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What's your experience with the focus action?

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Finally got my hands on WL2.

 

The focus action caught my eye. I can see why it's necessary and interesting option for RAV attacks (they can sacrifice movement ofr a better aim). But doesn't it warp melee combat in weird way?

 

Miniatures already engaged in melee will be able to use this action, so it will happen quite often I reckon. A +1 modifier to MAV attacks for most of a troop makes a pretty big difference. Troops being engaged/charged by the enemy is thus at a big advantage in the following turns, as they can add the focus bonus, a chance the attacking troop will usually never have. Combined with the inspire action, this makes for some pretty insane counter attacks that in general would make yu favour a defensive position, no?

 

I understand the notion of 'waiting for the best opening before a melee attack', but such skillfulness at timing is already be incorporated in the MAV of the miniatures I think. My point is, that the amount of time (and there is a time factor to the spendure of actions) you have to perform a melee attack really shouldn't affect the outcome of the attack, as it should with ranged attacks and spellcasting (rather striking fast and keeping the initiative is what's important).

 

I guess it's the classic design problem of combining an action based system with the simultaneity of close combat. The problem is, that in theory the extra time you have to wait for an opening, your opponent would have too.

 

Any experience with and thoughts on how the focus rule works?

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First, remember that this is a tabletop miniature wargame, not a tactical combat simulation. The rules are abstractions of what happens during the course of the engagement. If you are looking to debate the actual mechanic of the Focus action, well... be my guest, but it is what it is. Whether you buy what it is supposed to represent or not is largely irrelevant. ::): Part of the reason Focus applies to melee attacks too is because it is an internal consistency in the game; it is an Action type that all models can use, for any of the Combat actions (Fight, Shoot, or Spellcast).

 

On the other hand, if you are instead questioning whether or not it is always tactically advantageous to wait to engage (and thus be able to use the Focus action), the answer is largely "it depends." The Focus action represents a 10% bonus to hit on every attack a model has, so on the surface, it certainly seems like forcing your opponent to come to you, then using the Focus action to boost your attacks, is the best route. However, this ignores three major facets of the game; initative, Support bonuses, and SAs. Initiative will not always allow you to lay off and wait for your opponent to engage you; your card may be drawn first. While you can certainly do nothing with your action and wait for your opponent to then charge in, your action for the current turn is expended, and there is no assurance that your card will come up before your opponent's card next turn. Support bonuses are only gained when it is your turn as well. Thus, if your opponent engages your models in a smart manner, not only will they have Support bonuses for their attacks, it is conceivable that they will eliminate enough models of yours that you will be unable to generate Support bonuses when you attack them. Further, if they've placed their models correctly, they may have eliminated the only models you had in Base to Base contact with theirs, thus forcing you to Charge to attack their models anyway, denying you the Focus bonus on your action to boot. Finally, there are a number of SAs that only work when you are the attacker (or work better when you attack). In such cases (Bludgeon, Curse, Rage, etc.), it is in your best interest to engage the enemy as soon as possible to take full benefit of the SAs that account for the model's point cost. Also, just because a model can Focus in combat, doesn't always mean you want to do so. Sometimes the models you are attacking are just the picket line, keeping you off the archers. The last thing you want to do is waste your time standing around in the same spot for another round (being hammered by arrows) if you can avoid it. :;):

 

Finally, Inspire is nice, but may not be as powerful as you think. It only grants a bonus vs. models that the Leader is based with. In most situations, that means the additional +1 MAV is applied against a single target.

 

All of that being said, there are some lists that favor exactly the kind of defensive stance that you have mentioned. However, the advantage to be gained in doing so is much less than you might think. The ability to dictate the terms of engagements to your opponent is also an advantage, as anyone that has played against one of the O'lord Onyx Legion deck control lists can tell you.

 

~v

Edited by Shakandara

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I don't see Focus come into play too often, the enemy has to survive my charge to be able to use it ::D: The ability to decide who you base is the big advantage of charging in. If you charge in ganging up on enemy models and most likely killing them, then you've gained an advantage and the enemy does not get a chance to use Focus.

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I don't see Focus come into play too often, the enemy has to survive my charge to be able to use it ::D: The ability to decide who you base is the big advantage of charging in. If you charge in ganging up on enemy models and most likely killing them, then you've gained an advantage and the enemy does not get a chance to use Focus.

This is exactly my experiences too. The benefit of charging and deciding the match-ups outweighs being defensive.

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The ability to engage the enemy in the way you want and with which models you want really makes charging in an advantage. Remember this isn't a GW game where when you charge you have to make sure every model engages something else. everyone in your troop can gang up on one person if they want to and makes sure they aren't around to focus anything next activation.

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First, remember that this is a tabletop miniature wargame, not a tactical combat simulation. The rules are abstractions of what happens during the course of the engagement.

 

Of course the rules are abstractions. But they are a simulation none the less. It's always a balance between the consistency of the rules and 'realism'. Even if we are talking about a fantasy world, the rules of the game represents a 'statistical equilibrium' or normative standard against which all other rules and changes are constantly weighed. And at a first inspection, the focus action smells like an anomali!

 

If you are looking to debate the actual mechanic of the Focus action, well... be my guest, but it is what it is.

 

Not if you change it.

 

I just found the rule to be strange in an well wrought game, where advantages are gained from using your skills to their full extent and knowing when to sacrifice movement for accurate arrows or fireballs, and where otherwise you have to pay 15 points for a magic weapon to gain a +1 MAV modifier! MAV modifiers are generally hard to come by in WL2 - most melee skills only take effect if you succeed on your initial, unmodified MAV attack - a change you've made to make the rules more elegant, I presume.

 

My point is, that good games are about making tough choices (oh yes they are), and when using the focus action in melee, there is no sacrifice if you don't have anything to do with your second action anyway. If you made the rule purposefully to statistically strengthen the defence, to counter a statistical imbalance towards the attacker for example, I guess it makes sense. If not, I think you may be scr...wing (however slightly) with your finely tuned system.

 

And while we're at it. Why do we need the inspire action (since heroes and monsters are already made more powerful i WL2)?

 

Ehh I'll get back to actually playing the game now...

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MAV modifiers are easy to come by in WL2, atleast as compared to other tabletop games I've played. It's not uncommon to turn a MAV 2 soldier into a MAV 4 or even 5 soldier. Heck there are ways to turn some figures into MAV 12 monsters of destruction. Conversely, RAV modifiers and CP modifiers are much more difficult to come by. Aside from focusing you can't improve your CP, atleast ranged get magic weapons and bless. So in essence you can get up to a +6 or so with MAV (not counting SA's), +3 with RAV, and +1 to CP. Remember too, that the vast majority of models in Warlord are melee models.

 

All this seems to be a very obvious way to focus the game on killing models and not allowing it to become a stagnant "you roll, I roll" affair. In my experience with WL2 (which some would say is quite considerable, I know I would, but I'm humble like that) the only time you really see an extended exhange of blows is when models continuously make tough checks, an insufficient force is sent after a more powerful one, or people roll some truly terrible rolls (like can't top a 3). In the second instance the attacking force is usually wiped out eventually over time (Duke Gerard springs to mind, curse him and his stoopid holy armor).

 

As to the real world applications of focus, all you have to do is watch an MMA match. In combat, as most things, timing is everything. Two combatants square off and gauge each other for a moment and then begin an exchange of blows. It's usually pretty clear to see who did the better job of focusing on their opponents movements and tendencies afterwards. . here's a hint, it's the one standing up cheering not the one dazed and confused on their back. The timing of the blows is vital. Knowing when to strike often times trumps knowing how to strike. I may know how to throw the perfect uppercut but trying to land it on an opponent who is leaning back is pure fail. Knowing that I need to wait until they are leaned forward ensures that they get a nice light show as they take a nap on the ring's floor. ::D:

 

Joshua

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I've found that Focus helps to speed up play. After you get stuck in, your decision making goes down. And as noted above, making decisions is what makes the game fun. The ability to add +1 means you hit more often, which reduces the amount of time you spend living with your decisions, and increases the amount of time you can spend making decisions.

 

Example: Player A decides to charge player B in such and such a manner - it may or may not work. But until the bodies start dropping for either player, the decisions are small - attack the guy in front and to the right... or in front and to the left... as opposed to "now that those guys are cleared out, do I rush those archers over there, or do I swing over here to help out my buddies who are still struggling with their own little fight?

 

Sure +1 isn't that big, and arguably doesn't speed things up TOO much... but it helps.

 

 

It also brings into play some interesting choices regarding allowing or denying your enemy the ability to use Focus. Charging in such a way that you enter b2b with more enemies tends to mean you can dictate the matchups more in a particular fight. But doing so grants them the ability to use the Focus action. So is it worth it to dictate the matchups more, or is it worth it to prevent them from using Focus more? It's a good question, and it's a question I tend to think about. I don't always answer it the same way, as the quality of the models on both sides, the terrain, nearby opponents, all factor into the decision.

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Ehh I'll get to actually playing the game now...

You do that. After you do, come back, and we can talk about rules, tactics, and game balance.

 

~v

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As others have already said, the ability to dictate matchups makes charging a tactical advantage.

 

Also, the focus action isn't always a guaranteed choice. For example, if your opponent has some ranged units or a spellcaster with LOS to your unit, then sometimes the fact that your unit is engaged with their friendly unit is protecting them from being a target. If you choose to focus and then kill their friendly that your unit is in B2B, then your model is out of actions and an easy target. If you take the risk that your trooper will be able to kill the unit *without* the focus, your unit will have options such as moving into cover, out of LOS, or potentially engage with another of their friendly units. Most of the time, in these situations, with my limited experience, I opt to focus; but I can certainly see it worthwhile to *not* choose to focus in melee.

 

Again, I'm not experienced, but I do see the balance in the melee Focus action.

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... there is no sacrifice if you don't have anything to do with your second action anyway. If you made the rule purposefully to statistically strengthen the defence, to counter a statistical imbalance towards the attacker for example, I guess it makes sense. If not, I think you may be scr...wing (however slightly) with your finely tuned system.

 

It is a very rares situation when I don't have something to do with my second activation. I most often use Focus when I have a model that barely survived the initial attack and will most certainly not survive a second activation of close combat. If I think there's even a moderate chance that I can kill the enemy model without focus, I'll not use focus. That second activation does tend to be very valuable once battle is joined. To me at least focus plays a very minor role in close combat, and when I get the chance to use it it's almost always a difficult decision, because that second action could be used to reposition the model after the won combat.

Edited by vejlin

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The games I've played in were fluid enough that focus rarely gets used in melee. I do know that I can't ever see myself allowing my opponent to charge me first so that I can use focus against him when I activate. Letting the other guy decide who gets ganged up on and beat down first is not something I willingly allow.

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If there's any sort of scenario beyond "let's meet in a big pile on the middle of the table and chop each other to bits" I find Focus sees little to no use in close combat. That second action is simply better invested doing something else.

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