map discussion: Monster 11 (set 3, page 15, map 11)

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map discussion: Monster 11 (set 3, page 15, map 11)

Post by rhaining » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:51 pm

This post contains spoilers for one way to beat Monster 11 (set 2, page 15, map 11).


I consider this map chaotic in the mathematical sense: tiny differences in initial conditions can result in wildly different outcomes. I suppose that could be said of Slay in general. I say it for this map in particular because there does not appear to be a way to win via brilliant strategy, but instead, you must manipulate initial conditions until you can get the other players to balance each other out e.g. via selective starvation. I would love to be proven wrong, so if you know a brilliant way to force a solution here, please post it!

I could find no way to save the SW base at all, and if I tried to expand at the outset with either the N or S bases they ended up getting crushed so the best I could do with them was save up to build castles on turn 4 then continue saving up. The central base is the only one that has any real freedom at the outside. I tried various different moves with the central base almost at random until one sequence produced an exploitable situation, and I was able to solve the map from there.

I don’t love the initial sequence of moves with the central base. I end up leaving my town hall horribly vulnerable, which is definitely not what I want to do or how I’d recommend playing. E.g. on turn 1, I prefer forming a triangle of hexes rather than a line or chevron of hexes. A triangle cannot be destroyed by a single L2 spearman move, but the other shapes can. And in later turns, I like grabbing more hexes by my town hall, as they will be protected by the town hall when I later move my L1 grunt away, and because that means the enemy will not own a hex immediately adjacent to my town hall and thus the enemy will be less tempted to sack my town hall. In any case, I played in a way that left my town hall open in order to win. I’m particularly horrified at turn 5, where the strategy could best be described as “hope he chooses to destroy something else”, and luckily, he did.

I have to balance out light brown, dark green, and yellow, but I’m a bit more wary of light brown, because that’s the player that crushed me in the late game in several earlier attempts. After helping starve light brown once, I start turning my attention to join the central and S bases on turn 11. (I’ve never been able to save the SW base. In this game, I did nothing with it and it was fully destroyed before my 4th turn.)

Turn 13 is pivotal. My screenshot isn’t the greatest. (I’ve opted for 1 screenshot immediately before ending every turn, even though I can’t show the full map.) On turn 13, I merged my territories, keeping my town hall in the S as I felt that was my safer base. I also split dark green into 3 territories, to starve the troops in 2 of them while also leaving the remaining dark green base small enough that he wasn’t tempted to build a L3 knight and destroy something important. I had to play this through twice to get it right. When I got turn 13 right, dark brown and yellow both join in on their 13th turns and take some dark green territory, and now I’m much less worried about the entire southern half of the map. On turn 14, I used my 15 cash reserves to build a castle between the former halves of my base, solidifying the connection, then I started returning my attention northward.

I’m not worried about yellow, and I still do need to keep dark green in check in the S, but I am somewhat worried about light brown. Turn 18 started with light brown having multiple L2 spearmen down the E side of the map. I decided to create my first L3 knight on this turn, both to kill multiple light brown troops (one of which was converted into a town hall) and to cow the remaining players in the S. I was worried this would cause light brown to also make an L3 knight and attack my holdout base in the far N, and this is exactly what he did, but I decided to use my far N base as a distraction and push northward from my central base as much as I could. I hated losing that N base but it worked, and by turn 21, when I starved his L3 knight and an L2 spearman, the map was beginning to look more straightforward. When light brown left his forces in a terrible position again on turn 24 and I starved them, there was no way he or any other AI player could recover from that point, though he did make a new L3 knight and I again starved it on turn 25.

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