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Strategy


General Thoughts

Each move has a broad array of implications for the position, in terms of all the strategic and tactical values one might play for. The most obvious set of conflicting effects is a swap, which may connect your own pieces, while simultaneously connecting your opponents'. In the early stages of the game, it's important to be aware of as many implications of your move as possible, and to make sure that any value given to your opponent is appropriately balanced out by a value claimed for yourself.

Material Balance

The value of territory is entirely dependent on the ability to make use of it.  A player with a material advantage may wish they didn't cover so much area of the playing field, if their opponent can swap easily through that area. Likewise, pieces that are surrounded by a player's own pieces cannot interact with the opposing forces - at best they lengthen a path and provide redundancy through it. But they can't fight to gain further territory or strengthen other paths. Likewise an area of the playing field may be locked up into a configuration the player doesn't want to disturb, at the risk of losing their advantage in that area or allowing their opponent to create a key pathway. In such cases any territorial advantage represented in that region of the playing field may be considered nullified, at least for the moment.

At the same time, if a player has an advantage in territory, while their opponent suffers from the above weaknesses, the value of that material advantage may be quite significant.

Generally speaking, pieces that are not actively participating in forming and maintaining strategic paths, either through redundancy or imperviousness, should as far as possible seek to avoid swappability amongst themselves, and to border opposing pieces and interfere with their connections to their own territory.

Drawing Material To Key Sectors

When trying to form a key connection, or to block your opponent from doing the same, swap material into that key sector from less strategically significant areas, areas where it is unlikely for your opponent to try to create a path to victory.

Involve as much of your material as possible in the key strategic areas of the playing field. If your pieces are all actively involved, while your opponent's pieces sit helpless on the sidelines, you have an effective material advantage in the parts of the board that matter for victory.

When considering the disposition of a single piece, whether it will ultimately be controlled by you or your opponent, calculate attacks from the farthest distances first. Often in the course of a skirmish for a given piece, avenues of attack are cut off by moves made in the area. If this happens before you bring your farther material to that sector, you lose the option of bring that material into the battle. By the same token, sometimes it's better to attack with pieces that are closer at hand, if that will serve to block off moves by your opponent, or to take control of the piece in such a way that it is rendered impervious.

Wherever feasible, swap smaller pieces into larger ones. It's advantageous to gain material over a series of moves in which you swap from smaller pieces than your opponent does, into pieces of the same or larger size than your opponent swaps into. An advantage of four starting-sized pieces is over 10% of the full territory of the playing field.






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