Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
  • entries
    4
  • comments
    18
  • views
    147

About this blog

Age of Sigmar is casually dismissed in some circles as just a beer and pretzels game.  And while it’s true that it can be loads of fun to smash it up with your mates over a pint, it is also true that beneath the surface lies a wonderful, dynamic and challenging depth.  This blog is an attempt to use theory (from Greek, thea “a view” + horan “to see”) to explore this depth, and to invite others to do the same.  Let’s kindle an interest in an under-developed aspect of our hobby.

Entries in this blog

4. Who's the Beatdown?

Who’s the Beatdown? is probably the most iconic piece of MtG theory ever written.  It has proven exceptionally fertile as the ideas within have been grown, developed and re-harvested again and again over time, and ported out and across all kinds of other game systems to varying degrees of success.  It is not perfect.  It is not scripture.  But it was one of the first on the scene to look beneath the surface of the game and emerge with something truly fundamental, important and consistently relevant.  I am aware of only a few attempts to apply Who’s the Beatdown theory to AoS.  None of them have been completely satisfying.  Yes, MtG is a very different game than AoS, but I don’t think that’s the problem.  The concepts are relevant, even if they have to be reframed a bit to match a different context.  The problem, I think, is that the current dearth of AoS theory makes it more difficult than it needs to be to fully develop Who’s the Beatdown in AoS terms. So buckle-up buttercup.  We’re going to try to apply what we learned last time and see what sparks might fly. Breaking Down the Beatdown What’s at stake in Who’s the Beatdown is the idea that in any given game, and indeed, at any given point within a game, a player’s chance of success is significantly improved if they properly understand their role in game relative to their opponent.  A player’s role can be fluid and can change match-up to match-up, and indeed, can change back and forth within a given match-up.  Misunderstanding your role oftentimes means misunderstanding what’s important.  Misunderstanding what’s important oftentimes means losing. Let’s start by reviewing a recent attempt to apply Who’s the Beatdown to AoS.  For this, we’ll use the relevant excerpt from THWG’s new workbook, reproduced in the spoiler below.  Please read through it before continuing on.  While reading it, take note of what you understand from the concept as outlined, what you can take away from it to help frame how you see the game (concept, from Latin concipere, “to take in and hold”).  I’ll share my take-aways below and we can compare notes, but I think it’s important that you meet it on your own terms first.   For me, it seems like it gets some things right and gets some things wrong, and leaves the over-all concept a bit too blurry, and therefore less useful then it could be.  But like Flores’ original piece, it does provide fertile ground to work on, to nurture and harvest and regrow the seeds that it plants. To do that work, I will have to introduce some new concepts.  But staying faithful to the original methodology, these new concepts will be derivative from our three starting elements (Space, Time, Variability) and therefore connected to our three essential resources (Presence, Pressure, Projection).  We don’t want to just create a pile of ideas; we want to create a framework within which each of our ideas are logically connected with each other, and through which a cohesive and functional perspective can emerge. What I think THWG’s piece really gets right here is the notion that risk is one of the key differences between how to play the two roles, and that advantage is one of the key elements in understanding what role to take.  What I think the piece gets wrong here is the actual assigning of the roles themselves.  What I think is under-developed is the defining and assessing of advantage and coming to grips with what’s important to each role. Let’s start with the roles.  In Flores’ original piece, he defines two possible player roles:  the Beatdown (or aggro) role, and the Control role.  Although the notions of Aggro and Control decks existed as archetypes way before Flores, what was inspired in his article was the insight that within the context of a particular match-up, an Aggro deck might actually be better served assuming the Control role, or vice versa, the Control deck might actually be best served playing the Aggro role; that is, although you may have designed your deck to be Aggro or Control, the specific context of the game might require you to play otherwise.  The key concept was to understand the power of the resources that you had available and that your opponent had available and their relationship to time.  An Aggro role was required when the resources you had available were less powerful than your opponent’s but were able to be brought online sooner.  The Control role was required when your resources were more powerful but required more time to deploy.  Thus the Beatdown player was the one who had a short-term advantage and thus had to try and win now, before they became outclassed.  They had to burn through their resources as quickly as possible and go for the throat.  They had to push the tempo and get more done in less time because if the game dragged on too long, they would lose.  The Control player, on the other hand, had to try and slow things down.  They had a long-term advantage.  Their role was to prolong the game however possible until the power of their late-game resources became overwhelming.  If they could hang on long enough and “turn the corner,” they would win. If we want to successfully apply the lessons of Who’s the Beatdown to AoS, it is critical to preserve the element of time in our understanding, as it is critical to the entire original notion.  We know from our previous work so far, that Time is one of the three essential elements in AoS, along with Space and Variance.  Time is best understood as a measure of change.  We use points to invest in Time whenever we buy Pressure.  Pressure is used to attack Space, which we invest in whenever we use points to buy Presence.  Space can be used to attack Time whenever Presence is used to control its vector speed, Projection. Here we can see that the fundamental difference between Pressure and Presence is their relationship with Tempo, which we will define here as the measure of the density of change generated per game-turn (how many moments they generate).  Pressure promotes tempo, Presence reduces it.   From here, we’re well positioned to start connecting the dots.  The Beatdown role is a role properly assumed by the player who stands to benefit from increasing Tempo.  The Control role is properly assumed by the player who stands to benefit from decreasing Tempo.  In its most extreme example, we could ask the question, which player would win if no further time elapsed in game (e.g. if each player passed on each and every remaining subsequent phase).  That player would be the one who would benefit from decreasing tempo, and as such, is the one whose chances of winning are best improved by assuming the Control role.  The player who would stand to lose in this hypothetical situation would benefit from pushing the tempo, and as such is the one whose chances of winning are best improved by assuming the Beatdown role.  They need to break the current game-state within which they are at a disadvantage.  The bigger the advantage gap, and/or the fewer number of game-turns remaining, the more Risk should be assumed by the Beatdown player, and conversely, the less Risk should be willingly accepted by the Control player.  Risk is the second new concept we need to introduce today, so let’s do that now before moving on to re-examine the examples from the spoiler. Risk is a derivative concept of Variance.  Variance is an essential element of AoS.  Pre-game, we are exposed to variance in the form of match-up uncertainty, scenario uncertainty, and (if you are using them) Realm rules.  In-game, Variance manifests in two powerful ways: unit action and turn initiative.  Almost all unit action contains some measure of randomness in order to quantify its effect: charge rolls introduce Variance into Projection; to Hit and to Wound rolls introduce variance into Pressure; save rolls introduce Variance into Presence, etc.  The sequence of play is also subject to Variance, as the turn order between rounds is determined by a roll-off.  Risk is the concept that we will use to talk about the implications of Variance on game-play.  We say that a play is advantaged when its odds of succeeding are greater than 1/2, and significantly advantaged when they are greater than 2/3.  Likewise, we say that an action is disadvantaged when its odds of succeeding are less than ½, and significantly disadvantaged when it is less than 1/3.  In a completely neutral game-state, we should consider action whenever it is advantaged, and avoid action when it is disadvantaged.  However, as our appetite toward Risk changes, so too should our assessment.  In high Risk situations, it may be completely appropriate for the Beatdown player to pursue significantly disadvantaged action (some chance of winning is better than no chance of winning), just as it may be completely appropriate for the Control player to avoid all but the most significantly advantaged actions.  Further, in high Risk situations it may be completely appropriate for the Beatdown player to plan for a sequence of events as if he was going to win the next turn initiative roll, just as it may be appropriate for the Control player to plan for a sequence of events as if he was going to lose the initiative roll.  Our Risk defines our disposition toward Variance—my chance of winning either depends to some extent on getting lucky, or my chance of losing depends to some extent on getting unlucky.  If the former, I need to consider ways of setting myself up to capitalize on that opportunity.  If the latter, I need to minimize the impact Variability can exert on my current position. Let’s return to our two examples.  Example #1 seems to be a match pitting a high Presence army (elite, re-rollable saves) against a high Pressure army (MW output).  There’s not really enough information provided to be clear about the situation, but if we take the example at its word and assume that the MW units will be able to produce an overwhelming advantage in 3 turns, then it’s pretty clear that the Presence army has to assume the Beatdown role.  It needs to drive the tempo quickly before its resource allotment in elite Presence is overwhelmed by the opponents investment in MW Pressure.  It’s a tough situation for the high Presence army since it is an army designed to play a Control role.  But that’s the importance of Who’s the Beatdown.  Fail to recognize the role you are actually in (as opposed to the role you had in mind before the game started), and you are much more likely to lose the game.  The army now needs to abandon its preplanned strategy and adapt to the situation at hand.  It needs to drive tempo and beatdown if it is going to win.  Conversely, the Pressure army needs to assume more of a control role than it might have been planning for.  As was articulated in the example, it needs to protect its two MW units, and protection is always an anti-tempo play.  It is the strategic use of Presence (place) to control circulation and threat, and thin out an opponent’s capacity to create a flurry of moments in their turn. In example #2 we see a match-up of a horde army with high Projection against a high Presence (tanky) army.  The strategy articulated in the example seems spot-on:  assume an immediate Beatdown posture relative to claiming the objectives, using initiative and superior projection to establish an advantage in Space that, if unanswered, will become inevitable over the long-term.  But note that as soon as that advantage is secured, the horde army needs to pivot and assume the Control role.  Once they have the advantage on objectives, they are no longer looking to play Beatdown.  They are looking to preserve the current state of affairs as much as possible.  Their primary concern from that point on is to slow the tempo of the game and ride out the victory, a task that they are well-suited to doing, since as a horde army they have a natural aptitude for controlling space through an abundance of place.  The tank army, on the other hand, is in an unenviable position.  They are forced early on into a Beatdown role for which they are poorly equipped.  The tanky army wants to play the Control role.  That’s the way the army is designed to work.  However for the player to succeed in this context he must identify that the roles have shifted, and do it early.  He must adapt to the situation by recognizing what’s important, what’s at stake, and what approach yields the best possible chance for success.  (Note, if they are playing a scenario with no central objectives, like, say, Total Commitment, the tanky army could conceivably reject the Beatdown role and play for the minor victory by committing to a Control role focused only on its own objectives.  If the horde army misplays, or if Variance produces some very favorable deviation, the path to a major might reveal itself). What’s interesting in these examples is that in both there are armies that, in order to improve their odds of winning, must adopt a style of play that is probably not what their owner envisioned when putting the list together.  It reinforces the key insights of Who’s the Beatdown?  In every game, and in every game-state within that game, there are two roles available to players.  The first is the Beatdown role, which corresponds to the player with long-term disadvantage.  Their best hope is to push tempo and maximize the benefit of their resources while they can in order to change the game-state into one with better long-term implications.  The second is the Control role, which corresponds to the player that has long-term advantage.  Their hope is to decrease tempo and preserve as much of the current advantaged game-state as possible.  The bigger the long-term advantage, or the nearer it is to becoming inevitable, the more each player increases their unique disposition to risk, taking on more in the case of the Beatdown player, or taking on less in the case of the Control player.   Let me know what your thoughts, reactions, criticisms or questions in the comments.        
 

Lemon Knuckles

Lemon Knuckles

3. Housekeeping

So in the last entry, we threw out some provocative statements and introduced a lot of terms in a way that seemed counter-intuitive to some people.  This time around, I want to do a bit of house-keeping and tidy things up by unfolding these concepts a bit more fully and hopefully bring them into sharper focus.  These concepts are important for what we are going to be doing, and if we ever do end up “doubling-back” (as one commentor cautioned me), then it will be less a regression and more a synthesis. So let’s revisit our six essential elements form last time:  Space, Time, Variability, Presence, Pressure and Projection. Age of Sigmar is played on a Battle-field (usually 6’x4’ but not necessarily so).  Take the meaning of the word field literally, and we can understand that the game plays out over a set of discrete, contiguous points of Space and Time.  An individual point of Space is called a place and is understood by its relative position to all other places.  An individual point of Time is called a moment and is understood by its relative change from all other moments (e.g. if I elect to “pass” during my shooting phase, for example, nothing has changed, no new moment has been created, no time has elapsed.  David Byrne understood this when he wrote “Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens”).  An individual point of battle-field (space-time) is called a game-state.  Points (not points of the field, but points in the GHB… see how tricky words can get?) represent the currency I spend to assemble the resources with which I will play the game.  For purposes of simplicity, let’s imagine an economy where 1 point = 1 degree of magnitude of a resource.  There are, as we mentioned last time, three resources available to us.   The first is Presence, which represents an investment in scalar Space.  Investing in space means claiming a place, occupying it, asserting control of it and dominance over it.  The degree of investment made represents the grip-strength with which I control that place.  The size of place that my investment claims is determined by the base size of the model used to represent that investment.  My control of that place is inviolate; no other model may occupy any part of that place.  It is mine and mine alone.  The most basic expression of Presence is Wounds.  Imagine if a warscroll had only one stat, and that stat was Wounds.  We could say of my purchase of a Witch Aelf, for example, that I invested 1 point to buy 1” of place at Presence 1.  If I bought a unit of 10 Witch Aelves, we could say that I invested 10 points to buy 10 1” places of Presence 1, with a further qualification that the position of each of those 10 places relative to each other is constrained by the rules for unit coherency; or we could say for simplicity, that the 10 Witch Aelves form a unit and therefore represent an investment of 10 points for a Place with 10 Presence.  If I add a second stat to the warscroll and give the Witch Aelves a Save of 6, I can now say of the unit that it represents an investment of 12 points for a Place with 12 Presence.  If I add a third stat to the warscroll and assign the Witch Aelves a Bravery of 7, I can say that I have now invested 7.2 points for a Place with 7.2 Presence.  Note that both the second and third values for Presence are subject to our third essential element of AoS, Variability.  We can ignore Variability for now, but it will become relevant later. The second resource available to us in Pressure, which represents an investment in scalar Time.  Investing in time means investing in the capacity to cause change.  If I take my unit of 10 Witch Aelves and eliminate everything from their warscroll except the stats Attacks 2 and Damage 1, I can say that I’ve invested 20 points for the capacity of 20 Pressure.  If I now add To Hit 3+, I can say that I’ve invested 12 points for the capacity of 12 Pressure.  If I further add To Wound 4+, I can say that I’ve invested 6 points for the capacity of 6 Pressure. The third resource available to us is Projection, which is the introduction of the missing element (Time or Space) to the present element in both Presence and Pressure in order to create a vector of the two and by means of which we can mobilize these resources to interact with and effect the game-state.  The Projection of Presence is movement.  I change my place.  The Projection of Pressure is range.  I change your place.  Projection is a dimension added to Presence and Pressure such that they can be expressed as a vector and has no independent value on its own.  Projection increases the unit cost of the resource to which it applies.  I pay a premium for each degree of Presence or Pressure I buy for each degree of Projection through which I can apply it in-game.  1 point of Presence costs less in a vector with movement 4 than it does in a vector with movement 8. All other elements of a unit’s warscroll can be seen as variables in these resource equations.  Indeed all other elements that can interact with units in any way like artefacts, spells and abilities can also be thought of in the same way.  When we flush out the complete warscroll for the unit of 10 witch aelves, we can say that the cost of the unit is the cost of the total investment in a particular bundled allocation of magnitude Presence and magnitude Pressure modified by magnitude Projection.  Or:  it represents a specifically allocated investment in space and in time proportional to their respective magnitude and vector speeds. Age of Sigmar is an objectives-based game.  The win-conditions for AoS are outlined in various battle-plans, themselves subject to the principle of variance.  Underlying the differences between battle-plans, however, is a common theme.  There is specific space (places) capable of generating changes to the game-state (attribution of Victory Points) that advantage the player.  A provisional and imperfect formulation would be to say that the point of the game is to have more Presence, persisting through more Time, in more of the places that matter, than your opponent.   Which brings us to the most contentious part of the previous entry: the claim that units cost points but have no value.  This claim is deeply problematic, and I remain conflicted about it.  Someone I respect on the forums recently noted that my insistence on this point is frustrating.  I will abandon it if it proves itself a useless notion, but until that happens I remain committed to playing it out and seeing what I has to offer.  To do that well requires some reframing. How in game terms do we define value?  It is a critical question, because strategy is quite literally the art of evaluation, the art of identifying one possible way forward as being more valuable than the others.  It should be clear that we cannot simply calculate value in the same way we calculate points:  differences in degrees of magnitude of Presence or Pressure or Projection do not necessarily yield differences in value the way they yield differences in cost.  Further, the value of a game-state wherein a unit is screening or tagging a key threat, or occupying the critical space in a bottle-neck of terrain, or claiming an objective, is different than one wherein the exact same unit is not as relevant, even though there is no difference in that unit as unit (as a bundled allocation of resources of specific magnitude and vector).  We can perhaps say of a unit that it is “valuable” in the same way that we can say of a Lego block that it is “buildable,” although that is still somewhat insufficient.   I’ve been coached to try and keep these blog entries shorter.  I’ve obviously failed, but will stop here so at least I can at least fail less.  Please comment if you have thoughts.  Your interactions definitely have “value.”  Until next time!  
 

Lemon Knuckles

Lemon Knuckles

2. Your Units Cost Points but they have no Value

Nothing like a provocative title to kick things off.  But sometimes the most important theoretical tool is the sledge-hammer.  Sometimes old ideas have to be dismantled in order to create space for new points of view. Part of what I’m going to say grew out from the soil of discussions like this one.  At stake in that conversation (which turned surprisingly passionate; so much so, that the mods had to intervene and yellow card the group) is the question of the relationship between a unit’s point cost and its value, and the relationship of that relationship to notions of fairness and balance.  I was sympathetic to some of the assertions being made by both sides, but also deeply unconvinced by their conclusions.  Resolving the problem, I think, requires looking beneath the surface and seeing the flaws in the foundational assumptions upon which the whole thing rests.  The results have relevance to this blog and our efforts here to create a theoretical framework for Age of Sigmar. "We might say, the colour of the ghost is that which I must mix on the palatte in order to paint it accurately.  But how do we determine what the accurate picture is?"--Wittgenstein One thing that everyone in the conversation agreed on was the fact that value (i.e. “tabletop value”) is contingent.  Where people disagreed was on the claim that because of the fact that value is contingent, points, which are generalized, can never be “accurate” or “balanced.”    A good example used in the discussion was the Bloodsecrator.  How does one correctly cost Bloodsecrator given the “overwhelming” number of possible variables that could affect the computation of an ability like Portal of Skulls?  The value of its +1 attacks component would not be the same if used to buff 10 Bloodreavers than if used to buff 80 Bloodreavers, etc., etc.  Taken as is, problems like these seem unsolvable.  But push the contingency of value to its extremes, and the assumptions underlying the problem become untenable.    What is the difference in the value of the buff if the 10 Bloodreavers and the 80 Bloodreavers are both used successfully to take out a unit of 10 Skinks in a single combat phase? Even more to the point, let’s crystalize as many variables as possible to really flush out the contingency of value.  The game is in the second turn of the fifth round and both players are tied on victory points.  Player A has a unit of Skinks remaining.  Player B has a unit of Bloodreavers and a Bloodsecrator remaining.  The Skinks and Reavers are engaged in combat at the start of the turn. If the Skinks are holding an objective and the buff from Portal of Skulls is needed to ensure that the Reavers will inflict enough damage to outnumber the Skinks and take control of the objective, then its value is absolute since it is a decisive element for winning the game. If the Skinks and Reavers are locked in combat 9” away from the objective, then the value of the buff is zero since the Reavers need to retreat from combat past the Skinks and onto the objective in order to win.  The combat itself is irrelevant. If the Bloodscrator is equipped with an artefact and starts the turn 7” away from the objective and the scenario is, say, Places of Arcane Power, then the value of the buff is absolutely negative, since activating it will prevent the hero from moving to claim the objective and win the game.  There is nothing specifically unique about the Bloodsecrator in this example. The notion of the contignecy of value applies to any unit in the same way, and to the same possible extremes. The issue is not that abilities like Portal of Thrones are “complicated” and produce computational challenges; it is rather that questions of value are theoretical in nature, not computational, and that the domain of value is composed of actions and their consequences, not the units themselves.  It is very often the case that nominal differences in calculated output yield no difference in theoretical value at all. Unlike value, points represent the investment required to obtain the capacity to do things; they represent a currency used to purchase resources.  Points strive to create balance not through high-fidelity prediction of in-game value, but by creating an economy where access to key resources is restricted by a budget and a rational pricing scheme.  I use points to invest in the capacity to create value in-game through intelligent play, but that capacity is not itself the value.  Value and points are different things and are expressed in different languages.  I consider it a design mistake whenever a battle-plan or a tournament ladder uses kill points as a scoring mechanism.  Not because it isn’t “fair” (i.e. some armies will be better predisposed to offensive tactics than others), but more importantly because it serves as a poor heuristic for good gameplay.  A strategy focused on forcing favorable exchanges of points is better than no strategy at all, but it is nonetheless a flawed strategy. Once we decouple the concept of value from the concept of points, we are free to rethink the game in a more theoretical way.  My approach here will be to strip away everything down to its absolute foundational principles, and then proceed to slowly rebuild it, bit by bit, blog by blog, using only what flows naturally from these roots.   So here comes my second provocative statement of the day:  Age of Sigmar can be reduced to just three essential components.  Everything else (everything!) is derivative. The first two essential elements are Time and Space.  All notions of what we call Value derive from these two elements. The third essential element is Variability, which is an irreducible characteristic that governs the nature of play in the game. Derivative from Time and Space are the three essential capacities available to players as a means of generating value.  The first is Presence, which represents a scalar investment in Space.  The second is Pressure, which represents a scalar investment in Time.  The third, Projection, is really a component dimension of Presence and Pressure by virtue of which these capabilities can be mobilized to contest an opponent’s Time (in the instance of Presence) or Space (in the instance of Pressure).  We can say in purely abstract terms that Pressure attacks Presence, and Presence attacks Projection.  In practice, our access to these capabilities is mediated through units (and the abilities, spells, effects that these units can mobilize), and all units necessarily contain some magnitude of Presence, Pressure and Projection.  There is no such thing in actual game terms as “pure” presence, pressure or projection, although theoretically it is sometimes useful to think of them in pure terms in order to better understand their nature. Time, Space, Variability, Presence, Pressure and Projection.  Six essential building blocks from which we hope to construct concepts useful for better understanding the game, and from which we hope to derive strategies to help better evaluate between the different choices that present themselves to us in game.  

Lemon Knuckles

Lemon Knuckles

1. Introduction: Why Theory, and Why Should I Care?

There is a surprising dearth of theory regarding Age of Sigmar.  I’m not sure why that is exactly.  There’s certainly a lot of effort spent on list building.  There’s a lot of effort spent on finding combos and unlocking synergies.  There’s time spent on “creating a plan.”  There’s time invested on computation aimed at solving very specific problems (aka math-hammer).  There’s even a good amount of discussion about actual tactics and tactical play.  But there’s next to nothing about theory.  I suspect that’s one of the reasons that some people think that AoS is a game without any strategic depth.  I disagree.  I think the depth is there.  What’s missing is the theory (the concepts and the framework) that makes thinking and talking about it easier, more accessible and more fruitful. I’m going to use this blog to try and build some momentum on this topic. I don’t know right now how it will turn out.  It could be that the naysayers are correct and the game lacks substance.  Or it could be that this will help map out some uncharted conceptual space “beneath the surface” from which we players can engage each other and the game in productive new ways. The endeavor will kick off in earnest with the next post.  For now, I’ll just lay down some definitions for anyone who might not be completely comfortable with what we mean when we talk about theory, and how theory relates with strategy, tactics and having a plan. Theory is about the creation of concepts that have explanatory power.  These theoretical concepts provide a clarifying lens through which we can look at the game in a way that helps us to understand it better.    Strategy is about deciding on the best use of the resources available to us in order to win. Tactics are about how we specifically do each action we make in order to maximize the benefit of each decision made.   Or simply, we can say:  theory explains, strategy evaluates, and tactics execute.  Or even simpler:  Why, what, how. Considered this way, it’s perhaps a bit easier to understand why theory is a neglected part of AoS discourse, and to understand the implication of this neglect. Imagine your typical newcomer to the game.  They are drawn in by a specific faction, by its lore or its look.  They have some fun painting and modeling, but don’t have much success on the table-top.  So they plug into the community and ask for help.  Here’s my current list, help me make it better.  Lots of people chime in with advice that helps the newcomer solidify a better plan.  Drop this unit, add that unit, take this artefact, combo this thing with that thing and you will be able to do this really cool thing.  The newcomer gets a few more models, makes these changes, and enjoys a bit more success on the table.  Soon they are back asking for more help:  I can’t beat army X, help!  Again the community jumps in, and now their advice is more tactical.  Make sure you screen like this and deploy like that, etc.  And again, the newcomer takes the advice and applies it and enjoys a bit more success.  And then the meta shifts, new armies are released, and the process starts all over. The point here is that the player is getting better with each step.  They are learning what to do, and how to do it.  And the rate of change across the surface of the game has sufficient velocity that the sense of learning and improvement can seem to go on indefinitely.  If we can keep iterating on what to do (through list design), and how to do it (through improving tactical play), why do would we ever need to step back and think about why we’re doing it?   The hope with this blog is that by exploring the why we allow for less imitating and more innovating.  We flush out a strategic depth that persists across armies, and battleplans, and other superficial game changes.  We improve our gameplay by expanding from just learning how to make a good plan better, to being able to ascertain, at any point, whether a given plan is still optimal, or even viable, and to successfully pivot to a new plan, to make different choices, in the moment, in the context of what’s most important right now.  That’s the strategic depth that lies below the surface.  That’s what I’d like us to explore.
 

Lemon Knuckles

Lemon Knuckles

×