You learn a lot by losing, sometimes it’s a little trick or a strange strategy you haven’t run into. Sometimes you learn a lot, like how important a major game mechanic is and you grasp how to apply it. Other times you just learn you’re not as good as your opponent across the board — your micro is a touch slow or you made bad choices picking units to build.
I lost this particular game vs. LordPixie almost entirely because of getting outcapped. If there is any guy that takes shift-queueing capture points to heart, it’s Pixie. I freely admit his US is significantly better than my PE, but in this game it’s the sudden realization that he’s got a ton of resources rather than any single battle or micro mistake that did me in.
Pixie has a fairly unconventional cap order on Angoville in that he usually goes for the closest Victory Point with one of his Engies. He builds on the VP lead continuously through the game, and it has a subtle psychological effect of adding pressure and contributing to a general feeling that he’s ahead and at an advantage. It’s surprising how desperate this can make you feel, and how big an effect being frantic has on your micro.
Amazingly and somewhat amusingly, Pixie ignores this and his Engy keeps capping merrily away up top. You will note the path of points captured and how aggressive it is — capping all the way to the top, including the +5 fuel and +10 ammo points right by my base.
At last there is a major encounter between 3 Panzer Grenadiers and 2 Riflemen; it goes badly for Pixie as he has no cover, and I have a 4th PG with G43 rifles attacking him from behind. Of course he is also rushing reinforcements to this fight. His Jeep arrives with an Engy behind it but I still have far more firepower thanks to the G43 PG that left the house by his strategic point to flank his Rifles from behind.
It certainly seems like a promising start so far for the boys wearing swastikas. But how can our facist friends hope to last against Pixie’s democratic heroes? Read on!
Amazingly, I make an incredibly stupid mistake here. I accidentally retreated both a health PG squad in addition to the 1-man PG squad I had meant to retreat.
This probably contributes substantially to Pixie ultimately winning this engagement. But I’m not done being stupid yet! As additional Rifles move into the critical house by the strategic point, I realize I no longer have enough firepower to challenge this defensive position. So I retreat everyone except my precious G43 squad. I am sure Pixie was chuckling merrily as his Rifles gunned down the 3-man squad which was advancing fearlessly like mindless zombies on his position.
By this point Pixie has the critical +16 fuel and +16 ammo points on his side of the map (the right side) AND the two +16s on my side as well. NOTE TO SELF: Shift-queue points for Kettens next time, dumbass! Of course Kettens are repelled by Engies, which means your entire list of shift-click queue commands are deleted everytime an Engy runs over to your Ketten. So sports fans, be ready to micro that Ketten a lot and keep it busy.
Here’s our next major engagement, and it’s an interesting one. Pixie cuts off my strategic point so I cut off his. I have 4 regular PGs in yellow cover and he has 3 Rifles and a Jeep that arrives late. NOTE: I may be mistaken, but I believe the bushes you see here provide 360-degree yellow cover to units inside the bush. These 4 brave PGs completely decimate Pixie’s first charging Rifle squad. Remember that moving units receive cover penalties and fire weapons with reduced accuracy.
So naturally the Rifle melts before a barrage of focused fire from the PGs. Luckily Pixie doesn’t retreat the squad and it dies to the last man.
Pixie’s Rifles take cover in the house, but since only two of the windows face my men, the PGs receive minimal damage and constantly kill Rifles in the windows.
Focus-fire also kills Pixie’s Jeep, which was blocked from reversing by the hedgerow.
You might think that I’m doing well at this point. Negative. I finally produce my Armored Car, and it guns down an Engy squad right out of the starting gate. I know it’s quite late because I’ve done so much micro and the fuel control, while uneven thanks to constant harrassing by both of us, has been in Pixie’s favor. But by this point Pixie has a ridiculous amount of resource income from capping so many points and holding them so long throughout all my carefully micro’d fights with him. Just check out his resource flow in this screenshot. I kill the Engy that is building his Motor Pool, but I know the AC can’t linger.
I was right to retreat, though it’s not in time; an Airborne squad with Recoilless Rifles materializes seemingly out of nowhere and lands a lucky engine critical. Now remember ACs mow Paratroopers down very fast, but Recoilless Rifle rounds move like lightning and these bastards didn’t miss the AC. BOOM, GG Armored Car. This should’ve been avoided, despite Pixie’s forethought in placing that Paratrooper squad near the AC’s escape route. I mean, I rarely find my own Paratroopers killing an AC in one exchange like that. But, fair is fair. Shit happens in life, and COH, it would seem.
I am afraid at this point the game is over. I have little fuel remaining and the VPs are like 70 vs. 450 for Pixie — just check the VP tickers in the shot below. One absolutely KEY mechanic I took away from this loss is this: you absolutely CANNOT lose a fight to defend your strategic points. Angoville has very pronounced strategic points that are all-or-nothing deals; you can control the entire map but if you lose those 2 key strategic points, you are cut off from everything. Now this seems obvious. But if you do lose those points, you lose all the population provided by all those sectors. So it’s a double whammy: you no longer have popcap to reinforce your units or bring in additional ones; you must fight back the enemy with what you’ve got. Typically this means you will have slightly less than your enemy, and you’ll keep losing while he cements his hold of the map and brings in more men. This slippery-slope mechanic doomed me in this game.
– Many instances of good infantry micro, including focusing fire to eliminate enemy squads.
– Good use of cover.
– Two huge, retarded mistakes that really hurt (losing entire G43 squad for free, retreating healthy PG in the middle of a pitched firefight).
– Got outcapped and did nothing about it. Ideally I should’ve been less aggressive and held my own side of the map; that would still result in an AC that’s earlier than Pixie’s first M8.
– Too much idle time for the Kettenrad.
– Aggressive capping strategy that absolutely maximized resource income.
– Right on cue with appropriate counters like Paratroopers packing Recoilless Rifles.
– Occasional poor Rifle micro.
– Occasional poor cover usage.