Classic Secrets: The Time To Strike!
by Viceroy63 and Macbone
The timing is everything in any work of strategy.
It's like shooting an arrow at a target far away. If you aim the arrow straight at the target, then wind resistance and of course our friend gravity will bring the arrow to a point just below the bull's-eye mark. And if you aim too high, the arrow will overshoot the target completely. So you aim for a spot just slightly above the bull's-eye so that the arc of the arrow's path will bring it straight to where you want the arrow to be. It's a trick that requires practice like all things but it can be learned.
The same is true with an SoC Terminator or Standard game. There is a time in which you can know and indicators that tell you when it is the right time for an attack. If you attack too early or too late, then you miss the mark. One of the basic indicators is the troop strength or troop count. Before any attack you should always consult the number of troops that your target player has. Obviously if you have a hundred (100) troops and your target player has a hundred and one (101) then it may just be slightly difficult to eliminate that player because you simply lack sufficient troops. But even if you have the troops strength to eliminate a player you must remember that for every troop that you attack you can also expect to lose one troop as well. So your total troop count should be well above the troop count of the player that you are attacking.
The true winner knows when to attack and when not to.
In considering attacking a player that is behind the stacks of other players, the troops in those stacks from other players also need to be added into the equation. Also the number of regions covered will also constitute a troop as you must leave a troop behind as you advance through regions when eliminating your target player. But the most important consideration is what your own troop strength condition will be after the elimination and what did you gain from the elimination?
In a terminator game you may very well choose to go for an elimination if it means that you will be assured of points guaranteed, but unless the points received more then make up for your own elimination by another player, why risk it? A good elimination is one where you end up benefiting from the elimination even if you are eliminated yourself. A great elimination is when you just win the game. And a poor elimination, which is no elimination at all, is when you fail to hit the bull's-eye and just plain miss the mark all together. In most cases missing the mark usually ends up handing the game over to another player. So how can you tell when it is a good time to strike?
The spoils trade is the best indicator.
In an escalating spoils game, which is the game taught in the SoC, the spoils should at least equal the amount of troops that you are about to eliminate. Now this is not the rule but rather a guideline. Say another player has 5 spoils and you have just enough troops to eliminate that player. While the amount of the trade in may not be as high as the number of troops eliminated, if it is a good amount of troops to replenish the loses and insure some decent odds of overall survival, then the elimination may very well be worth it because the trade in for troops is immediate, especially if it can lead to another elimination. But if not then the surest and safest bet is to just wait till the spoils trade reaches more or less the same amount of troops as those that are being eliminated. This way it cost you nothing to eliminate another player, especially if there is a spoil trade in involved, and this is yet another key indicator to eliminating other players.
If you eliminate a player for points then all you may end up with are points, but if you eliminate a player for his spoils as well then this is much better. What would it serve to eliminate a weak player, a player who is low in troop strength yet has only points to offer and no spoils? You will be taking the risk of being eliminated from the game yourself and have nothing to show for it as if you never even played the game. You'll have the same rank and the same total score. But eliminate a player for his spoils and you gain the chance of winning the game because of those spoils. And this is what makes that risk totally acceptable and worthwhile. It begs to ask the question, however...
When should I trade in my spoils so that no one takes them from me and ends up winning the game with the spoils that I am saving up?
On troop odds - If I have 100 troops, and my opponent has 101, and we only have one stack each, you bet I'm going to go for it. That's a 79% kill rate. But if the troops are spread out over a large area, I'll be less likely to attack. The Assault Odds add-on is essential here, but a good rule of thumb is (No. of enemy troops) + (No. of enemy terts) + 1 (for the troop you have to leave behind) + (whatever buffer you're comfortable with).
For four terts of 25 troops each, I'd like 100+4+1 at least, which gives a 71.7% kill rate.
Going for an early elimination in particular can set you up to be the next player eliminated. If you have to use 20 troops to gain spoils worth only 6 or 8, you've made a poor trade.
On the issue of points, sometimes it's clear that someone else is going to win. In that case, you might have to make a choice between being eliminated next round or at least taking someone else's points first. In practice, you probably won't end with the same points. Points gained is calculated by (loser's score / winner's score) * 20, so ideally you want to eliminate players with a higher score than you and be eliminated by players with a higher score as well.
If you're interested in medals, eliminating another player but failing to win the game nets you nothing towards the terminator medal. For your elimination to count towards the term medal, you also have to win the game, another good reason to go for the win.