suggestions to help beginners with the fundamentals

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    • suggestions to help beginners with the fundamentals

      I have had 2 years of great entertainment playing this game and am now having a break for a while (at least) to explore some other games. I did pretty well in CoW thanks to having been an army officer and military history as my main hobby. Im posting these notes hoping they might help new players better understand the challenging complexity of this game based on my experiences – it’s a complicated game and there is more than one way to victory and every game can be different so my suggestions are not a formula recipe for success but they do cover many of the issues I see new players struggle with. I have split my notes into this initial introduction of the basics and another 3 posts to cover the Military, the Economy, the Diplomacy aspects. Please note that my posts relate to original CoW and NOT CoW 1.5 where some of the economic and especially the military aspects and game balance have changes significantly (so I am told) but the fundamentals and diplomacy should be more timeless in their value....

      Attending to each aspect is important because CoW is three game genres in one. 1. The operational level military wargame (like Panzer General game) 2. The economic city builder game (like Sim City game) 3. The strategic diplomacy game for a winning coalition (like Monopoly game). Everyone plays the military game but if you want to consistently win you need to play the other two games as well. A big challenge in this game is that the same resources are used to build both your military units AND your economy BUT there is not enough to be doing both. Thus you need to balance between them as necessary. If you spend all your initial resources building just units you get a troops surge that can over-run your immediate neighbours but then you will come up against emerging stronger countries with bigger economies who will overwhelm you. If you build up your cities too quickly they factories will lie idle because you didn’t leave enough resources to then build the units and this leaves you ripe to takeover. Whilst juggling the military and the city building make sure to engage in diplomacy to make mutual defence, neutral or joint attack deals as appropriate and use spies to get information to assist in your decision making. In the absence of a comprehensive game manual, I found the series of short YouTube videos on Call of War by username Skybadger a fantastic primer for all these fundamental game aspects.

      I only played 2 games at a time with the philosophy of playing a couple of games well, rather than many games badly. Whilst games start very slow, as your number of units increases along with the size of your borders and relationships to manage, the pace of movement also picks up as fast tanks and planes appear and you want to make sure you have enough time available to attend to these increasing demands. If you can log on more often than your enemy you will get inside their decision-making cycle and be able to out manoeuvre and defeat in detail a more numerical opponent (check out the Boyd OODA concept). I found that games generally evolved across 3 phases: (1) Early game Days 1-2 concentrated on surviving any potential attempted invasion whilst positioning for first conquests and putting out feelers for coalition partners. (2) Mid game Days 3-8 was building up my core land (where u get 100% of resources which is 4 times as much as from captured land that only give 25% of resources) whilst also starting to expand towards my coalitions partners with my first groups of built artillery and tanks by taking out small AI and weak/inexperienced human players between us. The 4 fold increase that comes from concentrating on building up your core territory - rather than repairing conquered territory - gives the basis to then make a large balanced army for the late game. (3) Late game Day 8 plus should allow this well-funded growing army to go forth and conquer the world in collaboration with your coalition partners.

      If your coalition becomes dominant, then other players will start to quit before you even reach them and often the end game is just an administrative mopping up of abandoned countries (that have reverted to AI control) to collect enough Victory Points to trigger the win. Remember your coalition only has to get 70% or just over 2/3 of the map to win, so don’t get distracted into irrelevant small areas. Work out for each map what 2-3 continents will give enough VP to win and going for them can often make for a quicker end. When deciding what to do i also run thru the 'principle of war' MOUSE MOSS checklist to make sure i am adhering to good practice
      Mass - use enough units to efficiently achieve the task
      Objective - have a clear and defined purpose for where and why you are employing that mass of units
      Unity of Command - in a coalition use the secure 'coalition chat' channel to work together and support each other
      Simplicity - complicated plans especially across several coalition partners can come unstuck especially when the enemy will be doing their utmost to frustrate your plan - generally getting there "firstest with the mostest" works.
      Maneuver- dont be a sitting duck, you need to expand to win and if you move first and get the enemy responding to your moves (rather than other way around) then at some stage their response will be the wrong guess.
      Economy of force - whilst you need to apply sufficient mass in any battle, dont needlessly send too many units that could be better employed with sufficient mass to take on a second target and get those Victory Points quicker. Using economy also means keeping some reserves so that when enemy does something unexpected (as they will) you have something ready. Units are expensive to build but free to heal so rather than letting of my depleted unit die in battle, i try to send them back to my core territory to as a ready reserve whilst they heal and then cycle them forward against once strong whilst newly depleted troops come back in their place.
      Offensive action - if you "try to defend everything then you will ultimately defend nothing". this game is about continually attacking to get bigger than everyone else and collecting those Victory Points
      Secrecy - once u in a coalition then use the secure chat channel. employ counter spies whose very presence I think helps reduce the chances of someone stealing your military map seeing where you are.
      Surprise - dont always do the obvious thing. If you advance on an obvious objective (like going straight for their capital or advancing step-by-step along an island chain then all the enemy units are being told by you where to go and meet you so instead head between 2 major towns so they have to split there forces and occasionally leap-frog/bypass an island to make them also spread their defence etc.

      I found that maps tend to take about half to the same number of real world days to finish as the map size. Thus the 10/22/25 maps take about 12-25 days, the 50 maps about 20-40 days and the 100 maps about 30 – 60 days in real life. The smaller maps (10/22/25 maps) tend to be filled with new players that hardly know how to play and many times a lot of the players quit after just a few days so there is rarely little challenge once you have learnt how to win on these maps. At the other end of the spectrum is the large (100) maps that attract all the dedicated players some of whom play almost full time. These maps can be extremely intense and often end up with lots of gold be used in an attempt to ‘pay to win’ instead of playing to win as people ‘defend’ their huge time investment in the games and often relations go sour with acrimonious name-calling etc. If you cannot log on every few hours or are not willing to spend real money then you are unlikely to win 100 maps. I found the middle size (50) maps a good middle ground of still having competent players for a challenge without things becoming overly intense.

      see separate posts for more on each of Military, Economy, Diplomacy.

      The post was edited 3 times, last by taylorwohlt ().