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Meditating on focus vs spread strategy

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

It's for a game idea of mine that takes place in WW2 pacific. The map is going to look like something similar to this where each hex represent an area of the pacific.

Now the way movement works is that there is no movement. All the ships are pooled in the reserve of the player and during the movement phase, the player places stack of ships in the target hex he wants to attack or defend (probably attacks are placed first then defenses).

It create a situation where players will have the option to spread out to capture more territories with weaker fleets, or focus more in less target, to gain less territories but have more chances to win.

With the current system, I thinks that players will experiment both strategies until they reach a middle point they will consider as the optimal number of ship. But I do not want that to happen. I want both strategy to be valid and maybe use them as a counter strategy. Ex: if a player focus too much you simply spread out.


I tried to make a comparison with casino roulette. For example, if you have 50 coins, you could focus 25 coins on 2 different numbers or 5 coins on 10 different numbers. Here:

Focus: Less chances to win, Higher pay out. Higher loss risk.
Spread: More chances to win, lower pay out. Lower loss risk.

As for my game it's the opposite:

Focus: More chances to win, less territories captured
Spread: Less chnaces to win, more territories captured.

But there is a main difference, in the roulette, the number of coins you place on a number does not increase your chances of winning. In My game, the more ship you send, the higher are the odds to win.

So maybe the key is to make battle outcome more volatile, which means the player with more ships is not always likely to win. This could probably be acheived with a kind of RPS relation ship between ship types and weaponry. Some lucky roll could for example, neutralise ennemy carrier, making it defenseless to air strikes.


Another problem is the number of ships between players. If player A has 30 ships, and the other player has 60. Player A focus with 3 territories of 10 ship each. Since player B has much more ships, not only he can focus to match the attacker's ship using 30 ships, but he can also spread the rest of this fleet.

So again , the player with most ships in his pool is strongly advantaged and is more likely to force the other player to use a certain strategy.

Some restriction ideas I had that I could use are:

Commanders: Limit the number of territories attacked.
Stacking limit: Restrict the size of the taskforce sent in a territory.

Else I am more looking for a mechanic with a special twist.


Do you know other games that use a combinations of spread/focus strategies?

What kind of mechanics did they use?

Thank you for any help

RGaffney's picture
Joined: 09/26/2011
What if the more boats you

What if the more boats you had the more likely you were to win a battle in that particular square, but the more territories you had the more boats you were given to place

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I have been giving it

I have been giving it additional thought and I got a new idea.

I wanted to have a supply route system which is very simple: All the hexes you control must be connected.

The problem is that cutting supply routes is very hard since each hex has 6 sides, there are few hexes on the board that could be completely isolated.

When you have a small map, you need to maximize your space. One way to do it is to use your hex side to increase the density of information

So I was thinking of a partial supply cutting system where the number of hex side you control increase the strength of the supply line. For example, for fleet deployment, the number of ship you could deploy in a target hex for defense or offense could be:

3 ship + 3 ship per hex side

So the positioning on the map would set a stacking limit. It the target is not connected to your empire, you can only send 3 ships.

Same thing for infantry and marines. I was wondering how I was going to manage their movement, I now found the solution. Each hex side makes you deploy more troops:

1 infantry/marine + 1 per hex side

When all the fleets are assigned, players assign infantry and marines from their reserve up to that limit on the bases they want to attack and defend. So the land forces also get pooled at the end of the turn.

By thinking about it, it solve one of my bug where the japanese could attack Hawaii right at the beginning. Now, they will not be allowed to send as many ships since they only touch with 1 hex side.

I think the idea is worth exploring.

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