Delayed… Decision… Mechanics…

 

This is a mid-level article on delaying decisions and the lengen… *wait for it*… dary power it can offer you in a game of Warmachine and Hordes.  I promise this article will not end up reading like a Starfleet Academy article on temporal mechanics.  Oddly enough, much of what I’m going to talk about is time, sequence and options.

You hear and read about the big players talking about Order of Operations (OoO) all the time.  This is probably one of the strongest fundamental blocks new players need to address.  You have to understand what you want to do, what pieces need to move in what order to make it happen, and then execute.

Now let’s jump forward into the game.  

Turn based OoO is simple enough.  Here are two examples of where screwing up OoO can really hose you;

  1. Single-Model Order:  Vayl2’s feat is a perfect example.  You get to cast all of these beautiful spells.  That said, remember to Purify first.  Rumor has it a few big dogs have made this mistake their first time around the block with this little lady.
  2. Multi-Model Order:  Caine2’s assassination run is another solid example.  First, you want to have your rangers run up and give you your RAT buff.  Second, you want to have Reinholdt kiss Caine for good luck and an extra shot.  Third, you run whatever poor minion you’re going to rear-arc charge for 3” of extra movement out there.  Lastly, you activate the big dog, feat and bring the pain.

Now I’m going to kick it up a notch.  These OoO scenarios are in your control completely.  If you practice and know your army you should execute them well.  Let’s look at OoO in a broader sense.  OoO can occur across different time spans.  Single-Model order occurs within the confines of an activation.  Multi-Model occurs across a turn.  OoO can even span rounds in a game.

In the most recent episode of MoM (#27) the gents were talking about Attrition and Scenario play a great deal.  The gambits and ploys they mentioned time and again were multi-round OoO scenarios.  Let’s talk about one.  Model it out and see how the math works in.

Crump and Chad are playing against one another. Chadis using Madrak2.  Crump is using Baldur2 with Ghetorix in the list.  Crump is thinking about putting Ghetorix into position for a kill the following turn to force Chad’s hand. Chad has to either deal with Ghetorix, or get a face full of ax.   Here is how you’d model out something like this.

 

Ahhhhhh… pretty pictures.  They always help.  What you’re seeing here is the decision from Chad’s point of view.  If Crump puts Ghetorix out there he can do one of two things; Take the Bait or Don’t Take the Bait.  If he takes the bait the odds of successfully killing Ghetorix are only 40%.  Keep in mind he’s probably Roots of Earthed into high ARM madness.  If Chad takes the bait and successfully kills Ghetorix… he’s on easy street.  I have marked this as a “You Win” condition. Chad likes winning so his relative value for this outcome is high ( 5 ).

If Chad doesn’t take the bait, one of two things will happen; Don’t Die or Die. Chad and Madrak2 both hate dying.  I’ve marked their relative value for this outcome as low ( 0 ).  The odds of Chad dying are only 30%, but still.  That’s game over man.  Hopefully you feel comfortable as to what the numbers in the rest of that chart represent.

So… back to Chad. Chad balances out the outcomes, relative values and probabilities in his head and sees that the future is brighter for him on the “Don’t Take the Bait” side of the tree.  He may die, BUT there’s a 70% chance he’ll PROBABLY win.  Thus the Madrak2 Rope-A-Dope is born.

 

 

You MoMer’s are clever folks so I want to take this one step further.  Decision charts like this are built forwards and read backwards. Crump knows Chad is smart.  Crump knows Chad has thought this all out.  Crump can run through this exercise in HIS head too.  As a result, Crump now knows a very interesting fact (even before he moves Ghetorix): If I bait Chad with this piece, his smartest decision is “Don’t Take the Bait”.  Now that he knows the Ghetorix ploy won’t work, he may consider something else.

This is way too much math to do in your head, but the good players think like this naturally.  They gamble based on statistics and intuition built on their own experiences.  Be smart and try to understand how your opponent might view the situation.  Viewing the game through this lens will give you a tactical advantage.

The more you know… (hum the little diddy in your head when you read this last part)

Fun Fact:  This type of analysis is why kill triggers and mutually assured destruction strategies are used in nuclear arms stand-offs.  The kill trigger balances the net outcomes to:  don’t shoot… Thankfully.

 

Author: Tmage

I'm a gaming and math enthusiast. I find games that balance strategic interaction with economic principles (delayed option, resource control, etc.) are some of the most rewarding for me as a player. I concentrated in Finance, Analytic Consulting, Decision Sciences and Management Strategy while getting my MBA at Kellogg (Northwestern University) and majored in Chemical Engineering during my undergrad at University of Illinois. I view gaming through this lens and share my perspective via periodic articles. Thanks for reading!

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