Outwitters - iOS hex grid asynchronous strategy

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Final Atomic Buster, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. Final Atomic Buster

    Final Atomic Buster Active Member

    Been playing this a bit the last week. I think it's pretty good and seems quite balanced. But I want smarter people than me (you folks) to tell me I'm wrong.

    To save me time typing out the game, check out TouchArcade's review here.

    So basically you have a nice hex based grid, some decently designed maps, and a seemingly simple system of units who's strengths and weaknesses provide some some deep thought on usage ("do I spam Runners, do I save for Heavy/Special?).

    Anyone else played it? If not, you should grab it. It is free after all.
  2. Final Atomic Buster

    Final Atomic Buster Active Member

    OK, pretty disappointed in lack of responses here. So lets see if I can stir up some conversation.

    Last year, I personally picked Triple Town as my GOTY (even if it the original was around for longer - it only made it on web/iOS last year, which was the only ways I could play it without owning a Kindle). I thought the design was just so well done, and the randomness was just the right amount to give you a very deep strategy game. Though the randomness of the ninjas did ruin it for me at some points, I understood the need for such an enemy in the game's design.

    This year, I'm calling Outwitters as my GOTY. I'm not sure, but I think it was in development for quite some time (2 years?). This feels about right to me, the game is just incredibly balanced. If you play it, you'll know what I mean. From the units HP total, to how the medic can only raise by 1, fog of war!, the distance they can travel, and even how well designed the maps are - I just get the feeling that they spent a lot of time fine tuning everything to work just right.

    So I urge everyone here with an iOS device to at least grab the game from the App Store. It's a free download. The only difference the paid races give you are unique special units, which for your first 50-ish games won't really make a difference to your strategy (in my experience).

    What I want to know is if this is based on anything in particular, or is it just a nicely refined system with queues from a few other games? I know hex-based board games have been around ages, that's not what I'm talking about. Fog of war means it's impossible to do this as a board game (I think?).
  3. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    Looks nice, I will try it tonight
  4. Plum

    Plum Well-Known Member

    I've had a very brief play with it using the free team but it's yet to click with me. Granted, I'm not a big turn-based strategy expert - I enjoyed Advance Wars but didn't play the multiplayer very much but that's probably because I'm terrible at it. I have yet to win a single game of Summoner Wars online...

    I think if you slammed Great Little War Game together with Hero Academy then you might end up with something similar to Outwitters.
  5. SillySod

    SillySod Active Member

    Looks great but.... iOS so not for me :(
  6. Kristoph, the Angel

    Kristoph, the Angel Well-Known Member

    Can't play this because iOS, but it reminds me of Weewar (which I don't really recommend), except with asymmetry and quicker, less boring gameplay. But then I saw that "building," "moving" and "attacking" are all tied to the same resource and became suspicious of it devolving into terrible stalemate fests. "Once you have a lead, why pay to attack when you just pay for more units?" A brief look around their forum shows that that is indeed a major issue (or is at least perceived to be). In fact, you don't even have to worry about getting a lead if you're player 1 due to FTA, and apparently a lot of the maps don't really have immediately contested areas so you can essentially just set up shop and sit back. Anyway, regardless of those other issues, it seems like a really flawed resource system?
  7. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    I'll check it out when i'm next with my family. They have some iOS stuff.
  8. keithburgun

    keithburgun Banned

    I get a lot of shit for being really negative about most digital games here, so let me just say this:

    Outwitters is the best videogame I have ever played.

    I've only been playing it for about 2 or 3 weeks of course, but holy hell am I impressed. You can just really see the essence of design here. The online multiplay setup is so smooth and easy and good; it is the next generation of online multiplayer. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
  9. Zejety

    Zejety Patreon Supporter

    Any comment on Kristoph's concerns?
  10. keithburgun

    keithburgun Banned

    I will first say that I think that those concerns are natural for people to have, and I myself am not totally sure that they won't become an issue at the highest levels of play. However what I can say is that I've played probably 100 games now and I've never come across a situation where some guy just won because he turtled. It has never been an issue for me, yet.

    To answer a specific concern:

    Because "more units" aren't actually terribly useful in Outwitters. This isn't Starcraft, where you can just CTRL+A like 150 marines and right click them into the base. On a given turn, you normally get like 5 to 8 wits - tops. So that means, at the most, moving+attacking with FOUR UNITS.

    Oh, and the wit system is GENIUS, for this exact reason. It's like the picture of elegance, doing so many jobs in one swipe.

    Yes, you can save up from turn to turn, but "advancement" is also a resource in a way. If you have a heavy and a sniper up in a good position, maybe with a medic overhealing the sniper and providing cover, that's worth more than 9 units all crimped up around your base that can't move.

    Two of the 7-Wit units are particularly awesome for breaking turtles (the third is sort of designed FOR turtling, and it's my least favorite). The mind-control one, in particular, is incredibly awesome for breaking turtle shells.

    TL; DR: It's a valid concern that makes sense on paper, but I haven't seen it be a problem in practice. I also have a lot of faith in these designers who have shown extreme restraint and skill and attention to detail with this game. So, go play it!
  11. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    My game center thing is garcia10000
    This looks like a pretty cool game, like Tiny Wesnoth. I will need to play a few games to see though.
  12. keithburgun

    keithburgun Banned

    Cool. Mine is "keithburgun" if anyone wants to play with me.
  13. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    no such name found
    Fry likes this.
  14. Plum

    Plum Well-Known Member

    Do you guys mind if I harvest the players and gamecenter IDs from this thread for my iOS opponents thread? Just let me know if you'd rather not be included
  15. keithburgun

    keithburgun Banned

    Go for it... although apparently mine isnt working. Try DinofarmGames.
  16. Final Atomic Buster

    Final Atomic Buster Active Member

    Sirlin, very interested in your thoughts on this game's design.

    Garcia, have you played it yet?

    It feels incredibly balanced, but I'm not sure if it's just because of where I am in the meta game. For instance, for a long time I didn't see the point in the special units (the one that costs 7 wits, unique to each team). But on the weekend, my friend and I worked out some strategies using them and they are pretty cool (also very fun!). Now, I'm thinking that much of the top level play will revolve around using those big guys and how they counter each other. But I'm not quite at that level yet (just can't seem to break out of Clever rank - annoying, as I've won at least 40 matches in Clever now).
  17. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    FAB, I just started playing. Play a game with me!
  18. Final Atomic Buster

    Final Atomic Buster Active Member

    Damn, terrible game I played Garcia! I'll start a new one and play better.

    I think you'll still beat me though. Your evaluation skills are worlds above mine.
  19. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    What's the strategy with the 7 wits units? The free one seems like a worse version of the sniperbot, lol
    I lost my first game btw. It was against keithburgun and he ninja attacked my base
    keithburgun likes this.
  20. Kristoph, the Angel

    Kristoph, the Angel Well-Known Member

    I mean yeah I could totally just be biased here, since I come from an Advance Wars background. Advance Wars 2 was dominated by infantry (cheap, weak units that obtain resources but most often act as meatshields), and some matchups in AWDS are literally determined by "who hits the game's built-in limit of 50 units first." It was only in AW Days of Ruin, where Infantry took a number of huge nerfs and the game was made 100% more offensive in a number of ways, that unit count wasn't a huge factor in that series.

    Even so, the Wit mechanic just seems inherently geared towards defensive play to me. I salivate at the prospect of being able to build a unit and then not even really care what it does-- because whatever, my opponent has to pay to get rid of it. And even though this is probably a totally simplified and wrong idea of how the mechanic actually plays out in practice, my experiences with the genre have told me so strongly that "offense pretty much needs to be *babied* if you don't want your players generating ridiculous stalemates" that I can't help but feel really suspicious!

    I wish I could play the game and have something actually meaningful to contribute here, though. Or at least watch a replay or something-- is there a way to do that?
  21. Final Atomic Buster

    Final Atomic Buster Active Member

    Replays can be watched from an iOS device... with the game installed :). Hold your finger on a completed game, and you can copy the replay link. A friend and I have been archiving our good matches for analysis. It's a great feature.

    What you say is fine on paper, but like you say in practice it's not quite like that.

    Defensive play will only get you so far though. There are only two win conditions, kill enemy base of camp on all their spawn points and kill their army. If you're just sitting there waiting for them to attack, you'll never win. You might survive all their attacks, but I'm yet to have a game where an opponent who successfully used such a strategy.

    The level design is something else that needs to be commended. There are trick back door paths to bases, hidden spots, gaps you can snipe over by can't be jumped etc. Lots of well thought out ideas. Each map offers something a little different.

    Garcia, I only know obvious stuff with Bombshell. Don't spawn it if you don't have enough wits to either move it to safey and/or go into mortar mode. Other than that, it's about positioning it where it's hard for your opponent to get near. Usually just behind a line of solders/heavys or similar.
  22. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    It looks like turtling is a strong strategy
    The first player starting with an advantage is also a bit weird, I would have expected 1P to start with 3 wit, or something
  23. Final Atomic Buster

    Final Atomic Buster Active Member

    Turtling... I think sort of?... I dunno. I'm not the best player at this. I've broken a few strong defences before, but I admit some of that was due to luck in the other player not aware of the strategy I could use.

    But also, turtling won't win you the game. You need to destroy the base or KO all their army and sit on their spawns to win. Maybe that's why the win condition is one based on offence and not defence. That might have been a design decision the devs included to help combat the turtling strat.

    Can you explain a bit more exactly what you think the advantage of going first is?
  24. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    If you go first, you can pass. Then you are basically the second player, except with 5 more wit. So going first dominates going second i.e. there is never a situation where going second is better.

    Turtling is strong because, say, we each trade a soldier that costs 2 energy. But, you had to move your soldier 3 times to get to my base. On the other hand, I just had to move it once. Even though we traded equivalent units, I gained 2 net energy.
    Turbo164 likes this.
  25. SillySod

    SillySod Active Member

    Presumably turtling could be combated by increasing the vulnerability of the bases? Forcing players to contest wit generating locations should also help there.

    I'm not saying that it isn't pro-turtling so much as it doesn't sound inherently pro-turtle?
  26. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    Well, I am up for games! I will play like a boring turtle guy, never taking risks, and see how this strategy gets beaten.
  27. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    This game seems like fun! I’ll try it tonight. Garcia, I will try to counter your boring turtling strategy with an even more boring turtling strategy. That way we can prove that turtling always wins.
    garcia1000 likes this.
  28. Plum

    Plum Well-Known Member

    I've yet to win a game so if you're totally new Viva you should play against me, I might have more chance than against the vets :p
  29. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    Preliminary evaluation: Movement is too expensive. Turtling near your base is just too energy efficient. Probably movement should be free or something
  30. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    I'm still in the "try random stuff because it seems like a good idea to figure out why it isn't" stage. I can tell you that right now I'm finding the game incredibly fun, though.

    I'll make a strategy post in the next few days, probably. For now, how do I buy levels for custom games? (or can I?)
  31. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    Disclaimer: I'm still only in "gifted" rank, so could be wrong.

    I think garcia is right when it comes to the second player; turtle turtle turtle. But when you are first player, you have such a huge advantage that I think in some maps (maybe all?) you will want to beatdown. The reason is if both of you turtle, then your crazy huge advantage will decrease as both players get lots of wits. Someone used this opening against me and crushed me; I started using it when I was first player on this map and am 4-0 so far. In a sense this is a "cheese" opening where probably they can do better if they know about it and play around it. But no one at my level is responding well and I'm just running everyone over with Scout spam.

    Copy paste the first link into your browser if you're on an ipad/iphone (it will open it in the outwitters program, I think?). Otherwise click the second link to get a ghetto browser based replay viewer.

  32. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    90% of games go like this: I turtle, opponent attacks me, he dies because he doesn't understand Outwitters math
    Then there is one game with vivafringe which is: we both turtle for 10000 years, then I misclick, maybe die or I guess I can turtle more

    Only maps which are viable for rush are Foundry and something Plains, the wide-open one

    Edit: This game really needs some sort of thing like "You get 3 moves for free each turn"
  33. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    Besides Sweety Plains/Foundry, Glitch seems pretty hard to turtle. I've found the best strategy is to race to move a protected, 2 hp sniper into the middle of the map. The holes and really small size make snipers kind of imba, and if you get one to the middle first it's gg.

    The map I'm playing vs. Garcia, Long Nine, is super weird. It seems like rushdown should be viable, and I've been caught off guard by random stuff before. But most of the time I try rushdown, I just wish I turtled instead.

    Peekaboo is the /wrist map. I have 4 running simultaneously right now and they're all fucking bombshell (the siege tank) mirrors. I think this map alone makes every non-default race unviable (btw I haven't seen anyone use the other races' super guys well. Is it possible?). Although just now I did 6 damage with 1 attack, which is pretty sweet.
  34. Final Atomic Buster

    Final Atomic Buster Active Member

    I don't deny a strong defense is really good. But how do you win a match when you're not attacking the base? Or do you eventually move your line of troops up a tile at a time or something?
  35. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    Gain a net wits advantage through good trades, then just roll them up. If you have a great enough wits advantage you can trade it in for board position.
  36. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    It seems like the Adorables might be good, haven't tried it yet. potential 7 range, you can recall units, and makes sniper way more mobile. No idea about that.

    If they're not going to make movement free, they need to put the resource squares much closer to the center. That way there's something worth fighting for.
  37. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    Well they'd need to fix first player advantage before they could do that. My guess is that development went like this:

    1. Try a map with a resource square in the middle.
    2. First player wins every time! Oh noes.
    3. Decide it's a bad map instead of seeing the real problem.
    Kristoph likes this.
  38. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    Yeah. They tried to band-aid the turtle problem by giving first player advantage. But what if the first player is a jerky guy and just decides to turtle with 5 extra wit?

    -- How do I copy/paste game link?
  39. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    Tap and hold the entry in your games list.
  40. Fry

    Fry Well-Known Member

    Maybe they should add some feature where the game randomly makes mistakes for you from time to time? Like one of your units just decides to go on vacation. They could call it "tripping"
    Kristoph, Xom and Targie like this.
  41. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    Okay, here is a post on Outwitters units:

    Scouts (5 movement, 1 damage, 1 hp, 1 wit): great in all maps. Build lots of these. If you are anticipating scout wars, for instance in the top half of Long Nine, then boost their health. But it’s not mandatory.

    Soldiers (3 movement, 2 damage, 3 hp, 2 wit): Also great in all maps. Build lots of these too! It’s by far the cheapest HP to wits ratio, so you want lots of these to use as meatshields for your medics, snipers and bombshells.

    Medics (3 movement, 0 damage, 1 hp, 2 wit): usually the one you spawn with is enough. Move him to 1 space off your spawn point, then start churning out buff guys. If he dies to a scout, you have to build another one, which is annoying.

    I’ve seen people bring medics with them on attacks, and I think it’s usually a bad idea. Usually people kill stuff outright. However, sending one in can be conditionally awesome in the cases where your opponent actually wounds a unit.

    Snipers (1 movement, 3 damage, 1 hp, 3 wit): Great on Glitch, where the map is small and there is a chokepoint surrounded by holes (which the sniper can shoot over). Otherwise they’re marginal. 3 wit is a lot of wit, but there’s an additional hidden cost in the fact that you have to move them a million times for them to be useful. Fortunately the game gives you them for free on the maps where they’re the crappiest (Foundry, Long Nine and Sweety Plains).

    Sometimes they’re worth building when you can spawn one and immediately kill a guy with it. Then his cost is subsidized by the fact that he is saving 2 wit (you don’t have to move some other guy and attack). It’s also worth noting that, once placed, he’s incredibly efficient. Melee units need 2 wit to attack something, he only needs 1. Whatever the case, it’s mandatory to boost these guy’s health, so they don’t die to a single scout.

    Heavies: Trash. I have no idea why this slow awful unit costs 4. I sometimes buy one when a 3 hp soldier is nearby and I can immediately eat him. Again, then his cost is subsidized. But a sniper is better there if he’s safe from counter-attacks. Anyway, they give you one for free in every map, so you end up using them a lot even though they suck.

    Bombshell: What you eventually have to build if both players are turtling (which on Peekaboo is basically all the freaking time). Final Atomic Buster asked how you win if you are turtling. Garcia’s answer is true for when the other guy is bad and attacks poorly. But if the other guy is also turtling, I think the only way to beat it is to get a Bombshell set up in range of one of your opponent’s witpoints. Then you can blow up whatever stands on the point, and the person has to attack you to try to break it.

    Other super guys: I haven’t purchased any of the characters yet, because I think Bombshell is by far the best one, and right now my only incentive to buy the maps is so I can play more 100 turn custom games vs. Garcia.

    Hacking guy: I got blown out once when I brought a 5 hp heavy too close to a spawn point. My opponent hacked the heavy, and used it to kill a 3 hp soldier. So the hacker did like 9 damage with 1 attack (5 damage to instakill the shark, 1 point of life gained for his new shark-guy, then 3 more damage to my soldier). I think this guy has potential, but he’d obviously be way better if people attacked you with heavies more often.

    Whale teleporting thing: No idea. Due to the girly theme and non-freeness, no one is playing that race on my level anymore. I saw it used once, and it was crappy there (he/she basically built it and conceded, lol). In general spending 7 wit on a unit that does no damage seems a little ???. Maybe I’m just not imaginative enough when I think about how abusive he can be.
    garcia1000 likes this.
  42. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    Whale thing is for sending an attacker, killing a guy, then retrieving it. That use is I think a trap, though, because you spend too much wit (3+). A better use is to teleport in snipers. Sniper can immediately shoot after teleport, and it removes the main disadvantage of sniper low mobility. Is it worth 7 wit? Probably not
  43. BeastofBurden

    BeastofBurden Well-Known Member

    I just downloaded Outwitters, and played 2 games. Does this game have a time limit per turn? Games are taking forever to play out, and my opponent said he's purposely not moving because I told him to hurry it up after it took him 4-5 minutes for his second turn. I'm guessing this game is meant to be played at whatever players pace, while having multiple games ongoing?
  44. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, it's asynchronous gameplay. Part of the reason it's so popular is that you can play 100 turn turtle fests over several days rather than committing to 1 playthrough.
    garcia1000 likes this.
  45. BeastofBurden

    BeastofBurden Well-Known Member

    Alright I should have probably read more about this game before jumping in. I just received an ipad3 as a gift and while searching for games to play, I chose to download the most popular game from that iOS gamer thread. So far I like the concepts.
  46. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    Alright, so I got to a point where I was tired of "living by my own strength." I've started watching replays between top ranked guys. It seems like all races are played and viable-ish, which is !!! It also seems like everyone uses their super guys extensively; the cheez rushdowns with basic units all seem to have counters. It's also clear that it's not that turtling is really amazing, it's that Garcia and I don't know how to mount a stable attack (in retrospect this is pretty much true for every game we play, haha). Basically it involves huge mobs of soldiers surrounding an ultimate guy.

    Link: http://www.onemanleft.com/forums/showthread.php?tid=417
  47. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    So basically turtle for 100 years, and then attack?
  48. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    I think a chess analogy is appropriate here. A new player might try to kill his opponent on turn 6 with 2 knights and a queen. This is pretty stupid! If he were a garcia/vivafringe val-u-bot he’d say stuff like: rushdown is impossible! or Turtleturtleturtle.

    But actually chess isn’t about “attacking” or “turtling” so much as it is about “creeping towards the center, then having a fight over the center.” Outwitters is like that. Experts make these elaborate amoeba formations that inch closer and closer to the part of the map that both players want to control, then they fite. If the other player cedes the center, then:

    1) Adorables teleport snipers onto your base. Oops! You are dead.
    2) Scallywags set up a siege tank that can attack the middle of the map, then set up another one that can kill a wit point.
    3) I have no idea what the robot race does, actually.

    Note: maps with 2 spawn points tend to be less stable, and more prone to crazy wild strategies like attacking with 2 knights and a queen. There is a bit of a yomi/metagaming thing going on. If 2nd player defends against all the random bullshit available, 1st player should just macro up an infinite wall of soldiers. Since 2nd player wasted time defending, 1st player has an even bigger advantage in the macrowar than 5 wits. But if 2nd player doesn’t defend and tries to macro, 1st player should cheez them.
  49. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    That could be true! No idea about that.
    My main mistake is that I play half of my turns right after I wake up when I am groggy and not really concentrating. Then usually I misclick or make some mistakes.

    Also I am tempted to attack sometimes even though I know it's a bad idea. That is another thing I accidentally do.

    2 spawn point maps, you don't have to spawn every turn. 1 spawn point maps you really have to make a spawn every turn
  50. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

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