Post by inanimatej on Jul 12, 2012 20:03:38 GMT -5
The Battler's Guide to Battle Mines Or, How to Play Like InanimateJ (that rhymes you know.)
The purpose behind this thread (which, hopefully, might be stickied) is to give Battle Miners an idea of some of the tactics I used to put the Battle in Battle Mines, and achieve top-of-the-leaderboard, Master of Battle Mines scores and all the fun things that come with it (usually angry vassals.)
Also, if you haven't realized, I like parentheses to add sub-text to a lot of my thoughts, kind of like extraneous thought bubbles in comic panels.
Table of Contents: 1. Your Land 2. Managing Your Inventory 3. Fire ALL the Cannons! 4. Managing Your Inventory (of Vassals) 5. Conclusions!
Post by inanimatej on Jul 12, 2012 20:03:57 GMT -5
Section 1: Your Land
The basic resource for making attacks at other players is pure, unadulterated Coal, one per shot you'll fire. I highly advise making sure you have a large stockpile of this at all times, preferably above 10. If you mine Coal, fantastic. If you don't, find people who do, and make sure you have a healthy supply available, either via vassalizing them through combat, or that hokey "diplomacy" garbage. You'll also need, for the most part, 1 Glass or 4 Sand for every attack you want to make, due to the requirement of building an outpost to view your neighbours and be able to attack them. This makes Sand and Coal miners priority 1 targets for the entrepreneurial Battler.
As far as buildings are concerned, the more you have, the more liable you are to start losing combats by means of having your buildings blown to smoking piles of rubble. Generally, you should always have exactly one (1) Cannon, one (1) Cellar, and various extraneous buildings if you need to vent off large piles of accumulated resources prior to a rainfall. The fewer buildings you have to construct, the better. More Cannons are also a liability, as they will all fire in a return salvo when you're attacked, which can burn through your stockpiles of Coal quite quickly. Two is the most you should ever have a need for. Churches are also beneficial, as they often prevent your angry vassals from being able to combat their way back out without A) building more Churches than you, or B) destroying it in combat, but at a 2x2 footprint, they offer a really large target for enemy shells to hit, and aren't particularly necessary to maintain your vassalages.
Thanks to the game balancing act of making number of cannons fired the final tiebreaker in draws, having more cannons is a risk/reward debate. More targets to hit versus less likelihood of a draw in the event of multiple misses. This guide was written in a state of aggressive belligerence and had no intention of winning 100% of the fights started (in fact, it was written after a series of 30 losses, or wins without a vassalization GO CHURCHES), so there is a small bias towards the minimalist Battler approach.
Technology is a funny thing; the Battler doesn't really need it to achieve his or her goals. At the lowest end, Advanced Cavernry is the technological floor for the Battler, as this allows the Cellar and Bunkers to be built, though Bunkers are only necessary for silly Builders attached to their home. At most, it is ideal to stay to the left side of the lower tree and acquire Refining, Kakistocracy and the Blasted Almanac. Weather plays an important part in judging when to make attacks, and having two cycles' worth of forecast is helpful. Land-size technology can be somewhat hindering, as it increases your targets' chances of hitting something in return, and causing your battles to more frequently draw or worse, go in their favour! Once you've achieved the level of tech you desire for your battling campaign, feel free to scrap your Academy, or if you're attached to it, let it die a glorious death at the hands of an enemy shell. Just make sure you hit something else when it does go. Preferably two somethings else.
Last Edit: Mar 5, 2013 1:56:47 GMT -5 by inanimatej
Post by inanimatej on Jul 12, 2012 20:04:16 GMT -5
Section 2: Managing Your Inventory
As previously mentioned, the ideal thing to do is simply stockpile Coal behind your single Cannon to defend yourself from any wayward vassals thinking they can fight their way free. So, what do you do with everything that isn't Coal? Spend Sand/Glass that you acquiring on building new Outposts, or placing Informants on every neighbour you can. Informants allow you to both view their city, harvest from them if they're idle, and check your combat accuracy comparative to theirs, in addition to determining if they'll be firing Enriched Uranium back at your head, while Outposts are necessary to even attack in the first place. Bauxite and Pig Iron can be spent, in conjunction with any spare Food you might have, at Ramul's House of Stolen Goods to acquire things that you need, namely, Coal, or Uranium Ore for munitions. (More on the uses of Uranium Ore in Section 3: Fire ALL the Cannons!) All Refined/Manufactured materials should also be spent on the Black Market for things we need, or traded to your vassals.
Speaking of Vassals, as a glorious Master, you're able to trade your base resource to vassals in exchange for their base resource at a fair trade value (the ratio of which is mentioned in both the Manual, and my Guide to Trade Values stickied in this forum.) Generally speaking, trade off to your vassals as often as possible for things you need, and black market anything you can't trade them. Your inventory should ideally be only Coal and Uranium Ore at the most when you're not stockpiling for some strange reason.
(At a future date, when global combat is involved, this guide will evolve to include ICBM stockpiling tactics. But we're not there yet.)
Post by inanimatej on Jul 12, 2012 20:04:37 GMT -5
Section 3: Fire ALL the Cannons!
So, we've covered setting up your glorious section of wasteland, and what to keep in the few warehouses you might own. Now we'll cover how to actually put all that mumbo-jumbo to good use.
Since, in the event of a tie with number of buildings destroyed, the player using the most powerful munitions wins the tiebreaker, Uranium Ore is the bread and butter for the basic Battler to win a higher percentage of battles. Vassalizing a Uranium Ore miner is generally a good idea, as it lets you vent off your large stockpiles of base resource for valuable URO, just a single shell of which is often times enough to vassalize an unprepared Builder.
Firepower settings should generally remain at 1, and use Moderate Atomics, unless you have an Academy and intend to fire your Enriched Uranium shells at them. In the event of a loss, don't be disheartened! You can attack your newly-acquired Master repeatedly until you defeat them or run out of Coal, which often leads to you being able to come out on top of the fight. The only result you don't want, if you haven't already vassalized them, or been vassalized by them, is a draw, as it requires you to rebuild your Outpost.
Due to the fact that in the event that absolutely every other tiebreaker came out as a draw, He Who Fires More Cannons Wins, one can argue that building MORE cannons is a better idea for a battler. However, if all you carry in your inventory is Coal, repeatedly losing a combat due to being fired at with more cannons and having small amounts of Coal tithed off far outweighs the potential risks of building more cannons and likely having more stuff blown up in the process. One cannon vs 10 will run a player out of coal quickly enough to easily beat them over the long run thanks to maximum defensive firepowers (Thanks Rast!)
However, if you absolutely must go for those fat IWI bounties in the top tiers, build more cannons, build an Academy, buy a ton of EUR, and hit the Global Leader in the face if they're next to you. It's worth it when you get a free Hull.
Once you're done battling, we can move onto the last section, Managing Your Vassals.
Last Edit: Mar 5, 2013 1:54:57 GMT -5 by inanimatej
Post by inanimatej on Jul 12, 2012 20:04:55 GMT -5
Section 4: Managing Your Inventory (of Vassals)
So, once you've acquired a large tract of vassalized land (preferably every single one of your neighbours that didn't smuggle a Palantir to you,) you might be at a loss towards figuring out what to do next. Fortunately, this part is the part that never truly ends.
Rebuilding the outposts that were destroyed in combat is typically a priority, as other enterprising Battlers can swoop in and steal your vassals, thus ruining your Master/Vassal sight and preventing you from immediately retaliating to reacquire the vassal.
Switching to the Monarchy government is also a high priority, as this is the government that allows for the highest potential scores, through a large PM bonus via vassals, which in turn translates to a higher overall score than what is just calculated via owning vassals period. The most economical way to make sure you can attack everyone around you is to switch to Anarchy during combats, and return to Monarchy once you're done battling. This tends to mean that you should Battle before you Build (should have mentioned this earlier, but it means you've learned in the same process I did! )
Beyond that, the choice is yours to remain a warlord from your small tract of barren, desolate land, or opportunistically attempt to steal one of your vassals' juicy built-up territory via a Land Exchange. This requires a fair amount of planning and stockpiling to execute, but the rewards can often be huge. Just remember that if they have more land-size tech than you, and you steal their land, buildings outside of the boundaries that you're allowed will get automatically scrapped with the scrap returns appearing in your inventory. (I learned this the hard way.) (Builders take note: if you want to screw a Battler taking your land, build high-value buildings on the outskirts.)
Post by inanimatej on Jul 12, 2012 20:05:11 GMT -5
Section 5: Conclusions!
That brings to a close the notes I've gathered from developing a playstyle worthy of spawning a named beta update in which the playstyle had to be nerfed in a very visible way. Please feel free to route questions my way via the thread or in-game messaging, and I hope it inspires you to give me a challenge in conquering all of Battle Mines.
Keep in mind that I'll periodically update this thread as things change throughout the course of the game's lifecycle, and if I find new tactics that work effectively when I get forced to play like a troll.
Special thanks to everyone who put up with my bullshit throughout this exploratory phase, especially psiweapon, whose insanely fiery temper led to some memorable exchanges throughout both the forums and in-game bullhorning.
Having a larger land size could actually help, because while you are free to take up a small building area on your large land and thus avoid enemy shells, attacks on a smaller land size can actually be mitigated by having higher accuracy. In practice, this probably doesn't matter much on the lower tech tree since no amount of accuracy will allow an opponent to aim precisely at a trifling 6x6 or 7x7 land area (49 tiles = 51% accuracy loss to overcome), so whether you keep your city size small or not, it's how many buildings you have that will decide how easy you are to hit.
Good point about building expensive buildings on the outskirts! Very tricky, but later in the game you'll want to be sure you don't get revolted to theocracy.
Post by inanimatej on Jul 13, 2012 18:49:30 GMT -5
You have a point, due to the fact I haven't invested the time to tech upwards towards being able to build Telescopes to jack accuracy up to heights only imaginable in dreams of warlords everywhere. Realistically the only thing ruining the battler's ability to control most of the players as vassals is losing due to actually being hit in the exchange. Using uranium munitions (enriched or otherwise) pretty much guarantees a win under current conditions.