Please read 1 through 7 if new to Caps.
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cbt711 wrote:
Capitals is a great game format. The rules are pretty simple: Defeat a player's capital, you take over their troops. The last player left wins.

Some players don't like increasing cards as they feel it's a crap shoot at the end. Someone with a big army just gets enough cards to start an attack chain, turns in after each kill, and the game is over.

Well Capitals takes that large force you hate in increasing games and gives it to everyone equally! So if you don't like being short handed at the end of deathmatch, try out capitals.

Here are the basic strategies for beginning players:

1. Keep you cap as strong or stronger than the two nearest caps. It is a good idea to always place troops on your cap each turn. Even at the expense of taking a card early if no one else has cards yet. Much like the post about first turns Vexer made, setting up a strong cap from the beginning is crucial, where one card early may not be. The idea is to make it hard for your neighbors to take the force on their cap and come kill your cap.

If you have a lot of well connected troops near your cap, then fortify to your cap, or alternatively group them together for a few turns into a somewhat large force and then attack back to your cap to add them to your cap. Keep in mind strategy number 5 though! This usually will block a path to your cap, though. Speaking of which...

2. Make sure your cap can kill their cap. DO NOT block yourself in. For example, in South America, try not to take Brazil, or North Africa as these block your capital from attacking to the East. You cannot attack through your own troops, so don't be putting your troops in the way of your cap. The capital is not only your defense, it will make all of your kills later in the game. It is your greatest offense, so you want to keep attack paths clear from you to your enemy.

3. Set up a Farm. What's a Farm? It's a troop off capital, preferably far away to avoid blocking your cap from any attack path from tip 2. This troop should be 3+ troops and preferably surrounded by opponent territories with 1 troop. The idea is to "Farm" cards. Trust me, there will be plenty of 1's all over the map by the second turn in any caps game. You can set one up early by fortifying two 3's into a 1 and a 5. This allows others to farm your 1 you left, and will lead to lots of 1's left around your 5. 

4. Pay attention to CARD VALUE! I define Card Value as the return on a kill you get from an opponents' cards. Example: You have 5 cards, neighbor has 3 cards. You turn in, and kill your neighbor for another turn in. This is a classic kill in deathmatch. Well in capitals, keep in mind the MOST IMPORTANT thing is your cap strength relative to all those around you. So is it worth killing them? Depends on card value. If the turn in yields more troops than you would lose killing them, then card value is good. If turning in only gets you 20 troops, but you have to kill 34 on their cap... card value is BAD. It is NOT worth making a kill just to eliminate an opponent if card value is BAD. Don't do it. All it does is weakens your cap, and increases YOUR card count making you a target.

But if card value is good, say you are killing a capital with 25 troops and getting 35 back, then Make the kill, and add your newly earned troops to your main force. At this point see if you can keep going, or take your now larger stack, and fortify back to your capital. It is important to make these kills without blocking your capital from tip 2. Even with good card value, blocking your capital will most likely end your game in the end.

NOTE: You are also upping the turn in value by 5 for the next guy when you turn in. SO you are not only losing more troops than you gain with a bad card value, but you are also giving the next guy 5 more troops to kill you with.

5. DO NOT stack a farm. What is stacking? Well in deathmatch, stacking is building on one territory for a massive army that will take a region, break a region, or kill an opponent at the end of a game. In Capitals, the only territory you should stack is your capital. 

If you build a large army off of your capital this hurts you in the following ways:
a. It takes troops away from your capital making it easier for a nearby capital to come on over and kill you.
b. It inflates your "card value". When you die, your troops go to the other player that killed you. So even if turn ins only yield 20 troops, and you have 25 on your cap, someone would still gladly kill you if you have 10+ troops off cap because they now gain your army that you stacked off cap and can add that to their card value to justify the kill.
c. It leads to aggressive play for two reasons. First, because everything stated in b. It moves up the kill table because you will yield more troops than just card turn in value. Second, it serves as an attack point for their next kill. They can drop their turn in troops on your off cap army, and keep killing from there. This will be discussed in detail in the advanced caps strategies post later.

6. Don't worry about Bonus. It's nice, but trapping yourself means you eventually lose 95% of the time. And committing troops off cap to secure another region, and then defending will take away from your cap strength. Plus owning a region bonus makes you an appealing target when the kills do start. Someone could kill you just to take your bonus. SO you did all the work, at great expense to your cap strength, and now your neighbor just swoops in and takes all the reward for your work. Take caps early if they are EASILY secured - my personal rule, 2 turns, no more than 6 troops, or don't even bother. 

7. Don't be desperate. If it's late in a game and you don't have a set, don't try to kill a cap with 10 more on it and say "I had no choice". You always have a choice. Ask for someone with low card count to block for you for a turn. Or attack around an opponents cap that looks to kill you - this insures they are blocked if they kill you (nifty, huh?). Sometimes just NOT taking a card to be less of a target helps. But don't justify ruining a game with "I didn't have a set". Absolute most desperate situation should be even strength attack against the player who has the next turn. This way if you fail, they can take your cap and recover, and the game is not ruined because they are just recovering, NOT adding to a massive army.

Advanced Strats.
Read the end game strats from my "free for all" (actually should be titled "deathmatch" ) tactics. These winning ways and kill tactics still work for capitals. 

8. Keep in mind your attack path changes with each kill. If you kill red player, see where red troops are, because those WILL BE BLOCKING YOU once you complete the kill. Attack through them and move your army to an unblocked position leaving behind 5 to 6 troops to kill the last 1 on Reds cap. So attack the cap down to 1 or 2. Don't attack against 2 as this can kill them. Then take your big army to a position it can freely attack without your troops in the way and without Red's troops in the way, leaving enough behind to complete the kill. Then turn in cards, and add to your big force to continue your kill streak.

9. Keep steps 1 through 8 in mind. From your opponent's perspective! If you master the first 7 tips you will be a solid caps player. If you can predict everyone else's plans based on 1 through 7, you will be a great caps player. You can use what they plan to do against them. You can block their farm by killing their one then moving your farming troop into that territory leaving them no 1's to attack for example. You can chat to them about how they will lose value for taking you out with low card value, or they shouldn't come off cap as they will be blocked in. Or you can bate them into going for a region bonus, then kill their cap after they secured the region and their cap is weak. The point is you can do anything knowing what they want to do and using it to your advantage.

10. Double turn ins win caps games. In 3 player games, the easiest win is to kill a neighbor when your card + their cards = 7 or more. That's it. You take your cap which better be stronger than theirs or you are just suiciding at that point, you take your cap and kill a nearby cap. Now those 7 cards get you two turn ins, and you stack any territory near your last opponent with two turn ins and finish the game with a kill. 

So the most basic winning strat is live until there are three players then take cards or skip taking cards to set this up to where you start your turn with 4 cards, and the next guy 3 (or any combo that adds to 7). So you can make a kill or two early in games with a lot of players if it does NOT block you in, and get the game down to 3 players and use all the other tips to help keep your cap strong. 

11. Advanced card value calculation: In small maps, or in unlimited fortify, you can use the TOTAL number of an opponent's troops they have left off their cap to determine card value. Unlimited means you can move every single gained troop to your cap, so you don't just gain the turn in bonus, you get all their troops off cap. You can also launch an attack from an opponent's farm if it gets to strong (as talked about in number 5). If turn in value is 40, and they have 10 off cap, then in theory, you can kill their cap, place 40 on their 10 and now you have an army of 50 unblocked and ready to kill any cap of 40-45 nearby. Again.. .nifty huh? Number 5 should make more sense now. 

Super advanced end game tips (may or may not hurt head or make any sense at all)

12. Trade 1's for farming. Time it right for a win. In small maps, sometimes players willingly block themselves in for a card, with the implied understanding that the other player will then take that territory back on their turn for a card as well. This happens ALL THE TIME on Caribbean for example. So how to abuse this? Trade with the opponant until your cards + another player's cards = 7+. Then take out the other player. In most cases, this is certain death. Not here and this is why. You left them blocked for 1 turn. This gives you two turn ins so you can stack your border and win, or you don't have quite enough yet... time it so the blocked player only has 1 or 2 cards. This way they are blocked for a turn, and also can't turn in and come after you anyway. This allows you to get a HUGE draft and cripple or kill them next turn.

This tactic can be implemented on any map though, get an opponent comfortable trading near cap, then leave them hanging with a blocked path to you while you get a turn or more to make some kills that would otherwise make you the easy target of the player you are trading with. Sneaky.

13. Ports. Maps with Ports are awesome and scary. Keep your attacking force during the end game ON THE PORT at all costs. You can bounce from port to port this way and not even worry about attack paths. The ports take care of it for you. If you have to come off the port to get to a cap, then plan it to where you can kill them, and then work your way to ... ANOTHER port! Keep in mind number 8 though. I screwed this up just yesterday. Doh! :( Thought I had a port open, made a kill and closed it off to myself. Set the game up from the early and middle stages such that you keep your troops OFF as many ports as possible, and then all you need to do is leave one path to one port from your cap, and it's very easy to string as many kills as needed together.

14. Offense as defense. So you are making a run at the win, and you are blocked or just don't have enough troop turn in to kill the last opponent because you are blocked with your main force, now what? I see the MOST advanced, super bad*** caps players screw this one up. Almost always the player will stack his cap, and fortify with his biggest army left, and hope for the best, 90% of the time this leaves his cap blocked. Some great players will spread the turn in around to secure HUGE draft bonus with regions, and leave as much on the cap as possible by the end of the turn. Here is what I do every time.

I place the turn in troops right next to the last guy's cap. And I click ATTACK! Why? There is a 54/46 split statistically in favor of the attacker for one. So you have about a 10% swing in your favor if you attack instead of defend. So you are gaining a troop for every 10 involved on average. Conversely you would be losing a troop for every 10 involved if you went to cap and played defense instead. So that's 2 troop swing for every 10 troops involved! That's huge. For 50 troop caps, that's 10 troops on average. So I attack and get that statistical advantage, usually weakening their cap significantly, then I use my blocked troops or my biggest troop off cap to fortify to cap. This will leave them too weak to come after me or at least give me the absolute best chance of surviving the next turn. BONUS tip: Place this force away from their attack path to your cap. Most likely they will come after your cap the next turn if the odds are even close. Placing your attacking force opposite them, leaves 1 right there if they come up short, easy win assuming they do come up short.

15. The finesse move - the most difficult tacit in the game. So you're down to three players, and it's either a stalemate or you are blocked. This one is tricky. You can actually attack down one player so that the other player goes for the kill. If you do this with low enough card count, then they can't quite recover enough, and you can then move in for the kill. The BEST result is that you draw them into a fight that just flat out fails, leaving both opponents with 1 to 5 troops on cap. Again, low card count helps since the next player can make the kill, and a double turn in would end your game as well. I call this the finesse move because you want to weaken one player without hurting yourself too much. It has to be enough to tempt the third player to attack, but not so much that you are next to die. Also you can't hurt them SO much that the third player can make the kill so successfully they now have a larger force than your cap and you can't do anything about it but die the next turn suicide into them. Requires a perfect touch. I have pulled this off on Caribbean since it's usually a 3 man game and it stalemates a lot... on Caribbean this works a little over half the time for me. I have only pulled this off ONCE ever on world classic. Then again I've only tried it twice. Happy hunting.

Please add to this if I missed anything - I know I didn't cover absolutely everything in my head, because it would be 10 times longer. The most important thing to keep in mind is don't be offended when people try to upgrade your knowledge, or are just yelling at you for ruining a game or trying to correct your play. First of all, who cares? You don't know these people, and it really has no affect on your real life, so it's not a big deal. Second of all, and most importantly, 9 times out of 10 they're right. Ask questions in chat, Private message me or any officer in caps games, WATCH the 6 man caps game. Take notes. They can be very entertaining. The point is and always will be: You can always get better. No matter how many games you've played, or how good you think you are, there's always something to learn, and always something to improve. So play a lot, watch a lot, have fun, and just try to play better than the last game.
Joca wrote:
You have wrote it really well. One more thing to add, about double turn in.

- not always double turn in wins. You can even win with one set. Try to sum all the opponents troops and cards ( and future card values) The thing about this kind of move is DEPLOYING your troops effective.

I' m gonna write you an example from the game that i have played few days ago.

6 players, I weren't the strongest one on the board, but 60 troops and 3 cards( no set). And card value was 30.

-black 39 troops/ 4 cards
-red 38/ 4 cards
-green 44/ 3 cards
-yellow 58/ 4 cards
-blue 70 / 1 card

So what i did. Sought that route to black/red/green and yellow cap's was chained ( could move on after killing one player, without blocking myself). Knew that odds for a double turn in, after i kill yellow(last player), were small, but i had an advantage in troops over everyone else except blue. After every kill, i was putting some part of my reinforcement near the blue's cap. Eventually i ended up with 20 troops and knew that last card bonus will be 50. Lucky me, but in the end i got wild card from yellow, so i doubled turn in.

Point: I weren't hoping for a double turn. I have won that one with with basic math calculations.
cbt711 wrote:
That's a great point Joca. You can keep up a kill streak that ends in 6 cards if you have a larger cap than everyone because it either gives you a wild eventually, ends in two turn ins from pure luck over time from multiple kills, or the super strat. Slowly build next to the last guy each turn in like Joca did so the last card bonus is enough to kill or cripple the last guy.

Another thing to keep in mind, is if the last guy only has 2 cards, just attacking him down to 1 or less is going to win you the game. Even with 3 cards, it's 1 in 4 or 5 they have a set. That is a great example Joca, but definitely on the advanced end of the strategies.
Sygmassacre wrote:
Great job. I can remember all situations and strategies covered from games I've played as I was reading it.

cbt711 - the Doyle Brunson of DXII

A Harmonic Generator Intermodulator
cbt711 wrote:
Ironically I could write about 100 times as much on Texas Hold em. Thanks for that AWESOME compliment. 10, 2
tontot wrote:

Something to add to your excellent post.

1. Later in the game, before getting the 4th card, check to see the players go after you to see who has 3 cards and 4 cards.

For players with 3 cards, checking to see if they can attack your cap for a double turn in.
 - Check the path from their caps to your cap and the strength of their caps vs your caps.
 - If you can, take some territories (usually around their caps or at critical points such as Middle East, Kamchatka/Alaska, Greenland/Iceland) to make sure they will be blocked if they take your cap

Players with 4 cards generally will not attack you unless they do not have a set or they see a way to win.

If you are sure, you will not see the next turn if you take a 4th card. Simply do not take it and wait for everyone turn in first and only has 1 or 2 cards. Then you can take the 4th card. Hope for the best.

2. If you plan that you can take all caps except ONE strong but blocked cap that belongs to a player (usually because he took other caps and get got blocked himself), consider to block him to not allow him to get a card (if he only has 1,2 or even 3 cards).

So he has a strong cap but is blocked and can not attack your cap and also can not get a card, it will force him to move some troops out of his cap. You can use your bonus plus your troop to attack those troops down to 1 or 2 and continue not letting him to have a card in his turn.

Keep doing that until you are strong enough to attack his cap

cbt711 wrote:
When trapped:

This is something I use a lot, but failed to mention. If you are trapped on a drop (happens in Africa or South America, or smaller maps a lot), there is a good way to not lose due to the inevitable inability to attack from cap.

Step 1. Take your region.
Step 2. Build region borders slightly, no more than 4. 
Step 3. Build cap and collect cards until you are = to other caps around you.
Step 4. Find a territory that is both a border of your region, and also adjacent to your cap. Fortify off this border to your cap. This will do a lot of things for you. Your border of 4 troops moved to your cap will add to your cap strength putting you OVER all the other caps, which is always good. It also means you can continue to get your region bonus if no one breaks that 1. OR if they do break it, you are no longer trapped.

And example of this is Africa on 6p caps world classic. You can leave just 1 troop on East Africa, and if they break your region, your cap is now free from South Africa.