The basic Capture and Control mission in the rulebook has been called many names by people in the 40k community. Names such as “roll dice and tie” and “draw-fest” have become popular in describing this mission. I often use these names to describe this mission, but have recently having a major question about this.
Why are more draws likely to happen with this mission than others?
This mission is by its design more linear than other missions. There are only two objectives, placed within deployment zones (often on the back line or back corners). Kill points is harder to defend against, because the opponent can get points by targeting any units they want. Seize Ground is more difficult as well because there are multiple objectives, spread across an area. It is relatively easy to secure some objectives you want and send just enough to contest the others. While that idea is the same as Capture and control, the application ends up very different. This is due to your choices becoming very limited in Capture and Control.
Another way to look at this is to consider a concept from “Game Theory.” “Game Theory” is a portion of mathematics that is applied primarily to economics, but also many social sciences to account for behaviors in situations, often conflicts. The “Hawk-Dove” game (also called “Chicken”) is a model that’s used to illustrate conflict given a series of limited choices. The classic example is the game of “Chicken,” where two people are racing straight towards each other in cars. Each person has a choice to keep going straight or to swerve away to avoid a potential crash. These are the limited choices that can be made. If one player swerves and the other doesn’t, then the person who “swerves” loses for being perceived as a “chicken” or coward. If both players “swerve,” then it results in a tie. If neither player swerves, then it results in a crash, where both people still tie, though end up suffering even more of a cost. I think this relates back to the Capture and Control mission, because of the linear nature of this mission.
He’s about as likely to win a Capture and Control game as he is to punch through that wall.
*This is my model of a Capture and Control game. It takes assumptions into account as any model does, but overall I think it is a good starting point, based on overall experience playing the mission.*
- While there are two objectives in the mission, players will seek to obtain at least one more objective than the opponent to win.
- Players will commit resources greater than zero to each of the objectives.
- Players will commit the majority of their forces towards one objective, while using the minority to either hold or contest the other.
- Player skill is equal.
- The quality of the army and choices taken are of equal quality.
- Choices given in the model reflect action taken by majority body of army, as minority will attempt for alternate objective.
- Both players will place objectives such that attacking forces will have reduced or minimal contact with another attacking force (i.e. placing objectives in opposite corners for pitched battle deployment.)
- Both players commit the same percentage of their force to the “majority” force. (i.e. if player A commits 85% to majority, then player B commits 85% to their majority).
The choices then for each player are either of the following: A) Bunker down and use the majority of your army to hold the objective in your deployment zone, counting on your shooting and counter-assault to stop your opponent, or B) Attack with the majority of your force, counting on your rush to overrun your opponent and take the objective in your opponent’s deployment zone. With either choice, you’d save some small cheap unit to secure or at least contest the objective you’re not aiming for.
There are 3 possible outcomes dependent on the choices made.
-If both players choose to bunker down and hold their own objective, then they will be able to easily defend against a small portion of an enemy’s force sent to attack. As a result, both players will hold their own objectives, resulting in a tie.
-If both players choose to send their forces to attack the other objective, then they will overrun the objective in their opponent’s deployment zone, whilst losing their own. Each player’s majority force will encounter and defeat the opponent’s minority force. This will again result in a tie, though with more casualties involved, because the majority forces are heavily committed, as opposed to sitting at their objective.
-If one player attacks whilst the other player defends, then there are two symmetrical fights for each objective (Majority of player A defending vs Majority player B attacking or vice versa), then the fight is subject to specific die rolls of the engagement, as no clear winner is immediately apparent. If both players committed an equal quality and quantity of forces to their majority groups, then both sides will fight to a stalemate, neither gaining an advantage. This will be the same for minority forces competing for the other objective. While this outcome is more uncertain than the others, it is still set up to end up with a tie more likely than not.
This mission (the way I have it modeled) is designed with the intention to make ties as common as possible. Some might ask “What if I commit more to my ‘majority’ force than my opponent to defeat their ‘majority’?” That makes the mission more like the first two outcomes in the model. If your “majority” force is greater than their “majority” force, then you’ll defeat them, but that leaves your minority force weaker than theirs, making you lose that objective.
Model Summary: No matter what you do in the model, your only chance to win is for one player to attack whilst the other defends. Even that option is well within the normal range of die rolls of either winning, tying, or losing. If both players attack simultaneously or defend simultaneously, then it will result in a draw.
Typical gamer’s reaction after winning a Capture and Control game.
Comments of the model: As I mentioned above, this is in the “Hypothesis” stage. I’d really like to devise a way of gaining some observational data or experimental data to be able to refine the model. I had to make several assumptions to be able to evaluate just the mission by itself.
There is never a 40k game that player skill, codex, army list, tactics, and player strategy will all be identical. While the mission itself can lead to more ties, there are loads of variables that can make winning this mission very possible and realistic. The biggest are player tactics and strategy, from objective placement, to how they play the game against their opponent. Another is codex inequality (sending 85% of a competitive Space Wolves list at 85% of a defending Necron force is hardly equal.) Another factor that is not accounted for is the effect long range shooting can have, where it can be possible for an army to defend with the majority of their force, yet “attack” the other player’s objective with long range fire.
I think Capture and Control is a very challenging and fun mission to play. Because it is so heavily designed towards tying, it makes winning that much more difficult and rewarding. Even if a win is not achieved, in forcing a closely designed game, they have the potential to create many fun and intense battles which is the most important aspect to the hobby. The other missions in the game result in less ties due to the multitude of ways to go about winning the game. There is a greater variety in basic strategies in the mission besides “attack” or “defend.”
That basic strategy gives Capture and Control a charm all its own.