. Cackfiend won most games against people when he played them the first couple of times. After awhile players developed strategies to counter this, and would regularly win against him, as Ereksos did. Ereksos lost 3 times to him when he first played Cackfiend. Then in the tournament he went 3-0, winning two of the games convincingly. Back then people were complaining about the game being tilted towards the drakes and offense. Funny how this thread is now claiming the opposite.


Strategy is all about balance. Some might think that defense is the way to win, however over 3 years and maybe 2000+ games of wesnoth later, I can't see how this is the case and neither does any other developer. I've not seen any compelling evidence that seems to suggest the game is skewed towards defence. Sombra, if this is so widespread, you can surely post some replays that show how a defensive player has an overwhelming advantage, because I and others haven't seen anything that suggests otherwise. And thats certainly not because we don't want to change the status quo. If this game was skewed towards defence I'd change it out of principle. I'm a big fan of what is called the indirect approach of warfare, after writing quite a bit on Sun Tzu and Liddell-Hart. If the game favoured the defensive, we'd have probably changed it by now.

On the whole, I think its somewhat an silly assertion. How can you immediately claim "its the gameplay" when there is so many factors that can influence the style of play in a match? What about time of day? I'd really like to see a Loyalist player hold out against an undead at night on clash on one of the centre features. Probably the key component of this process is map design. There was in the past problems with 1v1 maps where stalemate type situations would occur like on blitz. But map design has considerably evolved since then, and while not perfect, it has made maps more fluid.

Moreover I see absolutely no correlations between the fog suggestion and a solution to this so-called problem. I think it has merits for other reasons, but its not going to change people's strategies and thinking in the ways that Sombra wants. If anything its going to retrench the ways people play, and favour balanced, expert players even more.
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Post by Sombra »

As Wesnoth is quite complex I think many ideas will have supporters and other people think more conservative.

I would be nice if a changed fog of war would be made as an option in the develoment version to see the consequences and if other players actually care or prefer this option.

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Post by Velensk »

I would make a couple points for defencive advantage, and for the moment ignore the several advantages of offence, I'm sure someone else can point them out.

1- Unless you position poorly or the map is strange the terrain will favor you in general. You can choose your races favored terrain.

2- Most of the time you can monuver so that they can olny attack the units you want them too (first turn olny)

3- Once they attack this limited portion of your defence within their reach your entire force (within reach) can counter attack, and ussualy while doing so take advantage of the terrain and abilities such as berserk, backstab, healing, and slow.

4- If the enemy is relying on ToD advantage you can retreat and take it back later (in a worst case)

5- ussualy in order to mount an effective attack you have to send in more units than the defender has (not always but frequently)
5a This might allow you to sneak a scout around and start stealing villages.

There are a few others but these are some of the ones that come to mind quickly
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Post by Elvish_Star »

Though I am not an expert, I think that defense is a cheap (extremelly easy to do, extremely hard to counter) tactic. And it is really efficient in matchups that don't favor offense.

So in a matchup with neither drakes nor ToD advantage (elfes vs dwarves, UD vs orcs, any non-drake mirror match ...) offense is insanely difficult, hence a patient player can win against a non MP expert player by clustering his units and waiting for his opponent to attack.

Add to this the fact that defense is definitely the only way to win vs a advantaged IA (who has more units, ressources, ... ) and you get the fact that defense might be a little too efficient in some configurations.

As for the "somewhat darker for of war" suggested (see at a range of half your movement), I think it might give a boost to offenseive players as it would allow an attacker to stack a group of offensive units out of defender's sight and launch a successfull attack taking maximum advantage of local superiority (this is the one of the theories behind blietzkrieg by the way).

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Post by friar tuck »

Elvish_Star wrote: As for the "somewhat darker for of war" suggested (see at a range of half your movement), I think it might give a boost to offenseive players as it would allow an attacker to stack a group of offensive units out of defender's sight and launch a successfull attack taking maximum advantage of local superiority
I still can't believe you (and others) are considering an offensive strategy which essentially consists of blindly and boldly marching into a completely unknown situation as a boost to offensive players.

To me it sounds like a recipie for disaster.

Any scout of the attacking side who's trying to find out how defence is organised would have to move near enough to be in moving range of the defenders, risking to be eliminated immediately.

Maybe I'm overlooking something, but I for one would certainly play more defensively in such a situation.
Elvish_Star wrote: (this is the one of the theories behind blietzkrieg by the way).
I believe for any kind of fast offensive strategy (I won't say the word) it's absolutely essential to have precise information about the defender's positions.

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krotop
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Post by krotop »

friar tuck wrote:
Elvish_Star wrote: As for the "somewhat darker for of war" suggested (see at a range of half your movement), I think it might give a boost to offenseive players as it would allow an attacker to stack a group of offensive units out of defender's sight and launch a successfull attack taking maximum advantage of local superiority
I still can't believe you (and others) are considering an offensive strategy which essentially consists of blindly and boldly marching into a completely unknown situation as a boost to offensive players.
It can be a boost on maps where you have separated fronts or a wide front because defense will also take the risk to under-defend a zone.

I'll take over-simplified example to try to make the point clear :
Let's say both players have 10 equivalent troops for instance on a map with 2 separated fronts.
- The agressor will plan to attack with 8 units on the left, with only 2 units seeable, put 2 units on the right, both seeable.
- The defenser sees 2 units on left side, 2 on right side and has to choose how to place units. Then who takes most of the risks ? If he does 5 - 5, considering that he doesn't have the initiative he'll be outnumbered on one side and will reply on the other but one turn late. The other solution is to speculate on what is the agression plan and make what you think is the appropriate repartition, and this is when you're taking the risks as defensive player.

Then the risks seem even : some people might be dissuaded to attack because they don't know where they go, others might be incitated to agressivity as they will think surprise will play on their side, others might be reluctant to play defensive as it becomes as shaky as offense and will prefer to have control of the game, and last some people might choose the path of defense by guessing or scouting the opponent's strategy and adapt for the best counter.
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Post by Shadow »

"Blitzkrieg" Damnit on every forum I read everyone writes it wrong.
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Post by TheRealGrom »

PingPangQui wrote:I've attached an example of a game that I've found very interesting and quite dynamic. However my opponent's opinion was rather the opposite I think, since he said that I've played too defensive. Have a look and please tell me what you think.
Omg, you actually made me create an account for these forums.

As the next guy said, the game was incredibly boring and instead of waiting yet another soandsomany turns before attacking for soandsofew turns, i decided to to the bright thing (even tho it was stupid) and end the game as quickly as possible. This has nothing to do with the very interesting and important discussion in this thread, so enjoy your 5 minutes of fame and contribute something more mattering.

Anyhoo, judging from the little experience i have with this game i have to say that i really agree with the OP. 1v1 games are tedious, slow and boring. He (or she! Forgive me, ladies) who makes the first mistake loses, so it´s best to not do anything at all but move your units from hill to forest and back again.

Don´t get me wrong, this is a nice game, but it shines in games with more than 2 players were actual strategy comes into play.

Reducing viewing range to half movement is a great idea imho.

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Post by bert1 »

I think the issue is now what kind of games people enjoy playing.

Noy is still talking about strategy, which is fair enough (it was Sombra's original question), but much of the conversation is about how people find some games boring. That's just a fact, and can't be argued with (not that Noy has done).

It seems that there is a genuine difference of taste. A game which some regard as a perfectly good, normal 1v1 wesnoth game, others might regard as somewhat long-winded. Several people on this forum say that 1v1s sometimes (not always) become boring. (Of course, if they were better players they may be able to prevent this, but that's not the point. In the meantime they're not having fun.)

Mine isn't an argument to change Wesnoth, as that might spoil it for the people who like it as it is. It just means some more content (i.e. maps) would probably find a market for the kind of people who enjoy playing Isars and some other 2v2s. Nor is this a request for more content (I can always have a go myself).
Last edited by bert1 on July 5th, 2007, 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Sombra »

The point is right now thast due to various circumstances especially in 1 vs 1 a kind of stalemate happens (many times or less depending of skill of player)

This can lead to quite long winded boring games. My suggestion is to add another FOW rule /option button and/or reduced visibility to give the game more dynamic and strategic options.

I think Konrad illustrated my idea quite well as did Elvish_star

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Post by Noy »

Sombra, think about this logically for a second.

If you say this is a problem for 1v1s and not 2v2s, how would fog change this? Wouldn't it be more logical to say that it might be a problem with the nature of the 1v1s rather than a essential part of gameplay?

In 1v1s people attack all the time, and the game does not often degenerate into a stalemate. Why hasn't any other long term player come in here and claim that? Give me an save game example where a 1v1 game was a stalemate past turn 30 (without there being continous combat). I think you'll find difficulty finding such a replay, because it rarely occurs.

Tthe only difference is that in 1v1s there is often a 2~5 turn period where people sit on good terrain to build up their forces, until one side attacks. I don't think that has to do with the gameplay, its merely the nature of 1v1 maps. Typically 1v1s have less gold to cover an equivalent area as 2v2 maps. Therefore many players do not feel comfortable attacking unless they have a concentrated enough force to attack. Notice that the nature of 2v2 maps, with more gold per facing makes early attacks more likely. This is actually why I personally favour 2v2 maps. Still though it doesn't have anything to do with fog but another game dynamic.

I understand what you're saying about fog being different in this game, but thats not it. I've played many of the games you've suggested, and I often take part in games where fog of war is far more realistically portrayed, as part of an operational/strategic simulation of war. Understanding what uncertainty does to military strategists is what I'm interested in for my professional research. In this case your suggestion will not make the game more offensive as you want. Many people will become more defensive, some more offensive, usually according to how they would act in the current rules. And its certainly not going to change the nature of 1v1s in any appreciable way, particularly as most maps are fairly limited in their width and depth. A more reasonable and practical approach will be to increase gold on many 1v1 maps to approximately 150 gold, this would eliminate the buildup turns and provoke earlier combat.
I suspect having one foot in the past is the best way to understand the present.

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Post by Doc Paterson »

Noy wrote: A more reasonable and practical approach will be to increase gold on many 1v1 maps to approximately 150 gold, this would eliminate the buildup turns and provoke earlier combat.
Reasons why that isn't an option:

(I know that this was only a suggestion, but, for the benefit of interested users, an explanation...)

1. The first few turns of a 1v1 are not simply a buildup. The moves and positioning that occurs during this time period are very significant, and add a lot of depth to later engagements. More units would water this down, fill in the gaps and de-emphasize the significance of early unit spacing and placement.
2. I do not want to increase turn 1-6 unit density on any of the 1v1s. I think the densities that generally occur are ideal, and believe that based on past observations of higher gold maps, stalemates become more, and not less likely, with less room to maneuver. I think that it's just about perfect as it is, and know that for many players, myself included, the first few turns can be very dynamic.
3. Much of early-turn player 2 balance is centered around the idea that their leader can repel would be village thieves and rush-threats. The fact that player one is one full recruitment and movement turn ahead is a huge factor, as everyone here knows, and increasing the unit count by a full 50 % (100 to 150), throws that safeguard out of wack and helps secure any early advantage that player one is able to gain (it changes the power ratio of the defending leader to the attacking units. If anyone doesn't understand what I mean here, I can elaborate). On big maps where this sort of thing would be less of an issue, there might be little or no problem, but of course these large maps have factional problems of their own.
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