Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

General questions and discussions on water warfare regarding tactics and strategies.
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HBWW
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Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby HBWW » Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:43 pm

We don't seem to think that much about player spacing in community wars since it seems to happen by instinct by now, but it plays a number of very important roles.

- Defense: This is the most obvious. Teammates grouped too closely are easier to take out in a single attack.

- Coverage: Wider spread means wider coverage. You can cover and control a larger area with more spread, but obviously need some overlap in players' zones in order to keep anyone going through the line. In urban warfare, the line tends to "bend", if you will, and it becomes more of an issue of holding chokepoints.

- Combat Space: Each player needs good space to dodge and attack/defend, especially without running into each other.

The reason I brought up this thread is from discussions with marauder on his nephews' battle performance, and it got me thinking more on the actual reasons for good player spread that I didn't quite think about before.

Player spacing has other uses. If you open things up to encourage an opponent to push through the line (and they actually do this), you can adjust formation and pincer them. Of course, community war regulars are easily far smarter than this at this point.

Perhaps DX and/or marauder can expand on how player spacing ties into line infantry tactics applicable for water warfare, or point to additional articles on the subject matter.

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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby scottthewaterwarrior » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:54 pm

CA99 wrote:Player spacing has other uses. If you open things up to encourage an opponent to push through the line (and they actually do this), you can adjust formation and pincer them. Of course, community war regulars are easily far smarter than this at this point.

This is what I did at the final round of day one. I fell back to allow Kieth to advance up the hill hoping to entangle him in the fallen branches where he couldn't dodge. This failed though due to the change in wind direction.

Spacing is very important, but the reason we don't really talk about it much is because it is so natural (now). Years ago at the first community war many of us were not nearly as good at player spacing. The ambush during the first OHK round could have easily taken out our whole team had the enemy triggered their attack just a second earlier. Recent wars have been less problematic, although I found that I have to tell newer members (my friends and Marauder's nephews mainly) to spread out a bit because they often leave me with little room to dodge.

Would flanking the enemy be covered as part of player spacing? If so then I have quite a bit I can write on that. Again though, most of it would just be experience, I'm more of an in the moment type guy and often don't think of strategy until I'm on the battlefield.
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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby HBWW » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:59 pm

Good talking points there. I wasn't around to witness poor player spacing earlier, and haven't watched the old footage enough times. =p

I'd say player spacing definitely affects flanking, although this gets into a more broader (but related subject) of line infantry and troop formations. There's no shortage of traditional theory to go around regarding that subject matter, but I think there's a good number of important differences in how those tactics apply to us.

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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby DX » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:09 pm

Spacing is very important in moves and "micro" tactics, the more-sporty things we do when engaged line-to-line that focus on individual movements. How you arrange your line vs the opponent's line partly determines your chance of success. Obviously, when outnumbered, you tend to want to spread your line out more in order to absorb extra enemy numbers, shifting as the enemy moves, in order to keep the spacing the same. Having enough room to dodge is essential in most positions. You also usually want to have enough room between players that they count separately. At Apoc, I once saw 6 nerfers stacked up behind the same tree, shooting from the same side of it. At that moment, they essentially had the field clout of 1 person. Another way you can lose line efficiency is if you have people positioned too far back. This happens quite a bit in water wars (cough Sam cough) where someone is standing too far out of range to threaten, therefore removing them as a factor in the battle until they advance into a more forward position. Your line is running at its most full efficiency when every player is positioned close enough to take viable shots at opponents.

Pure positioning is often enough to deny an opponent your flank. In small battles, the flank may be all of one person and it may be the toughest type of flank to attack. A good flank refuser is nearly impossible to get around and can stack up 2,3,4+ enemies in front of them. By giving some ground and bending the line, one creates a zone, in essence anchoring their flank using nothing but space, itself. A flank can also be "defended" from a forward position, as well. While risky, this puts you in a superior omnifensive position, where you are equally able to attack or defend, depending on the situation. You have ample space to fall back if pressed, or you can roll up the opponent's flank if you can overpower it.
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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby HBWW » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:47 pm

At Apoc, I once saw 6 nerfers stacked up behind the same tree, shooting from the same side of it.


This sort of thing constantly in Laser Tag, and in paintball games with too many players. Many game setups like that where too many people forced to share cover are simply not even fun.

This happens quite a bit in water wars (cough Sam cough) where someone is standing too far out of range to threate


Are you talking about the shitty orders you and Ben gave me at Factory OHS? Or are you talking about DC Sam?

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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby DX » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:16 am

Lol no, that was intentional. At the time, we believed that they'd come down and fight, giving you range advantage while putting you out of their range to hit. In hindsight, someone should have stayed at the corner to help defend the warehouse entrance, although honestly I don't know how they pushed you back. When I went down there to check, there were only 2 enemies in there and I had the corner post, nothing could have made it through. All you really had to do was stand behind the post and shoot every now and then, there was no way past that.

Urban rounds are a bad example in general. A better example was the ill-fated night battle at the elementary school, when Keith led us up the "Secret" path into an ambush. While he was out, I was trying to engage the whole enemy team while you and Trevor stood like 50ft down lower on the path the whole time, way out of range to support. If they'd actually figured out where we were, they could have pushed and we all would have died.
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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby HBWW » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:32 am

It quickly got obvious that they weren't going to push out into the open. After moving down the ledge, I wanted to move through the first floor of the building and see what was going on. I was told they were at the staircase, and told to stay out in the open where it was excessively crowded around the fence chokepoint. When I finally decide to check out the area, I was under the impression that they were still at the stairs, then a 2500 stream appears in my face out of nowhere. After the ambush, I DID hold them back and keep them from pushing back out. They were going to retreat to the staircase. Anyway, had I made a move on that area sooner, I would've actually known what was going on.

As for the school night, we weren't versed to any alternative flanking routes, and the woods were too thick to cut through in pitch black. In hindsight, should've left the area to search for a flanking route, but that would've taken an eternity and involve separating again. We had no clue what was up ahead, so pushing up a hill when it's pitch black wasn't a very good move to bank on. There was almost no dodging room in there to begin with. Regardless, Trevor and I made shitty plays in general, mainly due to his impatience and me not wanting him to wander off alone. (Although that in itself did not actually cause any problems in the end.)

What do others think about moving the discussion of past blunders in warfare to another thread? This whole debate/argument here is likely to go beyond the topic of player spacing.

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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby SEAL » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:50 am

Dammit, I want to participate in this discussion, but I don't want to reveal too many of my tactical ideas because the rivalry isn't completely dead yet. What I will say is, I find line warfare (where player spacing matters most) to be really boring in most situations. In a typical case, the first one who rushes is the first one to get hit, encouraging teams to stay put and make futile attempts to hit each other. Examples include the 1HS round at Downpour (in between Thunder Gulch and Lost Chasm), and the 1HK round at Frozen Fury two weeks ago.

I think a thread about blunders in wars is a good idea. It'll be fun.
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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby HBWW » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:29 pm

Funny how rarely we use our team forums right now. Oh, the shenanigens that are probably going on in the SEALs' forum these days! By that standard, I should've never posted help on the 2700 trigger repair, in case Wetmonkey actually showed up to get the rivalry going that weekend! (Although I'm pretty sure you guys are able to do the same if you don't have your star players.)

Agreed on basic line infantry water warfare, which is one of the many reasons I don't like traditional woods environments that much.

Edit: Ya know what, I got a few "secret" ideas of my own. SSLF, to our forum!

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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby SEAL » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:40 pm

I think helping enemy team members build/fix stuff is fine. Tactics are what really control the outcome of battles, so they are the only things that I refuse to divulge publicly. As for line warfare, I don't think it's something that only happens in forest environments; I find it usually occurs whenever one team takes up a defensive position that's hard to attack. Hilly terrain and semi-thick forests seem to be the types of places where this most often occurs. This happens all the time in HTL/similar games because duh, the whole point of those games is to defend something. However I feel that defense games can be a lot of fun if set up properly (to avoid line warfare); similar to the 1-flag games in the barn, where the offense can attack from all sides, and without stupid restrictions.

CA99 wrote:(Although I'm pretty sure you guys are able to do the same if you don't have your star players.)


You mean call off rivalry rounds? On that topic, want to know something funny? For last year's Frozen Fury, there was a chance that Scott wouldn't be able to show up, so I was like, "Guys, can we call the rivalry off if he doesn't come?" I was met with "That's not the point of the rivalry...etc." Of course, I didn't know anything about the skill levels of marauder's nephews back then. So going by the "point" of the rivalry, we could have totally done rivalry rounds at FF this year. Not that it bothers me, because I personally feel like rivalry wars should be more 'hardcore' (less Nerf-like) anyway. But the point is, if wetmonkey had came and Scott hadn't, would you guys still have called it off?

(Sorry for going off on a rant. Please continue the discussion as if it never happened.)
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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby HBWW » Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:59 pm

You'll have to take that up to DX/Marauder, since I have basically no influence to whether we go with rivalry or not. We may need established rules for this, which could be as simple as both teams agreeing to fight on condition of the players involved as well as players we know could possibly involved. (i.e. We should've specified beforehand that we'd agree to the rivalry specifically unless Wetmonkey wouldn't show up.)

What did you mean by Nerf-like? None of the FF rounds were remotely Nerf-like, if you're talking about most of the type of locations Nerfers play at.

Anyway, I think player spacing is key in any kind of environment. In some urban wars, it's more of a matter of how you want to spread out and where you want people to go, although with different players spawning at different times, I think this should be something left up to each player to decide: fill the gap that's not being covered.

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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby SEAL » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:00 pm

It's not a big deal; just an observation. I don't know if we'll even get to do rivalry rounds next season anyway.

Nerf-like refers more to the fighting style than the locations. Close starting points and short-length rounds are characteristic of Nerf wars. Not saying those rounds can't be fun, but for rivalry I prefer long rounds with starting points that are at least out of sight of each other.

Player spacing also matters in formations, though I don't know if anyone here actually does them. I've tried to get my team to move in formation, but it fell apart after like 10 seconds. :roll: Eh, oh well.
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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby HBWW » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:13 pm

The problem with far-out starting points is that few battlefields are really good for it. The closer spawns resulted in faster-paced, more intense games, as shown by the factory rounds and the rounds in Northgate vs. foundry+barn.

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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby marauder » Wed Dec 25, 2013 4:02 pm

I was under the impression that we were going for the best footage, and since we had a camera set up in the middle I thought it'd make great footage to have you and Tony on top of that wall/2nd level. Of course, our natural competitiveness kicked in and pretty much everyone but Scott fought to win rather than to record good footage.

So, was it a crappy order to stay up there? Yes, but It was done to get the best quality footage. I suppose half staged half serious fights don't work out that well though, and they pretty much all turn out serious - which was more fun IMHO, at the expense of good footage.

In regards to player spacing, I kept running into Tony and Danny (quite literally) this past war; but at least they've gotten a lot better about not dying :D
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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby HBWW » Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:53 pm

I completely forgot about footage lol, I didn't even have my camera on that round, so I just played to win. We should explicitly set aside filming sessions for that purpose next time, because even if we stayed up on that platform, we wouldn't have gotten good footage of us just standing around there doing nothing.

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Re: Basic Tactics Brief: Player Spacing

Postby scottthewaterwarrior » Thu Dec 26, 2013 2:55 pm

I was mainly trying to get good footage that last factory round. about half way through, my Vindicator ran out of water, I tried to just film, but every time I came out of cover to announce that I would get shot. Little hard to say you quit with your mouth full of water. I think I got some pretty good shots that round too, but unfortunately the camera decided to screw up and I lost all of it! :(

Back on the topic of player spacing:
I had a war a few days ago with some friends. I've realized where at most community wars we tend to be a little too close, my friends (at least the ones I was fighting with then) were way too far apart. It was a 2v3 and me and Luke were trying to push a choke point. I was right up at the gate in the fence but he was standing about 20 feet behind me, way out of rang of the enemy! Obviously you do not want to be all bunched up, but player spacing works best when you make the front wider, not thinker. Having people around the sides of the enemy, but with the range of water guns so short, unless the guy behind you has a WBL being to far back from the battle line has no benifit what so ever.
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