Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tactics 101: On the Offensive

Tactics 101
Being in the position of the primary attacker can be quite difficult, especially for a newer player. If you're frames aren't geared towards a high speed frontal assault, you may find yourself struggling to catch up in scoring. In this post I'll be going over a plethora of tips and tactics for the primary attacker on the table. I've gone over some basics in a previous post, but here I'll be delving deeper. Company loadouts, placement strategy, and the like.

Building For Success

When putting together a company that is geared for playing as the primary attacker, you need to keep in mind that speed and firepower are two of your biggest assets. Let's take a look at some frame builds that fit well in this type of company.

The Grunt (2d6Rd, 2d6Rh, d6B, d6G) - good candidate for SSR
This is a frame that I would strongly suggest using instead of the standard "soldier" design for your primary attacker force. Looking back at the Maximizing Damage post from a little while back, you may be wondering why I left out spotting systems for the core of a high firepower company. The answer is simple, these guys are going to be in the thick of things as quickly as possible, there is a high likelihood that they will be able to position themselves where their target will not be in cover. Even if the target is still in cover, it likely will be more beneficial to attack the cover while moving in to set up the large number of other frames that you will have coming in for a more successful attack. If you can destroy the cover, drop a spot on the target using white dice. These frames should be deployed as close to the defending forces as possible and you should close as quickly as possible. Use your direct fire system only if you cant get in range to use the hand to hand, and once you're in the thick of things don't be afraid to lose the direct fire to give you an extra d8 for movement. It will keep you mobile and able to be exactly where your opponent doesn't want you to be. Another interesting variant on this design is to use a split direct fire/hand to hand system in addition to a hand to hand system, giving you 1d6Rd and 3d6Rh. If you couple this design with an SSR you can have enough firepower to keep your frames useful as you close and then give them a bit more punch once they close the gap.

These Fat Snake Grunts are great frontline assault frames.

The Berserker A.K.A. The Swarmer (2d6+d8Rh, 1d6Y, 1d6B, d8G) - good candidate for SSR
Much like the Grunt, the Berserker is designed to be a point assault frame. While the Grunts have dedicated systems for ranged attacks, the Berserker forgoes them to be the ultimate close quarters monster. Once one of these guys get up in the defender's face there is little they can do to stop the onslaught. Double hand to hand systems provide maximum damage potential while the lack of ranged weapons allows for a d8 movement without sacrificing a defensive or a spotting system. The reason why a spotting system is more important on a Berserker than on the grunt is that hand to hand systems ignore cover, thus it is more likely that it will get attacks off while the opponent maintains cover, the spotting system assures that the Berserker will still be able to spot for it's allies.

The Battering Ram (2d6Rh, 1d6Y, 2d6B, d8G)
Another great point frame, the Battering Ram leads the charge on the enemy while providing mobile cover for it's allies in combat. It may not always be viable to retreat a heavily damaged frame from the middle of your enemy's territory and the Battering Ram can help by positioning itself between the damaged frame and it's potential attackers. Until that situation presents itself, you still have a melee capable combat frame with the ability to aid it's allies with spotting. Tactical movement with this frame is key, but if positioned correctly on the table it can make a huge difference.

Other frame builds that are good for the primary attacker: The Commando and The Mobile Cannon (from Tactics 101: Maximizing Damage).

Advance Deployment

As the primary attacker your first frame has to be placed with very specific restrictions. It has to be outside the defender's defensive perimeter, at the limit of (but within) direct fire range of one of the defender's frames, and out of cover. Some players will place this frame as close to cover as possible and try to place defensively, this is a mistake. You want this frame as close to the enemy as possible and it should be something with movement, defense, and hand to hand systems (like the three builds listed above!). The defender will have placed his stations and two of his frames before you place the point frame, so you should have a good idea of what his setup will be like. Just be careful not to leave yourself open to a defensive ambush! Remember that the defender can place his remaining frames anywhere on the table as long as they are in cover to all enemies! If you leave a spot behind your lines for him to drop a few frames you may be fighting a battle on two fronts. Your remaining frames will all have to be placed outside direct fire range of all of the defender's frames and outside the defensive perimeter. Keep your other frontline frames near your point frame so they can support him in the initial assault, keep them in cover if you can but priority should go to being able to close on the defender quickly. 

Your stations are placed after all your frames. Make sure to put them in a spot that is not easily accessible by either the defender or other attacking players. Try not to leave them undefended, but your main focus should be on taking the defender's stations away, not defending your own.

The Whole Nine Yards

Once the game begins keep attacking and do not let up. Spot early and often, even if you can't take advantage of the spot you just put on the defender's frame, it's likely one of the secondary attackers (if there are three or more players) will. If one of your frames is destroyed or you lose one of your stations you lose very little as far as score is concerned (likely only 3 points), thus don't be afraid to send your frames into the thick of things. Don't blindly sacrifice your assets though, even a frame down to it's white dice can still grab an opponent's station giving you the lead. Your focus should not be so much improving your score, but decreasing everyone else's. If you take a station you only gain 3 points, which isn't going to catapult you into the lead, but just destroying a defender's frame will drop their total by a bunch (likely 7) which will close the score gap rather quickly. Take stations when possible, but just focus on making whoever's in the lead miserable. Use everything you have, as often as you can. If your tactics, and the dice gods end up in your favor, you should come out on top.