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 Post subject: Blinky's Guide to Unit Placement and Movement
PostPosted: May 24th, 2013, 21:56 
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In-game name: Blinky
First off Introductions are required for those of you are do not know me. My name is Blinky and I have been playing Scrolls ever since Mojang kindly gave out keys in the October issue of PC Gamer. Since then I have played thousands of games of Scrolls and risen to the top of the Scrolls rankings. Throughout my time playing Scrolls I have been spending a lot of my time here on Scrollsguide and consider it my Scrolls home.

So to start things off I thought that I would explain in depth an answer to one of the more common questions that I receive, "What is the best tip you can give me to make me a better player?". The answer that I give has and always will be something along the lines of, "Protect your middle idol and take out theirs". Although this is true I have never been able to explain exactly why. This article is my attempt at answering this, I have also expanded it to incorporate unit placement and movement strategy which is the key to really getting good at this game.


You only need 3 idols to win



The first piece of strategy that I want to introduce is more of just plain common sense. For your opponent to win they must destroy three of your idols, so to ensure that they do not you must keep at least three of your idols alive, simple isn't it. What we can take from this piece of logic is that you are better off focusing your defensive efforts on three of your idols than in trying to protect all five. Keeping your units together will lead you to be much better off than spreading your defensive efforts across the board.

This now brings forward the questions of what idols you should defend. If we are prioritizing the defense of three idols then there is a total of six ways (there is actually 10 but I have removed four as those formations are the same but mirrored) or combinations for you to accomplish this.

The following images show one side of the board (your side) with three idols protected by a full row of units (represented by the hexagons coloured red)

One


Image



Rows one, two and three protected



Two


Image



Rows two, three and four protected



Three


Image



Rows one, three and five protected



Four


Image



Rows one, two and four protected



Five


Image



Rows one, two and five protected



Six


Image



Rows one, three and four protected



What you want to try and avoid when placing your units is creating gaps in the ranks. All but the first two diagrams have gaps in the formations of units. The advantage of keeping your units together is that you will be able to always respond to any attacks that your opponent makes to your creatures.

For example, in the image below the opponents creature is attacking our unit on the middle row, we can immediately respond to this assault by moving our creature on the 4th row up and attacking our opponents creature.

Image



So from this we can clearly see that the most desired formation is in diagram two. However, this formation can only usually be formed late game when you have pretty much won anyway. So, what you should aim to achieve is filling up your middle row first and then playing your next units on the opposite side of the board to where you opponent has played theirs as demonstrated below (I have numbered the spaces to place your units in order of priority). The end result that you are after is the formation shown int he 1st diagram, where you are able to threaten 3 of your opponents idols and your opponent can only threaten 2, 1 without threat (the top or bottom idol) and 1 with the threat of being attacked by you (the 2nd or 4th idol).

Image



If you succeed in doing this then you are halfway there to winning the game, of course your opponent will be attempting to pull off the same strategy so ensure that you win the battle for the center. Win the center, win the game.


Unit Placement



We have established which row we should aim to start on, however we need to understand where we place our unit on said row. When you start a game you should always place you first creature in the middle hexagon as highlighted below in red, the best place for your first structure is at the front of your middle row highlighted in blue.

Image



By placing your creature on this spot you have the maximum number of options for movement the following turn (i.e. you can move into 1 of 6 spots). Your structure or a creature that you do not intend on moving (such as a Gravelcock Outcast enchanted with Dryadic Power) should be placed in the very front as this serves three puropses. 1. it protects your idol, 2 it protects your creatures and 3. it will allow the board to remain open for you to move your creatures from lane 2 to 4. If you placed your structure on the very back tile of the middle row and had a creature placed at the back of the 2nd row then it will take an extra turn for you to move your creature around your structure and get to the 4th row.

Image




Also by placing your creatures on the middle row you are able to threaten any unit placed on row 2, 3 and 4. Say your turn two play is to place a Gun Automaton where I suggested, your opponent then wants to play their first creature somewhere safe on the board, say a Sister of the Fox. Clearly they will be unable to play it on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th row as your Gun Automaton will be the first creature to attack and in doing so will kill the Sister of the Fox. So, your opponent therefore must place his creatures on the 1st or 5th row. This then allows you to build up your board presence on the field in the center and threaten the rest of the board and in doing so restrict your opponent to only placing creatures


Let them come to you



One of the key strategies that I like to employ is to allow my opponent to come to me. What I mean by this is that by taking control of the center and forcing my opponent to play their units on the bottom or top they will be unable to move without getting attacked from the creatures placed in the center.

Here we have our units (in red) on the left and our opponents units (in green). It is our opponents turn and they have destroyed our idol on row 5. They now have 2 options, the first it to move their units up and attack the idol on the 4th row.

Image



This however is a very dangerous move as this allows us to attack all of our opponents units that they have just moved.

Image



The 2nd option is for our opponents units to remain where they are. They may remain safe if they stay where they are however their attacks will be wasted and we will be able to further our position on the board by placing more units elsewhere (aiming for the 1st unit formation) and in doing so stopping our opponent from placing their units anywhere on the board without being threatened from out units.

Remember, as tempted as you may be to take out your opponents creatures you will be better off sitting still on the middle row. By moving down you allow your opponent to get the jump on you and attack your creatures first so sit still and wait it out.


Protecting your middle Idol



So far I have covered the pros of placing your units on the middle row, one thing I haven't mentioned is the difficulty you will face if you lose it. As I had established earlier, keeping your units together is much better than keeping them apart. If you lose your middle Idol then you are being forced to separate all your units into two groups, one protecting the top two idols and another protecting the bottom two. Usually you would only be able to protect one half properly, this would then result in your opponent being able to establish a board position as shown in the first diagram about protecting idols.

Image



Although it is still possible to win if you loose your middle idol it will be 10 time harder and will take some lucky draws or your opponent to mess up for you to come back.

Anyway, that just about sums up everything that you need to know (accept maybe a few things, well, I've got to keep a few secrets). Future articles I write wont quite be like this all the time (hopefully) however If you have anything that you wish for me to cover or take a look at then I would be glad to.

And with that we are done, congratulations if you have read the whole thing and apologies if it is a bit all over the place or is unclear at times, writing has never been my strongest point and everything that I am trying to convey is really hard to put into words.

All the best and I hope what I have written will help improve your game

Blinky


Last edited by Blinky on July 23rd, 2013, 11:05, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 24th, 2013, 22:15 
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Great article, and great idea to make this into a "series"!
Will this article only be about the game itself or also the metagame, like how to build a deck, which scrolls to buy etc.? Perhaps you could make a "first steps" guide for new players in the beta, as in "try to do some of the trials as they grant you much gold" and so on.
Thanks for writing this :)

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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 24th, 2013, 22:38 
Spearman
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We're blessed to receive words of wisdom from the all-knowing Blinky :O
I look forward to seeing your future installments!

(You're gonna end up shaping the meta before the game's even in beta! =D)
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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 24th, 2013, 23:20 
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Great job writing the article Blinky, I don't know what you're talking about writing not being a strong point for you. That said, you did make a typo in the paragraph under the heading "Protecting your Middle Idol": "one protecting the top two idols and another protecting then your opponent will be able to". You just cut off that sentence a bit, I do it all the Anyway good job and thanks for the tips!
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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 24th, 2013, 23:46 
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Blinky, this is spot on - I think it'll give some nice insight into game strategies for new players. It's very similar to how I play most matches. There's obviously exceptions where you want to change your play from this, but not that often.

Alchemist, I love that response. Made me smile. <3
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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 25th, 2013, 00:25 
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Excellent read, Blinky. I already gathered a couple of these things from carefully watching you play and trying to 'read' how you play the game, but I still found a couple of things that weren't readily apparent to me.

Thank you for this, it's going to make my play better in the future. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 25th, 2013, 02:22 
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Wow, the beta players are going to have it easy now. They're never gonna feel the pain of having to learn this the hard way. Dang-it, Blinky, why'd you have to go and ruin the veteran's advantage of all the early alpha testers? :P

Anyway, this is a great article. Clear, concise, and really informative. Positioning is so important to Scrolls, much more than any other CCG. Its a huge part of board advantage and deck efficiency.

Really hope to see more Caller's Corner volumes.
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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 25th, 2013, 05:25 
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Joethegreat1 wrote:
Wow, the beta players are going to have it easy now. They're never gonna feel the pain of having to learn this the hard way. Dang-it, Blinky, why'd you have to go and ruin the veteran's advantage of all the early alpha testers? :P


Players will figure it all out sooner or later xD

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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 25th, 2013, 07:39 
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Zylus wrote:
Great article, and great idea to make this into a "series"!
Will this article only be about the game itself or also the metagame, like how to build a deck, which scrolls to buy etc.? Perhaps you could make a "first steps" guide for new players in the beta, as in "try to do some of the trials as they grant you much gold" and so on.
Thanks for writing this :)


It can be on anything I feel like writing on or anything anyone wants my opinion on, so if you have any requests then feel free to send them to me :)
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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 25th, 2013, 15:13 
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Blinky wrote:
Zylus wrote:
Great article, and great idea to make this into a "series"!
Will this article only be about the game itself or also the metagame, like how to build a deck, which scrolls to buy etc.? Perhaps you could make a "first steps" guide for new players in the beta, as in "try to do some of the trials as they grant you much gold" and so on.
Thanks for writing this :)


It can be on anything I feel like writing on or anything anyone wants my opinion on, so if you have any requests then feel free to send them to me :)


Mutant owl bunnies, or more accuratley, ownies. Whats your take on them?

Btw, I just read it, and its a great read :D
Pretty basic stuff for those that have been around enough, but still important (and its nice to have it all orderly and logically explained). Plus, it will help ALOT with newer players.
GJ Blinky :D
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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 25th, 2013, 17:05 
Infantryman
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Never played a game of Scrolls myself, but your comprehensive article gave me a familiar feeling.

Great work, writing that article, thanks alot!
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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 25th, 2013, 21:32 
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Good Job Blinky! Now I understand why I lose all the time to you. :)
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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 26th, 2013, 16:32 
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This is amazing Blinky :D
A good insight into your OP mind ;D Really well done with this, it's outstandingly detailed and brilliant :D

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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 30th, 2013, 23:20 
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So it's the same mantra they teach in chess and Wing Chun: own the center line. ;)

Thanks for the analysis of battlefield positioning, I found it quite helpful.

Does this mean the next article will cover when you go second and your opponent starts in the center row? That puts you in the reaction side of things. Do you escalate by placing center row as well?
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 Post subject: Re: Callers Corner: Vol 1
PostPosted: May 31st, 2013, 07:35 
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maybe i am just dumb, but im confused.

Do we aim to have all our creatures/structures on 234(diagram 2), or 123(Diagram 1) ideally?

Thanks.
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