Assassin Counter Strategies

Tips, Tricks and Pearls of Wisdom

Assassin Counter Strategies

Postby Severian » Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:02 am

In my first few games of AE, I was thoroughly dismayed at the havoc that enemy saboteurs, spies, and especially, assassins played w/ my well-laid schemes. If you are wondering how to counter stealth units operating at your HQ, there are two straightforward methods:

1. Place and move reconnaissance. Any unit with the Recce ability has a decent chance of detecting a stealthed enemy army located within the Recce range of the unit. [Bases and armies without Recce have a chance, albeit low, of detecting stealthed units.] The higher the Recce value, the better the unit is at detecting stealth. I strongly suggest reading the Observation/Stealth/Camouflage rules in the manual careful (currently on pp. 20-21). Something that is not made particularly clear is that an Observation check is made every time an army moves. Therefore, if you suspect (or know) that an enemy assassin is located on your HQ - but you can't see them - you are more likely to discover them if you move a Recce unit back and forth between your HQ hex and an adjacent hex. Just keeping your Recce unit on your HQ without moving it only gives you a single check. If you discover the enemy hero, you will then have the option of attempting a Capture (right click; AP cost = 3). Therefore, you will want to reserve some AP's for this possibility. The probability of capture/kill success is increased if you have a Bounty Hunter in the same hex as the enemy hero. For this reason, I like to keep a Bounty Hero on my HQ a lot of the time.

2. Add facilities to your HQ, esp Intel Centers. Intel Centers are useful for two primary reasons: they often give you additional AP/turn, and they protect you from enemy espionage. They also can have the "Sniffer" ability, which means that you will be more likely to detect stealthed units. If your Intel Center doesn't come with Sniffer, upgrade it (right-click) and it will gain that ability. But other facilities can also help. From p. 20 of the manual: "Facilities each get separate checks for visibility during an observation check... The detection die pools are as follows: Stronghold=1 die, Lab/Academy/AirDef=2 dice, IntelCenter=3 dice, Collectors=4 dice." Stealthed units typically cut the # of dice rolled in an observation check in half. However, "Sniffer" means than an IntelCenter check will be at full strength. Therefore, an HQ with a Collector, Lab, and Intel Center (w/ Sniffer) will be much more likely to detect stealthed assassins than an HQ without any facilities.

Dealing with stealthed assassins out in the wasteland is more difficult. It can be devastating to have a large attack force suddenly castrated by the loss of its general. You can include a Recon unit within your army which may alert you to the presence of an enemy assassin, but you are sacrificing some of its mobility and independence. I favor sending Recon out separately in front of my advancing army, to sweep the area for potential problems.

In my mind, some of best instantiated aspects of AE are stealth, fog-of-war, and observation. Reconnaissance is king in the wasteland. However, the observation rules are a bit obscure and difficult to understand. If you take the time to learn them, you will be able to use stealth to greater advantage (eg. use terrain modifiers) as well as prevent the untimely demise of General Starke immediately before a forward assault on those damn muties.
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