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How to win multiplayer games

 

These strategy tips were first posted April 29, 1999 by DrTrickhound to the Firaxis Gettysburg forum

Note: this is basically the text version published by Matt Morelli at the Angle. It has been distributed on many other ways too, since this is a real basic text on SMG. I simply edited some words by using MS Words spelling check. I donít think there will be any copyright issue violated (except DrTrickhound himself would not want this to be published). Thank you very much, DrTrickhound for writing, and Matt Morelli, for preserving this great article! I think it is still one of the best articles ever made about this game.  

Matt Slow, for Gettysburg! Online Society, November 04 

this file is available for download here

 

How to Win Multiplayer Games - Part 1

By DrTrickhound


The following is a completely unhistorical guide to winning at SMG ["Sid Meier's Gettysburg!"]. A lot of it is basic and obvious information, but the majority of multiplayers do not use it. These are ways to win while playing straight (no skirmisher stacking, forward retreating, moving on pause, etc).

Basics: 

1) Trees are your life- stay in cover so artillery cannot hit you. Unfortunately, this is not a game of massive battle lines but rather brigades stuffed into clumps with as much arty as possible.

2) Know your brigs. There are good attack brigs with 200+ men regs (vet and up), holding and charging brigs 300+ (green and up), flanking brigs- small reg brigs. Donít put brigs like Kelly on the line, flank them.
If you know your brig is going to lose a fight, fallback or retreat, reform and get better position. Donít just stay in a bad spot with a bad brig and get hammered. Disengage. When you have played a lot, get to know each reg. That way you can tell where your line will be weak (classic examples are Walker's 27th VA and Burbankís 10th US)

3) Maneuver. A lot of players engage where they find the enemy. Better to maneuver till you get either better position than the opponent or a mismatch in brigs.

A) Position: position is everything, VPs [victory points on the map] are worthless without position. Donít go for the VPs at the start, with position the VPs will come. Good position is elevated cover.

B) Playing out Front: Donít sit on your VP, get the best position possible the furthest away from a VP you control. That way you can pin the enemy far away from your VP, and fallback or retreat several times to other good positions.

C) Timing: If you are weak at the start, maneuver till your brigs come. Most games have an ebb and flow where each side is strong and the other weak. The art is to strike while strong, but do not over pursue such that enemy reinforcement kills you.

4) Attacking: Some maxims: 

A) Yanks will always lose if they are sitting downhill in the open. Get into cover.
B) Charging a position with 3 or more arty will almost always fail.

Attack Strategy: Most scenarios have 3vps, often forming a triangle. The best thing to do is to maneuver into a position where you split the enemy's army in half, making him defend two VPs. Then strike the weakest VP (weak meaning fewer troops or harder to defend) with a majority of your brigs. Pin the enemy at the other VP with a brig or two, falling back as necessary until you have taken the objective VP.

Reinforcements: Donít use reinforcements to replace a beat up line, instead maneuver around your opponent and come from behind him. This will immediately stop an assault and if you are lucky, get a flag or two. Sandwiching an opponent will get better results than just forming a larger and fresher line.

Attack Tactics: Flank, flank, and flank. Best way to flank is take a couple of regs, put them on go and dq, and run around the flank of your enemy until you are BEHIND him. This is an art. You can easily get routed and it takes a lot of practice.

Charging: Fat regs beat smaller ones in a charge. Most yanks brigs, even the bad ones, have one very large reg that is good for charging, flank with the others. You can tell if you are going to lose a melee by clicking on a reg, they will usually tell you if they cant hold. Better to retreat early than have the reg routed. Itís also better to charge one reg and flank another, then to charge two regs into one.

5) Defense:

Strategy: Threat assessment is the number one defense skill. If you see Kelly coming, donít adjust all of Perrin to go after him.
Iím of the opinion that the best defense is to attack (limited subscribers to this theory). A more prudent strategy is to counter your enemies maneuvering, and feint attacks at your enemies VP. Make the opponent do the thinking, try not to be the one always responding to a threat. Keep your the lines open between your vps, you want to be able to be fluid.

Defense Position: look at your vps, then look at where the attack is likely to come from, then occupy that spot in force. Simple.

Defense Tactics: Stop flanking by dragging a reg behind your line, Double Quick it to a threatened flank. Charging-fallback, then hold if you have superior numbers, flank the charge at all costs. If you donít have the numbers, donít sit and take a charge. You will lose. Better to go skirm and fallback or retreat.

6) Routs: Clear them out, get them far away, and rally them. Whatever extra firepower they give sitting on a line is not worth the value of a rallied reg (plus its a tasteless tactic to keep your routs in battle).

7) Retreating: Avoid getting routed. Use right click moves troops in the preferences and retreat shot up regs far away from combat to rest. Far too many newbieís and mediocre players lose because they get routed. Retreat instead.

8) Ways to get lots of casualties quick:

Charge and hold arty while in skirm. Shooting it until it routs doesnít give you many points. For some reason arty that has been charged has a hard time getting away.

Flags: Getting flags is a definite skill. Personally I think going for flags is often a waste of stress.

9) Ways to win "unwinnable" scenarios:

LRT: mass charge from the southeast corner.

Gobbler's Knob: mass charge from the northwest corner.

Cemetery Hill or Evergreen Cemetery: People usually defend by stacking the orchard, but they usually leave open the cem itself along with the tree copse to the south of it. These both provide cover from arty, and are decent positions to push or charge from.

There is a lot more to be said, and many good players may disagree with my advice. Donít be afraid to lose while trying new things out. And donít always pick rebs, you will never get better otherwise.

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 Part 2        

Some details to flesh out previous posts, including lengthy examples.

1) Strategic ways to achieve victory

A) Go for the VP at the outset

This is the most common type of strategy, and unfortunately, often the worst one. This strategy is only valid when the VP itself is the best position around, which is often not the case. LRT and Gobblers Knob are examples of VPs that are also prime positions. They are elevated, have cover, and difficult approaches. Pitzer Schoolhouse is an example of one of the worst VPs ranked by position. The little cover it does have is located in a valley, it is difficult to defend, but easy to retake.

B) Go for Position.

Tactical position will yield the VP at the end (which is the only time it counts to actually occupy a VP). Prime example of a position, which is better than the VP, is Breams hill. Breams with its elevation seems like a great VP to defend, however, it has no cover. To take Breams all one needs to do is go north into the woods of Blackhorse Tavern/Butts School, set up their arty, and blast the enemy off Breams. The trickier part with position is, any good opponent also knows where the good position is. However, position is like a chain. There is position to take a VP, and position to take that position, etc. The enemy simply does not have enough troops to cover all the approaches. Your problem is working down the position chain before time runs out. It does you little good to gain Culpís Hill if time runs out before you can take Spanglerís Knob. Thus position itself needs to be classified. First, there are all of the tactical positions around the VPs, this yields usually at least 10 good places to mount an offensive from, and the enemy cannot occupy them all. Furthermore, there are strategical positions, which can yield the VP, the tactical position, or help destroy an army (see section C). Strategical position holds no value in and off itself, but rather functions to cut an enemy army in two, stop reinforcement of another position, enable you to choose multiple areas of attack, etc. A prime example of strategic position is the wheat field south of Butts Schoolhouse. This wheat field is difficult to hold, as it only has cover when one isnít moving, and totally lacks elevation (it is even a little downhill from the foothills of Breams). However, occupying this wheat field enables you to control the traffic between Breams, Butts, Hagerstown Road, Pitzer Hill, and Plank Hill. Thus strategic position can also help yield a VP or the tactical position, which will yield the VP.

Thus to recap, maneuver between strategic and tactical positions to gain better position and to ultimately gain the VP. I cannot emphasize enough what good maneuvering will do. If you outmaneuver an opponent, often you can go from holding a 3rd best tactical position to holding the best position, or holding the VP itself. For example, if the enemy is holding Hagerstown road, and sends a brig north to counter your maneuver to Herr Woods, he opens himself to attack from troops in northern Pitzer Woods. The opponent simply cannot occupy all the areas of strategic and tactical importance.

C. Destroy the Enemy Army piece by piece.

Lets say the enemy has LRT, but has a brig playing out front or trying to delay you. A weak player will try to attack the enemy where it is and eventually make it to LRT, a decent player will send a couple of skirmishers to pin the enemy, and send the rest of his troops around to LRT, a good player will use his troops to flag or destroy the unsupported enemy troops. Once the enemy is down a brig, all the easier to charge LRT.

Think of it as chess, you donít go straight for the king at the start (VP), you take away some of his defenders first. Kill some bishops and pawns, then go for the endgame.

Thus, any time you get a mismatch in brigade strength, try to kill the enemy with decisive force. Donít always divide your army up to match brigade for brigade. For example, if you have cross-attacking OíNeal, bring in Tilton to help cross kill OíNeal rather than having Tilton match up against Ramseur. Once OíNeal is gone, use Tilton and cross to kill Ramseur.

To discuss defense for a moment, many people playing rebs in the above scenario would run Ramseur over to help out OíNeal. This is a common mistake. If a skillful enemy is attacking OíNeal with Tilton and cross, he should have better ground than OíNeal (or he should have waited to attack until he did). Reinforcing OíNeal with Ramseur in bad position is a way to lose two brigs instead of one. Better to use Ramseur to push the yanks. In order to commit Tilton and cross, the enemy had to weaken himself somewhere. Strike there with Ramseur, have OíNeal fallback or retreat. The weakness could be in position, or leaving a VP open, or leaving another yank brig open to attack by Ramseur and another reb brig. Gettys is very fluid, if you are being pushed in one place, push back in another. Same thing goes with defending a VP that you were given at the start. If the enemy comes at it with overwhelming strength, let him have it, swap vps with him, go for his. Nothing says yanks have to defend the Southeast vps, and rebs have to defend the Northwest ones. The first rule of defense is threat assessment. Never pull Pettigrew to cover Kelly. The second rule is NEVER REINFORCE BAD POSITION (might as well save everyone time and use the admit defeat button). Good position can become bad position. And sometimes bad position is one of the vps you hold. Even LRT can become bad position if you have Kershaw on top, but are surrounded by Baxter, Paul, Schim, and Kry.

2) Ways to Achieve Strategic Goals:

All Guns Ablazing Theory

Gettys is a game of motion, not a turn based game, so keep things fluid.

Brigs have two values: a) combat value, which can be enhanced or diminished by tactical position, b) threat value, which can be enhanced or diminished by its strategic position.

Combat value is obvious. However, threat value is less often used, but can be more important than combat value. A stationary brig is often of little worth. The enemy can easily assess its strength, position, and cover and decide to attack it, go around it, or pin it. A moving brig keeps the enemy on his toes, and can help produce a mismatch. Tilton has little combat value, and will wilt once engaged. However, Tilton can have enormous threat value. (Kelly even more so because he is crack and can run forever) Putting Tilton on your line adds little to your firepower. But sending Tilton towards the enemy's VP, even when you are already guarding two VPS and feel you need every man there to help out, can save the game. The enemy has to cover Tilton, and in all probability will pull one of his weak brigs to do so. Where Tilton could not take Williams out of the game by outfighting him, he could take Williams away from a crucial fight by maneuvering around and making Williams baby-sit him. Yanks need to use their little boys to whittle the enemy down to size so their big boys can do the heavy lifting.

Thus, the concept is to keep all guns ablazing at all times. Overpower the enemy, even with inferior troops and position, by making every brig on the field work for its living. If a brig isnít fighting, it should be feinting somewhere, occupying other brigs. Create mismatches, donít just engage wherever. Use both combat and threat value to take vps, take position, and destroy enemy brigs piecemeal.

3) Some specifics:

If playing against an enemy who is very good at maneuvering, take the offensive. Pin him down early so he canít maneuver you out of position. And keep your eye on the ball, he eventually has to hold your VP at the end, everything he does, directly or indirectly, is an attempt to obtain the VP.

Keep changing your style, donít fall for fads:
Currently everyone is flanking, a few months ago mass charging was in fad. Stick with the basics, and use any tool necessary to win. Mass charging is defeated by falling back and flanking. Flanking is defeated by keeping a wide front (not clumping a brig).

How to defeat Glitches:

Skirmstacking. Any good player should be able to turn this against tactic against his opponent in such a way that it is never used again. First: surround the stack and flag it, harder to do against the better stackers who put arty in the middle of the stack. But the end result should be a nice collection of white flags, as skirmishers give up their flags quickly. Second: leapfrog charge it. Take a reg not being fired upon, charge it till it is being fired on, then charge a reg behind it, continue till the stack is driven to either Washington or Richmond. Forward Retreating: DQ arty in front of the retreating regs, the enemy will not be able to stop an entire brig from retreating to the four corners of the earth. Highly effective if done right. Secondly, target the troops with arty, which should greatly increase their stress.

4) Even more specific tactics which will make all those too impatient to wade through all that strategic stuff regret their existence:

Hold: Most underutilized command. Use hold to exchange stress for casualties when being fired upon by arty. In plain English: troops on hold will not take significant stress from arty fire, but will take slight casualties instead. Does not work against canister, or if being fired on by enemy regs too.

Use hold to quickly recover stress. Take men away from combat, make sure their commander is within range to give a commander flag, and put the men on hold. Greatly reduces stress recovery time. God knows why I'm giving this one away.

How to limber arty as fast as the comp: First, click on limber arty, then move it. If you move it first, it will take forever to limber (current theory is that if you just move the arty, it has to wheel first, then limber, whereas if you push limber, then move it, it limbers, then wheels faster with the horses moving it). Added bonus: arty continues to fire while limbering. Thus, you can put arty out front, unlimber it, start limbering it as the enemy approaches, continue to fire while limbering, and then run away at the last moment.

If you have read this far, you are a serious addict in need of help. Call the Getty Anonymous Club in your local area. Meanwhile, get outside, or get some sleep, or save your marriage.

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