A manual for converting heretics (with a smattering of tactics)
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TheMachiavelli wrote:
There are numerous game types within D12. There are some players who prefer multiplayer capital ascending games. Once you have comprehended the basics of the game, such as not blocking your capital, these games are mathematical in nature. Winning relies on getting the right trade at the right time – and being able to calculate that is the case. The gameplay is slow and tense, building to a crescendo finale.

Another popular type of games is the capped game one, with either no cards or a low cap. These games are slower paced, and are often preferred by those who used to enjoy the classic Risk board game centred around obtaining and holding bonuses. One often wins these games by being big and looking small, or by being lucky in having neighbours who are fighting with each other

D12 has a large number of options, and tweaking just one of them can profoundly change the nature of the game and so the tactics required to win. Switching fog on or off changes games dramatically, with a sudden increase in aggressiveness and risk taking. A game with adjacent fortification is entirely different to one with unlimited. All these tweaks are worth exploring, as they open a huge number of new and exciting games.

But there is one setting that stands above all others in terms of opening up new possibilities in Risk. And that is the ability to have all players taking their turn simultaneously, as opposed to consecutively as was the case with the classic board game.

This little change opens up a yet larger avenue of possibilities, swathes of fascinating, fast paced, highly tactical games.

Myths about Sametime Games
Before going into more details there are a few myths that are worth dispelling:

1) Sametime games are full of glitches, winning relies on exploiting these. While this might have been the case once upon a time, it is certainly not the case anymore. Those of us who came to D12 via WZ will remember a sametime game that was almost unplayable due to glitches. D12 greatly improved upon that game, and in particular provided a stable game that was possible to finish. The glitches have been systematically removed, culminating in the current form, which is the most stable, glitch free sametime game that I know of. The latest upgrade removed the option to add time from sametime games, which has both removed an unnecessary gimmick and made the game much faster paced.

2) Sametime games are not tactical, but simply rely on speed. This is another common misconception, and it couldn’t be more wrong. Sametime is in most ways a more tactical game than consecutive turn ones. Many of the tactics from consecutive turn games carry over to their sametime counterparts, with the difference that the timing for decisions is greatly reduced. As an example, a veteran capital player knows whether a 30 capital is worth attacking with 40 troops in a certain cards scenario. A novice player has to work that out the slow way. If you are playing sametime capitals, you want to have the speed of thought of a veteran player. The tactical decisions are the same, based on the same maths: the time to take these decisions is reduced. A good analogy would be a speed chess game: same game, reduced thinking time.

3) Sametime games are slow: this one is no longer true, though it has been in the past. Sametime games now have 3 minute turns and have no add time, so you will be having one turn every 3 minutes. This is very fast for large multiplayer games, a bit slow for 1v1s. Statistically, sametime games are the fastest paced game there is on D12, and the shortest game too. You can easily play ten 5-player capital games in one evening. [This does mean that sametime is going to suffer the most by the new live game restriction]

4) Sametime games are unwinnable unless you practice or get incredibly lucky: this one is true. But it’s also true of any other game setting. To give you a few examples in consecutive games:In my first capital game I left my capital unattended. In my second I blocked myself off. Similarly, I didn’t know the power of unlimited fortifications until someone made a massive stack by my capital and killed me. The same is true of sametime games: there are some basic things everyone needs to learn – but most people pick these up fairly fast.

Pointers for same time games
Providing pointers for a same time game is a bit like providing pointers for a consecutive turns game: it depends hugely on the type of game you’re playing. Here are some rushed thoughts:
1) Get good at a game type in consecutive turns before trying the same game type in same turn: much of the strategy is the same, and you have more time to think in consecutive turn games.

2) Try not to end your turn in a live sametime game. If you need to end your turn to move pieces, try to do so with only a few seconds left in the timer.

3) Sometimes there is an advantage to acting at the start of your turn (for example, reinforcing your capital so you’re not seen as a target). In other situations it’s advantageous to be slow, acting at the very end of your turn (for example when obtaining a bonus, so other players don’t try to break it).

4) An obvious one: never forget that everyone is playing at the same time as you are (e.g. leaving your capital weak, even for a few seconds, can result in rapid death and a ruined game).

5) Team games in sametime are entirely different to consecutive turn ones, in particular if they are team capitals. These ones require fast reaction times from all the team members.

All hail sametime
Matty wrote:
Personally I'm not a fan of same time games (which might have something to do with the fact that I play mostly long term games and not live games), but this is defenitely a good post.

I'm making this thread sticky, in the hope that it will attract some more tips, dos and don'ts.

Note: see also this thread for tips on same-time games (although it's a bit outdated).
"Strength doesn't lie in numbers, strength doesn't lie in wealth. Strenght lies in nights of peaceful slumbers." ~Maria
cbt711 wrote:
I should add this to my links list. Great write up.

Just kidding Matty already did. Ha!
Hoodlum wrote:
Nice post mach. It is like speed chess.
I believe it is a more fair game setting also (especially now without the glitches of old), since it eliminates the turn order from the random drop of troops.
Now that the add time is gone, it's perfect, and agree that it's much better than the sametime we use to know.
( ͡
Votazap wrote:

(hi guys :3)
Ultra :D (I havnt been on here in months)
The_Bishop wrote:
No no wait, speed chess is not same-time chess! The example is wrong.
Same-time risk is highly tactical, true, but greatly impoverished in strategy. I hope you know the difference between tactic and strategy.
When you have to break your opponent's region at the last second is just... alertness! Funny, sure, but it involves more your finger than your brain.
I'm not sure it is the BEST game type, but if you love it, there's nothing bad.

If you want a chess example, same-time reminds me the bughouse, a special chess variant with dropping pieces, usually played at high speed.
Very funny; many young chess players get amused with it, but teachers recommend not to play bughouse if you want to learn chess!

Anyway, nicely written post, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
«God doesn't play dice with the World» ~ Albert Einstein
UltrasPlot wrote:

tbh though, 3 min bughouse is an apt comparison for same time :P
TheMachiavelli wrote:
Thanks for the kind words and the sticky. Here’s a second post with more nitty-gritty details on one popular example of sametime game.

These are of course general guidelines only. Different strategies will call for different tactics at different times depending on the situation and the playing style of other players.
More specific advice for multiplayer capital games with chained reinforcements
I’m going to talk about 4-p med states game just so I can give specific numbers. But the logic applies to other similar games.

If you have a good likelihood of getting a bonus on the first turn, get a bonus.

Otherwise, I’d recommend placing all reinforcements in the capital, and not bother attacking. You can use your chained reinforcement move at the end of turn to set yourself up to get a bonus on the 2nd turn.

In general you should try to avoid using your capital to get a bonus. In particular, letting your capital drop below 15 (the strength it has at the start of the game) makes you look weak/like a tempting target.

In the second turn you should fortify your cap. Ballpark it should have 20 guys on it. If you didn’t take a bonus on the first turn, it will already have 20 and you can try to get a bonus now. If you got a bonus on the first turn you probably can’t do much on this turn other than forting your cap and setting yourself up for a second bonus (if that's the case you might not need to attack on this turn).

From here onwards the game is a balance of fortifying your cap and getting bonuses. Of these, fortifying your cap is the main priority. It’s good to have the strongest capital in the game. Never take bonuses at the expense of having a weak capital: this will get you killed.

Try not to have any stacks outside of your capital: bonuses don’t really need to be protected. 3 troops, or perhaps 4 is more than enough. Having stacks outside of your capital makes you a huge target. Having a stack by someone else’s capital can get you killed (more on this below).

How to decide whether to take another player’s capital?
Much of the math of consecutive games still applies to same time. But there are other considerations that make this a bit harder in sametime. Bear in mind that taking out a player automatically makes YOU a huge target: everyone else in the game is likely to try to kill you. Many sametime games are won, not by the first player who kills another, but by the player who kills the player who killed the first player.

I would say you should try to kill another’s player’s capital if:
1) You have significantly more troops to attack than the other player has on their capital (this is a hand-wavy approximation – have a look at riskodds for details. 90% chance and higher attacks are good. Anything below 80% is optimistic and as the chance of sucess goes down, the chance you're committing murder suicide goes up.
2) Your capital is strong enough to withstand attacks (that one is also a mathsy one: how many reinforcements did the other players get? How much can cards get to be worth on that turn? Add them together, if that number is close to what you have on your capital, you probably shouldn’t try). Killing another player when you don’t meet this requirement is a form of murder suicide.
3) You benefit enough from doing so (you’re targeting a player who has stacks outside of their capital. Or who has good bonuses. Or cards you want). This should go without saying, but think whether it’s worth killing someone instead of reinforcing your capital/getting a bonus.

By far the most frequent mistake amongst people trying to learn sametime capitals is trying to play too aggressively, attempting to kill someone else’s capital when their capital is weak.

When should you kill another person’s capital?
So assuming you’ve decided that yes, you would after all like to kill a player. When should you do this? This is tricky. The answer is either at the very start of the turn or at the very end of the turn. Let’s see if I can be a bit more helpful than that!

If you’re killing someone who has a very weak capital that other players know about then you want to go for the kill at the start of the turn, since the other players will want to do it too.

I most other cases you will want to kill at the end of the turn. This ensures that no-one can move against you on the turn when you do the killing, and you’ll have more reinforcements to protect your capital the following turn since you’ll have the killed player’s bonuses and cards.

When should you threaten an enemy capital with an inferior force?
In consecutive turn games attacking an enemy capital with an inferior force is murder suicide. Often that’s the case in sametime games too. However there is an exception to this rule when you need to force someone to reinforce their capital. The most frequent case is when you feel someone is about to kill you. For instance, player A has placed a stack next to your capital (ignoring the advice above!), and it looks like on the following turn their reinforcements + their stack are sufficient to kill your capital. In this case, by threatening A’s capital you force them to reinforce their capital instead of killing you. This only makes sense at the very start of the turn (otherwise it’s plain old murder suicide).
TheMachiavelli wrote:
More specific advice for multiplayer capital games with unlimited reinforcements
I’m going to talk about 4-p World Expanded game just so I can give specific numbers (capitals start with 17, you get 7 reinforcements). But the logic applies to other similar games.

Turn 1 & 2
This depends hugely on where your troops are. You want to bring your troops together. There are three main strategies which might be possible:

1) Bring your troops to your capital. If you can connect most of your troops to bring them to your capital this is a solid strategy and my personal favourite. Starting the 2nd turn with 30 odd guys on your capital you know you're going to survive a while (and even better anyone who can see your capital will know not to bother preparing a sneak attack against you for quite a while. On the second turn get a bonus. Or perhaps even two if you didn't get a bonus on the first turn.

2) Get a large stack of troops somewhere. Ideally where you can then take them towards your capital, maybe getting a bonus along the way on the second turn. Anyone who has a large stack outside their capital is a target, so at the start of turn 2 immediately put all your reinforcements on your capital.

3) Get a large stack of troops by someone else's capital. This is a tactic favoured by beginners: it nearly never pans out well. Something along these lines is what usually happens:
Turn 1: oh look, I have a stack of 20 by your capital.
Turn 2: I place all my reinforcements and kill you. Wahahaha. I’m a genius. Now I get all your troops, and I’ll have time to move them to my capital before someone… UHPS!
Turn 2, 0.5 seconds later: someone else kills your capital and goes on to easily win the game with your help.
Needless to say: I can’t recommend this strategy unless you can somehow prevent being killed. Perhaps you could make your capital strong enough on the first turn AND the only person who can see your capital is the person you’re going to kill – that might give you enough time to reinforce it (but it’s still risky).

Turn 3 onwards
By now you should have a reasonably strong capital and be getting around 15 reinforcements per turn. There are now two main tactics for winning the game:

The wait and see approach: you keep your bonuses so you get around 15 per turn but don’t do anything else. You take a card every turn. You have probably the largest capital in the game. You make sure to not trap your capital. This approach means you won’t be easily killed. It relies on other people getting into fights while you live in peace, so that when one of them kills someone else you can move in with your mighty force to take the spoils.

The mighty conqueror approach: you want to have the largest bonus: after all you need more than 15 per turn for your nefarious plans of killing other people’s capitals. This plan relies on attempting to expand your empire while avoiding getting into fights. At some point you will need to decide who you’re going to target (often you won’t have a choice as you’ll get into a fight with another player who is also going for the conqueror approach in the same area as you).

If you’ve chosen to kill someone, it pays off to break their bonuses. This will make them want to retaliate, so you need to make sure you’re stronger and will be able to kill them quickly. If you can’t kill someone quickly, don’t get into a fight with them. If you’re going the conqueror route, you will need to kill all but one of the remaining players in quick succession (e.g. one at the end of one turn, another one at the start of the next turn). If you’re not strong enough to do this, the remaining players will usually all fight you until you lose.

Misc pointers
Don't have heavily defended borders. Heavily defended borders are stacks outside of your capital which makes you a tempting target
Avoid getting into a fight you can't quickly end (in a couple of turns max) by killing the enemy's capital.
Make sure your capital is stronger than (largest bonus + largest possible value of cards) in any given turn. Ideally considerably larger than that since there might be stacks you can't see near your capital.
marco3 wrote:
I urge all to disregard the contents of the previous post. It is a cleverly disguised rouse, which if followed, will guarantee your destruction.
momagajic wrote:
I dont belive that any strategy and tactic egsist in same time ,all about tricksters and who hawe a faster pc,monitor refresh rate and internet speed.Come and show your tactics in turn based strategy game called a risk.;)