Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Night Mordheim: Co-Operation & Betrayal

Welcome back to Monday Night Mordheim.

One of my favorite things about Mordheim isn't even in the core book. Chaos on the Streets matches. You can find these rules in different places, I believe they are most notable in the 2002 Annual, which really was the last thing of importance to be added to the game.

Chaos in the Streets are big multiplayer games, and they work considerably better then most other game's multiplayer games. While it is added after the initial creation, it doesn't feel that way. The rules are very clear cut and handled in a way that makes sense. While seeming to be Byzantine in the beginning, after a bit of thought and a trial run or two, they become intuitive and natural. While that is well and good, the real strength of the Chaos in the Streets match is the interaction between players.

 The interaction is the key, alliances and betrayals. Everyone is in it for themselves first and foremost, but in the Chaos on the Streets matches, its all about making the best deal in the short term before slaughtering your foe. To be really successful in a Chaos on the Streets match, you have to co-operate. You have to join forces to accomplish anything worth while. If you try to stick it out on your own, others will gang up on you and gank you before you have a chance to do anything. Odd numbers in this type of match will make for some strange alliances, and it stays surprisingly even above 3 man matches. That being said, you have to get together with someone, at the very least to increase your survivability. Without some sort of co-operation, there are several different Chaos on the Streets matches that you can't win until extremely late in a campaign.

While Co-operation is important in the beginning of the match, the key thing to learn is when to turn on your allies. While it is technically possible to share a win with someone, it really isn't that much fun. The important thing is to know when you can turn the tables. It is a fine balancing act. You have to know when to strike. Too early and your former friend is too powerful, too late and they strike first. Striking that balance is a hard skill to learn, and even harder to master.

There's a few key things to keep in mind before you turn.
1. Is the alliance still beneficial to you? Is there some thing that you are getting that you wouldn't otherwise? This might be as simple as keeping your friends Rat Ogre occupied with other people, to them providing covering fire.
2. Will your soon to be former mate benefit more from turning on you in the next round? This is important. If they stand to gain quite a bit, you might want to turn on them before they get a chance to.
3. Is your business with the other players that you aren't allied with done? If the other others are still up and running, and still strongly allied, it might not be the best time to turncoat.
4. Will this piss the other guy off? Probably the stupidest and best reason to do it. Sometimes when you play a wargame, you get the chance to be a dick. Take advantage of it when it will be appreciated, not when it isn't.  You won't get many chances to be a total douche and your friends congratulate you for it.

Well, that's all I got for this week. Next week I think I'll talk about the different types of Chaos on the Streets and some of the additional tactics you can use with them. Unless I forget and write about something else entirely. Which is always possible.

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