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How to win the game! (on scenario) Part 1

At any given point in the game you should be able to answer two questions – how are you going to win the game and how is your opponent going to win the game. “Killing them all” isn’t a valid answer! I see too many players go into their games without any real plan on how to win and they leave it until far too late into the game to really get to where they need to be to grab objectives. You should always be keenly aware of how many objectives you need in order to win and every action you take should either further that goal or stop your opponent from achieving their objective.

It’d be a long article for me to go through each separate scenario and detail my approach, but many of the principles are the same within different scenarios. This is the first of a three part series with this part covering objective marker based scenarios.

Winning Objective Marker Based Scenarios

Pillage, Ransack etc.

During objective marker placement, I will generally aim to place objective markers that are difficult for my opponent. I assume that they’re going to be placing objectives that are good for them, so I try to place objectives that are bad for them.

If my opponent has a static gunline, then I will place objectives that are towards the centre and in cover. This means that they will have to advance forwards to capture the objectives, denying them shooting, and my units can advance towards the objectives in cover.

If I have shooting, it tends to be fairly mobile. So I will might set the objectives up in the open where my opponent can’t get cover. If I’m slower than my opponent, I would set them up in terrain to make their charges hindered. If I’m faster, set them up in the open so my charges aren’t hindered etc.

Have a look at your opponent’s list before placing objectives. What advantages do they have over you? What advantages do you have over them? Which area of the board has terrain (or a lack of) that gives your army an advantage? That’s where you should place your objectives.

Never, ever assume that you’re going to win board sides. I once played someone in the CoK17 scenario where each objective was worth D3 Victory Points. They placed around 8 points worth of Objective Markers out of around 12 in total in one corner, hoping to win the table side roll-off. I won the roll-off and castled in that corner.

As soon as the objectives are down and board sides decided, you should figure out which objectives you’re going to win with. In my mind, I’ll generally put objectives into one of three groups:

  • Hold: I will try and hold this objective by the end of the game.
  • Contest: My opponent is likely to try and grab this objective, but I will send a token force to deny them but I’m not ultimately fussed at trying to hold it.
  • Ignore: I will ignore this objective completely. Trying to grab it will cost too much.

Sometimes the groups will change throughout the game. I was previously going to just try and contest an objective but having had some good luck with my token force I’m actually in a position where I could take the objective. Sometimes my unit finds itself within striking distance of a previously ignored objective and is now in a position where it can actually grab it. Sometimes a flank collapses unexpectedly and a hold objective can only realistically be contested.

Regardless, at the start of the game and the start of each turn I will evaluate the objective markers and put them into these three categories. No matter whether it’s turn one or turn six, I will advance my units and choose combats according to these groupings. I won’t split my army up to try and take all the objectives, I will simply try and collect enough objectives to win and deny my opponent objectives realistically.

An example

Let’s take this setup for example with the 6 objectives marked in yellow. The three objectives on the bottom right make for an easy to defend and hard to assault defensive position. I can easily position the bulk of my army here and hold these objectives by the end of the game. These objectives are to be held.

The two objectives in the centre on my opponent’s half of the board are within strike distance of the three I want to hold. This means that I can send a token force ahead to force my opponent to fight over these objectives (which will also, conveniently, keep the enemy away from the objectives I want to hold). As long as I can deny my opponent at least one of these objectives then I win the game. I don’t need to take these objectives, so I don’t need to overcommit. I can send some flyers, individuals and fast cavalry to keep my opponent pent up here and have some of my units survive til the end to deny a hold. My main army on the 3 objectives I want to hold can threaten enemies within range of these two objectives and move up to support if I have an unexpected breakthrough.

The objective on the left. It’s isolated. Tough one. I could try and deny this objective, deploying opposite it and forcing my opponent to overcommit there. If I have a spare unit and my opponent really doesn’t (say it’s a highly elite army with very few units) then I could grab it uncontested, giving me an extra objective.

Altogether this comes down to the enemy force and how confident you are. If you’re confident that you can spare a unit from the main force on the right then grabbing or forcing an overcommitment is a great idea. If you’re not so confident and only have highly elite units then deploying here could split your forces too much.

A great tactic is deploying a fast unit of gargoyles or similar (assuming you can spare them) where it can obviously grab the objective. Your opponent will likely either deploy a larger force to try and grab the objective or ignore it altogether. Against the larger force, either keep the gargoyles stuck in your deployment zone the entire game, jumping on the objective in the last turn yet keeping that force tied up, or if the force is a threat to your gargoyles (say it has shooting attacks) then your gargoyles are fast enough to redeploy in the opening turns to support your main force. Either way you’ve either drawn a significant chunk of your opponent’s forces off, or gained an objective with cheap chaff. Deploying this way with a fast unit, even a dragon equivalent, can fool your opponent into overcommitting for one objective even if you’re going to ultimately ignore it by redeploying.

Deny objectives properly

One of the things that I’ve caught players out on several times is having their unit sit on an objective to deny it, but not denying it properly.

You have to be within 3” of an objective to grab or deny it. You have to be 1” away from an enemy unit. If the objective is within 2” of the edge of an enemy unit, then you can move within 3” of it, even though the enemy is sitting on top. Flyers and nimble units in particular are great at this. If it’s the end of the game, the enemy is sitting on top of the objective and that objective is within 2” of its flank facing then you should strongly consider moving a flyer to sit in the flank rather than charging the front. You might not wipe out the enemy unit if you charge, but moving up and into their flank could deny them the objective for certain.

Next up

In the next article I’ll cover my thoughts on winning in scenarios with scoring zones such as Dominate and Invade.