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Subject: Choosing your starting hand, OR, How to Open rss

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Jeff Horger
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One Time-tested opening from the play testers is five cards for one unit. Drop four on the initial attack to attempt straight elimination and have the artillery card available to defend as that spent unit returns to the line.

Option 2 is one card for each of four units in a clump and a leader to combine two to four of them for an early attack.

If you have them available (USA & Britain) Spy is always in my mix.

Another plan I have used is all artillery to start and push forward into the opponent's side without firing a shot and using the artillery to reduce the attacker's effectiveness. Its risky because you might draw nothing helpful after you burn those artillery cards.

I have also started a game with all forced marches and withdraws. Move forward and then fall back as your opponent spends cards.
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Rick
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That would be incorrect. You only get one chance to withdraw (or play any defensive cards) after the first attack card is played. If you don't withdraw then the attacker can play more cards and you can do nothing about it.

Also cavalry still get their pursuit rolls when you withdraw.
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Rick
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Great idea for a thread Joe, hopefully others will chime in with what they like/don't like. Here are some of my thoughts (Cross posted on the Margin of Victory blog):

Mobility
In this start you pick out your Forced March, Supply and Withdraw cards to quickly move multiple units. Choosing this starting hand will really depend on the battle field. If there are some key defensive strongholds to grab quickly it could be useful to move in fast. However, Supply cards are very valuable with their dual use so I would choose to save these for later in the game. Playing this against the fast Ottoman cavalry it may not be as effective.

Strong Defense
In this start you select the bombard cards which generally have the strongest defenses for the units. This hand allows you to move your troops into position while fending off your opponents attacks. If combined with some of the mobility cards above or a Redoubt it could be quite effective in securing those towns and hills. This type of play will force your opponent to wait until he can coordinate his attacks better. If you can play the rest of the game holding on to those spots and disrupting your opponents ability to make a coordinated attack you could really frustrate your opponent. I initially didn’t give this strategy much credit, but the more I think about it the more I like it. I will definitely give this one a shot.

Card Dump
The strategy with this card selection is to take all 5 unit cards for the weakest unit and immediately discard them. This is a way to cull your deck of all the cards from that weak unit you planned on leaving behind. I like this strategy if you know your opponent tends to cycle through their deck slowly. Anything you can do to use your big cards, reshuffle quickly and use them again is to your benefit. The downside is you may be giving your opponent an easy kill. However, I think it’s a good trade-off.

Strong First Strike: Single Unit
Similar to the strategy above, but instead of discarding the cards you use them. This could be done with any unit. You push that unit out front right away to and use all their cards in one strong blow. If this is a strong enough attack you can take out a unit right away and make 5 cards in their deck worthless. This is a little hard to pull off as you are relying on the luck of the die. I actually like a slightly different approach of using them all on the defense. Causing hits against your opponent on their turn. Ideally you would follow it up with an attack or bombard to finish off the freshly wounded unit.

Strong First Strike: Multiple Units
In this strategy you are again going for a strong initial attack to quickly eliminate a unit. This gives you the advantage of more units plus it puts worthless cards in their deck. The cards you select here are a leader and 4 unit cards. The idea is that the hand gives you the ability to put together a multi-unit attack with the help of a leader. The unit cards could be of two of each of two units or all different - just so long as the units are clumped together.

This is my favorite start, but I would throw in one minor difference of adding a mobility card to your hand. Adding in the Supply or Forced March cards can help you move your forces into position more quickly. The Withdraw can either be used to spring the trap or as a contingency plan if things go bad.

What Else?
If you are the British or Americans you could grab your Spy to find out what your opponent has planned. I’ve also seen a ‘grab-five-bombard-cards-and-ditch-them-because-I-always-fail-those-rolls-anyway’ strategy. I’m sure there are others. What have you tried that works?
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Gordon Stewart
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Glad you posted this!
An IMPORTANT oversight for me and MANY opponents was that
you go through your deck and SELECT your opening hand;
we were just RANDOMLY drawing it....a BIG difference!
 
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Rick
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capt yid wrote:
Glad you posted this!
An IMPORTANT oversight for me and MANY opponents was that
you go through your deck and SELECT your opening hand;
we were just RANDOMLY drawing it....a BIG difference!

Choosing your starting hand is in the "For Experienced players and Tournament Play:" section of the set-up. Randomly is an acceptable way to start the game.
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Jan Ozimek
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Choosing the initial hand could also significantly increase preperation time. Not sure I would call it setup time as it is part of the game in a sense. Anyway, if you are a bit AP prone I could see this taking a good amount of time.
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