Hill Battle

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Hill Battle
Designer: Red Baron
Type: Terrain Sim
Countries: 121 (Extra-Large)
Board Info
Reviews Launch Game
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Hill Battle is a turn-based terrain simulation game set in a hilly region populated by forts. Armies must fight to control the hilltops and the forts.

Hill Battle has influenced the design of later games such as City Raider, Terrain, and Battlefield: Marathon. It can be a long, grueling game with a tendency to stalemate, so unless you're in the mood to visit with the cantankerous grandpappy of the terrain simulation games, you may actually prefer to try one of the others.

[edit] Graphics and Gameplay

Hills and forts are defensive positions, where a small body of troops can hold off a larger attacker. A road in the valley provides a means for swift movement of troops.

The game makes heavy use of border modifiers to suggest the effects of terrain on battle. As a memory aid, visual cues to these modifiers have been placed on the graphic at topographic boundaries, where green arrows indicate attacker advantage, red arrows defender advantage, and gray arrows a normal condition.

There are six elevation levels color-coded in shades of green and gray, the highest elevations given the lightest shades. The attacker vs. defender odds are set as follows in the standard Hill Battle game (version 1.4).

  • Attacking up a hill (up paths 1, 2, and 3 in the diagram) the attacker suffers a 2 point disadvantage in dice rolls. Attacking down this same path, the attacker gains a 1 point advantage. (This is indicated by the modifier cue on the contour boundary, which shows 2 red arrows going up and one green arrow going down.)
  • Attacking from hill into valley or valley to hill (path 4) results in standard odds (indicated by a cue with neutral gray arrows).
  • Attacking at the same hill elevation (paths marked 5) also results in even odds.
  • Attacking into or out of the valley chasm (path 6) costs the attacker 2 dice points. The exception is the far right end of the chasm, which is considered shallower and easier to enter and exit.
  • Attacking into a fort (path 7) costs the attacker 2 dice points, but attacking out results in even odds.
  • Attacking along a road (paths marked 8) is highly favorable to the attacker (indicated by four green arrows in both directions).
  • A dotted path (path 9) indicates a one-way fort exit. Forts may only be entered from the front.

Blind-at-Once play is not recommended because it undermines the "swift attack" quality of the valley road.

[edit] Strategy

Plan your strategy for this game around the following facts:

  • Attacking uphill you will suffer disproportionate losses.
  • Attacking downhill you will enjoy disproportionate victories.
  • Forts have one entrance, but multiple exits.
  • Armies at a fort entrance have a defensive advantage.
  • Forces left on the valley road are easily defeated.
  • The chasm is difficult to enter and exit, and is most easily attacked at the right end.
  • Generous bonus points are awarded for owning multiple hilltops: 5 points for two hilltops, 15 points for three hilltops, and 30 points for all four hilltops. In addition, 9 bonus points are awarded for owning all three pentagonal forts.

[edit] Version History

Version 1.3, the original public release, was highly popular but had a serious defensive standoff problem. Games that lasted longer than 100 turns or so tended to go on forever as the card sets escalated and the defensive nature of the hilltops started to dominate the play. Read the reviews for version 1.3

Version 1.4 makes it easier to conduct sieges against hilltops, which should reduce the tendency the previous version had of getting mired in a defensive standoff. The attack advantage of the hills has been reduced, and each hill now has a "siege point" (locations B1, F1, I1, K1), where an army can congregate without defensive disadvantage before storming the summit. In addition, the small forts have been enlarged and visual cues to the border modifiers have been added.

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