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Winning the Center in GG1 is Overrated


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A lot of my most frustrating losses in GG1 have come from losing a central scrum that I thought was essential to the pool. And conversely, at the end of many games I win, I have models spread across at least three quadrants of the board. This has me questioning how important the center really is in GG1.

Undoubtedly, GG1 is great for crews that want to take the center and then beat down. However, the importance of the center and the central scrum has been overstated and has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Putting the results of an entire match to a central fight usually comes down to who won at crew selection, or if there isn’t a clear winner, it’ll come down to cards. Overcommitting to the central scrum, especially when the master/crew matchup says you lose a front-to-back fight, leads to a lot of frustrating defeats and perpetuates the “center matters” reputation of the packet, which leads to more people going all-in on a center fight, etc etc etc.

There are pools where fighting the center is unavoidable. For example, Public Enemies with Claim Jump, Leave Your Mark, Research Mission, Let Them Bleed, and Hidden Martyrs. Recover Evidence/Public Enemies combined with Claim Jump/Leave Your Mark/Research Mission is the worst offender. However, in most events there’s usually no more than one pool that is so exclusively center focused.

Using tech that affects the center without committing to a brawl diversifies the GG1 play experience and will often win the game. Exerting influence on the center doesn’t inherently mean jumping in for a fist fight. Being able to reposition models from range (Lure) or delete scheme markers from range (Arson) is enough to deny pressure an opponent’s ability to score Claim Jump or Leave Your Mark. There’s even a few lucky models that can drop a scheme marker in the center without being there themselves (Draw Out Secrets). 

Pairing center denial with scoring potential at the edges of the conflict is enough to put up winning scores without committing to that fight. As much as Enemies and Evidence will trend to the center, the potential points in those strategies can also be used to force a bubbled enemy to spread out. Lists that rely on winning the center lose value if you don’t engage their game. Using Catch and Release/Vendetta/Hidden Martyr models as bait can help disrupt a bubble crew, as can Breakthrough runners or hard flank Sabotage picks. Ignoring the central marker in Ley Lines might make a slow beater on the enemy crew irrelevant.

I’m not denying that the center matters. GG1 has allowed a lot of tanky, low-mobility models and crews put up wins that would have been a lot rarer in GG0. However, The Legend of the Center Fight has gotten a worse rap than it deserves and there are plenty of off-center victory conditions that can win games. Knowing when you shouldn’t play the center game is more important than always bringing the biggest beatdown crew.

So am I way off base? Has anyone had any success of failure tring off-center strats this GG?


 

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I have to say, I miss power ritual and outflank. I really enjoyed the sides and corners of the board mattering more.

A lot of my most frustrating losses in GG1 have come from losing a central scrum that I thought was essential to the pool. And conversely, at the end of many games I win, I have models spread across a

Although at this point I'm starting to give away too much information for my Saturday game >.>

I think GG1 has the centre mattering more. Even one scheme is enough to make it crucial to the game sometimes and GG1 has multiple you can score from the centre. Symbols + claim jump isn't a big deal, but public enemies + claim jump demands centre control.

That said, I think people overestimate the centre in some cases. For example, in the first week of March I'm surprised how many people are taking bubble crews to camp the centre where the payoff is just claim jump. Same with last week of Feb, another symbols match with lots of bubble crews.

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1 minute ago, Maniacal_cackle said:

That said, I think people overestimate the centre in some cases. For example, in the first week of March I'm surprised how many people are taking bubble crews to camp the centre where the payoff is just claim jump. Same with last week of Feb, another symbols match with lots of bubble crews.

Exactly this. I'm not saying ignore the center, but I think 7/10 pools will have an alternate way to winning other than beating down. If you can recognize you're losing a scrum at master select or crew declaration, you've got a lot more agency over the outcome of the game than just throwing cards at a fight.

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On the flip side, controlling the centre gives you a place to attack the rest of the board. It is a really good tactical position even with 0 scheme payoff.

However, when a crew can take the centre with brute strength, they are usually less mobile so the other crew can dance around them.

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I'm obviously the least experienced here, but I feel I ALWAYS end up in a game where the scheme to stand in the middle of the board comes up. and if you're crew is scrappy and had a sturdy model, it's like free points it seems like. Just my opinion though. I do miss the some of the older editions schemes of controlling quarters or spreading your crew out

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1 minute ago, ooshawn said:

I feel I ALWAYS end up in a game where the scheme to stand in the middle of the board comes up. and if you're crew is scrappy and had a sturdy model

I would challenge that people are falling into a mindset of "Claim Jump exists so I must take it" too often.

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2 minutes ago, ooshawn said:

I'm obviously the least experienced here, but I feel I ALWAYS end up in a game where the scheme to stand in the middle of the board comes up. and if you're crew is scrappy and had a sturdy model, it's like free points it seems like. Just my opinion though. I do miss the some of the older editions schemes of controlling quarters or spreading your crew out

One option to consider is denying claim jump at the last minute. If you engage the claim jumper with something expendable, or knock it out of position, etc. 

You can really make your opponent work to score claim jump without investing much into the centre.

If playing Lucius for example, your opponent has to play around the possibility that you will obey his claim jumper off the centre.

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1 minute ago, Maniacal_cackle said:

I have to say, I miss power ritual and outflank.

I really enjoyed the sides and corners of the board mattering more.

I want more side/corner schemes, but I think PR was too hard (unless cheesable) and Outflank was too easy. Granted, it was satisfying as heck to deny Outflank.

Regardless, let's not turn this into another wishlist / wistful memories thread.

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Interesting tought. In most game I played in GG0 the centre end up being really important... But maybe, as you said, it's self fulfilling prophecy. You don't have to be in a brawl thoug, you can control it at range (but for me it's not the same as avoiding de centre).

Also, I think it's map dependent. Alot of map on Vassal seem to be designed to favor those central brawls. 

Finally, the centre is arguably the best place to be to have control on  the largest portion of the board. So if your oponent don't play the centre game, he gave up the best position imo (as you put that can stil be tactically sound to do so in some game). 

 

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Well to steer things back on topic. Can we speak to range? For instance some crews like sonnia, or lucius with obeys  are really effective from the center of the board, but if the corners, but if the corners of the board don't matter enough then it's very hard for crews like lucius that don't have access to fast or leap to jump past the opposing "blocker". Like sure my changing can move 10 inches, but your midnight stalker can leap, then he's on my side of the board and gets fast, so 20 inches of movement. It's not really equal for a lot of crews.that's why there needs to be some incentive to move 12-14 inches away from the center of the board. at the center of the board 12 inches still gives you an entire foot of unused board on each side 

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3 minutes ago, SEV said:

Interesting tought. In most game I played in GG0 the centre end up being really important... But maybe, as you said, it's self fulfilling prophecy. You don't have to be in a brawl thoug, you can control it at range (but for me it's not the same as avoiding de centre).

Also, I think it's map dependent. Alot of map on Vassal seem to be designed to favor those central brawls. 

Finally, the centre is arguably the best place to be to have control on  the largest portion of the board. So if your oponent don't play the centre game, he gave up the best position imo (as you put that can stil be tactically sound to do so in some game). 

 

True, but take first March round as an example. Points can be located literally anywhere on the board. Controlling the centre can be helpful, but what if the closest symbol to the centre is 20 inches away?

Then it suddenly becomes a bit of a weaker position.

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13 minutes ago, Alcathous said:

I want more side/corner schemes, but I think PR was too hard (unless cheesable) and Outflank was too easy. Granted, it was satisfying as heck to deny Outflank.

Regardless, let's not turn this into another wishlist / wistful memories thread.

I think the ease of outflank was often overstated. You had to control 2 spots to score it, and only 1 spot to deny it.

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another thing that makes having control of the center board is that your opponent can't engage your models, and I just learned that if you disengage , you can't interact. I can't fathom why they made it like this because it puts the value of anything with leap or a disengage through the roof

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9 minutes ago, ooshawn said:

another thing that makes having control of the center board is that your opponent can't engage your models, and I just learned that if you disengage , you can't interact. I can't fathom why they made it like this because it puts the value of anything with leap or a disengage through the roof

I think that issue is solved by just not going into the centre as OP says. If you want to interact, run along safe paths on the board.

Although off topic I agree leap bypassing disengage is a bit ridiculous on models like Archie.

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10 minutes ago, ooshawn said:

another thing that makes having control of the center board is that your opponent can't engage your models, and I just learned that if you disengage , you can't interact. I can't fathom why they made it like this because it puts the value of anything with leap or a disengage through the roof

that's why battle tempo rocks :)

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36 minutes ago, Alcathous said:

I would challenge that people are falling into a mindset of "Claim Jump exists so I must take it" too often.

I made the decision after round one of Feb to stop taking Claim Jump and boy it's actually been a weight off. And that's coming from the perspective of someone who dropped Hamelin every round (i.e. a bubbly, centre-focussed crew with a great Claim Jump target in Nix). So yeah, that certainly speaks to my experience.

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21 minutes ago, SEV said:

Also, I think it's map dependent. Alot of map on Vassal seem to be designed to favor those central brawls. 

Finally, the centre is arguably the best place to be to have control on  the largest portion of the board. So if your oponent don't play the centre game, he gave up the best position imo (as you put that can stil be tactically sound to do so in some game). 

You're definitely right about this being map dependent. There's also a lot of maps where being in the center cuts you off from other portions of the board though, so it could easily fall either way. If a map is open, center can project threat anywhere, but a lot of maps do have choke and funnels that make redeploying from center a pain.

26 minutes ago, ooshawn said:

For instance some crews like sonnia, or lucius with obeys  are really effective from the center of the board, but if the corners, but if the corners of the board don't matter enough then it's very hard for crews like lucius that don't have access to fast or leap to jump past the opposing "blocker". Like sure my changing can move 10 inches, but your midnight stalker can leap, then he's on my side of the board and gets fast, so 20 inches of movement. It's not really equal for a lot of crews.

Totally. It's not equal by any means. Which is why being able to recognize when you can avoid the center fight instead of engaging it is so important.

Lucius definitely likes being central, but maybe he and some support stay central while his scoring nodes do work elsewhere?

 

8 minutes ago, ooshawn said:

another thing that makes having control of the center board is that your opponent can't engage your models

I don't follow your point. This is related to my position that controlling center shouldn't be an assumption though: if they put their model center, then to interact there you need to move them or kill them. Maybe it's easier to just go somewhere else?

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3 minutes ago, ooshawn said:

well that's what I'm saying if you try to bypass the center of the board with anything but brute strength, you better pray you have access to leap

There's a lot more in this game than leap that can jump a front line. Neverborn as a whole are great at it.

However, there's more options than just going deep. Think laterally as well.

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1 minute ago, ooshawn said:

well that's what I'm saying if you try to bypass the center of the board with anything but brute strength, you better pray you have access to leap

The edge of the board is 18 inches from the centre even on standard deployment (I think it is 26 inches on flank/corner).

So you have loads of space to just casually stroll up the board while hiding behind terrain.

Although yes, not all crews/builds can do breakthrough for example. But spread them out is pretty easy.

Also don't forget Lucius can obey enemies to drop his scheme markers (obeyed models drop schemes for your crew, not theirs).

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