Everything I learned from Private to Warrant
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cbt711 wrote:
*should be titled Deathmatch Free For All Tactics* Warning; this is a long read.

Ok, this is all I know if anyone cares. Disclaimer, I wrote this after about a month on this site, researching, playing turbo risk thanks to vex, and playing and talking to the guys around here. My eyes have been opened! Most advanced players will see this all as common sense.

In uncapped games: 

Stay alive, stay consolidated, only take regions very early or in capped games (I'll get to those in a bit). Having more troops that are not a threat is way more important than being thin, having a region and a high troop bonus and being a threat. For one, you have more troops and are harder to kill off. Secondly, you don’t thin yourself out to take the region nor spread out on the borders (Save Australia on classic) making your overall presence harder to defend. Finally and most importantly, you are not a target like you are with a region all spread out, with no region and more formidable over a few territories. Is it worth a 3 troop bonus if everyone attacks you killing 4 or 5 of your troops? No, that bonus does nothing but hurt you in that case.

The trick to winning is to play numbers (know your math), time cards, border your best target, and not threaten anyone in doing so. Easy right? So Australia is great if you're set up there first. Only one border... awesome! Easy to amass a very large troop on one territory if you can get it. It is harder to setup kills from that isolated corner late in the game though.
South America is great as well, with just two borders. When you need to consolidate your troops, it only takes one reinforce to combine troops and you can pick which enemy to go for, one in North America or one in Africa… more options than Australia.

Why combine troops? Well what happens when troop bonus for cards gets to 20-25 and you only have 7 or 8 on a border with all your troops spread out? Well you can't make a run like you could if you had 20 on that border. So abandon your region when troop bonus for cards is around 20 to 30. Sometimes earlier if everyone has been fighting and overall numbers are low.

How do you know when to attack to finish someone off?
According to Vexer, you can almost always safely take someone out when your attacking force is greater than or equal to the following:
Enemy troops + Enemy territories + (Enemy territories / 3)
That has always worked for me. This is also useful if you have to split forces and go two directions, you can calculate how many need to go each way. I have even amended this equation to subtract 1 for every 3 territories with only 1 occupant. Since the odds are far greater against one die, I found I get away with less troops on runs.

How do you avoid other forces taking you out? Try to use a buffer. A buffer is one of their own troops. They can't attack through their own troops. You can bait a player into buffering himself by leaving 1 troop in front of them, and they usually take it for the easy card. Just like that you have buffered yourself from their big troop on a good day, bad day they move the whole force up to that territory and you are still in danger. Another thing to consider when attacking someone with a lot of troops in front of their big army is DO NOT attack up to that army! Leave their smaller forces around it for the same reason. That buffer keeps them at bay for at least the next turn. They can reinforce to your border after the next turn. So keep that next turn in mind. You can also bait other players with 1 troop territories to get in between yourself and a large troop. Doesn't happen often but it does happen by leaving one troop territories for them to take and hope they move some troops there. 

If you end up heads up, you should attack everything you can that's at least 4 vs. 2 - normally over aggressive is bad, but heads up, everything you take from them goes to you. Every three territories you take from them, is 1 less troop for them and one more troop for you. Try not to leave separate groups of troops if you are marching through an enemy heads up. It means splitting your forces to take out multiple split forces later, instead of throwing everything you have at them in one attack line.

In Capped games:
I don't care what anyone tells you, you can win with the same strategy as uncapped games. BUT - you have a window to do so. Once it passes this window, and troops of your enemies get too large, the cap will force you to play regions and bonuses and slowly take the enemy out like a fixed game. I just watched a friend of mine win without a region and one large army in a capped game of 15! So he had to act early and time the cards very well but it is possible.

So when is the window? I like to set capped games at about 65-70% of total territories of the game. So a map with 45 territories, it should be capped at 30 or 35, this makes for very competitive games without stalemates, if everyone doesn't turtle up.

When you can amass a troop that is about equal to the cap, and the cards are within 5 troops of the cap, maybe 10 if your one army is very large, that's the best time to take out enemies. Also at the cap works if your enemies have hurt each other - using the same math as above, if your troop + the cap is enough to take someone out, it's a good time to make a run. Remember their card count is more important than the troop value of turning in relative to the cap. If you have to wait a turn or two and go up to the cap to border an enemy with 4 cards, it’s worth it vs. taking out an enemy with 1 or 2 cards.

The slight difference to this strategy (capped vs. uncapped) is you will be losing troops and not getting MORE back like uncapped. So if the math doesn't add up, you want to cut off your enemy and take as much of the map and bonus as you can to win the long game like a fixed game. For example, USA can be cut in half at Indiana and Louisiana, or nearby states as well. If you can take out some players and fortify large bonuses after the cap, you will have a great shot at winning.

Win the mental game:
Remember to play the players. You can use them as if you had an alliance without actually having an alliance, just think what they would be thinking and use it to force them to attack each other and not you.

Basics: You are player A. Player B and C are similar in number and bonus to you. So you can scare them with really high numbers on the borders and force them to fight each other, or you can actually do the opposite and shrink your bonus so they see the other player as the threat. Make sure your overall numbers are higher than their biggest bordering troop + current card bonus just in case they think about taking you out. You can even weaken a shared border between B and C in hopes that the other attacks through said weak border. Or any number of things keeping in mind what they would do, or what it would take for them to attack someone else.

Sometimes this means not breaking a region and gambling that this will force the other players to break the region for you. Any time you can do this, it helps two fold since it hurts the attacker and the defender but not you at all.

New Note (4/10/14) If you make the "finesse move" to inspire one player to attack the other player, it is wise to attack the player two turns after you, not the player right after you. There are several reasons for this. 
1. the player after you will just add their draft bonus, and fortify to compensate for any damage you did. 
2. the player after you can also be very offended you just weakened them for apparently no reason (even though we know there was a great reason - induce a fight!) They could revenge attack you right back, or even suicide into your forces.
3. If you set up the NEXT player, not only do they get their draft bonus which they can focus on the weakened player's hole now, but they'll also see your move as helpful to them. They will be much less likely to attack you.  If they are newer, they'll think you are helping them out and if they are really good, they'll respect your play.

Warning: Sometimes this does nothing, and the next player makes no move at all, and you still get revenge attacked. This is a very difficult tact. You also do NOT want to attack so much that you become the target. If the dice go bad, abort.
***End note***

Watch other players.

Don’t just look at YOUR cards, pay attention to THEIR cards: Don't become a threat when other players, especially neighbors have 4 cards and especially 5 cards. Let them waste their bonus fighting the good fight against the bully and not hurting you. It is worth shrinking borders and killing your bonus for a turn to draw no attention and survive when you know multiple turn ins are coming. You can use the math from above on yourself too to devise defensive strategies. Border the guy that can’t take you out with his biggest touching army + turn troops bonus + current card turn in bonus. Doesn’t mean he won’t try, as they often do overestimating their strength, but it’s still a good tactic. Also by not being a threat and having the turn in player attack the big stack, it helps you two fold: Hurting the big stack, and nerfing the other player’s turn in numbers. Good stuff all around.

You can however take aggressive actions if you look up and everyone has 1 or 2 cards. It is a great time to take regions, set up borders, or consolidate a massive army next to the weakest player since they can’t do anything about it. Then when they get up to 3 cards, you can take them out with a turn in of your own before they have a chance to use them.

Stages of the game:
There are three stages and this is how I see them. The setup, the middle game, and the end game.

The setup:
I consider the setup the early stage of the game. Typically I would consider up to the first round of card turn ins the setup, when cards get to about 12 or 15, I would call that the next stage, the middle game. 
What you should do. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses …. LAST. First thing you should do honestly, is look at all of your bordering neighbors. You might have 6 troops in Australia, but if the adjacent player has 12 in Asia connected to Siam, you are going to get pummeled fighting for that region early on.

Once you see the layout and your opponents strengths. You have some options. You can make a move for a small region if it is easily gained. Again look at nearby territories you have that can be used to reinforce or attack borders to allow control of the region just like you would evaluate strength of a nearby enemy. Amassing an army out of the region then invading after others have fought and died over it leaving it mostly ones is a GREAT starting strategy if it works out like that.

If you can take a small region, great! If not, it’s ok. Don’t blame bad placement for a bad game. I have won plenty without ever owning a region until the end game. The point of the setup if you can’t get a region is to amass your troops, fortifying into one massive army as much as possible, and doing so in a larger uncontested region. Asia for example is almost impossible to control early, so this is a great place to hide your invasion force. So take a small region, build huge borders, or build a massive army in a large region where no one will want to run into you and kill most of their own troops.

Vexer said initial turn in is not that valuable so maybe place and not attack on the first turn. This is good. But if you have a chance to attack 1 with say 5 or 6, go ahead and do it. And if you can position yourself to take a region early, then don’t you dare wait, keeping in mind attacking 3’s early will usually hurt. You can apply Vexer’s strategy of reinforce but don’t gain a card LATER. So instead of dropping off 3 troops and ending attack phase on the first turn, you could take a small region worth 2, and when you get up to 4 cards, just reinforce your borders with 5 troops and then end without attacking. It’s the same result, you just get more bang for the buck.

I still follow Vexer’s first turn advice more often than not, but know you can get the benefit of it on your 3rd turn, or 4th turn as well. I have even seen people with 5 cards time out to avoid turning in cards for a low value. That is cheap, and I don’t recommend it. They should simply have not attacked the turn before.

The middle game
The middle game’s sole purpose is to build troop number, prevent others from amassing bigger armies, and setting up the end game. Don’t like when people revenge kill you but you still want to break up their bonus? Then just attack their border down to 1 or 2 troops, then refortify away, and let someone else break through the weak point. Always be thinking of how to keep the players “on your side”. Don’t complain when someone suicides into you… n00bs are part of the game. Be mad that you didn’t anticipate it, and turn that n00b loose on someone else with sneakier more tactful moves.

The biggest advice I can give you for the middle game is you want to end it with all 1’s and a massive army of all other troops. The middle game should end when cards get to around 20 to 30, and you should be bordering your target player by then. Target someone not only weaker than you, and with the math explained earlier, but someone whose turn is AFTER you. So you don’t get the shocking 3 card turn in. Dun dun dun! game over.

****NOTE 4/10/14****
I must amend that last paragraph some. It can also be helpful to have another army far away from your mass army, such that you can't be taken out in one attack line. If you have 35 in Asia, it's not a bad idea to have 5-8 in North America.

Also as far as when to attack. It's not JUST when the math says you can take them out. It's when the Cards are right. You will need to end up with 5 cards or more after you end their turn and take their cards. This should go without saying, but you can't win unless most players have 3 cards, and you have 5, or they have 4 and you have 4, or any combo such that you turn in, take their cards and end up with 5 or more. Also if your troop can finish off a player without turning in, and your cards + their cards = 7 or more, it is wise to NOT turn in at the beginning of the turn. Yes actually say no, then take them out, then turn in twice - more on that below
****end of note****

If you are scared of a neighbor setting YOU up, make sure to build a decent troop far away from your main troop that player cannot get to. Have 15-20 near them, and 5-7 in a territory hopefully across the map and not bordering them at all.

The end game
Easiest to talk about, hardest to implement. You take your massive army you placed strategically in the middle game, you add to it a card turn in bonus, and you take out your neighbor! You want to time it so their cards give you another turn in, and you can repeat the process. Side note, try to end in Australia not start by taking someone out there, because you will end up trapping your main army down there. You want to make runs that end with your big army on the border of the next target. Sound tough? Well that’s because it is. That’s what the middle game is for. You have to not leave 1’s of yours in the way of paths that you need to fluidly move around the map on your end game wave.

Typically you end up winning at this point, or playing heads up with the guy lucky enough to survive your wrath because you ended up not getting to turn in at some point. If heads up, just follow previous heads up strats. Bully them into as little bonus as possible, use their 1’s to buffer yourself from their massive army, and hope you can turn in before they can.

Wildcard note: Keep them until the end game. Keep them unless you have to use them with 5 cards. They are invaluable in the last stages of the game, because they give you a 3 card turn in which usually means victory heads up. (Wildcards are black in text, and can be turned in with any two other cards. When you have 5 cards and can turn in without using the wildcard, it guarantees you can turn in again next turn too).

7 cards is 95% likely to give you two turn ins, so if you have 2 and the neighbor has 5 (or any combination that adds to 7+) and your troops meet the math… TAKE ‘EM OUT! And turn in twice to recover your strength or continue the March. Note if there are 5 of one color, and 2 of another color, you can only turn in once, but that’s rare.

Save your add time in live games for the end game stage. Do not run out of time! It not only stops your run, but it can leave flanks exposed because you didn’t get to refortify. If you didn’t know, you can add time to a game once per game. It’s under options above the screen names list of players.

Avoid being the guy with small troop numbers and lots of cards. Turn in as soon as you can if this is you. You are not a target with 0 or 1 cards, but everyone will hunt you down with 5.

You should probably ignore all I have said because I’m not the best player out there. I know how you SHOULD play, and how to win on paper, like this crazy long write up, but only practice and experience can help you apply it to diverse situations. No two games are alike. So play smart, and play often. And don’t be mad at the dice or starting position, or n00bs, both are equally random and liable to happen to anyone. It’s an amazing game, and you should just have fun even in defeat. ...because you will lose a lot on average. Hope this helped.

Caps game strats another day. When I make LT maybe.
elysium5 wrote:
Kobayashi Maru
Mike Donovan : How'd someone like that get to be your leader anyway?

Martin : Charisma. Circumstances, promises... Not enough of us spoke out to question him until it was too late. It happens on your planet, doesn't it?
cbt711 wrote:
Ooooh dang-it, you caught me. I assumed everyone would be asleep by that point of the post.
UltrasPlot wrote:
Yeah cbt where are they? :P
Don't make a junior officer write it for you! ;)
Spoiler (click to show)
^you didn't see that
cbt711 wrote:
I'll do what I did on this one, take notes during my games on the really good players, the bad players, and what works for me. Then I'll write it up. So it will be here by the time I make Captain? :D Or sooner because I can't get the last 50 points without a losing streak started lately.
ctungq wrote:
This is very old post but very useful. I have used the formula to win games against best players:
Enemy troops + Enemy territories + (Enemy territories / 3) - (Enemy territories with 1 troop / 3)