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Tactics Tuesday: Building for Victory


Tactics Tuesday: Building for victory

Last time on Tactics Tuesday, we talked about the logistics phase in general. This time we’ll focus in on one part of that, albeit a part big enough to make it into the game’s tagline: building new units.

Armoured Digital allows players to build new units mid-game, which is rather unique in miniatures wargames and makes a huge difference to how AD plays in comparison to other games. You can send drones off into the fight or even self-destruct them (with the right orders card), safe in the knowledge that you can replace your losses with something else. Games that appear to be all over for one player can swing back the other way with one or two strategically-placed builds.

But how to use this building mechanic to your advantage? It all starts before the game does, in your force selection.

When you choose a force, you’re selecting not only what you put on the table, but what you want to back it up with. This depends somewhat on what you have in your collection: it’s pretty hard to field three Rhinos and a Viper if you only have the starter box, after all! When you build your forces you’ll need to have ready not only what you put on the table, but what you’re planning to build as well (assuming it won’t just be replacements for what you start with, that is!).

The choice of production specs is the key component, and this is the one thing that you get to specifically choose just before you start the game. If you’re playing an organised play event (like a campaign or a tournament), this is your chance to alter your forces to meet your opponent’s list. Are they heavy on the hardened armour? Take Rhinos, a Centaur and Bears. Are they fast raiders? A Meerkat’s jamming array will come in handy. Are they prepared to castle up and defend? You’ll be wanting a Jackal and Elephants.

There’s a lot of sneaky psychological stuff you can do with this build list. Remember that you don’t have to show your opponent any production spec until you actually build that unit, so have some fun with it. Try putting your Viper and Crocodile on the side of the table, complete with miniature and stat card, and when you start building you can instead pull a Bear from the box you have under the table to put into play.

You can take this tactic to the extreme and roll with a force of nothing but, say, Wolves. After the enemy deals with your massed raider wave, they will no doubt be building Elephants to shatter all that reflective armour. However, if you switch build tactics and pump out Rhinos instead, you’ll have the better counter to their forces and roll on in.

So what specs should you look at taking? First, you’ll need to think about how capable your commander is. The ‘generic’ research value for most commanders is 3. This means that you’ll have six production specs for a mid-level research commander, 8 for those who are a bit better at it and only 4 for commanders who think understanding tech is something that ‘other Digipaths do’. If you’re Bastion, those values are 9, 12 or 6 instead. A Bastion commander with Research 4 will not be faced with any difficult choices for production specs!

There are some staple production specs you’ll want in your hand no matter what: things like a replacement command unit (doesn’t have to be the same one you arrived in!), and a transport of some sort. After that, it’s time to make the harder decisions. Do you want to just replace your main combat drones with identical models? Do you want to completely change tactics and roll with different combat units? Are there mission-critical support units, like a Meerkat to compliment your Vampire command vehicle, that are a must-include?

The way I like to approach this is to select one combat drone of each type of firepower (projectile, explosive and energy). I prefer something different to what I have, so if I start with an Elephant in my explosive slot, I’ll probably take a Cheetah or a Cougar. I bend my choices towards what I think my overall strategy will be, so if I start with defensive units I’ll take faster raider types as my production specs, hoping that I’ll weather the first few turns and then send in faster units to finish them off. Alternatively, I might go hard at them in turn 1 and then my Wombat will be further forward, so units like the Bear and Elephant will be built closer to the enemy and not have to travel so far. Remember, too, the terrain that you’ll be playing on. If there are rivers and other water bodies around, you’ll want a Crocodile to cross them effectively. If there’s a lot of LOS-blocking impassable terrain (like buildings or rock formations), you’ll be looking for your artillery and a Jackal.

The last thing to keep in mind is that your production speed is limited. Your ability to produce units hinges on which units you’re building, your Resourcefulness stat and how many resources you have in your Wombat when you crank up the construction rate. With a maximum of three logistic orders on the Wombat each turn, your usual rate of production maxes out at 1.5 drones. This is where it’s worth considering the use of cards like Prepared Build. If you’re happy to sacrifice a couple of combat orders, you could take your Production 5 Rhino down to Production 3 and produce it with only one order, leaving you free to build a second unit in a single turn.

So what do you take into account when you choose your production specs? What are your most common units to build, and what are the ones you like to take but then never construct?


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