[D&D, Pathfinder, Etc.] Strategy in Map Combat

edited August 2012 in Story Games
A recent post in the Kobold Quarterly discusses ways to make RPG map combat more strategic. (It asserts that RPGs provide tactics well, but laments that combat often has so few strategic options it is "railroading" just as much as a lack of narrative choices.)

What are ways you have made (as GM) or enjoyed (as Player) strategy within map combats?

The article suggests eight specific techniques. Do you have any stories about having seen these add to fun and suspense in action?
1. Allow players to change the terms of victory, at least temporarily.

2. Allow players to switch gears as the situation changes; don’t force them to keep following a course that isn’t working for them just because it’s working for you.

3. Create situations that allow multiple approaches.

4. Leave weak spots along some of those approaches for the characters to discover.

5. Build adventures with multiple objectives that can be achieved in more than one sequence.

6. Ensure that both plans and dispositions are flexible—adaptable to circumstances. (This one is the same for everyone.)

7. If the characters do the predictable thing, assume that the monsters have predicted it. If they do something surprising, let them gain a suitable advantage.

8. Have the opposition react to attacks by reinforcing where they perceive the greatest threat. Remember that reinforcing one place generally means weakening another place. (I’m using “place” generically here, since in games, attacks aren’t limited to geography. They can be social, psychological, even spiritual.)
(Arg. I had a nice story to share about map combat strategy from yesterday's game, but both my boys just took an extra hour to go to bed tonight. Out of time! Sorry I'm not doing my share.)


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