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Subject: Musings on Strategy and Tactics rss

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Eric
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I had that one game of Warrior Knights where it all started making sense. The rules (which admittedly are a little tough to grasp at first) became clear and I started thinking about strategy and tactics. Below are some ideas I came up with. These are not all tested and I would love to hear feedback. If you have a similar problem (where you keep thinking about how to best utilize your nobles, where to place your stronghold, etc.), please post any ideas you have on the subject.

1. The noble who spares you from paying for up to 400 troops ("Troop Noble") should be used to siege overseas (if you want to go overseas). Troop Noble should have all mercenaries, since he does not have to pay for them. Use your bonus attack nobles (+100 casualties, -100 casualties and +1 Victory) to do the dirty work in the Kingdom. Troop Noble does not have any special attack bonuses, so he is best used to siege. He gets the same treatment in a siege (+200 towards troop strength) that any other noble gets. So if you're going overseas, take him instead of another noble.

2. Use +100 Casualties Noble with only 50 Regular Troops to attack large forces. I call him the Berserker Noble. He automatically inflicts 100 casualties and he gets to draw two Fate cards and play one. So there's a chance he can inflict 200 casualties. If he dies, so what. He'll come back with his 50 regular troops in the Upkeep phase. Always use him to inflict casualties when possible.

3. If an opponent is turtling, relentlessly attack him with your Berserker Noble. Always inflict casualties. Never prevent casualties or score Victories. Your noble will die, but his heir will come back in the Upkeep Phase with his Regular Troops. The best timing for this is in the third action phase. Your noble will be off the board for the shortest amount of time.

4. Annoy your opponents with your Berserker Noble and Versatile Strategy. Use a Versatile Strategy to move your Berserker Noble into your opponent’s hex, preferably on a city hex. You cannot both move and attack with a Versatile Strategy, but how annoying will it be for your opponent to have your Berserker Noble in that hex. If your opponent uses an action to attack your Berserker Noble, you not only got the chance to inflict casualties on a superior force, but you made your opponent spend an action to do it. In the end, your opponent’s noble is exhausted and hopefully has one or more additional casualty tokens on him. Your noble is dead, but guess what, he comes back in the Upkeep phase and can do it all over again.

5. Use Prevent 100 Casualties Noble to protect your stronghold or an important city (if you are going to use a noble for that purpose). Because he always prevents casualties, you can play Fate cards for Victories or, in some cases, to inflict casualties. He is durable and can prevent casualties to his army and breaches to the city or stronghold he protects. He is also a good choice for sieging in the early game.

6. +1 Victory Noble should be your most powerful army. He can absorb casualties (which are resolved first) but then will usually carry the day with Victories, forcing a retreat or killing the opposing noble. If possible, do not go toe-to-toe with an opponent’s biggest force. At least not until your Berserker Noble has wreaked havoc on it.

7. Raze a city if you do not think you can hold it until the Upkeep phase (and thus get influence). You get quick cash without having to waste actions on Levy Taxes. More importantly, you deny your opponent a valuable source of Influence not only for one turn, but for all subsequent turns as well.

8. Use a Noble overseas to make a bold and surprise landing on a coastal city in the Kingdom. Players will forget about that noble and you can very often strike on an unsuspecting foe. At the very least, you will force your opponent to scramble to try and defend the city. And you might get a chance to take it. Keep it for Influence or raze it for quick cash. You decide.

9. Movement is normally only one hex, but there are three exceptions that allow a lot more flexibility in movement. First, there are roads. These allow movement over three hexes on the road, and three hexes is a lot of territory in the Kingdom. Second, sea movement allows you to move from one port hex to another port hex. You can move completely across the Kingdom with one move. This is very useful for surprise attacks as mentioned above. Finally, you have a lot of flexibility in movement when a noble dies and his heir returns to the board. You can place the heir back on the board in any of your cities or in your stronghold. It can be a very useful way to get an army to another area of the board without having to use a movement action (either Versatile Strategy or Mobililze Forces).

10. If you can, keep mercenaries of the same nationality under one noble. This will minimize the chance of desertion. It’s also not a bad idea to have lower denominations of mercenaries (e.g., 50 or 100). In a desertion, you are required to discard one mercenary card of the nationality matching that on the Fate card. If you have a 50-troop mercenary, you can discard it as the deserter and your force will stay relatively intact. It hurts a lot worse when you have to discard a 150-troop or 200-troop mercenary instead.

11. If you have the choice between gaining faith and assembly votes, choose faith. Faith will prevent revolts (especially important for overseas cities) and will prevent devastating events. Assembly votes are important, but not as important as faith.

12. Place your Serve the Church cards in special action phases where you will get them back soon. You do not want to have too many rounds where you cannot get faith. If they get held up in a special phase pile, you could go several rounds without getting faith. Remember, Versatile Strategy does not allow you to get faith. You can only get faith from Serve the Church.

13. You can always siege 100 and 200 strength cities with your nobles, even if they have only 50 troops. The noble’s +200 counts in determining troop strength for purposes of a siege. With only 50 troops, a noble’s troop strength is 250. This is enough to siege any 100 or 200 strength city.

14. Roads are dangerous. When an army is on a road, it can strike from a long distance with a Mobilize Forces action. If you have a city on a road, you can use it to mount constant assaults on a superior force that is up to three hexes away on the road. Berserker Noble is especially useful for this. After the noble dies, place his heir back in the city and do it again. You will notice that the majority of cities are connected by roads.

15. Do not place your stronghold on a road. It will leave it open to constant attack. If an opponent places his or her stronghold on a road, attack it mercilessly, especially with your Berserker Noble.

16. You must come up with a way to inflict casualties on your opponents' armies. If you win battles by playing only Fate cards for victories, your opponent's heir will come back with all of its regular troops and all of its mercenaries (subject to the desertion Fate card draw). Using this approach, you may not inflict enough casualties on your opponents to weaken them over the course of the game. This is why a Berserker Noble is nice to have. His sole purpose is to inflict casualties relentlessly and without regard to his own well-being.
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Tom Hudson
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All good points.

I've played this with two groups; one loved it and the other was underwhelmed. I'm in the camp that likes it a lot.
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Toby Falconer
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These are great notes! I can't wait for another game of this to put some of these thoughts to the test, cheers!
 
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Greg Low
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Before reading your musings, I found myself sketching out the exact same strategy regarding using the Troop Noble sieging overseas. Even one Noble across the ocean seems like it would set your empire on a good fiscal footing, and Troop Noble is the one to do it.

I hadn't gotten down tactics of regulars versus mercenaries, so I have to give all credit to your treatise for giving me a good start on that issue.

I was a bit suprised that you focused on not losing both Serve the Church cards at once, while I was more concerned about losing both Mobilize Forces cards. I'd fear a round where I didn't have a mobilize forces and all of my opponents knew it. I don't need to play it, I just need them to think that I might.

-Greg
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Eric
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Quote:
Before reading your musings, I found myself sketching out the exact same strategy regarding using the Troop Noble sieging overseas.


Dare I say, "Great minds think alike?"

Quote:
I was a bit suprised that you focused on not losing both Serve the Church cards at once, while I was more concerned about losing both Mobilize Forces cards. I'd fear a round where I didn't have a mobilize forces and all of my opponents knew it. I don't need to play it, I just need them to think that I might.


Excellent point. I agree with you 100%. You don't want both of your Mobilize Forces getting hung up in the Special Phases piles. I guess the reason I emphasized Serve the Church is because that is basically the only way to get faith, and in my opinion, faith is a hot commodity.
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Mike zebrowski
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lmnop wrote:

2. Use +100 Casualties Noble with only 50 Regular Troops to attack large forces. I call him the Berserker Noble. He automatically inflicts 100 casualties and he gets to draw three Fate cards and play one. So there's a chance he can inflict 200 casualties. If he dies, so what. He'll come back with his 50 regular troops in the Upkeep phase. Always use him to inflict casualties when possible.


Minor correction:

You only get 2 Fate cards as your strength is 250. In this case, you only discard 1 card.

See page 14, "Open Field Battles", "Prepare for Battle", steps 2 and 3.

Mike Z
 
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Eric
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Mike, thanks for the correction. I've edited the post to reflect the correct rule.

I was wondering, as one of the playtesters for WK, what is your experience with some of the strategies and tactics above? How did the strategy and tactics progress in the playtesting games? I am seeing that as players gain experience playing the game, their games have more PvP conflict. This is in contrast to many of the initial comments about the game that there is little player interaction until very late in the game.
 
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Richard Young
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Only a few playings myself yet, but I think your points are all very interesting and valuable for anyone who like this game and intends to play it regularly. It will be interesting to see if your tips stand up well after repeated playings and whether your opponents find ways to counter some of your tactics. Good article!
 
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Bill Koens
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As a side note, I've been thinking about quick one syllable names for each of the nobles. These are the best I've come up with:

+100 casualty: Mr. Spike
-100 casualty: Mr. Fort
+1 Victory : Mr. Skill
Free upkeep : Mr. Coin

Good? Any improvements?
 
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Ulrik Bøe
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Xelvonar wrote:
As a side note, I've been thinking about quick one syllable names for each of the nobles. These are the best I've come up with:

+100 casualty: Mr. Spike
-100 casualty: Mr. Fort
+1 Victory : Mr. Skill
Free upkeep : Mr. Coin

Good? Any improvements?


Star, Square, Triangle and Circle?

Or Arrow/Point and Round, for the two last ones.
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Peter Giles
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ulrik wrote:
Xelvonar wrote:
As a side note, I've been thinking about quick one syllable names for each of the nobles. These are the best I've come up with:

+100 casualty: Mr. Spike
-100 casualty: Mr. Fort
+1 Victory : Mr. Skill
Free upkeep : Mr. Coin

Good? Any improvements?


Star, Square, Triangle and Circle?

Or Arrow/Point and Round, for the two last ones.


I think Sir Star, Baron Square, Duke Triangle and Captain Circle
 
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Tyler Alsbury
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My sister and I call the star guy the "Shuriken" noble.
 
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Kilian Wolf
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Nice!

I always make a point to emphasize No. 11 of your musings:
Quote:
If you have the choice between gaining faith and assembly votes, choose faith. Faith will prevent revolts (especially important for overseas cities) and will prevent devastating events. Assembly votes are important, but not as important as faith.

to new players. The huge importance of faith is not apparent from reading the rules. But a bad red event in the wrong spot can totally screw you.

Played a game of four today and the rookie player came in second. Gotta watch out for him.

Cheers

Kilian

Oh, the circle guy would be boozehead in our group.
 
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Tyler Stratton
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talrich wrote:
Even one Noble across the ocean seems like it would set your empire on a good fiscal footing, and Troop Noble is the one to do it.
-Greg


My first two games I thought exactly the same thing. But heres the problem. This noble can have up to 400 troops and not pay for any of them. But you would never take 400 troops to go overseas and siege a city that only needs 100 troops (+200 from the noble). So you don't really get to use its ability to the fullest. Of course you could take that many but then early game your leaving your other armies very weak.

I'm not sure which tactic I like more but the last game that I played my opponent stacked BIG on this noble and she was the only person not having to disband mercenaries when that money ran out. We all fell on hard times exp her. She took a 50 str Mr. Fort (prevent 100) over seas and then was more aggressive.

Just pointing out that I had the exact same thought and then someone used it much better then I.
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Jay K
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Sorthlador wrote:
talrich wrote:
Even one Noble across the ocean seems like it would set your empire on a good fiscal footing, and Troop Noble is the one to do it.
-Greg


My first two games I thought exactly the same thing. But heres the problem. This noble can have up to 400 troops and not pay for any of them. But you would never take 400 troops to go overseas and siege a city that only needs 100 troops (+200 from the noble). So you don't really get to use its ability to the fullest. Of course you could take that many but then early game your leaving your other armies very weak.

I'm not sure which tactic I like more but the last game that I played my opponent stacked BIG on this noble and she was the only person not having to disband mercenaries when that money ran out. We all fell on hard times exp her. She took a 50 str Mr. Fort (prevent 100) over seas and then was more aggressive.

Just pointing out that I had the exact same thought and then someone used it much better then I.


Not sure how you are playing the game. The +200 str on a noble is thematic and does not count towards strength when deciding whether you can siege a city or not.
 
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Τζόνη Τζάνγκολ
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JK777 wrote:
Sorthlador wrote:
talrich wrote:
Even one Noble across the ocean seems like it would set your empire on a good fiscal footing, and Troop Noble is the one to do it.
-Greg


My first two games I thought exactly the same thing. But heres the problem. This noble can have up to 400 troops and not pay for any of them. But you would never take 400 troops to go overseas and siege a city that only needs 100 troops (+200 from the noble). So you don't really get to use its ability to the fullest. Of course you could take that many but then early game your leaving your other armies very weak.

I'm not sure which tactic I like more but the last game that I played my opponent stacked BIG on this noble and she was the only person not having to disband mercenaries when that money ran out. We all fell on hard times exp her. She took a 50 str Mr. Fort (prevent 100) over seas and then was more aggressive.

Just pointing out that I had the exact same thought and then someone used it much better then I.


Not sure how you are playing the game. The +200 str on a noble is thematic and does not count towards strength when deciding whether you can siege a city or not.

Warrior Knights rules - page 17 wrote:

SIEGING A CITY

The attacker may only choose to siege a city if his
total strength is greater than the defender’s strength.
When comparing strengths, the defender includes the
city’s strength and both the attacker and the defender
include the +200 from their would-be commanding
Nobles.



Warrior Knights FAQ - page 1 wrote:

CLARIFICATIONS


NOBLES’ ++200 STRENGTH

The “+200 Strength” that Nobles provide during battle
comes from, in thematic terms, leadership and decisionmaking,
not actual troops. This “+200” does not represent
actual soldiers. The only time in the game that the +200
has a game effect is during the “Draw Fate Cards” step of
a battle and when comparing strength during a siege. The
“+200” is not taken into account when counting the number
of troops in a Noble’s army.

Example: If a Noble has a 100-strength Troop card and a
200-strength Troop card assigned to him, he will die once
a third casualty token is assigned to him.

Example: If a “Circle” Noble (whose ability is “does not
pay wages for troops if army size is below 450”) has two
200-strength Troop cards assigned to him, he does not
have to pay his troops during the Wages phase.
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Joseph Courtight
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of course if you keep all the mercenaries from the same nation under the same noble they have lower chance of deserting, but if they do they all do.
 
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Christopher Halbower
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lmnop wrote:
I had that one game of Warrior Knights where it all started making sense. The rules (which admittedly are a little tough to grasp at first) became clear and I started thinking about strategy and tactics. Below are some ideas I came up with...



I'm really glad I read your article. It makes me want to play Warrior Knights again.
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