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UPC Strategy Lesson 2 - Order Markers

Posted March 26th, 2007 at 10:20 PM by UranusPChicago
Order Markers are an integral part of the strategy within Heroscape. However, if you are a "house-ruler" who does not play with Order Markers, more power to you. Again, the genius of Heroscape is that it is easily modifiable; if you don't like a rule, don't use it, if you want to add to a rule, then do it. There has even been discussion that Order Marker rules without modification fail to accommodate very large army battles. Unfortunately, I am not here to discuss either of those scenarios, I am here to discuss Order Marker management how it pertains to games using the official rules.

In my opinion, Order Marker management can make or break a game, even more so than unlucky dice. I say that because an OM on a dead army card is a wasted turn. But even with the worst of luck, an army card activated with an OM that has living figures has a statistical chance to do something for you. It may not do much, but some chance is better than the zero chance of the dead figure(s).

"But how do I know which cards to place my OMs on and in what order?" you ask. Before we can answer that, we need to understand that there are actually two parts to successful OM management.

When placing OMs, you need to take two things into consideration; what you want to accomplish this round and what you think the opponent wants to accomplish this round. You cannot solve the former without contemplating the latter. Try to decide your overall strategy for the entire round before you place your order markers; always think round strategy (big picture) before breaking it down into turn strategy (small picture). From there, decide the most effective means of coordinating your strategy across the three turns all the while remaining cognizant of what you believe would be the best battle plan for your opponent. Finally, place your OMs with the understanding that your plans for the round are not written in stone. Be prepared to adapt.

Time for a quick aside; don't look at your opponents OMs before placing your OMs. In my opinion, that is pretty poor form. (You can look after you have placed yours, just don't make any changes to yours after the fact.)

However, you are a fool if you do not carefully study the board itself while placing your OMs. Additionally, you are an even bigger fool if you do not take into consideration the placement of your opponents OMs while playing each turn of the round. Your opponents OM placement should affect your strategy during each turn as they can greatly affect the In Game Point Value of units across the board.

This leads us to the deceptive "X" marker. If you are trying to discern what your opponent has planned, chances are they are trying to do the same to you. How well you disguise the “X” marker directly results in how effective it is in confusing your opponent. Be very deliberate when utilizing the "X" marker within your OM management. Normally, you should either place it on a unit that you hoping to goad your opponent into attacking (to hopefully avoid attacking a unit that you plan on using later in the round) or on a unit that you want your opponent to think you are going to use. Overall, use the "X" marker to bend your opponent's strategy to what you want them to do, and away from what they had been planning to do.

Rarely should Order Marker "X" be placed with Order Marker "3" on an Army card, unless you are down to one card (or unless concealing your second move is very important).

Lastly, when placing OMs, remove all of them from your Army Cards before replacing them. Even if you plan on having them on the same cards for the next round, at least try to fool your opponent into thinking otherwise.

Remember, small changes to your game can bring about great changes to the results.

Game on!
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