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Old September 14th, 2015, 01:35 AM
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Re: Wargrounds of Scape (WoS) - discussion thread

Platypus by Robber

This map has been a tournament staple in online play for a while now, being used in three OHS events, dating back to season 11. Iíve also used it in testing games and live games. For this review, took an unusual approach; I went to the vault and did a lot more watching than playing. I reviewed game history of 30 past games on this map, covering a pretty wide variety of armies.

As Iíve said before, I like maps that offer some intermediate height and not just one pinnacle that everyone races for. Of course, you donít want to encourage armies to just move up to an uncontestable hill near their startzone and hunker down there, either. Platypus balances this in a fairly unique way - by having lots of level 3 terrain, but breaking it into four (well actually six, but Iíll get to that) strips that each hug a glacier. This proves very effective - there is lots of shooting down on this map, but also lots of different ways to get around to your opponent and engage on level ground. The middle two paths of the map end up getting clogged up remarkably rarely. I attribute this to the mix of level 3 terrain and level 2 terrain in those paths. Even games with 2 squads of rats tended to have room for maneuver.

I also really enjoy the tactics that all the different paths through the middle can encourage. You often see opponents slipping figures through an empty path between the glaciers, either to flank behind the active troops, or to go straight after unactivated figures back in the startzone. Managing all your figures is crucial on this map, and I like that.

I also really enjoy the use of jungle terrain, protecting the middle areas on the way out of the startzone, but not protecting either the startzones or the height itself. This further encourages moving out a lot of your army instead of sitting back, and also makes it easier to work your way up if you get beat to the center. Trying to defend your startzone is not a strong play on this map (and I like that), but both armies can usually grab some slice of the height.

As I alluded to earlier, there are actually six, not four strips of level 3 terrain. The last two are on the edges of the map, overlooking the glyphs. These two strips are accessible by a 1-space-wide corridor through the side glacier. This is where my main concern with the map arises.

While the middle of the map rarely gets blocked completely, the same cannot be said for the two side sections of the map. The combination of the one space wide choke point to reach the side section, and the glyph that stops movement, make maneuver around the sides harder. This is not to say the sides donít get used at all: they saw quite a bit of play in the games I reviewed, although not as much as the central paths. They were most frequently used by ranged figures looking to get another angle, but they were also used by other figures looking to outflank. And of course, when the glyph was important there was fighting over it. However, sometimes the choke points were abused by a hero to limit engagements, or a ranged hero would sit on the side pair of level 3 spaces.

In the earlier version of this map, another issue with the sides was the two level 1 ďpitsĒ in between the central paths and the side paths. These served to further isolate the sides of the map. In the later version of the map, one of these side pits has been raised to level 2, which improves the pathing. Honestly, after reviewing many tournament games before and after the change I kind of wish the other pit had been the one that had been raised, as I think this would have had slightly more impact. Still, itís an improvement and I welcome it.

Overall, I have to weigh my concerns about the sides of the map against my overall positive feelings about the map. Iíd love if there was another way to get to the sides instead of just the one single space. Honestly, though, I am not sure how easy it would be to manage that, and at the end of the day Iím judging the map in front of me. I really like the map overall, and I donít think this one flaw I perceive leads to too many frustrating games.

I vote YES to induct.
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