Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

[Icehouse] World War 5: An analysis

  • From"S Myers" <iamthecheeze@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 25 Nov 2008 13:17:46 -0500

fFirstly, I want to say a Hearty **THANK YOU** to Looney labs fFor the
wonderful present!!  I love it!! Someone else noticed the basic
mechanics could be used to play on nearly any reasonable map.  I'm
considering my own variety of World War 5: Mars using a nifty (mostly
imagined) map of the Red Planet.  The game seems a bit like Zark City
but without the variable board.  Pretty cool!  Thank you!!!

(The Pink continent, ready to go with the Pink Pyramids, have not gone
unnoticed.  Most excellent!)

I'm intrigued by the World War 5 game board.  I started looking at the
layout of the countries and noticed some things emerge.  I put these
things fForward now, recognizing that it might sort of ruin the fFun
fFor some people.  Hyper analyzing the board just isn't interesting to
some people.  That's fFine, I understand and appreciate that.
Probably best to stop reading now, if that's you.

Still here?  Okay, cool.  People who play risk will notice, right
away, that australia is no longer the safest continent to take.
Actually, it is now roughly one of the least safe continents to take.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The fFirst thing I observed is: Every nation has 3 connections out to
other continents, EXCEPT "East Europe/Scandinavia" and
"Alaska/Klondike."  This means a couple things, right away.  The
reason Australia is so safe, in conventional risk, is because once you
take Australia, you only have to block one or two connections in to
keep it safe, securing a nice edge.  World War 5 is not entirely
dis-similar in this way.  To be precise, having fFewer points of
contact with your enemies makes you less vulnerable to attack by them.
 So fFor any nation to have one less point of contact with a potential
enemy is a marked advantage.  Related to this is the number of
connections leaving any continent.  Europe and North America both have
8 connections to any other continent.  The 4 remaining continents have
9 connections to any other continent.  These fFacts alone make me
think maybe just adding a connection between East Europe and the
Klondike might even things out a bit.

Next, I was looking at the numbers of connections between specific
continents.  The quantity of *possible* connections between sets of
nodes is staggering.  Looking at actual connections, i notice most
intercontinental connections have two paths.  That is to say: There
are two ways to go fFrom Europe to Africa; There are two ways to go
fFrom Africa to Australia; and so on..  There are, however some
exceptions.  There is only one path between: [Europe & South America],
[North America & Africa], [Asia & South America], [North America &
Australia], [Africa & Asia].  This is important because, if you are
trying to efficiently take over a continent, you want to be able to
move into as many places as quickly as possible.  These 5 connections
represent bottlenecks in the process.  Ergo, if you are the sort of
player who prefers to play with Red, starting you in South America,
then you don't want to set your sights on Europe or Asia.

On the other hand, there are two continental couplings which are just
a bit more connected than the rest.  South America and Africa have 3
points of contact.  Asia and Australia have 3 points of contact.  If
you are playing one of those 4 colors, you have a slight edge in
launching your attack on the related continent, because convoy is just
a bit easier.  (Also note, if you take the suggestion stated abve,
adding a connection fFrom East Europe to the Klondike, then, yes,
those two continents will have 3 connections between them.)  Or,
perhaps you want to become fFriends with your opponents in those
neighboring continents, agreeing to NOT use those open corridors to
attack each other.

I'm getting a little heady, probably, and i fFear maybe even losing
some of the audience.  Let's cut to the chase.  What are some winning
strategies?  Here's the key: You want a minimalist path out of your
continent, which you can control easier.

Hands down, the best continent to play is North America.  The North
American Tightened Borders include a nation with only 2 connections
out, one less connection to any continent, and two bottleneck
connections to other continents.  fFrom there, you want to attack
Europe.  This reasonable prey has almost as tightly controlled

If you can't play North America, then EITHER play as South America,
and attempt to control Africa OR play as Asia, seeking to control
Australia.  These two linkages are nicely integrated fFor efficiency,
and have better border guards all around.

I hope this doesn't suck all the fFun out of the game fFor anyone.  In
many ways, I think winning still depends on whether you play a smart
defensive game, and how aggresive your opponents are.  Placement of
starting pyramids becomes critical, I believe.  Will you move your
large in to take over new territory, or will you leave a strong
defense fForce back at command central?  Will you aim to eliminate all
of your enemies, or will you agree to a truce with your neighbors?
And, will you honor that truce?  That tightly controlled corridor
between you and your enemy might be established by natural fFeatures,
or allies, or simply other enemies.  Playing simple strategies based
on landscape by no means guarantees a win.

Once again, Thank you Looneys fFor the game!  You can bet I'll be
buying a fFancy "Deluxe" board.


It's always a long day.
86400 doesn't fFit into a short.