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What Qualifies as a Mistake?

Posted August 25th, 2009 at 03:10 AM by Jexik
It's late, and I'm tired, but I can't quite sleep.

One thing I've been thinking about tonight, is something that has almost become a throw-away phrase when describing heroscape games. I'm sure a number of you have heard that some of the top players rarely, if ever, make mistakes.

In a broad sense, a mistake is a move that you can easily see a better alternative for when you watch someone else play. When you see someone routinely make moves that you weren't expecting, but are actually better than what you were anticipating, you're probably watching someone better than you.

When spider was the scaper of the week, this next quote stuck out to me a bit:

Quote:
Every time you place order markers, move figures, or choose a target to attack, there is usually a best play that can be done. A lot of people settle for making a play that is obviously good, but oftentimes there is a slightly better move that can tip the math in your favor a little more.
There are tons of little things that a player does every turn, which tip the balance one way or the other over time.

Here are a list of easily noticeable things I might list under mistakes (but won't necessarily always be mistakes):

Attacking up, when you can attack down.
Special-attacking down, when you can special-attack equal.
Moving a figure outside of Raelin's aura, when it was within it to begin with.
Staying in Raelin's aura when figures that ignore defense are in play.
Using your last attack of the turn against a full health hero when there are squad figures nearby with the same (or slightly higher) defense.
Moving figures away from jungle when there are ranged attackers around.
Staying next to jungle when you'll get engaged anyway.
Attacking Deathreavers with normal attacks.
Attacking Samurai with adjacent normal attacks.
Not attacking Deathreavers or Samurai when you can hit them hard.
Leaving a Krav Agent or Blastatron within movement range of your opponent's melee figures.
Attacking from less than your maximum range.
Moving less than your maximum movement.
Moving a flying figure to anything less than a local maximum.
Leaving a figure on lava after your third marker.
Leaving a figure on lava after your second marker (if your third isn't on that card ).
Clumping together against explosion attacks.
Lining up for Mimring.
Shooting at enemy figures that are engaged.
Moving the same 3 (or 4) common squad figures repeatedly.
Attacking figures without any order markers on them.
etc...

The interesting thing about such a list, is that sometimes you can control your opponent a lot more if you purposefully make a "bad" move, in the hope that they'll make a worse move. I've let people engage my Krav if they'll only get a 2 or 3 v 6 (height, Raelin) if it means that I pull them out of their Raelin's aura or something. Similarly, you might put two common squad figures together, hoping that Zelrig will come bomb them, if you know that he'll have to fly to low ground to take that shot.

Random 2:00 AM mutterings. Maybe I'll fix this up later.
Total Comments 11

Comments

Old
ollie's Avatar
Nice. As I was reading through the list, I was thinking what you wrote in that last paragraph! It doesn't even need to rely on your opponent making a "worse move". Or, what I think you might be saying, your opponent's best move is a worse move than it would be if you gave other options.

I often think the best move is one that ignores the rules of thumb because the specific circumstances warrant it. A large number of the "best moves" I've seen are ones that broke one of your rules at a crucial moment. I'm especially partial to leaving my figures on lava in return for height.
Posted August 25th, 2009 at 08:46 AM by ollie ollie is offline
Old
Jexik's Avatar
Quote:
I'm especially partial to leaving my figures on lava in return for height.
Most definitely, especially with Heroes. I will almost always leave Nilfheim on the highest level of Fire Isles between rounds, because it negates the possibility of anyone getting height advantage on him if I lose inititative.

Height really is king, but the knowledge of that, and facing opponents who understand that, is when you start to get to the interesting parts of the game where bluffing, baiting, and just sheer luck come into play.

One thing I've learned playing against spider_poison and matthias maccabeus is that they know when to take a calculated risk. If you always make the safe play, even when you're behind, you become far too predictable. That doesn't mean that you should do goofy stuff just to throw people off either though: there's a balance.

If my unique Hero game last GenCon against Hendal is any indication, (and from reports of his stinger play it sounds like it is), the guy ignores nearly every one of these rules and just goes right for the throat. And it works. He has been the #1 seed going into day 2 twice in a row.

Much like good writing, you need to know the basic rules before you intentionally break them.
Posted August 25th, 2009 at 10:08 AM by Jexik Jexik is offline
Old
chas's Avatar
"He who wins, is he who makes the fewest mistakes"
--Old Military Axiom

Your list of mistakes, good as it is, includes mostly tactical mistakes. I find that in the "simple" game of Heroscape, mistakes are often those of simple sequence omission, such as:

1. Forgetting to use a special power of a character when applicable.

2. Losing track of your order markers; possibly playing the wrong one at the wrong time.

3. Not knowing or forgetting some game rule, usually one not often used (falling damage, for example).
Posted August 25th, 2009 at 05:50 PM by chas chas is offline
Old
Jexik's Avatar
I haven't faced him many times in tournaments, but in practice games, spider will often remind his opponents of typical 'sequence omission' errors while playing. He'll announce his attacks "3v4" or the like, including applicable height advantage for his opponent, Raelin, and anything else. I assume that he's the same way in tournaments. He goes for the extremely honest victory, and still usually wins. I think that's part of the reason he has gained the respect of his opponents.

I try to make a habit of doing the same, but I'm not perfect. My game against darkmage7A in HoB sticks out as one where I forgot or added bonuses a couple times. I still feel pretty bad about it, but he didn't seem to care much at the time. He rolled better when Raelin was dead anyway! I definitely remind my opponent when he's got Nakitas or whatever if I'm making an attack, and I'll often double check on the chances, or say in advance what the Mohicans will have to roll for concealment, etc... trying to pull a fast one on someone doesn't help build community.

I've made the stupid mistake of moving a bonded squad figure before I move the hero on a long tournament day, and a number of typical Heroscapers will remind you and let you do it anyway. Personally, I usually draw the line once an attack has been rolled. Still, the words "ah crap! I forgot to..." are usually met with "Go ahead," in my experience even at tournaments. But it might vary by area... and if it's a championship match.

As for rules issues, I'll usually remind my opponent when I'm engaging him or something or when I'm not, if Battlements are involved, because those are often tricky to folks.

You're right though, there are lots of sequence errors, and just flat out ill-conceived armies, and even order marker gaffes, but part of my goal here was to highlight something that I don't see people mention very often, which is actually very important: figure placement.
Posted August 25th, 2009 at 06:26 PM by Jexik Jexik is offline
Old
Hendal's Avatar
I jsut figure in HS the attackers do better then figures not attacking. I am such a sucker for that Stinger roll, I love the D20 if I have a fault.
Yep a long day of scaping and I make some simple mistakes, but at GC everyone is very cool about it, at least all that I have encountered. I usually tell people if they forgot stuff, but if I am behind I may just not say a thing cause I like winning.

For the finals against Mattster I forgot the wound glyph 2 or 3 times and he let me take it the next round every time - now that is amazing and proves he is a great player.
Posted August 25th, 2009 at 07:52 PM by Hendal Hendal is offline
Old
Jexik's Avatar
Just wanted to be clear that I wasn't knocking you.

I was very impressed when you whooped my ass in Unique Hero in '08. I'd played a lot of Nilfheim, but sometimes a bit too conservatively. You convinced me that sometimes, you have to go out there and kick the other guy in the nuts before he puts his cup on.

The Stingers are kind of neat, because with only 5 range and 3 figures, they're often forced into a disadvantageous position, but their stats and the ability to roll for drain make it so they don't really care.
Posted August 25th, 2009 at 08:43 PM by Jexik Jexik is offline
Old
Darkmage7a's Avatar
Quote:
Height really is king, but the knowledge of that, and facing opponents who understand that, is when you start to get to the interesting parts of the game where bluffing, baiting, and just sheer luck come into play.
When I was playing against Spider Poison at gencon I was just having a really goofy time of it and I think it might have thrown the bluffing meter out the window because I did some really impulsive moves and some really good ones. I guess it worked because when we finally timed out I only lost by one shield and I had three dice to roll defense with. He probably thinks I'm a looney now though
It was just another great game at gencon.

I think the point is you can try to predict that your opponent is going to make the best move, but don't be surprised if they don't follow up with it. We're all human and sometimes mistakes just happen. And a timely mistake can incidentally throw your opponent off his game.
Posted August 31st, 2009 at 12:50 PM by Darkmage7a Darkmage7a is offline
Old
Einar's puppy's Avatar
Quote:
I've made the stupid mistake of moving a bonded squad figure before I move the hero on a long tournament day, and a number of typical Heroscapers will remind you and let you do it anyway. Personally, I usually draw the line once an attack has been rolled. Still, the words "ah crap! I forgot to..." are usually met with "Go ahead," in my experience even at tournaments. But it might vary by area... and if it's a championship match.
I use bonding a whole lot, or at least nonding like Skahen, so I run into this problem way more than I would like. I think only once has my opponent not allowed me to take a turn with the hero afterwords, but it was kind of a special occasion.

I was using the dwarves at the time. I had gone and moved all of my dwarves four spaces, even though I left migol sitting there untouched. After I crawled forward, I realized that I forgot migol, and asked if I could use him. If I had used him, then I would have killed atlaga and ended the game then and there. Instead, he let my move two extra spaces with my dwarves.

I think even in a championship match I would let my opponent re do mistakes. I always do. It's not fun watching your opponent kick themselves for forgetting about raelin, or not rolling height, or forgetting their bonding. I always try to let mistakes go, and I'm open to redo a lot of things.
Posted August 31st, 2009 at 01:09 PM by Einar's puppy Einar's puppy is offline
Old
Heroscape Elffy's Avatar
Quote:
I've made the stupid mistake of moving a bonded squad figure before I move the hero on a long tournament day, and a number of typical Heroscapers will remind you and let you do it anyway. Personally, I usually draw the line once an attack has been rolled. Still, the words "ah crap! I forgot to..." are usually met with "Go ahead," in my experience even at tournaments. But it might vary by area... and if it's a championship match.
I reminded someone of this at a tournament, and they said something along the lines of..."I forgot. It won't matter anyways."

It didn't. I lost.
Posted August 31st, 2009 at 05:43 PM by Heroscape Elffy Heroscape Elffy is offline
Old
Myst9's Avatar
Ugh. it's annoying to forget that stuff, especially bonding. In one game, about three times in a row, I tried to move and attack with all my vipers--armocs AND mittens--at the same time. Not in the legal way of Mittens turn, then Armocs. My opponent was gracious and let me redo it everytime.

He still beat me, but the vipers did well.
Posted September 12th, 2009 at 11:45 PM by Myst9 Myst9 is offline
Old
kolakoski's Avatar
We pretty much play that any move that's not too difficult to redo is OK to take back, but once attacks are launched it is too late.

As to the rest, I'm pretty much in Hendal's camp. The right time to attack is generally a little earlier than either you or your opponent would like. Heroscape is Jazz, not Classical, for me. I was great at Chess, but I would always improvise based on general tactical principles, rather than memorize openings, let alone whole games. Heroscape is even better, because the blend of both your own and your opponent's strengths/weaknesses, high/low variance units, etc., and the map is a unique one every time (especially as I never play monolithic armies), and it always feels like a real fight between wildly diverse forces, in which the right combinations of moves must be improvised on the spot, in the moment (and it helps to create an army with that in mind). 4-6 cards is about right, with 2-4 being cheerleader, carrier, and or defender, and 2-4 being attackers. More anon . . .
Posted December 21st, 2010 at 06:06 PM by kolakoski kolakoski is offline
 
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