Ideas Behind the Openings

A place to debate and share game or general military strategy/tactics.
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Ideas Behind the Openings

Postby kwok » 08 Mar 2018, 21:26

Ideas Behind the Openings

A lot of games in BK can be likened to chess. There is this strange feeling of "phases" that people often think of and refer to when they play games, especially BK. Words like "early game, mid game, late game" are all over the forum when talking about strategies and balance.

I wanted to write a guide on one of these phases on a brief level, then an aspect of the phase on a more detailed level. This will probably be a long one with edits along the way, so buckle up!


I like to start with assumptions because I'm writing my opinions and guide on how to help people only for players that like to play the game as it was intended (which was EXPLICITLY supported by the devs).
1. The game is on a properly sized map, often a CoH map +1 in player size (so 2v2's on 3v3 maps unless the map). Don't try arguing this here, just dig through the forums for it. viewtopic.php?f=27&t=736&p=8493#p7100
2. The game is played on a BK mod-tip map. If really specific community maps were made for extraordinary scenarios, this guide will not apply entirely. Some concepts may, but it will be hard to put into practice right away without more speculation on the map.
3. The game isn't modded any more than the official BK

Chess and BK Early Game Objectives
The objectives in the chess early game are: Control the center, Develop your pieces, Protect your king. All three of these concepts can be applied to BK through some analogy.

Control the Center

One of the greatest mistakes I see from newer players coming from vanilla CoH is immediately capturing local territories and not controlling the philosophical "center". The direct center of a chess board is an area of high strategic importance because it is a base position in which pieces can move and attack from. If a piece must travel from on side of the board to another, it is more efficient for them to go through the center instead of weaving its way around the edges of the board. Thus, players will almost always start their openings with the center pawns and moving minor pieces towards the center rather than the flanks. This same idea applies to BK twofold. Controlling the "center" will allow for a quicker logistical position of attack just like in chess. However, it can also provide important resource income and deny the opponent income. In many of the BK maps, the higher valued resource points are in the center. So the next time some asshole spam pings you to capture a bunch of low resource points in the back, you can tell them to fuck off because you are striving for a greater strategic objective. It is always easy to go back and capture the local territories because they are easy to defend and your opponent will waste too much effort trying to prevent you from capping those.

When I say "center" in BK I don't always mean the direct center of the map, but rather the position that embodies that "center" value in chess. In some maps there could be multiple "centers" especially since BK is intended for a team game. Some iconic centers are the middle fuel points in Alsace Moselle. Notice there are two +9 fuel points that lie directly between the two teams. Usually, each pairing of opponents will contest for those centers. The team that controls more centers is usually the team with the highest probability of winning.

Develop Your Pieces
In chess, you want to start mobilizing your minor pieces to put them in spots of power. At the start, many of the pieces lie behind the pawn line thus being pretty useless. By moving initial pawns followed by minor pieces, you bring your pieces into more active roles against the enemy. In BK, a similar analogy is applied when you create your first units. Build orders are likened to chess openings, where there are some safe chess openings and safe beginning build orders for more precise play OR extreme gambit openings and build orders looking for a risky but rewarding outcome. But, the most effective build orders is to actually HAVE a build order. One mistake that is commonly done by newer players is moving their engineers or grenadiers out to the front line right away before creating the first building. While this might be done by higher level players, it is considered extremely risky because it greatly slows down your over all ability to field units. Imagine playing chess and only being able to move your pawns for the first 5 moves. If your opponent has even the smallest amount of skill, the opponent will field the minor pieces and run circles and tactics around your limited pawns. Build your first building even if your opponent rushes for the "center" position early with their starting units... it hardly takes any time to build a building and you can always contest your opponent with some variation of a build order knowing they are unable to field units as fast as you.

You can look at some build orders people have suggested over the patches at the following posts:
WM Openings - viewtopic.php?f=30&t=1342
US Openings - viewtopic.php?f=30&t=1340
PE Openings - viewtopic.php?f=30&t=1341
CW Openings - viewtopic.php?f=30&t=1339

Protect the King
In chess, killing the king is the end objective for both players in the game. Thus, king safety is important to ensure that a player may freely position attacks without fear of losing in the process. This is a much harder concept to visualize in BK because there is no true equivalent "king piece" except for the base which is mostly defended by early game AA guns already. Instead of making a direct analogy, I'm going to talk about the essence if "king safety" and how as a player you must think both aggressively and defensively in long term planning.
In chess, by castling and retreating a king behind the rook you ensure that you will not be attacked immediately in the early-mid game and allow yourself to prepare for later stages. It is a tactic to allow for long term planning and survival. When you play BK, you do not want to over extend your aggression in the opening and eventually take stock at what advantages and disadvantages you've obtained. Whether you control the center or developed your pieces, how do you ensure the enemy does not have a remarkable breakthrough? How do you make sure you stay in the game after the opening phase? Some players, rather than aggressively trying to win the center, they force a stalled game and make sure that the enemy does not control the center. It is easier to defend the center than attack it, so players will likely pull their forces slightly back and deny the enemy of advantage. This ensures survival into later stages which maybe the player's skill shines more.

If there is a single unit that is MOST like a king piece (and almost equivalent in combat capability) it would be your initial engineer/builder unit. Ironically, this is probably the MOST important unit in the early game because its survival dictates how fast you can push yourself into the mid game and even late game. Building a new engineer takes a lot of time, enough time for the enemies to catapult themselves into the mid game before you can field the proper counters. Protect that first engineer. Know when to pull that engineer back to build your tier 2 building so that you can press your advantage or defend from upcoming threats. Ensure you can survive to the mid game.

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Re: Ideas Behind the Openings

Postby Walderschmidt » 09 Mar 2018, 00:50

This is a good way to explain things, especially for people familiar with chess but not (yet) good at me!

Could you talk more about transitioning from the early game to mid game and go into more detail about each stage of the game respectively?


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Re: Ideas Behind the Openings

Postby kwok » 12 Mar 2018, 21:06

Lol, as long as these posts are actually read so I know my efforts aren't wasted working on these instead of complaining on the balance forum, sure I can talk about transitioning. I get these requests on steam, but doesn't seem like these sort of things are really read by forum users.

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Re: Ideas Behind the Openings

Postby |7th|Nighthawk » 26 Mar 2018, 14:20

Thanks for that detailed text. It's a nice idea to compare it with chess because even if you don't play it often, you recognize the basic similarities.
Sadly some of the openings links are outdated because a few changes happened and there soon will be a few more.

Looks like you forgot to finish that part in the brackets:

kwok wrote:Ideas Behind the Openings

1. The game is on a properly sized map, often a CoH map +1 in player size (so 2v2's on 3v3 maps unless the map). Don't try arguing this here, just dig through the forums for it. viewtopic.php?f=27&t=736&p=8493#p7100

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Re: Ideas Behind the Openings

Postby Tiger1996 » 28 Apr 2018, 23:30

Good post there, though... I wouldn't compare Bk Mod too much with chess; because in chess you always have enough time to setup your plans.

While on the other hand Bk Mod is more about quick reactions, well positioning, sighting and knowledge of the capabilities for each unit.. that's surely in addition to some micro skills and a bit of luck, specifically when players of the same level are competing.

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