Home > multiplayer, strategy > CTON / ffa / Ironman: When NOT to attack

CTON / ffa / Ironman: When NOT to attack

I often see unexperienced ffa players (especially those coming from teamers and duels) attacking people without any use, so here are some guidelines on when NOT to attack (being turned around also answering when to attack).

To decide whether to attack in duels and teamers is pretty easy: You do so, if it will hurt your opponent more than yourself. However in any kind of ffa style games, the third-party is added to the equation, namely all the other players in the game. Now the question is not, whether it will hurt your opponent more, not even whether you can kill him or kill him fast. The question is if you gain an advantage for yourself from that attack for the overall game.

Obviously this influences how experienced players play in order to not get attacked, which is close to always a way, that would surely get you killed in duels.  So when you see someone not having much army next to you, so you could kill him some cities, that doesn´t mean you should do so. Because then you are in a war, that costs ressources, while those players who are not involved, happily outtech you.  Actually you can close to always kill someone if you really want to, but rarer attacking someone makes sense.

There are some basic rules you should check before attacking someone. Of course there are exceptions, but as a general guideline they work very well:

-Can I kill FAST?
It is not only important that you are able to kill someone, but you have to do that fast, because any long war will definitely weaken your economy so hard, that you get outteched. (Only exception 2 people fighting each other for victory when everyone else is far behind)

-Will I be able to take/hold his land?
This point matters most in cton, where the enemies land gets razed and you have to plant it. It doesn´t make sense to kill someone, so someone else can take the land. Since you made the effort of killing that player, this will weaken your strength, so someone else may be able to take the land then.

-Will it get me killed afterwards?
This is the big issue in Ironman/ffa. Those games take long, and the game is far from over, when your war has ended. When you have conquered a player, you will probably have more land then the others, but be behind in tech and buildup. This makes you a longterm threat, that is vulnerable at the moment – the perfect target. So when thinking about attacking someone, consider what happens afterwards. If the leading player will be able to build tanks then, while you have only rifles, but you have become a danger with all your land, he can and will attack you. Of course here also applies, that you dont have to be not-killable (you will never be so), but you can not allow someone to be able to kill you without ruining himself. You also only have to consider players, to whom you pose a threat. Someone who wins anyway shouldn´t attack you.

-Do I gain anything?
Even if you can conquer someone fast, without getting yourself killed afterwards, it might still be a bad decision. There are a lot of boosts you can get from being ahead in tech, that you wont be able to compensate with more land. Of course having twice someones land early will let you win in the long run, but having 1.4 someones doesn´t mean anything. If you have Philo happily grabbing wonders while you fight, he is going to outtech you till the end of the game.

So as conclusion only attack, when you will gain something from it for yourself in the very long run. The game ends on the last turn!

happy peace


PS: Honor should also make obvious that you do NOT attack players
-because you are bored
-because you want to leave the game to get yourself killed
-because you dont like someone
-when you win anyway
-when you lose anyway

  1. Sen
    January 6, 2010 at 19:02

    Oh come on, theres no such thing as honor in cutthroat FFA. Also, any reason you can think of is a good reason to attack, especially if its petty. Thats playing the metagame.

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