Let me begin this guide by stating that it is not incorrect to prioritize other sections of the hobby over rules mastery. With that aside, This is a guide to help people understand the core strategies of the Age of Fantasy game system by one-page rules, and exploit as many of them as possible to win as many games as possible. Apply as many or as few of these lessons as you deem appropriate for your play style, in addition, feel free to prove me wrong on the battlefield! This guide assumes you use the tournament guidelines for the rules, as they are too open and easy to exploit otherwise.
3 parts of victory
There are 3 main phases to a game of Age of fantasy, and you should aim to maximize your efficiency in each of them to claim victory.
These 3 phases are
- list construction
This guide will primarily focus on the gameplay phase, with a side focus on the deployment phase, as list construction is heavily dependant on what army is being played, and would require individual guides to examine their intricacies.
It is important to keep in mind your plan should extend across the 3 phases to form a winning strategy.
How do I actually win a game
You hold the objective/ objectives on turn 4. All your actions should be towards putting units into threatening positions to take those objectives, or breaking your enemy’s ability to resist you putting units onto those objectives.
Killing every single enemy unit will still result in a game loss if he controls a majority of objectives by game end.
Activations and what should I be doing with them
Having a tight understanding and control over the alternate activation system is the most important factor to begin to make better choices. your goal is to control the flow of battle and make the enemy have few relevant choices, forcing their energy into unproductive avenues.
Things you want to do
-preserve your valuable units
-destroy your enemies valuable units
-take valuable territory
-deny your enemy valuable territory
A unit is more valuable if it is powerful, and in good condition, obviously, But less obvious is the fact that units which have not activated yet during a round are immensely more valuable than units which have.
because the game is short, units that have acted already have already used a significant section of the total value they will provide for the enemy’s plan during that turn. It is better to strike at an unactivated unit of the enemies rather than retaliate against a unit that just hurt you unless that unit is significantly more valuable than other available targets due to positioning, or unit strength.
Valuable territory is ground that allows you to strike at enemy objectives or units or would allow the enemy to do the same.
You want to set a situation up where no matter what move the enemy takes, you can punish them elsewhere on the battlefield. This is especially important if you have less total activations.
Whenever you make a move, consider how many of these objectives it fills.
How many activations do I need? and do I want to win now or later
there are two ideal amounts of activations you could have, exactly one less than the opponent, or many more than the opponent. this is because the only advantage of having fewer activations than the opponent works with one fewer, but there are many advantages to having an excess of activations. these two game plans boil down to if you want to win on turn 2, or win on turn four.
The two most basic forms of these game plans look like this.
I Want to win on turn 4!
The more standard option, you want to have as many more activations than the opponent as you can. you are Incentivised to bring efficient troops which are hard to remove, but not to break the bank on them. you want many of your activations to be roughly the same strength as each other, so as not to provide an easy focal point for the enemy to focus on. you use your activation advantage to force enemy prize units to commit to action, then feed them trash to limit their usefulness or grind them down with efficient use of target priority. you will win by controlling the objective space and muscling out enemies on the points. it is often useful to have a dangerous unit that you play very safely with to help push enemy stragglers off the point on the last turn.
why wait? I want to win on turn 2!
If you remove the enemy’s ability to present resistance, you win by default. This game plan wants you to have one less activation than the enemy, and for your units to be wildly differing in cost. you want some fast, powerful units, and many cheap trash units. you will be taking advantage of a property of the AA system to take a “double turn” at the start of turn 2. Activating your star unit as the last unit of your turn one, and then again as the first unit of turn two (which you can ensure because you have less total activations) can let you ignore many strategic implications that you would normally have to consider, dealing an unreasonable amount of damage to the enemy if they are unprepared and crushing their ability to resist, then continuing to roll up their forces with your other high priority units if they retaliate, and sandbagging them with trash if they decline to.
If you can, you want to avoid committing powerful units until late in the deployment phase, and you have seen where the enemy has deployed their power units. you want to ensure that your units have good targets, and your enemies do not. If they need to spend turns marching to the fight, then that is a turn which they are not killing you in.
Get them off my point!
If the enemy is standing on an objective, you have several options to shift them.
If you wish to kill them, either crush them with overwhelming force or win by any margin while applying leadership penalties to make them rout in melee
If you wish to waver them, it is ideal to strike them with many small ranged units, because every casualty from a separate unit can provoke a separate waver test.
Dragging is the most complicated of these options and involves a clause in the melee rules which require the enemy to move up to 3 towards you to get as close as possible if you successfully charge them. These 3 inches can make the difference between standing on or being absent from the objective if they are not solidly on it. only attempt this maneuver on a unit that has already activated this turn. this can also be done to open up a charge lane for another unit.
If expansion on any topic is required, request it in this thread. otherwise, I will produce a topic on what to look for in a unit in general, and then hop into army list rating.