Work. Work, work, work.
Moving an object over a distance. Work.
Your job. Work.
Removing enemy models to advance yourself toward victory. Work.
It’s that last definition of ‘work’ that I want to focus. You’ve heard the MoM guys talk about keeping their armies flush with pieces that can do ‘work’ before. Support bloat can cripple your army. You’ve got to keep everyone chipping in. Many hands make light work, etc.
Additionally, you’ve heard them talk about the importance of having a multi-phase plan for the game while it unfolds. To that end, I’m going to illustrate a very common framework to use while examining the game (and scenario play in particular). They’re not original, they’re not exciting, but they are damn useful.
That framework is the Gantt Chart.
The Gantt lays out multi-step activities in an easy-to-digest visual state. You may have also heard them referred to as cascade diagrams.
Here’s a great one to begin with because I’m a sucker for pretty pictures.
This is a three-phased fool-proof plan on attaining profit. Each stage is sequential and dependent on the one preceding it. Going into this venture you know what to execute during each phase and what comes next. That makes execution of the plan even fool-proof…er. Are we in Phase 1? Oh man! I better get underwear. We just finished Phase 2? Great! On to phase three, let’s reap profit.
The Gantt is not restricted to ONLY sequential tasks like I’ve illustrated here. It can easily show events that occur in parallel. I’ll show another before the end of this article, I promise.
The Gantt is nice in a few ways;
- It lays out the time sequence of events logically.
- It helps you isolate the ‘critical pathway’.
In every plan there is a bottleneck of activities versus time due to sequence dependency. This pathway that cannot be truncated is often referred to as the ‘critical pathway’. Good managers keep the ‘critical pathway’ locked up tighter than Fort Knox.
Ok. Your all experts now. Here’s a bigger and better Gantt and me spoiling my greatest love in Warmachine; Tmage’s Guide to Drinking Tears with Caine2.
So, first off, you’re probably detecting that I’m a bit of a jack-rod, and you’re right. I typically play Caine in the following manner: I’m going to feed you my entire army, the whole thing. I’m going to use self-deprecating humor and tell you how awesome you are while it’s happening. I’ll even plug in my best John Demaris impression and just keep mumbling how “bad of a match-up this is for me”.
I’m going to get you all warm and cozy. While that’s happening I’m going to slowly massage my assassination pieces (Eiryss, Ranger, Reinholdt, Caine, etc.) into position. Once I find that window, I flip like a switch. Suddenly the bumbling idiot is gone and I’m asking you your casters defensive stats and how much HP they have left. From the elation of near victory, I serve you bitter, bitter defeat.
It’s fun. It’s douchy. For me, it’s how Caine would play Caine. Undeniably if I could sip bourbon during the feat run I would, only to add to the authenticity of the moment.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not a high-end player. But there is one thing I do have a strong background in; Project Management. The Gantt is used the world over to make sure large scale projects are planned out and executed efficiently. That said, when I listen to high-end guys talk I think to myself “I should really snag some of these brains and get them into project management.” Each of them is forming Gantt’s in their mind on how their army will perform against different opponents in different scenarios. Many of them are wired perfectly for it, whether they realize it or not.
The Gantt is especially useful when you’re going into a Steamroller environment. Have you planned out what your Army needs to do in Incursion when you go first? Ummm… yea. Unpack, go symmetric, push the line of engagement to my advantage once the flag is revealed, initiate piece trade, and so on and so forth. This framework is just one step further. You can create these plans to mentally walk through your time-series of events and determine if they’re laid out as efficiently as possible.
Hopefully you find this lens to examine the game through as an intriguing one.
Thank you for reading. Keep my secret about Caine a secret (keep it safe) and remember;
Knowing is half the battle…