Appren's guide to fast exploration in random maps! (large images) (Full Version)

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Appren -> Appren's guide to fast exploration in random maps! (large images) (6/30/2009 12:03:23 PM)

In random games, fast exploration is of incredible importance. Whoever gets the most cities first has an advantage. Not only will (s)he get more production, earlier, but also get key terrain and set up defenses before their opponent reaches the same area.

The first 1-2 turns will then be very important for the rest of the game. Unfortunately many players, both new players, and players that are experienced with AT, but fairly new to random games, have problems being fast enough in the exploration/fast conquest phase of the game, so I decided to write a little guide for this.

In these screens I have cropped the map, removing the southwestern area where our opponent is, due to image size limitations. Assume the map is mirrored, and that your opponent starts just southwest of where the map cuts off.

[image]local://upfiles/29379/DA8F3DE6965E4A1E918A7377110A5FC1.jpg[/image]




Appren -> RE: Fast exploration in random maps! (large images) (6/30/2009 12:06:32 PM)

This map obviously requires both naval and overland expansion. We'll analyze the map, and find out that the initial exploration requires two expeditions to go southeast, one of them going through easy terrain (light forest), and can use a truck, and the other going east over some hills, which we will use a cavalry unit for. To the west and southwest there are a lot of cities we are going to try to reach by sea, and decide to send one ship to the fjord to the west, and one to the fjords to the southwest. Each of this ships will have multiple tiny infantry units riding horses or trucks.

1.) Our initial build, covering both naval and overland production needs for turn 1.

2.) If you make a new naval unit, it wont be able to sail until the next turn after building ships, but this little trick lets your newly constructed ship sail at once on turn 2. Move out the HQ and make an empty unit in the shipbuilding location.

3.) We've finished our first turn, and have some infantry and transport in our HQ, and a ship unit with 2 transports, ready to sail.

4.) But we had already decided upon two separate naval invasion forces, so we'll have to split the transport ships. One of these will have to wait until the next turn to move, but one is ready to sail now on turn 2.

5.) We make the 2 overland expedition units, as far from the HQ as possible, and give theme each 1 rifle and a horse and truck respectively. Then the remaining rifles, trucks and horses are split up in small formations, ready to board the ships.

6.) Still on turn 2, the first ship that was ready to go has loaded 4 of the brave explorers, and started off to the west. The other fleet has loaded the remaining units and will move on turn 3.
[image]local://upfiles/29379/DB8A2E6D55FB4F36A12FFB6A2CB077A7.jpg[/image]




Appren -> RE: Fast exploration in random maps! (large images) (6/30/2009 12:06:43 PM)

1.)We are on turn 2, and the ship has sailed. Seeing that this map is not shrouded, and we already have forces moving that will reach the closest cities next turn, and that both our ships will drop off enough units to explore the western and southwestern lands, so we can already start on the infrastructure. Therefore we'll build some engineers, and end turn 2.

2). It is turn 3, and the first ship drops off one of the infantry units near the city on the peninsula, our first engineering unit is ready to start building roads to the southeast, and we are making another unit this turn that will start building roads to the south. The second transport ship has started its journey.

[image]local://upfiles/29379/D7C00B39674E4CF7A534264660AA17B1.jpg[/image]




Appren -> RE: Fast exploration in random maps! (large images) (6/30/2009 12:06:56 PM)

We are on round 4, and on the road to victory! (Hopefully)
The two ships are making their journeys, with drop off spots market with cute pink X's. Planned roads marked with orange.

We have the two first engineer units ready (or rather, one ready, and one being created this turn), and the HQ now only builds supplies and PP for the next turn or two. Once we have our first city to the southwest, we'll make a combat headquarter there, and start sending infantry divisions towards the direction our opponent will come from, and make a few more exploration units as needed, one for each city that needs to be hooked up.

[image]local://upfiles/29379/9A637F3B156E470F98D62818F77B27CB.jpg[/image]




Appren -> RE: Fast exploration in random maps! (large images) (6/30/2009 1:10:30 PM)

This map is not shrouded, and as such it is easy to decide how many units you will need to cover the map in the fastest possible way. What many players will do is have a unit going from the start to a city, then to another city, and then to the next, possibly not using the direct route, and often running out of supplies on the way. If you are able to save some travel time, use multiple units, one going to city A, one to city B, another to city C and so on, using the fastest possible approach. Ships on turn 2/3 should never sail with just one unit on board, assuming there are more than one objective to be captured wherever it is going, fill it up with multiple units that you can then drop off at whatever point on the map that lets them get to an objective the fastest.

If we were playing on a shrouded map, the same principles apply, but you would not stop building units on turn 2, you'd repeat (while building some supplies) the build from the first turn several times, maybe ending up with 10 or more ships, and a dozen tiny rifle units spreading out over the map. The ships would drop off a rifle/horse unit every time it reach something looking like a new shore, and then moving on.

You'd have to guess what your starting location is though, sometimes I've ended up with transports on a little lake, since I thought I was starting on a coast, but that cannot be helped, you'll just have to make an estimate of what you need, and start exploring!




seille -> RE: Fast exploration in random maps! (large images) (7/1/2009 6:59:17 PM)

A good guide. I play with some variation depending if full first level tech is on or not.

1. Fighters for recon shrouded terrain
2. Transports and paratroopers for fast expansion (if there is no rule against !!)

And i would not use any trucks early on. My explorer units always consits of small infantry units. No horses, no trucks.




british exil -> RE: Fast exploration in random maps! (large images) (7/1/2009 8:16:53 PM)

@ Seille

Why no horses? Cav units can travel faster than foot units. I expect to be faster than my opponant in gathering territory and towns, so favouring mobile units. Trucks for road hexes and horses for other terrain, esp when playing with seasons on.
If I can snatch a production plant before my opponant, then all the better.
I can start building PP'S or even an HQ so that a defensive Army group can protect my newly aquired territories.

Please explain why you do not favour Cav units for exploring. Could be interesting, maybe I might want to change my tactics.




seille -> RE: Fast exploration in random maps! (large images) (7/2/2009 1:29:52 PM)

In the first turns you simply donīt have the production to produce horses.
You need cargoships (many) to get in all directions and you should give each of the ships 4-6 small infantry units.
Plus the needed supply + the needed PPīs for unit and HQ creation. Maybe you need some engineers at the homeland.
So how to produce horses without cutting the important production ?

Thatīs why i never produce any horses at the start. Maybe after the first 2-3 turns with additional prod power to explore the homeislands
or to make engineers more mobile. This is my way to play, not a universal solution [;)]




Appren -> RE: Fast exploration in random maps! (large images) (7/2/2009 4:25:54 PM)

I do it the other way, in most maps. I produce no supply the first turn, not any PP, but ships (if on water), rifle, horses, and if I start near a road, or with big plains, then trucks. Then I'll switch to the other stuff on turn 2 as needed. It all varies from map to map though, there is no fixed order, you'll have to adjust your play depending on what the needs are of course. If you start in forests, or with many big rivers you certainly need engineers fast.




Jeffrey H. -> RE: Fast exploration in random maps! (large images) (7/7/2009 8:18:08 PM)

I sometimes just use horses by themselves as explorer units. I have the vauge and undefined notion that they move faster than infantry units.




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