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All about PAULTEC: 2/26/2023 16:37:53

Level 45
I just noticed that I have been playing PAULTEC games for years, but no one has ever made a forum README to explain how it works. So better, late than never.

Some players enjoy cunning, calculating, and diplomatic games. PAULTEC is NOT the format for these players. PAULTEC is about cheap thrills, quick games and not crying if you happen to get unlucky.

The Archetypical PAULTEC game looks something like this:

    * Automatic Distribution
    * Wastelands
    * One Army Must Stand Guard
    * Extra Army for Every 1 Territory (after the first 5)
    * Non-Default Kill Rates (20/80, see https://www.warzone.com/wiki/Offense_and_defense_kill_rates)
    * Preferred Map: Imperium Romanum
    * Quickgame (2 minutes, with little to no banking)

The Non-Default 20/80 kill-rate is the core of PAULTEC and variants with different settings also build on top of this:

PAULTEC games often have names like "hard game", in the title. While I think this is partially ironic, what makes PAULTEC "hard" is the difficulty in expanding. In most Warzone games, you need to have slightly more troops to take a new territory. Not so much in PAULTEC, where you have to outnumber the opponent significantly!

For example, if you attack with 10, you will kill, on average, 2 armies. If there is no luck modifier, you will only kill 2 armies. This is why you generally want to attack with at least four to six times as many armies as the defender has. By default, digits are rounded up, so an attack of 8 armies is also sufficient to kill 2 armies (8 x 0.2 = 1.6 ~= 2).

Defenders, on the other hand get to kill far more attacking armies. Each defending army has an 80% chance at killing one of the attacking armies. If you attack 10, with 10 of your own; you will expect to receive up to (10 x 0.8 = 8) casualties. With no luck factor, this is guaranteed to be 8 casualties for an attacking army of 10.

Then how do you play PAULTEC? Let's talk about that in more detail!

The Opening

The game begins with 3-8 players starting with a 1x15-stack (for 2-neutral games). What I call the Opening is the first phase of the game, which isn't very different from a standard Warzone game. The killrates are there to slow you down, but you still want to aim for exponential growth; doubling your territory if possible each turn. Remember: Most settings give you extra armies per territory, so it's good to expand even if you cannot complete your bonuses.

Best Advice: Make sure to watch your killrates! You should take advantage of how rounding works to maximise your early growth.
For example, if you are entering a territory you have surrounded, it's more cost-effective to take a 2-neutral with 2x3 than 1x8. How?

Well let's do the arithmetic:

    * 3 x 0.2 = 0.6
    * We round it to 1 kill
    * If we attack with two 3-stacks that is 2 kills.
    * However, because the attack will now proceed in 2 phases (3 vs. 2 and then 3 vs. 1) you receive some more casualties (2+1=3)
    * Attacking with 2x3 means, it takes 6 units to take a territory and we get to keep 3.

    * 8 x 0.2 = 1.6
    * We round it to 2 kill
    * We have one 8 vs. 2 engagement, where we receive 2 casualties (0.8 x 2 ~= 2)
    * Attacking 1x8 means, it takes 8 units to take a territory and we get to keep 6.

Understanding how to do this math is crucial for not falling behind during early game expansion. However, remember that PAULTEC favors the defender. As the game goes on, you are going to want to have a larger standing army on the board. To minimize casualties attacking with concentrated attackers (1xN) instead will be more effective, once you have some base income.

The Midgame

2-neutrals are nice, because they are predictable. All it takes is some puzzle-solving to decide how to attack. And sure enough, the player who enter the Midgame the last will often win the game, because that's when growth is fastest.

The Midgame phase begins when you encounter another player. And if you don't ever encounter a player because you are surrounded by wastelands, you may have just skipped right to the endgame (see next section). Obviously, the more players there are in the game the faster you can expect to enter the midgame.

The Midgame is where decision-making becomes a lot more challenging and the 2-minute default timer begins to weigh on the players.

When should you attack? It's the same as usual: When you have a decisive advantage over the opponent. If you see any neutrals between you and your opponent: GRAB THEM! With players, it is almost always better to use concentrated attacks: group your attackers in one territory and have them attack the bottlenecks of your opponent. Remember, you are not expecting to take territory rapidly because of the 20/80 killrates.

When should you defend? You defend to kill. This is different from standard Warzone where you primarily defend a weak frontier to expand to neutrals. The 80 defensive killrate is very powerful against the 20 offensive killrate. When closely matched BOTH PLAYERS should be defending. PAULTEC favors defending, in a 10 v 10 situation, the attacker will walk out with only 2 troops where their opponent now keeps 8 readying them for the perfect counter-attack. Effectively, the border between the two players will become a wasteland in its own right as mega-stacks form over the course of the next few turns. It isn't uncommon to see Economy Games to give players something to do during these Cold Wars

Bit by bit, players who have been isolated from expansion or who are ragequitting will begin to surrender leaving massive power vacuums on the map. If you had a weak start, this is your opportunity to catch up. If this happens STOP attacking/defending against active players and gnaw at the neutral-borders until you get access to the 1-neutrals and take as much as you can!

The Endgame

The Endgame begins when one of the following occur:

    * You have discovered all neutrals accessible to you
    * You are surrounded by Wastelands
    * Only two players remain in the game

Endgame PAULTEC is a whole other genre. Gone are the little warlords who once populated the map, having given way to massive empires stretching across the board. At this point, the remaining 2-3 players will be able to field a defense potentially in the 100s. The combat becomes like Trench Warfare where 100s die for little land gain.

It's no longer a game of numbers, but a game of reads. Those Wastelands from the earlygame are now akin to buffers. Buffers, perfect for ambushing enemies from. What decides the victor in the late game, is being able to ambush your opponent with an attack they cannot immediately respond to. If you land a 400 stack in front of undefended territory past the Wasteland, your opponent will likely surrender.

You can see how insane the borders can look in the late-game from this replay here, where I ended up proposing a draw despite being in the lead:

And that's PAULTEC. IF you have never tried PAULTEC before, I think it's worth trying solely for the educational factor. Otherwise, I think it's a tad anti-fun. Your success is very luck-based, but the fact that games are played so quickly fuels an addiction. There is a certain dopamine-reward you get from PAULTEC encouraging you to keep challenging your opponents to rematches. That right there is the biggest danger of PAULTEC.

PAULTEC has its merit. It's interesting to see what kind of crazy things you can do when you play with the settings. I did mention that I have seen others do economy variants and that is probably a better game with more options even if it slows things down. Or maybe you just want to grind XP, in which case the classic PAULTEC has you covered :)
All about PAULTEC: 2/26/2023 17:10:26

Level 62
What does PAULTEC stand for?
All about PAULTEC: 2/26/2023 17:31:45

Level 45
It's the name of the player that invented it:
All about PAULTEC: 2/26/2023 20:30:04

Level 59
ofc he's a slav
All about PAULTEC: 2/27/2023 03:28:26

Level 63
zeroblinddragon and i are paultech champions fyi
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