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  #1  
Old June 17th, 2008, 11:25 PM
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The challenges of multiplayer free for alls.

At my Heroscape table, we have a great many multiplayer games that usually have between 3 to 5 people playing a free for all.
A normal 1 on 1 dual has the elements of both strategy and probability to contend with; but when one enters a game with multiple opponents, a third element enters the mix, politics.

In a good old fashioned dual, all you have to worry about is defeating your opponent and making sure everyone has fun in the process.
But now that there are many opponents, you have to be much more aware of what you are up against. And the mindset of all people involved.

Depending on how well you fight, you could draw the ire of the entire table and that is almost always a losing situation. You may demolish one opponent and someone will say “Hey! He hasn’t lost a single unit yet… GET HIM!”
Or you may have a general still in the game with only 1 pesky unit, but he has it out for you and will try and be a thorn in your side while you fend off the stronger opponents.

When there are 3 generals, you have to be mindful of how much fighting you do because if 2 generals exhaust most of their armies on each other, the remaining general plays cleanup.
Matches like that can also leave one general to be a “maker of kings”. He is not able to win the match, but he can sure hinder one opponent enough to let the other win. I personally hate to be on any side in that situation.

In the end it is a very sensitive situation. Knowing who to attack and when, and when to sit back, and when to move in for the final strike.

If you have held off more than one opponent at once, or have a good strategy for dealing with the human variables of a multiplayer game, I would love to hear what your technique is.
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  #2  
Old June 17th, 2008, 11:39 PM
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Re: The challenges of multiplayer free for alls.

A good majority of the games I've played have been multi-player. I'm not sure I can offer any kind of real tactics. Your dead on in as far as the politics of it. I generally try to hang back and gauge what others are going to do, before I make any real moves. Sometimes it comes down to proximity. I'll just attack the closest person to me.

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  #3  
Old June 17th, 2008, 11:42 PM
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Majai of Dreams Majai of Dreams is offline
 
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Re: The challenges of multiplayer free for alls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clancampbell View Post
. Sometimes it comes down to proximity. I'll just attack the closest person to me.
I am very similar. If you invade my personal space, I will attack you, regardless of how well you are doing.
I never want people to think I am forming an alliance.
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  #4  
Old June 18th, 2008, 12:06 AM
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Re: The challenges of multiplayer free for alls.

I recently played a game in which my friend started off early by attacking my brother, then pretty soon they both were getting in a slug fest while I was firing into the mix with my Marro Warriors. The only threats I was faced with were drudge and Marcu. They then realized that I had a full health Charos and Cyprein and Sonya left in my starting zone. That was the start of thier unofficial alliance and it was me vs. them. While my friend advanced a full health Q9 and DW9000 on my left, my brother moved his Su-Bak-Na and Ne-Gok-Sa forward on the right. I split my forces and dealt with them both, Charos took care of the robots, while Cyprien took out two squads of drudge, SBN, and five lives of Ne-Gok-Sa. It eventually came down to 1 life Charos, 1 zettian, and 1 life Ne-Gok-Sa. Charos finished NGS and then went on to munch on the zettian. My advice here is to play smart. If two people rush eachother, work on positioning so that when they do realize that you havn't been touched, you'll have the advantage.

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  #5  
Old June 18th, 2008, 01:26 AM
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Re: The challenges of multiplayer free for alls.

Politics indeed! The only kind of game I ever really play is 6 player (or more).

Really all you can do is watch what the others do every time you play. Eventually you will find patterns such as frequent alliances, the most violent opponents or the most benign, and the others most often used strategies. I am usually the most dominant player in our games and am often targeted as such. I play the Maker of Kings role a lot (I literally am able to choose someone and make that someone win) and am either the winner or runner up (sometimes it takes a large portion of my army to get there).

The key is to instill a healthy fear of yourself into your opponents. Show them that if they mess with you they're going down, but if they let you be you just might let them live for a while. Dominate the board, when others are making decisions always give a weighted opinion. Show them the ups and downs to each scenario. Make them want to choose the option that helps you the most. Instigate battles in places where there were none to be had. Take advantage of faulty alliances and reveal the possibilities of their allies backstabbing them. Defend all fronts. Play your offense with your opponent's figures. Assist the little guy in his fight against the powers. Keep everyone's army at the same power level (except for yours, yours should be stronger).

Play with small and medium figures, large figures attract attention and are worse cannon fodder than the Venoc Vipers at the hand of DW8000. The Gladiators do extremely well in this style of play, nobody expects much from three little guys that look like a cheap squad from afar (that is, until you play them a couple times and people learn that they should be prime targets (if played right)).

Politics is a very important part of the game for me. It is the key to the board.

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  #6  
Old June 18th, 2008, 03:48 AM
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Re: The challenges of multiplayer free for alls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Majai of Dreams View Post
You may demolish one opponent and someone will say “Hey! He hasn’t lost a single unit yet… GET HIM!”
Quote:
When there are 3 generals, you have to be mindful of how much fighting you do because if 2 generals exhaust most of their armies on each other, the remaining general plays cleanup.
Quote:
Matches like that can also leave one general to be a “maker of kings”. He is not able to win the match, but he can sure hinder one opponent enough to let the other win.
All of these seem to happen every multiplayer game I get the guys together for.

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  #7  
Old June 18th, 2008, 03:54 AM
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Re: The challenges of multiplayer free for alls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NecroBlade View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Majai of Dreams View Post
You may demolish one opponent and someone will say “Hey! He hasn’t lost a single unit yet… GET HIM!”
Quote:
When there are 3 generals, you have to be mindful of how much fighting you do because if 2 generals exhaust most of their armies on each other, the remaining general plays cleanup.
Quote:
Matches like that can also leave one general to be a “maker of kings”. He is not able to win the match, but he can sure hinder one opponent enough to let the other win.
All of these seem to happen every multiplayer game I get the guys together for.
Yes, I think this happens every multiplayer game heroscapers or not. Especially if it's males playing

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  #8  
Old June 18th, 2008, 03:57 AM
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Re: The challenges of multiplayer free for alls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeceitfulBeauty View Post
Yes, I think this happens every multiplayer game heroscapers or not. Especially if it's males playing
True. I'm usually the guy saying "Get him!" to cover for my losing horribly due to my aggressive nature in multiplayer games. I usually exhaust my own army exhausting someone else's and rarely win.

On the other hand, it's way more fun than turtling.

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  #9  
Old June 18th, 2008, 04:38 AM
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Re: The challenges of multiplayer free for alls.

I'm the kind of guy to run away until both sides are withered. THEN they realize they should of went after me first.

Happens all the time in Smash Bros.

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Old June 18th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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Re: The challenges of multiplayer free for alls.

It depends on the map.

I try to build maps 6 levels high in the center with a nice area where everyone can fight. That way everyone is forced to move out of their starting zone to the center, or everyone will have heigth on them.

We have one guy who always declares himself a loser early on. As soon as he does that, we all know he is in a position of power and we attack him.

To be the man, you have to beat the man!
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  #11  
Old June 18th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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Re: The challenges of multiplayer free for alls.

While the situations you described above ("get em!" and "maker of kings" in particular) are imposable to eliminate from any FFA, there are steps you can take in heroscape to limit them.

Map design is extremely important (true of any game scenario, but even more so in a FFA). First off the start zones have to be equally spaced from each other. Other than that it's a very good idea to put lots of height and LOS blockers along the edges of the map, so as to force players closer to the middle. Placing glyphs in the center area of the map helps to force players into more action in the middle too, and as such keeps players from playing the role of defensive / ranged pod.

Another way to spice it up a bit is to play with objectives other than straight up elimination. "Bomb" scenarios (get a central glyph (or bomb) and run it into an enemies start zone) work particularly well for FFA's as even if a player gets crippled, any number of low cost figures (Isamu and the rats are two of the best for the job) can grab the bomb and win the day! King of the hill(s) works very well too, if you don't mind keeping track of points.

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Old June 18th, 2008, 09:52 AM
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Re: The challenges of multiplayer free for alls.

Yeah, free-for-all politics are dicey, especially when playing against a husband and wife and the whining kicks in. "Honey, why are you shooting at meeEEeeEEeeEE?" "Do you see what he's got over there?" "Well you're the only one in range?" Rediscover the joy of indiscriminate killing, people! Don't get guilty on me!

I don't like taking a lot of melee units in a free-for-all, because when you engage the enemy and he takes a turn with the locked-down figure, you're forcing him to attack you. When you shoot from a distance, he then at least has the option of deciding someone else is a bigger threat.

Some people love the turtling strategies (Cap/Raelin armies are popular with my group); others, including me, like to move huge chunks of an army every turn. Both strategies have pitfalls. If I see someone hanging back, I make sure to head his way if at all possible; so will some of the people I play with. Myself, I'm sometimes guilty of stirring up trouble I don't need by throwing rocks at the hornet's nest with fast figures in the early game. Other times, I find myself in the opposite position: I'd like to attack enemy A, but enemy B just put a wound on Iron Man, so now I've got to retaliate.

Politically, a slower army that rolls out gradually can be a happy medium. You remove the temptation to send out a war party and provoke someone who might not see you as enemy No. 1, and you can wait to see what alliances or grudges or fears develop over the first few markers. At the same time, you're moving out at the pace your somewhat sluggish army can handle. Build a foundation by moving the back figures first. Expand from a firm base.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dredd Stev View Post
Map design is extremely important (true of any game scenario, but even more so in a FFA). First off the start zones have to be equally spaced from each other. Other than that it's a very good idea to put lots of height and LOS blockers along the edges of the map, so as to force players closer to the middle. Placing glyphs in the center area of the map helps to force players into more action in the middle too, and as such keeps players from playing the role of defensive / ranged pod.
All excellent strategies. I like putting the big evergreens right at a map edge sometimes, to channel units inward. And glyphs in the center, so that those who hang back are taking a big risk.
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