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Strategy for early first contact.: 11/10/2011 03:58:22

emgzapper 
Level 3
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What are strategies for when you start adjacent to your opponent?

Here is an example from one of my ladder games. I had my opponent's spot in Central America surrounded. I felt like I should be doing something to take advantage but had no clue what. What unfolded over the next few turns might just be my most spectacular failure ever in warlight.
http://warlight.net/MultiPlayer.aspx?GameID=1641419

I can't help but think there is something to be learned here. Love to hear thoughts.
Strategy for early first contact.: 11/10/2011 05:06:41


Perrin3088 
Level 44
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this game was over at the end of turn 1... clustering your picks can provide a good initial bonus *if your opponent isn't there* honestly, your only real hope with the picks chosen was what you did, bombard him and hope he didn't place any armies there..

by capturing the rest of mexico the first turn, you only assured him that you would be gaining no uncalculated bonuses.. personally, I would of put 2 armies in W.US and then went out to capture SA, and hope he didn't move to see that I was capping a bonus...

the Mexico bonus was an obvious first pick here, IMHO clustering around it wasn't a good idea, although It might of worked if you had gotten first pick.. having picked SA or E.US as 4th or 5th pick, with Mex as 1st pick would of been much more ideal.. it would of allowed you to keep him from capturing the mexico bonus if he managed to beat you in picks, and it might of given you a chance to capture it first turn.. even as a 3rd pick it would be useful, with the 4 armies initial...

and likely more information that I thought of, but forgot before I managed to type it down, lol
Strategy for early first contact.: 11/10/2011 14:04:42

The Duke of Ben 
Level 55
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The easiest way to avoid this problem if you are trying to stack for a first turn bonus is have your first three picks be clustered, but your fourth pick at a completely different spot. If you get counterpicked, you can just use your other pick to expand. Also, make sure that your first pick is the spot that your opponent is most likely to pick (Mexico itself, in this case).

I also agree with Perrin that in this case, you should have expanded in South America, hoping that he would not attack Panama and see you there. Since you were attacking from Texas, it would be dumb of him to attack neutrals in the south while losing Mexico to you.
Strategy for early first contact.: 11/10/2011 15:49:52


Mian 
Level 54
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Just don't pick in clusters. If your unity is broken by any counter-pick, either from your 3 first picks or from another close one, you'll be in trouble and you'll risk losing the game early because you won't have anywhere to expand safely.
Even picking in clusters with an improbable successful early expansion may not work mid-game, because of some lack of spreadability.
Safe is beautiful. Don't-pick-in-clusters. 2-pick combos may be fine, 3-pick ones usually cost you the game.
Strategy for early first contact.: 11/10/2011 15:53:01


Mian 
Level 54
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Then it's very very hard to capitalize from a turn 1 aggression, and don't do it if you don't have easy bonus (a 4-piece one, of a 5-piece one with a 2-pick combo to attack it ; for if you don't succeed, any extra troop will be a big boost to early struggles, especially if the stack numbers stay lowest because of an attack on turn 1.
Strategy for early first contact.: 11/10/2011 18:53:17


Julkorn 
Level 57
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Good players usually cant be wrestled out of their picks early on. So having a pick beside another pick normally means that noone is able to get the corresponding bonus. They black each other out and there will be much suspense and action going on over who will prevail. Managing to have one pick near two of your opponent's picks converts your pick to what I call a "fighting pick". You can suppress his two picks there with your one pick while not working on that pick's bonus, but on your other two picks, which are hopefully far away from him and therefore "safe picks". That situation is normally "win".
In this case he managed to suppress all of your three picks with his one pick. That is absolute desaster. Your only chance was tip-toeing around him in SA - as the others said - while preventing him from taking Mexico with one of your picks. So that he would have thought you only got one pick in that vicinity. By de-camouflaging all of your picks there you gave the game away.
Strategy for early first contact.: 11/10/2011 21:16:43

The Duke of Ben 
Level 55
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I'm actually confused at your choice to use at least four picks for the same bonus. Assuming that you succeeded in getting all picks, you would have had all three around the bonus. The only way that the fourth pick would be needed is if your opponent got one of your picks first.

In that case you are literally setting yourself up for a fall, since you have no picks outside of that spot. If going for Mexico first turn was your absolute desire, then Mexico, Columbia, and Florida would have gotten that just fine, without the need for Texas. You could have guaranteed the bonus with just those three, but protected yourself by using your fourth pick to look elsewhere.

Now let's go a little deeper, and see how it could play out if he got Mexico, but you got Florida and Columbia. Since you didn't get Mexico, despite it being your first pick, you know that he is there. So, you want to cause him some concern. He might know that you are in Columbia, since that's a decent pick and he may have tried for it. It's doubtful that he would have gone for Florida, because outside of going for a turn 1 bonus, it's a bad pick.

Best option: Expand at pick #4 (your safety pick) and use a couple of troops from Florida to take Cuba. Use some troops to fight him, while keeping some for your expansion elsewhere. You don't need to do anything at all except survive, and hold at least one territory in the bonus. Once you have Cuba, then he has to contend with you for the bonus. Played smart, this denies him the bonus as much as it denies it to you. Your goal is NOT to take over the bonus, unless he makes it very easy to do so, or you already have another bonus to fight with.

Second option: If for some reason your safety pick doesn't work (he countered that as well), then you can expand in South America, and hope he doesn't see you until you already have the bonus there. Otherwise repeat the steps above about attacking from Florida. If you luck out, you can attack from South America with a bonus backing you up, and force him out of Mexico.

Poor option: Attack Panama from Columbia and Cuba from Florida, trying to force the bonus. It will require him to use more troops to beat you back, slowing down his growth, or allowing you to get the bonus. This will only work if you can manage to pick up a bonus in your safe spot faster than he can pick up a bonus wherever else he is, or he messes up in his defense of Mexico. Since all he has to do is defend, it will cost you most troops to attack (60% v 70% kill ratios).

If you are completely counter-picked, where your opponent already knows every one of your picks, and can attack them, then you have to end up doing what you did in the original game. You attack them, and try to force them to use all of their troops or face losing to you. This generally fails, as they can use fewer troops to defend, and get a bonus 2-3 turns later at another location. Once they have a bonus while you do not, you pretty much lose.
Strategy for early first contact.: 11/10/2011 22:51:05

emgzapper 
Level 3
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Wow! Great stuff. The sad thing is that I wasn't even thinking first turn bonus when I made these picks(making my choice to cluster even worse I feel)

The surprising take-home point that I'm getting from this is how off base my assessment of the situation was. Far from having an advantage in this situation (surrounding the one bonus), I was at a disadvantage due to my not having safe expansion points away from the enemy.
Strategy for early first contact.: 11/11/2011 13:02:09

The Duke of Ben 
Level 55
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Exactly. It's never a good idea to put all of your eggs into one basket, unless you have a clear backup plan. I used to do the same thing, but then I realized that pick #4 is what you want to have in case 1-3 has a problem. You'll never get pick 4 unless you lose one of the others.
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