Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Strategy vs. Tactics

There has been some call lately for more discussion of strategy or tactics within the MFZ community.  Why don't we define those terms before we go any further.

Strategy: This is what happens before you reach the table.  You decide on how many frames you're going to bring and what kind of loadout each will have.  Also, if you're playing in a campaign, this is when the players determine what the next battle is going to involve.

Tactics: This is what happens when you get to the table.  The choices you make during the setting up phase, during play, the results of the dice, and the bargains you make during the game are all tactics.

Okay, now we have working definitions.

Strategy you can talk about.  The meta-game(1) is an important part of playing.  The choices you and the other players make and how they interact will help shape the game.  Tactics, on the other hand, you can't really talk about.  How are we going to know the exact positions of everything on the table and how the dice are going to come up before they even happen?

So, what we're really looking to discuss is strategy.
1: Thank you, Richard Garfield for bringing this term into the general usage.  No, not really.


  1. You can still discuss tactics in game. Take sports for example. Plays are tactical in nature. The way they evolve in play often changes to meet situations, but the tactical concerns are still practiced and worked on. Yes, the dice may change, and opponents will do things to actively thwart your plans, but that doesn't mean that discussing tactics is somehow not up for discussion.

    Breaking down games to find where tactical errors were committed and trying to find ways to actively prevent those errors in the future is not only valuable for players, but perhaps essential for learning to be a better gamer.

    But then again, I'm coming at it from the point of view of a former military officer where scenario "games" are part of the basis for instruction in case of real-world events.

    1. That is a valid point. I guess I'm looking at it from a pre/post-game viewpoint. Pre-game you're looking at Strategy, post-game you're looking at Tactics.