Monday, June 11, 2007

Laying Your Plans Part 2

In our last installment we talked about the various stages of the game and how to plan for them. I will continue using the stages of the game discussion to further develop my ideas on planning. Last time I touched on movement and this time I’m going to focus solely on moving your units.

The main idea of your movement is to be goal oriented. At the start of the game you should have a basic idea of how you want your units to move, and where they need to go. In Chess there is a school of thought called “Position over Piece.” This school of thought states that your control over a position on the game board is of primary importance. Thus the importance of any one piece, other than the king, is secondary to controlling your board position. What this means is control your positions at all costs. I bring this school of thought up because to obtain your position on the field you need to move there.

With this in mind we will look at two aspects of movement. The first aspect is offensive movement and the second is defensive movement. These aspects of movement will help you achieve and maintain your goals.

Offensive troop movement is the type of movement that we are the most familiar with. It is very straight forward movement. Its main goal is to provide you’re your troops with opportunities to attack. Ultimately this is what we will have to do if we are hoping to win.

When we make offensive moves there are a few considerations we will make. First we must consider how the movement will help our troops inflict the most damage. Next we think about how our move will help us achieve the mission objectives. Last we need to ensure that our movement doesn’t reduce the effectiveness of our other units.

As we probe into the first of our considerations, we look at few battlefield factors. Maximum damage is achieved through clear lanes of fire, reducing the opponent’s chances of taking cover, and maximizing weapon potential. A good example of this is moving a troop armed with bolt guns within 12” of an opponent in order to utilize the Rapid Fire rule.

The second consideration we need to make can make or break the chance for victory. Alpha level missions make the mission primary in importance. Failure to obtain the objective means a loss. For Gamma level missions and higher the victory points for the missions can ruin your chances for victory.

If we delve deeper into this subject we begin to see that there are some items that require some scrutiny. When we are moving towards the objective we should figure out an estimated time of arrival. If we estimate that it will take us four rounds to reach an objective purely through moving then it will be in our best interests to get there as fast as possible.

Once we have estimated the speed of our arrival then we look at how likely we will be able to hold the objective. If you lack the ability to hold the objective then it doesn’t make a lot of sense to move towards it. If this is the case then we might want to think about how we can time, or plan, our movement to deny the objective to our opponent.

Our third overall consideration is watching for how our movement can affect our army’s effectiveness. This seems like a “no-brainer” but I’ve seen how not taking this into account can hurt a force’s effectiveness. The most basic question to ask one’s self when moving is, “How will this stop me from shooting or assaulting?” By asking this question you will be able to make better moves. When you move your troops watch your lanes of fire, assault routes, and routes, toward the objectives. An example would be assaulting a wide formation in such away that the close combat blocks your other troops from obtaining targets in future rounds.

After talking about offensive movement lets talk about defensive movement. Defensive movement is a fine art that requires forethought, ingenuity, and a flair for the cut throat. The main idea behind defensive movement is preventing your opponent from doing something. There are three major actions we look at preventing: movement, shooting and assault.

When trying to move defensively we look at a few factors. We look at what battlefield terrain is on the table, and second we look at what troops and vehicles we possess that can fill this role. Terrain and vehicles do the lion’s share of the work, but troops may also be utilized for defensive movement.

Terrain serves many purposes. It can provide cover, slow movement, and block lines of sight. Creative use of terrain can potentially provide an extra turn of shooting, improved initiative in close combats, and excellent lanes of fire. Never underestimate what terrain can do.

Vehicles can assist your army in reaching their objective or your opponent. From main line battle tanks to the standard APC’s all vehicles can help your troops make it to their objective. For example a line of thee Chimeras nose to tail across the board can provide a 12” wall for your troops to run behind. Some vehicles can also claim objectives which can potentially be useful near the end of the game.

Troops can also be moved defensively. One of the most common ways is to move a unit forward to intercept a potential assaulting unit so the remainder of your force may escape. This will give your force a chance to take up a better firing, or defensive, positions from which to engage your opponent from. Also never forget the at least 1” away rule. This can help mange your opponent’s movement.

The big idea that I will leave you with is that movement can make or break you. Plan your movement. If you make and execute your plans then you will be dictating the actions of battle to your opponent instead of having your opponent dictate your actions.

Next time we will build on movement and move into the shooting phase.



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